My next game is one I’m calling Ghost Ship. Here’s the pitch:
It’s the near future. After your death you woke up in a computer, a brain scan activated posthumously to say goodbye to family, turn over crucial information, or as a condition of your will. Once the flurry of bereavement and bureaucracy died down, you were given a choice – request deactivation or spend eternity in a simulated paradise. You took a third way.
Humanity’s interstellar ambition has faltered and stumbled in the face of the sheer hostility of space towards life. But you’re different. You don’t need to breathe, and power is much easier to provide than food or water. Out there in the black, you can find a new purpose, even as you explore how your simulated state is changing you.
Ghost Ship is a game about crews of uploaded minds piloting ships through the solar system, hoping to find fortune and a second life out in space. In part, it’s about the adventure of travelling through the void – the strange hazards of deep space, and the amazing surprises you find on the way.
It’s also about how the experience of ‘dying’ changes you. Your memories of life before the upload give you strength when you draw on them, but as you strain them they can be twisted and altered: you might find yourself remembering your husband’s marriage proposal instead of your wife’s, or even swap a memory with another character.
Finally it’s about how humanity adapts to the stars. As you run missions the solar system will change with you – new colonies will be founded, resources discovered, technology discovered and wars waged.
My fiction touchstones are The Expanse, the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror, and most importantly Elevator Music by The Indelicates.
Gameplay-wise, I’m looking at Torchbearer/Mouse Guard’s adventure/town phase divide, Psi*Run’s memory mechanics, and the way Invisible Inc uses a power economy to make ability choice meaningful.
If you’d be interested in tracking the game’s development, follow this blog or discuss it on our Facebook page!