An upcoming indie RPG looks to capture the lonely, brutal horror of classic space horror movies and video games.
The does-what-it-says-on-the-tin You're In Space And Everything's Fucked is described by designer Nevyn Holmes as a loving tribute to gory video games like Dead Space and System Shock, as well as seminal sci-fi film Alien. (Disclaimer: Holmes has previously written for Dicebreaker.)
The two-player game puts one player in control of The Struggler - a parallel to Alien’s Ellen Ripley or Dead Space’s Isaac Clarke who is thrown into a punishing struggle for survival aboard a space station.
The space station is controlled by a second player, The Station, who takes a dungeon master-style role as they put monsters, environmental dangers and other threats in the way of the Struggler’s survival.
The Struggler must search for items they can scavenge, choose whether to confront or try and sneak past deadly foes, and weigh up the trustworthiness of other NPCs they might encounter aboard the station. They can end up working towards objectives, which take the form of video game-style quests tracked by the Station: collecting a set of specific materials, for example, or restarting a generator.
The rules-light system uses only two Struggler stats - Tech and Flesh - to resolve tests using a pool of six-sided dice. Tech determines a character’s ability to operate computer systems and machinery, while Flesh embodies their physical prowess - from socking a monster in the jaw to fleeing as quick as they can.
Dice results of 5 and 6 are hits, with two hits typically resulting in a success and one leading to a partial success with possible consequences. The number of dice rolled can be modified up and down by advantages and disadvantages discussed between the Struggler and Station, which can relate to the character, their background and the current situation - for instance, successfully taking aim before loosing a shot with a pistol.
As the name suggests, You're In Space And Everything's Fucked is designed to be a fairly punishing experience for its hapless Strugglers, simulating the difficulty of survival horror video games. Injury can be avoided by spending limited pools of Will and Luck points, before a character begins to take wounds - with four resulting in death.
The station’s layout is randomly generated as the Struggler explores, adding to the sense of exploration and mystery. Rooms can be basic environments with a number of threats or more advanced set pieces that might see the character deal with gravity, an outside spacewalk or a swarm of monsters. Monsters and items can similarly be randomly generated using a set of roll tables.
In keeping with its video game influences, the horror RPG features ‘save points’ in the form of specific rooms they can return to upon death, losing most of their items and collected experience points as a penalty.
A two-player digital demo of You're In Space And Everything's Fucked is available to download for free now via Holmes’ Itch.io page.
A Kickstarter campaign set to launch on March 7th will look to fund a full print release for the game, with separate rulebooks for the Struggler and Station players. The final game will also include rules for playing with more than two players, and expanded options for generating environments, items, monsters - including bosses - and more.