THE SPACE STATION Tacoma is full of phantoms. Fragments of conversations, traces of casual strolls. The ephemera of life somehow given shape. See, the Tacoma’s inhabitants are recorded constantly, their biometric data and every moment of their daily lives catalogued and stored by the station’s on-board AI, ODIN. That data ostensibly belongs to Venturis, the megacorp that uses the station as a shipping outpost; when Venturis employees leave the Tacoma, it’s supposed to be deleted.
But it’s not. At least not all of it.
Gamers have been awaiting Tacoma, out August 2 on PC and Xbox One, for some time, in large part because of studio The Fullbright Company’s previous game. 2013’s Gone Home was not only groundbreaking, but utterly unexpected for its time: a fully realized 3D, first-person game with a strong narrative and no combat. It took aesthetic and design ideas from gaming’s mainstream and pared them down, cutting out violence and fantasy in favor of psychological realism. Gone Home was the story of a girl returning to her family’s empty house; as she (and you) and explore it, the story emerges of what their lives have been like in your absence.
Similarly, Tacoma places you on the vacant Tacoma after a mysterious accident, tasked with retrieving ODIN for Venturis. Those phantom scraps of data show up as static in your augmented-reality display, allowing you to play them back in the 3D space around you; rewind them, fast forward them, watching their choreography from any angle you desire. As you comb through the station, downloading every part of ODIN on behalf of Venturis, you play the digital voyeur. You watch, you learn, and bit by lost bit, you piece together the story of the Tacoma.