A Deep Dive Into Outer Wilds' New Art Direction!
A huge update for the holiday weekend featuring our art director breaking down the vertical slice, a note from our contest winner, and our new team photo!
Outer Wilds is a first-person space exploration game where you uncover the mysteries of a solar system stuck in an endless time loop. Blast off into a fully physically simulated cosmos and seamlessly journey from one planet to the next as you search for the answers hidden in the unknown.
Equal parts Myst, Kerbal Space Program, and Majora's Mask, Outer Wilds puts you in the cockpit of a fledgling space program searching for the secrets of a wild, constantly changing solar system. Strap on your hiking boots, check your oxygen levels, and get ready to venture into space.
The alpha version of this student project won the Seamus McNally Grand Prize and Excellence in Design awards at this year's IGF awards, whose previous winners include Minecraft, Fez, and Papers, Please. Outer Wilds has been a cult favorite, and as of today the alpha build has been downloaded nearly 90,000 times. We're beyond excited to be working with Masi Oka to give Outer Wilds the full-team, full-time production it needs to be finished!
NOTE: Investment for this round is closed, but interested parties in investing in future FIG projects can apply here.
So what makes Outer Wilds so unique?
Space flight like you've never experienced before.
No game captures the feeling of space flight quite like Outer Wilds: not just the awe and wonder but the thrill (and often terror) of hurtling across the solar system in a tiny capsule.
Jump out of your ship mid-flight for emergency repairs as it slingshots around the sun. Master Newton’s third law of motion to lift off or land anywhere there’s enough gravity. No inch of the solar system is out of your reach — just don’t be surprised if your ship starts drifting away while you poke around that ancient space station.
A constantly changing solar system.
Outer Wilds is packed with planets, moons, and hidden locations that change with the passage of time, so that what you find depends not just on where you are but also when. Visit an underground city before it’s swallowed in sand, or explore a planet being bombarded by its volcanic moon as it crumbles beneath your feet.
(Hope you weren’t too attached to that rock you were just standing on.)
A curious time loop.
Why does the solar system keep resetting itself every 20 minutes? Why are you the only one who’s noticed? The answers are out there, hidden across the solar system, and each one you find leads to new questions, clues, locations, and challenges. Piecing together this mystery is crucial to discovering the ultimate secrets of Outer Wilds.
Backpacking in space.
Because the only thing better than camping under the stars is actually visiting them.
"I have a feeling that I’m about to go beyond my world and break new ground – Outer Wilds perhaps captures this feeling better than any game to date."
"As you'll soon learn, exploration isn't just half the fun: it is literally all the fun, and the game's quirks are best discovered on your own."
"Like so many campfire tales, Outer Wilds is worth experiencing again and again, not just because the repetition is pleasurable, but because every time you return, you find something new, a slightly different way to tell it."
"I have shouted in delight and surprise at my screen at this game more than anything I've played recently. Everything feels enticing and dangerous, and when weird stuff happens, it does so in a really solid, well considered way."
"This is an utterly fascinating journey of exploration and discovery. Something a lot of indie games talk about but few deliver as well as you've managed."
The core of the game and its unique feel won’t change — the finished game will still be the Outer Wilds players know and love! — but we do want to make Outer Wilds even better. Here’s how:
We're filling the current solar system with more interactive content.
The solar system is already full of wild planets and other astral bodies with their own unique dangers and wonders. All of these locations are going to receive massive upgrades to the places you can go, the information and lore you can find, and the clues and challenges you’ll have to navigate.
We're creating new locations to explore.
You asked for it, so we’re making it happen: the mystery will extend to new locations across the solar system that Alex has been dying to add.
We’re implementing a fully completed story and solutions to the mysteries of the solar system.
Players have loved decoding all the lore, cultural artifacts, codes, and clues currently in the alpha build, but what’s there right now isn’t even close to how much narrative content will be in the final production.
We are going to make this game as beautiful as it deserves to be.
The core of this game has always been about a lovingly crafted and intricately designed world, but when it was a student project, there just weren’t enough resources to make Outer Wilds look as beautiful as Alex imagined it being. With a new art team, art director, and visual style, we’re crazy excited to make this game absolutely gorgeous.
The same scene in the new art style vs. the alpha build.
Our composer Andrew Prahlow is adding to his amazing score.
We are going to get it to as many people's hands as possible.
Currently, we’re planning to release Outer Wilds on PC, Mac, and Linux through Steam next year. But our dream is to bring it to new platforms in as many languages as possible, and we need everyone’s help to make that happen!
Quotes from the Judges who Gave Outer Wilds the Grand Prize and Excellence in Design Awards
- "I have shouted in delight and surprise at my screen at this game more than anything I've played recently. Everything feels enticing and dangerous, and when weird stuff happens, it does so in a really solid, well considered way."
- "this is so beautiful, you have something really magical on your hands right now."
- "This game is beautiful and mindblowing. Thank you for making this, it's my personal favorite from the whole festival."
- " the most incredible and amazing game I played in this month of voting."
- "This is an utterly fascinating journey of exploration and discovery. Something a lot of indie games talk about but few deliver as well as you've managed."
- "a really nice surreal Windwaker-kind-of-thing in space with orbital mechanics... everything comes together. "
- "This is really an incredible game. There are so many different parts here yet somehow they all work together and it is just great."
Additional Quotes from the Press
"wide-eyed exploration of Majora's Mask collide with the tricky, super-exact space maneuvering of Kerbal Space Program in a game that kicks up new exploratory surprises "
"The result is a delightfully shifting pace. Relaxed exploration yields information that gives rise to a mad dash to new discoveries, such as fellow adventurers, new camp sites, and little strands of knowledge about the ancient civilisation that provides the game's narrative."
"I knew I could lose many, many hours to exploring the solar system that was Outer Wilds."
"Outer Wilds is an indie game simply about exploring a strange, strange solar system, and parallels our own in that we really don’t know everything about the planets that surround us."
Masi Oka, President
Known for his starring roles in Heroes and Hawaii Five-0, Masi used to be a VFX Artist for Industrial Light & Magic who worked on the 2nd Star Wars trilogy.
Alex Beachum, Creative Director
Alex created Outer Wilds as his thesis project while at USC. He made games for Microsoft, all the while tinkering on Outer Wilds on the side, before joining Mobius last year.
Loan Verneau, Designer
The creative director of the studio, Loan is a world traveler responsible for 2014 IGF nominee for Excellence in Narrative Paralect.
Alice Li, Artist
Alice is a classically trained artist whose work can be found at almost every anime festival in California.
Jeffrey Yu, Engineer
Jeffrey studied aerospace engineering and is super excited to combine his astro knowledge to the code base!
Wesley Martin, Art Director
A graduate of Laguna College of Art & Design, Wesley worked across the art pipeline for Microsoft Studios before joining Mobius.
Kelsey Beachum, Writer
Based in Chicago, Kelsey is a writer & editor who loves to bury herself in folklore and organizes her bookshelves by color.
Andrew Prahlow, Composer & Sound Designer
A classically trained trumpeter, Andrew graduated from USC's Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television program and has since scored for countless movies, ads, and games.
Logan Ver Hoef, Gameplay Programmer
Another graduate of the USC Games Program, Logan frequently donates his lovely long locks to charity and is an expert in ll things Unity and technical artistry. We're super excited to have him join the Outer Wilds team!
Avimaan Syam, Producer
Avimaan was an award-winning playwright and theatrical director before becoming a software developer and getting into games.