by Ingvi Snædal
previewed on PC
When Things Go Wrong: Space Edition
Have you ever wondered what Star Trek: Voyager would have been like if, instead of science fiction futurism, it had been a science fiction comedy show? ... Oh, you haven’t? … Well, neither had I until we were presented with The Long Journey Home at Gamescom, a game whose story centers around humanity’s first faster-than-light jump which, predictably, goes terribly, terribly wrong.
Having made the jump, you find yourself on the wrong side of the galaxy with a damaged ship and supplies running low. You must guide your crew of four through a procedurally generated galaxy in order to bring them back home to Earth where they can beat the s#%t our of whoever’s responsible for sending them up the galactic creek without a paddle. If all four crew members die along the way, you’ve failed your mission. Also, obviously, if you lose the ship as the meatbags inside can’t breathe space. Each crew member has a specific role, so losing even one of the will put you at a disadvantage, so try to keep them all alive, will you?
Only the first and last points of the game are fixed, and the entire galactic arm you must travel is procedurally generated, leading to a different gameplay experience each time you start a new game. To make your way home, you must choose where to go and find jumpgates which will allow you to travel from one nebula or solar system to the next. Unfortunately, these jumpgates are strategically important pieces of infrastructure and as such are controlled by whatever alien species controls that part of the galaxy.
We're Not Alone In The Universe
Some alien races require you to do them favors before they let you pass, others demand tribute. Some may completely refuse to help you if you have helped their enemy in the past or have attacked one of their ships. Should you happen to find a piece of alien tech, you’ll also be able to ask for help analyzing that tech if you have a positive reputation with the race with whom you’re conversing. Needless to say, your interaction with the races you meet matters and each decision may play an important role down the line. In addition to this, you’ll have to mine for resources, look for tech, and battle hostile aliens along the way.
In classic Asteroids style, you’ll have to navigate asteroid belts in an attempt to identify resource rich asteroids, blow them up, and gather the resources, but beware: if you take a lot of damage from crashing into stones, the price of repairs can quickly become greater than the yield. Space battles take place on a similar 2D plane, but landing on exotic worlds in search of tech and other loot requires you to land a small lander on the planet, Lunar Lander style. Resources will be randomly distributed, so there won’t be different resources in different sectors of space. This will prevent the all-too familiar problem of having to traverse back and forth in order to collect the relevant resources required.
Each sector of space will be interesting in its own way and you won’t, according to the developers, end up in a situation where there are lots of places to go, but nothing to do. The overarching mission is always to get back to earth, but a plethora of side quests and other interesting distractions await you in the surprisingly densely populated emptiness of space. We look forward to learning more about the game as development continues.