One of the more interesting game announcements I ran across last year was The Invincible, a “retro-future atompunk” thriller based on the 1964 sci-fi novel by Polish author Stanisaw Lem. As a longtime fan of Golden Age and New Wave sci-fi, the visual style and promise of a strange trip to Planet Regis 3 really rings my bell. The first full teaser was released today, and I am happy to say that my excitement remains intact.
The video unfolds from the point of view of Dr. Yasna, one of the main characters of The Invincible, who disobeys Astrogator Novick’s advice and ends up in some serious trouble as a result. It’s all surprisingly chunky and analog, with visual elements—ramshackle basses, spider-like robots, boxy rover, and even vaguely sepia toning—that could come straight from the cover of an Andre Norton paperback. Equally important is the horrifying tease of an alien mystery that threatens the crew, and perhaps even humanity as a whole. And look at that ray gun! This is what I am talking about.
Similar retro-sci-fi allusions are found in games like Journey to the Savage Planet and The Outer Worlds, but they are both ironic experiences that raise the folly of the era to nod and nod at the evils of contemporary capitalism. What I want is something that plays it straight: Criticism and philosophy are fine (and an inherent component of any good sci-fi, most readers will tell you) but keep that esoteric, early ’60s story serious and honest. As of now, The Invincible is set to deliver exactly that.
The one bad news in all of this is that The Invincible is going to take a little longer than originally anticipated. When it was announced, developer Starward Industries was expected to roll it out sometime in 2021, but is now targeted for 2022. get more information invinciblethegame.com.