Icarus live-action trailer is all about what happens when things go wrong

Icarus, the upcoming sci-fi co-op survival game from Day Z creator Dean Hall's Rocketwerkz, is due for release December 4, and in the runup has been releasing 'lore' videos showing the game's much more in-depth approach to narrative. The above features various survivors of the planet Icarus and representatives from the U.D.A. (the game's slimy corporation) as they discuss a prospecting team that met with disaster on the planet. It does a great job establishing the basic setup of foolhardy yet noble grunts entering an incredibly hostile environment for gold.

This is leagues beyond what Hall's games have previously attempted, both in terms of detail and production values. Day Z's origins as a mod are probably what led to its sparse build-your-own-adventure feel, where the greatest stories were player-led. It's arguably an element that many modern battle royales lack, being more focused on the gunplay and regular encounters.

Icarus looks like it'll be breaking the mould in other respects, too: Unlike most survival games, Icarus operates through missions. In the game's fiction you're a prospector on a space station orbiting this alien planet, and take on missions ('prospects') which ask you to complete goals on certain maps and biomes before returning to the station. 

Early on, you're landing and crafting what you need: the missions have an objective and a time limit, and you have to return to your drop ship to complete the mission. Your character will level up, gaining skill points and passive abilities, while also learning more complex crafting stuff to work out on the space station hub. The game will launch with 35 different missions of wildly varying lengths: hours, days, weeks.

"RocketWerkz has a multi-year plan for Icarus," the developer wrote to PC Gamer, "adding chapters with additional playable content and lore. The first chapter, The First Cohort, begins in Icarus’ most Earth-like biomes before the game expands to more alien and threatening zones." Two additonal chapters called New Frontier and Dangerous Horizon have been named, but details and release dates for those aren't yet known.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."