In Project Meru you take on the role of one of the last surviving humans. Your ancestors were driven into hiding by an incursion from the mysterious Giants, who brought with them a host of terrible war machines. A chance encounter leads you to uncover the Hephaestus Engine: a long-forgotten artifact which is capable of understanding and rebuilding these machines to work for you. Now, alongside a group of friends, you set out to reclaim the home of your ancestors - the Lands Below.
Project Meru is both a love letter to and an upgrade for the well known and well loved genre of survival crafting games. Spearheaded by aficionados of the genre, we’re planning to make some much-needed upgrades to the formula - including automating tasks and centralizing resource management.
We hope you’re excited by the concept and would love to hear your feedback!
Project Meru is a cooperative and action oriented survival-lite experience where you create a customizable machine host to ride on, build bases with, and fight alongside to reclaim a fully systemic ecosystem torn apart by the mysterious Giants, ancient entities with godlike powers.
Project Meru is focused on making a shared experience for up to ten people focused on player expression, creativity, and emergent goal setting. It seeks to iterate on the traditional survival-crafting game formula by removing several pain points and outdated conventions of the genre.
Both your greatest friends and worst enemies, Machines and their numerous capabilities are at the core of Project Meru.
Craft: From dozens of templates you can mix, match, and modify the parts that suit your needs and playstyle best to make companions that are truly yours.
Build: You'll need big structures and complex defences to survive incursions from the Giant's followers - fortunately your machine allies can help you to execute your base building vision and make something incredible.
Gather: While you're still totally free to spend the day running around the woods picking up sticks in your underwear, you can also ask your machines to do that part for you.
Fight: On top of your own vast arsenal of abilities, weapons, and equipment, your machines can also serve as your own personal bodyguard.
Ride: Every machine can serve as a mount if you want it to: walk, roll, or fly - the choice is yours.
The world of Project Meru isn’t the same as your standard survival game. In Project Meru the world - your world - evolves and changes based on the things that you and your friends do.
Project Meru's world is a complex, natural system that changes based on your input. Reroute a river and the flora that depended on it will die out. Flood a forest and it will turn into a marsh. Burn it down and it will be nothing but a wasteland. The Lands Below are yours to do with as you please - but remember, every action has a consequence, and you may not like what you signed up for.
You and your allies aren’t the only forces at work here. The Giants still roam the world - each of them bearing environmental powers that will also impact the biomes around them. How you choose to deal with them is up to you, but once you’ve defeated the Giant you can collect its essence to make its environmental powers your own. Just don't rest too easy - once you've collected your first essence, the hordes of the Lands Below will periodically launch incursions into whichever base you're keeping the Giant's essence in. If they succeed it will be resurrected, so make sure you're prepared!
Combat is a big focus for the team at Project Meru; we want it to be an open question for the player. Enemies in Project Meru are tough; even small machines can pack a serious punch to the unarmored body, and the various monsters populating the Lands Below will make quick work of you if you come unprepared. In order to emerge victorious you must not only know your enemy, but also know your options.
At the heart of combat is managing your resources. You’ll only be able to hold onto so much at once - making sure you make the most of whatever distribution of weapons, ammunition, potions, bombs, or other equipment is paramount to success.
But even if you run dry, all is not lost. With a variety of melee and ranged weapons to choose from, plus modifiers that grant supernatural abilities, allied robots to defend you, and using your trusty mount, you’ll be facing no shortage of options when it comes to taking down your foes.
Improving The Formula
We all love survival crafting games, but many of them suffer needlessly from the same problems. Project Meru is, in part, an iteration on the formula intended to fix many of the pain points of the genre that exist solely by convention. It's such a fundamental part of Project Meru's DNA we even named it - "Streamlined Survival". It includes a suite of changes such as:
- Centralizing resource management. I'm sure we're all sick of digging through a million chests. Our plan does away with that particular chore - although we'll still support private chests.
- Re-thinking building. Building structures is broken down into two phases - a planning phase similar to creative modes you might find in other games, where resources are infinite, and an execution phase that can be done by you, your bots, or as a team. Just mind the bill - you’ll still need the required resources in-game to finish your vision. Speaking of...
- Automating the gathering process. We're looking to make some critical changes to the gathering and building loop of our predecessors. Chores can be delegated away to robots - leaving you free to be pursuing the things you really want to be doing.
- Making crafting interesting again. Project Meru moves away from prescriptive recipes - rather, players can create weapons, armor, and so forth by mixing and matching whatever materials they have around. Results may vary, but that's the fun of it!
- Actually teach how crafting works. Almost all games in the genre suffer from obscuring what you can make, what you need to make it, and where you need to do it. We will address these issues with a suite of changes: by improving recipe visibility and highlighting what’s missing so you can go about getting it. We’ll also include callouts to things you need to make to progress the story, a search bar (long overdue as far as crafting UI improvements go) and smart search systems such as selecting an ingredient and seeing what kinds of things it can be turned into.