Junkers, wanderers, lurkers with dicky pistons, attention. Big Robot‘s The Signal From Tölva is just about out on Steam, and if the screenshots are anything to go by, a STALKER of conduit and coolant is about to amble over the horizon.
The studio’s prior effort, Sir, You Are Being Hunted, was a game far better on paper than in execution. A biopsy showed all the right influences; the Call of Pripyats, immersive simulations and a procedurally-generated archipelago in which to skitter from Winchester-toting automata.
But truth be told, it was a glum overlander whose miserly loot tables inspired as much excitement as its drab art direction. Players pockets laden with garbage, hiding along hedgerows, finding a gun and maybe making it to the next crop of cairns. Sir, You Are Being Hunted’s worst crime was not that it was bad, but boring.
But then, along comes Tölva, and a bloke named Ian McQue.
McQue is a veteran concept artist with a very distinctive style, and a style driving Tölva’s aesthetic. Cable-draped bots, constructs of pipe and plate and powerplant, lumbering about windswept crags. Anti-gravitic barges drifting overhead. It’s an offworld collision of Mad Max and Egon Schiele. And I’m all for it.
We’ll see soon enough if this redux on Big Robot’s formula brings the goods. They’re continuing with the open-world antics, but claim to offer an enigmatic and emergent FPS experience of warring factions and mysterious events. The kind of thing I’ve been thirsting for in what anthropologists call ‘The Post-STALKER Epoch’.
Reports t0 invariably follow.