A Crime Reporter Is Turning His Job Into a Game with Times & Galaxy

Former crime reporter Ben Gelinas is using his real-life experiences in the gaming world with his upcoming title, Times & Galaxy. The game, set to release on Xbox One and Series X|S in late 2024, has a unique storytelling approach, gamifying the journalist experience through its core “Build-A-Story” mechanic.

According to Xbox Wire, players will take on the role of a robo-intern for a trusted holopaper. The robot has to navigate the bustling intergalactic cityscape to chase down scoops. Initial assignments may involve seemingly mundane topics like interstellar cat shows, but the true depth lies in how you tell the story.

Drawing on his experience as a crime reporter, Gelinas emphasizes the importance of player agency in creating narratives. Branching conversations and hidden information within levels allows you to make choices and shape your stories through quotes, context, and framing.

The Build-A-Story feature breaks down each news piece into five key parts: headline, introduction, main point, important quote, and additional context. Each part provides choices that expand based on the details collected, impacting the overall style and focus of the article.

Gelinas focuses on the idea that the game is not about finding the “right” answer but exploring different perspectives and their impacts. His motivation comes from observing how various news outlets reporting on the same events could create significantly different narratives.

To translate that concept into gameplay, Gelinas put together a team of writers mostly made up of former and current journalists. Their experiences, including work at alternative weekly newspapers and college publications, help shape the game’s world and create over 100 memorable characters.

The focus on authenticity goes beyond mechanics, influencing the game’s atmosphere. The aim is to capture the spirit of journalism, a field known for attracting unique individuals. Times & Galaxy is populated by remarkable characters, allowing players to join their ranks and define their own unique identity.

While the final product is yet to be seen, Times & Galaxy is an interesting kind of simulator. It has Xbox’s backing in a big way and seems to be in a Day One release type situation. This may be a sleeper hit in the simulation genre.

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