Space Siege with Chris Taylor
Gas Powered Games are building quite a reputation, having fostered The Dungeon Siege series, as well as reviving the soul of Total Annihilation via Supreme Commander. With Chris Taylor taking his RPG machinations into the future with the studio's next release, Space Siege, and self-styled third-party champions Sega set to publish, we thought it was time for a chin-wag.
Why the departure from the fantasy-theme? Have you had it with the goblins and magic spells?
The science fiction setting really opened up a lot of avenues for us in terms how the story could be told, the interesting moral decisions, and the types of combat we could use. It wasn't a case of losing interest in fantasy -- which we still all love -- it was more of a case of wanting to scratch a different creative itch.
The central 'horrific choice' is intriguing. What can you tell us about this?
The primary hook in the game is the question of what it means to be human. If you remove your real arm and replace it with a cybernetic arm, are you still human? Of course. But what if you replace your brain? At what point does the person you once were simply fade away and get replaced by a cybernetic version of yourself?
This choice plays out both in terms of the actual gameplay, including the types of weapons you can use, and in terms of the story. Certain characters will respond to you differently if you install and use cybernetics.
The basic set-up is that an alien race called the Kerak has destroyed the Earth and only a handful of survivors manage to escape the cataclysm. Unfortunately, as the humans speed away, the Kerak attach an attack-pod to the human ship and start to attack the ship's passengers.
Will the game be set entirely on-board the Armstrong spaceship? What is the thinking behind this?
The entire game is set aboard the Armstrong. We really wanted to play with a cool, claustrophobic setting that really hammered home the desperation of the situation. And since the ship is massive, we were able to create a large variety of room types and areas, including engine rooms, a massive atrium with a pond, etc.
One of the big things is how the story unfolds. With our previous games, dialogue was delivered when you met new characters, which often meant there were large stretches in the game where no one said anything. With Space Siege, radios let us deliver dialogue whenever we need to, and the result is a richer experience.
How does the mission-based multiplayer mode function?
Multiplayer is set on a different ship, the Tachibana, and the players must work together to complete a series of objectives. After you complete a certain number of missions, the next group unlock and then you continue on. The host gets to choose which mission is selected.
The game is linear in terms of its story (it has a beginning, middle, and end), but there are places where the player can make key decisions (and there are different endings depending on what you decide). I won't say more than that because I don't want to spoil anything.
How influential have major action / RPG releases like BioShock and Mass Effect been?
We loved both of those games and always try and learn what we can from what other folks are doing.
What role will your robot sidekick serve?
HR-V is a robot that specializes in combat. It shoots first and asks questions later.
Visually, what kind of artistic vision are you looking to deliver with Space Siege?
The vision for Space Siege is showing immense scale. We designed the colony ship, the Armstrong to be a mile long and almost as tall. This decision is to take advantage of the game's camera angle and to provide the player a unique environment where they can explore a mammoth ship so big that it has its own internal train system.
How does the combat system work?
The controls should be immediately familiar to anyone who has played an action-RPG game. You move and shoot using the mouse and select special weapons and abilities with the keyboard.
Lastly, when will Space Siege be released?
Space Siege is released in Europe on 22nd August.