18 Jan Discover Beyond A Steel Sky’s themes with a brand-new dev diary
Paris – January 18, 2022 – Studio Revolution Software and publisher Microids are delighted to unveil a new Dev Diary for Beyond a Steel Sky, exploring the game’s themes. From Charles Cecil, creator of the Broken Sword series, with art direction by Dave Gibbons, legendary comic book artist behind Watchmen, Beyond a Steel Sky is the spiritual successor to the classic Beneath a Steel Sky. The game is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles and Nintendo Switch.
“We are thrilled to have partnered with Microids to bring Beyond a Steel Sky to consoles” stated Charles Cecil, CEO & Game Director at Revolution Software. “We’re blessed to have such a positive and enthusiastic community of fans, and it was really gratifying to receive such positive feedback from players about the enhancements for this new version as well as the extensive content for the retail versions. It’s always a pleasure to see new players engage with the game’s story and lore, and it’s great to be able to provide them with extra information about the game’s carefully considered themes through a new Dev Diary.”
In this new Dev Diary, Charles Cecil details the social themes of the game. The story of Beyond a Steel Sky is set in Union City, where a benign artificial intelligence is in charge of making the citizens happy. “I thought it would be very interesting to work out where a society would go once an A.I. had done as much as it could to create this sense of happiness, and ultimately of wellbeing.” says Charles. “I very much based this on the idea of an American psychologist called Maslow who, in the 1940s, conceived of this idea of the pyramid of the ‘hierarchy of needs’, and this pyramid, starting from the bottom, satisfies basic human needs, then psychological, and then finally self-fulfilment, and as you move forward, so, people become happier.” In the game, this Maslow pyramid concept is embodied by ‘The Council’, made of five ministries: the Ministry of Plenty, the Ministry of Comfort, the Ministry of Safety, the Ministry of Aspiration, and the Ministry of Wellbeing. But what happens when all the needs from the Maslow pyramid have been met? This is one of the themes explored in Beyond a Steel Sky: “I was reminded of a quote by Will Durant, which says that every society ‘starts stoic, and ends epicurean’, and by that he is talking about the demise of a society due to decadence.”
Another major theme of the game is aspiration. “It can be both positive and negative. From a personal perspective, you can be driven to achieve things that you wouldn’t be able to do previously, but that can make you very competitive, and want to put other people down as you aspire.” In the game, this translates into Qdos, a currency rewarding people for doing something that an A.I. believes is beneficial to society. “The problem, of course, is that the A.I. is the one that decides what’s good, and conversely what’s bad, and that might not be the best of ideas.”
Beyond a Steel Sky also cleverly use hacking both thematically and as a gameplay mechanic. Hacking allows players to look into the logic of all the hacked devices to then subvert the world around them. Changing the logic of the world means unexpected things happen, for both the player, but particularly for people in this world, because the people know that the A.I. is never wrong, leading to interesting outcomes and puzzle solving. “Of course, this is just a video game story. Players need to decide whether they think that any of the themes bear any relationship whatsoever to modern day society” concludes Charles.
- A fascinating sci-fi world – An adventure set within a dynamic world, populated by willful characters driven by motivations that the player can subvert. In combination with a unique hacking tool, multiple solutions to puzzles emerge from player choices.
- A thrilling story full of humor – Unravel dark conspiracies, defeat a terrifying antagonist in this dramatic, humorous, cyberpunk thriller, which explores contemporary themes: social control, AI, and total surveillance.
- A unique 3D comic book art style – A beautifully detailed, comic-book styled world, from the mind of legendary comic artist Dave Gibbons.
- Ingenious puzzles – Intelligent puzzles are interwoven with an intriguing dramatic narrative to deliver a compelling gameplay experience.