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December 2022

Fragile Existence

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Hooded Horse
Developer: Fragile Continuum
Release Date: 2022

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'Fragile Existence' Reveals Details About Space Exploration, Biomes And More - Trailer

by Rainier on Sept. 23, 2022 @ 4:59 p.m. PDT

Fragile Existence is a sci-fi RTS survival game that puts you in charge of humanity's lone survivors following the annihilation of Earth by an unknown enemy force.

Fragile Existence puts you in charge of humanity's lone survivors following the annihilation of Earth by an unknown enemy force. On the run from an unrelenting, unstoppable threat, you must explore giant star systems and gather the resources needed to sustain your fleet, both in space and on the surface of fully rendered 3D planets and moons.

After three centuries of unhindered exploration and expansion beyond Sol, humanity has come under threat. Earth has been attacked by a fleet of unknown origin - the Near Earth Territories have been annihilated, and only a handful of ships carry what is left of the millennia-old species. With a relentless threat intent on extinguishing the flame of humanity, the various factions must set aside their old rivalries if they wish to survive The Collapse.

Instead of controlling an ever-expanding empire, as in most strategy games, Fragile Existence requires you to take your civilization with you as you flee an enemy forever on your heels. Keep passengers and crew happy, maintain the loyalties of the factions aboard the fleet, and seamlessly zoom out from ground to space as you command ships, construct bases, and wage ground combat. The deep real-time strategy simulation with an active pause mechanic also lets you dropship units and buildings to the surface of moons and planets, crash space ships and ground units into physical objects, and use fleets in orbit to bombard surface targets (or vice versa).

Fragile Existence pulls together elements of survival, 4X, management and real-time strategy into an immersive and detailed adventure taking place in the great unknown. 

In the above developer diary, developer Lee Harris goes into detail about some of the game’s core systems and how iteration has shaped the truly unique gameplay experience of Fragile Existence.

From a technical perspective, Fragile Existence features multiple planets for players to explore and utilize, each with their own biomes, temperatures and living creatures. Travel lanes will be key in allowing players to move between planets in a realistic way. Space travel isn’t easy so finding key points of interest in space and keeping track of important locations using the in-game senor screen map, will be paramount. 

The game’s drop ship system allows players to anchor their fleets in orbit of a planet, select their stored assets and dispatch to a planet’s surface. The drop ship will also carry ground units up to the player’s hanger deck. Other elements added in during early prototyping stages include: physicalized inventory and cargo holds for every unit in the fleet, modular components which let you customize and expand your capabilities for ground-based building and resource-gathering.

As Fleet Commander of what remains, it falls on your shoulders to secure the future. There is no threat too great for humanity to overcome, and through grit and sheer force of will you must lead your people to survival.

  • Scout ahead and plot a course from system to system and to points of interest in between, exploring the worlds within as you seek resources essential to your survival. Each misstep can be expensive, and one wrong move can see you enveloped by the enemy. The non-linear story campaign begins amongst the rubble of the Near Earth Territories, but leads you deep into the final frontier.
  • The vagaries of faster than light travel are behind you - Breach Gates determine safe laneways through space, taking you to a different solar system with each breach. No two playthroughs will lead you down the same lanes, allowing you to explore alternative paths and approaches in subsequent games.
  • Organize the fleet for optimal results - do you seek strength in numbers, or separate into smaller autonomous groups pursuing different objectives? A smaller group is less likely to survive a direct assault, but their martyrdom could keep the rest of the flotilla alive for the future. There are multiple viable ways to tackle each scenario.

In the endless black of space, the potential resources at your disposal are infinite. Acquiring them, however, is not only essential, but full of danger.

  • Each planet you come across holds potential for risk and reward alike. Your shipboard scanning systems can be used to determine the viable resources available on a planet and their exact locations, helping you choose an ideal place to make landfall.
  • Ground expeditions are directly under your control, transporting you to the planet surface where you must lead them. Between the fleet anchored in orbit and the away teams contending with local factions, survivors, and the remains of former colonies, you will find yourself tackling a variety of complications. Traditional RTS systems such as base building and unit management on the surface introduce a completely different set of mechanics compared to your operations in space.
  • Pacify planets, one way or another, establishing temporary settlements to mine and refine local resources into usable parts, or to seek out blueprints and samples that act as the impetus for new research and development. The survival of the fleet is paramount, but without materiel and core necessities, unlikely.
  • Shift resources around as needed, where needed. Physicalized resources mean you won't readily have access to everything - your soldiers are defenseless without ammunition in their hands, your vehicles are immobile without fuel in their tanks, and your people will die without food on their plates. Managing resources isn't just about acquisition, but about refinement and distribution as well.
  • Drones can only do so much - people are your most vital resource. There is nothing to be gained from an unmanned gun, a fighter craft without a pilot, or a construction project without an engineer. Ship modules need crew, science labs need scientists, and only medics can keep everyone alive and healthy.

The hunt must eventually come to an end - whether by your own volition, or through the cruelty of fate, you will at times find yourself face to face with your demise.

  • The enemy is well armed and capable - and it will stop at nothing to see humankind destroyed. From interceptors and fighter craft to capital ships and more, the threat comes in various shapes and sizes, and you will need to prepare yourself appropriately for the inevitable.
  • Strive for technological supremacy that might help overcome the dangers posed by The Collapse. Assign scientists to blueprints and materials found on former colonies and unexplored planets in order to develop new offensive, defensive, and civilian capabilities.
  • Prepare the right tools for the right job - old designs will be overwhelmed and outperformed should you rest on your laurels. Use a modular system to customize your ships and ground units, managing power reserves, weaponry, and space to ensure a proper balance for the task at hand.
  • Ground and orbital combat can be both expensive and deadly, but at times, entirely necessary. Space combat typically takes place within the orbit of a planet with fleets moving along the orbital sphere, engaging each other with nimble fighter craft and hulking capital ships alike. Space stations, weapon platforms, and cunning tactics can make the difference in orbit, while ground combat relies on traditional RTS mechanics and unit archetypes, alongside base building, and resource collection.
  • Sometimes, escape is the only option. An organized tactical retreat with a rearguard will allow you to collect your supplies and passengers and move on to another system where you can continue your progress.

A full-fledged Planet Editor will give you the option to construct your own planets, where procedural generation, blended with hand-crafted placement of features, resources, and points of interest allows for a great deal of flexibility. These planets can be placed in a solar system designed through the System Editor, and your systems can be brought together using the Scenario Editor. Craft your own stories by placing enemies and building event triggers using a simple, visual, node-based system.

Fragile Existence is scheduled for release on PC (Steam) in 2022 and will be localized into Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Spanish, French, and German.

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