Blending two genres together is always a challenge, and the more diverse they are the more difficult transition. We’ve seen many ambitious projects over the years, but few seem to have blended quite so successful a mixture of elements as Space Bear Development’s latest Kickstarter backed video game.
Galaxy Heist can be seen as the natural next step down the road the likes of Guns of Icarus: Online started on. You have ships, you have multiple roles and you have just enough people to try and keep the ship flying, fighting and not exploding while in combat. Atop of all this though, you now have the opportunity to board enemy vessels, destroying them from within as you fight your way to the bridge. Offering space pirate style combat along with a variety of interesting weapons (a flamethrower in an enclosed artificial atmosphere ought to be especially interesting), this particular Kickstarter project is visibly going the extra mile to create a well-rounded and in-depth experience.
With the opportunity to ask further questions about their plans for Galaxy Heist and what will follow should their goals be met, we sat down to speak with Project Lead Ryan Lee...
STARBURST: Given boarding is such a crucial part of the game, can you speak at all upon the tactics and mechanics involved in defending or boarding a vessel? C4 charges and venting atmosphere via destroying glass have both been unveiled thus far. However, can defenders go so far as to perform acts such as setting up traps at choke-points?
Ryan Lee: Players can definitely ambush other players in certain parts of the ship to try and help them defend. Setting traps isn’t a feature yet, although we plan on expanding the uses of C4 past just using it to break onto the ship so that could definitely come into play. There are multiple routes around the ship to give players options for sneaking around, like small vents to crawl through and hatches to jump down.
How wide a variety of ships and drones will be on offer from the start, and will we see designs being tailored to fit differing methods of gameplay? Along with choosing the placement of turrets on a ship, do you have any further levels of customisation planned?
Customisation isn’t too complex at the moment, players can change the colours of their ship as well as the colours of the character they want to play as.
Initially, we’ll have 3-4 big flagships with fully modelled interior FPS maps inside them. Players can then chose right away which one they want to use. They will also be able to choose their preferred drone fighters which escort each flagship, about 3-5 different types will be available initially.
Given this is an extremely team orientated ship combat game, will we be seeing any varying classes or roles between players akin to Guns of Icarus Online? If not, will players be rewarded for carrying out a certain role such as a dedicated pilot or engineer?
One of the stretch goals will be to have much more advanced ranking system which shows what each player excels at. Right now the players can play as either an Engineer, Mercenary, or Soldier but the stats for each one will start out similar as combat is focused on skill over character level.
Along with triggering the self-destruct system of the enemy vessel, are there any alternative ways in which players can win matches? Will it be possible to win without boarding an enemy ship at all?
No, in order for a flag ship to be completely destroyed it has to be boarded. This gives a lot of incentive to get people onto other players’ ships. If a ship isn’t boarded when it’s disabled eventually the flag ship will fix itself and the players on board will resume attacking others in the space battle.
One of the most interesting concepts on offer is how players can switch teams mid-match. Can you expand upon this further in terms of how this will effect game balance or any limitations you might put in place to prevent relentless backstabbing?
I don’t think there is any room for backstabbing as players can only jump to another flagship on their team, unless the match is setup were each flagship is on its own team, then switching teams won’t be allowed. It’s just a way for players to not be stuck on a specific ship if they don’t like the players they are playing with. Their overall team will consist of at least six flagships so they will have some options to move around. Also players can chose to jump into a match alone with nobody on their ship, however if they get boarded they might be welcome to having players from other ships pod over to help them defend it.
Once a vessel is boarded, can players using drones or turrets assist in helping either side in any way? Can teams boarding a ship actually find and disable any of these systems?
Once a ship is boarded, both parties load into an interior map of the disabled ship, defenders spawn on the flight deck while the attacking team loads onto the bridge that connects their ship to the disabled ship. There is no connection with the players running around inside to the space battle outside. The players still in the space battle will see the two flagships locked together will not be able to interfere with the battle going on inside.
How wide a variety of weapons will there be on offer at launch, and can players expect to see a few unique tools or guns which make use of Galaxy Heist’s unique mix of gameplay?
There will be about 10-12 weapons placed around inside of each ship that players can grab while they’re running around along with a few special weapons. The current special weapon we’re showing off is our Vacuum cannon which throws out a wave of distortion and ragdolls any players it hits. It also blows out any nearby windows which rips any nearby players out into space.
We’re also playing with the idea of a harpoon gun that can be used to pull players back into the ship quickly if they get sucked out into space.
While the main use of the tether is to serve as a boarding harpoon to reel in a vessel for a boarding action, are there any other planned uses for the weapon beyond this?
We don’t have any other uses for the tether at the moment.
Finally, should the Kickstarter prove to be a success, what stretch goals do you have planned for your game?
The first thing will be modelling the interior of the drone fighters so that players can look around inside their ship while they’re flying through a massive space battle.
Other tiers include things such as a more competitive ranking system, special survival game types and server wide organized battles with clan options.