Pollen gameplay preview teases a mystery in space


Pollen—officially P.O.L.L.E.N., but we'll be sticking with the more conventional styling—is a first-person alt-history sci-fi exploration game that drops players into the middle of a “mysterious, mind-bending situation” on the Saturnian moon of Titan. It's coming to Steam on April 20, and also to the Oculus Rift as a “near-final VR beta,” and the video above shows what it looks like. Which is nothing to sneeze at. *places sunglasses on*

The premise has faint echoes of Fallout: In the world of Pollen, the Kennedy assassination failed, the space race continued at full speed, and the internet as we know it was never invented. Sorry, 4chan. And yet somehow humanity ended up in more or less the same place it always does in future-fic, with governments eclipsed by massive corporations that have established mining and research operations all over the solar system. When one such operation goes dark, you're sent in by RAMA Industries to find out why.

Pollen is designed to be “fully interactive,” with lots of stuff to fiddle with, but its real potential lies in the story. At first glance it has the look of a first-person horror game, but the Steam description promises something else entirely: “Experience the existential journey of Pollen that’ll intrigue, surprise, and stay with you long after leaving the base. Return to Station M to discover new layers of the story that may have remained hidden on previous playthroughs.”

“Pollen offers a uniquely captivating experience for each platform,” Mindfield Games co-founder Olli Sinerma said. “A fiercely original and eerie first-person exploration game on traditional monitors, and a fully immersive virtual reality adventure that completely transports players to the surface of Saturn's largest moon, Titan,”

VR would seem to be the obvious preference for a game like this, but if the narrative and the game world live up to their billing, I expect (and certainly hope) that it will be quite good as a conventional game, too. Find out more at pollengame.com.

Andy Chalk

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.