8 Exploration Games We’re Excited to Play

Exploration is akin to human nature. Since the dawn of time, humans have always been curious. We have always wanted to know what’s beyond the horizon. What is on the other side of the ridge? We want to know what’s in that forest? What’s beyond those stars? What’s on that mountain? What’s in that sea? We want to see it. We want to experience it. We want to learn about it. This has led to countless endeavors to explore. You would not be living where you are, were it not for exploration. Humans push the limits, going to the farthest lands, the depths of the sea, and to the heights of the stars; sending probes in every direction searching for answers, looking for something new.

As children, we all imagine far off places and wondrous lands. Maybe you have been fortunate enough to explore many of this magnificent planet’s wonders. Maybe you’re like me and only wish that you could. Whatever the case, just about everyone has this inborn desire to explore and this is what makes exploration games so appealing to me. I’m not the only one either. There’s a reason gamers get excited when they hear about the scope of open world game maps and all that they can find within. Exploration games nurture and feed that natural desire to explore and experience new things for myself. This is why I’m excited for several exploration games and I think you should be too.

Whether it’s on PC, console, handheld, or mobile device, there are various types of exploration games out there. Games such as Minecraft have popularized the genre once again and led to many new ones being created. While there are definitely many open world games that you can explore in, they aren’t necessarily exploration games. This article is actually going to skip over that more mainstream genre of sandbox or open world action/adventure that we see a lot of today and focus on the actual exploration one. Here is a list of some of the exploration games I’m excited to play:


Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

  • Release Date: TBA 2015
  • Platform: PlayStation 4
  • Developer: The Chinese Room
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Although we don’t know much about the game and we have barely seen any content, developer The Chinese Room has me excited for this upcoming game based on the mysterious teasers and their previous work including Dear Esther. We have seen gorgeous visuals of a post apocalyptic land and we know we’re in for some artistic and likely almost spiritual experience, so I can’t wait to dive in. After The Chinese Room’s beautiful work with Dear Esther, we can only imagine what breathtaking, eerie, and wonderful landscapes will lie in wait for us to explore. Add that to what’s supposed to be a set of non-linear stories, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is title that has me intrigued.

About the Game:

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture tells the story of the inhabitants of a remote English valley who are caught up in world-shattering events beyond their control or understanding.  Made by The Chinese Room – the studio responsible for the hauntingly beautiful Dear Esther – this tale of how people respond in the face of grave adversity is a non-linear, open-world experience that pushes innovative interactive storytelling to the next level. This story begins with the end of the world.



  • Release Date: 2015
  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: Nerd Kingdom
  • Publisher: Nerd Kingdom

A Kickstarter success, developer Nerd Kingdom is cashing in on the genre of play, create, share, and explore with its upcoming game, TUG. TUG is an open world sandbox multiplayer game that encourages you to play with (and against) friends all around the world – a world that you create or can mold. Although the game is already in an Early Access mode, the full release is still off. Developer Nerd Kingdom is still tweaking the game and making updates to what hopefully turns out to be a completely fun experience by the time it’s ready to be fully released.

About the Game:

TUG is a multiplayer open-world sandbox-RPG using new technology and social sciences to directly involve players in the game’s design.



No Man’s Sky

  • Release Date: TBA 2015
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, PC (other platforms to be determined)
  • Developer: Hello Games
  • Publisher: Hello Games

No Man’s Sky is probably the most popular and most marketed exploration game coming out soon. PlayStation has made sure to put this indie title on a platform, showing off the mere scope of endless exploration that can be done in this game. In this game you can travel to endless planets and discover new creatures, plants, and minerals. I can’t wait to play it and I know tons of you out there can’t either. I think the only thing to sweeten the deal would be to make it VR (Oculus Rift, Morpheus) compatible. That would be a blast!

About the Game:

No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated galaxy.



  • Release Date: TBA 2015
  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: Uppercut Games
  • Publisher: Uppercut Games

I remember watching the movie Water World with my dad as a kid and thinking about how I wish I could travel the sea and explore ruins, shanty towns on the water, and look for land that might be undiscovered. The upcoming indie title Submerged puts in you a similar situation. You’re in a half-submerged city and you need to survive. So you’ll need to explore this water world of sorts, look for supplies, climb ruins, and more. The game isn’t boasting anything spectacular but it definitely is one that has me interested.

About the Game:

Submerged is an exploration adventure, where you struggle to save the life of your brother after escaping from a terrible past.

Trapped in an ancient, half-submerged city and desperate for supplies, you must explore the flooded streets in your simple fishing boat, and scale the ruined buildings that hold the promise of salvation.

There is a seductive serenity to this vast city, and even a beauty to its decay. But with every passing day, your brother grows weaker, and the memories of the events that drove you here continue to resurface.

With gorgeous visuals powered by Unreal Engine 4, ethereal music and a world you want to visit, Submerged will drag you under.




The Witness

  • Release Date: TBA 2015
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, PC (iOS, other platforms to be determined)
  • Developer: Thekla
  • Publisher: Thekla

The Witness has been one of my most anticipated games since it was announced. It combines two things I absolutely love: Puzzles and exploration. Like MYST of old, The Witness takes exploration and puzzles and fuses them into one breathtaking experience. Although I only played a demo of the game, I can’t wait to try even more. With an array of beautiful colors, dazzling ambiance, and clever puzzles, The Witness is definitely one to look out for.

About the Game:

The Witness is an exploration-puzzle game. It will be released on the PC and the PlayStation4 simultaneously; the game will come to iOS shortly after that, and other platforms a bit later.



The Talos Principle

  • Release Date: Out Now PC, TBA 2015
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, PC (other platforms to be determined)
  • Developer: Croteam
  • Publisher: Devolver Digital

The Talos Principle is already out on PC but if you’re like me and have a sub par PC, then you’re probably waiting on its console debut for a better experience. The Talos Principle, like The Witness, combines exploration with puzzles. The Talos Principle goes a little further by adding mythology and Portal-esque obstacles. The game is already getting positive feedback on PC. If you have a PC that can run it, don’t wait, play! If not, then hold tight for the PS4 release this year.

About the Game:

The Talos Principle is a philosophical first-person puzzle game from Croteam, the creators of the legendary Serious Sam series, written by Tom Jubert (FTL, The Swapper) and Jonas Kyratzes (The Sea Will Claim Everything). .

As if awakening from a deep sleep, you find yourself in a strange, contradictory world of ancient ruins and advanced technology. Tasked by your creator with solving a series of increasingly complex puzzles, you must decide whether to have faith, or to ask the difficult questions: Who are you? What is your purpose? And what are you going to do about it?



  • Release Date: Early Access Available Now
  • Platform: PC
  • Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • Publisher: Unknown Worlds Entertainment

Under the sea! Under the sea! Darling it’s better, down where it’s wetter! Take it from me! Okay, okay. I’ll stop. I couldn’t help but think about finding the lost city of Atlantis, or The Little Mermaid when seeing the game Subnautica. While the scope of the game isn’t to that degree, Subnautica is an underwater exploration game where you’ll encounter all sorts of alien sea-life and construct items and shelter for survival. While I’m itching to get my feet wet, I hope that this game helps other developers to chart the uncharted waters of underwater exploration games. I’ll be waiting with my scuba gear!

About the Game:

Descend into the depths of an alien underwater world filled with wonder and peril. Craft equipment, pilot submarines, terraform voxel terrain, and out-smart wildlife to explore lush coral reefs, volcanoes, cave systems, and more – All while trying to survive.



  • Release Date: TBA
  • Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Developer: Three One Zero
  • Publisher: 505 Games

Another game we know very little about but definitely has us wanting to see more, ADR1FT is more survival than open world exploration because, well, you’re in space. On a wrecked ship. And you have to survive. Sounds awesome to me!

ADR1FT will combine exploration with survival. While it will not be quite as vast as open world games, I can’t wait to explore the wreckage as we hold our collective breath while playing this thrilling game.

About the Game:

ADR1FT is an immersive First Person Experience (FPX) that tells the story of an astronaut in peril. Floating silently amongst the wreckage of a destroyed space station with no memory and a severely damaged EVA suit slowly leaking oxygen, the only survivor struggles to determine the cause of the catastrophic event that took the lives of everyone on board. The player fights to stay alive by exploring the wreckage for precious resources, and overcomes the challenges of an unforgiving environment to repair the damaged EEV and safely return home.


So these are some of the exploration games I hope to play soon. What about you? Are there any exploration games that you’re looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below!


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