Facebook Live Q&A With Julian
On Monday January 22nd, Julian took to Facebook Live to answer a torrent of questions about Phoenix Point and some of his previous projects.
We've summarized most of the answers below (click on the question to reveal the answer), or you can watch the full stream embedded here.
Why is it not turn-based?
Phoenix Point is turn-based.
What’s the release date?
We are releasing at the end of the year. We will probably also have an Early Access release. We will also be releasing a pre-alpha version to our Luxury Digital Edition pre-orders and backers at the end of March, possibly the beginning of April.
The original X-Com had many more simulation elements (procedurally generated levels, full bullet physics, destructible environments, soldier inventories etc). Can we expect similar in Phoenix Point?
The answer is yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yet me yes.
Talking about the Geoscape mode – why is it not turn based?
We are sticking to the real-time mode with pause ability that was in the original X-Com because that’s what most players will expect.
Will there be multiple different races or just loads of crabmen?
There will be lots of different alien varieties and they will all mutate.
Is there going to be a “Solomon Chamber” in Phoenix Point?
You’re not the first person to ask that question, believe it or not. We are thinking of including a reference to Jake because I love the guy dearly, he’s done an amazing job reviving turn-based strategy. There will be a tribute to Jake in there somewhere.
Can you explain a bit about how the Action Points system works?
This has been something that we’ve been testing and re-testing and tuning. We have an implicit action points system. There are different movement costs for using different types of equipment. We don’t explicitly show the movement points, just the range. If you spot an enemy the movement will pause, and you can issue new orders. However, shooting will normally end your turn, but there are many ways you can extend the actions of a soldier during a turn through using Will Points.
What about a PS4 version?
Many, many people have been asking about console versions and we would love to do a console version. It’s a big undertaking for cross-platform development. It takes a lot of time and work. So it all depends if we can get the money to do it. But PC and Mac are our priority.
Will there be much more weapon and armour tech scale than in the new XCOM?
We are still working on this. Each of the 3 main factions have their own tech tree – and you will be able to acquire that technology through trade and diplomacy, or you can steal it. You also have your own technology tree.
Will we bill allowed to customise characters?
There will be extensive character customisations options relating to appearance, armour and equipment.
Is the damage system per bullet like the original X-Com?
It is. If you’re firing a burst weapon like an assault rifle, each individual bullet can hit something. It can hit the intended target, something behind it, one of your soldiers, another enemy.
Will there be bases, building and defending like the old X-Com?
Yes there will. It’s slightly different in a sense that you don’t construct completely new bases in the wilderness. You’ll be re-activating old Phoenix bases that are already in good locations. This is very important to the story line. They will already have some facilities present. You can add defences and new facilities, specialise them too. Bases can be attacked by the enemy.
Are weapons more abstract in terms of ammo?
Currently we measure ammo in bursts. There will be individual ammo for weapons.
Will RNG be as bad as XCOM 2 where you can miss targets at close range?
It’s going to be quite different. It’s based on a realistic ballistics system. If you’re quite close to an enemy, you’re going to have a 100% chance to hit. Even if you’re 3 spaces away, you may still have a 100% chance to hit, depending on the weapon. It has a very different feel to the way XCOM 2 works. It’s less about flanking.
Why don’t games like this use sliders for customisation options?
It’s very difficult to do and takes a lot of programming.
Will it be available on Steam?
Yes, it will be available on Steam and on GOG.com – these are the two services we’ve promised to deliver on.
Can you loot or scavenge the battlefield?
Yes, you will be able to loot for weapons and ammo during battle.
Will there be multiple bases in Phoenix Point?
Yes, you will be able to have more than one base.
How difficult will the game be from the easiest to the hardest settings?
The answer is fairly easy and pretty damn hard.
What can we expect the differences to be between Phoenix Point and XCOM?
There’s a huge difference on the strategy layer. It follows much more of an open-world system approach as there are many different factions and sub-factions with their own agenda and resource. This borrows from 4X design, but there is less complexity and micromanagement.
Is it true funding hit $1 million so we will get floating bases?
Yes. This will be a free DLC that comes after launch.
How’s the weather in Sofia?
We have a lot of snow and it’s really cold – but that’s good because it means we’re all inside working really hard.
Will there be a nemesis system?
Some of the large leader-type aliens will have their own bases and you will be able to hunt them down. They will try to preserve themselves in battle.
Taking any inspiration from “The Long War” XCOM mod?
Yes. To some extent. The game system we have is quite a long one with a lot of story elements, but it’s less linear than The Long War. There will be more customisation options and larger squads too.
What about DLC for expanding the game?
There will be DLC. We’ve already confirmed that the first DLC will be the floating base system with an extra mission type and some technology. We do have plans for more DLC but we can’t talk about that at the moment as it is still under development.
Will Rebelstar Tactical Command ever be ported?
It’s not in my hands as Namco Bandai hold the rights to that particular game and the source code and all the IP therein.
Is there some kind of time limit such as the Avatar Project in XCOM 2?
The aliens do have their own agenda, and if they can complete it, then they will win the game. But there are things you can do to stop it, and it’s much less abstract than in XCOM 2.
Will there be a better exploring issue than in XCOM?
We would like to have some exploration based levels, but it will depend if we have the time to do that. But yes, it has been considered, but the game is much more combat focused.
How do we get the alien encounters? Will there be interceptions?
One of the limitations the aliens have is they don’t have large-scale air units. They do have some large-scale land units which you can see on the Geoscape. You will be able to land on top of them and complete a mission to defeat them before they can destroy Havens and bases.
Are there any mechanics in Phoenix Point that you’re excited to see players react to?
Yes. The Will Point system. Lots of the strategic actions and the interactions between the factions I think will be very exciting because it hasn’t really been done before, except in maybe X-Com Apocalypse, but we’re taking things much further.
Will Phoenix Point deal with “power creep” where they get less challenging towards to the end?
Yes, we are dealing with it. It’s a very big problem in the modern XCOMs due to the way in which the aliens progress in a very linear way. It’s a high priority for us to get the challenge level right. Mission objectives are very much under the control of the player.
Will you be able to evac at any point during a mission?
It does depend on the mission type, but in most mission types, yes – you will be able to voluntarily retreat.
Will there be permadeath in the game?
Yes there will, but there will be ways to mitigate soldier death.
Are you considering a sequel set in the same universe and building PP around that consideration, or are you just taking things one project at a time?
Yes, we have quite an elaborate world building effort which is being undertaken by myself and the writing team, Jonas Kyratzes and Allen Stroud. There is already an extended story-line. We have some very interesting plans for what might happen after the end of the game. Rest assured, we have a long-term plan.
Will there be stealth mechanics and combat?
We’re going to have an extensive stealth system, but we’re not revealing that just yet. There is a class called the Infiltrator who is focused on infiltration and recon.
What classes can we expect to see in the game, and will there be more classes in DLC?
We have a number of classes planned already. We’re not going to reveal all of them now. We’ll be showing some of the New Jericho classes at the PC Gamer Weekender. They have an Assault guy, a Sniper and a Heavy Infantry – but we’re not going to be revealing all of them just yet. And yes, we do intend to release other classes in future DLC.
Are the factions going to be spawned at random locations, or will there be specific factions for each continent?
There is a high degree of randomness involved in the faction locations and where they start, although the do have some start biases to where they spawn.
Will there be more comprehensive skill trees for soldiers than in the Firaxis XCOMs?
Yes, is the answer.
How big is the development team at the moment?
There are 25 of us here in Bulgaria at the moment.
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