The in-development Meriweather will allow the player to act as Meriwether Lewis himself—and joins a growing body of work eschewing the medium's historical obsession with sci-fi and fantasy.
In 2008, after reading Undaunted Courage, Stephen Ambrose's history of the Lewis and Clark expedition, game designer Joshua DeBonis and his wife took a road trip along the 3,700 mile trail forged by the two explorers. While camping just off the trail in Badlands National Park, they watched a herd of buffalo crest a hill as the sun set.
Moved, DeBonis thought of that herd days later as he climbed to the top of the great Montana rock formation called Pompey's Pillar. It was from the Pillar, in which Clark famously carved his name, that both he and Lewis famously witnessed the great abundance of the old west; in their journals they both wrote of the thousands of buffalo milling as far as they could see.
"It was so inspiring and intimidating and beautiful and amazing," DeBonis says. "It became really obvious to me that it was a really great topic for a game."
That game is Meriwether, the in-development role-player from DeBonis' company Sortasoft, and it gives you, Meriwether Lewis, command of the Corps of Discovery. The narrative starts in 1803 with Thomas Jefferson's decision to put you in charge of exploring his newly-purchased Louisiana, and follows your journey to the Pacific and back. Along the way, the player acts as a naturalist, a resource manager, a hunter, and a diplomat with the many Native nations that the real expedition encountered.