Over 20 years ago, when we were getting ready to launch System Shock 2, I finally found the time to sit down and play through the game. I was surprised that after two years of development, I loved playing it. The only thing was I wanted to spend more time with the tactical combat situations: playing hide and seek with a hybrid in the engineering bays;, hacking a turret and luring monsters back into its field of fire, and creeping around in the medsci deck wondering where those damn monkeys were.
That thought stuck with me over the years and inspired us to make Void Bastards, a game where we could generate a huge variety of situations instead of relying a small number of hand-crafted levels. We wanted a game that could create unique first-person combat scenarios on demand, not have each one created by a level designer. Through our procedural generation, character traits, ship traits and the host of other systems in the game we think we’ve achieved that.
And, the gravy on top of this is because Void Bastards combat exists inside a strategic framework, the game also forces you to choose what you’re going to do as well as how you do it.
So, I’m on a ship, I know I need fuel, food, and I’m looking for a crafting part. But there’s a gunpoint in front of the FTL drive where the food is, so I’m going to detour to the security module to shut it down. On the way I have the opportunity to go through hab to grab some food… but I hear a Screw, big powerful enemies that I’d prefer to avoid, stomping around in there so I decide not to risk it and lock the hab door instead. But then when I get to security, I find that door is broken. So now, do I go back through hab and face the Screw or do I just bail on my whole plan and find something else to do. Or do I get the hell out of this ship entirely?
So, in Void Bastards you must plan as well as shoot. The game challenges you on multiple levels but it also accommodates different playstyles. If you’re good at strategizing, you don’t need to be as good at the action and vice-versa. If you like sneaking around you can use the Spiker, a silencer that poisons enemies with a damage-over-time effect, without alerting the ship to your presence.
If you like blowing things up, use the Clusterflak (just make sure to shut the door after you’ve tossed one into a room). If you’re lazy, override the Gunpoints (auto-turrets) and Secbots (sentry-like bots) to wipe out enemies for you. If you’re good at everything, you might even be able to tackle Hard Bastard mode!
The same is true when you’re flying the S.T.E.V. around the Sargasso nebula, looking for ships to search. Careful players will navigate around void whales and pirates but more combative gamers will seek out torpedoes to take care of those kinds of hazards. Cautious players will avoid irradiated ships or a ship with shedloads of Juves, small pesky enemies that run around insulting you constantly, but the presence of a long-sought slop bucket on board might tempt others.
Got to say, we’re really, really excited to get this game into your hands! We think it takes the System Shock series of games in a new direction while staying true to the richness of the originals. Perhaps we should have called it Void Shock instead? We do have a juvenile attachment to the word Bastards though.