Surviving Mars is a city buildingsimulation video game initially developed by the Bulgarian studio Haemimont Games, and later by Abstraction Games, and published by Paradox Interactive. It was released on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 15, 2018. The player serves as an overseer who must build a colony on Mars and ensure the survival of the colonists.
Surviving Mars is a city builder simulation game that takes place on Mars and is modeled after real Martian data. The player chooses a sponsoring nation, each conferring slightly different benefits and a unique building and vehicle, and then lands on Mars with robotic drones and rovers. These rovers and drones prepare the colony for humans on the red planet by setting up power and water infrastructure, domes, resource depots, oxygen generators, and landing pads. The player’s goal is to create a thriving colony on Mars with occasional rockets from Earth, which have limited cargo space, forcing the player to balance bringing resources from Earth and producing resources on the planet. For example, the first human colonists will bring limited food with them on their rocket, so farms are crucial to a thriving colony on Mars. The player can bring electronics, machine parts, food, concrete, metal, prefab buildings, rovers and drones from Earth, or research technologies to manufacture them on Mars. Players must balance expanding the colony with managing oxygen, food, water, and replacement parts. The game also has storylines called mysteries, which add various events to the colony, including plagues, war, rival corporations, AI revolt, alien contact, and others. Rare metals can be exported back to Earth for funds. Landing sites also have various natural disasters like dust storms, meteor storms, cold waves, and dust devils to increase difficulty.
Haemimont Games, the developer of the Tropico series, initially led the game’s development. The team studied the real-world challenges that scientists consider when thinking about colonizing Mars. These challenges were then translated into gameplay elements for the game. The game’s aesthetics were inspired by The Jetsons and Futurama. Describing the game as a “hardcore survival city-builder”, publisher Paradox Interactive announced the game in May 2017. The game was released for Windows, macOS, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 15, 2018 with mod support.
About a year after release, in June 2019, Haemimont signed on with Frontier Developments for development of a new property for Frontier’s publishing label. In March 2021, Paradox revealed that development of Surviving Mars has moved from Haemimont Games to Abstraction Games.