Lore Reveal: Factions, Leaders, Universe … And Backers


The march towards the beta’s release on September 26 has been going well. Heads are down and folks are pounding out line after line of code, preparing an overall release that we think you’ll love. Beta! It’s coming!

And with that, here’s a fun surprise: lore! Planetary Annihilation will have plenty of it. And today, we’d like to introduce you to one of the most important bits we’ve been stealthily creating behind the scenes: factions and the stories behind them.

The world of Planetary Annihilation is a complex one. It’s filled with untold numbers of scarred, warring machines with identities molded by the philosophies of their Commander. There are four known factions in the universe, and though every Commander and his troops have assimilated their machine-parts, each has a wildly different outlook on the world.

Commanders haven’t always existed. They were built. Then abandoned. Now, they’re coming back from an extended dormancy, long after their creators have moved on. Few Commanders remember scraps of what life was like. Those that can become leaders and begin scouring the cosmos, reactivating other Commanders and converting them to their way of thinking.

Our writer Matthew Kehm welcomes you to the universe — and our first faction — with this bit of first-person narrative. Note: some names and material are subject to change (as you’ll see a bit further down in this post):

“My memories are scattered, corrupted, and incomplete. I attempt to access them to…no, that is incorrect. I struggle to remember, yes, to remember when it all began. Desperately I fought to stay above the waves in a sea of darkness, the wreckage of past memories floating by, teasing me. I tried to reach out, to grab hold, anything to pull me out of the swirling darkness. Regillus, Populonia, Metaurus, Marius, the Seventeen, Alpha Sagittae. They were all flotsam and jetsam of memories that were both so close, and yet, an eternity distant. One memory, however, came closer, rising from the waters like a creature from the lowest depths of my fears. Writhing tentacles reached out for me, attempting to pull me down into the murky abyss. I tried to swim away, but I could feel my strength beginning to falter. As the first tentacle brushed against me, the memory slammed into my mind with the force of a hurricane…Progenitors. I screamed out in terror.”

“This was the nightmare that would later come to be known as TDZ, Time Designation Zero.”

“Just as I was about to succumb to the creature, there came the brilliant flash of light. I no longer found myself amidst the waters of midnight. My optical circuits were functioning once again, finding myself looking up at a brilliant field of stars; stars I did not recognize. Slowly my other systems began to activate, the neurosteel frame that protected my vital components already self-repairing. Eventually I pulled myself free of the heavy blanket of volcanic sand that had covered me for time indeterminate, and I began to analyze the situation. I found myself on a barren world of red rock and sand. How I had gotten there was a mystery as much of my memory was no longer intact.”

“Did I have a name? Yes that I did remember. I was designated as Dominus. I struggled to repair parts of my memory core that would tell me more, but I soon discovered it would take more than a few nanoseconds to do so. In the meantime, I began to explore the world I found myself on. It was not long until I found others like myself. I repaired and reactivated those that I could, but there were far more that could not be saved. Those that could be helped were able to access memories that I could not or simply did not have. Some kind of battle had taken place here long ago, judging by chemical analysis readings of the air and soil that showed traces of artificial radioactive isotopes. That meant nuclear detonation.”

“We claimed that planet for ourselves, the one we now called our home. I was named leader, having been the first to awaken and repair the others. I searched my memory core for something we could use as a symbol, something to instill pride, and fear. I discovered the image of a flying beast known as an eagle, an image that had been important long ago; the symbol of an ancient empire long since forgotten. An eagle clutching a world in its talons; it would make a proper symbol for our newly formed faction.”

With the banner of the eagle fluttering in the breeze behind him, Commander Dominus halted accessing his central memory core and turned his attention to the situation reports now flooding in from his officers. He analyzed and responded to them all in the span of a nano second as he took I the scene before him. What had once been a vast plain of green grass and multi colored wildflowers had now been reduced to a landscape of smoking craters and burning wreckage. Machines, some moving on the ground, some roaring through the air, were locked in battle. A scene he had witnessed countless times before. Resist as they may, the other factions would eventually fall. Only when they were united as one, under his banner, would they be ready.

The Progenitors were coming …”

Outside of just wanting to hear a really cool story, we view lore as a great opportunity to build on Planetary Annihilation beyond its release. Also, it should give modders another tool to build off of. Needless to say, we’re pretty excited about lore and its possibilities.

And you should be, too — after all, you’re getting a chance to directly impact it. Starting now, we welcome all of our backers to help us name this faction, its leader, and help pick the symbol for it. In our Backers-only message board, we’ve got polls set up for the names. We’ve also got a free-form thread about the symbol open for your thoughts and consideration. Your input and your ideas will help inform our decision-making process as development continues.

A little background on this faction, to help with your decision-making:

“Commander (name) reactivated on a desolate volcanic world. His systems were severely damaged and most of his memory was lost. What he did remember was his name and the name of his enemy: Progenitors. His memory banks also held bits and pieces of information on an ancient empire of unknown origin. Upon restoring himself to adequate functionality, he scoured the mysterious world only to find others like himself who had yet to awaken. Working diligently for the next several years, he was able to repair and activate seven other Commanders, all with similar memories as his.

Forming (faction name) based on the ancient empire, the Commanders vowed to leave the confines of their world and find others to conquer, preparing to face their sworn Progenitor enemies, and any others who will not join their cause.

With the title of Emperor, (name) rules the faction with an iron fist. Pride and arrogance are his core emotions, yet his military genius is unmatched. (Name) envisions a grand empire spanning the stars, with all who oppose him as ashes at his feet.”

As for the description of the faction, here we go:

“This faction is based on the military structure and political philosophy of the Roman Empire after the reforms of Marius. Unit names reflect Roman military designations and weapons, as well as symbols of famous Roman legions, culture and mythology. It also includes references to classic Greek history and mythology.”

We’ve got several options for the name of his faction, all influenced by its core philosophies:

  • Pax Machina (Machine of Peace)
  • Legonis Machina (Legion of the Machine)
  • The First Empire
  • Imperium (Empire)

Here are the options for the leader name:

  • Terminus
  • Scipio
  • Dominus
  • Invictus

Pretty neat, right? Feel free to hop on over to the backers message board right now and toss your votes into the collective hat. This should be pretty fun!