Review Fix Exclusive: “Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents Space Odyssey”

Review Fix chats with Mark Murphy, partner, creative director, Space Media Ventures “Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents Space Odyssey,” who discusses the game and experience and why you must check it out.

For More on the Game, Click Here.

Review Fix: How was this game born?

Mark Murphy: The game was born of a few minds and interests. Ultimately the game we are building today is different than the ideas that brought us to this place. “Neil deGrasse Tyson Presents Space Odyssey” is a game of futurism, of innovation, of the possibility of progress and ingenuity of where will be in the future if we embrace exploration and the positive influences of curiosity and courage. In the beginning, Mark’s partner Mike and he were building a game of youthful adventure and exploration, “Palaputts” – an innovative alien species of odd little fellows obsessed with building until they create a massive hole, and rather than fill it, decide to explore the world within their world.

Mark met Scott of Solaris who also had ideas of creating a game in space. Solaris had a relationship with Neil who eventually agreed that if we could build together a game that allowed its players to explore, build, colonize, utilizing real physics and science that would be a game worth building. And here we are, building it and challenging the tech to support the mechanics we feel it needs to be unique, compelling and fun!

Review Fix: How does it feel to have Neil deGrasse Tyson involved?

Murphy: Remarkable to have Neil involved. He is always teaching and supporting creative thinking. He has exciting ideas for exploration, challenges and missions. He is a terrific collaborator and an immense scientific resource. He and his team of Star Talk All-Stars place us at a tremendous advantage in creating exciting and engaging gameplay.

Review Fix: What was development like?

Murphy: Development is still going, in that we are refining a visual style that will be uniquely ours, working on an expansive and powerful physics and gaming engine partnership that we hope to be able to announce quite soon. Even as we build out the exploration narrative and the challenges, we are pushing to see what we can accomplish that will be unique.

Review Fix: What makes the story special?

Murphy: Part of what makes our story special is that we are telling something that has no limits in the bigger sense. The universe is ever-expanding. We as a people are too in what we can accomplish and imagine. Our story is one of challenge and overcoming challenge, of what is known and taking that to embrace the unknown. We make many assumptions regarding what is out there in space, but when imagined through the eyes of science, the realities or potential realities can be quite surprising. Who doesn’t enjoy a story laced with surprise?

Review Fix: What makes the Kickstarter unique?

Murphy: This Kickstarter campaign is unique in that we are launching our project while there is great opportunity for an engaged and creative community to be significantly involved in the heart of the build. Neil is about encouraging people to explore space. The game is about encouraging people to shape our exploration of space together. If the people could run a space program what would they want to do? And see? And create? We love our community and want them along for as much of this ride as possible.

Review Fix: What games influenced this one the most?

Murphy: I think the collaborator’s experiences and tastes have influenced this the most, what we all think is cool. Neil has stuff he loves, Len Wein, our head of story (and co-creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing) has stuff he loves. I do. Our pals at Section Studios do. Greg and Scott do. Personally, what influences me are not games (though I love Survios and “Raw Data”), but “Fifth Element” and the art of Moebius and of Geoff Darrow and Syd Meier. The grace and wonder of Miyazaki. We love James Gunn and his take on “Guardians of the Galaxy”. We look at other games and there is a lot to admire in many games and a lot that is super-cool to play, but we feel confident that we are doing our own thing.

Review Fix: Any fun stories or wild moments during development?

Murphy: We have several teams and collaborators. We are spread out at times. Rather than anything wild, yet, more moments of passion and the excitement of potential mixed with putting wrinkles on narrative, finding something new or unexpected. Nothing beats the high of creativity and discovery.

Review Fix: How does this game disrupt the game landscape?

Murphy: We are hoping to push mechanics and stretch the engine. We want to make science future a place that people really want to inhabit (not obsessively, mind you) and create in. To make the vision of our future thrilling, exciting and far from dystopian (but filled with homage).

Review Fix: Who will enjoy this game the most?

Murphy: This is “E for everyone”. People who are creative, enjoy challenges and love exploration will love this game. Age does not matter. Or gender. Or being a ginger.

Review Fix: What are your goals for the game?

Murphy: Our main goal for the game is to engage. To get people exploring and creating. We want to push tech, to expand our platform from PC (and Mac supported), to VR and AR and MR. We will be announcing a VR partnership quite, quite soon. We will have quite a few tricks up our sleeves during this campaign and then beyond as we roll our community into the build. Shared and cooperative building is a very important goal.

Review Fix: What’s next? This. This is an expanding gaming universe.

Murphy: For us, we want to make this a home run. A community in space. Something remarkably bad-ass.

Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?

Murphy: We want you, all the creative, innovative and inspiration you can muster. After all, this is your space odyssey too.

Check out the Kickstarter for the game, HERE.

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About Patrick Hickey Jr. 12202 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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