Early Access Xbox and PC title Astroneer is starting to take shape

Astroneer (Image credit: System Era Games)

Ever since it released to the public via Early Access in late 2016, the open world space exploration title Astroneer has been a title closely watched by gamers. With the simple but intriguing premise of exploring the reaches of the universe in search of treasure in the wake of a 25th-century gold rush, PC and Xbox players alike are excited about Astroneer.

According to the development roadmap, System Era Softworks plans to launch Astroneer shortly after the end of Q2 2018, and has steadily been updating the game with new content as that time approaches. Here's a detailed look at the content that has been released recently, as well as what the future (near and far) holds.

Where we're at

In the last few months, Astroneer has received several updates that have completely overhauled its progression system. The main way it did so was via the addition of Bytes, a type of currency you can use to unlock items. Bytes are earned by researching things at an all-new structure, the Research Center. In addition, players are now able to see a catalog of what is available to research/unlock, allowing for the opportunity to work towards specific items.

Other major things added recently include the ability to extract minerals from the terrain, a tweak to the amount of damage taken from falling, a crash reporting feature, and numerous bug fixes.

What's coming soon

Sometime soon, System Era plans to implement a variety of things into Astroneer. The most notable of these is a redesign of the base-building mechanics. Structures will be designed in a modular way, allowing for players to mix-and-match their constructions. They will also be able to be moved once placed, and you'll be able to expand your base right from your ship's landing zone when traveling to planets.

Vehicle physics and the game's user interface will be getting fixes and adjustments, too, and another big thing to look out for will be aggressive flora and other types of environmental hazards that will threaten your adventurous spirit with the kiss of death. Finally, performance will be getting a big improvement, and the entire engine is going to be upgraded.

What lies on the horizon

Closer to launch, Astroneer will be getting a significant amount of brand new features and content, such as a massive overhaul of terrain generation, puzzles scattered throughout worlds, an introductory planet, player trading, and more. One exciting feature will be the implementation of player customization, letting people choose how their character appears to both themselves and others.

Another interesting system being put into the game down the line will be dynamic weather. The types of weather encountered by the player will vary, and each type will alter gameplay in a different way. It's not entirely clear how just yet, but rest assured, things like snow will definitely freshen up the experience.

In addition to the above, Astroneer will also be getting a Linux version, and will have dedicated servers, complete with a server browser. This will allow the community to actualize the strong cooperative multiplayer potential of Astroneer thanks to the benefits of stable connection and the ability to search for specific servers.

On the performance side of things, System Era is going to prioritize loading times to keep the experience seamless. Lastly, numerous facets of Astroneer's mechanics are getting tweaked to better balance the overall experience. Specifically, damage and gravity both are going to be adjusted, as well as the distribution of minerals throughout planets and the way players manage their inventories.

Your thoughts

Are you excited to see if System Era Software can stay on track with their roadmap plans? What are some things you'd like to see from Astroneer moving forward? Let me know what you think.

Astroneer is available now via Early Access on both Xbox One and on PC with Steam for $19.99.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.