Daedalic Entertainment's The Long Journey Home sees players exploring a procedurally-generated universe following a test jump that sees their ship stranded in the galaxy. Pascal Tekaia got the chance to check out the game at this year's E3.
For my final RPG at E3 2016, I went behind closed doors where the good folks at Daedalic Entertainment walked us through their upcoming space-exploration RPG, The Long Journey Home. The developers have dubbed this a "reverse RPG"; instead of players making their way out into the world, acquiring power and abilities as they go, their little spaceship actually leaves home at full potential. After a disastrous accident decimates both the crew and the ship's equipment, it's down to players to pilot the remnants of the ship back home safe and sound, avoiding death in many different forms.
Players will be able to hand-pick four crew members to accompany them on the mission. Since it's a space exploration mission, we're talking crew like a doctor, scientist, mechanic, etc. There are a total of ten possible crew members to choose from, and each will provide different insight and assistance on what Daedalic hopes will be multiple playthroughs. The journey will take players through different planetary systems, each procedurally generated, containing various alien races, planets to explore, and resources to collect. Interacting with alien life forms brings its own challenges: while some will be friendly to the cause, others may take an antagonistic approach to players entering their space. Players may be able to trade and treat with them, or they could end up having to run for their lives as the ship becomes used for target practice. Combat, while an option, is far from recommended — the ship needs to be in one piece to make it home, after all. In all cases, communicating with foreign life forms requires players to take the time to learn their language first.
There are a lot of intricacies involved in navigating the social minefield of this science fiction universe. As the captain, players will have a choice in how to act and respond. A call for help can be answered or ignored, but ignoring it will likely lose points with the faction in question, possibly locking players out of future interactions. Likewise, helping a race in need could antagonize their enemies. Of course, the health of the crew needs to be considered at all times. Daedalic based space travel in The Long Journey Home on actual laws of gravity: certain maneuvers like slingshotting around planets will help conserve fuel, which players will need plenty of if they ever want to reach home.
Daedalic estimates that a single playthrough could last about four to six hours. Multiple playthroughs will be required to get a full picture of the game, though, as there will be others alien races to encounter, planets to mine, ancient temples to explore. PC players will be able to take the first step on their journey home when the game releases later this year, with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One owners set to get it in early 2017.