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Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Expanse extended gameplay trailer showcases zero-G exploration and tough decisions

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Executive editor Tyler Wilde said last year that Telltale’s upcoming game based on The Expanse looks pretty good, “especially the zero-G bits.” Today Telltale and developer Deck Nine shared a more in-depth look at the game’s weightless exploration in an extended gameplay video showcasing a journey into the remains of a destroyed ship.

In the new video, lead character Camina Drummer “mag-boots” into a UNN ship that’s been attacked and gutted by pirates. It’s not a pretty sight: Numerous frozen, decapitated bodies litter the halls, and while they’re not seen in the video (for obvious reasons, I suppose), apparently you can find the severed heads floating inside the bridge, which is no doubt a lovely effect.

In short order, Drummer comes to the rescue of a crewmate in trouble, forcing her to make a very Telltale-style choice (which of course unavoidably ends up annoying someone).

“This [decision] will carry through the entirety of the game,” Frost says in the video. “This will affect the ending. So these choices are very important. And they not only affect this character, but it affects the plot, the story going forward.

“The Expanse is all about grey. And, you know, a situation like this, there’s an upside and there’s a downside to both decisions.”

The video really makes clear the scale of The Expanse’s 3D spaces, and also digs into the way developers are trying to incorporate the mechanics of exploration into the storytelling. Items that players can discover while scavenging “will completely shift your relationship with characters if you find them and bring them back to your crew.”

“There are items that affect the rapport and relationship and affect the ending of the game,” Frost says. “These things carry through. So exploration in this space with this cool zero-G mechanic is really important to the storytelling. And it’s just fun.”

The video also reveals a little bit about Drummer’s relationship with Maya, a defector from Mars, and shows off some really impressive outer space vistas. And as much as it can be determined based on a video, it feels like a Telltale game, except perhaps bigger and less rigidly structured—which, as someone who loves roaming through large, bespoke environments, I find very appealing. Long conversations and unexpected outcomes are great, but sometimes you just want to crawl through a dungeon, right?

The Expanse: A Telltale Series, as it’s formally known, doesn’t have a release date but is expected to be out sometime this summer.

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