Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore head Michael Krach on freemium, multiplayer, and the whereabouts of Keith T. Maxwell
Deep Silver Fishlabs boss on jumping to a parallel universe
The third chapter of the sprawling Galaxy on Fire saga has been in soft launch on iOS since June, and we're fast approaching a full release.
Series developer Deep Silver Fishlabs this week launched a teaser trailer for the game, which will mark a significant departure from the first two in terms of narrative and structure.
Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore sees the series switching to a freemium model and a more open-ended, social approach to epic space action. In addition, players will no longer be in control of series protagonist Keith T. Maxwell, whilst regular content updates have been promised.
Obviously, this represents quite a shift for fans of the first two games, so we thought we'd find out more by putting some questions to Michael Krach, Head-of-Studio at Deep Silver Fishlabs.PG: What prompted the switch from the traditional narrative-driven single player approach of the first two games to GoF 3's massively multiplayer one?
MK: Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore is our most expansive, narrative-driven game to date, based on the deep lore and rich universe of the previous Galaxy on Fire games. It centres on a cataclysmic event referred to as The Shattering, the origins of which the players have to unravel as they proceed in the narrative. While the players go through the story of Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore individually and at a pace they deem fitting for their play style, they are also part of a connected online space in which they can benefit from each other's progress.
However, we would not call our game “massively multiplayer” as this suggests a real-time, conjoint gaming experience. In our opinion, friend support is a more fitting term to describe the kind of interaction Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore currently offers its players. Your friends are there, but it is still your journey. This, along with the expansive narrative, makes Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore a departure from the single player, offline experience that existed in Galaxy on Fire 2.Given this fundamental shift in focus, was there ever a temptation to treat this as a spinoff rather than the third entry in the series?
The current generation of smartphones and tablets has seen huge advances in terms of what is possible from a mobile gaming perspective. Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore has followed that natural evolution in technology and gameplay and combines this with the rich heritage of the GoF series . Thus, we have always seen Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore as the true successor to the previous games in the series.
At the end of the day, all GoF games are based on the same pillars: AAA production values, intense space action, a content-rich universe with deep lore, a huge range of customisable ships and so on. Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore wholeheartedly embraces all of these values. It is the biggest and the best GoF game we have ever made.Have there been any particular games (mobile or otherwise) that have inspired the new approach with GoF 3?
Of course, our very own Galaxy on Fire 2 is the first title we have to name here. This game pushed the envelope for what mobile games could look and feel like. And Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore follows this tradition.
Another game that influenced us is Star Citizen with its ambitious vision of continuously expanding the game and its universe. It might sound crazy but we want to be just that. That ever-expanding space game on mobile, that universe in your pocket!How have the game's core flight and combat systems developed since GoF 2?
In Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore we bring space fights to a whole new level with dynamic flight physics that does a way better job at conveying the essence of speed in the vacuum of space. Also, we finally give our players the chance to perform evasive manoeuvres such as barrel roles. We also focused strongly on improving the enemy AI, which results in more intense dogfights that demand a lot from the players. The enemy behaviour in GoF 2 was great at its time, but if you take a close look at it, all the enemies do in the game is fly in circles. ;)
Finally, the rich design of Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore's star systems with their wide variety of orbital objects like floating settlements, abandoned stations and space docks has a tremendous effect on the action gameplay. These elements enrich the game not just from a visual point of view, but also adds to your gameplay experience.You've suggested in the past that some of the game's updates will do more than add more content, and will actually alter the game's core functionality. Could you expand on that?
During live operation, we will continue to grow Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore in terms of content as well as gameplay features and our loyal GoF community will play a key part in it. We have already been taking the community's feedback on-board during our game's softlaunch phase.
In late September, we ran a community poll to ask our fans to vote for features they would like to see added to the game. Since an exploration mode was the most requested feature by the GoF fans, we added it to the soft launch version of the game. With time, you will see Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore evolve and grow to be the best GoF experience ever for our dedicated players.How often will the game be updated?
We plan to update Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore much more often and regularly than the previous GoF games. We want to add 'big chunks' such as new story chapters and starmap sectors every few months and 'smaller bits' such as ships or mission types in between.
And the best thing about our new game structure is that it does not split the community via expansion packs as was the case in GoF 2. Everyone can enjoy these updates to the fullest.Could you give us some more specific detail on how the freemium model operates here? What kind of IAPs can players expect as they progress deeper into the game?
There are two ways to tackle the subject of monetisation. Either, you aggressively force your players into paying for progress in-game. Or you choose a more inviting, open way that allows players to progress deep into your game independent of how much they choose to spend on specific offers and extensions.
In Galaxy on Fire 3 – Manticore, players can enhance and alter their gaming experience via purchases (e.g. alternate space ships), however they can also fully enjoy and complete the game without spending any money.
We want all of our players to experience Galaxy on Fire 3 - Manticore's epic showdown!Will we be seeing anything of a certain Keith T. Maxwell at any point?
I do not want to put in any spoilers here but players can now sign up as VIP fans on GoFManticore.com. Along with getting cool in-game goodies on launch day, they can unlock the story that traces a certain Keith T. Maxwell's return flight from Neox to Thynome.
Considering the misfortune that guy experienced beyond the final frontier, he swore to never take course for that cursed patch of space again… but we are not entirely sure he is going to keep that promise. ;)Thanks to Michael for answering our questions.