FTL is one of the most interesting video games I’ve played all year, a roguelike created by Subset Games after getting funding via Kickstarter, and it’s a game that shows how easy it is to create complex emotions in a video game and what kind of an impact it can have on the way a player approaches it.
gives you a ship with a small crew with a crucial mission and then the game allows the player to choose how he approaches situations, what route he takes and how he fights enemies as he goes from star to star and sector to sector on his quest.
Modern video games have gotten us used to complex narratives, plot twists and deep characters and FTL offers none of them.
But I came to care about my little pixelated crew and about my flimsy ship as much as I have cared for my avatar in Skyrim
and more than for the protagonist of Sleeping Dogs or the leading characters for the entire Call of Duty series.
The reason is incredibly simple: I went through a lot of very dicey situations with my crew and ship, I saw much of the universe with them, beaten incredible odds and I was then defeated (killed/destroyed) by an unlucky set of circumstances.
I knew that we weren’t going to make it, I knew that the odds were against us, but I had trust in my FTL crew, in my skills and in my judgment.
A clear emotional connection was established solely because of the circumstances I faced and the choices I made, without any narrative effort from the developers at Subset Games.
I created the entire story by myself for myself, adding faces to the pixels in order to give them personality, creating backstories for the weapons I used so well for so long, making up reasons for the lack of a kitchen or sleeping area on my ship.
More developers should take a look at what Subset Games has created in FTL and try to replicate some of that magic in their better funded high-profile titles.