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GDC was absolutely amazing, and because of it, we saw so much and talked to so many awesome people. We did have appointments set up, and after our first one, we knew we were in for a good time. We kicked off our meetings with ATARI, who showed us Lunar Lander Beyond and what a way to start off our first-ever GDC.


I got to speak at length with Carlos Rocha, the CEO of Dreams Uncorporated (developer), who are famously known for creating Cris Tales. After our discussion, I walked away with confidence that the team not only cared about the IP but also wanted to preserve the original feeling you get while modernizing it for a new audience.

For a little backstory, ATARI’s Lunar Lander originally came out in 1979 and is one of the most popular versions of this type of game. You essentially need to maneuver and land a spaceship in its upright position as close to the middle of the designated platform as possible. This was an arcade game, so you would buy fuel to keep playing, but it was difficult to manage fuel, maneuver, and land. That was part of the appeal though, and dealing with the hardship of just trying to succeed in a safe landing with the controls was a pain. Even knowing this, Dreams took up the challenge and even came to ATARI with a plan. Lunar Lander Beyond is that game, and I have to say, I am so glad ATARI approved it.


This version of the game changes everything and adds so much more to it. A full storyline, multiple pilots with different skill sets, different ships with unique abilities, colorful and detailed worlds, and even an anime-ish intro to highlight what we will be expecting from the release! But, what interested me most is how they are modernizing the game and making it more accessible without changing the essence of what the original is about.

After playing it at GDC, it was clear that it still felt like Lunar Lander, but it was definitely much easier than the original arcade version. And of course, there have been a ton of modern advances that make controlling video games so much easier than 45 years ago. Going into development, Carlos was very aware of this and the team decided to modernize the controls, making it easier to play, but bring in that difficulty elsewhere. That’s where my favorite part of Lunar Lander Beyond comes in: The Stress System.

As you fly, your pilot will have a stress bar that goes up. As this bar goes up, you will start to see different effects on the screen, which culminates in full on hallucinations. You can reduce stress as you fly by picking up specific collectibles, but if you don’t, things will appear on the screen that don’t actually exist. This can include weird creatures, worms, and objects coming at you and you can’t discern what is real and what isn’t. It’s absolutely awesome.


So, Dreams made it much easier to control, which makes sense for the modern era, but it also finds a way to add in a new challenge, balancing that scale and making it both more accessible and challenging at the same time. I did ask Carlos about other effects that could come, and he did mention that they considered adding in an effect that would change up/reverse your controls, but that it made the team too frustrated, and would most likely frustrate the gamers. I agree with that completely, as I will always avoid that stupid mushroom item in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that changes my controls. If I get it, I will end up just dying constantly.

And for those wondering, I absolutely tested the game on the Steam Deck. I can guarantee it will be a Best on Deck game, as long as no update comes along to completely destroy the game, which I would consider very unlikely.


I have had the pleasure of talking to ATARI often, and every time I do, I get extremely excited for what they are working on. I love their new focus on revitalizing their IPs, while giving studios a chance to be creative and put their own spin on it. Lunar Lander Beyond is another clear example of that, and I couldn’t be more excited. I also want to thank ATARI and Carlos for giving me the chance to learn more about the game.

Lunar Lander Beyond will be released on Steam on April 23rd. A demo is available now to try out on Steam as well.

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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