Last month, we shared a look at 25 games coming to Xbox One via the [email protected] self-publishing program. Now we’re excited to share the first game, “Strike Suit Zero: Director’s Cut,” arrives in the Xbox Store tomorrow!
We spoke with James Brooksby, CEO of Born Ready Games about the game. Check out what they want you to know about the game below, and stay tuned to Xbox Wire and Major Nelson for more on [email protected] games to come.
Xbox Wire: Tell us about your game. What do you want gamers to know?
James Brooksby: “Strike Suit Zero” is a space combat game that harkens back to the golden age of space combat games. The team here are huge fans of the genre, and have been influenced by the likes of “Wing Commander,” “X-Wing vs TIE Fighter,” “Elite,” “Homeworld,” “Colony Wars” and “Freelancer” to name a few. The biggest difference between those games and ours (other than a serious next-gen lick of paint) is the fact that we have a mech at the heart of the game. Bringing in our other influences we are also big fans of “Macross,” “Robotech,” “Gundam” and “ZOE.”
The titular Strike Suit can change the tide of battle at the touch of the button, really bringing up the pace of a space dogfight, allowing you to eliminate enemies quickly without having to resort to the process of “jousting” and “circle chasing” that plagues older games in the genre. The Strike Suit was designed by Junji Okubo (“Appleseed,” “Steel Battalion,” “Infinite Space”) really giving the craft some pedigree. To compliment this, we enlisted the musical talents of Paul Ruskay (“Homeworld”) to score the game, really helping to define the distinct atmosphere of space we’ve tried to create. Ruskay also collaborated with Japanese singer-songwriter Kokia (“Tales of Innocence,” “Gunslinger Girl: II Teatrino”) for the game, bringing a nice blend of east meets west to the soundtrack.
Our art team has done a great job of giving space character and personality, something that’s lacking in many depictions of the environment – we’ve been sure to bring colour and vibrancy to our world, and the combination of this, Ruskay’s soundtrack and the narrative underpinning the game really brings space to life in an interesting way.
XW: Where did the idea for the game come from?
JB: A lot of the team were huge fans of the space combat genre. Before the very recent resurgence in the genre, their issue was that there hadn’t been a decent game in the genre since the 1990s heyday. With consoles becoming the dominant method of playing games for most people after this peak, the genre died out somewhat. Our plan was to bring it – kicking and screaming – to a new generation of gamers, whilst still appealing to hard-core space combat fans. The game grew out of this, quickly evolving to include a transforming craft which would define the game.
XW: How does being an independent developer affect the creation process?
JB: When you only answer to yourselves, there’s no design by committee compromise in terms of design or artistic expression. We were able to take the game down the exact road we wanted to with nobody butting in and trying to steer things down another path. Crucially, most developers working under a traditional publisher wouldn’t have had the opportunity to develop a Director’s Cut of their game. We’ve been able to incorporate a host of improvements and additions based on feedback from our community, enabling us to make the definitive version of the game, something we hope more game makers will be able to do in the future.
XW: How has [email protected] made development for Xbox One easier or better? What was your experience with the team?
JB: Microsoft has gathered an experienced team who know the game making process like the back of their hand. Importantly, they really do have a passion for games and making the [email protected] programme work. They knew what we’d need and when we’d need it. For example, when we ramped up the team and needed more development kits, they bent over backwards to lend us their own kits to get the game to market on time. They even offered us temporary office space when our offices flooded at Christmas!
Microsoft clearly believes in the [email protected] programme judging by the team of people around the world ready to help us with challenges at the drop of an email. Without them we’d have really struggled. The box itself has been good to develop on, easier than we expected for a new generation console, possibly the easiest transition we have made to new gen hardware.
XW: Is there anything else you want to share?
JB: We’re lucky enough to be in a position where timings have worked out in such a way, with our team working incredibly hard through the winter, that we’re the first game to launch under the [email protected] programme. The programme is obviously something we’re very excited about, and no doubt the start of a slew of interesting and innovative titles to arrive on the Xbox One. Independent publishing on Xbox; truly great times.