Tacoma Is The New Game From The Makers Of Gone Home

In space, no one can hear you EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeee

Another first-person walking simulator in which you play a person in a coma? Oh n– Wait. In Tacoma – and from The Fullbright Company, those who made Gone Home. Tacoma reveal trailer suggests a similar style, but this time you will be playing as a female astronaut tasked with exploring the eponymous lunar transfer station.

The minute-and-a-half-long clip doesn’t reveal much, but what can be seen of Tacoma is lovely indeed: a gold space structure that has just a tinge of Rapture in its genetic history. There’s a thoughtful loneliness to the video that makes me think about Gone Home too, although that could just be confirmation bias. Either way, information is currently very scant but what little is known seems succulent indeed. According to a blog post, the developers will be looking to solve the “problems of how story exploration gameplay works in microgravity.” Tacoma will also be exploring a near-future timeline where an extraterrestrial structure of this nature might exist. It will examine what such a location might look like, and how its inhabitants deal with being stuck where no one can hear you scream, “I’m bored, damn it.”

Gone Home’s deeply personal narrative was its biggest strength. It was a story about home, about the people we know, and the people we hear about in the news. That made it a story we can empathize with, and something rare within videogames. With Tacoma, I’m praying we’ll see shades of that again, broadened to encompass a space-faring crew and the tribulations of living so far away from home.

Tacoma is scheduled for a 2016 release.

66 Comments

  1. padger says:

    Hey, didn’t Steve Gaynor tweet saying that some indie studio should remake System Shock, like a year ago? Following your own suggestions, Mr G?

    (I’m not expecting this to be anything more than Gone Home With More Stuff On The Moon.)

  2. Creeping Death says:

    “female astronaut”

    I don’t know why but the fact you had to make that distinction really bothers me. Would it not have been enough to simply say “astronaut”? After all it is not exactly unheard of for women to go into space. There’s been quite a few after all.

    • Melody says:

      Yeah, but “female protagonist in a videogame” is also what she was getting at.

      • Creeping Death says:

        Hmm I suppose.

        I guess I just misinterpreted the way it was written in my mind.

    • montorsi says:

      Says more about you than her choice of wording, honestly.

      • Creeping Death says:

        Oh this should be good. What exactly does it say about me then, Omnipresent Internet person?

    • Cassandra Khaw says:

      Honestly, I’d have said female regardless. Female protagonists aren’t non-existent, but they’re still rare enough. By default, most people think “male” when they think of a character of a video game and given how often people clamor for female protagonists, I figured that saying “female astronaut” works.

      The alternative would have been: female protagonist who is an astronaut but that’s ruddy clumsy.

      • Barberetti says:

        Female Protastronaut.

      • Creeping Death says:

        It’s a shame the protagonist isn’t named, as “firstname surname, an astronaut” would be the ideal way to present it.

        This whole thing now has me trying to think of a videogame I’ve played where gender actually REALLY matters. I don’t think many would change with a gender swap. Shame gender choice on game launch isn’t a standard really because now I have the idea of a female Sam Fisher Splinter Cell that I really want to play.

        • Jeroen D Stout says:

          There are a lot of characters where you can argue gender, skin colour, sexual oritentation, &c, does not matter but which have nevertheless not been represented by a diverse group. I think from that it is significant; a sort-of ‘if it doesn’t matter it’ll probably be a white man’ attitude which by itself makes it special when characters break that mould.

        • Cassandra Khaw says:

          That would be perfect, really. And exactly how I’d write it if a name existed. :/

        • Yglorba says:

          I think that for most well-written characters, their gender totally does matter. I mean, for most real-world people, gender certainly matters! If you rewrote Citizen Kane or Hamlet with a female protagonist, it would probably come across differently.

          (I think that this is part of the confusion some people are having — they read “gender-equality” as meaning “gender shouldn’t matter at all, ever.” Of course it should matters! Telling people “you cannot define yourself as a man / as a woman” or “your definition of yourself as a man / woman has no meaning” is neither feasible nor desirable. Instead, equality is about letting people decide what their gender means — and how much importance they’ll attach to it — for themselves.)

          In terms of selectable-gender protagonists, I thought that Saint’s Row 3 / 4 did a really good job — their voice-overs give each gender (and each racial / ethic background) its own meaning, with lots of little details slipped into each so it doesn’t just feel like you’re substituting one character model for another. Every iteration of the Boss is the same on some level, of course, but they express it differently.

          One of the problems I have with the Elder Scrolls games, say, is that your character is a bland cypher with no personality. The fact that their gender (and race, and physical description) is interchangeable is, in this case, just a symptom of that.

          And of course that’s before you get to the fact that it matters in the real world even for people who don’t want it to — it’s like Stephen Colbert’s joke about how he doesn’t see race. Pretending that you’ve completely transcended race or gender just means that you’re not going to see the effects that your own background has on you.

      • Chalky says:

        What sex was the protagonist in myst? I don’t understand why an unseen protagonist has to be specified in any way what so ever.

        Also, I’ve never seen anyone describe portals as a “game in which you play a female test subject” because the sex of the protagonist is precisely as important as you choose to make it.

        • lokimotive says:

          This game is neither Myst nor Portal, and the ‘unseen protagonist’ may have more of a personality than either of the protagonists in those games. Considering this game won’t be out for more than a year, it’s difficult to fault the inclusion of the gender of the protagonist in the press material. It may very well be important to the story.

          I suppose you’re right that ‘the sex of the protagonist is precisely as important as you choose to make it,’ but it is a characteristic that has an impact in the game for those of us that enjoy looking beyond the gameplay of a game. For example, one couldn’t say that Portal represents a mother/son relationship.

          • Chalky says:

            Yep. It may well become evident that it is important to the story at which point it would be useful to articles to draw attention to it. Prior to that, I’d prefer to live in a world where we don’t have to say “I’m an astronaut” then have to qualify it with “but a female one” as if it makes a tangible difference to the concept of being an astronaut.

            I know I don’t live in that world but it would be lovely to pretend that we do from time to time, like we did with portal, where I felt like nobody batted an eyelid about the fact that the main character was female because it’s perfectly normal.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            Tacoma reveal trailer suggests a similar style, but this time you will be playing as a female astronaut tasked with exploring the eponymous lunar transfer station.

            – I see no problems with this sentence

          • Chalky says:

            “A blonde astronaut” would be an unusual thing to say in your opinion?

            That’s because people don’t consider being blonde relevant to the job of being an astronaut. For me, the sentence further cements the idea that a woman being an astronaut is weird and noteworthy. I’d like that not to be the case. Evidently you’re happy with it and that’s cool too.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            I don’t believe it does present anything

            I think you may not understand “but this time”

            it’s not but it’s a woman

            but it’s not quite the same setting as gone home

            “For me, the sentence further cements the idea that a woman being an astronaut is weird and noteworthy.”

            I don’t rightly see how, your response says that more to me about you, than it does the article.

            The usage of female to me is fine considering we don’t have a name (most names are specifically sexed) and that we don’t see the person, IRL I don’t say male because me being male is perfectly visible to the person i’m talking to, this article is a third hand account.

            if you were speaking directly to a female astronaut, she’d probably assume you could tell without needing to point it out.

          • Chalky says:

            I wish they’d thought to invent the term astronautess, it would save time when distinguishing between an astronaut and a female astronaut.

          • ahac says:

            Let’s be honest here… there is a very vocal group of people who will buy the game only because it has a female protagonist and they’d never buy it if the astronaut was a dude. That’s why it’s important to make that clear from the start.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            @ ahac: Yep, it’s pretty clear who they’ll be marketing this game towards.

          • Melody says:

            I’ve found a live male specimen of human being who won’t buy games with a fixed female protagonist
            link to steamcommunity.com

            (warning: clicking that link may lower your IQ)

            but I have yet to find a live female specimen, also known as speciwomen, who won’t buy games with a fixed male protagonist. Or really, the other two combinations. And Trans people. And genderqueer people. Etc.

            It just so happens that human beings have this thing called empathy (apparently not every human being) that lets them play games, read books and watch films in which the protagonist is not exactly like them, because of differences of race, gender, sexuality, body type, height, philosophical and religious belief, interests, specific expertise, hair and eye colour etc.

  3. Melody says:

    So, where do i throw my money?

    • Hex says:

      At me, pls.

      I’m unrelated to the development of this or any game, but I am poor….

  4. Anthile says:

    Looks like 2015/2016 will be the year of the space station.

  5. Low Life says:

    I love tacos so I’m sure I’m going to enjoy this one.

    Also because I’m quite confident in Fullbright.

  6. Modifier says:

    Walking simulator you say? This term needs to be kicked out and stamped with something far more accurate. These walking simulators are some of the worst simulations I have ever witnessed! To begin with, I can’t even see my legs when I look below the waistline. Could you imagine a flight simulator without planes, or a train simulator without trains?

    Maybe we could call them invisible floating camera simulators? That would be a step in the right direction. Sorry for the knee jerk reaction, but I have to take this in my stride and stand up to it.

    • Razumen says:

      Exactly, what’s the point If you can’t stare at your feet for half the time because there’s really nothing else to look at? No other “walking” simulator has quite captured the reality of the exercise if I may say so.

  7. Frank says:

    Wish you RPS folks would embed youtube videos correctly. Always have to click through to youtube.com for full screen.

    • Razumen says:

      Full screen works for me, and I’m using IE11 (ouch)

    • phuzz says:

      Works fine for me in Firefox. What browser and OS are you using?

      • ScottTFrazer says:

        Chrome on OS X has no fullscreen button for the video. There’s a YouTube button, so you can click that to open the video on youtube.com and then click the fullscreen button, so it’s not impossible, but it’s an extra couple of steps.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Yep, the fullscreen button is missing in Chrome here too, with Win 7.

      • Frank says:

        Yup, Chrome Win 7. Google sure knows how to silo its projects so they don’t play nice together.

  8. Jamesworkshop says:

    Is this a Halo trailer

    because it’s pretty spartan

  9. SkittleDiddler says:

    Do what you know, I suppose.

  10. phuzz says:

    From just the picture at the top of the article it’s giving me Starship Titanic vibes.

  11. Havalynii says:

    Barf.

  12. Ham Solo says:

    This looks nice. And I like the player character’s voice, too.

    • cyrenic says:

      SPOILERS BELOW?

      That’s the same voice actress as Sam from Gone Home. I’m going to blindly speculate they might be continuing her story in this game. Reminds me of the Ico universe a bit.

      • Melody says:

        A girl in the early 90s eloped with her girlfriend… to space?
        An unusual turn of events indeed.

      • Bolegium says:

        Actually the voice actor in Tacoma is Fryda Wolff – link to twitter.com
        The actor for Sam in Gone Home is Sarah Grayson

        Having said that, this being set in the future and a Steve ‘Cyberpunk’ Gaynor directed game and all, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sam settled down, got recruited by whatever mega-corporation runs Space exploration and got some sweet combat grade voice augmentation. Hence the different voice for the astronaut who obviously is Sam.

  13. Jason Moyer says:

    2016? Is there any reason whatsoever to even know about this now? I adore Gone Home, but jesus.

    • Distec says:

      Gives them enough time to set up expectations for a contemplative experience… and then blow them away with a 2016 trailer that spoils the Rocket Launcher you’ll get on Level 9 before the alien boss.

  14. Kefren says:

    Erm… is the first sentence a spoiler for Gone Home? I own it but haven’t played it yet. Reading the first sentence of this article I cannot now unread it, and worry that I’ve just had the major twist revealed.

    • Distec says:

      Noep! Depending on your tastes, it could put you into one though.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      No.

      And aside from the ghosts there are no twists in Gone Home. It’s a pretty straight forward story.

      • Kefren says:

        There are ghosts in it? No, don’t answer, I shouldn’t have asked… My own fault. I try to know as little as possible about some games and films and buy them just on a recommendation and knowledge of the genre and some concept (e.g. someone goes home and their family seem to be missing), and enjoy finding everything else out through playing.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Honesty time now, I promise. No ghosts. I was pulling you leg (as well as Steve Gaynors). It’s an ancient joke from when the game was being made. Some people started talking about the ghosts in the game and Steve Gaynor tried to quash it time and again and eventually people sort of just started saying it to mess with him.

          No ghosts. If ‘a person looking for her family’ is the premise you’re entering with, that’s all good. Need nothing more, nothing less. The game will tell you the rest.

  15. oyog says:

    I just hope they remember to put mirrors in the game.

  16. felisc says:

    With such a name they’d better get some John Fahey in the soundtrack. Yes.

  17. Stellar Duck says:

    So, how in gods name am I supposed to be able to wait until 2016 for this?

    This game combines space with Steve Gaynor/Fullbright, two of my favourite things. Give me the game now!

  18. alms says:

    Sees 2016, heart sinks.

  19. muelnet says:

    The real question is, will it have the aroma of Tacoma

  20. statistx says:

    Liked Gone Home but not too hyped about this setting.
    I’d prefer something with a more realistic space station and not gold trimmed rapture-esque ones.

  21. Vesuvius says:

    While I’m excited to see another game by these makers, I’m pretty pessimistic seeing the Virgin / Tesla product placement featured so prominently in the trailer.

  22. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    Were I even more cynical than I am, I’d say: Wow! A version of Gone Home without any of the things that made Gone Home succesful!