Yes, you read that right. Lightyear Frontier, an upcoming farming simulator game being developed by Swedish company Frame Break, was announced earlier today at the ID@Xbox Indie Showcase and came with a lot of interesting news about this non-traditional approach to a classic game genre. Lightyear Frontier sends the players to a distant, alien planet, with only their mech and their wits to help them cultivate a life for themselves. The game sends players on quests of exploration, while at the same time requiring them to tend to their farms and enhance the base in which they live. The game can be played solo or in co-op with up to three friends, and even allows players to visit other’s farming planets.
Game developer and CEO of Frame Break Joakim Hedström, in an interview with IGN, spoke a lot about his mindset when creating the game, as well as his excitement for some of the new mechanics incorporated into the game.
“The core experience is this searching for weird genres, new genres or mixing genres that hadn’t really been mixed before… So that’s kind of the philosophy brought into the studio framework, making games to break the mold.”
The basic mechanics of the game revolve around the player creating and tending to a farm and protecting their crops from the harsh environment and creatures that want to encroach on players’ food supply.
“It’s definitely survival-inspired, but you’re not [threatened] – you’re in a mech,” he says. “You’re fine. Nothing can hurt you. What you’re worried about instead is your crops; they can be hurt by the weather, by the wildlife, and by mismanagement. So that’s kind of where the tension is.”
But then, of course, comes the issue of incorporating a bulky and complicated mech into a serene farming environment. So, Lightyear Frontier takes on a fantastical design in order to immerse the players in the wonders of alien life and also to compensate for a massive mech strolling around the lush forests and verdant valleys. The game is also not in the traditional grid-based layout, but rather is open-world and 3D, meaning players can interact with the environment in even more depth than most farming sims allow for.
And that’s not the only unusual mechanic incorporated into Lightyear Frontier. The game also includes an exploration aspect, where players will be called on to delve into the unknown terrain of their alien home in order to gather new resources and wildlife to enhance their living experience. Players, as they gather more resources, will be able to better protect their living spaces, upgrade their mechs, and even unlock some of the secrets the planet holds.
Perhaps the largest feature this game boasts, however, is an anti-colonial mindset. Hedström emphasizes the fact that within the world of Lightyear Frontier, players aren’t supposed to want to strip the planet of its resources, but rather develop a state of co-existence with their new home. To achieve this goal, players’ actions will have real consequences on the planet and on their crops. Certain decisions on the player’s part can reap positive or negative consequences in the world. This encourages players to find a balance between what they give and what they take from the world.
“But even if you go somewhere completely different, there’s still some history, some life here on this planet. So going there and staking out a home for yourself shouldn’t necessarily mean you push away what’s already there, but instead it should be finding your spot here where you can feel like you belong.”
And there’s still so much more to be revealed about this unique new farming simulator! If you’re interested in following the development of Lightyear Frontier, you can tag along on the journey via their website. The release date has yet to be announced, but keep your eyes peeled for word on the Xbox Series X|S and PC release!