Icarus: First Cohort

I’ve had my eye on Icarus: First Cohort for some time now.

If you’re not familiar, Icarus: First Cohort comes from DayZ creator and survival game impresario Dean Hall and his studio Rocketwerkz. It looks like it will attempt to push the survival genre past just chopping down trees and making log cabins (though you will still be doing both of those things a lot, it seems).

Originally scheduled to release back in August of this year, it was delayed until November, which would allow for a series of beta test weekends to chart how specific aspects of the game held up to player scrutiny. It was delayed another week, but Icarus is now finally ready to launch on December 3. Although I avoided the beta completely, I am still very much looking forward to checking out Icarus, with hope that Hall and his team can in fact deliver something new for the survival genre — a genre that has been pretty stagnant for some time now.

So what can we expect from Icarus that no other survival game delivers? Well, for one, Icarus is session-based as opposed to just an open-world sandbox. Don’t get me wrong, the world looks to still be pretty wide open, but you will be traveling from your orbital vessel down to a planetary surface for a timed duration, during which you will be tasked with exploring and harvesting resources. While on the planet, you can hunt and gather and even build shelters. Those shelters will apparently be crucial to survival should you encounter one of Icarus‘ storm systems, which look to pack quite a wallop. When all that’s said and done, you’ll travel back to your ship with as much booty as you can carry, in the hopes of moving on and plundering again.

I just hope there is enough time during each instance that I can really soak up the game world. Meandering is perhaps my greatest joy when survival game’s world is done right, and considering how varied and downright gorgeous some of the biomes in Icarus look, I can already see myself taking a ton of screenshots and gawking at its vistas. My god, the vistas!

Icarus will also include missions, and there will be planetary factions to interact with. None of this is new to the survival genre, but hopefully these will be more meaningful than your average survival-mission busywork — you know, get some wood and build an axe, now chop more wood to build a table, now chop more wood etc. Having spent an inordinate amount of time in seemly endless collect-a-thons over the years, having a somewhat directed approach feels almost refreshing.

Icarus: First Cohort

Hall also alluded to the prospect of the development team being able to change and evolve the planet itself between instances, offering new challenges and experiences to players, but we will have to wait to see how that tantalizing aspect shakes out in reality.

Video-game press is not short in its supply of quotes from developers featuring grandiose promises and capabilities that typically just end up being more of the same that has come before it. But I have faith in Hall and Rocketwerkz . I think, at the very least, they have what it takes to deliver a polished survival experience. And based on what I’ve seen so far, it really does look like this game could be an engaging take on the survival genre.

I will say, though, I have yet to warm to the image of someone in an astronaut suit, helmet and all, that is then also decked out in a make-shift deer skinned suit. It looks a little silly to me. But if that is so far the only hang-up I have going in. Hopefully that’s a good sign, but only time will tell.

Thankfully that time is limited as Icarus: First Cohort is just days from launching. You can check out a recent trailer below to get excited for launch date, and at the time of writing, Icarus is still 10% off if you pre-order it on Steam.

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