Guns of Icarus Online: Adventure Mode Follow-Up Q&A

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Guns of Icarus Online

Guns of Icarus Online is one of the most unique games I’ve played – a team-based dieselpunk airship game, in which rival crews try to shoot each other out of the sky. When it launched in 2012, it was strictly PvP. The following year, developer Muse Games launched a Kickstarter campaign to add PvE (“Adventure mode”), and it seems to be coming along nicely.

Read on for my follow-up email interview with Howard Tsao, CEO of Muse Games, about Adventure mode:

Peter Sahui: Hello, and welcome to the site!

When I last spoke to Muse Games in 2013, you were running a Kickstarter campaign for “Adventure mode” — a large expansion pack that would add PvE and co-op to the game. How is that coming along?

Howard Tsao: It’s been a long journey, with the scope of the expansion arguably larger than the original game, but we’re constantly making progress. Right now, in addition to iterating on some of the game modes and honing AI director as well as AI enemy movement and behaviour, we’re also doing work on player, faction, and world progressions. A lot of the in mission or in match feedback and progression are being designed and worked on as well. We’re creating factional airships, boss ships, and wardrobe as well, and we’ll soon move into designing more maps and game modes as well.

In the end, the Kickstarter didn’t raise enough money to fund your ultimate goals for Adventure mode — a fully-fledged persistent world with NPC factions and its own economy. Do you still plan to implement these at some point, and if so, how?

The ideas of the world as well as factions we’re already incorporating into the expansion. Players will get to join factions, and earn resources and progression for the factions. We’re designing seasonal conflicts where players and factions would contest different geographical locations on the world map. The winning sides and individuals would have their accomplishments recorded as permanent history and lore. In short, we taking ideas about the world that we think are achievable and implementing them.

Could you please walk us through the features of co-op mode? Will we be able to customise parameters such as victory conditions, match length, and difficulty?

Co-op will not only feature various game modes, maps, enemies, weapons, and airships that are very different from PvP, the progress of matches would also integrate with the above-mentioned world and faction progression. Currently there are a few major game modes we’re working on. One situates the player ship(s) next to a mining base. The enemy would be mining and contesting for resources while the players attempt to destroy enemy mining facilities in order to return resources to the player base. The player mining base would also be under siege. In another of the game modes, enemy convoys would attempt to return resources to base while the players chase and destroy the enemy convoys. In a more offensive game mode, player ships, flanked by AI allies, work together to destroy enemy depots and then the main base, all the while battling hoards of enemy planes, airships, and bosses.

With match customization, that would come with player-hosted servers. And with player-hosted servers, people can host their own servers in places we could not currently cover that well. We’re aiming to have player-hosted server ready in time for release of co-op.

What changes have been made to the PvP mode since launch?

There have been a lot. Since launch, just responding to player feedback and suggestions alone, we’ve fixed or added over 600 things big and small in game.   Content wise we’ve added new ships, new weapons, new maps, new skills, as well as new customization categories and items. We’ve also added major systems/features such as clans, commendations, notifications, voice signal commands, moderation tools, and bounties.   Tutorial, match system, in game UI, and player progression all received updates. With the next update next week, we’ll be introducing another featured called “stamina,” which offers limited-use temporary boosts for each class to add little bit more depth to advanced combat.

What have some of your influences been (for the game in general – including both PvP and co-op)?

Gameplay wise, the game started with a mash-up of turret shooting and time management, so we drew inspiration from disparate games such as older FPSes on the one hand, and Diner Dash on the other hand. And to push the envelop of teamwork, not only did we carve out different roles for players and create a native voice communications framework that is hierarchical, but we also realize how crucial space (or the lack there of) played role in reinforcing teamwork. We came to the realization that in order to augment teamwork, we had to restrict space to a degree. We decided that space to be onboard Steampunk airships for the love of Steampunk. In bringing our interpretation of Steampunk to life, we not only referenced film and existing artwork and literature in the genre, but we also defined a time period and looked to cultures around the world from mid-19th century to early 20th century to draw influences and inspirations.

Thank you for your time.

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