Interview: Aloft Devs Already Have Years Of Content Planned

The Game Director of Aloft says that while there is still some time before 1.0 version's release, they already have years of content planned.


Aloft is a cozy co-op sandbox survival set in skies full of floating islands. The game perfectly balances the cozy, virtual, and challenging aspects to offer players gameplay that they can immerse themselves in. It also teaches players about some of the more prevalent global issues, like Climate Change and how we can take part in fixing it.

The demo has been out for some time, and the developers have updated the game since its release. Although a release date has still not been confirmed, the devs have tons of content planned beyond the 1.0 version. In order to get a better look into Aloft’s development process and its inspirations, we spoke with Manuel Bergeron, CEO of Astrolabe Interactive and Game Director of Aloft, over an email interview.

Aloft – via Astrolabe Interactive.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us about your work on Aloft?
Sure! I’m Manuel Bergeron, CEO of Astrolabe Interactive and Game Director of Aloft. I founded the studio five years ago from my living room with a small team of motivated graduates like myself. While I initiated the design process and held the final say on numerous decisions, the majority of creative choices within Aloft were collaboratively made by the team.
What was the inspiration behind Aloft?
Bergeron: The design for Aloft started during the pandemic, when we were all trapped inside, and everything was a bit bleak. We wanted to create a world that feels like going outside, feeling free again, and being empowered by having a positive impact on the environment. The idea of gliding through clouds in first-person or navigating the world with your flying island felt positive, vibrant, and enthralling!

Also, as an indie studio, it felt like a sound choice to build a game in the survival genre since it offers a development cycle that is really accessible for an Early Access launch and a good container to continue adding more content over years of development.

Aloft – via Astrolabe Interactive.
Survival games are often very diverse and offer something new each time. Aloft's premise, although simple at first, is very creative, and I am curious to know what led to the focus on the environmental aspects.
Bergeron: Aloft explores the concept of symbiosis, how people can learn to coexist with nature in a mutually beneficial relationship, and the terrible consequences when they don’t. We wanted to explore the passion and worries shared by the new generation of players, notably climate change, but in a way that would allow the players to be a positive force of change in the world.
What’s something that Aloft does differently from other sandbox survival games? Is there a sort of philosophy behind how Astrolabe is approaching this genre?
Bergeron: The fact that you can sail any island in the game as a flying ship is quite unique in itself! We created Aloft with a positive design philosophy, where players are rewarded when choosing survival actions instead of being punished for not doing so. We also try to innovate to reduce typical frustrations in survival games, like inventory management, crafting, resource production, and stamina.

But our biggest innovations are probably related to our environmental vision; through the use of the symbiosis system, wind-powered energy, ecosystems that need to be taken care of, and positive animal husbandry, we change what used to be a genre about taking from nature to one that sees you thriving by giving back to it.

Aloft – via Astrolabe Interactive.
The demo has over 70,000 downloads, and I am sure there must have been much feedback. Are there any features or ideas from the fans that the team considers putting inside the game?
Bergeron: The community’s ideas inspire many aspects of the game. The devs have, and continue to, read and collect feedback from the community through our Discord server, playtest surveys, and socials. Some suggestions that are being considered include new meal recipes and animals, improvements to sailing, navigation, and quality of life updates.
Could you tell us a bit more about how immersive the environment in Aloft would be for players?
Bergeron: The world of Aloft is fragmented and floating around a massive, eternal hurricane. You can fly through clouds, experience different weather, and chase the winds to sail faster and power your windmills. Leaves rustle in the soft winds, and the muffled sounds of storms raging outside make your indoor hobbies all the more cosy. We also try to keep the interface (HUD) as light as possible to limit the digital barrier with this experience.

The islands you encounter each have their own ecosystem, and some are corrupted by a dangerous parasite. Acting on fauna and flora, it’s up to the player to eliminate this corruption, heal the island’s ecosystem, and restore its natural balance. This teaches players how their actions can have lasting effects on fragile environments and how they can choose to restore them, for example, by planting a new sapling after cutting down a tree.

Aloft – via Astrolabe Interactive.
The demo is currently out for the game, and an Early Access release is planned for 2024. When can we expect the full release of the game?
Bergeron: It’s too early to call a date for the 1.0 version of the game, but we already have years of content planned for Aloft! We’ve been updating the demo regularly within the last few years. As a result, some of our players have already put hundreds of hours into the game! We plan to keep that pace after the release.
How long has the game been in development, and how many developers are actively working on this title?
Bergeron: We started development on Aloft with a small team of 5 in 2021; we are now 16 people actively working on this project.
Aloft – via Astrolabe Interactive.
Can we expect to see a complete story in Aloft, or is there less focus on that side of the game?
Bergeron: There is a story that will be unveiled in the full version of the game: traces of others, knowledge to discover, and an end goal to pursue. However, we don’t expect to add quest logs and fetch quests in Aloft. The world, its story and secrets, are to be discovered and understood individually — you are an explorer in a new world, and it’s up to you to interpret its meaning.
Are there any plans to release the game on consoles? If so, can we expect to see it to have crossplay?
Bergeron: The game was always made to be 100% controller-compatible, but we’d love to port it to consoles at some point. Some players have already enjoyed Aloft on Steam deck, even in this early stage of development. It looks promising for the future!
Aloft – via Astrolabe Interactive.
It might be too early to answer this, but does the team plan on providing long-term post-launch support in the future?
Bergeron: We have a ton of ideas for the game. Since its inception, Aloft has been designed with the intention to support more content for years to come, and we’d love to be able to do so.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Bergeron: If you want to try a unique survival game set in the clouds where you might just feel at home, Aloft’s demo is live on Steam right now! You can meet the team, exchange building tips with the community, and learn about the next things coming to Aloft on our Discord.

Aloft is a cozy co-op sandbox survival game by Astrolabe Interactive. It will be released on PC sometime during 2024, but players can already enjoy the demo which is available on Steam. You can also interact with the developers and keep up with the updates on Aloft’s Discord server.

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