For the first time in its twenty year history the Age of Wonders series has headed not only to space, but also the far future. It’s a sci fi melange of different influences, some in video games and some from elsewhere.
With the game out now and players experiencing the rich lore and tapestry of this custom-built universe, we thought it would be the perfect time to look at the sci fi influences of Age of Wonders: Planetfall
In many ways a melange itself, Star Wars since its original release in the 1970s has become a cultural touchstone that almost no sci fi work can get away from. The influencers for Planetfall are clear, an empire that rules with a brutal fist, a ‘worn’ feel to much of the technology, and even hero characters that drive much of the action forward. The universe of Star Wars is one where everything is a bit used, and a bit worn, with the idea that nothing is new being key to the universe. Planetfall has a similar feeling, with an age of history going before the game’s start.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall picks up the action after the despotic Star Union has fallen, where new factions are trying to fill the void. It’s a time of chaos but of freedom, something that the latter Star Wars films have also tried to show in their later films. The big evil is defeated, but it doesn’t mean the work is over.
Fallout is a series that takes its cues from 1950s Americana and the Nuclear Age, and on the surface that’s all it is. Within the series though is a deep alternate history and a satirical look at many sci fi tropes and themes.
Taking place after a nuclear war, Fallout often touches on what would happen to humanity after the fall, a theme that Age of Wonders: Planetfall also directly looks at. With raiders and scavengers roaming the lands in Planetfall, you can see the influences clearly.
In addition the developers or Age of Wonders: Planetfall have taken great care and effort to create an expansive backstory of collapse and rebirth. Much like in games like Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas, humanity is trying to recover after the fall in Planetfall, and it’s up to the player to determine what shape that future is.
Written by Dan Simmons, the Hyperion Cantos is an epic series of novels set in the far future where the TechnoCore, a cabal of AIs, secretly controls all of humanity.
Many themes are explored in the Hyperion Cantos, the power of love, self determination, and the expansion of humanity into new phases of existence are just a few. Similarly in Planetfall humanity has fractured along ideological lines, leading to new humans that differ from those that came before.
Additionally the Star Union’s computerised system was known as the Conscientious Omnipresent Regency Engine (CORE), which even now after the Star Union’s fall has a deep influence over at least two of the NPC factions. Something that is also explored in the sequel to Hyperion, Endymion.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall combines influences but still produces something feeling fresh and new into its own work and universe. If you want to know more about the game, head on over to our Planetfall hub for more information.