ESA and Auroch Digital launch Mars Horizon game
You're controlling your very own space agency at the dawn of the space age, with the ultimate goal of setting foot on the surface of Mars. Which technologies should you research? Which rockets should you build? Should you aim for the Moon first or head straight to the Red Planet?
That's the premise of Mars Horizon, a new strategy game from UK company Auroch Digital, created with help from ESA and designed to show the gaming community all the aspects behind the development of those technologies necessary for human exploration of Mars.
In Mars Horizon, players manage scientific focus, public support and, of course, funds, as they endeavour to complete missions and send their astronauts into space. Agency directors also contend with other major space agencies who have the same goals, choosing to work together or venture out on their own.
During missions, players face tense turn-based gameplay that determines their success or failure. Every single decision is critical, will you spend time fixing a malfunctioning antenna or conserve power in case of a fuel leak? Perhaps risking an extra three months in mission planning could prevent disaster?
Mars Horizon was developed with the cooperation with ESA, where staff, including team members from the actual ExoMars mission, were consulted on the actual process of planning and executing a mission to Mars. Together with the UK Space Agency, ESA provided technical assistance, gameplay advice and testing.
ESA also hosted the development team at the ESOC and ESTEC facilities in Germany and the Netherlands for firsthand experience of how space programmes are managed. ESA's ongoing and global contribution in advancing the exploration of space, for all humankind, is reflected in the passion, excitement and attention to detail of the game.
Mars Horizon was launched worldwide this month, available for PC, Xbox One, PlayStation4 and Nintendo Switch, and is accompanied by a physical card came of the same name. The company aim to provide educational versions to schools in order to demonstrate the cooperative strategy needed to put large complex projects together.