This post is a transcript of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Orion System, material that is the intellectual property of Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) and it’s subsidiaries. INN is a Star Citizen fansite and is not officially affiliated with CIG, but we reprint their materials with permission as a service to the community. INN edits our transcripts for the purpose of making the various show participants easier to understand in writing. Enjoy!
Hello, everybody! My name’s Dave Haddock and I’m the Lead Writer over here at Cloud Imperium Games and this is another episode of Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where we take one of the many systems in the Star Citizen universe and give you an overview of the system and its background as well as insight into the process and the choices that were made during its creation.
So, today the spotlight is going to cast on a pretty big one, we’re going talk about the Orion system which is historically known as the site of initial contact with the uber-friendly Vanduul. So, let’s jump right in and open up our trusty Starmap, we’re on Earth. All right, we’re going to Orion which is over here on the western side.
Now some of you may be wondering why is the system blurred and classified when I can see planets and stars and obviously select things and read information and stuff like that, that would be an excellent question. The answer is the classified status prevents new and current information about the system from being displayed to the public in the fiction of the universe. So the named Vanduul systems, it’s important to remember that these were part of the UEE for hundreds of years before they were invaded. So, there’s a wealth knowledge the people already know about the planets because they lived there for awhile.
Because we have Cherie, ‘guardian of the galaxy’ on our side, we’re going to disable some of the things so it’s a little easier to see. So hold on one second…And bazzam! Now it’s all gone. Let’s get started with some backstory.
Orion System Backstory
So, Orion was first discovered in 2650 and was originally planned to be used as a resource hub. Of the four planets that are here, only one of them, Armitage, is habitable. The idea was the vast plains would be used as an agricultural world until a government initiative called Project Farstar that was trying to promote colonization and in particular distant colonization just as a sort of ‘Look how awesome we are…’ type thing…Decided to put a bunch of money into developing the world.
Armitage became a real bread basket which was super cool until 2681 when the Dell township was wiped out overnight. This small town got hit and authorities basically had no idea what was going on, it was a sudden and obviously brutal attack that left everybody dead except for one person who was unaccounted for and it wasn’t until they managed to find some security footage that revealed who the attackers were and that’s when they sort of figured who or what they were dealing with. Unfortunately, without any real sense of where the Vanduul came from, the military came into the system and secured it, but just stood around like they were obviously gone so they didn’t really have much to do.
It wasn’t until almost a month after the attack on Armitage when the clan, who had attacked before, came back and the UEE and the Vanduul had their first stand-up fight. Fortunately for us, however, it was a new and really, really small clan so the UEE was actually able to destroy them and after that Orion was pretty quiet for a while. So quiet that it wasn’t for about five years until the next clan showed up and although it was a bigger clan the military was still able to fend them off but we didn’t kill them all.
On the plus side, we figured out where the jump point was and on the downside, we made our presence more known to them. At the time they obviously didn’t know the sort of clan structure basically was the Vanduul were not set up as a traditional culture or civilization with like a central government and stuff like that.
All these clans were independent so the idea was basically when the first two clans hit, we weren’t known to the Vanduul by and large because they don’t really talk to each other. Clans can actually be at war with each other so it wasn’t until the second clan went back into the jump point that more and more Vanduul started to realize there were humans here.
This was bad for us and for the next few decades attacks happened sporadically. Kind of hit and run type of stuff to the point where the Messers started to believe that the Vanduul were basically like a disorganized annoyance, not a real threat and that lasted until about 2712 when the system was invaded by a king-ship. King-ships are the massive capital ship and flagship of larger clans and they are mean. Basically, it just devastated the front line. We were not expecting something of that size and destructive capability and it was that battle that broke the UEE and they just dropped and ran. So 235 years the Orion system has remained under Vanduul control.
The fourth planet over here is a gas giant nicknamed ‘Abyss’ which is one of my favourite names and aside that it was actually inspired by a National Geographic article that had come out about a Jupiter-sized gas giant that Kepler telescope/satellite discovered called TRES2B and basically an astronomer from Harvard-Smithsonian said, ‘if we could see it up close it would look like a near-black ball of gas with a slight glowing red tinge to it’ which just sounds awesome particularly for a system like this.
So, hence the name ‘Abyss’, this sort of black almost void like gas giant perched on the edge of the system was a super fun detail to throw into an already kind of ominous and intimidating system. Aside from those two planets, Armitage over here which is Orion III and Abyss over here on the edge, you have Orion I which is just a small kind of planet that’s been charred by the red dwarf at the center. Then Orion II which I believe is a smog planet.
Meta-Knowledge on Orion System
Orion was actually one of the earliest systems we had in the game. It was first mentioned in the 2681 Time Capsule which was the Vanduul reveal and we released the first system unlocked for it at 3.5 million and reviewing it for this section that we actually need to revise that right up to bring it into current lore which I need to make a note to do.
Needless to say, it’s been around for a very long time. The appeal of this system, for me at least, was having this war-torn, shattered remnant of human civilization. In Port Conrad, which is this prime landing zone on Armitage…And part of the plan, just to give us some background knowledge, when coming up with these landing zones, particularly in the days when we were coming up with this one, because at the time the Star Citizen universe we considerably smaller. I think it was forty-some-odd systems as opposed to the current hundred or so, but with all of them, you want to make sure that each one has a very distinct atmosphere and character to make it stand out.
So, there’s something kind of unique and interesting and a flavor to it you can’t quite get anywhere else. It’s also one of the things you have to look at it from multiple perspectives too. So, it’s not only like, what makes it visually distinctive, but what types of stories will you experience there or missions, what types of characters you’ll interact with. These are the type of things that can help give it that little bit of flavor to make it feel unique.
So already from the jump basically Port Conrad was going to be a very different type place compared to the other ones we’d already put together. It had a post-apocalyptic feel to it because when the UEE abandoned the system, remembering this was during the Messer era so people weren’t very high on their list of priorities, they just ditched a bunch of civilians and ran.
So, there were people who were and still are living here despite the presence of Vanduul and I always kind of saw it as a weird bunch of ragtag outsiders, lunatics, and outlaws and stuff like that. Since they’ve effectively been living on their own and under the constant threat of attack there was this idea of how would the city need to be modified to protect them because at a moment’s notice Vanduul may roll into the system and start churning up some resources and leave. You don’t want to let them know you’re there because they don’t look kindly on squatters.
It’s a question that started these discussions, do buildings kind of seal up? Or do they have these things that make them look abandoned? These are things that are still being discussed and we’ll see what we can get away with. Again it’s probably important to reiterate that these initial system write ups have been around for awhile. So once the team starts to focus on Orion for active development so things might expand or shift slightly, but the important thing to remember is that the flavor of it, or the character of the system will be the same.
So, even though the specifics might be a little bit more fluid, this is the kind of the hook if you call it that into the system itself. So yeah, that’s it for Orion. Thank you all for hearing me ramble, big thank you goes out the subscribers of course for allowing us to do this added content. As always I recommend that you wander around the Starmap if you like to see the various systems of the Star Citizen universe and get a sense of that sort of flavor of the worlds and the landings zones and stuff like that and it’s just pretty as hell. So it’s just cool to wander around… the Starmap, of course, is accessible via the Star Citizen tab on top of the homepage so if you’re having difficulty finding it, that’s where it is.
My name’s Dave Haddock, this has been Loremaker’s Guide the to the Galaxy and I’ll see you next time.