Screen NSW has announced that it will be helping Flat Earth Games fund Objects in Space through its Production Finance program. The game is a stealth space-trading game which draws its mechanical influence from submarine simulators, and features an open interface to allow players to build their own physical hardware and have it be compatible with the game (pictured below).
"Screen NSW was impressed by the distinctiveness of the concept and the unique approach to story and narrative design," said CEO Courtney Gibson. "We are delighted to be supporting a team of mostly local writers to help realise the project's creative ambitions."
The game's seven writers will each be tasked with writing one short, interactive story for the player to engage in which will be playable at the beginning of the game. Rohan and Leigh Harris, the game's lead programmer and designer respectively, will then reveal the next key plot points to them for each of the 12 star systems in the game. When the writers reconvene to write their next stories, any plot points which have affected their ongoing characters must be taken into account. In this way, we hope to see the game's narrative unfold naturally and have the same uncontrollable nature that stories in real life hold.
The writers were chosen to represent a variety of different styles. While there is one experienced games writer (Daniel McMahon, a writer on L.A. Noire), the team also includes writers from theatre, screen, copywriting, MUSHes and pen & paper RPG writing.
"The idea is that the Apollo cluster will feel very different depending on which star system you're in," said Leigh Harris. "Not only will the news you read be vastly different, slanting your view on other star systems' politics, but you'll also be hearing different voices telling you stories within those systems."
"While there are many things to do in the game, Objects in Space will not feature a 'main quest' line," added Rohan Harris. "Instead, it allows the player to focus on exploring, profiting and surviving at their leisure. The story of the Apollo cluster is one which the player can be deeply involved in, or only give a cursory glance to. There are huge advantages to knowing a lot about the game world, but for those who just want to experience the mechanics of the game, there is nothing forcing you into its narrative elements."
"We are thrilled that Screen NSW continues to see the value in games," said Leigh. "It is great that at a state level, support is being given and investment made into our thriving and ever-growing developer community."
Objects in Space is due out for PC, Mac and Linux in 2016. Flat Earth Games is still actively seeking investors.