Damn. this was supposed to be a short game concept between Star and the rather neglected Starship Combat Simulation, but the wordcount just kept going up. Have to split this into two or more parts. First off, summary and plot outline.
Silverstream is a third-person action adventure sandbox-game set in the Star Wars-universe. The player controls a human Jedi knight called Theodore Cairne, who is sent to a planet in crisis to help them and convince them to join the Galactic Republic. On the planet, however, he is thrust into an open conflict between the government of the planet and the local anarchistic revolutionaries.
Theodore Cairne is a conflicted Jedi Knight. He questions the Jedi Order, the ancient monastery who desperately sticks to the jedi code, taking down everyone who does not agree with it. He mostly keeps these thoughts to himself, since he understands the real lure of the dark side. The Council, due to a request from the Republic senate, sends him to defuse a potential crisis situation on the planet Saladrin II in the hopes of gaining their trust and to get them to join the Republic. When Cairne lands on the planet, he finds that the local navy has blockaded the planet and cut off communications off-system. The reason is because a local terrorist group has been trying to contact off-world mercenaries and criminals, which could instigate a war. The government, recognising Cairne’s independence, offers him a deal: Help them kill the terrorist leaders and Saladrin will consider joining the Republic.
However, the terrorists contact Cairne, begging for his aid. According to them, the race of Saladrin, who have evolved from pack animals, are being used by the government. Their hardwired instincts to follow the alpha male are enabling the ruling body of the planet to rule the people with an iron fist. The revolutionaries wish to break the system and introduce freedom of choice to the people, and a new beginning. The revolutionaries cannot promise that Saladrin would be able to join the Republic if they succeed, due to their expectation that the revolution would bring about an era of fierce independence.
Behind the scenes, a single Jedi who had run away from the council, is working to bring about the conflict between the two factions to achieve… something, haven’t figured yet out what. Uncovering this marauder is also a goal for Cairne.
And now for some closer elaboration. As many other people, I dislike moral choice systems in games, since I do not believe in objective ethics. But if there is one context where good-and-evil-thinking can be applied, it is Star Wars. Not the whole universe, however, but just the Jedi Code. Jedi must belive in good and evil, since there is an objective force that enforces those concepts: The Dark Side. A force-user who lets his own passions control his actions will be lured by the power of the Force to the Dark Side, corrupting his mind. A calm and collected Jedi will be able to restrain himself, using the Force to preserve and protect life from which it springs. This is the first of the underlying choice systems; Whether or not Cairne will abandon the Jedi Code, using all aspects of the Force to further his goals, whether it is helping the revolutionaries or the government, which is the second choice.
The people of the planet, Saladrians, are working with the last remnants of pack mentality: The strongest rule. The entire culture of the species revolves around this. The ruling class, the alpha males, makes the decisions for the entire civilization. Some times the ruling class advances science, medicine and arts. Sometimes they start wars with other pack leaders to subjugate them. Sometimes they just indulge themselves and the people suffer. It is not an inherently evil system, as it depends on the mentality of the leader. It works when it works.
But when the Saladrians made contact with the Galaxy there was an influx of new influences and ideas. One of these was freedom of choice. If the leader was not to your liking, vote a new one. This new idea started to take root amongst the academics, but never permeated the rulers of Saladrin. A new threat to the Saladrin way of life appeared; Revolutionaries and anarchists, who wanted to give the people a voice. Instead of the biggest, the most intelligent, the strongest, the leader would be one that is chosen to lead. The new ideas met heavy resistance from the conservative people and from the government. But even though most of the idealists are framed as terrorists and madmen, the curiosity remains. Would the people of Saladrin benefit from freedom of choice, from democracy? Or would the revolution just send the entire civilization to ruin?
This choice, a very grey and ambiguous one contrasts nicely with the Jedi Code, which is absolute and objective. But how are the choices made? I will explain it next time, in Game Mechanics.