The Mandate Has (Literal) Space Opera

There’s Space Opera, and then there’s dudes singing opera over space opera. The Mandate is both of these in its new trailer, which shows off some in-game footage from the Kickstarting starship management game set against a backdrop of Imperial Russian space expansion (Tsars Vs The Stars, I call it.) The devs explain: “The gameplay trailer begins with neutral starship Zukov issuing a distress signal after it is assaulted by pirates. This signal is intercepted by a player who is commanding battle squadron Azimov which is loyal to the Empress of The Mandate. The player engages the pirates giving them the chance to surrender and withdraw, but battle ensues.”

Battle! Oh and also character customisation. Our two darkest loves.

Here’s the space biff with great big soundtrack:

And here are some hats:

Still a long way from finished, of course, but there’s also only a bit of the way into their Kickstarter, which has raised $174k of a cool $500k required to make this happen. I have to say that it does so much so differently from the other big space games that I am keen to see it happen.

It’s rather beautiful.


  1. Chaz says:

    Squadron Asimov, really?

    Presumably it’ll be supported by squadrons Harrison, Saberhagen, Lem and Russel from wings Clark and Heinlein.

    • The Random One says:

      Asimov is a famous sci-fi author AND a faux-Russian sounding name. The opportunity was too good to pass up.

      • Don Reba says:

        It is not faux-Russian-sounding. Isaac Asimov was born in Russia.

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        • Syphus says:

          And slightly anglicized. “Isaak Yudovich Ozimov” was his given name, but I don’t really think most people think of Jewish names when they think Russian.

          • Don Reba says:

            He has a Jewish first name, Russian last. “Ozim” means “winter field”.

          • Mr. Mister says:

            “It’s written with an S!”.

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: Mr. Mister

            Asimov is with an S, his birth name of Ozimov is written with a Z.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Are you kidding me? Russia has like a billion jewish people. Also, Fiddler on the Roof gave us such great Russian Jewish names as Lazarwolf.

            I want a spaceship named lazarwolf now.

        • The Random One says:

          A great deal of Russian names do sound Russian enough to sound faux-Russian, yes. A great deal don’t, though. Good luck Asimov does!

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    • airmikee99 says:

      It’s Squadron A-Z-imov.

      But even if it were Squadron Asimov, so what?

    • Soulstrider says:

      I chuckled, it was a pretty nice move of their part. Specially for me since Asimov is by far my favorite sci fi writer.

    • mejoff says:

      I don’t suppose it could have anything to do with the fact that the ships look like the completely-unrelated-to-the-book Chris Foss covers that all of Asimov’s books were published with?

  2. arccos says:

    Man, there is a ton of information about the game on the Kickstarter page. Any idea what happens if they don’t meet their KS goals? Is the game still proceeding, or will it get cancelled?

    It looks really interesting, but I’m burned out on Kickstarting games that are projected more than a year out for release.

    • cckerberos says:

      Telling people “don’t worry, the game will still get made even this fails” seems like it would be a really bad fundraising strategy.

    • Hyomoto says:

      For me, I’ve been burned on games that are supposedly coming out in the near future. So far, all the distant goals projects I’ve backed seem the most promising. Personally, I feel better with them having a reasonable timeline they can meet than a deadline they cannot.

      • Tssha says:

        Every time I back a kickstarter, I assume it’ll come out when it comes out. It’s like a slow cooked roast: it’s done when it’s done, and it’s not gonna finish any faster than that. Sometimes it takes a little longer, but taking it out of the oven/barbecue/broiler before it’s done is just gonna result in a nasty, bone-clinging meal (as opposed to fall-off-the-bone tender).

        I just assume I’ll be playing it in a couple years’ time, or whenever they let me know it’s done. Till then, I wait.

        I don’t blame anyone for not backing though. Putting down money for a game you’re not gonna see for a couple years isn’t for everyone.

  3. Palindrome says:

    I backed this as soon as I heard about it, it is afterall Rogue Trader in all but name.

    Perhellion is looking to get this greenlit so I would imagine that even if the Kickstarter fails (which I don’t deem likely) it should still see the light of day eventually.

  4. Dolphan says:

    I’ve backed this, and I’d love to see it make its target, but I’m pessimistic. They’re asking for a lot. If it does make it it’ll probably be one of those down-to-the-wire nailbiters.

    • Hyomoto says:

      I wouldn’t say they are asking for a lot. With what they want to deliver on, they’ve clearly indicated they are going to be using cost-effective choices to make the money last. Look at a game like Star Command, which raised around half this amount and how much content they scrapped from their Kickstarter pitch. It’s just as possible to waste money as it is to be frugal with it.

      I’ve backed nearly forty projects of varying types, enough to be burned and maybe enough to have learned. The nicest thing I’ve seen here is they are talking about costs and what they are doing about it, where the money is going and how they want to approach development. It’s easy to get caught up in their project vision, so it’s nice to see they’ve put that much thought into how it will get made as well.

  5. draigdrwg says:

    Was that brief concept art shot meant to be the bit where the captain talks to the pirates? Because that sounded like the most unique thing this video had going for it from the description. Otherwise it’s fairly standard (though obviously very nice) space bang-bang.

    I like the idea of a starship captaining game, so I hope they show us the actual management aspect at some point.

  6. Didden says:

    Meanwhile in USSR…

    • Disillusion3D says:

      Oh, so you picked up on that understated Russian vibe too? ;-)

      • Didden says:

        Oh yeah, after hearing that rousing singing I almost felt the urge to re-watch the Hunt for the red October out of some misplaced quasi national pride, along with that line… ‘Mr Ambassador, you lost another one?’

      • SillyWizard says:

        I don’t think it’s really supposed to be “understated”….

        • dE says:

          You think so? I mean, wow… like… what gave you the impression?

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Surely you mean “meanwhile in imperial Russia”. Their theme predates the USSR by quite a bit.

  7. DatonKallandor says:

    I back this knowing it would never reach it’s goal. A shame, but that’s the reality of it. Asking too much with too little to show for it when it launched and a team that doesn’t have a 500k pedigree meant it’d never get the momentum it needed to reach 500k.

    But hey maybe there’ll be a miracle (there won’t).

    • ColdDeath says:

      well YOU’RE just brimming with positivity aren’t you? What do you do in the morning? Drink your cup of coffee made with tears of children? ;)

  8. Hellifant says:

    prepare for Legend of Galactic Heroes mods :D

    • Soulstrider says:

      All of my YES

    • Shodex says:

      I was actually just about to comment on the Legend of the Galactic Heroes vibe, which made me an instant backer. Of course I doubt it will be anything like LoGH story wise, nor will it be even remotely as good. Nothing ever is.

      I’ll without a doubt be rolling out a Reinhard von Lohengramm character, and naming my ship the Brunhilde. If by chance we are allowed to play as a rebel, I’ll have a Yang Wenli too, Captian of the Hyperion.

    • Shodex says:

      Shit, now I’m crying out of memory for episode 82. He was taken too soon.

  9. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Off topic, but omg I just looked at the video linked at the end of the customisation short to the “Star Citizen Constellation landed on planet”. That might be enough to make me play my first multiplayer

    EDIT: Oh hang on, Squadron 42. Maybe I don’t have to play with … people <_<

    • Shodex says:

      Star Citizen’s single player, from what I’ve gathered, will be an introduction to the massively multi-player portion. Now that said, I don’t much like MMOs either, but Star Citizen is shaping up to be something REALLY special. For your own sake, please read into it and don’t dismiss it solely because of the multi-player.

      • Droniac says:

        Technically you don’t have to play the ‘multiplayer’ portion with other people either. Just host your own private server that no one else can join and fly around by yourself. Then download/make a few mods to spice up the experience. It sounds exactly like Freelancer really, only there’s also a very-large-scale official server with MMO-like tendencies.

  10. wz says:

    I recall the TV series Andromeda having a very similar plot setup, but not watched it so far. If (when) the devs get interviewed here it might be interesting to ask if it’s heavily based on Andromeda..

    • airmikee99 says:

      More than likely, no, not even close to the same story.

      Unless the Andromeda Strain mini-series completely and universally warped the entire Andromeda Strain story about a virus from space into a space combat/exploration story, then they won’t even be close to the same story, and The Mandate developers don’t even have to think about answering why it’s heavily based on a story that it isn’t even close to being based upon. I can’t say for certain, because I didn’t see the mini-series, but I read the original book and saw the 70’s movie, and there’s just no possible way for them to be anything close to The Mandate, unless, as I said, the Andromeda Strain mini-series is absolutely nothing like the Andromeda Strain book or movie.

      • Tagiri says:

        I think you may have a fundamental misunderstanding of the post you’re replying to, friend.

        The Andromeda Strain

        • airmikee99 says:

          Ah, okay, that clears it up. But since Andromeda wasn’t anything special or new, as it was basically just plots that didn’t work in Star Trek, I still don’t think there’s anything the developers need to answer for in regard to being “heavily based on Andromeda.” I never could get into Andromeda, not sure why.

  11. Beemy says:

    The Mandate gameplay video is rather impressive considering it’s taken from within the actual Unity3D game engine.

    I’m really looking forward to more gameplay videos from the Mandate dev. team! – Will we get to see ship boarding combat (X-COM style) as described on their kickstarter page?

  12. Lemming says:

    All ships must be able to perform a ‘crazy ivan’ or this is about as Russian as tea and crumpets.

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