Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is a new sci-fi action game that also offers some strategic elements on its gameplay. It promises to reinvent the classic gameplay of the original Carrier Command game. I was intrigued by the game’s world, background story and it’s apparently unique gameplay experience, and of course by its strategy elements. To know more about the game I contacted Bohemia Interactive for an interview. Carrier Command’s Executive Producer Jan Kunt (on the left) kindly agreed on giving the interview for Space Sector. Here is what Jan had to say to us:
SS: Can you please make a brief introduction to your game Carrier Command: Gaea Mission? Especially to the people who are new to the series, so that they know a bit more on what to expect.
Jan Kunt: Gaea Mission is a 1st/3rd person action game with real-time strategy elements. It reinvents an 80s classic and offers a campaign in which the player takes up the role of an underdog United Earth Coalition commander whose mission it is to defeat the occupying Asian Pacific Alliance on the breathtaking planetoid Taurus. The game seamlessly integrates strategic elements (e.g. commanding units, managing resources, upgrading your equipment) with 1st/3rd-person action by letting the player take instant control of any unit at any time. By traversing the seas and establishing a network of island bases for defense, mining and manufacturing, the player pushes the campaign forward.
SS: Tell us a bit more about the game’s campaign. You state that it shall “follow the deep story of the Gaea Universe second book”. Tell us also a bit about the world where the game unfolds. Some lore or background story also if you will.
Jan Kunt: The game has 2 separate campaigns: one is the story driven ‘Gaea Mission campaign’ and the other one is more of a strategic skirmish campaign. You are probably referring to the former, which is set in the same universe as the Gaea novels. So far, only the first book of the trilogy has been published, but the events of the game’s campaign take place at the same time as the events in the second novel of the aforementioned trilogy. However, the stories do not directly intersect.
To explain a little bit more about the setting:
In the Gaea universe, the United Earth Coalition (UEC) and the Asian Pacific Alliance (APA) were the two superpowers on Earth. The United Earth Coalition’s Gaea mission was the key to saving Earth’s population from environmental meltdown: colonizing a newly discovered solar system with habitable planets and moons to extract scarce elements such as water. Through fear and misunderstanding, the isolationist APA considered the UEC to be a dangerous enemy and wrested control of the Gaea mission with a series of pre-emptive nuclear strikes, leaving half the planet as a harsh, radioactive wastelands.
The APA went on to colonize space alone but a surviving UEC militia who had stolen an APA colony ship continued their effort to establish an UEC colony – by force, if necessary. As the colony ship arrives at the planetoid Taurus, the UEC commanders realize that they will have to use force to take over the colony. And so the battle for Taurus begins.
The Gaea Mission campaign begins after the main character, Lt. Myrik, has been chosen to be a part of a special task force which is supposed to investigate and, if at all possible, disrupt APA activity in an area on Taurus, way behind enemy lines. As it often happens, not everything goes according to plan but despite some initial hardships Myrik manages to capture a damaged APA carrier. Soon you will learn about your ‘nemesis’, who is in command of a supreme APA carrier.
SS: Your proposed gameplay mechanics are intriguing. In CCGM’s website you state that the player is offered “control [of] a seamless blend of real-time remotely controllable vehicles with a programmable battle computer to dominate the battlefield”. So, how does that works exactly? Can you detail a bit more what the gameplay will be like, with some examples perhaps?
Jan Kunt: As I mentioned earlier, you are in the command chair of this huge carrier, which means that you are able to control all of its systems, including remotely controllable vehicles, powerful defensive weapons and a whole network of islands with its own production capabilities.
To give you an example, in the beginning of the game, you will discover that your carrier is running low on fuel. Your map indicates an island which might hold fuel. You set sail towards the island and prepare your assault. One of the first decisions you will need to make is which units you are going to deploy and how you are going to equip them. Also, first you might want to send a lightly armored and therefore maneuverable Manta (an aerial vehicle) for reconnaissance. After all, once you have established all enemy positions on the island you will be in a position to make a better tactical assessment. Also, in case your tactics were flawed, you can decide to withdraw any or all of your units back to the carrier for repairing, rearming and reequipping.
Overall, it’s completely up to your play style how you want to engage in the combat. You can decide to control units directly, via the map, or via a combination of both. If you are looking for a more action-focused experience, you can decide to control a single vehicle, giving orders to the other units via the radial tactical menu, and leave the A.I. to handle the rest. If you are more into a RTS-like play style, you can use the map to set waypoints and give orders to your units. However, the cool thing about Carrier Command: Gaea Mission is how it lets you combine both of these approaches.
Switching between units and the map takes only a split-second, which is supported by one of the great technical features of the game. While you are in ‘map-view’, a picture-in-picture window shows you the real-time perspective of the unit you have selected. You only need one click to take direct control of the unit. In this way, you stay immersed into the game.
The above only describes the beginning of the game. Another gameplay-aspect is purely strategic, where you are not only asked to manage your island network in terms of resources and strategic positioning but also responsible for which island you are going to attack next/or where to make a stand against the enemy carrier. As the game proceeds, the available units, weapon load-outs, and objectives become more and more diverse. This helps us to ease players into the game. All in all, I would say this game is ‘gameplay-packed’.
SS: You mentioned that the player will need to “acquire and manufacture new upgrades, weapons and enhancements for your carrier and vehicles”. How does that work? Is it through some kind of experience-gain system? Does your character “level up” like in an RPG game? Tell us a bit more about who those upgrades and enhancements work.
Jan Kunt: At the beginning of the game your carrier is damaged, plus you have very little or no resources, weapons and equipment at your disposal. Along the way you find, steal or otherwise acquire new armor upgrades, more advanced weapons and other useful technologies and items. This mean you are able to create multiple variants of each unit. Sometimes acquiring certain technologies will even be necessary to progress in the campaign.
SS: What about the “free roam strategy” gameplay mode you mention. Is it a sand-box or a skirmish-mode kind of alternative gameplay? Care on telling us more about it?
Jan Kunt: Apart from the Gaea Mission campaign, which is the mode I’ve been describing mostly so far, there is the “strategic campaign”. It’s similar to a skirmish mode, which is purely gameplay-focused and was partly created as a tribute to the original Carrier Command. Before you start, you set up initial parameters such as tech level, initial resources and number of islands captured by you and the enemy. The game will then randomly position the islands on the map and then it’s just you versus the A.I. – carrier versus carrier.
SS: Will there be multiplayer options? If so, which?
Jan Kunt: Multiplayer will not be present in the game upon release. However, we would like to add it as a patch or DLC afterwards, but that is something for the future. Right now we are focusing solely on perfecting the singleplayer gameplay.
SS: On your website you state that CCGM is “under development for all major platforms” with a release date for Q2 2012. Can you advance already to which platforms will the game be released to? Can you advance also a more precise release date? And, will there be a demo?
Jan Kunt: Carrier Command Gaea Mission will be released in Q2 2012. We’re planning to announce the precise date later. As for the platforms and demo version, I am afraid that I cannot give you anything more concrete than what is already on the website. We will announce everything in a due time.
SS: How will the game be released? Both in physical and digital form? If digital which digital distribution platform(s) are you planning to sell it on?
Jan Kunt: In the past we have always given our customers the option to buy a digital or a physical copy of our games. I see no reason why we would deviate from this, however, specific platforms or distribution channels will depend on the distribution deals we are putting together right now.
I would like to thank to the Bohemia Interactive Team, and particularly to the Executive Producer of Carrier Command: Gaea Mission Jan Kunt for taking the time out of their busy days to do this interview. You can check out the official Carrier Command: Gaea Mission website for more info. You can also check the Bohemia Interactive’s website to know more about the company behind the game.Subscribe RSS
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