In addition to many Lucas Arts classics, Beneath a Steel Sky is one of the great adventure titles of the 90s. At the time of publication in 1994, I was just two years old. Of course, legendary titles like The Secret of Monkey Island or Day of the tentacle rescheduled, the cult game Beneath a Steel Sky was known to me before my multi-hour play session like the secret of a perfectly cooked beef roast – so not at all. Whoever is doing the same thing should be said: The British Developer studio Revolution Software, which was founded in 1990 by Charles Cecil among others, is also notorious for the legendary Baphomet's curse-Line. It is also important that you do not have to have played the predecessor to enjoy Beyond a Steel Sky. In this preview I will tell you how well Revolution Software manages to continue the 26 year old predecessor and what exactly is waiting for new (and old) players in the metropolis Union City. We also had the opportunity to chat personally with Charles Cecil about the ambitious heart project.

Table of Contents

The return to Union City







Protagonist Robert Foster was raised in the wasteland, which he also prefers far more than the hectic metropolis Union City.



Protagonist Robert Foster was raised in the wasteland, which he also prefers far more than the hectic metropolis Union City.

Source: Revolution Software




The In 1994 PC and Amiga adventure released Beneath a Steel Sky tells the story of Robert Foster from the Badlands, who spent his young years almost exclusively in the so-called gap. The gap is a deadly and lifeless desert in dystopian Australia. The focus of Beneath a Steel Sky's gaming experience, however, is the mega-metropolis Union City, which Robert and his little robo buddy Joey developed himself into during the course of the action. Although it is isolated from the air-polluted and dangerous outside world by a huge dome, enemies and dangers lurk within the city. The largest is an all-controlling and monitoring artificial intelligence called LINC, which Robert and Joey successfully put in their place. At the end of the adventure, Joey takes control of the city, while Robert returns to his wasteland life. But now, 10 years later, the kidnapping of the boy Milo Robert forces him back to the big city filled with industrial complexes. The leap in time is used, among other things, as a tool to make the story exciting for connoisseurs and freshmen alike. The topics that Revolution Software focuses on are very similar to those of its predecessor: personal rights, privacy and social control through technological progress.

Before Robert can get in touch with his old friend Joey and follow the kidnapper's traces, a way into the city has to be found. And that turns out to be much more difficult at first. Without a valid ID, Union City's gates will remain locked. In classic adventure style, you talk and puzzle your way to the solution step by step. A new and exciting feature is that there are several of them. Puzzles can be solved in different ways. I wouldn't be surprised if one or the other adventure enthusiast frowns after this sentence. "Wait a minute. Doesn't multiple solutions make the puzzles much easier ?!" I thought wrong. In the interview, Cecil confirms that increasing the dynamics of the puzzles was not an easy task without sacrificing their complexity and ambition. But before there is multiple solution






The team has put a lot of work into making Beyond a Steel Sky look like a playable comic.



The team has put a lot of work into making Beyond a Steel Sky look like a playable comic.

Source: Revolution Software




As a player, you first have to understand how the world works and what the riddle actually demands from us. In fact, the principle works well – at least in the playable demo. The puzzles are not too difficult, but are challenging at a comfortable level. I lean out of the window here and say: In the area of ​​puzzles, history and humorous characters, Beyond a Steel Sky should make grinning faces among fans and newcomers – insofar as the quality is maintained according to the passage of Revolution Software I was referring to can. Apart from that, the team also came up with new ideas: For example, a universal hacking tool that Robert can access at any time.

Fresh wind in the adventure genre







There are also impressive environments in Beyond a Steel Sky. The variety of locations was already promising in the demo



There are also impressive environments in Beyond a Steel Sky. The variety of locations was already promising in the demo

Source: Revolution Software




Cecil and his team have really thought about how to modernize and refresh the dusty adventure game principle. One result is the newly launched hacking tool. This allows processes of certain devices to be changed and adapted. For a better understanding, a brief example: At a certain point in the approach demo, Robert relies on a battery of an outdated robot, I deliberately do not explain the reasons for this for spoiler reasons. You can kindly ask for it in conversation, but the old tin can is not very enthusiastic about my plan to snap it off for all eternity – hardly surprising. There are several ways to deal with the situation. One of them is to manipulate a conveyor belt in such a way that metal boxes become a deadly projectile. However, there are various other options. Although they are of a similar nature, Beyond a Steel Sky actually gains a fresh and more dynamic touch than other adventure games due to minimalist variations in the course of the puzzle. Basically, Beyond a Steel Sky is a real adventure, but when wrapped it is strikingly modern. This also applies to the visual appearance. Revolution software uses a chic Cel shading look. In the first few minutes of play it reminds of games of the Telltale studios, but a closer look reveals a lot of attention to detail and a generally prettier garb.

Visually pretty, modern and creative







It was important to Revolution Software to find their own cyberpunk approach that was different from greats like Blade Runner. It worked if you asked us.



It was important to Revolution Software to find their own cyberpunk approach that was different from greats like Blade Runner. It worked if you asked us.

Source: Revolution Software




As with the predecessor, the visual responsibility rests with comic legend Dave Gibbons, who is best known as Co-creator and draftsman of the Watchmen series. Cecil and Gibbons have remained good friends after the release of Beneath a Steel Sky and a sequel to the adventure classic was a topic that kept coming up again and again. Especially because they both loved the universe and its characters. Developing Beyond a Steel Sky in the direction of a playable comic was also a great incentive for the duo. The fact that a sequel was so long in coming had a lot to do with the fact that adventures have long been considered a rather dead genre.

The strong indie hype and the associated indie publishing finally opened up the opportunity to tackle the implementation of Beyond a Steel Sky. The striking features of Beyond a Steel Sky include first of all the Cel shading look already mentioned, which sets the dystopian but colorful game world in the limelight. The scenery is mostly reminiscent of a mix Mad Max and Cyberpunk. Thanks to the tact and creativity of the team, interesting details can be seen in the background in every scene, giving the game world a pleasant depth. Fittingly, the story is presented entirely in the manner of a comic, including panels and speech bubbles. A feast for me as a comic and graphic novel fan! But I am sure that players can also get a lot out of the look, even if colorful picture stories are not the favorite entertainment.

Technically (still) not perfect







At first glance, you might think Telltale games and Beyond a Steel Sky share the same look. However, the new Revolution title is graphically more impressive. & Nbsp;



At first glance, you might think Telltale games and Beyond a Steel Sky share the same look. However, the new revolution title is graphically far more convincing.

Source: Revolution Software




But not everything about Beyond a Steel Sky is convincing, there are some disruptive factors. Even after several hours of play, the camera, which is too close to the character, was an obstacle. This is particularly annoying in a game that involves searching the area for clues. The intro version was also not technically smooth. Sometimes my conversation partner made himself "cozy" on a post, in other places he (or she) wasn't even caught by the camera. Instead of looking into the face of the figure, I instead looked closely at its shoulders. Once the problems were so severe that only a restart helped.

Beyond a Steel Sky is dated for 2020, there is no fixed date yet. Revolution software therefore still has time to fix individual errors and generally tweak the technology. The great humor, the ridiculous characters and above all the exciting game world and their atmosphere have really caught my eye. The game mechanics also work very well. And also very important: when talking to Cecil and playing the demo, you quickly notice how much passion has been pumped into the project. And for me that usually promises something good. Beyond a Steel Sky will be released later this year for consoles, the PC and Apple Arcade.

My opinion

The nice thing about the job is that you sometimes have an unexpected crush on you

Beyond a Steel Sky is not a small indie game that only the most resourceful pixel junkies have on the slip. Still, I didn't really have the title and its predecessor on my screen. But after my allusion session, I have to say very clearly: Union City, its residents and the great puzzles woven into it really impressed me. There are still a few problems, but I am convinced that the team around Cecil and Gibbons will create a lot of joy on the games market with the finished version. What exactly is child abduction? And how is protagonist Robert connected to it? My almost five-hour trip to Union City left many questions unanswered, which I will certainly get to the bottom of in the finished version.

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