The Jet Set: Dragon Commander Videos

By Adam Smith on September 5th, 2011 at 10:54 am.

The Princess Died

If dragons with jetpacks and skeleton princesses are your favourite things, Dragon Commander is being created specifically for you. It’s not often such niche tastes are accounted for, so count yourself very lucky indeed. Alec was pleasantly surprised during his encounter with Larian Studios’ RPG, strategy, dragon-action hybrid at Gamescom a couple of weeks ago and now a developer walkthrough has found its way online in video form. It’s the same section of the game that Alec saw so there’s nothing explicitly new here, but it’s good to realise the article wasn’t the product of a fever-dream. The world map truly is reminiscent of Small World and there really is a skeleton princess wearing fruit wedged into a corset in order to crudely simulate the fully-fleshed female form. It’s in two parts and is well worth a watch, if only for the nonchalant way in which the jetpack is introduced.

This man makes a dragon wearing a jetpack seem like the most ordinary sight in the world. I would like to commission him to do full commentaries on the entire works of David Lynch: “As you can see, the dwarf is enjoying the music.”

And there you have it. Very intriguing and seeing it in motion, all the different playstyles look fun and polished. I suspect there’ll need to be a fair amount of variety to make it all hang together. Is it wrong to hope for a bearded dwarf princess? Of course it is. But it is the right kind of wrong.

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39 Comments »

  1. Eclipse says:

    you had me at the skeleton wife, day one purchase

  2. Eclipse says:

    Oh by the way, anybody ever played this game? Dragon Lord a.k.a. Dragons Breath for DOSAmiga http://www.mobygames.com/game/dragon-lord
    It was a great mix of strategy, alchemycastle and eggs management , and dragons shot’em up.
    This game looks almost like a Dragon Lord remake, and that’s why I’m so intrigued by it.

    • Adam Smith says:

      I spent a significant part of my life staring at dragon eggs that never seemed to hatch. I don’t think I understood the game at all but I loved it dearly nonetheless. Definitely a precursor.

    • Eclipse says:

      I’ve actually completed that game when I was a kid! I remember I found a bug that gave me infinite money (involved a potion I discovered that weirdly didn’t disappear after use), and from that it was easy.

      About the eggs, I remember you were able to set the hatchery temperature so they hatched in fewer turns, setting it higher meant less turns to hatch a dragon but an higher cost, and then the newborn would have lower statistics. To fix that you had to use potions on the egg. Given that I had infinite money it wasn’t hard to have a squad of super dragons at my command :D

      The hardest but most fascinating thing about the game was discovering the potions, the alchemy system was very cool, there were a lot of different ingredients you were able to mix and I remember I had to constantly watch the game manual to remember every effect of every ingredient you were able to mix. Oh and sometimes the potions used to explode!
      I remember I filled my school diary with all the potions I tried, their effect, ingredients, temperature and so on.

      And the fact you were able to use a potion/spell on different things was awesome. An healing potion for example could heal your dragon, give your egg better HP points or even heal an entire village. I remember weakening enemy villages with poison and then destroying them with a dragon was my favorite technique.

      The worst part of the game was surely the action part, you were able to control one of your dragons and destroy the enemy villages yourself. I remember it was very difficult because the levels were procedurally generated (based of how big/strong the village you attacked was), and loosing in one of those levels meant your dragon’s death.
      Luckily you were able to skip that part of the game altogether and let the CPU tell you the outcome of the battle.

    • BenLeng says:

      Oh I loved that game! They claimed that their Alchemy-System was so complex that even the developers didn’t know all the recipes. A claim that highly impressed my young mind. I would love a modern dragon breeding game. Remake please.

    • razgon says:

      Indeed! It had a reagent named Razgon, actually ;-)

  3. Drake Sigar says:

    Skeleton princesses and dragons with jetpacks
    Battleship Islands and thin girls with huge racks
    Traversing a battlefield on huge scaly wings
    These are a few of my favourite things!

  4. sakmidrai says:

    Dragons with jetpacks. And rocket launchers.
    Please, take all the money I have. Please.

  5. KauhuK says:

    It’s good that some studios make a bit different games. A must buy,

  6. McDan says:

    “Uh yeah and this dragon has a jetpack.” So casual, this looks really good though, and that undead princess is HOT! …if you’re into that kind of thing.

  7. DiGi says:

    I’m sure that they can add even more blur in that game. Or we can just take off our glasses or put plastic on monitor.

  8. NothingFunny says:

    hmm turnbased strategy with card RPG … with realtime jetpack-dragon combat? Im in!

  9. feda says:

    Wow, this actually looks interesting. Reminds me a little of the classic game Stratosphere: Conquest of the Skies where you build a flying fortress.

  10. icupnimpn2 says:

    I won Larian’s Divinity 2: Dragon Knight Saga in an RPS contest last year along with a number of other people. It’s a game I’d gladly have paid for, in retrospect, despite its engine performance issues. Divinity 2 had some of the quirkiest moments I’ve played in an RPG-type setting this side of King’s Bounty. Glad to see they’re still letting their freak flag fly with Dragon Commander.

    Very much looking forward to this.

  11. Dominic White says:

    Looking lovely. Here’s hoping that they’ve still got enough money sloshing around after Dragon Knight Saga to actually complete this one. It’d be a terrible shame if they had to push out another game half-finished.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, but you know we’d both buy it anyway and recommend everyone else buy it too so that they can finish it in an expansion pack.

      To be honest, I’d even do an Overgrowth pre-buy thing if I could. This is the sort of thing I would throw money at just to see it prosper. I would literally give them at least a small amount of money to use on this with no expectations of anything in return, even.

      This is a rare thing. I want to see it succeed.

  12. Axess Denyd says:

    I like the sound of the game, but the combat didn’t look very good to me. Maybe it’s different playing it, but the dragon didn’t seem to move very…dragonishly. The platform reminded me a little bit of Tie Fighter, though. Now I want to play Tie Fighter.

    • Wulf says:

      It moved dragon-with-a-jetpackishly!

      Does that help?

    • origo says:

      Yeah, combat doesn’t feel like riding a dragon. They should lose the jetpack, with it you stop flying and start floating.
      I’d rather circle/ glide in high speed spitting fireballs, than dodge pew-pews by sidestepping in midair.

  13. Squire says:

    “The woman who lives in the radiators cheeks have become severely distended, maybe the song shes about to sing will shed some light on why”

    “Oh, even though it appeared to have terrible birth defects, his baby seems to have evolved beyond the need for legs, its just a huge floating bulbous head, adulthood eh?”

    Looks good.

  14. Manburger says:

    “As you can see, the dwarf is enjoying the music” made me larf out loud. Good show!
    I agree with the sentiment that the game looks quirky and fun. Keepin’ an eye on this one.

  15. manveruppd says:

    How does he know the princess is really a woman?

  16. fenriz says:

    the shooting reminds me of a capcom arcade game.

  17. Wulf says:

    I had to take notes.

    I was that impressed with this overall that I had to scribble down notes.

    Okay, first of all… this game looks extremely silly on a few levels and I support that. I’m sort of tired of grim-faced people in grimdark futures or pasts doing grim things with their emo selves. That’s one of the reasons that the biggest draw for me in gaming lately has been alternately The Baconing and Champions Online. I could use more silly in my games, I really could, and I often feel that games take themselves far too seriously.

    With many games I get the feeling that they’re austere persons (if games were persons) that would frown if you even snerked at their unintentional funniness. There have been a number of mainstream games like this and it just… kind of gets old. It’s like no one hires anyone to write a couple of jokes, or to include some absurdity. This one, however, seems to have absurdity in spades. A Spock-like Imp? Really? I genuinely do lack the words one might use to vehemently support something like this.

    The next thing is that this seems to be a strategy-RPG in which choices matter. That matters to me. I like it when a decision I make actually has ramifications (good and/or bad). I don’t want every single choice I make to be almost completely cosmetic like in some other fully fledged RPGs that I could name. I want things around me to change because I made a decision. I want my choices to have some impact. I want to realise when I chose well or foolishly. I don’t want the game to be afraid of telling me I’m an idiot sometimes, or to let my decisions go down paths I didn’t entirely expect. I want decisions that can take on a life of their own. This game seems to provide for that. So another plume in Dragon Commander’s hat, then.

    And here’s another thing: Larian… are you reading? Pay attention. This next part is important. I shall bold this just to make sure it’s a point that comes across. Larian, please pay attention to this.

    Right now, the interface as it is, looks accessible. Normally I can’t play strategy games because they tend to have very, very tiny text and numbers that I can’t see. But in this video I could actually read all the text and the numbers, even in the video, and this resulted in a not entirely inconsiderable amount of pleasant surprise on my end, a quirked eyebrow, even. It’s like someone actually realised that visually impaired people may want to play strategy-ish games, too.

    Larian, I know people may bitch about having tiny fonts that you need augmented eyes to read, but please, at least keep this UI as an option even if it isn’t the primary UI on the PC version. What the PC Master Race (oh, and come on, you all know things can go that way) tends to forget about is that tiny fonts lead to inaccessible games for people with visual disabilities. I have noticed increasing support for options here though and I’m genuinely pleased every time I see a PC gamer even thinking about this. It’s an even greater delight to see a PC developer thinking about this.

    Even if that UI isn’t the main UI on the PC version… please keep it as an option. Please? Thank you.

    If that UI is the UI on the PC version then I won’t be forced to buy the console version just because the UI has been designed for perfectly healthy people who don’t have any sight issues to speak of. (And no, my sight issues can’t be solved by glasses. In fact, only 60% of sight issues can. My problems are caused by a degenerative condition that’s affecting my optic nerves.) The thing is is… well, it’s one hell of an achievement to design a strategy game that I can play now. I used to be able to play them but then my sight took a nose dive. I’ve been very sad about that (and more than a bit frustrated).

    But here you have a strategy game that I can play. Larian, let this stand as an example of accessibility for all other developers to follow. If you at least leave this UI in as an option then you’ll be at least one PC exclusive developer that I’m pleased with and proud of.

    Those with sight issues are people too. And what I see in those videos shows that you’re thinking of us as well. Thank you.

    Moving on!

    I really like the way the strategy element works. I believe Larian said that they actually made it as a board game first and I can tell. It’s not hard to see. I’m a fan of board games and whilst I don’t exactly have the confidence to speak up a lot in Rab’s columns, I still read them, and it’s nice to see PC gaming taking the more unique elements of board games and making them work for a PC game. I’d like to see more of this.

    It’s interesting because this is sort of like what one might have as a general’s map in a war room. I could almost imagine the Prince standing around in the war room and playing about with this, and then telling his advisers to make it happen. That’s a pretty entertaining thought.

    And this brings me to the final point…

    That dragon is glorious.

    I mean really, really beautiful.

    There’s art direction in this game which could match that of Guild Wars 2, and that’s not something I say often (or ever), so you may want to mark this on a calendar or something. This is the sort of game I want to point at and say that this is how you do a fantasy game, this is art direction, this is what the fantastic is all about. It’s flying islands, and dragons with jetpacks, and steampunk imps… and it’s all rendered so gloriously. You can tell that they were passionate about this.

    But as a fan of dragons, I have to say that that one… is particularly magnificent. It’s not just the art design either, but it’s the animations, the graphics overall, and everything coming together as a unique package. I can’t think of a fantasy game in recent memory other than Guild Wars 2 which actually looks this interesting or compelling. It’s bright and colourful without being twee, it’s silly without being po-faced, and it’s everything I want a fantasy game to be.

    Really… anyone thinking of developing a fantasy game? Look at what ArenaNet and Larian are doing. Use these two as your examples. Work from what they’re doing as a base, and work up from there, look at nothing else.

  18. Serenegoose says:

    So ah, being a total downer. Do I have to play as some guy with a penchant for princesses? Can I be some lady with a thing for princes, too? Or even some lady with a thing for princesses? I have a harder time engaging with RPGs (whether hybridised with turn based strat or otherwise) that give me choices if they don’t give me some of the most basic ones.

    • Wulf says:

      Thankfully this game gives me one of the most important choices I would make off the bat – one of the choices that the vast majority of other fantasy games wouldn’t even consider.

  19. Post-Internet Syndrome says:

    Looks completely awesome, though I’m a bit concerned with how up close the combat seemed to be all the time. What’s the point of all that sky real estate if you’re just going to hover in front of the enemy and strafe a bit? Some actual aerial maneuvering bitte.

  20. Lazaruso says:

    Can you talk to the jetpacks?

  21. Josh W says:

    Not only is it a jetpack, but it lets you slow down time! Of course!

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