Here at Gaming Nexus we have a bit of a soft spot for the 4X space genre as we've collectively lost hundreds, if not thousands of hours to games like Master of Orion, Galactic Civlization, and even Sins of a Solar Empire. When Kalypso announced Legends of Pegasus our ears perked up and we wanted to see what they were bringing to the table and we were lucky to get our questions answered by Andre Overhagen, a Co-Founder Novacore Studios.
Why the decision to do a 4X game? What 4X games have inspired Legends of Pegasus?
We have been life-long fans of the 4X genre ourselves and we always dreamed of developing a 4X game. Because we played almost all the games in the genre, it is hard to pick specific titles that inspired us. Of course genre classics like Master of Orion and Ascendancy had their share but also RTS games like Homeworld or Haegemonia.
What separates Legends of Pegasus from the other 4X strategy games on the market?
Legends of Pegasus offers a seamless transition between turn-based strategy and real-time strategy elements. It is attractive to hardcore gamers as well as genre newbies. To really stand out, we are especially focusing on a complex economy system and a wealth of tactical possibilities during space combat. Nonetheless, the game offers intuitive access to all of the game’s features. The ship customization features are also something that makes Legends of Pegasus unique.
Is there one of the “X”’s that your focusing on more than the others?
Not really. Exploring space, colonizing new planets and maintaining your colonies is just as important as the economic use of resources and tactical skill in space battles.
Could you give us some insight into the three different races in the game? How do the play styles of each race differ and does each have it's own separate type of economies or not?
Each of the three races in Legends of Pegasus has their own strengths and weaknesses influencing different parts of the gameplay (for example research or production) and giving each race an own style of play. However, the player has the possibility to compensate weaknesses or accelerate strengths by distributing bonus points. Furthermore, each race has two special resources which are not used by the two other races. After all, what should mechanical beings, like the X’or are, do with money, which is a valuable resource for the humans? The economic systems themselves will be different from each other in that different aspects are predominant with each race. Human economy is focused very much on moral while the X’or have to keep an eye on computing capacity, so as to not overload their network.
There seems to be a real focus on the single player portion of the game, how many missions will the single player portion have? The plot of the game is a little Galactica-esq, what themes did you pull from the show? Are there any other notable inspirations behind the game?
In the course of the single player campaign of Legends of Pegasus, you will play all three races. The player embodies the human John Daniels and accompanies him through all the three campaign parts. The story will be told in thirty chapters, ten for each race. The plot itself is not aligned to any particular science-fiction-series. Many great stories from film and literature have influenced Legends of Pegasus in one way or another creating one unique epic plot, that leads the player into a fight for survival and freedom in an unknown sector of space.
Does the single player campaign branch at all or is it a linear set of battles? Could you talk about how you’re communicating the story to the player in the single player campaign?
The single player campaign follows the principles of Legends of Pegasus and the separation of turn-based strategy phase and real-time battles. The player will also establish colonies, construct ships and – of course – fight real-time space battles. The story will be told through dialogues and cutscenes.
How did you approach the structure of your tech tree? What are the entry levels of each branch? When you play the game, what thing to you try and unlock first?
When you start a skirmish game or a multiplayer match, you first choose a race. Each race has unique technologies, which the player can use without any restrictions. Additionally, the player can – depending on the match options – choose free tech trees, that will give him additional research options. And because free tech trees put emphasis on very different kinds of technology (for example weapons, industry or social tech), the player can make different tech tree combinations based on his style of play. There will also be the opportunity to get additional tech trees in the single player campaign. But that depends on the decisions the player makes during the story.
Multiplayer in 4X games can be a bit tricky, can you talk about how you’ve implemented the multiplayer in terms of the number of people it will support and how the multiplayer portion supports the transition between turn based portions and real-time sections? Will multiplayer be over local LAN and Internet?
We are aiming at eight players for multiplayer matches. The game can be played via Internet an LAN and human as well as AI players can join a match. The transition from turn-based phase to real-time is done through a dialogue, in which the player sees all the pending battles at the end of a turn. For players that are not battling at the moment, there is the possibility to watch the battles of other factions or to use some of the strategy features (editing ship blueprints, analyzing the empire screen etc.).
Could you walk us through the various multiplayer modes of the game?
In the multiplayer part of Legends of Pegasus, you can play against each other as well as cooperative against the AI. You can choose different winning conditions at game startup. Those could be: “Eliminate all enemies”, “Take over X star systems”, economic goals or a run to find a legendary planet which can only be done with high tech and a great empire management.
One of the cool things we’ve seen in footage of the game is that it switches back between turn based mode and a real time strategy mode. Could you talk about which part of the game is in what mode and he decision to take the game in that direction vs. the classic turn based approach?
Everything surrounding the maintenance of colonies, the research, the designing of space ships, the organisation of fleets and so on is done in turn-based strategy phase. It was very important to us to give players the opportunity to really dig into the deep gameplay Legends of Pegasus has to offer. Battles are fought in real-time and start, when ships of enemy nations encounter each other. At that point, the whole star system in which the battle is based in, is transferred to real-time. Depending on the choices you have made at game startup, combat may be interrupted by a strategy turn if a strategy turn has outrun the real-time combat phase.
What kind of tactics can you employ in the real time strategy mode? Is it more than just throwing a bunch of ships at each other or is there more to it?
Every ship in Legends of Pegasus is valuable. We try to avoid a problem that players come across in other games, where at some point, you just choose a big bunch of ships and send them into battle and just hope everything works out fine. To avoid things like this, we limit the amount of ships a player can lead into battle. Additionally, ships gain experience by fighting so they can improve their skills. And the different abilities of the ships, like scanners and tractor beams, demand tactical skill and some amount of micro management from players.
The later stages of most 4X games can turn into a micro-management hell which can bog the game down (especially after you colonize a bunch of different worlds), are you implementing any kind of automation to make this part of the game run faster? How does Legends of Pegasus handle this situation?
There will be the opportunity to put colonies under AI control and give a rough orientation whether the planet should develop to a industrial planet or a research colony, and the like. This way, the player gets the chance to concentrate on certain important colonies and he can outsource a lot of the administrative work.
We'd like to thank Andre for taking the time to answer our questions as well as Ted for helping to set the interview up.