It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Mech: Strike Suit Zero

By Nathan Grayson on July 13th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

In recent years, space shooters and mechs – once majestic and dominant creatures, loping across the PC landscape with tear-jerking grace – have become all but extinct. They live on the fringes now, only daring to sip from the old watering hole when military FPSes and MMOs are safely out of sight. But now, along comes Strike Suit Zero. It combines all of your favorite things about space (an infinite void that can suck the lungs out of your very chest, pretty stars!) and all of the best bits of mechs (everything) to form a transforming metal titan that seems to be coming along quite nicely.

No, it doesn’t seem too terribly complicated, but the sense of speed and scale has my creaky dogfighting joints all atwitter. And I’m glad Born Ready’s taken the mech mode into account as more than just a bigger arsenal on a pair of sexy, sexy robotic legs. The idea that it can completely change the dynamics of dodging missiles, for instance, is pretty neat. I’m not sure if the final product will have multiplayer (worry not, for I have sent an electronic mail), but I think players could come up with some pretty wild strategies given those tools.

It is a bit odd that we saw so little actual one-on-one dogfighting, though. I mean, everyone loves nimbly bouncing between ponderous capital ships, but I would very much like to size up Strike Suit when I’m actually picking on something my own size. Next time, hopefully. Until then, let us while away the moments until its vague “2012” launch by lamenting the fact that real world combat will probably never look like a space rave. Or reading our preview from last year. That is also an option.

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58 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Lambchops says:

    Saw a post about this in the forums the other day and reckon it’s worth keeping an eye on (something I’ll rely on RPS for as I’ll just forget about it a few months down the line like I forgot about , , , err . . . something else).

    Of all the space baced projects cropping up recently this is probably the one that’s most made me think, “yes, this is what I want to see.”

  2. grundus says:

    “lamenting the fact that real world combat will probably never look like a space rave.”

    Have you not seen the night-time benchmark in Arma II? Like bloody Star Wars it is.

    This looks pretty cool, like a cross between Omega Boost and Freespace or something. I like. I’ve always had a soft spot for mechs and space and spacemechs. Ooh, those concept drawings are very Armoured Core. Yep.

    • Lord Byte says:

      Aaah, I remember the youtube a few days after launch, of the guy that just dumped a bunch of AI into a night map, launched it, and let the fireworks commence.
      Good old ARMA 2, awesome piece of work but so flawed… Over 3 different hardware iterations (3 GPUs, 2 CPUs (intel and AMD) and its still unplayable for me.
      (The motion blurred edges that sometimes stay on-screen makes me want to poke my eyes out, it’s been there the entire time, in every patch, every hardware permutation and no setting can turn it permanently off)

      • gebbet says:

        setting postprocess effects to “disabled” works for everyone as far as i know.

    • Chandos says:

      Freespace…. *deeep wistful sigh*

      • Dominic White says:

        Why wistful? It’s still kicking, and harder than ever.

        • squareking says:

          Desaturate ALL the colors!

          And this is mildly depressing: “note: the mission Helios will most likely not be finished or released to the public.”

          :(

          • Dominic White says:

            That’s just a single mission, though. The mod that it’s based on, War In Heaven, has been out for ages. It’s bloody impressive, and the final battle is amazing to see – it’s not quite THAT bombastic, but it comes close.

  3. mckertis says:

    I’d much rather see Another Century Episode ported, but this will do in a pinch…maybe…

  4. Fishbed says:

    I wish I could hear a little more references about Macross/Robotech, and a little less about Star Wars, cuz, well, I understand they have to catch the unsuspecting public’s attention, but I like when thanks and kudos for inspiration are given to the right guys… It’s not like they had the whole concept just popping up from nowhere!

    • Dreforian says:

      My first guess (at first glance) was going to be something zone of the enders-y but this is definitely straight out of Macross. The strike suit wouldn’t be even remotely out of place in Macross Frontier:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXHygYEA9j8 (skip to about 1:30). I think there’s a game made after the show too but it’s not as full sized as SSZ looks. I will definitely be picking this up regardless. That said, there seems to be a rash of games lately that profess their originality while either ignoring or being grossly ignorant of their predecessors. All I wanna see is credit where it’s due!

  5. Premium User Badge

    wyrmsine says:

    This looked amazing at Rezzed – unless it’s saddled with something ridiculous, I’m looking forward to buying it.

  6. Dominic White says:

    I’m kinda ‘meh’ on the mech design for this one. Even in humanoid form, it still looks like a starfighter, just a little stretched out, and when it’s in starfighter mode, it looks a little too complicated and busy. More folks need to look to Macross and even Transformers for ideas – they got it right! That, and Zone of The Enders.

    Looks fun, though. Reminds me a bit of Project Sylpheed on the 360, which is probably the most underrated space combat game ever, and at least as complex as any Freespace game once you get into it.

    • Yuri says:

      Zone of Enders, yes.
      There has never been a game that gave you a better taste of controlling an absurdly powerful and fast mech while giving you a good challenge at the same time. Especially Second Runner.

      To be honest, i’m actually underwhelmed by the mech features in this. It basically just looks like the mech transformation is there to add strafe to your fighter. No melee options.
      It looks nice to watch, but i feels like it’s boring to play.

      • theallmightybob says:

        yeah i see it the same way. all the transform seems to do is let you turn in place and spam extra fire power for a bit. one of thoughs things I should be able to do in space in a properly designed fighter to begin with.

  7. BigJonno says:

    I know that, thanks to Star Wars, we turn a blind eye to space-based games that make rude gestures and fart noises in the direction of physics, but I find it highly amusing that the big selling point of mech mode is the ability to turn on the spot instead of fly about like a plane.

  8. mondomau says:

    Played this at Rezzed – it was good fun, in a straighforward pew-pew sort of way. My excitement waned a little when I found out there was to be no multiplayer though – thoroughly baffling for a game that seems like it was more or less created for for it, in co-op if nothing else.

  9. BobbyDylan says:

    Why does the Mech have arms and legs? It is going to climb up the hull of a starship, swatting and little figters with one hand, all the while holding a blowup doll in the other?

    • Bork Titflopsen says:

      Mechs usually fall into two catagories Japanese- and American-syle mechs.

      The whole idea behind Japanese-style mechs is that they are rediculously huge, over-the-top, nimble things that can completely disregard the laws of nature and run around the battlefield like a harbinger of doom, doing all kinds of sweet flips and rad tricks in the process.
      (Ex. Gundam, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagan and Macross, the last one probably coming closest to the mechs in SSZ)

      American-style mechs are often much “closer to reality” than their Japanese counterparts. Generally being bulkier, heavier and slower, they tend to act like mobile cannons/artillery.
      (Ex. the Mech Warrior series, the mechs in Avatar)

      I personally find American mechs to be much more diverse than Japanese mechs. Their design, role and utility varies wildly depending on the setting whereas Japanese mechs tend to look similar, but act like visual representations of their pilots’ strong and weak points.

      • ThatAznGuy says:

        I don’t want to makes things make things overcomplicated, but you can’t just compare Macross to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann since they are they are two completely different sub mech genres.

        Japanese mech fall into two types: Real Robot and Super Robot.
        Basically, real robots follow the traditional cockpit “piloting”, are based and built like other military hardware, and are prone to maintenance and repair (I’d add follow physics to a degree, but Japanese mecha generally have a literal definition of physics) .Notable series (video games and anime) include: Gundam (barring G Gundam, that’s a super robot), Macross, Armored Core and Armored Trooper Votoms.

        Super Robot are mechs that are generally powered on the feelings and actions of the pilot, generally requiring no physical input for controls, but rather emulate the pilot’s movement in a large spacious “cockpit”. Notable series include: Neon Genesis Evangelion, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Overman King Gainer

  10. Koning_Floris says:

    Well, that’s what I thought of when reading the text. Going up to some huge capital ship, deploying mech mode, walking all over it blasting at the weak points and then jump off before it detonates in your face.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      That’s basically Battle Engine Aquila except with ocean-going ships instead of starships. It was pretty badass.

  11. Mollusc Infestation says:

    Is it wrong that i’m put off by explosion sounds in my space games? Perhaps i should just swallow my nerd-pride and turn the volume down.

    • Premium User Badge

      Llewyn says:

      If it helps, think of it as your ship’s sophisticated sensor and feedback systems creating sound based on observed impacts and explosions to provide you with helpful reference points for what’s going on around you.

    • Jojolion says:

      I refuse to play Team Fortress 2 because rocket jumping is unrealistic.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      It’s a lot easier to justify that than the fact that they’re maneuvering like they’re in an atmosphere and engaging at strictly visual ranges (which we don’t even do now, on Earth, anymore, in aerial combat).

      • Brun says:

        Au contraire, good sir. While modern aircraft certainly have the ability to engage each other beyond visual, sometimes there are other reasons that preclude BVR engagements. This was at the center of the harsh lessons the US learned in air combat over Vietnam. At the time, modern American aircraft (F-4s) were designed and equipped almost exclusively for BVR engagements with missiles, as this was thought to be the future of aerial combat (i.e., turning combat with guns was considered impossible at the supersonic speeds at which fighters of the time operated). Indeed, the F-4 didn’t even have an internal gun for a significant portion of the war, and was designed with flight characteristics (high speed and rate of climb, at the expense of maneuverability) that favored long-range missile combat over dogfighting.

        Unfortunately, the rules of engagement in Vietnam almost always required pilots to have visual confirmation of their targets before engaging, completely negating the long-range advantage of the F-4. F-4s suffered higher than normal losses during Vietnam until they were equipped with guns and pilots were taught ACM. This is why there was a dramatic shift away from designing fast, heavy missile-truck fighters toward more agile and versatile aircraft in the late 70’s and 80’s. It’s also why even the most advanced fighters today are equipped with guns, and pilots are trained to use them.

        TLDR: There are plenty of reasons not to engage BVR despite the technological capability to do so. Political reasons are a great example.

        • Urthman says:

          That rationale might make sense except I’ll bet this game has an infallible radar circle that color-codes enemies red and friends green.

          • theallmightybob says:

            what about the fact that the big ships that get you into battle all have FTL drives, so technecly you cant really see them untill they (or you) are ontop of you (or them). things like FTL and jump gates would (concivebly) encourage closer range combat then you would think with current space tech.

    • Dreforian says:

      Some games try to address this actually. If you dig around in Mass Effect there’s an article on how they’ve essentially developed tech to simulate sounds inside ships to match what is happening out in space. In Tyrian the pilot sits in a “Megasound” chair which amplifies all the tiny sounds of his ship (like micrometeor impacts and whatnot) in order to give his senses something to focus on so he doesn’t go insane from boredom whilst traveling through space for long periods. Soundless space games might make an interesting niche but otherwise sound is a necessary evil. That doesn’t mean it’s always dismissed though!

      • Mollusc Infestation says:

        Still feels like a bit of a cop-out to me, but to be honest it doesn’t prevent me from playing a game. I seem to remember EVE has a similar explanation. I just like the idea of being in a delicate, pressurised bubble in an inhospitable expanse of nothingness. I wish someone would design a game from that perspective, rather than making a space-submarine game and then excusing the inconsistencies with lore. Also, inertia would be nice. And the moon on a stick, while i’m at it.

        • theallmightybob says:

          I kind of allways liked that excuse for sound though (simulated through sensors and computers). ever since shattered horizon (wish that game took off better then it did) in that game they had an awesome mechanic were you could turn off your suits systems to drift in space and not show up on the enemy hud. you also dident get any simulated sound when you did that too.

          made for some awesome moments drifing through space around astroids with your suit off just hoping someone dosnt turn around and get a visual on you and light you up.

  12. coldvvvave says:

    It’s a GUNDAAAAAAAAAm

    • mechabuddha says:

      I can’t remember what it was called, but I do remember playing a Gundam game in which some levels were in space. You could morph between the humanoid form and a flying jet at will, and there tons of bad guys to explode. Unfortunately, it was restricted to a 2-D plane, and I think that game was single player only as well.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Was it Metal Warriors on SNES. That’s an awesome game that has a great deathmatch mode, and if you use an emulator you can play it online. I would love to see a 3d version of the game or even a new 2d one.

    • Salix says:

      Reminds me more of Macross tbh, never seen a gundam that could change forms.

      Edit: The only in space thing also reminds me of macross, even if it does seem to lack the missile spam.

      • therealspratt says:

        You haven’t watched Zeta then, nothing but transforming Gundams in the later parts of the show!

  13. JackDandy says:

    I was very excited for this one- kinda bummed that the mech is only a “Super” mode, instead of both modes having their ups and downs. Would make for more interesting gameplay IMO.

    Still, game looks pretty sweet, and I’m looking forward to see more.

    • theoriginaled says:

      Same, here I was hoping to see a dogfighter that turns into Jehuty on command not a dogfighter that turns into a turret on command. Oh well here’s to hoping the mech will have a little more mobility in the final release. Either way its been way too long since I played a decent space dogfight so count me interested.

    • LintMan says:

      Looks pretty, but a few things triggered my skepticism mode:

      We simplified the controls to bring in a new audience – Ugh. I’m not sure what controls they mean, but these sorts of code words, like the term “streamlined” are what you hear when they turn Deus Ex into consolified Invisible War, or Syndicate or X-Com into an FPS.

      When you get you energy bar high enough you can switch to robot mode – So it’s a super mode you get for a limited time, rather than something with tradeoffs so you’d switch between them situationally? Disappointing.

      – The robot mode basically looks like it makes you a high-powered space-turret. As someone else pointed out, why do you need arms and legs for that? Will you be doing anything in this game that actually requires walking and/or grabbing/manipulating things?

      • Phasma Felis says:

        Because giant robots with gun-arms and rocket-legs are awesome.

        There’s really no more justification than than that. Mechs larger than a suit of armor have never made any sense. They’d be slow, vulnerable, incredibly complex to build and maintain, and particularly in space have zero advantage over an ordinary fighter. But giant metal people are awesome, and it doesn’t make any less sense than WWI dogfight physics in space, so bring on the mech games! I do love them so.

  14. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Looks pretty damn nice, reminds me a little of Zone of Enders meets Freespace 2.

  15. figvam says:

    Here is a much longer video of the actual gameplay captured during Rezzed:

  16. Greggh says:

    Am I the only one thinking “we need more Gundam” in here?

    DAMN, I want me some decent Gundam.

    • Dominic White says:

      I’ve heard that the latest wave of Gundam games release in Japan are actually really good. There’s even a solid Battlefield-esque F2P shooter on the PS3.

      Naturally, none of this will ever be released in English.

    • Moraven says:

      Japan releases a ton of Mecha, Gundam games over the past 10 years. Unfortunately none ever get released outside it.

      Side Story was a decent Gundam game that came stateside. Reminded me of Heavy Gear II.

  17. Moraven says:

    Reminds me of Omega Boost, Zone of Enders with Robotech battle backgrounds.

  18. Guvornator says:

    Looks like X-wing with some added 3D Cybattler mixed in. In other words, yes please! Though if they’re going down that route, Cybattler had a lovely big sword for close combat slicing…just saying…

  19. Premium User Badge

    Kong says:

    Mechs are silly, Transformers childish. Both in space is…dunno what.
    My hope for this year’s space adventure is X Rebirth.

  20. Solidstate89 says:

    Needs more Itano Circus: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzXfVgYCxWI

    AKA: MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES MISSILES

  21. Muzman says:

    Somewhat aside: When they talk about the mech mode’s turning ability I was reminded of the zero G inertia tactics from Battlestar Galactica.
    This doesn’t seem like it’s doing the same thing exactly. I suppose it’s hard to implement. Has anyone used that in a game in a similar fashion? (where you can spin on the spot without changing trajectory etc)

    • theallmightybob says:

      yes, that shows up in lost of older sci-fi games. you can turn off your dampeners in says: tachyon the fringe (voiced by bruce camble) and rotate on the spot without changing heading. I think you could do it in free lancer as well. most companys are afriad of realistic space controle though because its freaken hard for new people to understand. so thery go with crap like this that over simplifies it all.

      personaly I think mechs are silly becasue a well designed fighter should out proform them all day in space without the added con of being as complex or expensive as a silly transforming mech. (for exmples see B5 star fury)

      • Guvornator says:

        It would be nice if they did something Mech-y with the mechs rather than just have them float around in space, waggling their legs ineffectually. When I heard about this I thought it would be amazing if you had the choice of either bombing a capital ship to death in conventional style, or fighting your way as a ship to where the reactor is, blowing a hole in the side and proceeding on foot to the reactor core and planting a bomb that would turn everything in a 5 mile radius to pink mist.

        I suspect that’s pretty ambitious, though I did used to have a game where you were a fighter plane/mech – you’d take out flying targets in the air then seamlessly change to a mech to destroy ground targets. To be fair, it wasn’t massively memorable…hope that’s not an omen…

        EDIT: It was called Gun Metal

    • Guvornator says:

      Also the Independence War series, which is jolly good. If space combat is your thing, you should check them out – I seem to remember the first one was the best received critically, but I always preferred the sequel http://www.gog.com/en/gamecard/independence_war_2 .

      I think, in general, it is more complex and takes a bit of time to work out – I remember when I first started with I-war 2 it was tough to avoid the “space joust” where you hammer the boost button towards the thing you’re firing at, only to realise that you are travelling WAY too fast, over-shoot massively and disappear over the horizon braking and spinning to try and keep then in your sights. Then you’d stop and do it all again…

      • theallmightybob says:

        someone gave me a copy of that that i sill have in the basment. i should dig that out.

        • Guvornator says:

          There are some good mods over here – http://www.i-war2.com/downloads.htm – If you’re interested in general interstellar piracy the custom Jafs is a must – it enables him to pick up 40 crates instead of 16 and, possibly more importantly, shuts him the hell up…although after a while I missed him a little bit…

  22. Iskariot says:

    I am a sucker for good spaceship designs and this game has a lot of superbly designed stuff. Space looks very cool too, as do the effects.
    If they can give this some depth, with cool upgradable ships and weaponry and interesting missions and some freedom to explore and freedom to choose your battles then this might be the first new space sim I will buy in a long time.
    I read somewhere that Junji´╗┐ Okubo is involved in designing the spaceships. I will buy the game just because of that.