Limit Theory

Limit Theory is four years old, and it still hasn't been released yet. Here's why we're still hyped about this upcoming space sim for PC.

I'm a huge fan of space games, particularly those that allow you to do pretty much anything you wish. Having poured thousands of hours into titles in the X universe — if you've yet to play these games, I highly recommend you do so — I was interested in learning about Limit Theory when it appeared on Kickstarter five years ago. The project itself was to be developed by a single person, Josh Parnell.

A quick description of the game:

Space can be cold, dark, and lifeless. But not here. Here, in the many universes of Limit Theory, space is luminous, vibrant, and rich with opportunity. Step into an open-world, sandbox universe in which you can explore, trade, pirate, mine, escort, hunt, defend, build, and more.

Unfortunately, things haven't quite gone to plan. The game had to be completely rewritten. This is a huge undertaking. At points, even the most hardened Limit Theory fans were unsure whether or not their dreams would turn to reality, but this year has proven to be rather fruitful. Parnell not only returned with a fresh mind but has since acquired help to work on completing the game.

Here's why I'm still hyped for the game, and why you should at least keep it on your radar.

No limits

Limit Theory

As noted above, Limit Theory has been in somewhat of a limbo over the past few years. The project originally took in around $180,000 from backers, many of whom have yet to see anything in regards to a live demo as to what they've invested in. Parnell seemingly suffered a mental breakdown, which was largely attributed to development time and his focus on not only building a game alone but updating the community on a monthly basis with an in-depth video diary.

From the Kickstarter campaign:

Retrospectively, I can basically summarize it as such: the mental health issues that had been creeping up on me for about half a year, combined with my drive to wrap up LT finally came to a head and set off a mental condition that drove me into a very scary place. Again, I don't want to dwell on that too much, but in hopes of making my absence a little more understandable, I'll just say that these weren't garden-variety anxiety or mood issues -- what I experienced was frightening and ultimately disabled my ability to work effectively for roughly three months. I still woke up every morning attempting to code, but, to be perfectly honest, my mind was so far gone that I accomplished little.

While projects like those that originate on Kickstarter can fall through (accompanied by a wide range of excuses), hope still remained with Limit Theory. I even forgot about the game for a little while. That was until I found the website had been recently updated, alongside the community forum, which remained active even through the "dark times." Parnell was back on the right track and development was stated to be fully active once again.

Now there are regular updates being published to the forum (unfortunately not joined by Parnell's incredibly soothing voice), and even an up-to-date feature list of what's being worked on.

Stunning Theory

Limit Theory

So just why am I hyped for Limit Theory? I'm not really one to get excited about games that are in development, but this is a different kettle of fish simply because it ticks all the boxes of what's missing in my game library. From what I've seen in the video dev diary, Parnell clearly has the skill to match his vision. As I've already covered, this title is a space sim that promises to offer players an immense amount of choice.

And by choice, I mean you'd essentially be able to do pretty much anything, affecting planets and systems as a whole. Build a fleet, be a pirate, or become a CEO of a powerful company. Trading, markets, conflicts and general life is all simulated by powerful AI. Each ship has a purpose. Trading affects supply and demand and even the smallest of actions can have a ripple effect. What's more is the AI is also in a position to take advantage of this, adapting to what the player and the engine presents to the table.

Another major feature boasted by Limit Theory is procedural generated content, namely ships, planets, systems, and more. Every game will feel different and no two players will share the exact same experience. There's a lot of work that still needs to go into the game before it can be rolled out on GOG and Steam, but things are finally looking as though we're moving towards a gold release.

See one of the dev diary entries from a few years back below to get a taste of what Limit Theory is all about:

Take flight

We're a little past the "early 2014" original release date, but it's becoming less likely we will one day look back at Limit Theory as a failed project. Should you be interested in learning more, or perhaps you were someone who followed development a few years back, I'd recommend you check the official website for more details.

Visit the Limit Theory website