First look: Eschaton

Gnostic Labs is working on a team-based real-time strategy game set in a persistent sci-fi universe. First screens inside.

Gnostic Labs is currently working on what it describes as both a persistent space simulation and a team-based action strategy game set in a futuristic sci-fi universe. Currently scheduled for release sometime next year, Eschaton's storyline begins when three races from different corners of the galaxy come into contact with each other upon the discovery of the first instantaneous warp drive and then beign to fight. Players will begin their careers in the game as pilots and gunners, but, by impressing their leaders, they'll be able to advance up the ranks of their chosen faction and become squad leaders or ship captains. In time, the entire chain of command of a given race will be occupied by players, with those achieving the rank of supreme commander or fleet admiral potentially finding themselves responsible for issuing orders to thousands of players.

Intriguingly, Gnostic Labs claims that the size and strength of two battling fleets will in no way be determined by the number of players online at that time, or by how much time those players have invested in playing the game. Players will be able to join and leave battles as they wish, with players joining a battle assuming control of any vacant unit. The gameplay in Eschaton won't be restricted to epic space battles, either. Should they choose to do so, players might prefer to spend their time exploring the galaxy in search of alien artificacts, gathering resources for their faction, or even starting up their own corporation, faction, or state. According to the developers, a player's power in Eschaton will be limited only by the extent to which he or she can gain other players' cooperation. Other career paths open to players will include working as a bounty hunter or guardian, joining the underworld as a smuggler or weapons dealer, or even going into politics and being elected president or emperor.

No release date has been announced for Eschaton at this time, but anyone interested in this massively multiplayer game should check out the official Eschaton Web site, which contains a wealth of information on all aspects of the game, as well as its own forums.

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