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Shakespeare meets Firefly: sci-fi Verona puts the “star” in “star-crossed lovers”

Earth is not faring well in the 22nd century. Mysterious, cosmic forces have pulled the planet into an inevitable spiral towards the sun. The polar caps have melted, the oceans are vaporizing, and society has all but collapsed after the world’s wealthiest fled the planet for safer colonies. Now it’s your job to go back and scavenge whatever valuable goods they left behind.

Verona is a third-person “value extraction adventure game” currently being developed by Prior Games (via PC Gamer). Apart from the above teaser, reveled at PAX East, and a few pieces of art, there isn’t much to look at yet, but the concept sounds fascinating.

“Inspired by the cult television series Firefly and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet,” as the game’s website describes it, “this is a third-person action adventure that keeps on challenging you to ponder the material or emotional value of the riches you find.” The title, of course, refers to the setting of Romeo and Juliet. The trailer and website also allude to the Queen Mab, a space ship named in reference to Mercutio’s famous speech in the same play.

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The game is grounded in logistics, with your success measured primarily by the monetary value of what you manage to collect in each stage. The story promises to run much deeper, however. “There is no alien threat in the game and the protagonists’ role is not to save the universe,” said Prior Games CEO Theodore Reiker. “It’s a tale about greed, cruelty, love, and staying human in an inhuman world.”

Prior Games was founded in 2011 by the team behind Sine Mora, an ambitious and well-received 2.5D (two and a half dimension), side-scrolling, bullet-hell shooter featuring anthropomorphic animal characters in the vein of Star Fox. Verona looks to be a very different and much more nuanced beast. No release date or platforms have been announced, but the game was on display on PCs at PAX, so that’s a likely contender for initial launch.