SOS, the social survival game, will release on Early Access later this month

What sets SOS apart from other multiplayer survival games is its built-in social element: Players can talk to one another freely through a proximity-based chat (a microphone is required to play) and spectators can listen in on those conversations and throw out emotes in response. It's not the last player standing that counts, then, but the most entertaining—although as we learned in our December preview, a creative killer instinct is obviously a plus. It's been in closed testing for awhile now, but Outpost Games announced today that it will go into Early Access release on Steam on January 23.   

It's not just the ability to communicate that makes SOS different from games like PUBG or Fortnite. As we noted in our preview, it's purposely designed to put less pressure on players to kill everything they see. Guns and ammunition are relatively rare, there's a 30-minute match timer but no ring of death forcing players into contact,  and kills aren't tracked.

"There's a streamer who tends to win more than the average, and almost purely through social engineering. She just sort of makes friends, turns people against one another," creative director Ian Milham said. "She had two people who were both infected and needed the antidote that she had. She made them have a rap battle to decide who was going to get the antidote."   

The Early Access release of SOS will sell for $30. Further launch details will be revealed over the coming week.

Update: The post originally indicated that the Early Access release was set for January 29. It is in fact January 23.