Arctic Awakening (opens in new tab) is a first-person adventure about a plane crash, a lost pilot, a missing co-pilot, and an upbeat AI-powered drone, all of them trying to survive in the frigid Alaskan wilderness in the year 2062. It sounds like a bad situation, and yet it’s actually even worse: Your plane didn’t malfunction, it was sliced clean in half, and there’s something out there making some very strange noises at night.
Unlike a lot of “lost in the wilderness” survival games, Arctic Awakening is not open-world, but the choices you make will impact your relationships with your companions, “and perhaps your story itself.” Exploration is the real core of the game: Finding your missing co-pilot, figuring out what brought your plane down, and hopefully making your way back home in one piece.
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“In Arctic Awakening the environment itself is a character, one not always on your side,” the Steam page says. “Dynamic weather means each new area never feels the same, and gorgeously realised vistas combine with an ever-changing world to create an atmosphere of discovery, potential and fear.”
Watching the trailer and looking at the screens, my immediate impression is that it looks quite a bit like Firewatch (opens in new tab) (which I loved), with a bit more of a catastrophic twist. Associate editor Ted Litchfield sees an element of The Thing in there too, presumably from the mix of Arctic setting and “something terrible is happening and we don’t know what.” The vistas are gorgeous and I’m eager to go roaming, but what I’m really hopeful for is that the mystery pays off in the end. Firewatch stumbled on that point a little bit, tarnishing (very slightly!) what was otherwise a masterful game, so I’d really like to see Arctic Awakening stick the landing.
Arctic Awakening is expected to be out sometime in 2023.