The Signal From Tolva's unscripted robot wars sound promising


Chaos theory

The folks behind Sir, You Are Being Hunted are back with another emergent robo-adventure, this time a combat- and exploration-focused FPS in which warring robot factions patrol, take over, and defend points of interest on an alien planet. That game, The Signal From Tölva, is coming to Windows and Mac early next year. This overview video from developer Big Robot highlights its dynamic nature.

There’s promise of a greater mystery, one that relates to a signal coming from the planet, and you’ll play as a hijacked drone. “[W]hen that chassis inevitably meets a violent end, you’ll simply connect to another,” reads a blog post from earlier this year. “Remote control, via an interplanetary network. That has implications for both how the game plays, and what the story says.”

The art direction for the robots and the base concept in which you’re never quite sure how the AI is going to react or where you might best fit into any given spontaneous situation intrigues me.

“The game world is driven by AI activity that decides where our robots will go, and what they will decide to do. Bots will head out from bunkers to survey crash sites or attack neighbouring bunkers or guard locations. Territory control battles kick off dynamically, with patrolling AI squads skirmishing against each other and taking control of a series of brutalist locations across the planet’s craggy valleys. Battles erupt with or without the player’s intervention, and their consequences can change the course of play by clearing ambushes and capturing or losing vital bunkers that allow for respawning and re-equipping as you play.”

I’m not totally sold on the gunplay based on this footage (there’s a lack of feedback when shots land, or something I can’t quite put my finger on), but this otherwise seems compelling to me. I also like that aside from “a few procedural and generative elements,” the world of Tölva is built “by hand.”