In terms of popularity and making money, videogames have come a long way in the last thirty years, with Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto – to name but a few – now legitimate cultural phenomena alongside any movie or TV show you might care to mention. But just as the mega-hit, live-service, triple-A game has carried our industry to new heights, so too has it perhaps overshadowed a certain kind of gaming experience. It feels like everything nowadays has to be mass multiplayer, open-world, and equipped with a two-year DLC roadmap. Space game Fort Solis, starring Roger Clark (better known as Red Dead Redemption 2’s Arthurt Morgan) and Troy Baker, aka Joel from The Last of Us, seeks to offer an alternative.
Story-driven, with a strong authorial voice, a niche appeal, and a comparatively short runtime, this is the definition of a double-A game. Playing as engineer Jack Leary (voiced by Clark) Fort Solis takes place across a single night, as you attempt to uncover a mysterious tragedy that has befallen the eponymous space base.
James Tinsdale, game director on Fort Solis and founder of developer Fallen Leaf, spoke with our sister site The Loadout at this year’s Game Developers Conference. The studio’s goal, and the goal of Fort Solis, is to keep the double-A game alive.
“We’re not looking to do The Witcher, or turn into CD Projekt RED or something like that,” Tinsdale says. “If you see the Fallen Leaf logo come up for a trailer, you know it’s going to be high cinematic storytelling and a well-presented experience. We’re trying to put ourselves in that little corner and say ‘this is who we are.’ We’re gonna sit here and make high-quality double-A games for as long as we can and as long as people want them.”
Scheduled for release in Q3 2023, Fort Solis follows in the footsteps of big hitters like The Callisto Protocol and Dead Space Remake, but aims to tell a more contained, focused story, set across a reduced playtime. If you’re time poor and feeling starved for something more novelistic, or maybe the gaming equivalent of a good TV miniseries, this might be for you.
“Realistically, we’re looking at around four to six hours,” Tinsdale says. “But our price point will reflect that – we will not be going out at $70. We ultimately will price it fairly to set expectations.” You can wishlist Fort Solis on Steam right now.