Beyond a Steel Sky Gamescom 2019 Preview – The Next Great Adventure Game
It's been a long time since Beneath a Steel Sky released, and yet fans still remember and praise it to this day. Despite the decades-long wait for a sequel, the timing is surprisingly perfect. The fall of Telltale Games disappointed many, and the stage is set for a new studio to enter with a refreshing, yet experienced take on how adventure games should play out. Well, Revolution Games are certainly not a new studio, but they are perfectly poised to usher in the next wave of 3D adventure games in the modern era.
Beyond a Steel Sky is the new adventure game which is evolving the franchise after a long hibernation, and with Charles Cecil and Dave Gibbons back to bring their distinct personality and writing to style to the world, it looks set to satisfy old fans and introduce new ones to the story. I got to sit down with Revolution Games at Gamescom 2019, and now I know that we should all be excited for the return of this franchise.
For fans of modern adventure games, the game will already have a familiar feel from watching just small amounts of gameplay. The game is still comic boon inspired and has black outlines on characters and world elements. You'll be walking around in third-person, and interacting with characters and object in the game world to find the way forward, and there are many methods to achieve this.
Levels are designed in typical adventure game style, but with modern considerations. In the modern-day, being able to tackle your objective in any manner is brilliant for players, but older adventure games had a tendency to make certain tasks incredibly obtuse and required lateral thinking. Beyond a Steel Sky melds the two together, with a variety of tasks which will test your wits in addition to your ingenuity.
You are Robert Foster, and your investigation of a missing child has led you to Union City, and the demo I witnessed involved players making their way inside the city walls. You have a clever device which can interact with a variety of machinery, of course, this is a cyberpunk world, and you'll use this to operate switches, interact with computers, and much more. In the demo, it was used to find a way to lower a bridge, before a slightly more intensive puzzle involving distracting a robot and stealing the battery from it's back before making off to jump-start a truck. But the devs tell us that the robot will remember this in the future. Oops.
Before going away we were shown multiple ways of solving some of the puzzles and hinted at giving the player many more options in how to approach and solve puzzles. It gave an almost Hitman-esque flair to the puzzles, where the player was free to solve singular objectives in any manner available to them, though the full scope of the player's options still remains to be seen.
Possibly the best news I heard while chatting with Revolution Games is that a Nintendo Switch version is planned, in addition to launching on Apple Arcade devices, PC, and PlayStation 4/Xbox One. The devs actually lamented to us that they didn't have a 4K screen to show us the game running in high resolution on PC, but even with a 1080p presentation, the world looked incredibly crisp yet detailed.
Beyond a Steel Sky is sure to be a wonderful return to a classic series, but it remains to be seen whether it will be able to capture a brand new audience decades later. But for now, my hopes are high. The game is expected to launch later this year.