The sci-fi adventure genre as a whole this generation seemed to have slipped on what fans would define the category towards playing new titles following the release of 2017’s Mass Effect: Andromeda and this year’s Anthem. While both games are developed by landmark developer BioWare, fans who looked forward to playing both projects, for the most part, came out vocally denouncing the two to being foreign from what the Electronic Arts studio usually produces last generation for this genre.
And while fans are less hopeful seeing that now both games have not met the higher expactations ranked for the titles prior to launch, this left a window for a new game and/or developer to take the position Bioware paved nearly a decade before. Specifically, I’m referencing towards Elder Games’ Everreach: Project Eden which I got to play at PAX West last weekend.
Set during an specified time in the future, the story follows security agent Nora Harwood who must clease planet Eden of its hostile inhabitants in effort to make the lushious world into a luxury getaway for humanity. In the midst of the Everreach agent purging Eden, she stumbles upon native technology that does not welcome her prescence alongside discovering a civil war between two ancient alien factions that are indigenous to the planet.
Speaking with CEO of publisher Headup Games’ Dieter Schoeller on the show floor, he was helpful to answer my questions for the game looking how close the game looks to launching later this Fall. Everreach alike the titles its attempting to be a spiritual sucessor of is a third-person, over-the-shoulder shooter with RPG elements inbedded in the core gameplay. While the project does from the first look hold influences close during its demostration, Everreach however includes a layer of “tactical gameplay” that makes the title unique when in contrast.
As already said that the game is a third-person shooter, traditional gameplay aspects such as shooting and taking cover is only the base surface that the game offers. Schoeller explains that the core game changer for Everreach revolves around your side buddy robot that plays as a helpful companion on your experience on the uncharted planet. Generally, this miniature machine can help with hostile enemies either by being deployed as bait or be initiaited for offensive combat.
Schoeller goes into detail that “the side buddy robot can be upgraded towards the user’s preferred play style – that either being offensive or leaning more towards defense.”
However, the robot is also a story dynamic as he can also participate during the main plot’s progression. What Schoeller means by that is it adds dialogue to make the game breathe life with short quips or relaying a relatable expression to make the player feel as if they are part of the experience. Avoiding the game from being painted as a carbon copy, Elder Games managed to obtain personas within the sci-fi universe to assist in the game’s development.
For instance, former BioWare Narrative QA Michelle Clough has been confirmed to utilize her prior work on the Mass Effect trilogy to assist in the storyline for Everreach. Alongside the ex developer, Mai-Ahn Tran whos artistic specialtize worked on 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond is also involved with the upcoming game surrounding the world’s visual design.
Asking what exacly redefines the game, this time through the project’s overall story, Schoeller ephasizes on the size of the game’s development. “Small team production,” he specifies in response to me asking. Stating that the game is expected to be an seven hour experience, the title does offer multiple endings upon completion. Roughly four endings: possibly six as there are two potential side conclusions.
The 20-minute demo for the most part introduced the world following Harwood’s abrupt crash landing and experimenting with the game’s combat mechanics after arriving on Eden. Bouncing from a splurge of different energy-based weapons, the part that truly took show floor attendees by surprise when playing was the concluding chase scene involving Nora straddling a hover bike as she races away from hostile fire. Commening with Schoeller during the segmant, he took me by surprise when he clarified that the game is using Unity: especially looking at the amount of detail that makes up Eden’s composition, I would have assumed the game is an Unreal Engine 4 project.
One thing that kept me interested was how the team decided to title the game, “Everreach: Project Eden.” Quickly reading that lead me to the assumption that this game could be planned to include multiple installments following the launch of Project Eden. Schoeller explains that the game was initially labelled “Eden,” but following the popularity of the name then resulted with “Everreach to be added to the official title. Additionally, the team would look to making a sequel, but that will be determined following the game’s reception.
Reading the comments of the project’s announcement trailer which was uploaded back in July, majority of viewers accepted the title to plausibaly be the game that takes the helm for sci-fi adventure titles from BioWare. Which then primed me to press Schoeller on the possibility of the game inheriting the status BioWare currently holds in regards to developing said games, he explains that if the title does gain a surpluss amount of traction, Headsup Games is prepared to take that responsibility.
“If [Everreach] does kick off exceeding expectations at launch, we [Headup Games] already have experience with series that grew to that size,” Schoeller makes apparent to me. “Me along with a few others at Headup have worked at Ubisoft prior to forming the team – so we know how to work with big series already.” “Headup Games already has one big franchise: Bridge Constructor. Our first-hand experience with a big title came when the game’s creator decided to do the Portal crossover.”
Everreach: Project Eden is scheduled to release sometime in Q4 2019: listed for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. You can go to the game’s Steam page and add it to your wishlist by going here.