If you're a fan of classic PC88 and PC98 visual novels, then indie developer Space Colony Studios and publisher Astrolabe Games have got a treat for you. Stories from Sol: The Gun-Dog is a visual novel inspired by classics from those platforms, and it's heading to PC via Steam sometime this year.
Stories from Sol intentionally evokes classic PC98 adventure games like Policenauts and Snatcher (okay, so the latter technically debuted on the PC88, but it's got the same vibe about it). It's a visual novel that uses a retro-style green screen aesthetic to call back to those heady days, and judging by the gameplay mechanics and 90s anime-inspired artwork, it's clear the devs have done their homework on this one.
You play as the security officer of the patrol ship Gun-Dog, which is assigned to investigate mysterious signals being broadcasted from the edge of Jovian space. Naturally, this doesn't pan out well for you or the Gun-Dog's crew, and before long, you're fighting for your survival while trying to piece together what's happening and why.
Gameplay-wise, you'll be able to fully explore the Gun-Dog and talk to its crew. You'll need to converse thoroughly with each crew member and investigate your surroundings in order to discover what's going on, analyzing crewmates' words and watching out for deceptive statements. Of course, the crew itself consists of a diverse range of characters to get to know, from the upbeat Cassandra Quinn through to the imposing Chief Cathays.
Unfortunately, we don't have a fixed release date for Stories from Sol: The Gun-Dog yet, so you'll have to wait a little longer to get your hands on this one. When it does arrive, it'll be available in English, Japanese, and simplified and traditional Chinese. You can wishlist the game on Steam right now if you want to keep up with its development. According to developer Space Colony, this'll be the first in an anthology intended to express the studio's love of old-school anime and retro sci-fi, too, so if you like the look of this one, there's more on the way. Stay tuned for more news on this.