Chris Birch | Modiphius Games

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Infinity is a slick sci-fi cyberpunk universe that started out as a highly successful skirmish wargame. It is now being adapted into a table-top roleplaying game for those who want to live in the world of Infinity for a while. We caught up Modiphius Games supremo Chris Birch, who is developing the new game. 

STARBURST: Why the Infinity Universe?
Chris Birch: I remember first seeing the minis in a store and thinking WOW these would be amazing as RPG characters. The sense of imminent action in the poses just screamed at you and so I started looking in to the world more. It’s a great combination of space opera and cyberpunk/transhuman adventure with an epic big plot that was ripe to be turned in to an RPG game. Before there was a skirmish game, though, there actually was an RPG. Infinity started life as a homemade RPG setting for the early roleplaying adventures of Corvus Belli founders Alberto, Carlos, Fernando, and Gutier so it was amazing to be given the trust to take their baby and expand on the world for them.

How different will it be from Corvus Beli’s miniature’s game?
The RPG system itself was inspired by the multi-d20 rolls of the Infinity game, but where the skirmish game is amazing for intense battles, the RPG lets you race from battle to battle, mixing social escapes with wild races through futuristic cities or war torn jungles, epic hacking, subterfuge and conspiracy - all in one game session. Otherwise, we'll be bringing to life the Infinity universe, focusing on things off the battlefield, exploring the universe and the many plots - letting you explore characters you’ve not seen before, learn what it’s like to be a fragment of the powerful AI ‘Aleph’, a Maya media star or one of the many agents of the factions.

Is there a language barrier?
The Infinity RPG is being written in English, the skirmish game was written in Spanish and translated to English. We are working on translations with various partners though as the game has huge followings across Europe, Russia and in South America,

How would you describe Infinity to a non-gamer?
In the twisted jungles of Paradiso, humanity fights for its survival. The fierce, alien warriors of the Combined Army have poured through the Acheron Gate, descending upon the emerald jungles of the newest colonial world in a seemingly unstoppable torrent. The bestial Morat pound the Paradiso Front, where brave men and women fight ceaselessly to maintain a desperate defensive line which the sly Shasvastii penetrate with devastating ease. In the star-swept skies above, the collected might of humanity’s armadas maintain a life-or-death blockade to cut off an endless horde of alien reinforcements. And if any of humanity’s fractious forces should falter, then all may be lost…

But beyond that terrifying holding action, the intrigues and adventures of the Human Sphere spin on. Space pirates cruise through the shattered planetoids of Human Edge. Scientist adventurers delve the oceans of Varuna. Merchant guilds scheme amidst the scourging sands of Bourak. From Yutang, the Emperor gazes forth from an uneasy throne. Titanic war machines stride across the icy plains of Svalarheima. Byzantine hypercorps struggle for dominance amidst the chrome towers of Neoterra.

How is this different from other space/cyberpunk RPGs?

 The machinations of two major AI's - one who seeks to cradle humanity, the other very alien - seeking to evolve to a higher state are intertwined in the Infinity universe. The story actually brings together a lot of transhuman ideas within a space opera setting and keeps it fresh. I think if far future space opera is your thing you'll like what Corvus Belli [the creators] have dreamed up. Being able to pick up gorgeous metal miniatures of the epic heroes and heroines is the icing on the cake!

How different is it from other Modiphius games?

The Infinity RPG uses the same 2d20 system developed for Mutant Chronicles and the new Conan RPG. It's obviously heavily flavoured to replicate the feel of the Infinity universe and some of the memorable mechanics of the skirmish game so fans feel at home playing it. The 2d20 system was developed by Jay Little, designer of the X-wing Miniatures game and Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG and we have plans for it to appear in the John Carter RPG and several other major RPG's coming out in the next couple of years.

What’s next for Infinity?
We unlocked 20 books in the Kickstarter, covering all aspects of the universe but we have more planned over the next couple of years and lots more exciting products like a line of geomorphic maps tiles for use with the miniatures. People who missed out can still join in through our webstore

What’s next for Modiphius?
The Conan Kickstarter is launching in the middle of January - you can find out more at - we're unveiling a stunning new cover art by a major name artist and have so many big name artists on board it's been an incredible experience. We also have the John Carter RPG coming this spring, and the Kung Fu Panda board game amongst others.

Why Kickstarter?
Growing a line of RPG’s or board games is hard work - and distributors don’t want to take the risk so there’s very little money in going it the traditional route, unless you have major funds to invest upfront. With cost prices increasing and wanting to put in top name artists and sticking to high production qualities publishers are having to turn to Kickstarter to get the kind of customer base that can keep a new game alive. Of course, with projects like Infinity and Conan, you have a great customer base, but distributors still won’t order the volume of product to justify the level of production. Modiphius doesn’t use Kickstarter for every project (the Dust Adventures RPG was released with a small pre-order straight in to distribution), however major projects with extensive product lines need the boost of funding that Kickstarter brings. The key thing for us is being able to give those people who believe in us a really, really amazing deal in return for helping fund the development of the line. People have said of the Achtung! Cthulhu project that it’s ‘the Kickstarter that just keeps giving’ and whilst we'd often had delays I’m proud of the fact that we've stuck to our quality and give people back as much as we can. We’ve even gone on to offer stretch goals in each succeeding Kickstarter for previous projects so people keep benefitting from our success and plan to invest in the community as the projects grow.

You can find out more on the Modiphius website here.

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