Studio Black Flag is in fact doing quite a fair bit more than play upon the world orphanage; asking hard-hitting questions, for instance, what a nihilistic take on The Sims would seem like. Or how posterity would judge us, given the chance. Shoot, it’s venturing so far as to turn the 4X genre of game-play into 4E even.
Addressing all the above, Orphan Age brings street level micro-simulation to a lo-fi 2027 ravaged by one too many civil wars. Players begin by creating an orphan, a remnant of war, by hand-picking their choice of Age and Skill.
Either of which come with their set of repercussions; younger orphans might have higher Resource Consumption, poor General Behaviour and/or Maturity, while the older ones are more likely to excel in Social, Physical, Intellectual and Technical skills.
This before the game chooses to slap on an independent, procedurally generated backstory to your created character, sifting through any of the 60 archetypes-cum-traits to render your orphan with personalities ranging from the obsessive-compulsive nanny to a traumatized child with a ravenous appetite.
Then commences the 4X-like campaign except here, Exploration, Exploitation and Expansion ends with Empathy. The evolving open-world of Orphan Age lets you bide time between locating other orphans to bond with, resources to scavenge and an orphanage to build.
Adventures transpire in classic text and choice-based fashion while resources may happen under food, water, medicines, base materials, electronics or junk. Each of these tie into the expansion and growth of the place your group of orphans will come to call home, consequently affecting their mood/developing personalities.
These unique personalities come together anytime there’s a major decision to be taken between the council of orphans pertinent to say, new recruits, disputes or other hazards, in this way branching the story forward.
It’s true that Orphan Age comes with a heavy history both on and off screen; the game has grown from previously a canned project called The Ascent, to what has now managed to secure a couple of game development grants and event appearances à la Gamescom, PAX Paris and Stunfest.
It currently sits on Kickstarter with little less than three days to go, a couple thousand dollars short on its goal, and a completed visual novel prequel made available to backers immediately. If you’re like me and would have preferred the trailer to come with more game-play however, you can partake in a live Q&A with the developers on any of the remaining days.
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