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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Who doesn't love spaceships? How about toy spaceships with snap-on weaponry? And what if you could play with those creations in a huge space exploration video game?

It's called Starlink: Battle for Atlas, and we got our first look at E3 2017.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Josh Miller/CNET
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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Here's one of the first fully functional prototype ships, the Neptune. See those black plastic fins on either wing? (continued)

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Those are proprietary electrical connector ports that allow you to snap on additional pieces, including weapons and wings.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

The instant you snap on a new part, it materializes in the game.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Here's the basic idea in GIF form. The PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch each have their own unique controller adapters to keep the ships at your fingertips.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: GIF by Sean Hollister/CNET
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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

You can insert a pilot into the ships, too, to unlock special skills like the ability to slow down time. Again, you're looking at one of the functional prototypes here.

Published: / Caption: / Photo: Josh Miller/CNET
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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Here's a ship and pilot that looks a little bit closer to final.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Once you've got your ship in the game, you'll explore every nook and cranny of a seven-planet solar system. There are no load times or transitions as you fly from space down to the surface of a planet.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Another one of the ship designs. Reminds us of a Star Wars podracer.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

And another.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Really digging this wedge-like starship.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Another look at the Neptune.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

And another. You can mix and match pieces from each of the different sets, even add multiple sets of wings to make your virtual ship beefier.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

You don't actually need to buy the physical toys: parts will be available digitally, and you can share them in co-op with a friend.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

The whole game is unlocked even for people who only buy the starter set, says Ubisoft.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

The game is set in Atlas, a real-life solar system in the Pleiades, 442 light years away. Ubisoft says it picked Atlas in part because kids can look up and see the Pleiades at night.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

The story is about fighting an ancient evil that's sucking life out of Atlas planets with giant chainsaw-like buildings called Extractors.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Different pilots add different special abilities.

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Starlink: Battle for Atlas

Here's the whole working prototype collection of ships, pilots and weapons as of today. There's time to add more: the game arrives in late 2018.

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