The Official Xbox Magazine have revealed that Independent developer Iridium Studios have joined the Xbox One self publishing programme ID@Xbox and announced that their first game is a Kinect 2 game called There Came An Echo, which is a voice-controlled real-time squad tactics game starring Wil “Wesley Crusher” Wheaton as the lead character Corrin! You can watch a “vertical slice” demo of a very early build of the game above, although unfortunately for Star Trek fans that build doesn’t include Wil’s voice. There will also be some kind of alternate joypad control scheme for those who for some reason don’t want to use Kinect 2, however it’s obviously designed to play best with voice controls.

Here are more details from There Came An Echo’s Kickstarter page as that’s how the game was funded:

Gameplay

There Came an Echo is a game in which you, the field commander of a small squad, use your voice to direct your units around a map to accomplish various objectives. There’s a list of predefined commands, which might include “open fire,” or “Corrin, head to Bravo 3.” Limiting the dictionary to a few hundred entries helps to improve voice recognition, as the system (unlike, say, Siri) doesn’t need to differentiate a large number of words.

Still, those aren’t the only things you’ll be saying: for every existing command and unit, the player can define a custom phrase that acts as an alternate. For instance, instead of “Grace, hold position”, you might choose to say “yo girl, hold up”, or instead of “weapons free”, you might say, “not the gumdrop buttons!” You’ll be able to direct your troops in a style completely your own.

At various points throughout missions, your units will make various observations and come back to you with questions. “Sir, I’ve got a clear shot on an enemy target thirty meters away. Should I take the shot?” “Sir, do you want me to link back up with Grace? She’s under heavy fire.” You’ll need to survey the situation and give an informed “affirmative” or “negative”. It’s a dialogue, not a soliloquy.

Finally, there will be numerous environmental factors that you can affect throughout the game. Previously placed mines can be detonated remotely: “Mines 1, 3, 11, detonate.” Automated defense systems can target specific units: “Turret B, target Enemy Unit 5.” There are myriad possibilities for these types of interactions within gameplay, and these are just scratching the surface.

 

 

Story

There Came an Echo might be confused for a standard military procedural, and considering the manner in which you interact with your units, that’s understandable. However, most of the characters under your direct command have no prior military experience…they’re learning as they go, and only your cool head and quick thinking is keeping them alive. The script is very firmly classified as science-fiction.

Corrin (played by Wil Wheaton) is a 31-year-old cryptographer and inventor of a very particular encryption algorithm…one that currently holds safe a shocking secret. His comfortable existence is interrupted by the enigmatic Val, who informs him that his life is in very imminent danger. His desperate attempts to uncover the truth are aided by a mercenary, Miranda; a vengeful young woman, Grace; and a mysterious British gentleman named Syll. The group is often at odds with one another, but eventually, they’ll need to overcome their enmity to strike back at the forces who kill, indiscriminately and without mercy, for a chance to unravel the deepest mysteries of the cosmos.

The game takes place in the near future, and features some advanced technology: directed energy weaponry, personal energy fields, and various other accoutrements.

Like we said, not your standard military fare.

 

 

There Came An Echo is due out for Xbox One sometime after the PC version is released this June.

 

Screenshots

 

Source: The Official Xbox Magazine UK, Iridium Studios' YouTube Channel, There Came An Echo's Kickstarter page