This is Lost World Zero. It's a science fiction first-person shooter inspired by No Man's Sky. What makes this project even more ambitious is that it's being designed by a lone high school student. As you might imagine, this game has already had a rocky development cycle and there's a good chance it will never leave Steam Early Access. Let's crib this.
It's made by a high school student?
That's correct. Lost World Zero is being developed by Mark Golden, who was a junior in high school when the game first hit Steam. Regardless of what I'm about to say about the quality of this effort, it's hard not to be impressed with what Mark is attempting to do. His goal, if I understand it correctly, is to create a science fiction shooter that is No Man's Sky mixed with Battlefield as seen through an MMO. It's an insanely ambitious idea for even an experienced team, let alone a teenager with a girlfriend, SATs, school finals and car payments. If all this sounds like it's too much to juggle, then you probably already know where this Crib Sheet is headed.
It looks rough, is it a real game yet?
I don't think so, but I'm not entirely sure. There's a game world to explore, complete with a forest, spaceships overhead, lifeless cities and alien creatures to shoot. But if you're expecting there to be missions or action or even something to do, then you probably should look elsewhere. The game promises player vs. player, player vs. environment, plant harvesting, a day/night cycle, aircraft to pilot, multiplayer skirmishes, proximity voice chat, loot to collect, ore mining and more. But almost none of that is here. There aren't enemies coming after you and it often seems like your gun is completely useless. And did I mention that the hero has a tendency of dying for no reason? It's nowhere near being ready to play and has been canceled at least once in the last six months.
Oh man, where do I even start? When Lost World Zero was released in February, it was kind of rough. It felt like the kind of barely started first-person shooter a company sheepishly shows behind closed doors at E3. None of the core mechanics were in place, the multiplayer didn't work, it crashed all the time and it looked horrendous. It was not fit for release and left a terrible first impression.
Surprised by the immediate negative reviews and comments, Mark decided to halt development two months after release. He explained in a post on April 23 that he had been inundated with mean comments and abusive PMs. Between the pressures of going to school, keeping up with relationships, paying bills and just being a teenager, he started to resent Lost World Zero. He concludes: "I loved working on this game, but now I don't."
Apparently Mark was able to climb out of his funk, because two weeks later production was back on track. Updates started rolling out regularly and the young developer even hinted at the possibilities of VR support. He apologized for the premature cancelation and hoped to get most of the development done while he was off on summer vacation.
And then tragedy struck. On June 9th, Mark announced that the worst possible thing has happened. Out of nowhere, his computer decided to upgrade to Windows 10, erasing files and running into problems along the way. This ended up deleting everything, including the back-up hard drives. He lost all of the games and projects he had been working on from 2011 to 2016. Things are not looking good for Lost World Zero.
As it stands, the game is currently in flux, with Mark doing everything he can to restore some of the lost files and rebuild the game. At this point I'm not sure it's ever going to be finished, and even if it is, I doubt it will be worth the wait. The game is currently $9.99, and it's certainly not worth that price. In fact, Mark has already tried taking it off of Steam, but has found that to be even more challenging than finishing Lost World Zero. No matter what, you're better off just waiting for No Man's Sky.