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Beyond a Steel Sky (Beneath a Steel Sky sequel)

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Joined 2018-03-07

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Two behind the scenes developer diaries for Beyond a Steel Sky giving an overview of the game and the new mechanics they’re introducing in the sequel. Charles Cecil calls it their “most ambitious adventure” and says he hopes Beyond a Steel Sky “redefines the adventure genre.”

Also here’s a well written preview for the game by PC Invasion where they break down some of the puzzle design in the game:

“This is an unabashed adventure game,” Cecil said while demonstrating the game.

There’s a lot of backstory involved with the first puzzle, which actually consists of several puzzles. In short, you need to catch a ride with a trucker to get past the front gates of Union City, but the trucker burned out his battery while waiting out a passing dust storm. The trucker passed the hard-to-replace battery on to a technician to repair, but you discover that the technician is actually a fraud who utterly destroyed it instead of fixing it. So, in the typical adventure game fashion, you have to get creative in finding him a replacement.

This includes manipulating scavenger birds called gang-gangs, particularly the “thieving gang-gang” to get a needed tool back. By solving a different puzzle earlier, players know that gang-gangs are greedy for food, aggressive, but can be scared off by loud noises. Armed with that knowledge, players have multiple solutions to this problem.

Approaching the bird directly causes it to fly away with the tool. So, Cecil had Foster pull some food from his bag, which caused the gang-gang to give up his ill-gotten loot and follow him around. It also ended up attracting a gaggle of gang-gangs, which followed him around as though he were the Pied Piper.

After picking up the tool, he explained that other solutions included throwing the sausage onto a cliffside, then summoning a hologram to scare it away. Yet another way solution includes throwing the food at an electrified fence. Suffice it to say, things don’t end well for the bird when this happens, but the player still gets the tool.

The point is, players aren’t forced into a solution that might feel nonsensical. They discover the rules that govern each NPC’s behavior and can employ multiple solutions to exploit them. As a result, solutions feel organic and somewhat open-ended.

     

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