Tacoma is the second game from Fullbright, the studio behind the acclaimed indie hit Gone Home. Like that game, it looks to be a thoughtful exploration of a space, unpacking detailed interpersonal relationships along the way. Unlike that game, it's set in space.
We've been waiting a while for the game, which was first announced in 2014, but it's been one of our most anticipated releases ever since. It's undergone a few revisions since, but here's everything we know so far, including the release date, platforms, gameplay details, and trailers.
When is the Tacoma release date?
Tacoma is due out on 2 August 2017 according to the launch trailer released during E3 2017.
That represents a serious delay though. Watch the gameplay trailer above, from E3 2015, and you're promised a 2016 release, which was for a long time when the game was expected to arrive.
It was then delayed to spring 2017, after Fullbright said it had sent a playtest build to a number of other developers, and based on their feedback decided it needed to "reexamine and rework a number of the core assumptions we'd held about the game." It missed that date too, so hopefully it will make the August release.
What platforms is it on?
The good news is that most people will have some way to play Tacoma, as it's releasing on Xbox One, PC, Mac, and Linux.
Pre-orders for those platforms have opened now. If you want it for Xbox, the Microsoft store is taking pre-orders for £14.99/$19.99. If you'd rather play on PC, Mac, or Linux, the best bet is GOG - you can pre-order a copy for all three platforms, and it's currently at 10% off.
The game isn't scheduled to release on PS4 or Switch at the moment, perhaps in part because it's had some support through Microsoft's [email protected] scheme for indie titles, but we'll update this if that ever changes.
What is the gameplay like?
We've had the chance to go hands-on with the first 15 minutes of the game and are happy to report that despite the delays, it's shaping up nicely.
On one level, the gameplay will feel familiar to Gone Home fans. As in that game, you play a lone character exploring an abandoned environment (then her family house, now a lunar space station), interacting with objects in the environment to piece together what's happened while exploring fragments of people's lives.
There are some big differences though. For one, the new sci-fi setting suggests more grandiose storytelling potential alongside the interpersonal stuff, whereas Gone Home was strictly small-scale.
For another thing, there's Tacoma's killer feature: augmented reality video playback.
Before you get too excited, it's all within the game - there's no AR headset support here - but it's still a great gameplay mechanic. When you enter certain areas you can trigger AR holograms to play, which show moments in the lives of the station's inhabitants, who appear as colourful wireframe models.
These will often feature multiple characters moving between different areas and various conversations, but Tacoma gives you various playback controls, to pause, rewind, and fast-forward, letting you move between conversations, check for clues, and make sure you don't miss a thing.
The demo we played saw this used for simple puzzle-solving - watching a recording to find out where a code was hidden - but hopefully there'll be more complex stuff to come, as well as interesting relationships to play out among the station's crew.
You can watch that section of the game play out in a 10-minute gameplay video shared by the devs: