Fireblade Software’s Abandon Ship has captivated us since it first appeared back in November of last year. The Age of Sailing setting, wax painting inspired visuals, and systemic, FTL-inspired story structure, all look to compliment each other perfectly.
Over the past year we’ve had more and more details of the game drip fed; a handful of trailers, and our interview with lead developer Gary Burchell, have given a decent outline for the game. However until last week little was known about the story, and the overworld of Abandon Ship. Good news then, that the latest trailer is focused on explaining the nature of the latter, with the subject matter covering both how players move between interconnecting regions — gateways between picture frames — as well as showing off environmental effects on combat.
The game, which sees players controlling a ship captain setting off to halt the actions of a mysterious and deadly doomsday cult, is surprisingly free-form despite the heavy influences of FTL. Players explore a series of regions, each regenerated with each story, and directly choose which way to maneuver through the area, rather than simply charting a course from port to port. Many of the areas have their own gimmicks —unforgiving tides, volcanic island networks, and more— with many of them directly influencing any combat moments you engage in. If you wind up flinging cannonballs at a rival while in the shadow of a volcano then you’ll also be contending with molten missiles from the eruption.
Travelling between the world’s regions is achieved by unlocking gates, each shown on the map as passages which open up in the literal picture frame of each region. There’s a charge for opening up a new area, and doing so also requires certain tasks to be completed — making the gates both regional and progress related.
You can find the latest trailer below:
Notably, as shown at the end of the trailer, bad results in combat can leave the protagonist without a crew or even a ship, if they can return to a port or be picked up by a passing ship however then they get another chance. Although, ultimately, this may still be so much of a setback that the doomsday cult can continue their plan uninterrupted.
There’s still a lot of Abandon Ship yet to be shown off: Crewmates, the cult, as well as the quest and mission structure. That said, it’s hard to deny that the game is already starting to look like something really special.