Jett: The Far Shore imagines the conscious colonization of space

in front of you It is a vast pink sky and a crowded alien planet. Your co-pilot Isao asks you to cut off the plane’s engine. He wants to enjoy this moment: your first look at a whole new world.

Jet: The Far Shore He trains you on this short exchange. He asks you to take your time, not only to enjoy its beautiful sights but because part of your mission to this exotic planet is to observe and collect data on the native wildlife of the planet, just like an actual astrobiologist. The spirit of the game can’t quite be summed up as “leave no trace” (that’s a story of space colonization, after all), but it does require you to tread lightly at nearly every turn.

terrestrial assets

The idea of ​​the game permeated for a long time. JetDesigner Craig Adams and programmer Patrick McAllister have their roots in 2007, but eco-spirit has been a part of the duo’s life for many more years. In the late 1990s, Adams enrolled in an undergraduate course in climate science before transferring to art school (“flaking,” as he describes it over a Zoom call). McAllister was a passionate Boy Scout growing up. One formative moment describes paddling the border of Minnesota and Ontario. On the American side there was rubbish lying on what should have been a threat. On the Canadian side, it’s pure wilderness.

in a Jet: The Far Shore, There is nothing but pristine nature – but only once you migrate to an extraterrestrial planet. Viewed from the first-person perspective of the hero Mei, the game’s introduction gives you some indication of what’s going on in the house. Factories are spewing fumes into the air, and citizens are standing with gas masks covering their faces. The mood is oppressive in every sense of the word. Is this some kind of extinction event?

Once you get into the body of the game, the tone dims. From the screenshots, you may notice how small the plane you’re flying is. The camera is pulled back so as to make you slick in the environment. You cruise through them gracefully, changing direction using the spin of the handbrake in time, all while controlling the heat of your thrusters. There are plants called ghokebloom that, if you hit your booster at just the right time, not only toss you to the sky, but explode into flowers that sparkle on the ground. Adams explains that this organism was inspired by fungal networks found under forests, a discovery made by a famous scientist Susan Simard in the 1990s. It found that fungi transport nutrients to areas that need them most so that symbiotic health is maintained with the trees above, a kind of conscious intelligence.

Decolonization of space

Jet: The Far ShoreHis attitude towards the environment is different from most video games. in a No Man’s SkyFor example, once you land on one of their procedurally generated planets, it won’t be long before you start mining for resources to upgrade your base or ship. Jet: The Far Shore Don’t picture this kind of extractive gameplay, partly because the humans in the game have already messed up their home planet and can’t afford it again, and partly because it’s simply not the kind of science fiction story Adams wants to tell. “On some level, the wonders of the universe are just a run of the mill,” he says.

He continues, “If you end up with a design where you only stick to perpetual conquest and conflict, and repeatedly kill and collect things, it will distort a lot of things.” “It will distort the tone and meaning, and even on an atomic level, it will distort your characters. We had an interest in having characters that the player might enjoy being with, and they might want to get to the root. We wanted these characters to feel like they’re living the story by your side.”

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