Oh goodness gracious does Halfway ever look fully scrumptious. Think XCOM’s brand of spooky, dread-dripping turn-based tactics but in spaaaaaaaaaaace, and you’ll be on the right track. It’s also far more intimate, with you struggling through dank corridors to take back your ship from a mysterious alien force. So maybe there’s a little, er, Alien in there as well. It is, however, much more overtly story focused than other games in the genre, for better or worse, though what I’ve seen so far definitely lands in the former category. Oh, and that interface. Mmmm, yes. Do you think “Will you marry me?” is an appropriate ice-breaker?
Here’s the basic premise from developer Robotality:
“At the heart of the game are tactical gun fights. Battles are conducted in a typical turn-based manner with transparent but interesting tactical decisions. The whole game is entrenched in an engrossing storyline that unfolds more and more the deeper the player delves into the game. Your squad will be built out of distinct characters you pick up along your journey, each with their own part to play in the whole story. You will develop skills and find items as you uncover all the corners of the spaceship, adding a touch of RPG elements to the game.”
So, after awakening from cryo-sleep to find that pretty much everyone else you know is either (brutally, bloodily) dead or gone, you begin creeping about, scrambling for some paper-thin sliver of survival. As you progress, you’ll assemble a ramshackle squad and uncover more about what exactly is going on. I am guessing the aliens just wanted to invite you to a bake sale, but I could be way off-base.
For those who’d rather steer clear of all that and forever be haunted by mystery (or, you know, just do more after they’ve finished the single-player story), there’ll also be a highly flexible level editor and full mod support. Speaking of, Robotality also discussed their approach to level creation, and it’s something I can definitely get behind:
“All of Halfway’s levels are completely hand-crafted. We don’t use anything procedural to create the levels. We feel strongly this is the way to go for the game. Interestingly enough, we had a procedural generator in the early days, but soon decided against it. By manually designing the levels, we felt we had much better control over storytelling and the flexibility needed to create the detailed and atmospheric environment we had in mind.”
Halfway will be out later this year. Like everything else ever. Kind of makes me wish reality was turn-based. Maybe then I’d be able to strategically plan my life around actually playing all of this stuff.