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The Precursors

Welcome to Deep Shadows' genre-blending sci-fi adventure - what can't they do?

In addition to working on tropical shooter White Gold, developer Deep Shadows has a second project on the go which was announced almost two years ago - The Precursors.

Made using the same engine as White Gold (even so far as to share an inventory screen layout), The Precursors is attempting to dance the dangerous trans-genre tango: a sci-fi first-person shooter to begin with, set across several open environments, but turning into a space-'em up with Freelancer-inspired sections, in which you take part in full-on spaceship warfare with lasers and explosions.


We've seen Tatooine-style settlements, populated with AI-people going about their AI-controlled AI-business, while outside the city walls roam some big ol' mutants.

We've also seen spaceships zipping through space in as predictably impressive a manner as could possibly be imagined. Each planet is set to host a massive chunk of content, in terms of both gameplay and physical size, and there will be between six and eight (it's yet to be decided) of these planets to discover.

The Precursors' biggest draw is this ability to go from fighting on a planet's surface to fighting in a planet's orbit, and although the transition isn't seamless (instead, in what I personally find a massive disappointment, it takes one loading screen to get into your ship, and another to get into space), the fact that these two drastically different playing styles are being juggled is something that will pique the interests of fans of both the FPS and space shooter genre.

On the ground, the inclusion of 'Transformers are so in right now' mechs, and organic alien weapons, despite basically being guns with eyes which you have to poke in shameful places to 'reload', drag the game further and further away from your typical shooter.

And when in space, it's possible to board other ships, and be boarded, which throws you back into an FPS perspective inside your craft, defending it from intruders.

Sounds amazing on paper, but Deep Shadows didn't create a stellar reputation for themselves with Boiling 'Illegal Operation' Point, and that particular title will hang over their heads until they redeem themselves in gamers' cruelly judging eyes.

However, with both The Precursors and White Gold, they've got something they didn't have with Boiling Point: time, and an empty space where an annoying publisher used to stand and shout at them while waving a stick.

Could this be another case of Deep Shadows biting off more than they can chew? Or have they learned their lessons from the hovering pumas? We're hoping so, because hovering pumas have so much to teach the world.