I spend a lot of my time wandering around space stations and off-world colonies. They're usually deserted, save for some infected former-people or an AI with some disturbing ideas about just what it should do with that sentience it found between the sofa cushions of its code. This year, I particularly enjoyed Event's unusual take on that familiar scenario, but next year we might be returning to some frights and fights immersive sim-like normality. I already have my eye on Prey and P.A.M.E.L.A., and now I'm adding HEVN [official site] to the list.
I don't know what's happening out there. Maybe that little robot helper is a proper piece of work who'll cycle an airlock while you're in there listening to showtunes, or maybe the mining corporation that runs the place isn't a decent employer. Imagine if the whole game were about the kind of contractual disputes that might genuinely be my favourite part of Alien. Workers on a spaceship discussing unions, pay grades and employee rights makes for a film that is instantly more socially and politically interesting than all the heavy hands and broad messaging of an Elysium will ever be. And Alien has a very good toothy penis monster.
But I digress. HEVN does promise some political concerns, but it's also a proper survival game:
In 2128, the world’s population is struggling for a better future. The Earth is hot, overcrowded, and divided by technology. With no options left, Sebastian Mar decides to join a dangerous celestial mining mission light years away.
Hevn is an immersive, story-driven sci-fi adventure, set on an isolated planetoid orbiting a distant star. As Sebastian, you’ll navigate the physical and political dangers of Nomoni Inc’s highly controversial celestial mining efforts.
​Although assisted by robots and a central AI system, you’ll still have to use your ingenuity to survive. Watch your health, fatigue and mental state to make it by on this faraway rock. But as you find yourself caught up in a twisting story of interstellar intrigue, you might find yourself with more than your own survival on your mind...
Inspired by classic immersive simulations such as System Shock and Deus Ex, Hevn is a survival game with a difference: one that invites you to investigate a series of rich environments and uncover a complex and human story.
Combat is mentioned - "fend off critters" - but I'm hoping this'll be more about exploring, reading, watching, listening and having a think. That'd make it a good alternative to the violent delights of Prey and P.A.M.E.L.A. HEVN is currently on Steam Greenlight.