Deliver Us The Moon is an atmospheric third-person exploration game developed by Dutch studio KeokeN Interactive. It is the year 2069 and Earth’s resources have been nearly depleted, forcing the newly formed Worldwide Space Agency (WSA) to look to the moon for the future of mankind. Players assume the role of a brave astronaut gone rogue who undertakes a top secret mission to find a solution for humanity. Today at the start of E3, Gamer Professionals was given a premier first-look at the game, which is set for a summer 2016 release. Prior to being on the E3 show floor, it was showcased during Microsoft’s fantastic E3 2016 press conference on June 13th.
My 40-minute demo began with a docking sequence, in which I attempted to align my vessel with a space station above the moon. This was done by way of a first-person external camera, in a very slow and methodical manner. I was relying on a grainy black and white video feed and my ship’s targeting system. Once docked, I walked to the airlock where I hit a button to disembark and enter the station. Right away I felt isolated and alone in the space station, which evoked a tone similar to Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The team at KeokeN is clearly well-read in hard science fiction, since influences from writers like Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein were apparent everywhere. I was immediately struck by how grounded in reality this experience felt.
I found myself getting lost a number of times while exploring the space station’s four “arms”, which are protruding sections each fit with two levels accessible by elevator. It was clear to me that Deliver Us The Moon wasn’t going to give me any clear instructions on what I was supposed to be doing — completely appropriate given the situation. I was entering into a completely new and unknown world that I would have to discover and learn about as I went along. Essentially, I had embarked on a dangerous high-priority mission completely blind and exploring the environment would be my only resource.
After powering up the space station’s four sections, I descended an elevator towards a lunar base, housing an abandoned research facility. Walking through in my bulky spacesuit, I discovered living quarters and labs, which felt a bit unsettling. A good amount of time was spent simply taking everything in, trying to piece together what a normal day on the lunar station might have been like. At the heart of its gameplay is exploration, and Deliver Us The Moon is certainly meant to be played at a slow pace. In many ways, it is very similar to games like Gone Home and Firewatch, encouraging players to explore the nooks and crannies of their immediate environment.
Trudging through the abandoned base led me to some doors fit with a type of electromagnetic locking mechanism. I soon discovered my first item, the multi tool, which proved to be the key to accessing sealed doors. At this point, I began to wonder if there might be a loose Metroidvania aspect to the game, with new items being the means to entering unexplored areas. The multi tool was aimed using the left trigger and fired using the right trigger. I couldn’t help but think this mechanic may be used for some type of combat later on, though I did not encounter any other life forms during my brief demo.
In the depths of the lunar base, I discovered an out-of-commission spherical robot. Placing it on top of a nearby pedestal surrounded by three electrical towers gave it life in a very Frankenstein-like storm of electrical currents. At that moment, I knew that there was much more to this game than I had seen in the previous 25 minutes. Secrets were waiting to be discovered somewhere out on the moon’s surface. Exploring the abandoned space station and lunar base set the tone for what was sure to be a fascinating journey into the complete unknown. In the demo’s final sequence, I opened a door to the outside world, where a lunar rover was waiting for me.
Though I only spent a brief period of time with Deliver Us The Moon, I could tell that it was created out of passion, by people who put a lot of value into their experiences. These first isolated moments set a proper tone for what will be a mysterious journey full of discovery and secrets. Deliver Us The Moon is set to have an episodic release structure. Be on the lookout for it this summer.