Satellite Reign interview
It’s been a while, but we are back with a new exclusive interview! This time it’s about Satellite Reign, a real time, class-based strategy game with an open sandbox world. The premise is rather unique, and in truth there hasn’t been a game like this since Syndicate, of which Satellite Reign is a spiritual successor of sorts, mostly thanks to Mike Diskett.
Enjoy the first in-engine video and the interview just below; you can support their Kickstarter campaign which is going for stretch goals now, although only a couple of days are left, but a PayPal option is already available and will be open even after the campaign ends.
First of all, welcome to Worlds Factory and please, introduce yourself and your game to our readers.
We’re 5 Lives Studios, we’re a group of industry veterans and our game is Satellite Reign, a spiritual successor to the Syndicate series. It’s an isometric 3D real-time tactical strategy game where you control 4 agents, each a unique class as you try to take over an open world sandbox city. How you do that is up to you, you can take an action route, a more covert approach or a mix of both.
Did you realize why there has been no Syndicate-like game in the past 15 years or so? Honestly, I didn’t play the original games (shame on me, I was a kid though), but even the basic concept of Satellite Reign sounds a lot more exciting to me than the average base-building RTS.
That’s part of the reason we came up with Satellite Reign to begin with, there really hasn’t been anything like this in 15 years. Even trying to explain it to younger gamers who never played it isn’t an easy exercise as there aren’t many recent reference points.
I love the sandbox, emergent gameplay approach to Satellite Reign. I’m wondering the extent to which the systems can be exploited by the clever player: for instance, you said that “power grids actually power the city”. Is it possible to take down a specific power grid in order to disable power in a specific sector of the city and facilitate infiltration by night?
That’s exactly the type of scenarios we want the player to uncover of their own volition. But the thing which excites us the most is seeing players come up with ways of playing the game we would never have thought of, unique solutions to problem which can only come from a true sandbox game.
Similarly, “information and finances flow from one district to another”. This is very interesting, is it possible to hijack resources while they are being transferred, perhaps as far as taking down a corporation simply by emptying their bank account? Moreover, what can you tell us about the extent of economy and business simulation/management in Satellite Reign?
We do intend to have multiple options to approach any mission or goal, the most obvious solution is an action based one but we want there the be to option to effect your enemies in more surreptitious ways. So whether it’s funneling money from your enemies bank accounts or cutting off your enemies access to higher powered weaponry. We also want the player to have the ability to control the income from the districts they control, changing the tax or profits percentage from a district has an effect on the populaces loyalty to your organisation.
You’ve said that players can choose to either rally the support of the population against corporations or use people as “meat shields” in their operations. Clearly the morality spectrum is wide here, but I’m wondering how do you plan to portray the consequences to your actions back to the player – will there be some kind of in-game news channel which reports the ongoing events and overall reputation of the player’s team?
We don’t want to place artificial morals on the player but we also want the consequences to your action to be realistic. We see propaganda being a large part of this, you could be a brutal mass murderer to the civilians, but if you pump enough money into propaganda in that area they will think you’re their saviours and even join you in battle if you start a fight against an opposing organisation in a crowded area.
The player will control four agents, and there are four classes. I’m wondering though if we are forced to have one class per agent, or maybe we can customise the team to our preference, using two assassins and two hackers for instance.
You’ll have a fixed team with one of each class, but you will be able to customise the skills, equipment, weapons and augmentations of your characters to suit your playstyle. Each agent has unique abilities that make them stand out from the others, this allows us to balance the game to avoid exploitive situations where 4 soldiers could obliterate any opposing forces with no challenge to the player whatsoever and situations where you could have 4 fully upgraded assassins just running around completely camouflaged taking out everything with no resistance. It’s essentially a means to give players a wide variety of options while keeping said options nicely balanced.
The funding goal is for the single player campaign, but you acknowledged on Kickstarter that multiplayer opportunities are exciting. If you eventually add four players co-op, would each player control just one character? Also, what are your current ideas for a potential versus mode? Some user on your forums proposed Player-vs-Player Corps wars, that sounds like it could potentially awesome but I’m not sure it would be fitting to your kind of gameplay.
Each player would control one agent (or multiple agents if there was less than 4 players) as they played through the single player campaign. We’d love to do a versus mode but it would take a lot more time and subsequently more money to balance properly, we could throw in a versus mode fairly quickly if we already had the backend setup for co-op, but it’d be fairly bare bones and basic. We think there’s a lot of potential in a real fleshed out faction vs faction version of multiplayer, so we’d prefer to wait and do it properly. It’d likely be a further stretch goal past co-op if we were lucky enough to get that far, or in a sequel once the first game is successful.
Do you want to add anything else for our readers regarding Satellite Reign?
Thanks for reading and thanks to all our backers thus far! Stay tuned to our updates for more info as we reveal each class of agent and we have a few extra tidbits coming up towards the end of the campaign!