Tharsis Launching on PS4 January 12th, 2016

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Tharsis Launching on PS4 January 12th, 2016

It’s Thanksgiving Eve, which means all you boys and girls will be waking up early tomorrow to open presents with all your loved ones. Did Santa bring you a turkey leg this year? Perhaps some stuffing in your stocking? You’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, let’s focus instead on one of the most beautiful traditions of Thanksgiving Eve: announcing release dates for games. We’re beyond honored that PlayStation has invited us to take part in this year’s festivities, and we’re excited to finally be able to tell you that Tharsis will be making its way to PS4 on January 12th.

Tharsis Launching on PS4 January 12th, 2016

For those just hearing about it, Tharsis is a turn-based strategy game about humanity’s first mission to Mars. It’s an important mission, and not just because of its potential to greatly increase our knowledge of the red planet. No, this mission is humanity’s attempt to locate the source of a mysterious signal emanating from the red planet.

To say more than that would spoil the fun, so hopefully that’s enough to pique your interest.

We started work on Tharsis more than two years ago, when it was nothing more than a physical prototype made with dice, paper, and lots of love. We spent a lot of time in this stage of development, taking time to ensure that we’d come up with a strategy game that was A) engaging on a mechanical level and B) unlike anything else on the market. Once we felt we hit those marks, we got to work on taking the game from physical to digital. Much about the game has changed since those early days, but the core mechanics (dice rolling, dynamic “disaster” events, etc.) remained.


Developing Tharsis has been nothing short of a blast, but it’s also had its fair share of difficult times. As anyone making a board game — digital or otherwise — will tell you, the “balancing” phase of production can be a long one indeed. It’s a whole lot of trial and error, paired with a hearty dose of throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. But despite the difficulty of it, it’s something that deserves as much time and attention as possible.

Without proper balancing, players of Monopoly would be able to pass Go and collect $200 on their way to jail. Without proper balancing, the hippos of Hungry Hungry Hippos probably wouldn’t be so hungry. This is why we made the decision to take all the time we needed to get it right, and that just so happened to be two years, which is about how long it takes for Mars to orbit the Sun.

Coincidence? Completely, but still interesting.


There’s still a lot about Tharsis we haven’t discussed here. It’s a complex, systems-heavy game, and so we want to take our time with introducing you to what it’s all about. Stay tuned to our Twitter, Facebook, and website for more updates about the game, including a downloadable instruction booklet that will turn you into a professional Video Game Astronaut in no time.

Until then, if you have any questions about Tharsis, please feel free to ask away in the comments. We’ll answer as many as we possibly can.

Thank you for reading!

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9 Author Replies

  • This looks really cool! Is it singleplayer only or is there a multiplayer component? I’m fine if it’s singleplayer only, just curious :).

    • It’s single player only! I have seen people getting their friends to blow on the controller for luck before rolling though!

  • Is this game ps4 exclusive?

  • This is a really unique idea and seems to be right up my alley. Hopefully I get a psn card for Christmas to put towards this!

    • Thank you for the nice words…

      We wanted to make something different for gamers, something unique. It’s hard for a company our size to take a risks on games like Tharsis. Development truly was a labor of love. We ultimately decided that Tharsis would be done when it was done.

      I will put a request in to Santa for PSN cards – He listens to me most of the time.

  • Looks different and interesting. Love the setting. Will support it. Day 1 purchase.

    • Thank you so much – I think a lot of people don’t understand how important it is to support unique games – the more support there is – the more interesting, deep and inspired games will be on the market.

  • Talking to someone this morning, I said that my only (currently announced) anticipated games for next year are Uncharted 4 and No Man’s Sky. Then I saw this announcement. Will definitely be buying in January (provided it’s the right price point, etc.)

    Anyway: Are there any books or movies (or other games) that you drew inspiration from for the setting? I just finished reading “The Martian,” which is different from the setting of this…but still dealt with manned missions to Mars.

    • The biggest inspiration was the story of the whaling ship Essex, that was sunk by a whale in 1820. The crew floated around for weeks and ended up doing “whatever it took” to survive and reach land.

      You can find a video I make here called The Origins of Tharsis, that talks about my inspirations.

      The Martian book came out during development – when I read it, I was super stoked, because I knew there was a Mars zeitgeist welling.

      Another book that influenced us was Mary Roach’s Packing for Mars. It’s a data blast, but super interesting.

  • Sounds very interesting! Will we be seeing you at PlayStation Experience?

  • Awesome!!!

    This is the type of game that is seriously lacking on PlayStation.

  • Really cool idea and game mechanic… plus, I am a sucker for space, dice games, and Soylent Green. ;)

  • Looks very very interesting.

  • Can crew member’s names be edited? If so, this would make an amazing stream game. I would totally not kill off members of my chat or anything.

    • `Unfortunately not at launch. We have talked about adding features with updates – I will put this on the list!

    • That’ll be cool. If it’s added, it’ll be a definite buy from me. I know when I’ve streamed games like X-com (new and old), Escapists, Space Base, Super Mega Baseball, or even full retail sports games, where people can be customized after chat, it’s made members of my own chat interested enough to go out and buy the game themselves.

  • Oooh, this is well timed to seem like The Martian meets Oregon Trail. How much will it cost? I’d buy it now if I could.

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