Ascent: The Space Game is quite possibly the most ambitious game I saw at PAX 2015. It’s a player-vs-environment MMORPG set in space, with 270 billion star systems based on NASA maps. The idea of the game, artist George Karandais told me, is to move away from EVE Online-style PvP combat, where you can go away overnight and come back to find everything destroyed. Instead, the focus is on cooperation, exploration, trading, farming, manufacturing, research, mining and building. Players will work together to expand the human reach into the universe, forming governments and building jump gates as community mega-projects. And for the combat-lovers, occasionally fighting battles against NPC foes. It’s currently available for PC via Steam Early Access.

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