Void Bastards, announced earlier today during Microsoft's X018 conference, is an upcoming tactical shooter from Irrational Games co-founder Jonathan Chey - director of development on BioShock and System Shock 2 - and his Australian studio Blue Manchu.
Inspired by both of these seminal shooters, Void Bastards is split between plotting a course through the Sargasso Nebula and blasting dudes. Apart from Irrational's games, it also reminds me of games like FTL: you scavenge resources, build your arsenal, and decide where to land and who to attack, all while handling the wet work yourself through some good old-fashioned first-person shooting and exploration. (Not only that, FTL is seemingly name-dropped in the announcement trailer above at 1:15.)
"You make the decisions: where to go, what to do and who to fight," Blue Manchu said. "And then you must carry out that strategy in the face of strange and terrible enemies. Navigate your tiny escape pod through the vast nebula. Flee from void whales and pirates, and politely avoid the hungry hermits. All the while you must keep scavenging for the food, fuel, and other resources that keep you alive."
System Shock's influence shines through in the sci-fi setting, but Void Bastards clearly has a style of its own - one with bright colors, thickly inked outlines, and action stamped with comic book-style sound effects. Judging from some of the ammunition seen in the trailer - kittybots, toaster juice, and scrambler eggs, to name a few - it seems to have more humor to it, too.
Blue Manchu says Void Bastards has a campaign lasting around 14 hours, and it sounds like it was designed to be completed and replayed roguelike-style across multiple characters. Crafting progress carries over between runs, but you start each playthrough as a new and unique prisoner.
Void Bastards will be published by Humble Bundle and is scheduled to release on PC and Xbox One in early 2019. You can find more information on its official site.
After Irrational Games shuttered its doors following the release of BioShock Infinite, the studio was rebranded Ghost Story Games and began work on some mysterious narrative-driven projects. However, some employees split off to do their own thing. Blue Manchu was founded several years ago and released its first game, the well-received card RPG Card Hunter, in 2015.
FTL's influence on Void Bastards is clear - and welcome. After all, FTL ranks highly on our list of the best indie games of all time.