Planet Alpha is a platformer on a beautiful alien world. It’s Danish indie developer Adrian Lazar’s newest game, and he and his small team have partnered with publisher Team17 to bring it to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch later this year.
They aren’t telling me much about Planet Alpha, but the visuals are striking: peculiar landscapes with tiny details that almost look like handcrafted pieces of art. In addition to the classic platforming mechanics, players will also be able to rotate the planet, which will affect the gravity and weather. The planet rotation mechanic was in part inspired by the Danish landscape.
“Moving to Scandinavia a few years earlier, I was fascinated by the long and colorful twilight when the sun lowers below the horizon and the sky is scattered with vivid shades,” said Lazar in an email to GamesBeat. “It’s a huge and often dramatic transformation that as an artist I wanted to replicate in the game so I implemented a day and night cycle. A couple of months later I thought why not give the player this ability as the game distinct feature.”
Lazar also drew inspiration from Éric Chahi’s 1991 adventure game Another World as well as his love of sci-fi in general. Planet Alpha’s story is in part about Earth and issues we’re dealing with today, but it’s also about exploring a new world.
“For me, Planet Alpha started as the desire to create an atmospheric, living world that would awe, scare and intrigue at the same time,” said Lazar. “This is where I saw the challenge and everything we’ve done in the past 4 years is towards achieving this goal. An unexplored alien planet is the perfect canvas for this so we let our imagination flow.”
Lazar has been working on the game since 2013, and he has since recruited a small team of three full-timers and four freelancers to help him. Before devoting himself to Planet Alpha full time, he was a cinematic artist at IO Interactive and worked on games such as Hitman and Hitman: Absolution. He’s previously collaborated on indie games before, such as the side-scrolling adventure Freja’s Journey, which is based on Nordic mythology.
Developer and publisher Team17 has an eclectic portfolio that includes titles like Ghost Town Games’ chefy co-op Overcooked, Pathea Games’ open-world adventure My Time at Portia, and Firecast Studio and Fableware Narrative Design’s tactical candlepunk title Sword Legacy: Omen.