Lifeless Moon, the follow-up to Lifeless Planet, is now live on Kickstarter

Stage 2 Studios is seeking $17,000 to fund its next sci-fi adventure.

I wanted to like Lifeless Planet more than I ultimately did: The mystery of an ill-fated journey to an alien world that shows signs of a previous Soviet colonization effort seemed aimed squarely at my love of pulpy sci-fi, but it ultimately didn't pay off as well as I'd hoped. It came close enough, though, that I was excited by the announcement earlier this year of a "spiritual successor" called Lifeless Moon, a tale of Apollo-era astronauts who go to the Moon and find themselves back home. Creator David Board said at the time that the new game would be supported by a Kickstarter campaign, and today he announced that it is live.

Board was the sole developer on Lifeless Planet ("albeit with LOTS of help and support") but the core team has grown to three for Lifeless Moon, and has access to "more modern game tools" including Unity and Blender. That will enable more advanced gameplay, including first-person perspective with VR support, "professional voice acting," and a greater emphasis on puzzles than in its predecessor. "Light platforming" remains, but Board said in the Kickstarter pitch that "the core game-play experience is one of exploration and discovery, complementing the mysterious and psychological themes of the story." 

The developers are seeking $17,000 to fund the creation of the game, because that's what the Lifeless Planet Kickstarter earned in 2011. The biggest risk, Board said, is that the 2018 release target might be too optimistic. "We're a very small studio with a lot on our plate, so this may change," he wrote. "We really believe in this story and we want to get it right." 

A playable beta of Lifeless Moon is expected to be out this year.

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