20 years ago this month, WipEout 3 was released for the original PlayStation. In September 1999, I had no idea how that futuristic racing game would come to shape the next ten years of my life and beyond.
A few years back when I was at Sony I wrote a short back-story for a fictional company in the game WipEout, called Tech de Ra. I don’t even know if I still have a copy of the original text – it was used for the most part to spark the imagination of the graphic design team and was never published on the website as intended. However, it essentially boiled down to orbital satellites with great big mirrors that focussed the sun’s rays onto solar panels on Earth.
The benefit being that the focussed solar energy would generate more power than the scatter-gun methods available to us now. I even had a bit about one of their older satellites being used to provide power and light to the dark side of the moon for the Lunar Parcs holiday complex up there (another one of the fictional companies I came up with!). So – pretty far fetched, I’ll agree.
Then I read this article on Treehugger last month; “Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and IHI Corp. will join a 2 trillion yen ($21 billion) Japanese project intending to build a giant solar-power generator in space within three decades and beam electricity to earth.”
Which is pretty much what I was getting at with the Tech de Ra back-story, and I think it’s quite exciting that it could become a reality.
This kind of thing has happened before with back-story content I’ve written. Back in November 2004 when I was writing the back-story for WipEout Pure, I wrote that the island the game was set on had been created by volcanic activity which ensued from an underwater Earthquake. I was told by my boss at the time that it sounded pretty far fetched. Six weeks later that infamous tsunami, caused by an earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean, struck. Needless to say, I went back into work in January and re-wrote the parts which were a bit too close to reality for comfort.
Conversely, I really do hope that Mitsubishi and partners can bring the orbital solar power project closer to reality.
Update: It turns out I do have the document after all; Companies – Tech de Ra