The three former staffers at Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly who quit and set up indie studio The Astronauts have told us they hope to reveal their first game before the year is out. The game is being developed with high-end PCs in mind, but co-founder Adrian Chmielarz tells us the game may also be available for next-gen consoles at launch.
Chmielarz was creative director at People Can Fly until he, Andrzej Poznanski and Michal Kosieradzki left in June. Earlier this month they announced the formation of The Astronauts, but have remained tight-lipped about their first project, limiting themselves to blog posts denying speculation it would be a mobile game or a shooter. Speaking to us earlier today, Chmielarz broke that silence.
“We think we can create worlds that look really beautiful, and for that we need fairly advanced technology, so we’re starting on PC,” he tells us. “We try to be platform agnostic, and we would like this game to be released on more platforms, but I doubt that the current generation of consoles is going to be able to handle what we’re doing.
“The plan at the moment is for it to be released on PC first, and then we’ll see. When the next generation arrives we’re going to be fighting hard to be one of the launch titles – but digital distribution, not retail.
“We’ll be one of the first games for the next generation. But currently we are 100 per cent focused on PC.”
Those expecting Chmielarz and company to make a shooter were always likely to be disappointed: like so many of the other developers to quit triple-A and set up on their own, he and his fellow Astronauts hope to make smaller, tighter games. While Chmielarz is clearly avoiding giving too much away, the games he namechecks in our interview suggest that the studio’s debut release will be worlds away from the likes of Bulletstorm or Gears Of War: Judgment, People Can Fly’s current project.
“The point is to make a game that you can finish in one evening, and if you want to return to it and explore it more then go ahead and spend a month in it,” he says. “Like Dear Esther, or Journey, when you can be done with it in two hours but you can also spend ten hours in that world if you want. I’m a great believer that it’s time for these games.
“You see that in The Walking Dead. At the end of the day it’s still going to be like 10 hours or so, but you play only an hour or two every month or two. And that’s great: when you launch the game you know that you’re going to be done with it in one take, maximum two takes.
“That’s why our game is going to be in 2013. We’re not going to be replicating what we’ve been doing at People Can Fly but on a smaller scale; we’re going after a completely different market. I’m hoping that we’ll release more information about the game this year.”
Intriguing stuff – and refreshing, too, after so many in similar positions have joined the gold rush to mobile, or free-to-play, or Kickstarter nostalgia. Chmielarz, incidentally, has strong feelings on all three of those, and the points he makes go a long way indeed to justifying The Astronauts’ chosen direction. Keep an eye on the site for more later this week.