Welcome back to Discovering Alone. Following the overview of the game, let’s explore its background story.

Alone is set in a not so distant future. After the discovery of the “ORCS” space-contraction technology in the 23rd century (roughly 200 years before the events narrated in the game), humanity has been increasingly colonizing new planets around the galaxy.

In Alone, interstellar ships travel using the “ORCS” space-contraction technology .

Space-contraction allows to cross the interstellar space in mere seconds, rather than thousands of years. But it cannot be used near stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies (that would cause both the spaceship and the contracted space object to be smashed into bits… and into each other). This means, after leaving a planet, an interstellar spaceship needs to reach the nearest ORCS space station, usually placed at the edge of each human-inhabited space system, by more traditional propulsion means (and while technology has progressed since our time, it still usually takes a few months to do that). Moreover, even if the ORCS-enabled part of travel is almost instantaneous, an equivalent amount of time must then be spent to enter the destination star system and reach the final target by regular propulsion means.

Given these timeframes, interstellar space travel is in many ways similar to the colonial explorations of the 17th century. In fact, many Earth countries have evolved into space-colonizing multi-planet powers, similar to the British or Spanish Empires, starting a new golden age of exploration in outer space. Humanity is still not united under a single flag; as soon as a nation managed to achieve their version of the ORCS technology, they started to colonize space for their own profit. The Korean Federation and the Portuguese Empire where among the first to set a stable foot outside of the Solar system, but in the last few decades more countries have been expanding their space possessions, in a rush to take control of new, unexplored planets to mine for ore and water.

In an unknown planet, with his ship destroyed and his crewmates missing, the Hero fight for his life.

The game is set in year 2417. In the remote depths of space, a Chinamerican engineer is shipwrecked on one of these unknown planets. After the crash, he wakes up in an abandoned Portuguese colony. His ship destroyed, and his crewmates missing. Many dangerous things wait for him in the darkness, and he is only armed with a few tools and his wits. Our unintentional Hero will have to fight for his life… alone, of course!

We don’t want to disclose too much of the story, to avoid spoilers. To entice your appetite, though, there’s a few things we can anticipate (feel free to skip the next paragraphs, should you prefer to enjoy the game 100% spoiler-free). Ready? Last warning!

>>> Spoiler Line – Select text to read <<<

There’s a reason why the Hero’s spacecraft shipwrecked, and he’ll be able to discover it. Part of it is related to the previous inhabitants of the unknown planet on which the game takes place. The planet was home to both a Korean Federation military outpost first, and a Portuguese Empire research station later. They were both interested in studying one of the indigenous creatures of the planet, the so-called “Worms”. Something went wrong for the Koreans, and they abandoned the planet. The Portuguese came in and stayed for a while, but ultimately, they were forced to leave the planet after quite a dramatic incident. This happened decades before the Hero landed on it.

The Hero will have to deal with the survivors of this incident, the deranged cultists who were left behind and forgotten by their home country and were forced to eat the alien creatures, whose meat has serious psychotropic effects on the human mind, to avoid starvation. With time they started to worship the Worms as a source of nourishment and life, and they also learned at their own expense other long-term creepy side-effects of their new diet.

>>> End of spoilers <<<

This is all for today... in the next Discovering Alone, the game designers Andrea Crespi and Lorenzo Silva tell more about the development of the game.

* "Discovering Alone" articles were originally published during the first game's Kickstarter project, by Horrible Guild's team.

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