Yesterday evening we got a new trailer and a release date for No Code’s ‘Observation’, a sci-fi thriller in which you play as an AI aboard the Low Orbit Space Station ‘Observation’. They’re the same folks behind the excellent Stories Untold, so intriguing narratives are definitely their specialty.
In Observation, an event has caused the space station to lose power and rebooted SAM (Systems Administration & Maintenance) to assist with emergency procedures. You are SAM, working with the apparent lone surviving crew member, Dr. Emma Fisher, in an attempt to get the station back online and discover what happened to the rest of the crew.
The twist of assuming the role of the AI itself plays into Observation’s gameplay. From SAM’s perspective, you can switch through a series of CCTV cameras and other computer systems in order to help Dr Fisher navitage the environment, solve puzzles, and uncover the truth. SAM has somehow become a sentient AI after the power cut according to creative director Jon McKellan, who says “curiosity, exploration, even making mistakes – these are traits that AI should not exhibit, but the players actions add that human element; they are SAM’s self-awareness.”
It’s a pretty neat premise, for sure, although we’re so bombarded with the dangers of AI these days that we can’t help but escape the feeling that SAM will go rogue. It’s all down to the player, in theory, but we’re expecting an interesting spin on self-aware intelligence.
And one final aside - originally announced for PC and consoles, the release date announcement for Observation only concerned PS4. There’s no mention whatsoever of a PC release, and the game’s Steam store page has vanished overnight. Either Sony’s snaffled up some timed exclusivity deal or, well, Epic’s plunged its pudgy fingers into its wallet once again. We’ll have to wait and see what this all means.
Observation comes to PlayStation 4 and PC on May 21st.
UPDATE: Observation is now a confirmed Epic Games Store exclusive on PC.