It's a question that has weighed on the minds of the science community for more than a century: what would the world today look like if Nikola Tesla had triumphed over Thomas Edison and not the other way around? Rome-based indie developer Storm in a Teacup (sidenote: love that studio name) has an answer with its game Close to the Sun, but fair warning, it isn't pretty.
Sitting down with GamesRadar at Gamescom 2018, game designer Joel Hakalax gave us an exclusive tour of Close to the Sun's unique world:
In this timeline, Tesla has constructed a massive ship as a testament to his genius, and like any good egomaniacal mad scientist, he's stuffed it to the gills with statues of himself and mind-bending puzzles. It's all a bit BioShock-y, and while Hakalax doesn't deny that the team admires the underwater dystopia of Rapture, inspiration for Close to the Sun comes from a place much more sinister.
"Close to the Sun, we call it a 'horror-adventure,' primarily because- yes we want to scare you, but we also want to provide you with a good story," Hakalax said. "Initially we were thinking a lot about SOMA, Outlast, Layers of Fear. Those were our initial posts and pillars that we wanted to get close to." To that end, Close to the Sun ditches direct combat in favor of stealth, chase sequences, and puzzle solving.
All that being said, you don't need to shy away from Close to the Sun if you're skittish about horror games. Hakalax said the team has also made sure to pace the game with calm areas so players can take a minute to breathe and dive deeper into this alternate timeline the team has constructed. At least until the next sub-human monstrosity appears and makes you wet yourself.
Close to the Sun is coming in 2019 to PC, PS4, and Xbox One. For more exclusive footage from Cologne, be sure to check out our Gamescom After Dark schedule and tune in live!