We teased the upcoming Episode II to you all last week, and this week we have even more to show! Check the trailer above for your introduction to The Rift!
Earlier this week, I also got some time to sit down with the Design team, error1st and benni, who have been crafting this new experience which is becoming part of the over-arching Fractured Space story. Read on to find out more about Episode II.
First off, what is The Rift?
The Rift is a new tactical single sector game mode, where teams must focus on gathering resources to repair a distressed Flagship while attempting to destroy the enemies.
In the lore, The Rift is an area of space which most captains try to avoid. Ships have been known to disappear without explanation within the region with many Captains traveling to The Rift following a distress call.
In our trailers, we hear from Newton Siddis, our latest character joining Fractured Space, can you tell us more about him?
Siddis will evolve over the next few episodes into a bit of a pivotal character. We’re having a lot of fun banging our heads together and showing where this thing will go, which should hopefully come across in the voice over lines and overarching narrative.
All I can say about him, for now, is that he’s a very smart and focused scientist, but his emotional intelligence levels may not be quite up to scratch.
What is the objective of The Rift?
The Rift is a 5v5 PvE/PvP mode. Players aim to rescue a disabled friendly ship before the enemy team can destroy it. They do this by salvaging wrecks and returning to their damaged ally (Flagship) to deliver the materials. Once repaired, your ally is the most powerful vessel in the sector by far and must be escorted to its enemy counterpart to kill it. Defending your Flagship is also vital since it’s destruction will result in your team losing the match.
This new Episode moves away from Conquest, and feels more like an event with a unique twist on things; what was the reasoning behind this decision to flesh out these ideas more into its own bespoke game type for this Episode?
We’ve been keen to create new tactics for Fractured Space as it currently exists. The salvaging is a different way in which players can gain an advantage over their opponents, and the Flagship represents a different way of ending a match.
Experimenting with new game types and modes is a large part of what the episodic updates are about. We’ve long been discussing which sorts of game modes could work for Fractured Space, and have been experimenting internally for a while now. We’re not looking to replace Conquest by any means, but think some may have potential to be easier to get into for new players while mixing things up and offering a fresh way to play the game for existing players. The shorter rounds may also go some way to reducing matchmaking times.
Anyway, we’re having a lot of fun playtesting them in the studio already, so of course, we hope that they’ll resonate with the players too. Obviously, if any of the new game modes in the scenario get amazingly positive feedback, then we’ll look into fixing it up and bringing it back permanently -either as a standalone, in a shared queue with a vote or in a rotation.
In terms of how the Rift came about – that’s been predominantly down to Benni, our new designer. He started off with an idea revolving around collecting water and a playable flagship, and through feedback and iteration, it slowly evolved into what it is now.
What were the biggest challenges you faced while creating The Rift?
benni: Early versions required one player to be the Flagship. Whilst there was a novelty to this, it came with lots of downsides. The Flagship had to play incredibly cautious, or risk losing the game for their team. Not ideal in a solo queue environment, where communication may not be as accessible as it is in pre-made teams. One of the main difficulties was allowing players strategic freedom, whilst also trying to reduce the possibilities for exploits. The QA team provided lots of useful feedback in this area.
error1st: Having naturally been more focussed on gameplay and rules side of design rather than narrative, I’ve been enjoying figuring out ways of tying together the narrative arc, lore, and gameplay While ensuring that everyone’s feedback is constructive enough for Benni to actually do something with. I’ve also been running daily meetings with all our disciplines to make sure everyone is on track, so persuading everyone to get together at the same time can itself be a bit of a challenge.
The really hard decisions have been on Benni though – he’s had to make some tough calls on discarding some fun core mechanics and re-think what the mode was several times.
What has been your favorite aspect to work on while creating The Rift?
The Rift has changed dramatically from its early conception to the final version. It’s meant that up until a certain point, there were important direction pivots on what it should be. These were mainly decisions that were arrived at after lots of collaboration or discussion. It’s good to feel that something has been reasoned together.
Being part of evolving an abstract idea into tangible gameplay is always interesting and part of the fun, and I’d say that’s probably true for any dev for any project -it’s always very satisfying when everything starts coming together. For me, getting to the stage where even the saltiest of devs are starting to actually have fun in playtests is always a good feeling; things get competitive, and everyone’s keen to have another go straight after. We currently aren’t short of playtest volunteers, and that’s a good sign that we’ve created something the players want to keep playing.