The road to videogame success is treacherous. Release too early, or without major features, and you’ll risk alienating you fanbase and ruin your chances to sell the right amount of copies. Wait too long, and players will lose interest and buy something. And for Little Green Men Games, developer of Starpoint Gemini Warlords, the challenge consist in releasing a « complete » product, while still providing additional content for the months – and maybe the years – to come.
After an interesting base game launched at the end of May, Warlords started to lose a bit of steam. Sixty hours in, the player was technically at the helm of the biggest faction in the game’s universe, with a nigh-unstoppable fleet and more money that he could ever spend. Luckily, Little Green Men Games (LGM) published The Deadly Dozen, which added more ennemies to the game, and recently released Titans Return, a DLC that brings back gigantic warships from the earlier games.
Seven years in, the developpers don’t look like they’re getting tired of their space combat and exploration-filled universe.
« When we first started working on the Starpoint series, almost 10 years ago, our ideas for the universe and events were so extensive, we did expect more than one title would be needed to include everything we wanted », explains the developers from LGM in an interview with Pieuvre.ca.
« Of course, we had to wait and see how successful each game would become to determine if we can continue forward. Now, after 3 titles, we still haven’t told the whole story (one more major twist remains) but most of the main things are now covered, so we’re happy on that side. »
Other than that « story mode » that seems to be planned to span four games, Warlords also introduced Conquest Mode, where the player can slowly build his power base and his fleet to, well… to conquer the Gemini sector where the game takes place. That mode, which was quickly compared to the gameplay of the east-european Mount and Blade series – and, more precisely, to the second installment of the series, Mount and Blade: Warband –, « was a bit tricky », says the developpers.
« The community pitched in with thousands of suggestions and they made it a little easier, but it still wasn’t easy. In general, combining fast paced direct simulation with global conquest strategy game was a heck of a task, but I feel we found a pretty good path here. In technical terms, it meant two parallel resource systems, two parallel control systems and determining the best point in game to switch between them », says Mariëlle Salh, PR Manager for Iceberg Interactive, Warlords‘ publisher.
« Judging from the players’ reactions , I think we succeeded in most game elements. And we are still working on updates and DLCs to improve and expand experience even further. »
Building as a (large) team
A new game means new possibilities: while Starpoint Gemini 2 is still quite popular, the advent of Warlords gave the team the opportunity to build this new title with the integration of the Steam Workshop in mind. Players can now develop modifications for the game, share them, and in return help the developers to further advance the fine tuning of said game.
« Our only crime is not giving them perfect tools for this endeavour, but we’re continuing to refine all modding tools as we speak, and they will be updated from time to time », says LGM.
With a new DLC in store for players, the LGM team looks well on its way to transform Starpoint Gemini Warlords – a good game, even if it was a little rough around the edge at the beginning – into something truly remarkable.
Captains, to your ships!