There Came an Echo (TCAE) sounds pretty interesting. It’s a real-time, squad-based strategy game that draws inspiration from both 2K’s XCOM reboot and Tom Clancy’s End War, in that you can guide your squad of soldiers through various battles using just your voice.
Jason Wishnov, one of the game’s developers posted about it on the official PlayStation blog, saying that seeing how effective the PlayStation 4’s built-in voice recognition was at navigating the console’s new operating system sold Iridium Studios on the idea of bringing TCAE to the PS4.
What sells me on the game is the idea of “command aliasing”, a feature of TCAE that means you don’t have to stick with traditional commands like “Fire!” and “Flank left!” to control your squad – you can set any words to mean those things. I can totally get behind the idea of commanding my squad using bad movie lines, famous quotes or Simlish instead of boring old combat tropes.
Wishnov also mentioned that the squads you’ll be commanding aren’t military veterans, either, or one-dimensional cardboard cutouts:
Your soldiers aren’t generic military types, but individuals, unaccustomed to combat, thrown into an unimaginable conflict over a technology very certain to change the world. You not only talk to them, but they to you; character development and motivation is a major focus for us.
Going on the preview video, TCAE’s visual style looks quite a bit like the recent Shadowrun remake (which isn’t a bad thing at all), and the sci-fi music and voice-acting sounds pretty awesome. That’s because Ronald Jenkees is the game’s composer, and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: TNG) and Ashley Burch (Tiny Tina from Borderlands 2) headline the cast.
Happily, since voice-controlled gaming is not a particularly proven concept yet, those with doubts can also play entirely with their controllers/keyboards and mice. Perhaps in the end the best solution will be a mix of voice commands and controller input.
There Came an Echo was successfully Kickstarted in 2013, and will be appearing on the Xbox One and PC as well as the PS4 sometime “soon”.