By Nathan Grayson on September 26th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.
Writing is hard. For instance, that sentence? It took me 37 hours to think up. 43 if you include the time I spent watching that bug live out its entire lifespan. So you can understand why Planetary Annihilation developer Uber isn’t exactly in a rush to reinforce its (so far campaign-less) real-time warmonger-er with reams upon reams of lore. At this point, after all, systems matter first and foremost, and that’s really why most players backed the ludicrously large-scale Total Annihilation spiritual successor anyway. But people don’t just strap rockets to planetoids and play intergalactic bumper cars for no reason, and Uber is in the process of coming up with reasons. They would, however, be oh-so-grateful for a little bit of your assistance.
Here’s the basic backbone of the story, via a post on Planetary Annihilation’s Kickstarter:
“The world of Planetary Annihilation is a complex one. It’s filled with untold numbers of scarred, warring machines with identities molded by the philosophies of their Commander. There are four known factions in the universe, and though every Commander and his troops have assimilated their machine-parts, each has a wildly different outlook on the world.”
“Commanders haven’t always existed. They were built. Then abandoned. Now, they’re coming back from an extended dormancy, long after their creators have moved on. Few Commanders remember scraps of what life was like. Those that can become leaders and begin scouring the cosmos, reactivating other Commanders and converting them to their way of thinking.”
The post contains a fair amount of backstory on one of the factions as well, but it’s still lacking a name and other details. And that’s where players come in. Uber’s opened up a (currently backer-only) message board for both voting and open discussion of factions’ finer points. Player input will apparently drive the faction going forward.
So then, it’s not full fan control, but it’s certainly a more open approach to story than most developers take. Personally, I also think it’d be really interesting if Uber tried incorporating pivotal player matches into official faction lore – or at least squeezing in a few of the more legend, myth, and triumphant-space-jaunty-friendly details. But this is just the beginning, so who knows? Speaking of, the game is officially going into beta sometime today. Have you set yourself on an interplanetary collision course with its strategic bounties?