Gollop May Make Laser Squad Nemesis Free

Jim and I still argue who made up the name Machina for the alien races in LSN. Man!

This is interesting. Or rather, promises as being interesting and I’d like to bring it to those who wish to make it interest-ing’s attention. Julian Gollop has posted on his forums saying that he’s considering making splendid play-by-e-mail game Laser Squad Nemesis free to play instead of the current subscription-styled model. This means he’s looking around for cheaper server places – perhaps, I suspect, someone volunteering server space – and admins to run it. Gollop’s one of the great unsung creators in the industry and I suspect at least one of the people who are upset about the XCOMisation of his X-COM may be able to offer him a very cheap solution indeed. You’ll find his contact details on the site. While it’s a game which is no longer being developed, this is a rock solid tactical skirmish game that I think would find a whole new audience in a straight free-to-play system. Of course, I’m also wondering what Julian’s doing working at Ubisoft Sofia, but that’s just because I’m nosy. Also, hoping he eventually respond to the mail asking what he makes of XCOM. Hi, Julian!


  1. robrob says:

    I remember reading the review of this in PCG way back when you had to pay for every minute you were online. I played it once or twice – it had some really fun grenade physics – but could no way afford a subscription. Would be great to see it become free to play.

  2. Yuccadude says:

    Laser Squid Nemesis? That game sounds awesome!

  3. Bret says:

    If this is free to play, I think I have some kind of moral obligation to start playing. I’ll probably suck at it.

  4. Flappybat says:

    it was a fun game but it made no sense as a subscription, it wasn’t more complicated than a browser flash game.

    • SpinalJack says:

      Server costs have nothing to do with how complex a game is

    • FunkyBadger says:

      It was extremely tactically deep – and with a fair chunk of meta-strategy thrown in for good measure.

      Also, probably/sadly the game I was best at evah. According to the leaderboards and stuff anyway…

  5. Cinnamon says:

    I really liked the game engine for LSN but wasn’t that interested in multiplayer. Also not sure if this is investigative journalism or cyberstalking in public.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      In this grim future of the early 21st century, there is no difference.


    • Cinnamon says:

      I’m now sure that RPS is funded by the CIA in the same way that Facebook is. Don’t listen to them Mr Gollop. Don’t give them your valuable private informations.

    • Bret says:


      I knew we were living in some kind of grim future. So long, present!

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      The future is now! Or maybe in one week…err…make it 3, at best

    • Rond says:

      @Frankie The Patrician[PF]
      Within six months!

  6. clive dunn says:

    I played every day for two years. Over 600 games. Loved it a great deal. 30 point games on large maps were fantastic. Greys vrs marines. Nade deflecting sheilds. Jumpers for goalposts? Eh. A RPS league?

  7. clive dunn says:

    He’ll not thank me for posting this but this is from his summary.
    “My special interest has been strategy games, but my interests have widened to include casual and serious games.”
    Was the new Xcom touted as being casual and serious?

    Julian is the old Muad’Dib wondering the deserts, just a myth, a legend.
    But one day he returns….

  8. Jim Reaper says:

    The mystery of why Mr. Gollop is working at Ubisoft Sofia is answered on those very same forums you linked to:

    “I thought moving to Bulgaria and buying a flat would be a financially manageable way of continuing independent development. However, the rennovation of the flat proved to be a major nightmare, because the the whole construction industry here is in some kind of mega-boom with property prices going up 30% last year. Hence, it has been very difficult to get workers prepared to work on small projects, and difficult to get reliable workers. So, I needed to get a job just in order to finish the rennovation and have somewhere to live. So, I started working at Ubisoft here in Sofia – first as a game designer and now as a producer/designer. It was hard work on projects which are less than enthralling. The studio here has many young and inexperienced developers. My first project was Chessmaster for DS and PSP, for which I designed some interesting mini-games based on chess rules. Apart from that it’s – well – chess.”

    • Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

      Had I be swimming in cash, I’d buy him out of this misery…Chess development for Ubisoft… *shivers*

  9. Jim Reaper says:

    This cyberstalking business is fun isn’t it?

  10. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Had fun times playing LSN. Worked with Julian and Nick on the marketing side of things for this which was great as I had always wanted to get into the graphic design side of gaming. Lovely guys and the curries we had were fun. Hope Julian or Nick are reading this. Hiya guys!

  11. bred says:

    I love this game and this is potentially fantastic news! I played this game for as long as I could afford several years ago and always hoped I would someday be able to afford to play again.

  12. roy7 says:

    I’ve never tried the game although I loved XCOM. For free, I’d have to start playing. :) As far as servers go, link to joyent.com provides a server slice at $25/mo, or link to slicehost.com for $20/mo. I can’t imagine the server uses a ton of bandwidth or cpu time.

  13. DKATyler says:

    robrob states exactly my opinion of it. It was? is? a very good game that I enjoyed but couldn’t afford a subscription. That was after-all about 10 years ago and I hadn’t looked back yet. Even now, I’d still call it more advanced then most flash games, if it showed up on kongregate for example I think it’d win the monthly.

  14. Radiant says:

    For sooo long i wanted to play this but never thought it was worth a subscription.

  15. Neil Young says:

    I’d love to get back in to LSN if they made it free. Used to play the free demo training levels vs the AI over and over, but I’d never pay for a subscription.

    People like me are what’s holding decent games back :(

  16. DMJ says:

    In Satan’s name, YES.

    • Bret says:

      Rather the opposite, really. Well, the first half.

      Second half we can agree on.

  17. Gareth says:

    Chess and Persia?

    link to ps3.ign.com

    Sounds from the review like a lot of care was put into the development of that one.

    But not sure if he was involved.

    I agree about LSN being good, but expensive. I remember playing a few games, really enjoying them, and then being frustrated that I couldn’t afford a sub. I went back to site when the new game was announced: it’s good to see it is still kicking around. Would be very interested in a RPS “Ladder” or “League”. (O! How about a RPS Chess Ladder? That would be great fun…)

    Also, looping back to that Prince of Persia link… Brain spiralling… If Ubisoft is able to put money into developing an attractive remake of a game like that, I wonder why a similar “reskinning” couldn’t be done to the original UFO. Everyone has been saying they’d like to see UFO, as it was, but at a higher resolution. Would it be entirely unfeasible?

  18. Arathain says:

    This is utterly marvelous, if it can be made to happen. I played LSN quite a bit years ago, and loved every minute of it. Love the races and the different units, love the scope for creative tactics and tricksy cleverness, love the simultaneous turns and the handiness of playing at ones own leisure. It really is one of the finest multiplayer games of all time.

    Favourite units: the Grenadier (of course), the Queen, because eating the corpses of your enemies to lay eggs is brilliant, and the Mech Hunter, for unexpected nippiness and scouting from the otherwise slow Mechs.

  19. RadioactiveMan says:

    Huzzah for a great game! Played it in the early days- before there was a single player version, or a fourth race… in those days, a fella named Crank (I think) was pretty much the tactics guru… wrote a grenadiers bible that opened my eyes to some truly insane stuff that could be pulled off with the assistance of the preview orders command.

    Always favored the mechs, meself. Loved the AIs… their healing ability was super, AND they could dish out the damage offensively. Always took 2 or 3 on a 20 point match… The opponent would always expect one, at least, but if i could get the other one in close behind some destructible walls, without being seen…. good times to be had!

    Anyway, I don’t know how the community is now, but its worth checking out if you’ve never played!

    • Arathain says:

      The Grenadier’s Bible was a real eye opener to me. Not just for the tactical tips and tricks, although those were very useful, and I adapted many of them for my own playstyle, but for the thorough, theoretical strategic thinking that underpinned them. Stuff about information, map control and force organisation that serves me well even in games other than LSN.

      I tended to have slightly more success with the Mechs than with the others, although I went for a slightly greater focus on XTs. I liked the combination of Hunters and Scanners really allowing you to keep ahead in the information game (and find the perfect targets for missiles). I played everything, though, on a whim.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      A moment’s respect for Crank (it was him) is in order, I thinks…


      Happy memories – and it was all about the Spawn. Go go gadget Buzzer rush!

  20. P7uen says:


  21. MeestaNob says:

    They should chuck this on Steam with turnbased (not email) multiplayer.

    • Zogtee says:

      It should be on Steam with bots to play against. I’m not really interested in multiplayer, even when it comes to Xcom, and that’s why I never tried this. Good for the rest of you, though. :D

  22. RogB says:

    The Gollops need more recognition.

    Chaos (spectrum) is one of my favourite games EVAR. As is laser squad.. etc etc.

    Didnt think much of Rebelstar Tactical command on GBA though, sadly. (was hoping for an unofficial portable sequel to UFO/X-Com but alas, it wasnt to be) :(

  23. terry says:

    My main experience of Laser Squad is blowing up Sterner Regix’s plantpots with a rocket launcher, so the prospect of blowing up other people’s furnishings for free is appealing.

  24. Quine says:

    Wow I remember this back when it was first out- getting swarmed by cheap robot hordes and insane bouncy grenade fights were where it was at.

    I wonder how this would fare on a pay-what-you-like subscription model? Enough to cover server costs?

  25. welshtroll says:

    Great news, i certainly hope this manages to survive as f2p.
    I’m rather fond of this game and it certainly was a stepping stone for me into bigger online titles.

    Hiya Mr Wonderstuff

  26. sendmark says:

    I loved the Gollop games since Chaos and Rebelstar II dealt out many hours of fund.

    I never got round to subbing to LSN, if it’s free to play I’ll definitely get into it though.

  27. SS says:

    What’s your point? They decided to run it through servers, it could have easily been a straight PBEM game like the zillion others that don’t require a subscription or servers. It’s not like they wrote it then were like “oh shit we programmed it to use servers to process and send turns out. Well fuck I guess we’ll have to charge a subscription fee now”

  28. lesslucid says:

    If there were someplace one could go to donate money to help make this happen, I’d do it without a moment’s hesitation. Surely I can’t be the only one?

  29. Steve Smith says:

    I loved Laser Squad and must have played it for days on end. If anyone else liked it, have you checked out Stellar Forces (http://www.stellarforces.com)? It’s like Laser Squad but with all the multi-player apsects of LSN. And free already!

  30. Tiggy says:

    LSN has THE BEST GAMEPLAY EVER! I’ve played computer games since the Atari 2600. I love strategy games and LSN ranks right up there with Civ.

    I’m a spawn man myself. Splatters leading a delayed spawn rush. Keep a queen at the back just in case.

    The site is near to dead at the moment. 30 people isn’t enough to provide opposition. Fingers crossed they let it go free and get more people playing it. I’m sure millions would enjoy it which would bring in money eventually though adverts maybe? A dollar per month?

    Keep checking the site dudes!

  31. Callum says:

    Anyone know where I can download a copy of LSN? I”ve checked the LSN website and its not taking any more orders due to moving servers. That was back in July 2010. I’ve played the trial but level 1 of the marines is getting old fast…