Beyond A Steel Sky: How Did The Developers Approach The Themes? [VIDEO]

A new developer diary from Revolution Software explores the themes of Beyond A Steel Sky (published by Microids).


The sequel to Beneath A Steel Sky (brought to life by Broken Sword series creator Charles Cecil and Watchmen comics artist Dave Gibbons) is available on consoles (PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch) and Revolution Software’s CEO Cecil (also the director of Beyond a Steel Sky), said: “We are thrilled to have partnered with Microids to bring Beyond a Steel Sky to consoles. We’re blessed to have such a positive and enthusiastic community of fans. It was gratifying to receive such positive feedback from players about the enhancements for this new version and the extensive content for the retail versions. It’s always a pleasure to see new players engage with the game’s story and lore, and it’s great to be able to provide them with extra information about the game’s carefully considered themes through a new Dev Diary.”

Cecil added, “I thought it would be exciting to work out where society would go once an A.I. had done as much as it could to create this sense of happiness, and ultimately of wellbeing. I very much based this on the idea of an American psychologist called Maslow who, in the 1940s, conceived of this idea of the pyramid of the ‘hierarchy of needs’, and this pyramid, starting from the bottom, satisfies basic human needs, then psychological, and then finally self-fulfilment. As you move forward, so, people become happier.” The Maslow pyramid concept is embodied by ‘The Council’, made of five ministries (the Ministry of Plenty, the Ministry of Comfort, the Ministry of Safety, the Ministry of Aspiration, and the Ministry of Wellbeing). What happens when all the needs from the Maslow pyramid have been met? It’s one of the themes: “was reminded of a quote by Will Durant, which says that every society ‘starts stoic, and ends epicurean’, and by that he is talking about the demise of a society due to decadence,” Cecil said.

The other theme is aspiration. “It can be both positive and negative. From a personal perspective, you can be driven to achieve things that you wouldn’t be able to do previously, but that can make you very competitive and want to put other people down as you aspire. The problem, of course, is that the A.I. is the one that decides what’s good, and conversely what’s bad, and that might not be the best of ideas.” Qdos is a currency rewarding people for doing something that an A.I. believes is beneficial to society, so it’s one of the key themes.

Hacking appears as a mechanism in gameplay and as a theme. We have the opportunity to gain insight into hacked devices, which we can use to change the logic of the world around us, so unexpected things happen. The change will be unusual for others because they have blind faith in artificial intelligence. Cecil added, “Of course, this is just a video game story. Players need to decide whether they think that any of the themes bear any relationship whatsoever to modern-day society.”

Beyond A Steel Sky has been available on consoles since late November.

Source: JVL

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