Deliver Us Mars will feature a bunch of new game mechanics over Deliver Us The Moon. Besides an adorable new drone to assist trainee astronaught Kathy Johanson on her journey to the Red Planet, Deliver Us Mars will have fully-mocapped characters for greater emotional impact as well as a traversal system that will let you run, jump and climb all over dusty mountains and wrecked colony ships.
Kathy will come equipped with twin pickaxes that she can use to scale over much of the game’s geometry, a mechanic that was inspired by games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider. It was also at least partially inspired by a documentary about free climbing.
In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, game director and KeokeN Interactive co-founder Koen Deetman admitted he wanted to ratchet up the tension during gameplay without resorting to combat–a similar limitation in Deliver Us The Moon.
"So, we needed a gameplay mechanic that feels thrilling," he said "something that not only ties into the story of exploring a relatively unknown environment like Mars, but something that excites you as a player and makes the stakes feel very high. Getting Kathy to hang off the side of a cliff with the pressure of not letting go is a great way to do that. The documentary 'Free Solo' really ignited the idea of that danger – and the feeling that this will be your last trip if you let go."
Free Solo is a documentary released in 2018 that followed rock climber Alex Honnold on his quest to perform a free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. The term "free solo" comes performing the climb alone without any supporting ropes in case of a fall. Without any safety net, free climbers risk their lives on each mountain they climb. The movie won a ton of awards, including the 2019 Academy Award for best documentary.
Although the player will be able to just restart the climb if they fall, anyone with a fear of heights might find Deliver Us Mars to be a bit too much to handle. Thankfully, Deetman said the plan was to have Deliver Us Mars playable on the Steam Deck on release day, so the handheld's small screen should make those terrifying heights a little less scary.
Deliver Us Mars arrives on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store on February 23.
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