Interstellar Marines

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Interstellar Marines
Interstellar Marines logo
Interstellar Marines logo
Developer(s) Zero Point Software
Publisher(s) Zero Point Software
Director(s) Kim Haar Jørgensen
Producer(s) Paul Allen
Writer(s) Kim Haar Jørgensen, Jacob Smith (story)[1]
Composer(s) Nicolai Grønborg
Engine Unity 5
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, OS X, Linux
Release July 2, 2013 (Early Access)[2]
Genre(s) First-person shooter, Action role-playing, Tactical shooter
Mode(s) Single-player, Co-op, Multiplayer

Interstellar Marines is a science fiction first-person shooter video game being developed by indie studio Zero Point Software. It was added to Steam Greenlight on 3 September 2012[3] and later released on Steam Early Access on July 2, 2013.[4] Updates are generally released every six to eight weeks with some larger sprints.

Interstellar Marines is being developed in four acts, formerly planned as individual titles. The first act, codenamed "Prologue", is currently in development and takes place in a future military training facility that will stage multiplayer, single-player, and cooperative training scenarios. Multiplayer was the first feature of Prologue to be built, doubling as both a tech foundation for future co-op missions and as a playable Early Access release on Steam. The first co-op mission, titled The NeuroGen Incident, was released on September 26 which built much of the technology needed for future co-op campaigns.

The three acts after Prologue, collectively titled the "Trilogy", will be narrative-driven campaigns spanning a continuous story arc set in "a realistic and unpredictable future where first contact with another sentient species is slowly becoming reality."[5] The campaigns will support single-player and up to four players in drop-in/drop-out co-op. Zero Point Software claims that their co-op campaign will feature tactical gameplay, role-playing elements, open-ended level design, and a compelling sci-fi storyline.[6] It claims to pay homage to old-school tactical first person shooters like Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield and cites System Shock 2 and Deus Ex for their action RPG elements and open-ended levels and well as Half-Life for its first person narrative-driven storytelling.[7]


At release Interstellar Marines is set to feature:[8]

  • A full campaign (up to 4 player co-op)
    • Captivating storyline with heavy focus on realism
  • Live voice layering depending on the player's state and location known as Real Time Voice Porting[9]
  • Advanced audio mapping and occlusion
  • Persistent character development and skill system
  • Randomized, non-linear gameplay and open ended level design
  • Freely customizable weapons simulation


As of Update 10 gameplay is multiplayer and revolves around the Team Domination game mode, which was introduced in Update 6.[10] Team Domination is a dynamic game mode where teams have to control a zone within the map. The zone moves on a regular basis during the match, forcing both teams to use different parts of the level. On some maps, such as Elevation and Colony, various parts of the map also move during the game.[11] A crouch and cover system for tactical movement which was introduced in Update 10.[12] The crouch also includes a "peek" so players can look over the cover they are hiding behind. This has taken the game closer to its stated goal of being a tactical shooter.

Character movement and interactions were improved with the addition of the dynamic character controller in Update 9,[13] which laid the foundation for future advanced movement additions such as the cover and crouch which was introduced in the next update. The character controller can be affected by physics, such as the amount of distance a player may drop downwards after a jump.

Currently there are only three weapons in the game, an SMG, an assault rifle and a pistol. The model for the SMG was changed in Update 10[14] from the original, although its functionality was not changed. The developers have stated there will be 27 totally different weapons in the finished game.[15]


Prior to releasing on Steam's Early Access,[4] Zero Point Software released playable demos in order to demonstrate how development was progressing. Four demos were released on their website:

  • The Vault[16] which is an in-game showroom of some of the main characters and equipment that will be found in the game. The user is free to roam around the vault's rooms and find details on the game's factions and setting.
  • Bullseye[17] which is a shooting range minigame where the player is guided by an artificial intelligence in order to complete graded objectives. More powerful weapons are unlocked as the player progresses.[18]
  • Running Man[19] pits players against android training machines which attack in waves. Unlike the previous demos this allows players to move around and experience combat gameplay.[20]
  • Deadlock[21] which was the last demo to be released and was the precursor to the version of Interstellar Marines released on Steam Early Access. This demo is now effectively discontinued as there are no servers available for it.


Interstellar Marines had a working title of Project IM and development began in May 2005. It was announced in November 2005 and was described by the developers as "a AAA, FPS, sci-fi, action and adventure game.." It was initially planned for release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with the game being built using Epic Games' Unreal Engine software.[22] Interstellar Marines is now being developed using the Unity game engine. Initially the game was funded by players pre-ordering and an external investor, removing the need for publisher backing whilst attempting to produce a game of higher quality than is typically released by independent developers.[23]

Interstellar Marines was later greenlit on Steam Greenlight and released on Steam Early Access.[24] Microsoft Windows, OS X and Linux versions are available from Steam for digital download.

Zero Point Software called their early crowdfunding system "AAA Indie".[25][26] The strategy relied on fans of a game pre-ordering while the game is still deep in development. In exchange the gaming company (while not required to do anything) allows pre-ordering members to either play specific demos of the game or allows the community access to the current game build in its entirety.[27] This method of crowd funding was almost completely superseded by the launch of the game on Steam Early Access.

On October 2012, Zero Point Software attempted to do a Kickstarter campaign with a $600,000 pledge by November 28, 2012. Their campaign failed to meet its funding goal, with only $157,906 raised from 3,823 backers.[28][29]

The game was released on Steam Early Access on July 2, 2013 in pre-alpha form with content updates aimed for release every 3–6 weeks. The Spearhead Edition costs more than the base game and is designed for users who wish to further support the developers and, in exchange, have their name included in the credits and access digital downloads of artwork and music among other extras.[30] There will be several campaigns released as they are created and they will be made available at no extra cost to all existing owners.[30] The first campaign is planned for release near the end of 2014.[31]

On September 26, 2014, Zero Point Software released their first coop campaign, The NeuroGen Incident[32] which according to Kim Jørgensen, players assume the role of a recruit in an in game simulation of a story arch in the backstory of the game.

On March 3, 2015, Unity Technologies released Unity 5, and on the same day, Zero Point Software also announced the conversion from Unity 4 to Unity 5.[33]

On July 24, 2015, update 20 was released, upgrading the engine from Unity 4 to Unity 5.


  1. ^ "Interstellar Marines: Secrets From the Past #3 - Narrative (2007) - YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-04-06. 
  2. ^ "Interstellar Marines Changelog". 
  3. ^ "Steam Greenlight page". 
  4. ^ a b "Interstellar Marines now on Steam". 
  5. ^ "Interstellar Marines Game". Interstellar Marines. Zero Point Software. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  6. ^ "The Gameplay of IM". Retrieved 2014-09-07. 
  7. ^ "Interstellar Marines on Steam". Steam. Valve Corporation. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  8. ^ "Zero Point Software". Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  9. ^ "Real Time Voice Porting". 
  10. ^ "Game Update 6: Initiating Team Domination". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  11. ^ "Interstellar Marines: Vlog #6 - Team Domination". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  12. ^ "Update 10: Covering fire!". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  13. ^ "Update 9: FPS Controller 2.0". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  14. ^ "SMG model introduced in Update 10". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  15. ^ "Developer Steam post". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  16. ^ "The Vault". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  17. ^ "Bullseye". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  18. ^ Thompson, Michael (2010-01-29). "Interstellar Marines: trite name, crowd-sourced budget". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2011-02-10. 
  19. ^ "Running Man". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  20. ^ Usher, William (2010-07-07). "Interstellar Marines: Running Man Is Now Available To Play". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 2011-02-14. 
  21. ^ "Deadlock". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  22. ^ Thorsen, Tor (2005-11-30). "Project IM to shoot up next-gen machines". GameSpot. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  23. ^ Plunkett, Luke (2011-02-01). "The Game You’re Paying For Before It’s Even Out". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-02-11. 
  24. ^ "Steam Early Access page". Retrieved 2015-05-21. 
  25. ^ Warmuth, Shelly (2011-04-20). "Gamasutra: Shelly Warmuth's Blog - AAA Indie: Crowdfunding Game Development". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  26. ^ Tan, Maurice (2012-10-25). "Interstellar Marines: AAA Indie and the road ahead". Destructoid. Retrieved 2012-10-26. 
  27. ^ "AAA Indie". Retrieved 2011-06-10. 
  28. ^ "Interstellar Marines: Prologue by Zero Point Software - Kickstarter". 
  29. ^ "Interstellar Marines: Is the Shooter That Won’t Die Worth It?". 
  30. ^ a b "Interstellar Marines Store". Interstellar Marines. Zero Point Software. Retrieved 2013-11-04. 
  31. ^ Interstellar Marines: Vlog #3 - Warning Sharks Ahead! (Video log). Zero Point Software. 2013. Event occurs at 2:22. Before the end of 2014 if everything goes according to plan you're gonna be able to go two kilometers below the central training stages that you've seen now and you're gonna be up against the carcharodon polemos, the horrific genetically engineered shark creatures, as well as the Titan Walker, and you're gonna be fighting the bastards with three of your friends and SARA's gonna be tracking your progress and we're gonna have a big finale end to the backstory of Interstellar Marines at the end of next year. 
  32. ^ "The NeuroGen Incident". 
  33. ^ "SITREP - 2, 2015". Zero Point Software. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2015-06-30. 

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