Development began in 2013, after the resignation designer Adam Orth from Microsoft. The development team is considering gambling as an “experiment in the first person,” deliberately avoiding violence. Orth compares the game to upheaval in his life following his controversial comments on DRM proposal of Xbox One.
Adrift is played from a view to first person. In the game, players take control of Alex commander Oshima, floating and moving in all directions through the open environment, which occurs in weightlessness. The environment can be fully explored, but players will be selected to explore too far. One constraint is a limit oxygen that players must follow to avoid suffocation. When running low on oxygen, the vision becomes blurred players; they should get an oxygen tank to stay alive. Players move through five areas, completing a series of puzzles. Players are able to locate the audio logs that will expand on the events of the incident; the game is set in the year 2037. Players will also find objects of the dead crew and must decide to return to Earth. The game is said to have two main objectives: to survive and return home safely.