The Descendant does not start off on a happy note: After climate change wrecks the planet, humanity nukes itself into a state of near-extinction. A few thousand “descendants of humanity” are selected for cryogenic suspension in underground bunkers called Arks, where it’s hoped they’ll survive the devastation and eventually emerge, to begin the process of rebuilding civilization. And centuries later, they do. All except the people in Ark-01.
The Steam description promises The Descendant will offer “investigative gameplay, challenging puzzles, tense action sequences, [and] meaningful and difficult choices with branching dialogue,” each of which can influence the ultimate fate of humanity. “Every action and choice you make directly impacts who lives and who dies, leaving the fate of Ark-01, and mankind itself, in your hands,” it says. “Will you save mankind? Or doom us all?”
The game will actually take place along two separate timelines: In the past, as a janitor named Mia, who must work to keep the Ark-01 descendants alive while the facility falls apart around her (echoes of Fallout vaults, perhaps?), and in the present, as an investigator trying to rescue potential survivors trapped inside, “all while discovering a far greater conspiracy buried within the underground Ark complex.”
It sounds very much like a game in the style of Telltale, but it’s actually being developed by Gaming Corps AB. I’m not familiar with its work (maybe because this appears to be its only game) and I have no idea if it will be able to pull off such an ambitious-sounding project, but the setup is intriguing enough that it’s definitely worth watching. More information about The Descendant can be found at descendantgame.com, and if you’d like to dig deeper into the fiction, there’s a “Janitor Program Aptitude Test”—actually a simple, retro-flavored point-and-click adventure—at the more meta Descendant Inc. website. The first episode is set to come out on March 24.