The famous waterfall (give 1998 a break, OK)Players will likely remember a key handful of scenes: the prison ship introductory level that opened up into an impressive waterfall reveal, the first Skaarj fight as the lights turn off, the four-armed Nali and their healing fruit, the "Big Man," and the Sunspire (if they got that far).
Start with the same premise and extrapolate from what you remember best and fondest, not what was. Stir in exploration elements and some Metroidvania while you're at it. Put it all together with the rigor of modern design methodologies--but stay with the neophytic verve that informed the original.
Invasive Species starts again with you as a prisoner on a prison ship. Expand the vestigial kernel presented at the beginning of Unreal (a choice of male or female character model/sound set) into a full blow character selection. Multiple options for character appearance, and more critically, a selection between archetypal backgrounds which dictate starting abilities and conversation options.
(It's time to stop with the silent protagonists already.)
Discovering the deathgrassThe prisoner emerges from the prison ship wreckage to find a breathtaking alien world: exotic and fecund, though the flora seems close to a Earth-tropics analog. The player's objective is simple: escape the planet and evade re-capture, should anyone come looking.
Complicating factors reveal themselves in a sort of spiraling cascade:
1.) Someone does come looking
2.) That someone also finds out the hard way that the planet has an atmosphere/magnetic field etc. that likes to crash spaceships, a sort of planetary Bermuda's Triangle
3.) Yours is not the first ship to fall to the surface
4.) The other convicts from your ship are loose and have a headstart on you
5.) The indigenous Nali are locked in a decades long war with the Skaarj, both may very well be hugely xenophobic
6.) The crash of your ship has introduced an invasive species of hivemind fungiform deathgrass, which is going to wreck the planet's proverbial shit
What the player gets is a planet-wide Battle Royal, with all manner of jockeying for position and shifting alliances, and a running day/night system by which new developments are doled out--say between day 7 and 10, the pursuit vessel crashes. Around day 15 the deathgrass spreads enough to become self-aware, and so on.
Check back tomorrow for the Metacritic score, more illustrations, and a breakdown of the various factions/wildcards of the game world and plot outline.
In the meantime, anyone have a better (and hopefully pun-less) title for this one?
Edit: name changed from "Lost In Space Marine" to "Invasive Species" courtesy of Design Reboot regular Johnnyburn.