Starlink: Battle for Atlas
|Starlink: Battle for Atlas|
|Writer(s)||Joshua Mohan, Kyle Muir|
|Engine||Snowdrop and Havok|
|Release||October 16, 2018|
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is an action-adventure video game developed by Ubisoft Toronto and published by Ubisoft. It was released for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on October 16, 2018. The game also features optional toys-to-life elements.
The game is set in the Atlas star system. Early on in the game, the player's mothership, Equinox, is ambushed by the Forgotten Legion and crashes on a nearby planet; the captain of the Equinox is taken hostage. The Legion's leader, Grax, is obsessed with an extinct race called the Wardens, who left much of their ancient technology behind. Grax, who wants to use such technology for his own legion, acts as a constant threat that the player must face throughout their journey.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas is an action-adventure game third-person perspective set in the Atlas star system. Players venture into different parts of the Atlas system, meet with different alien species and form alliances with them in order to build a crew. Forming these alliances changes the game’s world state, which then changes the gameplay experience. In the game, the player can use their spaceships to freely explore the open Atlas system. Split-screen multiplayer mode is also featured in the game, allowing two players to explore the space and planets together. All ships can take off into space, and skim on planet's surface. The transition between space and planet surface is described as "seamless". Each planet has their own landscape, story, hazards, flora and fauna that may become a threat to the player. The player can also engage in both space- and land-based combat with enemies using spaceships. These spaceships can be extensively customized with different parts. Wings, weapons, and spacecraft modules can be freely swapped at will. The player is encouraged to experiment with different combinations of weapons as different enemies react differently to attacks. Pilots are also present and have special abilities that can be utilized in combat. For instance, one type of pilot can slow down time. There are 4 types of ships and pilots.
While the game can be played digitally, the game features toys-to-life elements in which the player can buy toys, which are ship components, for the game. The player can place their toys on a custom controller mount, and their digital counterpart will appear on-screen. When the player swaps the components of their real-life toy ships, its counterpart will also reflect such changes instantly. Each ship has two points which allows the player to connect spacecraft parts with the ships. Purchasing a physical part also unlocks its digital counterpart, meaning that the player does not necessarily have to use the toys and the controller mount to play the game.
The game was developed by Ubisoft Toronto for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. Development for the game begun after the CEO of Ubisoft Yves Guillemot assigned the team to create a new game which mixes "breakthrough technology and innovative gameplay". Shortly after, a small team of 10 developers began brainstorming different ideas and pitching it to the developers. The team eventually came up with the idea of creating a new toys-to-life game, and this idea was approved by Guillemot. The team then soon began prototyping the technology of a Starlink spaceship, which includes exposed wires and duct tape. Nonetheless, it received an enthusiastic reaction from the team and they soon began working on creating the Atlas system, which set the game's foundation as an open world game. While the game was originally intended for kids aged between 8 and 11, the team later changed the target audience to include a wider age group after seeing the positive reaction from parents who have watched their children playing the game. The game features a two-player cooperative multiplayer mode as the team thought that it will be interesting to see players exchanging parts for their ships during play. According to the game's producer, Matthew Rose, the team "never want to tell kids they're being creative wrong". Therefore, the team allowed players to combine all parts freely, including having the wings of the spacecraft placed upside down and the weapons facing backward.
The toys-to-life technology featured in Starlink was developed in-house by Ubisoft Toronto. To ensure that the game is consumer-friendly, this aspect of the game was made optional, meaning that players can play the game digitally without purchasing any of the toys. Critics commented on the timing in which Ubisoft announced the title. It was during the time where popular toys-to-life titles including Skylanders and Disney Infinity were winding down. According to Laurent Malville, the game's creative director, the team believed that the game had enough innovation to revive the failing genre. Starlink: Battle for Atlas was announced by publisher Ubisoft during its press conference at E3 2017. The game was released on October 16, 2018. Several critics believed that Starlink was the game teased by Ubisoft in one of Watch Dogs 2's side-missions, though it was never confirmed by Ubisoft.
Starlink: Battle for Atlas received "generally favorable reviews" on the Xbox One and "mixed or average reviews" on the Nintendo Switchand PlayStation 4 versions of the game according to review aggregator Metacritic.
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