The Long Journey Home is, seemingly, a game built for me. This is a semi-rogeulike space exploration sim with alien races, permanent death, a dialogue system, ship management, crew management, planet exploration and a unique take on space flight.
Talk about a rundown.
I sat down with Creative Director Andreas Suika, and he took me through as much of The Long Journey Home as he could during my half hour appointment.
You’ll start your game in The Long Journey Home by selecting your four person crew and a planetary lander. From there, you’ll make humanity’s first light jump and, well, fail.
You’ll be stranded on the other side of the randomly generated galaxy with a ship that’s in a state of falling apart. It’s your job to move from planet to planet, explore, gather resources, meet alien races and keep your ship as fixed as it can be on your journey back to earth. If all your crew members die or your main ship falls apart too much to travel, it’s game over.
The Long Journey Home seems like many games built into one package. Flying your ship while in systems means navigating gravity wells created by heavenly bodies. Do it right, and you can use gravity to slingshot your way around. Do it wrong, and you can actually run out of fuel and find yourself stranded in space.
Once you approach a planet, you can put one crew member in your lander and send them to the surface. At that point, you’re navigating your lander on a 2D plane in a 3D space, quite like old Lunar Lander games that require the right amount of thrust and control to land without crashing. Crash your lander, and it’s gone along with the crew member. You might meet an alien race that can build you another one… or you might not.
Since everything’s randomly generated, each planet is different. It’s totally possible that you land on a planet with something worth investigating. You might investigate it and find that you’ve opened up a completely new story path that’s worth exploring. These stories make up the bulk of The Long Journey Home. They’ll push you to make decisions, like accepting cargo or a passenger or perhaps stealing an artifact that may help your ship.
The decisions crop up when you meet other alien races. There are a vast pile of them, and their characteristics are always the same. However, which aliens are generated for your particular game is random. Aliens each have their own tendencies and relationships, so befriending one alien race might make another your enemy. Or, having a stolen artifact on your ship might upset a few alien races. They might refuse to help you, they might not trade with you or they might even attack you when they see you.
You’ll jump from system to system, and then you’ll hit gates constructed by a long forgotten race and maintained by a swarm of robots that may or may not be bad. The gates connect nebulas, and they represent your big jumps in order to move further across the galaxy in an effort to get home. These gates are also typically home to major story events and trading posts.
A typical play through of The Long Journey Home will last between four and six hours. The game’s difficulty naturally scales up as your ship falls apart. It’s harder to control and survive, despite the fact that the galaxy around you is presenting the same rate of problems.
One last cool tidbit: your galaxy is generated based on a string of characters you enter once you start your game. That string will always generate the same galaxy, so you can share your randomly generated galaxy with others in order to let them experience it for themselves.
The Long Journey Home is slated to hit the PC later in 2016. Daedalic aims to put it on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 early next year.