“Have you ever dreamed of a career in cosmic exploration?” asks the teaser video to Insomniac’s newly announced Facebook game. “Shyeah!” no doubt comes the reply from the internet. And thus starts the intrigue and excitement surrounding this fresh project from the studio responsible for Ratchet and Clank and the Resistance series.
But what’s this, an actual fully-fledged standalone Facebook title from a console developer? Not a sort of marketing tie-in thing, grudgingly produced for an overbearing publisher? No it seems there’s much more to Outernauts, which is billed as an adventure role-playing game. Players become members of United Earth’s elite Outernaut force whose job is to capture and train exotic alien beasts so they can battle space pirates and evil space corporations. There’s also something about a race of mysterious “ancients”, but I’m starting to get it mixed up with Halo.
Anyway, you explore planets, gather loot, and fight – as the press release puts it – “asynchronously alongside or against friends” (is it possible to do anything asynchronously alongside someone else? Didn’t we invent the space-time continuum to stop that sort of thing happening?). In other words… Space Pokemon!
Okay, so there are always going to be people who go, *groan* why a Facebook game? But you know, the whole market has sort of creatively stalled at the moment, with Zynga running out of Villes to exploit, and everyone else running out of clones of Ville titles. The pundits are saying that the next generation of social games are going to be deeper, more challenging and… actually social! Which all leads us to one inevitable product. Space Pokemon!
Outernauts is in beta at the moment and is due for launch in the summer.