INTERVIEW: ‘Astroneer,’ Exploration, and Community with Joe Tirado

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Astroneer came out last year from System Era Softworks, and since it’s official release in February of this year, has grown a loving community and win multiple awards at SXSW Gaming 2019 and the Webby Award, as well as other showcases and conventions. At PAX West, we spoke with Joe Tirado, communications at System Era Softworks about the game’s success and how it’s continued focus on exploration and community.

If you aren’t familiar, Astroneer is a sandbox exploration game which features drop-in, drop-out co-op and survival-like aspects in a beautiful and whimsical science fiction world. Taking place in the during the 25th century’s Intergalactic Age of Discovery, Astroneers explore the frontiers of outer space, risking their lives in new and unexplored environments to unearth rare discoveries and unlock the mysteries of the universe as they move from planet to planet. In Astroneer players can work together to build bases and vehicles and manipulate the terrain to create anything you can. Dig or build, a player’s creativity and ingenuity is the key to getting the most out of the game which fuels the exploration aspect.

Joe Tirado Astroneer

As Tirado explained, the goal of the game is to teach players to explore, not exploit the planet. Having actively decided to not include weapons and combat in the game, the developers behind Astroneer have created a game that facilitates co-op play, ingenuity, and exploration without forcing combat like other sandbox survival games. In fact, the focus of the game is to always push the player towards science and research, distinguishing itself from other space games and solidifying themselves as one of the best community play games out right now.

With exploration and community as it’s focus, Tirado explained that the removal of friction in gameplay is one of the important aspects that the developer team focuses on crafting in Astroneer isn’t a job and the new additions of glow-sticks and the jetpack in the upcoming update are here to help players play, while removing some of the grind. As Tirado explained, Astroneer is a toybox for the players, not work, like others in the game-type.

For the entire interview, hit play on the audio above. Astroneer is available now on Steam, Xbox One, and is coming to the PlayStation 4 in November of 2019.

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