Skip to main content

Verona is a Shakespearean sci-fi treasure hunt from the makers of Sine Mora

Verona
Audio player loading…

In the 22nd century, Earth is on the way out. Cosmic forces are slowly but surely pulling the planet into the sun; the polar caps are melting, the oceans are vaporizing, and the people are panicking. As is the way of things, the powerful and the privileged were able to escape to distant colonies among the stars, and now they send teams of scavengers back to the strip the planet of anything of value that was left behind.

That's the setup for Verona, a third-person "value extraction adventure game" in development at Prior Games. There's not a whole lot to see at this point beyond some art and the brief teaser above, but I'm really intrigued by the underlying concept, and the website suggests that the studio is trying to give the game some real depth.

"Set on a pre-apocalyptic Earth already left behind by the wealthy and the privileged, Verona follows a team of extractors—22nd century treasure hunters—who secure and transport anything desirable from our dying planet to the colonies, regardless of size," it says. "Inspired by the cult television series Firefly and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this is a third-person action adventure that keeps on challenging you to ponder the material or emotional value of the riches you find."

Prior Games CEO Theodore Reiker said the story of Verona will be shaped by a player's choices and relationships with fellow crewmembers, but "the extraction of valuable assets is key," and the amount of money earned in each stage will be the primary measure of success. "There is no alien threat in the game and the protagonists’ role is not to save the universe," he said. "It’s a tale about greed, cruelty, love, and staying human in an inhuman world."

The studio was founded in 2011 by the "creative team" responsible for Sine Mora—Reiker was writer, designer, and director on that game—a well-received side-scrolling shoot-em-up that came out in 2012. Verona looks to be a lot more ambitious than Sine Mora, but the success of that game gives me hope for this one. Release date and platforms haven't been announced, but it was on display on PCs at PAX East, so I'm going to assume we're in.

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.