The release of Industrial Toys' mobile shooter Morning Star will be predated by Morning Star Alpha, a digital comic experience that will expand upon the full game, the developer unveiled today.
Tim Harris, co-founder of Industrial Toys alongside former Bungie head Alex Seropian and Brent Pease, said Morning Star Alpha on iOS will assist in building the franchise's universe and will be released one month prior to the release of Morning Star. Harris emphasized that Alpha is not a motion comic but has some interactive elements, and will continue to provide new content in tandem with Morning Star.
"The idea is that once Morning Star comes out, these things feed each other," he explained.
Morning Star Alpha is meant to be investigative and will present players will a number of choices, Harris said. Decisions made as they read through will all have an affect on elements in the main game, including interpersonal relationships, what actions certain NPCs will make, available items, rewards and bonuses.
"We want to provide a place for people who want to go really deep down the rabbit hole."
Playing through Morning Star will unlock content in Alpha as well, with full sections of the novel available only after completing certain parts of the main game. Content and chapters in both Morning Star and Morning Star Alpha will be released episodically at staggered intervals, said Harris, through the schedule won't be clean-cut.
Alpha will serve a preqel to the main game, setting up the storyline and introducing protagonist Charlie Campbell. Alpha's story begins in the present, 120 years before the events of Morning Star. A conglomerate of governments have created a rigid protocol regarding contact with intelligent life from outer space. A signal is received and pinpointed as coming from our solar system, and a response team is geared up and sent to find its source. Alpha will follow the team's story as they outfit their research vessel and make their way to the signal.
Harris said Industrial Toys wanted to create a core experience that would appeal to all types of players, to those that want access to the universe's deep lore and those that don't.
"We want to provide a place for people who want to go really deep down the rabbit hole," he said. "That's Morning Star Alpha. People that don't want that and just want a mobile-friendly game that's easy to get in and out of won't touch the super deep stuff. We wanted to split those experiences up so players have a choice. Those that don't really care about that stuff, it won't get in the way of the people that don't want it."
Morning Star and Morning Star Alpha are currently planned to support each other for a year after launch, with new content to be released periodically for both. Morning Star is slated for release sometime this year.