I’m afraid of space. The same way I’m afraid of being under the deepest parts of the ocean. The claustrophobic nature of these things horrifies me. But space is the greatest possible frontier for us, it has always captured the imagination of some of our greatest writers and artists. It was a clear inspiration for Deliver Us The Moon’s KeokeN Interactive. A studio founded by two brothers who wanted to go to space, the studio has grown to more than just their immediate family.
Deliver Us The Moon takes place in a near-apocalyptic future, and in a note a little too close to home, the planet is without the necessary resources we need to survive. Years before the story of the game takes place, the World Space Agency, seeing the last of Earth’s resources being tapped and drained, determined that they would establish a colony on the moon to mine a new energy source, Helium-3, and save humanity’s future. All was going according to plan, the facility was up and running and it looked like disaster had been averted. But one night in 2054, Earth lost all contact with the moon. And with that contact went all the help needed for Earth to survive, leading to an almost total breakdown of society. But there was one last hope. You.
You play as the last astronaut, chosen by the last remnant of the WSA to embark on the Fortuna Rescue Mission and what is tantamount to suicide: to deliver the moon and all its bounty back to the surface of the planet. Otherwise, the planet will continue to be engulfed in a desert that has already consumed more than a third of the planet already. Traversing around the abandoned Fresenkov Launch Site, there is an odd feeling impressed upon you, not unlike sifting through a pile of ashes from the ambitions of those who came before you. The ruins of their aspirations that in a single night, were lit aflame.
Moving through the facility in your flight suit, you’ll work your way down a checklist that needs to be completed before you can take off on the last rocket able to reach space. You are guided along the way by your fellow Fortuna mission colleagues: Claire Johanson – the daughter of the brilliant Isaac Johanson who created the very technology that was saving the planet, who is desperate to uncover the fates of her father and younger sister – and Maria Gonzalez – one of only three survivors of a hibernation process utilized by the Helium 3 miners, who returned to Earth and spearheaded the Fortuna mission with Claire.
Environmental storytelling gives you a tremendous amount of information off the bat, as you make your way through the facility, running the checks and tasks needed to launch the rocket. Going through the rooms, as Claire talks to you about the importance of your mission, you can stumble across a room. Nothing in there is key to your tasks, but from a few pieces of evidence, Claire’s story is told in the way of some children’s artwork, copies of documents, and a final message from a father. It tells the story of how Claire, possibly upset at her father’s abandonment of his family on Earth, chose not to reunite with him when her mother died and was forced to part ways with her younger sister who was taken to the moon. Now a grown woman and part of the rescue operation, she desperately seeks to reunite with her sister, and possibly her father.
There is a sense of loss held by these momentos, and really have nothing to do with your mission in the larger sense. But seeing Claire’s struggle struck a chord in my heart, and I felt more than the larger scope of the mission. Sure, you need to save the human species, but there is so much more going on here, and somehow it feels more important.
My greatest curiosity from the demo came from what wasn’t shown, which might be for the absolute best. The demo was so enticing and intriguing that it made me want to carve out time for it. It ends with you flying successfully to the moon, having one final send off over comms with the rest of the team on Earth and watching the cold gray orb in the sky that has dominated the tides of the sea and the faith of countless people, grow ever closer. The moon as we know it is gone, and through an enjoyable experience, I am looking forward to taking that next leap for mankind. I want to deliver us the moon, to deliver us our salvation.
KeokeN’s Deliver Us The Moon is available now on Steam and comes to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One systems April 24, 2020, and later this summer to the Nintendo Switch.