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Video Game / Out There

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Out There is a self-styled "dark and melancholic adventure in deep space", initially released in 2014 for Android and iOS by mi-clos studio. An Updated Re-release with extra content (including a fourth ending), titled Out There: Omega Edition was released on PC via Steam on April 2nd 2015, with the expanded content being simultaneously added to the mobile versions as well.

You play the pilot and sole crewmember of a small transport spaceship supplies to mining stations on one of Jupiter's moons back to earth. During one trip, the ship malfunctions. Instead of arriving near Jupiter, you wake up from your cryogenic stasis centuries later, very, very, very far from home in another star system. An alien intelligence contacts you, giving you the Space Folder, a technology that allows Faster-Than-Light Travel between stars. It asks you to meet them in a space station in another system way across the galaxy. There's nothing for it but to use your new gift to pilot your ship from star system to star system until you reach them.

The game contains no fighting element. You just explore space systems, contact alien races, discover new technologies, and do your best to survive the dangers of space and keep the levels of fuel, oxygen and hull above zero. As with other Roguelikes, Permadeath and your survival is a Luck-Based Mission subject to the whims of the Random Number God.

A second Updated Re-release featuring even more content, a new escort mechanic and yet another ending was released for the Nintendo Switch on Apr 9, 2019. The content from this version, titled Out There: Omega The Alliance has yet to show up on other versions of the game, but has been promised by the developers to do so eventually.

A Interactive Graphic novel based on the game named Out There Chronicles has also been made by the developers, the first chapter available for free on booth IOS and Android.

A sequel, Out There: Oceans of Time, was released on May 26th, 2022 on Steam.

Not to be confused with Out There Somewhere, a light-hearted Puzzle Platformer from 2012.

Out There contains examples of:

  • Aliens Are Bastards: Mostly averted. The alien races you encounter on garden planets are peaceful, quite timid, and are much more likely to be scared by the Player Character than to be scary or dangerous. The Judge-Architects are scary (and scare many other alien races) but they are more alien demigods with unfathomable goals than really evil creatures. Only the race known as "People Death", whom you encounter in the latest part of the game, are violent and warlike.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Judge-Architects explain to you that they destroyed the solar system and killed all of humankind but that's not important because from their point of view humans are not really intelligent. On the other hand, turning the sun into a black hole was part of a more general plan to keep galaxy habitable.
  • Captain's Log: Each time you jump to a new star system, the Player Character creates a new entry in his journal. Some of the entries are about Random Encounters with aliens—including a Space Whale—or alien technology. Other entries are more philosophical or nostalgic, with occasional drifts into Space Madness. The log also documents his Slow Transformation into something other than human.
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: The Interplanetary Reactor technology allows you to move quickly from planet to planet within a star system.
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: Courtesy of the Space Folder.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The Firefly ship. It has the highest base stats in the game with no other ship matching it even fully upgraded. The downside? It has only 4 equipment slots by default which is only really enough to install the stuff you need to move around the map with no cargo or extra fuel/oxygen. Using the Symbiotic extension module you can increase the available slots to 10, which while still small gives you a least some wiggle room for cargo.
  • Downer Ending/Earn Your Bad Ending: The game has five endings of varying difficulty, and none of them are happy. The easiest ending is the Green one, in which you discover that you're the last human being alive, with no home to return to. In the Red ending, you must first travel to the red galaxy destination, then retrace your steps to destroy the Judges-Architects' homeworld, only to return to Earth and help humanity evolve into the warlike, alien People Death race. In the Blue ending you defeat the People Death race by destroying their homeworld, only to have them make you their leader. The new Yellow Ending in the Omega Edition where you rescue mankind is arguably a happy ending, but is also the hardest to achieve. You can save only a very few of the humans you find, thousands more are already dead when you find them, and the mission ultimately costs you your own humanity and requires you to destroy at least one innocent star system along the way. The Alliance Edition adds the Orange Ending, where you and four alien races forge an alliance to fight back against the "People Death," but the game ends before we see how that turns out.
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: Every ship in the game has its cargo space arranged in a Limited Loadout of a specific size. Piloting a smaller ship means you'll have to dump elements or dismantle space-wasting technology to cram in as much useful stuff as possible. Also happens in Random Encounters, but you won't get a choice as to which cargo gets dumped.
  • Escort Mission: Added in the Alliance edition. On random rocky (read: non-garden) planets you can encounter a lone alien who wants a ride back to their homeworld. On arrival you'll receive some Omega. Alternatively, you can take four of them to the Star Iron space station and form an alliance against the "People Death" to get the orange ending.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: The Space Folder allows just that, and the Player Character often comments on how wonderful and groundbreaking a technology it is.
  • First-Contact Math: Not with the actual alien races you encounter, who just have a word-based cipher, but certain random encounters, which require you to understand basic math or geometry to get the best result.
  • Fish Outof Temporal Water: The Player Character begins the game as a Human Popsicle whose cryogenic suspension has kept him preserved for millennia. Later on he muses that each time he uses the Space Folder, he is jumping long distances not only in space, but in time, leading him to wonder what he will find when he gets home. Depending on the ending you reach, he may ultimately become a Paradox Person.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: The aliens who aren't completely frightened of you will talk to you and ask you a question. If you give them an answer they like, the alien will negotiate a trade, one unit of some element out of your supplies for either a new technology, or a unit of Omega. Since the alien dialog may not be translated, you'll have to guess which element will work. Either way you lose whatever you offer.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: In some of the random log entries, the protagonist says he is recording his voice and listening to it, to prevent forgetting how to talk to humans.
  • Heroic Second Wind: If you attempt a jump without enough fuel you're alerted to the prospect of a "Desperate Action", and given a last chance to check your fuel supply before jumping. If you jump as a Desperate Action, there's a chance that you'll succeed through pure luck. Otherwise you die.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: The random alien races on garden worlds are peaceful and the Judge-Architects are something like Above Good and Evil, but the evil and warlike "death people" are the offspring of humankind. In one ending you end up leading them, and in another you are instrumental in their creation (see Downer Ending/Earn Your Bad Ending). It has been commented that from the rest of the galaxy's point of view, the "best" ending is the one where you just die from lack of fuel or oxygen or hull damage, let humankind become extinct and leave the nice alien races alone.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: The Omega edition introduced "cemetery gates", a game mechanic similar to the bones files used in NetHack. When you die your ship remains in that location with all its cargo and technology intact, allowing you to return and loot it later.
  • Indo-European Alien Language: Alien language has an extremely crude syntax and a very poor vocabulary only consisting of 1-1 equivalents of English words. Or at least, the aliens are talking in their languages and you're guessing what it means, which accounts for the crudeness and equivalences. You can't figure out the nuances, but can just about make out "We are [alien name]. [untranslated] are Death. [alien name] fear Death. Are you [untranslated]?" If you blindly guess "Yes", it's understandable that they don't want to deal with you any further.
  • Multiple Endings: The original game features three endings, with a fourth added in the Omega Edition and a fifth added in the Alliance Edition. They are usually named after the colour of the target destination displayed on the galaxy map.
    • Green Ending: You meet the race of the Judges-Architects, who explain to you that they have destroyed Earth and you are the sole survivor of mankind.
    • Blue Ending: You travel to the homeworld system of the warlike alien race known as "People Death" and destroy it with Death Seed technology. Afterwards they submit to you and beg you to become their new leader. You agree to do so. The story ends with you choosing the next system they should conquer.
    • Red Ending: You meet Star Iron, an AI created by humans a long time ago. It gives you Death Seed technology, asking you to travel to the Judge-Architects' home system, turn their star into a black hole, and use the resulting wormhole to bring yourself back in time to Earth. Unfortunately your space travels have changed you so much that neither you nor the people of Earth accept you as human. You become an Ancient Astronaut to humanity, warning them about the coming destruction of Earth. Inadvertently, you create the circumstances that lead to some humans evolving to become the Death People race.
    • Yellow Ending (Omega Edition): You find a group of humans in cryo-stasis sleeping in a stranded ship. You can save only a very few of the humans you find; thousands more are already dead when you find them, because a meteor breached the ship's hull, sucking many of the inhabitants into space. You rescue them by taking them to a world in a far corner of the galaxy and using Life Seed technology to terraform it, starting mankind anew. Unfortunately your space travels have changed you so much that neither you nor the rescued people accept you as human. Ultimately you become an almost deified hermit on your new homeworld.
    • Orange Ending (Alliance Edition): By bringing four different aliens found on random rocky (non-garden) planets and bringing them to the Star Iron station, you have founded an alliance to push back against the "People Death." You also hold out hope that your allies may one day help you find your people again.
  • Nintendo Hard: You have only one life, only one save, some random events can kill you if you don't have a high fuel/hull/oxygen, and some paths on the galaxy map are dead end that you have no way to anticipate and condemn you to almost certain death by lack of resources. And you will spend most of the game on the verge of dying one way or another.
  • Not Completely Useless: Life Seed technology. It instantly turns a dead rocky planet into a habitable garden world, but it's a Rare Random Drop that's hard to acquire, has significant building costs, and to use it you must spend one unit of the highly valuable Omega element. In the original version of Out There, the in-game benefits were almost zero, making the Life Seed Awesome, but Impractical. It did not spawn an intelligent alien race or change the mineral content on a terraformed planet, and was never of any use in any mission or random event. Its only use was to quickly refill your oxygen meter to maximum, but you could use the same unit of Omega the Life Seed would spend to instantly gain 25 oxygen without using the Life Seed at all. The Omega Edition made the Life Seed less useless by changing the planet's mineral content along with spawning an intelligent race from whom you can trade Omega or technology. The Omega Edition also requires you to build and use the Life Seed to achieve the yellow ending.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: A deep, ethereal voice intones " Oh-meh-ga" when you're given a unit of the Omega element.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: You sometimes find new ships waiting for you in some star systems, supposedly abandoned by their previous users an undetermined length of time ago. They are all completely functional, have a hull in perfect condition and full oxygen and fuel tanks, and many come with advanced technological modules. However, often the cargo space will have areas that will need to be repaired before you can use them.
  • Roguelike: Heavily inspired by Faster Than Light, which came out a few months beforehand.
  • Star Killing: The purpose of the Death Seed device.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Judges-Architects.
  • Techno Babble: The in-game description and name of many technologies amount to that.
  • Terraform: The purpose of the Life Seed device. It is never explained how it works, but it can somehow instantly turn any rocky planet into a lush garden world with a breathable atmosphere.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Over the course of the game the Captain's Log entries will include descriptions of the side-effects of extended space travel: extreme weight loss from lack of gravity, face tanned almost black from cosmic rays, eyes bleached white by same, teeth and hair completely eradicated by radiation. The Player Character is mentally unbalanced and can use only alien languages to talk, think, or dream. In the endgame he finally sees the total effect of all these changes, and realizes he's become an alien himself. Cue the What Have I Become? speech.
  • Translation Convention: At first any alien speech or writing you encounter is not translated for you, simply written as-is into the encounter description. As you successfully get through Random Encounters or alien conversations, the game awards you a translated word and saves it into a Personal Dictionary. The later partial translations tend to imply Either "World Domination", or Something About Bananas. The words themselves are randomly generated letter salads and their meanings randomly assigned on each playthrough, making any translations you collect useless in the next game.
  • Unobtainium: Element Omega can only be acquired through interaction with alien races and some rare random events. It can be spent to repair any equipment or to gain +25 of either fuel, oxygen or hull, and it is needed to activate the game's most advanced equipments (Death Seed, Life Seed and Wormhole Generator).
  • Unreliable Narrator: The Player Character has a questionable mental state due to months of isolation in space. This shows in the events and flavour text.
  • Unwanted False Faith:
    • Several alien races you encounter mistake you for a god and are afraid of you.
    • If you pursue the blue ending, the "death people" will declare that you are their new god.
  • Unwinnable: The combination of the maze-like star paths and intense Resources Management Gameplay can lead to situations where your ship is trapped and/or about to fall apart. The in-game menu helpfully supplies a "Give up" option.