Offworld Trading Company bringing the free market to Mars on PC

Mohawk Games, the indie studio founded by former Civilization IV designer Soren Johnson, has announced its first project. It's one that remains in the real-time strategy wheelhouse, as players race to colonize Mars in an upcoming PC game called Offworld Trading Company.

Up to eight players compete on randomly-generated maps set on the big red planet. The objective is to colonize and dominate the Martian market by obtaining 13 resources, which include carbon, fuel, and silicon. There are no military units at all, since players will operate purely on the rules of the free market.

"The setting is Mars, and each player controls a corporation trying to claim, develop, and exploit its own bit of alien soil," explains Johnson in the Mohawk Games blog. "The game starts with an exploration phase, during which players decide where to found their colonies based on nearby resources and buildable plots of land. Next, players use their limited number of claims to start extracting these resources – maybe an ice condenser right here to get water, or maybe a metal mine over there for iron? Extra claims can be used to create factories that turn these base resources into something more valuable. A hydrolysis farm could turn water into food while an electrolysis reactor will split water into oxygen and fuel. Most importantly, players only start with a few claims, meaning that they can’t produce everything."

Since the aim of the game is to purchase everything in the open market, expect prices to fluctuate based on supply & demand and other economic principles. The game continues until one player ultimately buys out all of the competition.

Pre-orders are available on the Offworld Trading Company website. Those that pay the pre-order rate of $34.99 will get access to the Steam Early Access build as it becomes available. The Founder's Elite Edition is also available for $79.99 and includes the game's prototype (available this fall), private forum access, the soundtrack, and game almanac.