Skyrim was a huge game and a huge success, with so much to do and such a deep RPG experience, it had gamers hooked (and still does) for months. Could you imagine that experience and that engine all put to use in a Sci-Fi adventure, bigger than anything you’d expect from Deus-Ex or other games. Blade Runner meets Fallout with some time travel thrown in for good measure.
Well according to sources from Kotaku, such a game existed. Known as Backspace it was to be created by Obsidian in partnership with Bethesda.
Obsidian, the studio behind Fallout: New Vegas, Alpha Protocol, KOTOR2 and more recently South Park: The Stick of Truth, had a small team designing and prototyping the game in early 2011. The project inevitably didn’t get much further than the design stages but concept art and design documents reveal an ambitious project that would leave most of us salivating for more.
Obsidian boss Feargus Urquhart spoke with Kotaku and explained that Backspace is still on the shelf somewhere.
“Backspace was a project concept that we neither cancelled nor greenlit. We had some great people work on the idea for Backspace for a bit of time and then moved them off to other projects as opportunities came up. We’ve been around for ten years now and have had a bunch of great ideas that we still have sitting around that we may be able to return to in the future.”
According to early design documents, Backspace was to be a single player action-RPG set in the future with simple time travel elements included. The combat would have been similar to that of Skyrim but “slightly faster since there is no concept of blocking”. The gameplay was described as “a mix of Mass Effect, Borderlands and System Shock 2”.
Backspace however wasn’t going to be an open-world game, although players would be able to travel between a number of planets as well as one large space station.
“This station is huge, It can be compared in size to The Citadel of Mass Effect or Babylon 5. The station has several locations devoted to diverse research fields which would allow us to have vegetation overgrowth, high-tech disasters, and mutations of science as visual themes.”
Much like Deus Ex, you’d be thrown into the shoes of a Cyborg, 90% human and 10% machine, who works at a scientific research lab which is attacked by an alien race.
“In the distant future, mankind has colonized the far reaches of the galaxy. Near the center of the galaxy is an enormous space station dedicated to advanced research in a multitude of subjects such as temporal mechanics and nano-cybernetics. The game begins with the station falling under attack from an invading alien force.”
During the attack a disaster would occur, forcing you to hurtle ten years into the future, leaving the game open for a constant flip-flopping back and forth from the time of the attack to a dystopian and dismal, alien-occupied future.
Sounds really good to me, I wonder what caused the game to land on the back burner?