In the 1950s the Soviet space program was in full gear. The imperative to be first in exploring new reaches was fueled by national pride and dreams of distant galaxies. But not every branch of the program was dedicated to traditional forms of rocketry and exploration.
Not all stars are in the sky.
The players will enter an abandoned Red Hand facility hidden in the farmlands of Transylvania. A crack in the concrete will lead them to Facility-9, a secret and maniacal offshoot of the Cold War space race. Deep inside they must uncover the legacy of the phantom cosmonauts.
But first, players will have to earn the trust of Contact Core, the AI responsible for the program. Though the project was abandoned by the Red Hand in favour of other mad pursuits, Contact Core was never properly shut down. It continues to maintain the sealed facility and oversee the training of the program's most magnificent recruit - Halina Ilyushin.
By defeating the Degenerate that stalks the outer section, the players will earn enough trust to be granted access. From here on out, they will have to gauge the reliability of their AI guide as they seek to solve the mystery of the transmissions that emanate from inside the Isolation Chamber.
The Red Hand designed the facility to test new candidates and prepare them for an encounter with the cosmic opening which lies at the heart of the installation. Their objectives were to widen and stabilise the opening in the hopes of exploring new horizons and manipulating new forms of power.
Initially, the players will take on the role of new candidates - together they must survive the challenges of Facility-9 and confront the mysteries of the inner-outer reaches.
Players will need to follow in Halina's footsteps by diving deep into the cosmic abyss.
Inside the Coolant Overflow they must face a remnant of the Red Guard, a stalking behemoth who will determine if they have what it takes to continue.
As players navigate the ducts, pipes and corridors of the facility, Contact Core will be watching, ever analysing their usefulness to the program.
Once Contact Core determines that the players have contributed all they can, the real test of survival will begin. As they approach the restricted area, players will encounter the Initial Exposure Division. They'll have to find a way to reactivate the Gaia nodes and contain the effects of a bubbling Filth pit while fighting off waves of Starshina officers.
The efforts of Contact Core to restrain the players will become increasingly intense as they approach the source of the AI. In the corridor they'll be bombarded with bioelectric shocks and face a final barrier before confronting the core unit itself.
The AI will do everything in its power to protect its star prodigy. If players can evade the electromagnetic barriers and tracking laser restraints, if they can survive the Countdown to Core Clearance, they may yet be able to access the Isolation Chamber.
But before facing the prodigy herself, one last challenge awaits: players will have to fend off the echoes of other phantom cosmonauts, anima constructs that Halina has made to remember her long-dead compatriots. These corrupted copies will challenge the players by using their own abilities against them. What is the connection between the deep cosmic opening, anima, and the Filth? What happens when you cut into the universal fabric and send a traveller through? What waits on the other side?
Halina Ilyushin has spent the better part of her life preparing to find out. Abandoned by the world and the people who made her, she is more determined than ever to fulfill her purpose, no matter the cosmic consequences.
On the precipice of her fatal voyage, it's up to the players to stand in her way.