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IGM: I noticed you guys added an art book and strategy guide to some pledge tiers. Doesn’t a strategy guide sort of defeat the purpose of a god-game? Forge your own path and all that…
Crytivo Games: The strategy guide shouldn’t dictate how you play at all. It will definitely offer some tips on what to research and do if you are looking to go into a particular play-style and evolutionary state, but it will mostly just explain gameplay mechanics to the player and help them understand the more in-depth systems a little better. We will be sure to label sections properly so players can avoid looking into research tips and the like if they want to do their own thing. We have done some research and found that most players do like referring to strategy guides if they want a particular end-state in a game. The same applies to The Universim (unless one of the many dynamic events isn’t dealt with properly) when moving into the space era.
IGM: Gamers who like to customize their experience might be disheartened to know that the AI controls how cities spring up around the Epicenter. What sorts of personalization options are available to players who want to add their own visual flair to their planets?
Crytivo: That is actually a pretty great question! We will definitely have to do an update on that to explain it a little better. We allow players to place all ‘special’ buildings wherever they choose. Most of which comes from research. While cities will spring up dynamically, you still have a lot of choice in how your civilization looks in the end. We even have a stretch goal that aims to give players complete control over new buildings with a built-in building editor.
IGM: Are each of the planets players govern independent of one another? Or can they trade resources and help each other thrive?
Crytivo: Yes, there will be somewhat of a trade system. We are still coming up with a good balance between having so many planets, throwing in dynamic events through the news system (without being utterly bombarded), and ensuring that your intergalactic web of connected planets all work together properly. Not to mention many other aspects that we are not discussing just yet as they are meant as a surprise. We will have more info on this at a later time!
IGM: How do you envision the in-game News System turning out? It’s tricky to provide a steady stream of useful information without overloading players that are already multitasking, especially in the later stages of gameplay.
Crytivo: It is going to be a fair amount of work, but we are already coming up with great ways to ensure it is balanced and always informative (especially in the space era like we mentioned above!). It will also have many humorous stories to tell throughout the course of development. We cannot really confirm how it will turn out eventually as that is up to feedback and many other variables, but we can imagine it to remain incredibly informative and focused on your primary civilization up until the space era begins. From there, it too becomes wildly dynamic based on numerous parameters and situations.
IGM: Tell me a little bit about Expeditions. Are these secondary objectives that require the player to interact more directly with the game? Or is it simply a matter of sending out a search team to investigate?
Crytivo: This is a great example where players can actually have more interaction with their people. It is kind of like the colonization process in the space era, where players have a lot of control and need to strategize. Expeditions can be very dangerous, which is why we called it a very “high risk, high reward” kind of system. They too are dynamic events and their contents are completely random and unknown. Will you ever discover/ research a technology that can identify their contents? Perhaps :). But for the most part, you are taking a risk and having a bit of a gamble with what will happen once you disturb the fallen material. Leaving them be/disposing of them will be a viable option as well.
IGM: You’ve already stated that the game will be DRM-free and that all future DLC will be free. How do you plan on sustaining The Universim financially without micro-transactions or paid-DLC? How often do you envision releasing additional content post-launch?
Crytivo: Everything is dependent on the players and the backers of the game. Reaching the goal will guarantee the development of the game to completion, but all stretch goals are dependent on funding as well. Once the game launches, its success will largely dictate how much free content we will develop post-launch. But we definitely expect to add more content after launch because we have just way too many cool ideas (and not to mention great ideas coming in from the community!). The game is very community-driven, we are putting our fate utterly in their hands. Mod support can also be a major factor. We will see how it goes!
IGM: The key stretch goal listed is multiplayer, and requires nearly triple the starting pledge amount to secure. Why should folks be interested in adding a multiplayer component to The Universim?
Crytivo: The Multiplayer will technically be an even bigger game than The Universim itself. There will be a crazy amount of features and modes for players to choose from, and custom games too which we plan to possibly implement as well. It will offer players the opportunity to build civilizations together, form alliances, stab each other in the back, and destroy their rivals. We listed many great features on the Kickstarter page, but there is truly so much more we would like to talk about. Which we definitely plan on doing once the main goal is hit! Unfortunately Kickstarter has a nasty character limit (it’s justified though, otherwise most people like us would have released a book on the page by now) and we could barely fit the core mechanics of the main game on the page.
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It goes without saying that The Universim is a colossal undertaking, one that Crytivo Games simply cannot complete without the aid of backers. For those interested to find out more about the game, or have heard enough and would like to directly support the project, head on over to the Kickstarter page. Currently, The Universim has a loosely projected release date of late 2015, but new features – such as the previously-mentioned multiplayer – could end up pushing the game’s launch into 2016. Be sure to stay tuned to IGM, as we’ll have followup coverage throughout the coming months as development progresses.