Phew! This year’s Opening Night Live was kinda exhausting, what with the plethora of new trailers and “world premieres” host Geoff Keighley showered us in. While the two-hour broadcast may be over and done with, one moment from the show is now living in my mind rent-free: a short message from European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti applauding the abundance of upcoming space games. Because if you didn’t know, there are a lotta games dropping in the next few years that are set in the cold expanse just above us.
Cristoforetti, who’s currently flying at 27,000 kilometers per hour (approximately 17,000 mph) and 400 kilometers (roughly 250 miles) above our heads on the International Space Station, popped up to give a quick “bravo to the games industry” for hardcore repping space. She said, as she floated in zero gravity while wearing a grey ESA polo and some green cargo pants, that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is stoked about developers highlighting the “love of space exploration” with various recent games such as No Man’s Sky, Stellaris, The Outer Worlds, and the like.
“I come to you to say bravo to the game’s industry,” Cristoforetti said. “We see how many space games you’ve been creating recently. Those missions you send your players on aren’t just great fun. They create curiosity, interest, and a love of space exploration in gamers around the world. As we look towards returning to the moon and onto Mars with our ambitious Teranova program, humanity’s space flight capabilities will be in part thanks (sic) to the game’s industry.”
While it’s easy to point to recent games, including Elite Dangerous and Outer Wilds, as being partly responsible for fueling space’s popularity as a playground for this interactive medium, there are a ton of upcoming games that’ll send us to space, as well. There’s the horror adventure The Callisto Protocol, which looks incredibly nightmare inducing. You’ve got the anime JRPG and Monster Hunter-like Star Ocean The Divine Force. There’s also Dune: Spice Wars and Star Trek: Resurgence and the Dead Space remake. Of course, you can’t forget about Bethesda’s Starfield, probably the most anticipated—and biggest?—space exploration game, with a reported 1000 or more planets. And these are just the first six games that come to mind. I’m sure there’s more on Steam. Hell, the Microsoft Store’s got a whole page dedicated to them. PlayStation does, too.
That’s what Cristoforetti is celebrating here. That though space can be cold and intimidating, it’s also fascinating because there’s so much we don’t know about it. I mean, NASA just published some audio this week of a real-life black hole that sounds like a Mass Effect reaper. Talk about the final frontier I don’t wanna explore. Still, Cristoforetti believes stuff like this will “lead us all closer to the stars.” Then she backflipped like a boss. It’s cheating cause she’s in zero gravity, but still. I wanna see you do a double backflip as effortlessly as her.
“Who knows? Perhaps even you will be among us here at ESA for the journey. Exploring space virtually isn’t just great fun. It’s having real-world impacts that leads us all closer to the stars. So on behalf of everyone at ESA, bravo. Keep creating. Keep innovating. And keep playing.” That we will, Cristoforetti.