It's been a while since we heard form the people at Quadro Delta. The last news they made really was when they updated Pixel Piracy with the enhanced content that they felt the game should have had on launch. Since then they've been quietly busy, with Quadro Delta's Alexander Poysky (whom we've previously spoken with) having some health issues, hiring a new community manager, creating a new site, and having plans to re-announce their next game that they have taken significant time to continue working on since going radio silent on it back in January. I speak of course of Pixel Privateers.
The team at Quadro Delta spent the last few days posting several screenshots of Pixel Privateers for those looking at their new forums to see, showing just a bit of Pixel Privateers look and style. That culminated in today's announcement that revealed some of the major features of the game, the launching of social media channels for it, opening of applications for beta testing, and a promise of more news to come.
Pixel Privateers takes the base of what worked in Pixel Piracy and promises to expand upon it significantly with a bigger world with much more to do within it. One of the first things to note here, before we go any further, is that while they are looking for beta testers Pixel Privateers will not be going into Early Access and will only be released when they feel it is ready. They feel strongly that this will allow them to create the best game possible as they had some mixed experiences with Early Access with Pixel Piracy.
Feature wise, Pixel Privateers promises a huge, pixelly, procedurally generated world. You'll be able to send your ship to a wide variety of planets and explore them as they are shown in the pixel art style that Quadro Delta is known for. Each of the worlds has their own away missions with different events, enemies and difficulties set upon them meaning that you may find yourself on a world with enemies stronger than you are. However, enemies who are much weaker than you or impossible to defeat are unlikely to occur from what they've said, due to two main reasons. First is that the game will feature some level scaling within it, as most rogue-likes do, to keep the game play fresh and relevant when generated. The second one is that the game plans to launch with a wide array of difficulty options.[caption id="attachment_58549" align="aligncenter" width="587"] Stay a while and study...[/caption]
While I call it 'difficulty options', that only portrays part of the vision they have. It isn't a simple game slider that you hit at the beginning with 'easy, medium, hard or super hard' that is typically think of when someone mentions difficulty modifications. Pixel Privateers is aiming to make it so that on each world you modify the difficulty of the mission based on what you're wanting at the time. This would of course impact what rewards, such as loot, that you get and the risk/reward of the difficulty as well as the ability to change it on the fly like that allows a good amount of customization depending on how you want to play. Perma-death is also an option, currently called the True Rogue mode that you can choose to enable.
Combat takes its ques from older RPGs, using a tactical Real-Time With Pause (RTWP) system that allows both faster paced action as well as deliberate planning on the part of different squad members. With different squad members having different roles and skills based on what tools and stats they have it keeps things dynamic.[caption id="attachment_58546" align="aligncenter" width="587"] Combat uses classic hotbar set abilities with a small group of party members[/caption]
The game uses a gear based skill system with tools being equipped to choose what skills characters have. Each type of class has multiple tools that can be used to give different skills - such as a medic tool that might give you the ability to clear status effects, while another lets you heal your group. This encourages you to keep experimenting with different setups and exploring on different planets as you want to get more and better skills. Your characters themselves also improve with new stats at each level that improve their capabilities. Beyond tools there is a variety of loot that you can find in the game and equip or use on your characters.
The way the loot system handles is one of the points that may help Pixel Privateers stand out in the rogue-like field. With the loot there is a Diablo style pick up system where you hold a button to see all the loot on the ground and pick up what you're interested in. The comparison to the famed action-rpg ends there however, as in Pixel Privateers the loot is automatically beamed up to your ship. What you choose at the start of the mission is what you have to work with for that mission. This should help stop the game from getting bogged down in loot management during play, prevent piles of useless stuff gathering automatically in your inventory, and also adds some weight to your choices in gear as there is no easy fix during a run. It makes what gear you use on a mission and what tools you choose for your party members much more important than it would be if you could just pick up and change it on the go.[caption id="attachment_58550" align="aligncenter" width="587"] If you find an ore on Lud... is it Ludite?[/caption]
Speaking of your ship, that's your home base in Pixel Privateers and you'll be spending a good amount of time there. Here you explore the galaxy for new planets, manage your inventory, level your characters, or just hang around on the ship as the interactive design includes things like a full bar with band to entertain during downtime (sadly, the matter transporter cannot transport stuff from the game to your desk). While you aren't managing it like FTL style games you do have a lot going on your ship and it is your central hub in many ways. Like many space games, boarding situations are a possibility, with one example being pirates coming to rob you after you hit a distress signal because you were out of fuel.
The tech tree is also managed through the ship and it operates as a passive upgrade system there to work in complement with the skills and abilities you find. For example you can research things like boosting how many research points you get, resistance to toxicity, or various other things that in another game you might spend a character point on a passive buff for.[caption id="attachment_58551" align="aligncenter" width="587"] SCIENCE![/caption]
The game also plans on having a variety of factions with rich histories and interacting roles. The factions interact and have plenty of intrigue in the game that you'll be able to decide who to side with and what to do... and what your story will be. There isn't much more known right now, but speaking with Quadro Delta they confirmed that there will be a New Game + mode and they want to make it so that even on the normal difficulty levels there'll be enough to play through the game multiple times.
As of right now, Pixel Privateers is expecting to launch sometime in 2016 but there is no set release date.
I'd like to thank Alexander Poysky and Lady Aijou (Lisa) for talking with me about Pixel Privateers for this piece.