The lights are on
The last we heard of Tacoma, Fullbright's sci-fi follow up was being delayed into 2017. Yesterday, I got to sit down and watch a lengthy segment of gameplay from early on in Tacoma and came away impressed with what I saw.
The demo follows protagonist Amy Ferrier, a contractor and operations specialists who's been suddenly hired to the space station Tacoma. I watch Amy enter Tacoma through a hatch and, in a fantastic sequence reminiscent of both Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey, travel down a long white industrial tube, bathed in red light, to the station's entrance. Here the person playing the demo, Fullbright co-founder Karla Zimonja, explores the hallway and plays basketball in zero-g.
As Amy proceeds into the part of the station with simulated Earth gravity, it's explained why she is here: to retrieve the station's malfunctioning (possibly corrupt) A.I. called Odin, who zooms around us as inverted pyramid spouting data and gibberish. Amy sticks some sort of contraption on a engineering panel and it's here that Zimonja explains the player is free to explore the station and discover what happened to the crew while that data is uploading to the device.
For the demo, Amy heads into the kitchen area and accesses a recording that lets us see neon hologram representations of the crew, their names shown above their figures every time the reticle hovers over them. Amy stands for a bit in the dining room and listens to two characters talk for a bit about their lives. Here, Karla brings up a control panel that lets the player pause the recording and rewind it back. She then takes Amy over to the kitchen and replays the simulation. We watch two other crew members consult Odin's instructions as they bake a cake. One of them calls another crew member to let them know the cake is ready and they're taking it out to the dining hall.
Once again, Zimonja pauses the simulation and takes Amy over to a different part of the dining area, in an office where administrator Evelyn is recording notes. She's interrupted by a call, the one from the crew members in the kitchen telling her about the cake. She tells them she'll be right out. Amy follows her out to the dining table where everyone is ready to cut into the cake. Suddenly, something rocks the ship (an explosion?) and everyone gets quiet.
Odin gives the Cliff's Notes summary of the situation: The station has become damaged, 50 hours of oxygen remain before the crew will suffocate, and there doesn't seem to be any tools on board that will fix the problem. "Anybody got any bright ideas?" Evelyn asks the silent, terrified crew.
The demo ends here, leaving me with a strong desire to know just what happened to these people. Are they dead from the cut off oxygen supply? Was it an accident? Did Odin kill them? How does Amy fit into all of this? It looks like I'll have to wait until 2017 to find out all the answers but I'm looking forward to unraveling this sci-fi mystery.
Email the author Javy Gwaltney, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
I recently played through Gone Home and even though I knew what it was about, because the internet didn't give a single frick about spoiling it, I really really enjoyed it. Looking forward to this.