Developer Redbeet Interactive has announced that its open water survival adventure Raft will be launching in Steam Early Access on May 23rd.
As Raft begins, players awake to find themselves lost on an endless ocean, with nothing to their name but a tiny raft and a plastic hook. Your trusty hook is used to fish and to hoist debris from the water - minding out for sharks, of course. In turn, your scavenged materials can be used to gradually expand your survival tool kit.
Through research, you'll eventually develop the means to farm and cook in order to tend to your basic needs, and to build new items, slowly increasing the footprint of your raft into something resembling a floating fortress - replete with huts, hammocks, bridges, lanterns, and more.
Redbeet initially launched Raft as a free prototype on itch.io back in 2016, and regular updates fleshed out its feature set and core survival loop into a much richer experience. Its last big itch.io update occurred at the start of 2017, with the developer explaining that it would be focussing on readying the game for a commercial early access release on Steam this year.
When Raft arrives on Steam in May, it'll be substantially expanded compared to its last itch.io build. The new version will feature an improved art style, explorable islands, reefs that can be scoured for goodies by diving beneath the waves, and even online co-op multiplayer so you can share your nautical adventures with friends.
As development continues, Redbeet will introduce a creative mode for those that prefer to build without restrictions, and there are ambitious plans for the core experience too.
"First, we plan to dust off our compasses and embark on an epic quest with the introduction of landmarks," the developer explained on Steam, "players will gather clues, set their coordinates and raft towards mysterious destinations! Players will discover stranded ships, sunken cities and caverns filled with treasure, including blueprints for crafting new weapons and equipment!"
There are also plans to expand Raft's nautical wildlife, to introduce more dangers, and new ways to defend your raft. "You might even discover a stray animal to accompany you on your journey...", teases the developer.
Raft is being published by Axolot Games and will be priced at 19,99 USD (a UK price has yet to be given) when it arrives on Steam Early Access on May 23rd.