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As well as pointing my tragically non-robotic eyes at robot futuresports / strategy game Frozen Endzone last week, I also had a long natter with Mode 7 founders Ian Hardingham and Paul Taylor about their follow-up to the splendid Frozen Synapse. Read on for its origin story, how it’s not really like American Football, their roguelike-like plans for the game’s singleplayer mode, inevitable comparisons to Blood Bowl and Speedball, and Luigi fanfic.> (more…)
Frozen Endzone is a turn-based futuresports game from the creators of asynchronous strategy game Frozen Synapse. I went to see it last week. I drove there in a car and everything. I returned with the following words and thoughts.>
I was anxious, worried, scared: this I will admit. Me, a 5’6″, nebbish man of words and screens whose strongest-ever investment in sport was playing badminton once a week for a year, on my way to see a game ostensibly about American Football? Out of my depth, surely. I read a Wikipedia page about American football before I set off to visit Frozen Synapse, and now Frozen Endzone, developers Mode 7 in their Oxfordshire studio, but it only made me more confused.
Turns out I needn’t have worried. Frozen Endzone is sports in theme only – in practice it’s turn-based strategy, and a natural heir to the men vs men tactical gunplay of Frozen Synapse despite its complete lack of metal tubes which go bangbangbang. (more…)
Juuuust a quick one, as I shall be returning on Tuesday with vastly more fulsome news on Frozen Endzone, Mode 7′s next game after the wonderful Frozen Synapse. But they’ve just gone live with a trailer and a Greenlight page, so see what you think. It’s a future sports game. It’s a strategy game. In other words, it’s a sports game that isn’t really a sports game. And it looks well flash.
Simon Roth is best known as the newest recruit to Frozen Synapse creators Mode 7, but he’s also one of the most veteran developers in the entire history of the world, if my research is correct. And he’s moonlighting on a side-project all of his own, the Bullfrog/early Maxis-inspired sci-fi management game Maia. This isn’t a matter of keeping colonists happy with space ice cream and zero-grav toilets – we’re promised the likes of ‘up to 2KM X 2KM X 2KM of procedural world’, water and lava simulation, defensive structures to fend off hostile wildlife, bipolar robots and a first-person mode.
Oh, dare I dream ‘sci-fi Dungeon Keeper’? (more…)
The indie darlings of yesteryear are back with a vengeance. I mean, with titles like Wrath of the Lamb and Red, what else could they possibly be out for? A pleasant stroll? A picnic? No, this is a declaration of war – or at least “Hey, we still exist. Notice us>.” And I have! So everything worked out. Thank goodness. And wow, Frozen Synapse: Red, I must note in my trademark eloquent and considered fashion, contains a lot of stuff>. Foremost, the entire single-player campaign’s been retrofitted to include co-op, and there’s now another 15-mission campaign to top it off. You’re also looking at challenge missions, mutators, deployable cover, riot shields, and a new multiplayer mode. But most importantly, levels can be red now. Yes, that’s right: Mode 7 has included a new color>. Take that, Unreal Engine 4.
All the important games are changing their endings these days, you know. If you want a high profile, that’s the way to go – and as Mass Effect 3 teaches us, preferably after initially concluding your narrative with a last-minute bodgejob riddled with continuity errors, then subsequently bowing to fan ouctry. Frozen Synapse developers Mode 7 Games did no such thing, but have sensibly realised that the route to true success entails screwing around with their creative vision willy-nilly to suit whatever their community demands, and as such a new, happier (and far sillier) ending to their splendid turn-based strategy game will go live later today.
“I don’t mean this to be critical of Bioware even slightly,” Mode 7′s Paul Taylor tells me. “It’s just an experiment. I was so bowled over and fascinated just by the fact that such a change would even be considered, so I thought I’d see how it felt to do it.” (more…)
Onlive and the IGF are spooning for a fortnight. The sensual lovers are celebrating the Indie Gaming New Year by giving you access to 30 minute demos of 16 IGF finalists. The alphabetically sexy list of games is: Atom Zombie Smasher, Be Good, Botanicula, Dear Esther, Dustforce, English Country Tune, Frozen Synapse, FTL, Lume, Nitronic Rush, Once Upon a Spacetime, POP, SpaceChem, To the Moon, Toren, and WAY. (more…)
They said it would never end. And then, on Saturday, it did. We’ve been posting our series of chats with the many splendid finalists in this year’s Independent Games Festival over the last couple of months, and, with the exception of English Country Tune (dev was worried about sounding boring), Mirage (dev didn’t reply) and Fez (dev wouldn’t confirm the possibility of a PC version) we managed to get mini-interviews with all the PC/Mac indie developers in the running for a gong.
In case you missed a few, didn’t understand what the hell it was all about or just like looking at neatly-ordered lists, here’s the complete series for your relaxed perusal. It’s a fascinating and diverse bunch of games in the finals this year, and if nothing else, it’s a rare chance to see what 18 different developers would say to the monsters in Doom if only they could talk to them.
The year is 1999 and the crazy chaps at Epic Games have just came up with the concept of mutators, little mods that you can use to tweak game types. But just as they’re about to implement it, a cheap-looking wibbly effect appears in front of Cliffy A (Cliffy B is a clone) and a mysterious figure steals his PC! Mark Rein enters the room, asks what smells all wibbly and allows a distraught A to tell him what he’s crying about. “Is that all? We have backups.” But he kills A for showing weakness. And thus the Unreal Tournament series’ mutators survived. But what of that mysterious time-traveller? I have figured out who it is: step forward Mode7′s Ian Hardingham. J’accuse! (more…)
In 2010, we ran a series of cheerful chats with (almost) all of the lovely indie developers whose PC games had been nominated as finalists in that year’s Independent Games Festival. In 2011, we forgot. In 2012, we haven’t forgotten. We’re the best! So, here’s the first: Ian Hardingham and Paul Taylor from Mode 7 Games, whose high-speed turn-based strategy game Frozen Synapse is in the running for both Excellence In Design and the Seamus McNally Grand Prize. Read on for what went right and wrong with their game, how they feel about their IGF rivals, what comes next and their answer to the most important question of all.>