Tsarist Space Struggle: The Mandate

By Adam Smith on October 3rd, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

There’s a trailer for The Mandate below and today’s challenge is for you to work out what genre the actual game will belong to when Perihelion Interactive release it. Don’t run off to Google to find the solution, just peel back the lids of your eyes and watch the video. You might want to unclog your ears as well so that the stirring, solemn music can distract you with images of the might of Imperial Russia. Tsars in space, that’s the theme, but how the devil does it play? Solve the mystery below.

It’s almost definitely a 4X strategy game, with rebellious outposts that have splintered into new factions and must now be tamed. Yes, that’s what it’ll be.

Except the mention of a single, small ship, designed to go where a fleet cannot, suggests that strategy will be thrown out of the window. Instead, The Mandate may well be a spaceship exploration/combat sort of a thing. It might even have boarding actions, judging by the short snippet of what looks like turn-based tactical combat.

Let’s read the press release and get to the heart of the matter:

The Mandate [is] a six player cooperative space RPG set in a world torn apart by 1500 years of war. From a newly formed development house featuring some of the creative minds from Funcom’s most popular MMO’s, and Ubisoft’ s original Assassins Creed, Perihelion Interactive collaborate to create a truly unique RPG experience with influences from some of the most tactically rich strategy and RPG titles of the past.

I certainly didn’t expect the ‘six player cooperative’ part. It all sounds a bit like Mass Effect built for somebody who likes roguelike and tactical elements rather than third-person combat.

Fight, quest, trade, scavenge, and upgrade your way to victory!

In a unique turn for the genre, relationships between captain, crew, and officers will directly affect battle situations, and with rogue-like elements, officers trained over time can be lost – literally vented out through the side of your ship – which will suffer irreparable radioactive and other atmospheric cosmetic and detrimental effects

When there is no possibility of people being “vented out” of a spaceship, I question why games are set on spaceships in the first place. This all sounds rather good, even if the trailer is a bit of a mess.

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69 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Jake says:

    It might just be because they have an eerily similar backstory, but I just assumed this was the next Tony Hawks game.

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    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Rhythm-action, obviously.

  2. Bull0 says:

    EXCELLENT find. That looks really intriguing. They have a ship constructor thing on their website but I can’t get it to work, might be because traffic?

    • Koozer says:

      I just tried it out, and it is glorious. Naturally I created a Hiigran frigate with the few options available, but the true attraction is at the end when you can play with throwing asteroids and lasers at your ship.

      Damage is locational, and not just in the Homeworld sense of ‘woo I blew up his ion cannon!’ but ‘holy crap I just burnt a hole through his shield and melted his hull!’

      It is quite marvellous.

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      Sunjumper says:

      You might have to update your Unity player for your browser.

      The ship builder works rather well, remiding me a bit of a rudimentary version of the one found in Galactic Civilisations 2 and like Koozer said the damage model is pretty neat.
      It all looks very early days but promising.

    • kael13 says:

      Well that was a fun way to kill twenty minutes.

    • gi_ty says:

      Agreed this looks amazing! They seem to have a really strong concept and lots of work done already, and as soon as I read sandbox RPG (think Mount and Blade) I couldn’t throw money at the screen fast enough.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Strange, when I load it I can’t see the ships hull at all. Just the framework underneath it. Everything else seems to load fine.

      Also, this appears to be a kickstarter, guess you guys didn’t find it that way?

      • skittles says:

        Going by how glacially the funding appears to be moving. I suspect we may not see this game be, such a shame.

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    distantlurker says:

    Looks like 4X zooms in to homeworld (so far so SINS) zooms in to XCOM, with an emphasis on ‘TOYS!’ Everybody loves seeing a special character leveling up, and building ships in pretty ship building screens etc.

    6 person co-op though; doesn’t that just narrow the target market by like 99%?

    Can I go and google now please Adam? :P

  4. Didden says:

    I feel like it’s 1997 again, and I’m down some dank cellar of a game shop, finding a roughly handled box being resold for £5. A game I’ve never heard of before. The font is russian looking proclaiming, ‘The Mandate’. I turn it over and it promises 4x strategy, real time RTS, Space combat, ship boarding, strategy, story… how bad can it be?

    I take it to the till and hope the sound works with my soundblaster clone card and I have enough memory to load it.

  5. Trent Hawkins says:

    multiplayer strategy games are just an awful idea.

  6. Soulstrider says:

    Consider me intrigued. I do love the Imperial Russia aesthetic going.

  7. Consumatopia says:

    Okay, this game looks great, but Space Tsars? Come on, Space Soviets would be a bajillion times cooler and everyone knows it.

  8. Corporate Dog says:

    A.) Googling “The Mandate game” sure gets you a lot of blah, blah about Obamacare.
    B.) They had me until “six player cooperative”, and then they lost me.

    • Scandalon says:

      From the KS page: “A single player RPG that supports up to 6 players for cooperative game-play. Designed to be enjoyed completely alone, or with rich rewards for those who choose to tactically band together”

  9. Artist says:

    Wow, what a horrible vid to start a kickstarter with. Good luck.

  10. Solidstate89 says:

    The first half of the video looked stunning – but so does all concept art in my experience. I was even getting a little bit of a Legend of the Galactic Heroes kind of vibe.

    But the second half ruined it.

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    Don Reba says:

    I don’t get it. Why would a studio with no Russian members make a sort-of-Imperial-Russia-styled game? Kind of interesting, though, that they got a Russian girl to voice all three trailers. The Russian script is spoken fluently, English with some accent, Spanish thickly accented. Trailer descriptions, however, are Google Translate from English.

    To sum up, the whole language situation is a mess.

    • skittles says:

      So you are saying we shouldn’t have games like Shogun 2? Since people working on that weren’t Japanese. Just because a person is of country A, doesn’t mean they can’t like country B or make stuff about them.

    • AlienMind says:

      Russia is sexy!

  12. psuedonymous says:

    I can’t actually think of ANY other games that have used a tilt-shift effect like that galaxy map has. Many now have some sort of depth-of-field option, but generally only try and replicate human-scale focussing.

    Plus, you can ram your ship into other ships, so I’m already sold.

  13. Nix Nada says:

    And they didn’t call it Star Tsars – for shame.

  14. Tei says:

    Looks like a Elite, where you play as a soldier for one faction.

  15. djim says:

    I like their ambition

  16. Stardreamer says:

    I went on a Mandate once.

    He was rough and not at all appreciative. There wasn’t a second.

  17. mygaffer says:

    I backed this right away. Now in a couple years I’ll be able to play it.

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      Don Reba says:

      Don’t get your hopes up. I strongly doubt they will make it to 20% of their goal.

      • airmikee99 says:

        Thanks for the prediction, Nostradumbass.

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          Don Reba says:

          If it isn’t our friendly neighbourhood troll. What’s your bet?

          • airmikee99 says:

            Your comment is that the KS campaign will fail, and you call me the troll?

            My bet is that you’re actively participating in psychological projection.

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            Don Reba says:

            I don’t say it will fail out of spite. It has a poor pitch and a slow first day. Your being the RPS comments section troll is a fact, though. But that’s ok.

          • airmikee99 says:

            If things keep going as they have for this campaign.

            2 days at 18,000 equals 60 days at 540,000.

            540,000 > 500,000

            Since you have absolutely nothing of value to contribute, and you’re only trolling while projecting trollish behavior onto others, I’ll go ahead and block you now, kid. :)

          • The Random One says:

            Kickstarter pledges tend to spike on the first few days and on the last two days (after the ‘remind me’ emails are sent). You projected from the first few days and your final result wasn’t even 10% above their minimum. You didn’t prove that they’ll reach the goal if they keep their current rate; you proved that unless they somehow manage to make as much money all throughout the campaign as they did on their most profitable days, they won’t reach their goal.

        • DatonKallandor says:

          Don’t have to be a prophet to predict their campaign will fail. They’re not big names, they’re asking for half a million and they wanna make a highly ambitious can-do-everything genre blending game.

          It’ll fail because too many factors that hurt kickstarter pitches are coming together under one project. Happens all time, doesn’t mean the game they wanna make would be bad – just means they’re not gonna get the kickstarter money they’re aiming for.

          • iridescence says:

            The originality and ambition are what attracted me to it. Personally, I only kickstart either games trying to resurrect dying genres or games which bring something completely new to the table ( this one is second category). Maybe it will catch some momentum Will depend on how good they are at marketing and getting the word out.

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            Don Reba says:

            The day is almost over, and The Mandate is barely past 2%.

            Consider that out of the 43 successful Kickstarter games that got over 500K in funding, only 3 made less than 10% on their first day: Republique, Pathfinder Online, and Planetary Annihilation. And Republique is, of course, the one that pulled off that eleventh-hour “Keep Hope Alive” miracle.

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        Don Reba says:

        Well, I got to eat my hat. The Mandate passed 20%. It has a very unusual funding graph — steady, without a spike at the beginning. If it keeps it up, it might actually make it past the goal.

  18. Serenegoose says:

    Is this reminding anybody else of Singularity Sky?

  19. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Actually I like the galaxy map and hope that stays. But yes, the actual mechanics look pretty limited at this point. I suspect it’ll be a sort of FTL-like in terms of managing one ship. But we’ll see.

  20. Scandalon says:

    Wow, I first just wrote it off as a cheap trailer, but I just spent my lunchbreak playing with the shipbuilder…the tech and most of the design feel seems pretty impressive. Their KickStarter pitch and website writing…need help. It turns out the company is based not very far from where I live, so perhaps…?

  21. stoner says:

    Thanks for covering this. I backed it on KS. As I write this, we have only $490,000 to go.

    Go team!!!

  22. iridescence says:

    The atrocious wannabe shooter combat has always been what turned me off playing the Mass Effect games. If this puts proper RPG combat in a similar game I’m definitely interested. Plus the inherent insanity and dysfunction of Tsarist Russia *IN SPACE!!!* Way better than another “Macho American Space Muhreen” game if you ask me.

  23. ziusudra says:

    I get a good Dune, Legend of the Galactic Heroes vibe. We need more Spaceship fights to the sound of Ravel.

  24. Nice Save says:

    My god, it’s full of Tsars!

  25. Zaftrum189 says:

    That does look interesting. I like the visuals and the story seems a slightly different take on the usual ‘space empire’ theme.

  26. WinTurkey says:

    SPAAAAACEEE COMMUNISTS

  27. vahnn says:

    This looks cool as hell. Good job, Russkies!

  28. Beemy says:

    Backed! Gameplay looks brilliant! RPG, RTS and ship-building with coop-option.

    Crew management looks intriguing also. I’m looking forward to training a crew and taking them into some tough space battles: http://yourcrew.mandategame.com

    Needless to say, I’ll be spreading the link to The Mandate kickstarter to my old RTS and RPG gaming friends.