Somehow, The Universim is both wildly ambitious and completely focused at the same time—the perfect formula for a Kickstarter project; it’s a god game with enough thoroughly thought out and well-proposed features that someone could write a master’s thesis on it. While bearing the same ‘made by gamers, for gamers’ clause as so many other Kickstarters, this game truly feels like one, by incorporating so many “I wish a game did this” ideas that I’m genuinely surprised it hasn’t been picked up by a publisher yet. Oh wait. What’s this I see on their Kickstarter page? They’ve already turned down publishers? They “want the community to be the driving force of this game”? “The best way to do that is to remain independent”?! “There will be no DRM and absolutely no micro-transactions for the game whatsoever”! “All future DLC will also be completely free”!!
I think I’m in love.
Developer Crytivo Games describes The Universim as a “next generation planet-management God game. Designed by Alex Koshelkov, the game looks ridiculously pretty even in its early stages. Taking you from the beginning of mankind in the stone-age, all the way to galactic colonization in our future, The Universim allows you to influence the entire world, yet never directly control its people like in other similar games. You will make major decisions concerning the progression of medicinal and technological research in order to help guide your people’s path past the stratosphere. What’s more important: Discovering fire, or inventing the wheel? A cure for a potential virus, or the next crucial piece of technology? You can choose to help your people avoid the world’s dangers, or to see how the chaos affects them. Crytivo says these choices are part of The Universim’s “dynamic” gameplay—it’s like an ant farm where the little AI make their own decisions, but you are the primary influence, and God, of the world.
The space era will be the culmination of all your hard work. All of the choices and decisions you have made will truly begin to bear fruit, and reveal their consequences… This is when you will begin to discover all of the beauty and mercilessness of alien planets.
The Universim will be full of dynamic elements, including randomized events such as natural disasters, war, viral outbreaks, and high-risk, high-reward moments that have players choose whether or not to investigate a mysterious new discovery—a discovery that may just cause a pandemic, or a breakthrough in scientific research. All major in-game “news” will be displayed through a ticker a la Plague Inc, and one of the Kickstarter’s stretch goals offers to evolve the news ticker into a sort of story campaign option; players will be able to create and share live-updating stories to the ticker as part of Crytivo’s plans for an immense game community.
The final stretch goal (at nearly 300% funding) cranks the game into the next level. If, and when, the hefty stretch goal is met, The Universim is planned to feature both versus and co-op modes. Versus will have players race from the stone-age to create a galactic empire, making alliances (or betrayals) with up to seven other players along the way, while co-op will have up to four players attempt to work together and dominate a single planet. Crytivo also says if the game is successful, current-gen console versions are possible, as well as VR support, planet editing toolsets, and even mod support. There’s absolutely nothing the developers have left off the table.
And all this really only scratches the surface of what The Universim plans to offer. For the full breakdown of features and even more screenshots, check out the Kickstarter page, and don’t forget to keep your eyes (figuratively) glued to IGM for more on The Universim in the future.