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Deliver Us Mars: Putting science back into science fiction

Dive into one of the most realistic depictions of the Red Planet in video games with Deliver Us Mars.

There’s a detail about the movie Alien that I absolutely adore. The flight deck aboard the set of the Nostromo was configured so that if an actor hit a switch, a light would on the console turned on or off. That’s a level of detail that might seem unnecessary, but shows an appreciation of proper science and engineering that almost seems lost in modern science fiction.

The team at KeokeN Interactive, developers of the upcoming Deliver Us Mars, care the same way about getting the science right. Their 2018 indie science fiction gem Deliver Us the Moon was a gripping title that created a sense of awe surrounding Earth’s moon that many hadn’t felt since they were children. One of the core reasons why it worked so well is the passionate dedication toward accurate science.

Deliver Us Mars continues that trend, with the same attention to detail in its science and space engineering. Everything from how the spaceships operate to the workings of the titular planet makes this upcoming game such a treat for any lover of hard sci-fi.

Let’s explore how Deliver Us Mars puts science first and foremost in its representation of space travel.

Real scientists show their research

He’s in the best-selling show, is there life on Mars?

The core reason why the science works so well in the Deliver Us series is that KeokeN Interactive puts it at the forefront of its design. Of course, its narrative is very personal, focusing on a daughter trying to find her missing family after crash-landing on Mars. But one of the major principles of the game design-wise was creating a realistic simulation of space travel.

That’s something that many commented on when Deliver Us the Moon was released a few years ago. Even as a piece of science fiction, KeokeN never lost sight of one of their main goals: get the science right.

In order to do that, of course, the team had to do a ton of research. On both titles, KeokeN coordinated with worldwide space organizations like ESA and NASA to accurately recreate specific elements. Getting the details right required conferring with space engineers and scientists to know exactly how something would behave in the real world.

Any video game requires research, obviously — probably more than you’d expect. If you’re seeking to accurately portray any doctrine of science, you need to pay attention to the small stuff. Deliver Us Mars sought to give us a realistic, down-to-earth (well, maybe not down to Earth…) science fiction story that put just as much attention into constructing the science.

All systems ready for launch

Deliver Us Mars Science
Exploring the bases on Mars lets you play with a bunch of cool toys.

Anyone who played Deliver Us the Moon no doubt remembers the launch sequence. So many video games that feature spaceships pay little to no attention to how their spaceships lift off. You just enter it, maybe hit a single button on your controller to start the engines, and you’re all set to go.

Not Deliver Us the Moon. The game features a prolonged launch sequence where you spend several minutes getting your ship ready to launch, and then blasting off at a suitably epic speed. (By which I mean it seems slower because of the perspective.) It’s absolutely insane and incredibly awesome.

Deliver Us Mars continues in turn, with another launch sequence apparently planned. It’s also supposedly grander and bigger than the previous game — a great sign for fans of the predecessor.

We haven’t yet seen the launch sequence at the time of writing this piece. But as you pick up the game this week, see how many awesome details you can notice in this sequence.

Deliver Us Mars and the science of Mars

They certainly, well, delivered us Mars.

We call it the Red Planet, but in reality, the surface of Mars is an environmentally diverse landscape. From mountains and valleys to towering ice caps, you can find tons of unique areas to explore on the surface of our fourth planet from the Sun. (Just don’t expect to find any life up there. Yep, I said it.)

It’s easy to forget sometimes that Mars really is a natural beauty. Popular depictions in science fiction have a tendency to depict Mars the same way: a rocky, dusty, and (most importantly) red planet that feels like an arid desert. And that’s somewhat true, but as Deliver Us Mars shows us, there’s far more to this planet than meets the eye.

One of the most important new facets of gameplay in Deliver Us Mars is scaling walls, done with your trusty climbing axe. Unlike Deliver Us the Moon, you’ve got a more acrobatic protagonist that can get just about anywhere on Mars’ surface. She’ll have to, of course, in order to figure out how to get back home.

Other new gameplay elements including floating in zero-G and scuba diving. The former is a science fiction space staple that is relatively uncommon in video games. The latter is intriguing, as KeokeN must create a body of water on Mars warm enough to swim in. That’s something that scientists haven’t yet discovered, but no doubt the team will give it a realistic spin.

Why the science of Deliver Us Mars matters

Get your boots on and get ready to explore the surface of Mars.

Given that it’s such a major focus, you understand how the science in Deliver Us Mars stands out. However, it’s not done as a way to alienate the less-scientifically minded player. Instead, it’s done to bring people into the world of spacefaring and how it works in the real world. Deliver Us doesn’t have a full-on recreation of space — it is still a video game, after all. But if you’re a sucker for realistic science, Deliver Us Mars has you covered.

It’s an incredibly immersive experience, just as Deliver Us the Moon was. Exploring the Red Planet never felt quite so real. That’s because KeokeN Interactive put its heart and soul into getting everything right.

You’ll be able to see this for yourself as Deliver Us Mars launches this week for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. What are you hoping to see in the game? Let us know!

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
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