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Fullbright: Tacoma's BioShock Similarities "Not Deliberate"

Gone Home developers Fullbright have shed a little more light on their so-far cryptic follow-up, Tacoma. The space station-set exploration title is due for release in 2016, but gave away little in its announcement trailer. In a forthcoming interview with RPS, Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor revealed that “you can tell from the teaser that it’s in micro-gravity; stuff is floating around. And some of the implications that has for the relationship that the player can have to the space that you’re exploring, that you couldn’t have in a terrestrial setting, is really exciting to us.”
Nonetheless, the game will not be moving away from Gone Home’s focus on human life, and the minutiae of domesticity. “It’s definitely about the lives of the people that inhabit this station that you visit, so a lot of it will be at least wrapped up in how do these people live their everyday lives in this environment. And then the story of them as individuals is going to be what you’re discovering. It’s a very different set of considerations than ‘I am in this house.’”

While Gaynor alludes that “being in a micro-gravity environment is core to the experience in a way that’s not just window-dressing”, he also assures that Tacoma won’t be a complete departure from Gone Home. “I don’t think we’re really interested in some kind of subversive twist like ‘aha, you thought it was going to be this kind of thing but it’s a totally different kind of game.’” Watch out for the bathrooms, though. “I would be comfortable saying, as a totally side-comment, that space toilets might be the final frontier of game interactivity.

Gaynor also addressed apparent similarities between Tacoma’s titular space station and BioShock’s Rapture. “I would say that it is not deliberate, which is to say we started talking about the universe that Tacoma would take place in and why this space station would be here, and it became clear to us that it would be built with some opulence. This is a place that’s built to be impressive and beautiful and gaudy. We were taking visual references from casinos and cruise ships, and once you start building a science fiction video game space with a lot of big classical columns and buildings, it definitely at that point starts to take on some Bioshock vibes.”

That said, the Fullbright team’s earlier work on BioShock 2 may have had an influence. “I have every expectation that our subconscious pushed us in the specific interpretation of classical sci-fi opulence that we went towards. I think that’s also inescapable as us as people having worked on that series for a long time. But it’s definitely not starting from a place of ‘we should totally recreate Rapture’ and this is not intended to be a direct reference to that.”

Gaynor also acknowledged another elephant in the room “obviously System Shock was one of the reference points that you can’t not at least be considering.”

The full interview with Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor, in which he also discusses being a ‘socially-conscious’ developer, the transition from an Earthly environment and architecture to a more fantastical one, and the need for locked doors to guide the player, will be available here from 1pm UK time today.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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