Questions by Jordan Hall (ApocaRUFF)
Answers by Chris King, CrisPon Games
Galactic Inheritors is an up-and-coming 4X space game brought to us by CrisPon Games, a new studio created by former employees of Paradox Development Studios. They feel they have what it takes to create this new game that will offer a deeply rewarding experience for players. The game sets itself apart from other 4X titles by focusing on non-combat features, by allowing players to do things like manipulate the media to steer the opinions of their citizens. You will play the part of a leader of a society, controlling the research, exploration, and navy of your people. Luckily, I got to ask Chris King on how CrisPon Games plans to deliver on these features.
ApocaRUFF: Hello and thank you for your time! Please, introduce yourself for our readers.
King: Hi there, I am Chris King from Crispon Games, and I am delighted to have a chance to speak to your readers.
ApocaRUFF: What hand did you have in Paradox Development Studios? Are there any skills or knowledge that you’ve gained from your time there that you feel will show up in Galactic Inheritors?
King:I think it would be hard to point to one single thing here. I had been with Paradox for a long time and I grew with the company. We created a culture there that put game quality, depth of gameplay and a top-notch gamer experience first. Working at such a successful company, full of talented individuals that love to make great games, is an experience that must be lived and cannot be simply taught. I’d like to think that this attention to detail and expectation of deeply rewarding gameplay is something that can be felt in Galactic Inheritors.
ApocaRUFF: What gave you the inspiration to make Galactic Inheritors?
King:I love science fiction and I love 4X games. I always wanted to combine the two into a game. There are also a number of fantastic science fiction book series I could point to as influence. Two in particular that deal with the Fermi Paradox – the apparent contradiction between high estimates of the probability of the existence of extraterrestrial civilization and humanity’s lack of contact with, or evidence for, such civilizations – are the Revelation Space series by Alastair Reynold and the Manifold series by Steven Baxter.
ApocaRUFF: What will Galactic Inheritors offer over other 4X Games? What sets it apart? Essentially, why should someone play your game?
King:There is a lot of strong competition in the 4X genre but we hope our take will find its place in 4X players’ hearts. We took a deeper and harder Science Fiction angle with our game. It starts with our back-story, where rail guns triggered extinction events in the past; it provides a resolution to the Fermi Paradox. It provides a reason for why you’re fighting and also an explanation to why you have all these races coming into contact at roughly the same time, with roughly equivalent technology levels. You’ll also find a similar kind of logic behind the media system or the military industrial complex. We’re trying to ground the game with real science.
ApocaRUFF: Your feature list includes using “the power of the media,” can you elaborate more on that feature?
King:This is part of our core reasons for grounding the game in actual science and realistic cause-and-effect. We began to think about how future societies might work. Despite living in a dangerous galaxy, your people, at individual levels, just want a comfortable life. Most might cheerfully live out their lives leaving the wars to the next generation. However, what will rouse most is a threat to their comfortable lives.
This is where the media comes in. You can use your control of the media to start selling the notion of war to your people, to create a notion of urgency and threat. Once you have sold them that your neighbors should be hated, feared or simply conquered to eliminate a threat, you can go out and fight them with the full support of your species.
We also decided that these media efforts would not be that subtle. Everyone that pays attention could notice. This provides an extra layer of strategy. Wars often brew slowly, but most know that it is coming. This means you can see what is happening between other races and decide the most advantageous course. You can ignore it (and perhaps be next on the aggressor’s list), you can turn toward unobserved conquest, while some of your opponents are fighting amongst themselves, or you can choose sides and attack a weakened empire, capturing some of your own spoils of war.
ApocaRUFF: And how about Chokepoints? These are mentioned in the features list as well. What exactly are they, in the context of Galactic Inheritors? How big of a role will these Chokepoints play in the game?
King:We use the jump drive as our means of faster than light (FTL) travel. What this gives us is a type of terrain, as the value of the solar system is not just determined by how much it produces but also its location. A chokepoint is a vital spot where several hostile systems border your solar system. Here you can focus most of your fleets to defend the spot in a concentrated effort, while enemy fleets may need to spread out across several systems. This is a highly advantageous piece of real estate to own. It is not about blanket colonization of the galaxy. It is about a tradeoff, where it can be better to colonize a resource-poor system at a chokepoint instead of a resource rich system at the harder to defend outskirts of a solar system.
ApocaRUFF: How important is exploration in Galactic Inheritors? Is one hundred solar systems the limit, or do you plan to expand in future updates?
King:Exploration is key, because you do not know how the solar systems connect together. You can discover sections of the galaxy that you can essentially block off from enemy intrusion through a clever colonization strategy. One hundred solar systems is the number we picked for a large map. One of the things that will drive future development of the game is fan feedback. If the fans want larger maps with more solar systems, then we will put more of our time into that. This is something we have already identified as an upgrade but we want some extensive balance testing and the fans’ view on this first.
ApocaRUFF: I wasn’t able to find any information on this. Does the game support multiplayer? If not now, with it in the future?
King:At the moment we do not have multiplayer included. Setting up a reliable multiplayer system is a huge investment in time and testing. We felt that it would be better for us to focus our time and effort on getting the best single-player game we could. We have not ruled out multiplayer in the future. Again, through the benefit of Early Access, we’ll listen to the players and let them know the tradeoffs of other single-player features that could be on the table instead.
ApocaRUFF: What can players expect in terms of combat?
King:Combat is very much hands-off. You are the leader of the species directing things from the capital and based on reports. The ability to micro manage combat from there is simply not feasible. So you will send your fleets into battle, give a bit of direction to the commanders and then trust them to do what they do best, and hopefully win the battle for you.
ApocaRUFF: Is there a particular feature that you are most excited or proud about?
King:The media system is definitely one I am proud of. It changes the gameplay significantly. Players have to plan their moves and it provides for a more involved management. The strategic implications and the cause-and-effect possibilities are delicious.
ApocaRUFF: Who is the “Target Audience” of Galactic Inheritors? Casual or hardcore? Are you focusing on existing 4X players, or are you hoping to attract those that haven’t played a 4X before?
King:We don’t tend to work on the idea of a “target audience.” We set ourselves a goal of making a fun game and we hope that people who like fun games will enjoy this one. Obviously, we think traditional 4X players will love the depth of the gameplay, but we think that the uncluttered interface may also attract new players to the genre.
ApocaRUFF: What’s the development plan for after release? Do you guys want to continue providing content updates, or will you solely focus on bug fixes and then move onto the next project?
King:We want to do more than just simply fix bugs. We have a pretty clear plan on what we want to add over the next six months during Early Access. However, we are fully prepared to tear up the plan in response to community feedback. Part of the excitement of this venture is even we aren’t sure where this game will go. We want to engage with the player community and see where we can journey together.
ApocaRUFF: I’m pretty excited to play Galactic Inheritors, as 4X has always been one of my favorite genres. When can players get their hands on Galactic Inheritors and where will they find it?
King: It’s available now on Steam Early Access, through Humble Bundle’s store, on the Green Man Gaming store, the NeuronZone store and via GamersGate for $14.99 U.S.
ApocaRUFF: Thank you for answering our questions! Is there anything else you would like to add?
King: Just that is has been a pleasure answering your questions. I really appreciate the interest and I hope very much that you and your readers will love the Galactic Inheritors!