Small squad, turn-based tactical combat is a genre long held dear by PC gamers. Jagged Alliance. Laser Squad Nemesis. Fallout: Tactics. Silent Storm. The 1993 classic X-COM. We love to take our tiny group of stalwart warriors and carefully hand-pick their orders, maximizing their potential in each turn to keep them safe and bring ruin to their enemies. Typically, of course (Laser Squad Nemesis being the only exception listed above), those enemies are managed by the computer, and we match our wits against varying grades of AI. The developers behind the focus of this Indiecast would like to invite us to turn this deadly chess match against each other, and it’s been a long time since that metaphor has been quite so apt.
We had the very good fortune for this episode to be able to interview Paul Taylor, one of the co-founders of Mode 7 Games, currently deep in development on Frozen Synapse. As you’ll hear, Frozen Synapse takes cues from many if not all of the games listed above, but also tries to emphasize tactical planning in a new way, with turns that resolve simultaneously and a very rigid set of rules for turn resolution. When your guys go down, it will be because you were outsmarted, not because you failed a virtual die roll. By the same token, though, your victories will be entirely your own. You win when your plan is better, period.
There’s a lot of other neat stuff going on here, like an in-game option to export your finished match to Youtube for sharing, and a database that logs every game ever played so that you can research your opponent and try to get inside their head before you face them on the battlefield. If you’d like to try the game for yourself, the cost of entry into the beta is a pre-order, which will net you two copies of the game, one for you and one for a friend. The full release is currently slated for late this year.
I was thrilled to get a chance to talk to Paul about Frozen Synapse, and I hope you’ll enjoy hearing about it. I have a feeling this one’s going to be on my hard drive for a very long time.
Want to talk about Frozen Synapse? Come discuss it over at Colony of Gamers.
Hosted and Summarized by Eric [Ravenlock]
Joined by special guests & fellow beta players Matt and Jake,
and Paul Taylor from Mode 7 Games
Produced by Clayton [Voodoo]