Did you forget about Phoenix Point, the upcoming turn-based tactical shooter from the original creator of X-COM? Because I sure as hell haven’t! This is one of my most anticipated games of all time, so I’ve been waiting for a nice big update and now it looks like we’ve got one. The game’s Geoscape and ballistics systems have been laid out.
You start with just a single home base (called Phoenix Point) which you will protect and maintain. You’ve got a jet, and plenty of places to check out. Some of them will be “havens” — which will generally belong to other factions who must be dealt with through negotiation or combat — or they could be independent havens who have their own rules and trade offers. They could be alien constructs, resource-rich material sites, and a lot more. Exploring the world is a series of gambles.
You can see a list of basic options on the right side of the screen, and below you can see a more detailed look at what the game could look like. It’s all placeholder, but it proves that this game will be WAY more advanced and detailed than the simplistic board-game system of that Firaxis XCOM reboot. This is very good news.
The blog post emphasizes that they’re aiming for a “4X” style of gameplay. That means Explore, Expand, Exploit, and Exterminate, which is the foundation of most strategy games like StarCraft or Masters of Orion. But there’s a feature even more exciting to me that hearkens back to the most advanced video game ever created: Dwarf Fortress!
A very clever simulation, which all happens behind the scenes, simulates several years of war between the factions and the independent Havens, fighting over outposts and resources. The alien threat starting to encroach on the land, consuming and mutating as it goes. Each faction has its own “personality” which tells the simulation how and where it should try to expand. You will never have the same play-through twice.
Rather than randomly placing a bunch of stuff and sacrificing logic in the process, the game will randomly “seed” the world with people and places and then fast-forward what would happen in that arrangement. What you see is a world with history and logic, but one that will never be the same twice.
Just as exciting is the ballistics system, which has been confirmed by Julian Gollop himself. In a triumphant victory for trueX-COM fans, projectile simulation is coming back and better than ever! Your bullets will always hit something, even if it’s not the target, and this can have unintended consequences! Shooting your friend in the back, or hitting some piece of terrain? Yes, those tough decisions will have weight once again. You can manually adjust your aim once you select a target as well. If you’re like me, you’ll want to jump over to the forums to read it in detail. He even acknowledges the challenges and potential downsides of such a simulated system, such as not being able to mathematically calculate how good a piece of cover is, or how exactly a creature’s pose should be if he wants to maximize cover effectively. “Cover” is dynamic and complex, not just waist-high objects all over the damn map.
If you want to watch Julian Gollop modestly walk through the history of X-COM and its derivatives. I laughed when he said that he only plays Japanese turn-based games like Advance Wars, Disgaea, and Final Fantasy Tactics! Great taste!
With Octopath Traveler I think Square Enix has a potential system-seller on their hands. It’s an old-school RPG coming out for the Nintendo Switch next year, but it uses the Unreal 4 engine to make everything fancier looking. It’s the most intriguing game coming out for the Switch in my opinion, because it demonstrates the hybrid console/handheld mentality that I hoped to see more of. The Switch is in a perfect position to deliver a tidal wave of SNES/PS1/DS reminiscent games that work on either the big screen or the little one, combining 3D graphics and pixels for a blast of nostalgia that doesn’t feel dated.
Metal Gear Solid movie director Vogt-Roberts recently did an interview with Eurogamer in which he made some extremely interesting statements.
This only leaves me with a single conclusion: the movie will utilize Virtual Reality simulations to explain how Raiden/Jack can jump in between missions that are decades apart and carried out by different men. By becoming Solid Snake and Big Boss in lifelike VR scenarios, Raiden would be able to conduct research, train himself, and probably solve some kind of problem related to the Patriots. There’s no other Metal Gear plot device that could “fuse” the different game stories together. Judging by how much Vogt-Roberts is pushing for a wacky, “post-Deadpool” style of film that will betray audiences and commit to weirdness… this is looking extremely plausible.
Vogt-Roberts says that Metal Gear shaped his creativity in some ways, and that the weirdness of it was essential to his enjoyment. He wants to carry on the tradition of embracing controversial visions, and the VR plot gimmick is one of the only things in the history of the series that could truly polarize the fanbase. Some people would love it, others would hate it. Raiden is the fulcrum point of the whole series, and the only one who was in a position to jump back and forth between missions that he never actually experienced.
For myself (the guy who spread the “VR Theory” in the first place) the prospect of seeing the first major Metal Gear film subvert the reality of the missions like this would be hilarious.
Thank you to my readers for supporting me the whole way through the writing process of the book. It’s been a very tough and exciting process. Check out the below video to see me talk about how it feels now that the book is finished and in the hands of the publishing company.
Here’s a new video defending MGS4 as a wonderfully caring sequel that’s full of love, not a jaded attack on nostalgia. The argument revolves around the production values, detail, and care put into the game itself, and accepts the harsh world and themes as being some kind of natural, logical “price to pay” for fans demanding more sequels in a series that should have ended.
Check it out and see if you agree with his point of view.