A Long Journey to an Uncertain End is a narrative space opera currently being developed by a team made up of former Telltale and Obsidian staff. It was announced back in October last year, and wants to champion LGBTQ+ inclusivity in its storytelling. We’ve taken a look at an exclusive demo ahead of today’s launch on Kickstarter, showing off about twenty minutes worth of story. It offers an intriguing and very brief glimpse at an extraordinarily diverse and colourful cast of characters, and I expect it just barely scratches the surface of what the team want to create.
The animation is gorgeous – as you can see from the above trailer – and every character is imbued with little visual quirks to bring them alive. The dialogue is excellent too, filled with all the snarky space-related quips you might expect. A Long Journey To…. (eh, let’s just stick with A Long Journey for brevity’s sake) has a lot going for it, but it’s clearly in very early stages. It’s going to need a lot of careful development to create something engaging long term, because what we’ve played of the gameplay itself is a bit menial.
You land on a planet. You send your crew off to do jobs – certain crew members are better suited to certain tasks, and have increased chance of success. It feels a little bit like a mobile game without the microtransactions. I think if you have to regularly hit the rush button to speed up time because there’s literally nothing to do in the time it takes to complete a task there’s something missing from the gameplay loop. I hope that what we’ve seen from the demo is just a basic outline of what’s actually to come, it’d be a real shame if all A Long Journey has going for it is a vibrant personality.
My concern with anything that wants to champion inclusivity in storytelling is the presence of token characters in thinly veiled attempts to attract the niche audiences. I don’t think A Long Journey falls into that category. It seems genuine – it wants to tell a space opera for everyone, and so far seems to be avoiding merely defining its characters by their sexuality or gender identity. It’s a big part of their ethos in development, and it’s a healthy attitude to take.
The premise has a lot of potential too. You’re a sentient spaceship on the run from your former owner, with a hastily assembled crew of rogues and misfits. The demo offers a small glimpse at the story and a handful of planets, with plenty of banter to characterise the cast in a short time. They’re a loveable bunch, but as of now I’m not entirely sure the gameplay goes far enough to show them off properly. It describes itself as a narrative management game, but the “management” aspect on it is quite light on the ground. You can make choices here and there as to how a job is completed, but what impact that has on the story remains to be seen.
A Long Journey to an Uncertain End overall thoughts
I’ll be watching this one with interest, and if you feel the same way you should check out the game’s Kickstarter which is live as of now. At time of writing we’ve not been given an idea of what the funding campaign will entail, but you can find all the details you might need at the link. A Long Journey has a lot of promise – let’s hope Kickstarter goes well enough to fulfil it!
For even more game previews, click right HERE.