PSX-style graphics may be in vogue, but you all know that mid ’90s DOS aesthetics are where its at. Textures where you can count the pixels at a glance, colour-banding as 8-bit VGA colour struggles to depict light sources, and lots of chunky polygons. Synther, from Polish indie dev Neofuturism looks a lot like Deus Ex, but released a few years before those fancy-pants 3D accelerator cards caught on. If all goes to plan it should be out later this year.
According to development blogs on Game Jolt, Synther was once known as Agent: First Person Hardcore Detective Simulator. Probably a change for the better, all said. Set in an open-world urban island full of nooks, crannies and alleys to go snooping down, you play as a corporate agent, remotely controlling a ‘servo-savant’ (whatever one of those is) to carry out a contract of some description. Get in, find out who’s doing what, where and why, get out and get paid. All it needs is some dangerous technodame knocking on your cyber-future office door to complete the look.
Interestingly, Synther promises a focus on detective-work, with you poking around for clues to lead your to your next objective. Unlike most immersive sims, most of the main mission objectives are randomised as well, meaning that you’ll actually have to sleuth things out for yourself rather than consulting a walkthrough. The modern elements keep on piling up with mention of the game being ‘almost permadeath’, and that your character’s remote body has a finite lifespan, meaning you’ve got an ever-ticking clock on top of the usual threats to your virtual gumshoe.
There’s some other intriguing elements listed, including mention that the game uses ‘the famous Standard Galactic Alphabet’, which I’m assuming is a reference to the alien script used in the Commander Keen series, and which has popped up in a few other places. While you could learn this alphabet and read it directly, your little hand-held computer doodad will apparently translate it back into English for you. An offbeat design decision, but it’s very indulgently ’90s, so I can’t really find fault, considering the game’s aesthetic.
Synther will apparently be launching in the fourth quarter of 2018, published by Polish outfit Fat Dog Games. You can wishlist it on Steam here.
Credit to @azultain1999 on Twitter for pointing this one out.