Salvaged is Duskers with camera-wearing space soldiers

There’s a famous scene in Aliens where Ripley and the company men watch as the marines make their way through a derelict colony base, giving orders and eventually seeing them succumb to untold numbers of xenomorphs over their helmet cams. Salvaged [official site] is that idea extracted and put into a videogame. You play a commander who controls and observes AI soldiers as they sweep different spaceships for bits and pieces, investigating what went wrong. It looks a lot like Duskers, but with burly men instead of poor, doomed robots. It’s out today on Steam early access and you can see how it works in the trailer below.

As you take your salvage crew from ship to ship, you upgrade and customise them, giving them new weapons and armour. You can see the four-person team on a split-screen feed in front of you at all times, but you also have to twiddle buttons and command them to go from place to place. The early access page says it currently has a complete 8 to 15 hour campaign mode built-in, and it can also be played on Oculus VR. If there isn’t a climactic moment in the game when something big and slimy starts knocking on your own door, forcing you to leave the command desk and do some fighting/fleeing for yourself, I will be disappointed.

If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because we first spotted Salvaged back in 2014, when it had just come out of the design womb as a “two screen game” – using a touchscreen tablet to issue commands as the action unravelled on another monitor. There was a failed Kickstarter, but it looks like the team managed to get it moving anyway and it looks to have come a long way, visually at least. They are still planning to add full tablet control in future updates, but for now it is a 20-level scramble for survival. I’ll probably pop in for this week’s Premature Evaluation and see if shouting “GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE” at computer-controlled spacemen works as well as it did for Ripley and co.


  1. Sin Vega says:

    Stumbled across this while looking for games about salvage, of which there are almost none (incidentally what brought me to Cataclysm), a situation that was also true of survival games a few years ago. Maybe this will do a Day Z and turn salvage into the new mandatory gimmick for all games. Or just be a fun game, whatever.

  2. NetharSpinos says:

    Game over man, game over!

    Am I doing it right?

    (Also, goodness me, what an epilepsy-inducing trailer.)

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Did the game slide into another universe at the end there?

  3. Khoryos says:

    So we’ve finally cycled all the way back around to Hired Guns?

    • neems says:

      Oh man Hired Guns was awesome, I remember playing that with my neighbour on my Amiga 1200, great game.

    • Kefren says:

      I still love Hired guns. I even enjoyed reading the manuals and doing the tutorials. Only played it co-op a few times, but that was great. A superb and scary campaign – the panic when I fell in the water and my laser weapons melted as sharks closed in! May go and have another bash at it. Amazing how intuitive it became to control 4 people, whether with mouse or joystick.

      • jj2112 says:

        The music was so great! And in my old age I still remember one of the main characters’ name, Desverger.

        • Kefren says:

          Was he the one with the flat-brimmed hat? I remember the robots, Cim and Cim-Lite I think. Cool because they could survive underwater.
          Yep, top music.

    • MajorLag says:

      I was thinking Space Hulk myself. Everything old is new again.

      • Kefren says:

        Yep, that fits. A very good game, though I liked the complexity of Hired Guns slightly more.

    • thedosbox says:

      Heh, I was wondering why Salvaged seemed familiar. Signal Ops has been on my wishlist for awhile, so I should have realized sooner.

  4. Turkey says:

    Is game AI technology at the point where this won’t be super frustrating?

    • Sin Vega says:

      SWAT 4 had AI lackeys who could be delegated to somewhat, and that was over three million internet years ago. Hopefully a game like this could really go to town and help push AI forward a bit.

      • DailyFrankPeter says:

        I don’t think game code is passed on through generations like that. :)

    • allthegoodonesweretaken2 says:

      Not while truly innovative AI like in Third Eye Crime completely slips under the radar

  5. Kefren says:

    The idea also resembles Deadnaut. link to Deadnaut was heavy on atmosphere, but confusing and hard to actually play/understand.

    • snv says:

      Thats the one. I also thought this looks way more like Deadnauts than Duskers, with the contracts, without the console control, being about people instead of robots and with the look of the command station beeing similar to the one of Deadnauts.

      Also that “music” in the video hopefully is not an indication of the game designers other choices.

  6. oyog says:

    As an aside I’d like to take a moment of silence for a game that never quite made it into development and hope that in some alternate reality it did.

    I dearly hope that some day in the future The Salvage’s artist finds a programmer to help finish it. It looked absolutely incredible.

  7. fish99 says:

    Does the game have a pushy female advisor who yells “Do something, Gorman!” at you?