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Raft (video game)

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Official cover art[1]
Developer(s)Redbeet Interactive[1]
Publisher(s)Axolot Games[1]
Composer(s)Jannik Schmidt[2]
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows[1]
Release20 June 2022
Genre(s)Survival, sandbox
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Raft is an open world survival-sandbox video game developed by Swedish developer Redbeet Interactive, and published by Axolot Games. The game was released as an early access title on 23 May 2018 on Steam,[4][5][6][1] after initial release as a free download on indie platform Itch.io in 2016. On 20 June 2022 Raft was taken out of early access with the release of its final chapter.[7][6][8][9][10][11] Taking place in a flooded apocalypse the player takes on the role of a forward scout, a survivor who ventures out into the open sea in search of habitable land and resources.


Player on an already built raft in stormy weather

The game is played from the first-person and third-person perspective and can be played either in the single-player or multiplayer mode. With the latter, the server is automatically provided by the game and the game takes place in co-op mode.

After a world is created, the player starts on a 2x2 raft in the middle of an ocean. The player starts only with a hook that they can aim and throw to catch barrels, wood, palm fronds, plastic, crates, and other objects out of the water. The player can leave the raft and collect things while swimming, but must be careful as the raft is always moving due to the continuous ocean current. The player can also be attacked or killed by sharks that are always swimming around the raft. These sharks will also occasionally attack corners of the raft, destroying parts of it. Using a crafting system, the player can use the collected materials to assemble and research new items and to expand and improve the raft. For example, tools, weapons and nets can be manufactured, and a steering wheel can be made. These can be used to control and guide the raft, increase the size and stability of the raft, and defend the raft from the sharks.

The player also needs to manage basic needs like hunger and thirst by catching or growing food and purifying water to drink. When growing food, however, the player must protect the food from seagulls. One can do so by killing or driving away the seagull. During the game, the raft may pass by islands that the player can explore to get special items and resources. The player can also dive in coastal regions and collect special items.[12][6][8][9][10][11]


This synopsis can be achieved once the players begin the story. The story only starts with the creation of a radio receiver and the placement of 3 antennae, the recipes of which can be obtained from barrels or crates.


In the near future, climate change and rising temperatures have caused the polar ice caps to melt, flooding the entire planet and leaving almost no dry land to settle on. Civilization collapsed as desperate plans to reverse the flooding failed or were abandoned. Eventually, the world's elite decided to abandon dry land altogether to live in floating cities, while the rest of the population is left to fend for themselves in a flooded world. The player (named Maya) unveils the game's storyline, in which the world has been deserted, while the player character is searching for her husband and daughter. On her journey, she discovers various locations, such as a crashed yacht, a large land mass that seems to be a wildlife reserve, a shantytown built out of scrap metal, and a large dome-like structure floating in the ocean that served as a haven for civilization. The notebook the player acquires at the start tracks the story progression, with each major location visited marked with separate entries.


With nothing but a simple raft, the Forward Scout sets out into the open ocean in search of a rumored "Utopia" where it is said there is still dry land to live on. Using a radio receiver, the Forward Scout follows a trail of radio signals. Their first location is a Radio Tower that used to be a nuclear reactor testing site. The Forward Scout then comes across a derelict luxury yacht called the Vasagatan, once owned by Olof Wilkstrom, a government official who was in charge of preventing Sweden from being flooded. However, instead of working on anything meaningful, he built the Vasagatan and fled the country. Despite this, the lack of supplies and a potential mutiny forced Olof to abandon the ship and leave the crew to their fate. The Forward Scout is then led to the uninhabited Balboa Island and then to Caravan Town, which was once a bustling island town until its residents were forced to abandon it due to a salmonella outbreak.

The Forward Scout continues to follow the trail of the survivors until they find the abandoned floating city of Tangaroa. Upon searching the city, the Forward Scout learns that the Caravan Town survivors attempted to board Tangaroa, forcing the city's captain to open fire on them. However, the violence sparked violent riots among Tangaroa's population, while at the same time, the city's food supplies were destroyed by a beetle infestation and the reactor failed due to stress caused by the captain burning out the engines in an attempt to outrun the Caravan Town survivors. With Tangaroa a lost cause, the entire surviving population abandoned the city.

The Forward Scout continues on their journey, stopping by an unfinished construction site called Varuna Point and eventually reaching a polar research station on Temperance Island. A search of the research station reveals the location of a major survivor settlement called Utopia, where the Caravan Town and Tangaroa survivors fled to. The Forward Scout heads there, only to find Olof has already reached the city and put it under martial law, locking up all of the residents and setting loose his army of mutated hyenas. The Forward Scout is able to defeat Olof and his hyenas and imprison him. The Utopia residents are freed, and inspired by the Forward Scout, declare that they will do their best to rebuild human civilization.

Development and release[edit]

Raft was developed by three Swedish students from Uppsala University as the studio Redbeet Interactive[6][13] It was first released as a free download on indie platform Itch.io in 2016 and was released as an early access game on Steam on 23 May 2018.[4] The Linux and macOS versions were discontinued after version 1.05 due to time constraints. Two weeks after launch the game was the number 3 most played game on Steam and had sold over 400,000 copies. The game was updated frequently with new functions being regularly added.[14] The soundtrack was composed by German composer Jannik Schmidt.[2] On 20 June 2022 Raft was taken out of early access with the release of its final chapter.[7]


Until the end of May 2017, the developer version was downloaded over seven million times.[6] The website Polygon called the game one of the most successful games on Steam of 2018 and praised the mix of exploring, collecting, managing and learning. The game gained fame through numerous Lets Plays on the YouTube video platform, among other events.[8][15]

The developers told PC Gamer that one reason for the success compared to other survival games that are played in an open world could be the limited area.[15] The game's flooded apocalypse has often been compared to the 1995 film Waterworld and due to the sandbox system and the setting on the open sea, the game has also been compared to Subnautica.[4]

Raft won the 'Better With Friends' award at the 2022 Steam Awards.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Raft on Steam". Steam. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  2. ^ a b @redbeetofficial (11 February 2021). "Jannik created Raft OST and all the songs in the game's radio cassettes" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  3. ^ Bouzerar, Thomas (13 December 2022). "Remote Code Execution in Raft survival game" (PDF). Security Advisory. 2 (5): 3–5.
  4. ^ a b c Schulz, Elena (8 April 2018). "Raft - Überleben auf einem Floß: Ozean-Survival-Spiel erscheint im Mai". Gamestar. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  5. ^ "Sea survival sim sandbox Raft sets sail for Steam in May". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 6 April 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e Rudolf Opitz (28 June 2018). "c't zockt LIVE: Raft - Hai-Life auf dem Floß". Heinz Heise (in German). Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b Raft (20 June 2022). "VERSION 1.0: The Final Chapter - Out Now!". Steam. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  8. ^ a b c "What's next for oceanic survival game Raft?". Polygon. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  9. ^ a b Heavy Messing (9 June 2018). "First Impressions: Raft - What shall we do with an indie sailor?". AltChar. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Raft: Im Survival-Spiel auf Steam überlebt Ihr auf engstem Raum". Mein-MMO.de. 26 May 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  11. ^ a b "Raft: Überlebenskampf auf hoher See steuert auf Early Access zu - 4Players.de". 4Players. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  12. ^ Schulz, Elena (8 April 2018). "Raft - Überleben auf einem Floß: Ozean-Survival-Spiel erscheint im Mai". Gamestar. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Raft erscheint als Early Access Titel auf Steam - DailyGame" (in German). 7 April 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  14. ^ "Steam Charts: A New Hope Edition". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  15. ^ a b Macgregor, Jody (10 June 2018). "How Raft conquered the seas of Steam". Pcgamer. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  16. ^ Fragen, Jordan (3 January 2023). "The Steam Awards 2022 announces winners". VentureBeat. Archived from the original on 1 January 2024. Retrieved 1 January 2024.

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