Forever Skies will push you to use science to survive an environmental catastrophe on Earth

Here in our world, the clock is ticking towards environmental catastrophe. In Forever Skies, time has already run out. This upcoming survival action game takes place a few hundred years after an environmental collapse has blanketed the Earth in a thick layer of toxic dust, making the planet humanity once called home inhospitable. It sounds like a cursed fantasy, but developer Far From Home has envisioned an apocalyptic scenario that is rooted in a faint echo of reality. 

“It sounds fictional, and we very much hope this won’t become a reality. However, the background is not completely made up. Forever Skies was inspired by overwhelming air pollution, which in recent years has been spreading uncontrollably. For instance, several Polish cities are among the most affected, and somehow we’ve learnt to ignore it,” says a spokesperson from developer Far From Home, who explains that alerts from the RCB [Rządowe Centrum Bezpieczeństwa, Poland’s crisis management office] urging people to stay indoors are becoming so frequent that they are beginning to fall on deaf ears. 

The warning signs are there for all to see and hear, and we are ignoring them. “In this context, we started thinking about a scenario in which this problem is not resolved but actually kept expanding beyond control. What may eventually happen if we as a mankind will have missed all the red alerts, and keep doing what we are doing?”

Time is running out

Forever Skies screenshot

(Image credit: Far From Home)

It’s difficult to say what would happen if we keep ignoring the signs, but it could look a little something like Forever Skies. You play as a lone scientist who is charged with returning to a “hostile Earth” in search of “viral pathogens needed to cure a virus threatening your family living on an orbital station among a small group of descendants of those who managed to escape.” 

Forever Skies is a confluence of two experiences. The first sees you building, customizing, and maintaining a high-tech airship that you can fly above the dust blanketing the Earth; a mobile base of operations that functions as your home, workshop, and laboratory, allowing you to explore the ruins of towers piercing the toxic clouds for resources and vital information. The second has you dropping down below the dust and into the ruins of civilization, investigating mysterious anomalies as you search for vaccines vital for the continuation of the human race. It’s a unique blend of gameplay styles that ultimately pushes you to utilize science to survive. 

“Every post-apocalyptic setting is different, yet what’s unique for Forever Skies is perhaps the fully customizable, mobile base at your fingertips instead of several static bases set up across the game’s world. Options for airship-building are also quite innovative, resulting with a high degree of customization.”

That customization ties into the central loop of Forever Skies – surviving. The studio tells me that the learning curve has been “carefully crafted” to ensure it doesn’t overload players with too many systems. You’ll start by scavenging for resources in the world above the dust cloud, eventually finding blueprints which will let you “set up more sustainable methods of getting food and water in the game.” Eventually, you’ll need to start balancing hunger, thirst, and your desire to explore against a need to rest and recover stamina. The better you upgrade and maintain your airship base – as well as the crafting machines and tools necessary to survive the elements – the faster you’ll be in a position to descend to the world below. “This all will be needed to gear up towards finally venturing under the dust, where the gameplay changes as you’re going to face the new, hostile lifeforms inhabiting the toxic space.”

So what of the space above the toxic cloud that has blanketed the Earth? Forever Skies establishes a world where “people tried to escape to towers, built up high to reach breathable air” once the extent of the environmental catastrophe became clear. “Our art team iterated very hard on creating a believable environment which would portray the last survival efforts made by humanity. Towers built up to reach breathable air become islands, reachable only by airships.” 

Forever Skies screenshot

(Image credit: Far From Home)

“You’ll be able to self-infect on purpose, testing viruses and prototypes of vaccines. This will be a major threat to survival, but also an opportunity to discover how to boost some life functions.”

To explore these in-atmosphere towers, you’ll need to craft and use a series of unique tools. There’s a hand extractor, which can be used to gather resources; a building tool, which lets you fabricate components on the fly to modify your airship, and a repair tool, which uses nanobots to fix machines and any damage sustained to your flying vessel. “That’s more than enough to keep a single player busy for many hours, but on top of that we’re planning to add co-op sometime after the Early Access release, and this way to add a new dimension to the gameplay.”

Of course, once you reach the surface of planet Earth these tools will only get you so far. Far From Home is playing its cards close to its chest here, but is teasing that “unimaginable creatures” emerged out of the acrid conditions and now call the Earth home. “Under the dust, this can only be reached through what we call ‘surface lift locations’. These areas allow the player to access the surface to acquire virus samples, using one of many different biomes that we’re creating. These locations have vastly different designs and dynamics to the world above the dust.”

We have no idea what horrors await on the surface of the planet, but Far From Home tells us that getting prepared and venturing into the horrors will be necessary should you want to provide aid to what little remains of humanity off-world – and we won’t always like what we find down there. “As a result of interaction with new life forms, you will regularly fall ill and recover, observing how the immune system will have reacted to infections. And that’s not all. You’ll be able to self-infect on purpose, testing viruses and prototypes of vaccines. This will be a major threat to survival, but also an opportunity to discover how to boost some of your life functions and abilities.” 

Forever Skies has been in development for over two years, is set to enter Early Access on Steam in 2022, and is already looking like one of the best upcoming survival games on the calendar. There’s no shortage of first-person action survival games out there, but Far From Home is putting together a visually and mechanically ambitious experience that we can’t wait to try for ourselves. 

Looking for something to play while you wait for Forever Skies to release into Early Access later this year? Check out our list of the best survival games you can play right now.

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