A few weeks ago we told you about the XO Kickstarter that is currently underway and that has already successfully reached its goal. As you can imagine, Jumpdrive Studios has been super busy working to raise the funds and promote the game, but Corey Warning from Jumprive was still able to find some time to answer some of our questions about XO. Check out the extra details about the game below, and don’t forget to check out the XO Kickstarter for more information!
XO clearly takes inspiration from Battlestar Galactica in terms of the story. What other movies or games inspired XO, and how did those affect the game (development, gameplay, etc.)?
Everyone at Jumpdrive loves FTL – we’ve probably all logged hundreds of hours combined playing that game. Another big inspiration came from the Lost Fleet novels. A couple of us have been playing a lot of Darkest Dungeon as well, and while it’s not a space game, the way the stress, triumph, and frustration is something I hope we can capture in XO.
Any particular reasoning behind the wireframe artistic design of the game?
We’re big fans of old-school vector arcade games like Tron and Battlezone. A lot of space games tend to go for that Homeworld look, and while that’s cool we wanted to do something different. Keep in mind we’re also a small team of 5 guys at Jumpdrive – so we wanted to create something beautiful while staying realistic in regards to our time and resources.
How would you describe XO in terms of gameplay (RTS, Action, Rogue-like, etc.)?
If you’re familiar with Battlestar Galactica, you know that the combat is only part of the fun — we’ve been joking that XO is actually an Admiral Adama simulator, haha. We want you to feel like a real commander – you give an order, and your people do their jobs. We are modeling a political network that forces you to deal with certain personalities and the demands of your fleet — on top of the overwhelming enemy trying to abduct all of humanity. So if you’re a poor leader, expect mutiny and treachery! All of this is procedurally generated, giving the game a strong rogue-like element.
How do the Newtonian physics affect the gameplay and control of the ships?
It forces you to think before you commit your ships to a course. Once your ships are thrusting, it becomes harder to change their course. We’re used to playing space games that allow you to stop immediately. You can’t do that in XO, and it makes a battle much more like a puzzle that you have to figure out. It ups the stakes.
How much control will players have during combat? Can they control individual ships, manage components, manage repairs, etc?
Players have individual control over their warships and can group them in formations as well, so you can leave a warship behind to fight off the enemy while two other groups split off and flank another enemy group and a third stays with the fleet to provide cover.
Ships have different weapon systems that can be swapped out, and individual ships can also be repaired if you have an auxiliary — a ship that is a massive drydock with jump drives.
You can put your ships into different formations, and use tactics like flanking to bait the enemy. At the same time, you could have several other ships speeding off towards a planet to gather enough fuel for the next jump. Once you’re in jumpspace, you can repair, equip, and manage your council. Jumpspace is essentially the “town” or safezone in the game.
Will the player ever have to face hostile human fleets, or only the alien fleet?
For sure you’ll have to contend with human fleets – our backers unlocked a stretch goal for pirates and rogue military ships. We’re very excited about that! But who said the enemy was alien? 🙂
Can you describe the non-combat portions of the game? What sort of fleet management will the players need to engage in?
We’re currently working on a deep political network for XO. You’ll need to keep an eye on things like loyalty and fear to make sure there’s no mutiny brewing. We have several different events like food riots, assassinations, and other inter fleet conflicts that will occur throughout the game.
The Kickstarter preview information mentioned that XO uses a regular cycle where players jump to a planet, try to extract resources and survivors, and then escape. How will XO keep this progression interesting and avoid the game becoming repetitive?
The characters you meet, planets you visit, and events you’ll uncover are all randomized – so you never know what you’re going to get when you jump to a new area. We’re going to have hundreds of unique events that players can find in XO, and if the game is successful, we’ll keep adding to that.
Is destruction of the enemy mothership the only victory condition, or will there be other ways to win in XO?
We don’t want to spoil too much, but the idea is to amass a fleet that strong enough to punch through the enemy lines and finally escape their reach.
Is there any ballpark estimate on when the alpha and beta testing phases will begin?
We’re pushing for Alpha later this year, and Beta early 2016.
Will there be any opportunity for non-backers to participate in the alpha or beta tests?
Now that we’re funded, we’re working with Humble Bundle to create a Slacker Backer widget, which will be available on our website after August 19.
Is there any particular or extra information you would like to share with the Death by Beta readers?
Just because we reached our Kickstarter goals doesn’t mean the party’s over…we still have 9 days left to raise more funds for XO! We’ll be announcing more stretch goals soon, so keep an eye out for those. To everyone who’s backed us already, thank you so much, the support on Kickstarter has been amazing.
There you have it. Make sure to check out the XO Kickstarter and help support the game, and don’t forget that testing access fo XO starts at the $15 tier!
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