TerraTech Worlds is a sandbox vehicle-building game that looks great in Unreal 5

A rover explores an alien world with a holographic map
(Image credit: Payload Studios)

TerraTech Worlds combines the open-world resource harvesting of Satisfactory with the vehicle construction of Space Engineers. In the new trailer, players work together to mine elements, construct buildings, and then turn to glorious violence, destroying AI-controlled vehicles.

The original TerraTech launched in 2017, but this new Unreal Engine 5 iteration is more than a visual spruce-up. Revealed in this year's PC Gaming Show, the game is a reimagining that adds features that transform the gameplay. 

These colorful planets and the vehicles careening across them look like a living piece of legendary sci-fi artist John Harris' work, with the hard lines of the machines slicing through the heavenly lighting. Yet TerraTech Worlds still possesses that LEGO writ large style with its player creations, predominantly primary colors and scattering the build into tiny bits when destroyed. That’s a pertinent point, actually, as you won’t be attacking each other in this one. 

"It's built, from the ground up, for an organic PvE experience (and crossplay capable) which embraces co-op and solo play, even switching between the two," creative director Russ Clarke tells me. "Meanwhile, the exploding open world survival-craft genre underlines the same message we heard from our players."

Would you believe it, the community didn’t want to clobber each other in the original TerraTech. Here, though, the curiosity is sparked by the setting of unusual alien planets. TerraTech Worlds shows off sand dunes, oases, tundra, and kaleidoscopic forest in the trailer. Each environment offers unique blocks and resources to collect and alien technology to amass. 

(Image credit: Payload Studios)

Base building is also indispensable to protect yourself from the hazards of these planets, but blocks can have different functions depending on their surroundings. That’s a lot to get to grips with, and there are opportunistic bandits with their eyes on your prizes. 

You can now also significantly impact the world, with Unreal Engine 5 allowing for "fully deformable terrain and dynamic water." So, drill a hole into the side of a lake, and you can drain all the water out. Clarke says that the game's “super performant simulation engine manages millions of entities, all memory-resident with no loading or streaming.” It sounds like Payload has attached a powerful physics engine to the side of its construction sandbox.

Much like the original TerraTech, this game will have an alpha playtest before launch—Payload currently thinks it will be in late 2023. After the alpha, the team will share updates on their progress before launching TerraTech Worlds in early access. Curious folks should sign up for the newsletter and follow its social channels to get a foot in the door for those playtests.