You know what are underrated? Nouns. The new trailer for “noir spaceship life sim” Ostranauts introduces the game’s scifi world in which you design a ship, captain its crew, and tinker with control panels, and its full of excellent fictional nouns, both proper and common. “I’ve smuggled contraband Lusca out of Atlantis,” says the narrator, and I instantly want to do the same.
An onscreen info box notes that Lusca are “multicellular alien life forms discovered on the subsurface ocean of Europa.” They look like squid, a bit. The narrator continues with, “I’ve traded hacked Ubiq telecom nodes to the K-leg shipbreakers, for grey market Tokamaks.” Say it out loud – these syllables in your mouth are delicious.
It’s not just the nouns that make me all-in on Ostranauts. It’s being developed by Blue Bottle Games, the creators of Neo Scavenger, one of my favourite games of, well, ever. In Neo Scavenger, you stumble outside after a cryogenic sleep into a ruined earth where you’re as likely to be eaten by cannibals as you are to eat some poison berries and freeze to death in an abandoned car. Ostranauts is set in the same universe, and looks to have the same simulationist streak to how it constructs its spaceships and the emotional and physical needs of its crew members. I’m hoping it has the same potential for dramatic and funny anecdotes.
If none of that sells you on it, then consider that Ostranauts seems as if it’s occupying a similar space to RimWorld, with a crew in a physically precarious situation who have moods and personalities that seem destined to collide.
Ostranauts is being published by Modern Wolf and got its first trailer back in February, which shows more of its actual on-ship goings on. It’s due for release in early 2020 and you can wishlist it on Steam now.