A new video immerses us in the universe of Beyond a Steel Sky and makes us discover the themes explored by the game.
The English studio Revolution Software and the French publisher Microids reveal to us, through this new developer diary, the underside of the different themes covered by the game. Made by the creator of the series of the Knights of Baphomet, Charles Cecil, and magnified by the artistic vision of Dave Gibbons, the designer of Watchmen, Beyond a Steel Sky is the spiritual successor to Beneath a Steel Sky.
“We are delighted to have collaborated with Microids for these new console versions. […] We are fortunate to be supported by a community of enthusiastic and positive fans. It’s really gratifying to receive such good feedback from players on the improvements of these new versions as well as on the substantial content of the physical editions. It’s always a pleasure to see new players immersed in the game’s story and universe, so we’re happy to be able to offer them additional information on the game’s unique themes through a new developer diary. » – Charles Cecil, CEO & Game Director at Revolution Software.
In this video, Charles Cecil details the social themes of this sci-fi adventure game. The story of Beyond a Steel Sky takes place in the heart of Union City, where an artificial intelligence is responsible for making the inhabitants happy.
“I thought it would be interesting to think about how a society would evolve if an AI did everything possible to create a sense of happiness and well-being among citizens. I was very much inspired by the idea of the American psychologist Maslow who, in the 1940s, developed the concept of the “hierarchy of needs” pyramid. At the very bottom of this pyramid, we find the basic needs, then the psychological needs and finally personal fulfillment. The higher a person rises by satisfying each type of need, the happier he becomes. »
In the game, this concept of Maslow’s pyramid is represented by the Council, split into five ministries: the ministry of abundance, the ministry of comfort, the ministry of security, the ministry of ambition and the ministry of well-being. But what happens when all the needs of Maslow’s pyramid are satisfied? This is one of the themes explored in Beyond a Steel Sky.
“I remembered a quote from Will Durant, who said that every society is ‘Stoic in the beginning and Epicurean in the end.’ He meant by this that societies die because they end up becoming decadent,” Charles explains.
L’ambition is also a major theme of the title which is reflected in the game by Qdos, a currency paid to citizens as a reward for actions deemed beneficial to society by artificial intelligence.
“Ambition can be both positive and negative. From a personal perspective, it can push you to accomplish things you thought were impossible, but it can also push you to be ultra-competitive. The more ambitious you are, the more you may be inclined to belittle and neglect those around you. The problem, of course, is that the AI alone decides what’s right and wrong, which isn’t necessarily ideal. […]
Of course, this is all just a video game. We leave it to the players to decide for themselves whether or not these themes echo our modern society,” concludes Charles.
Beyond a Steel Sky is also based on piracy as a theme, but also as a game mechanic. This gives players the ability to understand the logic of hacked devices to then control their environment. But beware, changing the logic of the world means creating unexpected things which will occur both for the player, but above all for the inhabitants of this world, convinced that the AI is infallible, which will lead us to interesting situations and original puzzle solving.
Beyond a Steel Sky is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch consoles.