In futuristic Australia, there are giant cities owned solely by corporations, separated by a giant wasteland known as The Gap. When Robert Foster's Gap-dwelling tribe is killed by soldiers from Union City who capture him, everything changes for him. After a narrow escape from the helicopter bringing him there as it inexplicably crashes, Robert and his droid Joey must search the decaying city, attempting to befriend both the snobby rich and the frustrated poor as the two attempt to get out of the city, but in the middle of everything they uncover the dark truth about LINC, the bizarre computer which makes the city tick.
The game uses the Virtual Theatre engine from Lure of the Temptress
, which allows its characters to move freely independent of the player's input, making the game world more dynamic than it is usually the case in comparable games. Otherwise, the engine provides traditional point-and-click adventure gameplay.
The iPhone version introduces a touch-based interface, new animated movies by Dave Gibbons
, a context-sensitive hint system and a remastered audio track.
- "Beyond The Abyss" -- Working title
- "Beneath a Steel Sky: Remastered" -- iPhone title
- "BASS" -- Common abbreviation
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Programmers of the Amiga version left the following information in the main "exe" file. The information describes big problems the programmers had with deficient Amiga hardware when developing the game:
At the beginning the programmers were happy and did rejoice at their task, for the Amiga before them did shineth and was full of promise. But then they did look closer and did see'th the awful truth; it's floppies were tiny and sloweth (rareth was its hard drive). And so small was it's memory that did at first appear large; queereth also was its configuration(s). Then they did findeth another Amiga, and this was slightly different from the first. Then a third, and this was different again. All different, but not really better, for all were pseudo backward compatible. But, eventually, it did come to pass that Steel Sky was implemented on a 1meg os-legal CBM Amiga. And the programmers looked and saw that it was indeed a miracle. But they were not joyous and instead did weep for nobody knew just what had been done.
Beneath a Steel Sky
was also released on CDROM featuring full speech.
A comic book drawn by Dave Gibbons
was included in the box in the original release version of the game and served as an introduction to the game. As of 2000, the comic book can be read online at Revolution's website.
Development and release
Beneath a Steel Sky
was originally started for Mirrorsoft
, back in 1991. When the game was entering its final stages, Robert Maxwell
, Mirrorsoft's owner died in a yachting accident, and the powerhouse publisher went bottom-up in December of that year. The result was that the game was put on the back burner for a while.
In March 1992, Revolution approached Virgin
and asked the publishers if they wanted to take Underworld
, as it was called then, as well as Lure of the Temptress
. This was agreed on the proviso that Revolution used the Virtual Theatre 2 system - an update of the original Virtual Theatre engine used in Lure of the Temptress
became Beneath a Steel Sky
after the launch of Ultima Underworld
It took about £40,000 to make the game, a huge amount for the company at that time, but the game sold extremely well at retail, managing between 3-400,000 copies, almost all of which were from Europe.
As for Aug 02, 2003, Beneath a Steel Sky
became officially freeware. The creators of ScummVM, a gaming interface written to make old adventure games playable on modern operating systems (only when you own the original software) asked developer Revolution if they were allowed to take a look at the source code to be able to fully support the game in their interface. They got more than they expected when Revolution made the full game (CD version with music and speech) available to everyone.
The GOG.com release uses the cross-platform virtual machine ScummVM to make the game available for Windows users.
Swears and nudity
The little robot Joey during the game say Bull S**t which was a very big deal at the time. It also has pictures of women's breasts in the plastic surgery room.
Information also contributed by
- Amiga Joker
- Issue 02/1995 – #2 Best Adventure in 1994 (Readers' Vote)
- PC Powerplay (Germany)
- Issue 06/2005 - #1 Likeable Secondary Character (for Joey)