Kickstarter has become a great place for developers to get funding for games that might not otherwise be possible to complete, and because of its existence, we’ve seen great games like Mighty No. 9, and the recently funded Cornerstone: Song of Tyrim come out and have successful kickstarters, showing us awesome games that are made possible by people willing to put down some money very early on a game. A game that should be on everyone’s radar, and is nearing its final days, is “The Mandate”. This game looks to be incredible, with over 1,500 years of lore crafted by the developers, ship battles, rich customization and a total sci-fi experience for people who want a dynamic and engaging game to play.
The key ideal of the game is your crew, and the gameplay experience will be crafted around the ever-changing crew aboard your ship. The developers found that many of the great science fiction shows and movies that people really fell in love with and could engage with were the ones with a group of individuals that really made the show special, the crew of the ship. There have been a good number of ship-based games, such as Faster Than Light or EVE Online, and The Mandate seeks to really build on their success and create an even better experience. As the captain of your ship, you get the chance to be a part of your crew’s lives and because they adapt to you and your gameplay, they will grow with you as you make your way through the game, and Perihelion Interactive aims to have you grow enough of an attachment to each crew member that you’ll feel loss when they die.
We won’t go into much detail, as anything you want to know can be found on their Kickstarter page, but a brief overview of the gameplay is definitely in order! The game draws its gameplay from the ideas of many other games, allowing for an all new gameplay experience, that I personally find incredibly exciting. (Note: I’ve already backed the project!) You have the ability to explore your ship and interact with your crew, and when under attack, even defend the ship from boarding attacks from the inside! With every victory, you and your surviving crew members will be able to upgrade skills and talents, which allows for a new experience every battle! Make the wrong decision or lose a particular crew member, and you may end up in rough territory! The game is really your sandbox, and can be played however you want. Each system is procedurally generated, and is different with every play. Overall, the game has so many great features, so check out their kickstarter page! We also conducted an interview with the Executive Producer himself, Ole Herbjørnsen! Check it out below!
TR: Hey Ole, I know I’m personally excited to see your Kickstarter succeed and have the chance to give us an incredible gameplay experience. As you guys near the end of your Kickstarter, what are your thoughts in the studio, how are you all feeling about how the Kickstarter has gone?
Ole: Actually, it has been a very positive experience to us. In hindsight we should have built a community earlier and there are a few things we wish we had done sooner but overall we are very optimistic. We have 10 days to go and we still have a few aces up our sleeve and some cool PR coming out.
TR: I can’t help myself on this one. Obviously you mention Battlestar Galactica on your Kickstarter page, I have to ask if there’s a chance that we may encounter some sort of pesky toasters?
Ole: Hmm… While we will not promise anything you could perhaps watch our backstory trailer again?
TR: Let’s start off with a few gameplay questions:
TR: There’s a mention of starbases in a few spots on the Kickstarter page, but they weren’t explained too much (unless you have them in a video I missed!). What can you tell us about the importance of starbases? How will they play a part in the game?
Ole: We are doing a dev update very soon about star bases in fact. You will gain access to your main base very quickly in the campaign and this will be where you conduct research, manufacturing, upgrades etc. Your base is also where you will train and upgrade your crew and you could for example construct a war college and naval academy to train enlisted and NCOs to become officers. It will be up to you wish direction you want to specialize your base in. Should it be a Death Star or a trading port or a research academy or something in between? Do you invite merchants and diplomats from other factions to take up residence there? What about defences? Will you station your Home Fleet to defend it in case of an enemy attack? Do you build a court of Admiralty to hold proper trials (and gain reputation with the Grand Fleet…) or rather throw difficult personnel out the airlock on your way back to base?
TR: The emphasis of the game really seems to be on developing and interacting with your crew – Why are they so important to the gameplay, and how are they going to help the player really feel a part of the story?
Ole: You start out with a small crew who will follow you around the galaxy and grow with you. As they gain rank and experience you will shape and mold them into the type of specialists and officers that you need. We think the first time you take a crewman all the way from enlisted to NCO to commissioned officer to full-blown captain and assign him/her to command an NPC escort ship will be a proud moment for you personally. As captain you will handle promotions, funerals and can even arrange court martials. We really want you to engage with and care about your crew rather than just worry about your ship. You will be switching and upgrading your ships but you will want to keep your crew around as they are valuable to you both due to time investment, bonding and also gameplay stats associated with them.
TR: We’re told that the loss of a crew member will be felt by the player, both by losing a character you liked and by losing skills. How hard is a good crew member to replace?
Ole: As you upgrade your base you will be able to found and upgrade academic institutions that allow you to train and replace officers faster. That being said losing a commissioned officer may be a blow, but loosing an NPC captain with his/her crew and ship is something you will not soon forget! Aboard each ship we will have a roll of honour similar to the one we showed in our gameplay trailer. If you fill one up with names we will add another one!
Similarly we will have a roll of honour at your starbase as well and by the late game you may have quite a few of these hanging around which remind you of the war of attrition and human sacrifice involved.
TR: There will be both space combat, as well as the potential for repelling boarders – how will this play out, exactly? Can you walk us through a battle?
Ole: The space combat will be tactical and you control capital ships, not nimble fighters. At the start of an engagement you may be outside visual range and the disposition of the enemy forces may or may not be known to you. You will rely on scanners or scouts to assess the enemy strength and plan out your attack. Since we feature environments that you can use to your advantage to sneak up on the enemy (or they can sneak up on you) these will also play a big role. Once battle is joined you will want to scan enemy vessels and figure out exactly what type of weapons are carried by each ship. Most ships have a mix of primary weapons (turrets) and heavy weapons (torpedoes, missiles, rockets, bombs). The latter is very powerful but ammunition is in short supply and you will want to think through exactly which ships you want to blow up and which you want to disable and later board. As you wear the enemy down and disable individual ship sub systems, take enemy weapons offline and clear out any enemy fighters, it may be safe to launch your assault shuttles. Provided the enemy shields are down, they will dock with the enemy ship and engage their drill to pierce the hull. You can then storm the enemy ship and fight corridor to corridor. But wait! What was your objective? Did you wish to seize the enemy ship as a prize ship, or sabotage some bothersome weapons, rescue a space princess or steal some secret technology?
TR: The game will have the option for co-op. Will it be drop-in/drop-out, or will you be able to assist friends in their story? Can you expand on how it will work?
Ole: We will both feature “coop on demand” where you can join up with a friend for a short battle they are having trouble with almost like in Left 4 Dead. Your friend who jumps in would take the place of one of your NPC escort ships and bring along his own ship, crew and captain. Alternatively you can play for a longer period of time and the way this works is that the host player invites the other player(s) to his sandbox (universe) and the action takes place there. The other players gain loot, gain xp and can upgrade and refit their ships at the host player’s main base.go in and out of battles, explore the universe together and either hunt down pirates or go off on a quest.
Let’s talk about the game a bit:
TR: You guys have crafted 1,500 years of lore…that is awesome! Give us a brief summary, and how will players be able to learn as much as they want?
Ole: For this specific question, we’d like to direct people to this page!
TR: Obviously, the universe is going to be huge. How much of an impact can players’ choices have on the story?
Ole: We provide the canvas and the crayons and its up to you as the player exactly which direction you want to take your game and story in. Our main story is branching and will adapt whether you remain the Empress’ Corsair, hoist the Jolly Roger, work to get reinstated into the Grand Fleet, join the Rebels or something completely different.
TR: You have put together a pretty cool ship-building feature. Any plans for additions to what can be built/plans/etc in later content pushes?
Ole: Yes, for backers who pledged $40 or above we will provide early access to updated versions of the ship designer & destruction demo as well as the character prologue. If you check the roadmap in either tool you will see we have big plans.
Let’s touch on the Kickstarter
TR: Obviously, every developer wants to hit their main goal so they can also hit stretch goals. Even if you don’t hit the modding stretch goal, do you plan on implementing the feature later on?
Ole: Yes, this is high on our priority list. As mentioned several places mod support is good to extend shelf life of a product, but we are also gamers too! And we love the total war, Elder Scrolls and Mount & Blade communities which have given us countless hours of additional enjoyment and breath fresh life into our favourite games.
TR: You guys are set for a PC launch. Any plans for a post-launch migration to consoles?
Ole: We do have the option to deploy to consoles as our engine, Unity3D supports this. For us it will be a question of how much time it will take as well as what (if any) redesigns would be required to adapt the gameplay. We are not willing to compromise our vision for the game to make it more casual, mainstream etc.
TR: You have a diverse set of veterans from all sorts of different previous game titles. How did you guys come together, and what led to you making The Mandate?
Ole: Devs are people too! Naturally since we spend a lot of time at work we form bonds there which stick with us for life. Basically we were tired of the current focus in the industry and wanted to create a game that WE WOULD PLAY and not something a trend study had decided would be the best return on investment…
TR: Thank you so much for your time, and responses! We look forward to your game, and we’ll be watching very closely over the final days! Good luck to you guys!
If you haven’t checked out The Mandate yet, you should really get on that! Here’s a few links!
UPDATE: The Kickstarter has reached over $700,000 in funding! Congratulations to the dev!