Over the last few months, we’ve gained tremendous amounts of support and new followers, especially on Facebook. So, to welcome them in, today we’ll be going over a lot of stuff that we’ve already covered, basic mechanics, enemies, story, and so on. However, we have a ton of updates that we’re really excited to share with you.
The year is 2530. Earth has seen numerous famines, plagues, and wars; leaving the Earth torn and scarred. It has become extremely apparent that humanity must start leaving our planet if we want to survive. Our first attempt was a mining colony on the moon, which would eventually help construct a dyson-swarm. Its failure looms overhead, rocks floating in space, just in view. This was eventually overcome, as humans built massive ships to begin the colonization of new planets.
You play as Spera, a young woman who has managed to secure passage aboard one of Earth’s first intergalactic cruise liners; Beyond Equilibrium. What should have been a peaceful voyage turns into a hellish nightmare as the onboard AI go rogue, killing hundreds of passengers before releasing a neurotoxin. You watch in horror as people slowly lose control of themselves, becoming obsessed with eating flesh, and reliving their entire lives, unable to stop the madness. But you’ve been infected too, and can feel you sanity ebbing away as you attempt to survive on board the Beyond Equilibrium.
It is a stealth-horror game, and utilizes many key aspects of the genres, including snap-to cover, crouching, and hunting for items. Items include bullets for your gun; batteries for your Taser, flashlight, and security card; a plastic bottle to be used as a make-shift silencer; health packs; or duct tape. There may even be something like a glass or pack of snacks to throw. The inclusion of throw-able items helps change the way the levels function, on the run.
Beyond Equilibrium plays on your fear of the unknown and on having to make choices about the risk and rewards of taking different actions. Although there is much that is unknown in our game, players will not be completely in the dark. Our unique material-based sound allows you to differentiate enemy types and get a basic idea of where they are, even if you can’t see them. You can utilize your items, like a snack pack, by throwing it on the ground causing it to make a sound if it’s stepped on. Then, you can gauge the proximity of enemies, or even lure them somewhere by making lots of noise where you want them to go. But because they can hear you too, every noise you make is detected, and this can end up hurting you a lot. Even in this small instance, there is a lot of risk and reward. This pattern continues throughout the game, and challenges not only your skills as a player, but your ability to think on your feet and to make quick decisions as well.
If you find yourself in a pickle, you can always use your security card to your benefit. This holographic card give you access to most things on the ship, including lights, cameras, locked doors, turrets, air locks, and even some droids. This security card is also wirelessly connected to a contact that you wear. This contact gives you the ability to turn your HUD on and off. However, you’ll want to be careful using it, as it’ll produce light which will alert nearby enemies.
The HUD has obviously changed quite a bit since the last time we showed it. It still retains the security card battery level and ammunition details on the right, while the left shows your gas mask integrity, health, flashlight battery, and inventory. Most notably in the upper left hand corner you can see your stamina gauge, letting you know how much longer you can sprint, slide, tackle, and dodge. This will automatically refill after several seconds without use. Using it will end up making more sound attracting enemies, and slow you down after use. This HUD is also very customizable. You can change the color of it from white to blue, red, green, and gold, along with being able to reorder the different meters on it to better suit your play style.
The neurotoxin will come into play very early, and in order to survive you’ll need the gas mask. As you saw in the HUD, there’s a little box in the upper right hand corner. This tells you the current % of gas in the room. As the gas mask becomes damaged over time, you will begin to take damage from the gas. This is based on a basic formula where you will take 1 point of damage every second when the gas mask is completely broken and the gas is at 100% density in that area. As a result, resource management of your duct tape becomes very important. In fact, smart resource management of every item will be necessary for survival and ease of playing.
Players can find new resources by looting rooms, closets, drawers, trash cans, and so on. This is entirely random, and generally the player won’t find anything useful. This adds to the risk and reward of unlocking rooms. You could find something useful, but you could end up wasting your security card on nothing, or degrading your flashlight’s battery more. This is even assuming the difficulty you’re on allows for finding resources.
You have all four difficulties available from the start; easy, normal, hardcore, and destroyed. There are some minor changes between all of them such as health, speed, damages done, likelihood of certain items spawning, and ease of enemies’ ability to detect you. The hardest difficulty, destroyed, not only gives you shockingly low health and time to be detected, but also will not give any checkpoints or resources spawning. What you start with is what you’ve got.
We don’t mean this to be overly punishing though. The player always the ability to melee, with only a slight cooldown. Passive destroyed speed runs have become incredibly fun to try and watch though.
The levels are an interesting cross between open and linear. There are multiple pathways that generally converge on the same area when needed, but allow for multiple ways of approaching objectives. One pathway may be better suited for going in guns blazing, while another may be better for stealth gameplay. Of course, you never know which one until you try. Exploration is definitely encouraged as it will lead to finding easter eggs, hidden content, collectibles, and more. This will assuredly give speed runners many ways to test out new strats and pathways that may help avoid enemies.
For those times you don’t want to avoid enemies, you can always throw an item or whistle to lure them towards you. Alternatively, if you have a microphone plugged in, you can use that to yell to enemies, drawing them over. With how important sound and noise is in this game, it only makes sense to allow you to use your own voice to interact with the environment. While we are currently unsure if we are going to have the opportunity to make Beyond Equilibrium VR compatible, we do wish to increase your immersion, and we are doing everything we can at this point to be on the cutting edge of the industry, VR included.
Obviously, there will be lots of enemies in the game, and there are a few different types that you will have to learn to deal with. There are three separate factions of enemies that will attempt to control the ship throughout the game, the rogue AI, the infected gassers, and a faction that will be shown much further down the line. None of them will work together, but they will all be working against you. So far, all we’ve talked about is the server droid (shown above), the Garrison, and basic gassers. The server droid is the primary droid that that you’ll face. It has a knife inside of its arm that it will use to stab, slash, and drill you into bite sized pieces. It used to be used for serving food though. The Garrison on the other hand is an experimental project inside of the ship’s labs. It’s truly a behemoth, with a fully functional laser cannon attached. Fortunately, he only appears in some levels.
The gassers are sad creatures. Early in the game, a neurotoxin is released, made from the release of gases by oxygen scrubbers. The ship’s powered down state allows for a buildup, which the AI releases, infecting every human on board. After being infected, gassers slowly regress, becoming trapped within their own mind. They will relive every moment of their lives until they die, helpless, and unable to control a body that is now bent on eating human flesh while digesting itself. Some gassers carry weapons, some don’t, but all of them can hear and see you, much better than a droid. Throughout the game, you won’t just be battling them. Don’t forget you are infected too, and if you let your gas mask go, you will become one.
Here is our first look at the Room Service Droid! Unlike the server droid, he doesn’t have anything on him that can be used as weapons. Instead, his arms and body were built for easy movement and quickly cleaning rooms. His claw-like legs allow him to walk on the walls and ceiling while his torso can come down, making him shorter. He can do basic attacks, but will generally become a moving alarm, alerting other enemies to your presence. He and all the yet unannounced enemy types will surely give Beyond Equilibrium a ton of diversity in the enemy field, and will give you hours’ worth of you learning to detect, fight, and defeat the different archetypes.
Of course, you aren’t the only sane being left on the ship. There are some other characters aboard with you, and they will be working to help you. Captain Elias Bonny is the captain of the Beyond Equilibrium. You meet him very early on, and he ends up giving you your pistol and task. He’ll be helping you along the way, and plays a major part in this story. On top of repairing the bridge, he’ll be helping Alex, another survivor who gets injured in the beginning of the game.
This is Alex Dufresne. You trust him. He saves your life in the first moments of the game, and seems to be the only other survivor than Elias. If you want to get to Eden, you’ll need him. His wit adds some humor to the horrors surrounding you.
And that sums up Beyond Equilibrium so far. We’re quite happy to see the game moving along so smoothly. We wish that we had more art to show you, but we’ve been mainly focusing on massive overhauls on the AI and character controller, something that everyone should enjoy much more when they get their hands on the game.
Speaking of getting your hands on the game, about a year ago we released build 0.3 (or pre-alpha 10) to the public, to fairly positive review. We’re happy to say that we’ll be releasing build 0.7 in about a month for the public to test. Over the past year, we’ve definitely listened to your thoughts and overhauled just about everything, changed our main menu, improved our sound design, and for those who saw several later tests from Fishy Yarpster and Truly Omniscient, the scaling has been fixed as well. We’ve built an entirely new level that’s much better suited for the game out of unfinished modular hallway assets. While rough around the edges, it’ll hopefully give you all a taste of what we’re striving for at Revelations Studios. We’ll be releasing a series of tweets, blogs, Facebook posts, and a YouTube video prior to the release to let you know when it’s coming.
This has been Creative Director, Noah Stavish