I first heard about Pandora: First Contact when an RPS commenter linked to it as being 'maybe a bit like Alpha Centauri'. Except that's not true, because I've since remembered that I first heard about the planet-settling turn-based 4X game when frequent RPS contributor and friend-o-person Dan Griliopoulos updated his LinkedIn profile to mention he wrote for the game. Now the game is out.
To prove that this relationship doesn't impact on my ability to be a hard-hitting journalist, I put tough questions to Dan about the game, and I've included his responses along with the launch trailer below.
Because I've been writing for RPS for about a month now and clearly I'm already running low on ideas. Here's the latest trailer:
Graham: Dan! I'm going to write a story on RPS about Pandora First Contact being out and (if it's alright with you, and no worries if not) quote from this chatlog to show that I'm up front about knowing you and to prove that I'm still a hard-hitting journalist I'm going to swear. So tell me something about Pandora, you prick?
Dan "Corrupter of the Week" Griliopoulos: AGH. On the spot!
Okay, it's a bit like a shiny version of Alpha Centauri, with multiplayer, but some nasty little twists. Basically, you're one of six factions landing on this virgin planet. Sadly, most of the factions are horrible, horrible people. I mean, I wrote the religious faction as Scientology-meets-Facebook. Not that scientologists are horrible people, ahahah. Don't hurt me Mr Cruise.
Anyway, there are two very neat things. First, the world starts out peaceful. There are gigantic roaming aliens, sure, but they're happy to just munch the pseudograss until you start screwing the world up with pollution. Second, there's a randomised tech tree, meaning no two games are going to be the same. And that should make multiplayer interesting...
But overall, it's ridiculously rich world. We've sketched out a semi-plausible Fate of the World style future for Earth over the next century, allowing us to send all these nasty extremists over to this virgin planet. And the artist has done a stellar job, the music is just right, and of course the writing makes Borges read like Viz.
Graham: Alright, stop marketing your game now. This will end up making me look even more corrupt. You prick. Is your job title, "Writer"? "Better Than Borges"?
Dan "Writer" Griliopoulos: My job title is Corrupter of the Week. But Writer will do.
Graham: Thanks Dan!