Open-world Winter Sports game Snow launches into Steam Early Access

It's quite rare that we get a decent winter sports game these days, particularly outside of Winter Olympics time.

Snow, an upcoming open-world winter sports game from the three-person team at Swedish developer Poppermost Productions, looks to be a promising addition to the genre. Built using Crytek's popular and flexible CryEngine tech, Snow features eight square kilometers of mountainous terrain that can either be freely explored or used as a backdrop to more structured challenges with leaderboards.

"With Snow we wanted to provide players and winter sports enthusiasts with an authentic experience," says Alexander Bergendahl, game director. "Skiing is all about freedom, creativity and exploration, and Snow delivers exactly that. We've removed all of the restrictions and clutter that we traditionally see in action sports games and with Snow, allow players to approach the game the way they want."

The game, in its current format, focuses on freeskiing, though snowboarding is set to be added in a future update. The game has been developed in collaboration with several real-life freeskiing experts, including Tanner Hall, Tom Wallisch and Russ Henshaw.

Snow has just launched into Steam Early Access, with three different purchase options available. For $14.99, you can get a Starter Pack, which includes immediate access to the current alpha, three items picked from a set of "Founder's" items, plus a bronze helmet and skis. For $29.99, meanwhile, you'll get alpha access, Tester access to try out new features before they go live to the larger community, a silver helmet and skis and seven items from the Founder's set. And for those who really want to show their support, $59.99 will get you alpha access; two Tester passes (one for a friend); ten items from the Founder's set; bronze, silver and gold helmets and skis; and an exclusive event to test your skills on the mountain.

Interestingly, despite the fact that you can hand over money to play Snow right now, the finished product, set to launch a public beta early next year, is set to be a free-to-play game. The reason Poppermost has chosen to charge for the Early Access build is due to the fact that the game does not yet incorporate in-game purchasable content and as such -- the fees are positioned as an option for people who want to actively support the game's development and be rewarded with early access and exclusive items in return. Once the game goes free-to-play, the "Founders" who pay right now will also receive additional benefits and special items.

The full game's free-to-play aspect will largely focus on character customization. Your rider will have eleven different customizable body part areas onto which you can apply a wide selection of products from real-life brands such as Scott, Sauna, Red Bull, Poc, Marker, Faction and more, and the team promises to update the catalog regularly with popular products from each new season.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, you can check out Snow right now via Steam; if you don't want to pay, however, you'll have to wait until early next year for the beta version, at which point it will go truly free-to-play as well as adding online multiplayer and other features.

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