The open world procedurally generated survival genre is a growing beast. And honestly, I'm really enjoying seeing some of the content developers are pushing out as it does. The Long Journey Home, from developer Daedalic Entertainment Studio West, aims to capitalize on that concept with a very interesting and unique spin.
Andreas Suika, creative director at Daedalic, described The Long Journey Home as a reverse RPG in a way. Essentially, you begin the game all powered up and ready to traverse the galaxy in humanity's first attempt at a cross-galaxy jump. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong, and you're left with four of your ten crewmembers (you get to pick them), and you have to try and survive your way back to Earth.
The real draw here in making that trek back across the galaxy is the game is entirely generated at the beginning each playthrough though a code phrase you enter. Based on that code, the game creates the galaxy map and all the pieces therein, including alien races, planets, and possible quests. Making it more fun in this sense is the ability to take said code phrase and provide it to friends, guaranteeing they experience the same game plot, though they may complete it in a very different way. It'd be neat to use something like "SelectButton" to see what kind of playthroughs people would have.
Each available crewmember to pick from all has their own specialties aboard the ship, like the science officer or engineer. Each of them play their own role in helping you navigate your ship back home in some way. Say on one planet you discover a strange alien tablet; one crewmember may be able to decipher the language, while another may figure out a way to use it in repairing the ship or making improvements. It all depends on who you take, and how the game plays out.
Speaking of playing out, traversing the map is truly an experience. The game recreates realistic physics, so traveling near a planet will allow your ship to go into a geosynchronous orbit. From here, you can drop a lander down to try and collect items, like additional fuel resources. The lander operates kind of like the classic Lunar Lander video game, so brush up on your classic arcade skills. Or, you can expend some fuel to try and break orbit to move onto the next planet. The map itself is broken up into sector like areas, each with their own potential alien races and more. Some aliens may be friendly; others won't. Gaining their trust at times is necessary to unlock access to local warp gates capable of launching your ship to the next sector on the map.
In our short playthrough, we came across a religious sect of aliens after we had discovered a strange alien tablet. We didn't mention the tablet to them, but they were willing to help us along if we went to a nearby asteroid and planted rockets to crash it into another nearby religious sect. We had the option of completing the mission (we did), or we could have taken those boosters and figured out a way to use them for ourselves. It's up to you on how you'd like progress through the game, so never expect the same game twice.
The game is scheduled to release near the end of 2016 for PC with plans for a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release sometime in 2017.