If there's one thing that's quickly approaching zombie-levels of saturation, it's the recent trend of early access through crowdfunding. More and more games are beginning to adopt this method of funding despite the inherent risks and shaky reputation. Hoping to stand out from the growing crowd, MechWarrior Online developer Piranha Games has revealed their new project: a sci-fi MMO by the name of Transverse.
Taking place in the furthest reaches of space - the Fringe - Transverse depicts a future in which humanity has developed to the point of self-modification in the form of synthetic bodies and technological augmentation. As they have moved towards molding themselves into their perception of the ideal human form, conflict invariably broke out and drove these factions against one another. This conflict of what it means to be "human" is what drives players exploring the Fringe.
Taking a cue from sci-fi gaming giant EVE Online, Transverse will find players taking to the stars in all manner of spacecraft, as they forge a future for both themselves and their faction. This title will follow in the aforementioned game's footsteps by presenting players with a sector of space in the form of a persistent MMO sandbox that will boast a dynamic economy and resource ecosystem, as well as player-made missions.
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Player choice will come in the form of in-depth ship and space station construction tools, a focus on developing oneself in science, industry, or combat, as well as further specialization through roles like pirate, miner, merchant, or explorer. Arguably the biggest aspect of player choice will come in the form of their transhuman nature.
Able to transfer oneself to a new synthetic body upon death, a large focus of Transverse seems to be on humanity's evolution into beings that can hardly be considered human anymore. As such, it can be expected that augmentations and genetic modification will likely have a role to play in players' journeys through the Fringe. With that, the clear EVE Online influence seems to be matched with equal parts Battlestar Galactica. With Katee Sackhoff having signed on to work on EVE Valkyrie, one can only hope that Piranha Games seeks out similar sci-fi alumni talent.
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Coupled with all that intrigue, though, is a spot of worry. Having previously worked on MechWarrior Online, Piranha Games' reputation has been somewhat soured thanks to an underwhelming launch and pricey content for the game. Moving forward, one can hope that these mistakes of the past will act as learning points not a trend.
Despite this mild apprehension, Transverse looks to be a more active and action-packed take on the space exploration that EVE Online nailed. If Piranha Games can draw upon the strengths of their influences, then they could very well have a hit on their hands.
Are you ready for another foray into space exploration? How would you like to see Piranha Games treat their take on the genre?
Transverse will blast into the vastness of space sometime in 2015 for PC.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ThatRyanB.