Citizen Sleeper is narrative RPG set on a ruined space station

Technology

Remember that brightly-coloured alien exploration game In Other Waters? Well, the developer is back with another sci-fi offering, although this time it’s all taking place on a run-down space station.

Titled Citizen Sleeper, the game was previously teased under the name Project Sidereal, but developer Jump Over The Age revealed the new name and trailer during last night’s PC Gaming Show. It’s described as “roleplaying in the ruins of interplanetary capitalism,” with the player taking the role of a “sleeper” – in other words, a digitised human consciousness. The bad news is that you’re also owned by a huge corporation that wants you back, and your body will deteriorate as part of “planned obsolescence” for escapees. This what happens when billionaires start jetting themselves into space, I guess.

“Thrust amongst the unfamiliar and colourful inhabitants of the Eye, you need to build friendships, earn your keep, and navigate the factions of this strange metropolis, if you hope to survive to see the next cycle,” the Steam description explains. “Escape the makers of your decaying body, and chart your own path in a richly imagined, deeply relevant sci-fi world which explores ideas of precarity, personhood and freedom.”

As for the gameplay, it seems the game is divided into “cycles” during which you make decisions about how to spend your time: it could be working in the yards, grabbing some street food, or searching the markets for rare gear. There are also a bunch of characters on board the ship – such as engineers, bartenders and salvagers – who you can choose to help (and they might help shape your future, too).

Exactly how much you can do in each cycle depends on a dice roll – giving you action points which you can then spend on activities on the station. “Clocks” will allow you to track your progress, while following “drives” will allow you to develop your character’s five skills (Engineer, Interface, Endure, Intuit and Engage) and their requisite perks.

Citizen Sleeper already has a pretty intriguing premise and some fantastic artwork, so I’m eager to see how this one turns out. It’s currently set to launch on PC in 2022.