Chorus is a high-concept, AAA-quality space shooter that encourages exploration

Chorus, the upcoming space shooter from Deep Silver Fishlabs, will be released on Dec. 3, 2021. In a special press preview event, developers revealed many of the mysterious title’s key features and unique design elements. It all adds up to a surprisingly high-concept spacefaring adventure game.

The key feature of Chorus (stylized as Chorvs in the game’s official art) is the starfighter named Forsaken. Players take on the role of Nara, an ace pilot who has a long history with the ship. Over the course of the game, Nara will unlock its full potential by navigating puzzle-like temples. Solving them will require clever thinking and expert reflexes, much like temples in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Forsaken itself is unlike any other video game starfighter that has come before. It’s not just a model ship on the end of a stick, hanging out in front of the player’s field of view. It rolls and swoops across the screen, and its components expand, contract, and animate to help telegraph its moves.

Image: Deep Silver Fishlabs/Deep Silver

Image: Deep Silver Fishlabs/Deep Silver

Image: Deep Silver Fishlabs/Deep Silver

“Forsaken’s design is actually built around the drift mechanic,” said lead artist Kareem Leggett, who spoke of Forsaken as though it were another character in the game. “The back halves of Forsaken kind of separate, and then there’s sort of an energy between the parts. [That’s what] allows him to drift around, and that’s something that was built straight into the design. […] We wanted to push it to the forefront, to sort of show that functionality as you do the special maneuver that we like the best.”

Fishlabs said that it spent a lot of time also developing the storyline, which includes loads of voiceover work. The evolving relationship between Nara and Forsaken will get plenty of room to breathe. So too will the score by Pedro Macedo Camacho, an award-winning composer from Portugal who has also done the music for the Star Citizen project’s persistent universe and Squadron 42.

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Another dramatic feature of the game is its landscapes, which range from terrestrial settings to deep space. We were shown a Mars-like region of desolate outlands, a high-tech urban area whose traffic lanes wove in and out of asteroid fields. There were dense industrial worlds, and a fractured planet in the process of drifting toward a nearby star. There was even a pitched battle being fought inside a barrel-shaped starbase, like a massive version of the Orbis starports seen in Elite: Dangerous, or the Behemoth from The Expanse.

Image: Deep Silver Fishlabs/Fishlabs

Image: Deep Silver Fishlabs/Deep Silver

Image: Deep Silver Fishlabs/Deep Silver

Level designer Isabelle Blanken noted during the presentation that developers decided early on that every area of the game should have a horizon line, if only to help players navigate the map. Playing an early demo of the game, I never felt like I was just floating in the void without a sense of where to go next. The landscapes are dense as well. There was always something to use for cover, some kind of asteroid or structure to provide texture to my dogfights. There were also massive capital ships to contend with.

As a contrast to the action-packed combat, I was pleased to hear about the game’s quieter, more contemplative moments as well. Expect to spend a good amount of time just sailing around this universe’s sandbox environments, discovering new locations, secrets, temples, and sidequests.

Chorus will be released simultaneously for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.

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