Fullbright, the developer of 2013 indie title Gone Home, will release space exploration game Tacoma for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC in 2016.
In Tacoma, gamers will take on the role of Amy Ferrier, who arrives on a commercial lunar station to find out that the entire crew is missing. It is up to the gamer to explore the abandoned station and find out what happened.
Just like Gone Home, Tacoma involves the exploration of a huge but empty space, acquiring objects and listening to discovered audio files. Compared to Gone Home protagonist Katie, Amy is more active, as being a technician, she has the ability to fix things around her.
While Gone Home was an earthly mystery that focused on the relationships within a family, Tacoma takes the mystery up to space while maintaining the drama that made Gone Home a cult classic.
The science fiction environment of Tacoma allowed the game to introduce new mechanics, such as the usage of augmented reality logs. Upon playing one of these logs, a simulation is launched wherein figures that represent missing crew members interact with each other and have conversations that the player can watch and listen to.
These augmented reality logs open up a lot of possibilities for Tacoma's gameplay, and are a vital component of the title. They are already found right at the start of the game, as played in the demonstration of Tacoma.
Another new mechanic for Tacoma's gameplay is surface transfer. Gamers can detach from the station's magnetized surface for a short time, allowing them to travel to previously unreachable terrain using gravity. Applications include travelling through overhead tunnels, making gamers have to always study their surroundings to see if there are any other locations that could be of interest.
A playthrough by The Verge reveals that Tacoma feels low-key, with an unhurried pace and no combat in the game that allows players to take their time in exploring without any consequences.
The biggest question for Tacoma is if it would still be able to draw in gamers in the same way that Gone Home did when it took players through an emotional roller coaster. The demonstration of the game looks promising, but that question will not be answered until next year when Tacoma is finally released.