Games about a spaceship full of rag-tag scoundrels on the run from the space cops are nothing new. But it’s rare that one pits you as the ship itself—and the passengers you’re carrying aren’t the only ones with a messy past. So goes A Long Journey To An Uncertain End, a strategy management space opera about avoiding a 50-ton starship’s relationship issues.
Currently crowdfunding over on Kickstarter, Long Journey is a narrative space opera debut for developer Crispy Creative, which boasts talent from Obsidian, Telltale Games, and more. Like FTL, you’ll be moving from system to system, evading a stubborn pursuer—though in this case, it’s a jaded lover, and each new world is an opportunity to pick up new crew members and take on jobs to pay for the next jump forwards.
Embodying a sentient spaceship on the run from their ex (presumably, another massive vehicle) is a lovingly daft setup. But more importantly, the game’s developer is making a refreshing stab at crafting a space opera that feels like an honest reflection of human diversity.
In an interview with Glass House Games, creative director Kylan Coats explained that, at previous jobs, coming up with a character outside of the norm always had to come with some sort of justification. In response to that, Crispy uses what they call a “reverse justification diversity matrix” to ensure a healthy spread of identities.
“No character can be cisgender, and heterosexual, and able-bodied, and monogamous,” said Coats. “Everyone has to be something. That was the starting point for thinking ‘what to we make there’ and ‘how do we make characters that don’t feel like tokenism.'”
Coats describes how characters in the game are also rooted in people the team has met in real life, and are all designed to be folks you’d want to go on a road trip with. It should also help the game’s inclusive approach to character creation feel more at home within the game’s world. After all, Cyberpunk might have shouted about letting you craft a transgender V, but it didn’t much matter when the Night City failed to accommodate it.
Having achieved its $40,000 Kickstarter goal this week, Long Journey is now gunning for stretch goals including two new crewmates and a Switch port. Crispy hopes to release the game sometime this year, and there’s a free demo to try out over on Steam and Itch.
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