\Edit (Oct 8th, 2012): Red Shift’s development was cancelled.
Luckily for us there has been a good supply of new space 4X games as of recently. There is also another good bunch of them on the horizon, each for every taste.
It’s true that space 4X games tend to provide different kinds of experiences, but in one aspect they all tend to be the same: most of them play space opera style, on an imaginary distant galaxy with more or less distinct anthropomorphic alien races. Well, looks like there will be a slight shift of plans…
Couple of days ago I stumbled into Red Shift (thanks Sigma), a new space 4X game that is currently in the making by indie adventurer Elliott Hill. Elliott is, at the moment, the sole member of the Messier8 developement team, lead programmer and creator of Red Shift. He’s a software engineer by formation and is building his first game: a grand strategy game with 4X elements set in an alternative history sci-fi setting.
In this new historic scenario, Elliott proposes that German rocket scientist Von Braun (responsible for the space age becoming a reality in this century) doesn’t get “captured” by the Americans, but, you guessed it, by the other interested party: the Soviets. Therefore, voila, the game name. In fact the game was formerly named Terra Orbis but Elliott explains why he changed the name. I think he made a good choice ;)
So, Elliott proposes us a 4X experience where we play as one of real Earth’s nations to fight for control of other worlds, in the solar system and possibly beyond. What a refreshing twist to space 4X games!
A quick Q&A with Elliott:
SS: What will your game be like? Tell us a bit more about it.
Elliott: The game in a nutshell is a fusion of 4X and grand strategy. Major features: RTS space combat, unscripted grand campaign and a dynamic faction and character system. The strategy map will play out like a Grand Strategy game, with sandbox-like goals, e.g. you don’t have to be imperialistic, you could if you wanted create a peaceful trading empire or have your own goals like unite all the moons of Jupiter under your control.
SS: What about the different factions? What happens when they settle new worlds in the solar system?
Elliott: Factions will die and be born over the immense time frame of the campaign, for example if you colonize Europa, when the population there gets to a reasonable size they will no longer desire to be ruled from a distant planet and will look to rebel and form their own nation ruled from Europa with it’s own culture, so you will have internal struggles as well as external in your empire.
SS: So, it’s a 4X game right?
Elliott: The combat and ship editor should make it feel like a 4X. Maybe it’s a “grand strategy in a 4X’s clothing”. Ship design is not really a big feature, just an afterthought.
Game project synopsis (at time of writing):
- Name: Red Shift
- Type: 4X real-time strategy
- Predominant sci-fi setting: Alternate history
- Major features: Campaign, RTS space combat, terraforming, events, characters
- Status: Pre-alpha (8th week development)
- Team: 1 (Elliott Hill)
- Funding scheme: Self funded
- Dev requests/needs: Feedback, 3D modeller services, 2D/3D artist services
- Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Blog and social media: dev blog, twitter, youtube
So, if you’re excited about Elliott’s project, as I am, please do whatever you can to help him out on fulfilling his dream. If you’re a 2D/3D artist or a 3D modeller send Elliott an email. And, as always in indie games, the dev would highly appreciate any comments about his project you may have. I will keep two eyes on this one.
Trailer & Screenshots
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