A random online player is your mother in Jason Rohrer's One Hour One Life

Jason Rohrer, developer of excellent MMO The Castle Doctrine , has just released a trailer for his next game, and the premise is intriguing. It's a collaborative online game in which players band together to create a new civilisation from scratch from a growing list of 10,000 craftable objects. The twist to One Hour One Life is that you spawn as a baby, and a randomly selected player is your mother.

As the name suggests, every life lasts a maximum of an hour in real time. In that hour you're born, grow up, and try to contribute to society (and stave off hunger) before your inevitable demise. You'll have a player baby of your own, too, who you'll have to protect and nurture through their early years to set them up for their own hour-long life. When you die, you do it all over again in the same persistent world.

It's a really cool idea, if you ask me, and Rohrer hopes it will create unique stories that will stay with players. "I was this kid born in this situation, but I eventually grew up. I built a bakery near the wheat fields. Over time, I watched my grandparents and parents grow old and die. I had some kids of my own along the way, but they are grown now... and look at my character now! She's an old woman. What a life passed by in this little hour of mine," he writes on the game's website.

You'll be able to pass on tools and objects through generations, so you might end up chopping wood with your grandmother's axe, for example. Looking through the update log for the game, and its wiki, it sounds like you'll largely be gathering materials, farming, crafting, and fending off angry wolves. But I'm excited to see what happens if the game takes off and players sink time into it. 

Rorher says it will take "hundreds of generations" to explore the game's tech tree, and I wonder if he won't add more modern building materials when players have exhausted the current list—he's currently adding hundreds of new objects every week.

One Hour One Life doesn't have a set release date yet, but a paid alpha (through the game's website) is "coming soon". It's one I'll be keeping an eye on.

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play.