“A really simple way to break it down,” says No Code co-founder Jon McKellan, “is that Observation is kind of 2001: A Space Odyssey – but you’re HAL.”
It’s a beautiful elevator pitch for the new game from (and longtime passion project for) the studio behind Stories Untold, but the real joy of Observation comes from just how deeply it’s aiming to communicate what it is to play as that disembodied intelligence. McKellan has another statement to sum that up: “You’re not on a space station, you are the space station”.
Set on the LOSS (that’s Low Orbit Space Station), Observation opens as station AI, Systems Administration and Maintenance (SAM for short) reboots. Something has happened, but it’s unclear what that might be. Lights strobe, alarms sound, and the only contactable crew member is station doctor Emma Fisher – she’s stuck in an airlock. It seems fitting that, as part of the rich lineage of talking space computers, your first task should be to open a door on command.