Last week, we got our first look at Epoch: Return, the sci-fi exploration game designed by former Mass Effect developers. To our chagrin, what was presented then was mostly concept art and design philosophy, so it seemed like the game was not far enough along in the process to start crowdfunding. Now, the Kickstarter campaign is live, and the video shows a bit more than we had previously seen.
One aspect that was not previously discussed (though alluded to in concept art) is the player character's ability to run at incredible speed and leap enormous distances, in a manner almost reminiscent of Tribes: Ascend. It looks like it could take some of the drudgery out of exploring lifeless alien planets by making the process itself entertaining.
An element that was previously discussed is the relationship between the main characters, described as a "relatable married couple," and it is clear from the video that the team really wants to explore that idea, rather than using marriage as a setup for a cheap revenge story. To that end, the voice over needs a bit of work; the male character sounds like a generic action hero and comes across as a bit wooden in the trailer. Of course, there is still time to polish that up.
One final interesting bit in the Kickstarter video is that the team cites linear story-driven first-person games like Dear Esther and Gone Home, then in the next breath compares Epoch to the much more open DayZ and Minecraft. If Innate Games pulls only the strengths of the listed titles and leaves out the weaknesses, it could end up with something quite special in Epoch: Return.
Innate Games has currently raised over $20,000 of its $150,000 funding goal, with 28 days remaining in the campaign.