Win The Space Race: The Last Federation’s Out Soon

It’s been interesting watching post-AI War Arcen at work. Their idiosyncratic drunken approach to genres has always resulted in games worth talking about. Granted, some of those words might not be all that complimentary, but they’ve never once released a game that had any hint of hubris. Not even when they return to the space strategy genre that pays the bills. The Last Federation’s a “strategy/tactics game set inside a simulation game,” which sets it apart from AI War’s ridiculous spectacle of death. It displays the one thing that’s true of Arcen’s game: it was announced in January, and it’s coming out next week.

April 18th, actually. They make ’em quick, there. I’m getting a different vibe from this one. Dare I say it, there’s a little bit of a strut in Arcen’s step on returning to space and making a game that feels big again. Alec seemed similarly taken by it, though I should point out that neither of us has had hands-on it at all, but the idea of simulating billions of lives lived and then creating a little bit of intergalactic intrigue between five factions will probably drag a few people deep into the world it creates.

Here’s a look at the combat: it typical Arcen fashion, it started out as a SHMUP and now it’s turn-based.


  1. Demiath says:

    In space, no one can hear you spreadsheet…

  2. dE says:

    I’m looking forward to this, I think space is their area of expertise. Especially since you can get away with not that great animations.

  3. DatonKallandor says:

    I really didn’t think they’d be able to turn this around, but the turn based combined with smart weapon AI (auto-fire if a specified target isn’t in range, etc.) suddenly makes the whole thing a lot more appealing.

    Now they only need to stick to it until it comes out, which might be unlikely.

  4. noodlecake says:

    This combat actually looks kinda neat. I think this could be pretty fun! I’ve bought a couple of Arcen games and really didn’t like them but am kind of happy to support bat shit insane ideas just because people need to be able to make projects with unrestrained creativity, and nobody is as unrestrained in their creativity as Arcen.

  5. funkstar says:

    eh. isn’t this just real time combat with pausing? i don’t see any turns tbh

    • DatonKallandor says:

      It’s Simultaneous Turns. Real Time with pausing means you can choose to pause at any time – in this you can’t. The time runs for a specific amount when you end your turn, and you can’t choose to make it shorter or longer.

      • KDR_11k says:

        For comparisons, it’s like Frozen Synapse or Flotilla in that respect: Give your orders, then spend a nerve wracking bunch of seconds watching them play out while you can’t give any new orders.

        • funkstar says:

          so whats with that ‘pause’ button down the bottom

          edit: not being argumentative – just wondered what its for, you guys explanation (and rewatching the vid) show how its simul-turn-based

          • DatonKallandor says:

            I think they showed that every battle is saved as a replay in one of the early videos? That’s probably what that button is for.

          • Professor Paul1290 says:

            It might sound a bit weird, but it’s for pausing in the middle of a turn.

            Honestly it isn’t used that much at all.
            It’s occasionally useful for when you want to take a screenshot of something or in situations when there’s a lot of stuff on screen and want to zoom in on something in particular mid-turn.

        • CaidKean says:

          Or the Space Rangers series.

  6. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I’m curious how this overlaps with Drox Operative. The whole “playing a game in a world which is a bunch of AIs playing Galactic Civilizations” thing.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      I think this is more XCOM while in a world of AIs playing Gal Civ.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Sigh. And just when I was starting to get over Drox Operative at last.

  7. crinkles esq. says:

    I like the ideas they’re presenting — turn-based, tactical space combat, mercenary in a living, factional universe. The graphics seem a bit on the amateur side, but hopefully those are placeholder.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I’ve seen people level that graphical criticism against every single Arcen game and for the life of me, I just can’t see it. It’s not that I don’t think graphics matter – it’s just that their games mostly look pretty nice.

      • crinkles esq. says:

        Well, I think the graphics on AI War are fine. Not outstanding, but certainly serviceable. But here, there’s visual overload. You’re already tracking so many projectiles, but then you have stuff like the red enemy radar representations pulsing everywhere. It’s too much. On this type of game, quickly scanning the state of the area is important, so the graphics need to be efficient in what they present to the user about enemy states. Too much flash, especially the smearing colour effects of shields and whatnot, detracts from this and increases cognitive load on the user.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          That I can definitely understand, and the more I look at it the more I see your point.
          Still, even if the final version looks exactly like this, I’ll not mind. I can definitely put up with a little bit of visual overload in exchange for what this is promising.
          And the thing about Arcen seems to be that even if their games don’t keep -all- their promises, they throw enough of them out there that some have got to stick.

  8. twaitsfan says:

    A valley without wind 1 & 2 were so mindblowingly terrible that I’m not sure I could ever play one of their games again. I have shattered haven and skyward collapse sitting in my backlog but I can’t bring myself to install them.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Can’t say anything for either of those, but both AI War and Bionic Dues are frankly terrific.

    • onyhow says:

      Consider how different each of their games are, to judge EVERYTHING by a single game is extremely foolish.

      • twaitsfan says:

        Um, well to be fair, it was two games actually 1 & 2 were a lot different, and both terrible. And is it really so foolish to generalize about a studio without having played all their games? Perhaps, but I call it an educated guess. There are so many great indie games out there that I’ll take my chances elsewhere.

        • onyhow says:

          It’s not an educated guess when the games are massively different.

  9. racccoon says:

    Another none new idea, lets go! turn based! .
    I much prefer chess to these games

  10. Runs With Foxes says:

    This looks more like real time with pause.

  11. Hypocee says:

    It’s adjustable/pausable realtime. There’s an alternate mode replacing invariably shitty autoresolve for people who want to stay on the overworld, which boils engagements down to a numbers fight with a few steps of pick prioritites/choose your own adventure.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Simultaneous turn based is still turn based. This is turn based. I can’t understand how anybody seeing it in action could dispute that.

      • Hypocee says:

        You’re right. I hadn’t watched the new video, just the hour-long explanation a week or two ago before they entirely ripped out the combat system, so assumed people were talking about the alternate mode getting gussied up.

  12. Vandalbarg says:

    Everything but the combat looks incredible. I love games where you have to subtly (or not) manipulate stuff on a grand scale and everything in that regard looks fantastic.

    However in every game like this (grand strategy mixed with combat) after the first few battles the actual combat itself becomes a chore and I just want to fixate on the grand strategy.

    Hopefully there’ll be an autoresolve option.

  13. Vern says:

    sooo, did you guys ever get your grubby little mitts on this?