When all went to hell on Earth, some started calling it “Zaixing.”
It means “disaster” in Mandarin Chinese.
A wormhole opened, sending a meteor on a direct path for Earth. Engineers working on the “Exodus Project” coined the term for what was to come. Others picked up on it, and before long, that’s all people had on their mind -- calamity, disaster, Zaixing (灾星; pr. “Zy - shing).
The Exodus Project was humanity’s only way through all the chaos. With a fast-approaching meteor, engineers from around the world worked tirelessly to build the USS Sovereignty, the last ship off of Earth.
Relatively few boarded the ship after the Exodus Project came to a close -- four years after the meteor struck Earth, decimating the planet.
For the moment, they were saved.
With Earth desolate, crumbling and left behind, those on the ship headed for somewhere, anywhere that would give them hope for a new life.
And they found it. Or, at least, some thought so.
The term “Zaixing” resurfaced as the USS Sovereignty came down hard, crashing into an unknown planet.
“It would be a pretty bad omen to name the planet Zaixing, because you’re naming the planet disaster,” said Matthew Haussler, asset artist at Zy Universe.
Matthew’s latest projects for Zy Universe include weapon design, treasure chests, the user interface and pause menu. And, at home, he speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
He was sitting in on a writer’s meet one day when the planet’s name was being discussed. He worked with Zy Universe co-founder Andy Egts to finalize it.
“It just seemed too perfect to have a word that means ‘star of calamity.’”
“For me, I wanted to mix other cultural influences into the backstory of Zy Universe because the meteoroid debris bombarding Earth is something that affected everyone,” Egts said. “By mixing other cultures into the story, you get more of a sense of the global scale and impact humans went through before leaving Earth.”
Matthew said that the dark theme of the game, paired with an ominous name like Zaixing, makes the game more isolating, evoking more emotion. “If they’re going to travel to this place, they don’t want to name it disaster -- but, it just stuck,” Matthew said.
Egts said, “It just seemed too perfect to have a word that means ‘star of calamity.’”