February 13, 2008 – Ask yourself this: would you sacrifice your own humanity to save the last remnants of the human race? It’s a dilemma players will find themselves facing at many steps along the way in Gas Powered Games’ upcoming sci-fi action RPG Space Siege, at least when they’re not using advanced technology to blast away the alien scum seeking to bring about their mass extinction. The creators of Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander have set out to recalibrate the conventions of action RPG games by trimming away the fat and embracing only the choice cuts players have grown to appreciate from the genre over the years.
Though it shares a similar name, Space Siege looks to be quite different from the developer’s previous works. Rather than the multi-character dynamic typically associated with the action RPG titles, the game will instead focus on a single main character. This will allow development of a deeper story revolving around the hero’s efforts to save humanity from being snuffed-out as well as his own inner conflict resulting from tough choices, which must be made during the game. Gas Powered Games founder Chris Taylor indicated his team is working hard to enhance, overhaul, and evolve the genre with Space Siege to keep up with what gamers crave in a title.
The game opens with the destruction of planet earth. By this time, humans have long explored the cosmos only to attract the attention of alien beings hell-bent on annihilating our race. They soon reach earth, detonating the planet, and four of the five human colony ships attempting to escape destruction are lost. Aboard the Armstrong, the remaining ship carrying the last members of the human race, combat engineer Seth Walker is faced with fighting off the unknown alien attackers and protecting the last of his species from an untimely demise. As Walker, players will traverse their way through the many environs in the Armstrong while gunning down alien foes and picking up new technology to aid in their efforts. They’ll have to face some tough choices along the way.
As players gradually move through the story, they’ll pick up various cybernetic enhancements that can be installed in Walker to give him substantial advantages in battle. The dilemma – and it’s one that will impact various aspects in the game – is whether players will decide to make Walker increasingly less human with each additional enhancement or stay pure by rejecting the cybernetic technology in favor of other benefits. This opens up a range of different experiences in the game for players depending on the choices they make. Reportedly, characters will react differently to Walker as he becomes less human. The game will also be more difficult depending on whether players utilize the cybernetics, but those who stay “pure” will be able to access other perks. It’s a unique system that should make progressing through the game both interesting and fun as players determine what level of cybernetic tinkering they’re comfortable with.
In addition to high-tech weapons, armor, and cybernetics, players will utilize the skills of HR-V, a robotic companion who will accompany them through the game. HR-V can be upgraded with special equipment and other parts found throughout the game. The droid can be set to act autonomously; it can be instructed to initiate specific offensive and defensive maneuvers; or it can even work jointly with Walker to dish out special attacks. The gameplay is expected to be combat-heavy, but tactics will also come into frequent use. Players will be able to use cover, setup ambushes, dodge attacks, and more.
The size and nature of the Armstrong will also offer players a wide range of flexibility in terms of the thematic environments they’ll encounter during Space Siege. Since the Armstrong is a massive ship designed to transport entire civilizations, the tale of Walker’s conflict with the alien invaders will play out across numerous locations in the ship including hydroponic forests, engineering rooms, residential areas, manufacturing facilities, and more. This should provide a solid level of variety beyond the cold metal corridors one would associate with a futuristic space vessel.
Aside from the main quest (which is expected to run somewhere in the 15 to 20 hour range), Space Siege will include an online multiplayer co-op option for up to four players. The multiplayer experience is being designed for shorter play sessions tailored to let players easily drop in and out of the action when they choose. It will also make it possible for players of different experience levels to work collaboratively with options to customize enemy difficult to best fit their level.
Slated for release this summer, Space Siege will give action RPG fans something new to think about. At the very least, players can expect to spend some quality time measuring out the pros and cons of hooking up their new optical implant or removing a limb to replace it with a more deadly cybernetic gadget, all in the name of saving the human race.