Dreadnought: That’s No Moon

Somehow we haven’t written about Yager’s flying battleship combat game Dreadnought since going COR BLIMEY YEAH I’LL HAVE A BIT OF THAT PLEASE THANK YOU back during E3 week. Time to correct that. Time to correct that with massive great spaceships.

This in-game footage is a little bittersweet, in that it necessarily lacks the big reveal of the earlier CGI trailer (reposted at the bottom of this post for your comfort and safety). We already know the Dreadnoughts are super-massive, and are now seeing the game from their perspective, rather than the over-awed and quickly-squashed perspective of normal-size spaceships.

Still, there’s a fine sense of scale to this, thanks to dramatic backdrops. Less uncanny valley, and more All The Valleys. Take a look at an in-game multiplayer argy-bargy:

What’s appealing to me about this is that it doesn’t appear to be frantic. It seems that there’s time to think about one’s tactics and actions, and that the size and ruggedness of your Dreadnought means you get plenty of opportunity to destroy a bunch of smaller stuff, rather than just getting insta-nobbled the first time you make a mistake. That does appeal to a man of my shaky reflexes more than a straight-up dogfighting game does.

Dreadnought’s due out on PC next year.

37 Comments

  1. Eukatheude says:

    But does it make you feel bad about the dreadnought?

  2. Cinek says:

    These “dreadnoughts” behave like a balloon toys.
    Everything is so quick and… bouncy. Heck – they even can crash with each other to no effect.

    Not to mention that the feeling of scale is somehow off. Even Mechs in Mechwarrior:Online felt bigger than these things here (and that game was a complete mess in terms of scale – mechs were bigger or smaller depending on a map).

    And then there are flashes… this game is more colourful than an average episode of My Little Pony. Thankfully they avoid overflowing player with pink, but that’s pretty much where the differences end.

    I would totally play a game about dreadnoughts fighting. But I’d like it to have a feeling of a brutal, majestic combat. Slow, but tactical, giving you time to think, maneuver, and enjoy visual harshness of battles. Something that Battlestar Galactica managed to grasp (and to a degree that BSG mod for Homeworld 2 tried to replicate).

    Not a balloons squirting rainbows.

    • LuNatic says:

      Ugh, no. I’ve had enough of grey/brown grimdark colour palettes. Look out your window, the world is a bright and colourful place! (Well, maybe not in Britain, but it is for the rest of us).

      I agree with you about the sense of scale, and the slow tactical bits, though.

      • Cinek says:

        I’m not talking about the terrain or sky. I’m fine with that being colourful. Heck – they could even put it in space with beautiful, colourful nebulae. I’d still be fine.

        I’m not asking for gray/brown palette.

        But I despise all of the rainbow-colored beams, flashy explosions, random patterns that make no logical sense, and general combat aesthetics. As said: Balloons squirting rainbows.

        None of what I see speaks “power” or “dreadnought” to me. More like: Quick action game for console kiddos with spaceships, cause spaceships are fun.

        • SenorRoboto says:

          You seem to be making a lot of judgements solely based on not liking the colors. I didn’t realize there was a “logical” color for imaginary space lasers.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I was coming here to post along those lines. The movement is ODD, to say the least.

    • syndrome says:

      I’ve just watched South Park, and believe me when I say that the comedy transition was SEAMLESS
      giant airships shooting rainbows at each other, stern commentators, the UNCANNY everything

      oh my god, this game is so ridiculous I lol’d
      I sincerely cannot fathom someone actually produced this, this is worst than the Kevin Smith’s story
      link to youtube.com

      just look at the UI, some poor guy had to debug and polish all of that, to make it look so serious and competitive, and and… and I can’t I really can’t… my hopes for the future of multiplayer gaming… gone

    • AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

      It’s the mass effect fields!

    • Rindan says:

      I felt similar. It just doesn’t have enough weight. It doesn’t look horrible. I’ll try it, but it isn’t what I was hoping it would be. I would REALLY love a game where you play something big, slow, ponderous, and tactical that feels fucking solid. When something hits, I want it to tear great armored chunks out of an armored goliath. I want my tactics to be built around systems management and positioning. Do I lumber into the middle of that fight to draw some fire off that that cruiser that is getting murdered? Can I position myself so that I can unload with a broadside? This game almost has it, but not exactly.

      I think a large part of what feels off for me are the hit points. Ships are fine (minus some cosmetics) until the HP number goes too low, then they blow up Michael Bay style. It is really sad that in this day and age, we still have absolute shit damage models for almost everything. Why can’t ships deform and systems break organically as they accumulate hits in particular locations? I want to see the entire “hit points” model trashed. HP are the absolute most barebones simplified damage model possible. It is what you use when you want to make the math for damage tracking for humans using pen and paper easy. The vast majority of games across many spectrums shouldn’t be using hit points at all.

      This game is a great example where hit points should have been trashed. Imagine if the ship was modeled. It has tubes, power conduits, a power plant, a bridge, etc inside of the ship surrounded by armor. Weapons turn, open, close, etc. When stuff gets hit, it deforms, burns, and is blasted away naturally. You don’t die when you run out of hitpoints. You die when the crew is dead or when your ship has crashed and is so crippled that you press the abandon ship button. Think about what that would have added to a game like this? As your left side gets torn up, you might try and switch facings so that your undamaged guns on the right side can fire and your exposed internals stop getting blasted away. Maybe a line between one of your maneuvering thrusters is trashed, and so suddenly one of those thrusters is trashed and you can only turn in one directions. Maybe your main cannon takes a hit that doesn’t destroy it, but deforms its turning mechanism so that if you want to fire it, you have to aim it using your entire ship. Perhaps a your engines get trashed and you crash, but the ship survives the crash. Instead of it being game over, you chill on the canyon floor supporting the fight above you with your remaining turrets, and only abandon ship after the fight has moved on or you are too crippled to do anything useful.

      A good damage model could have added so much to this game. Sadly, it is going for the boringly generic, been done to god damn death hit points system. Honestly, I think that this simplified D&D damage model is where the majority of the weight is lost.

  3. felis says:

    Gameplay reminds me a lot of the SC2 map Star Battle. Just with respawn.

  4. Insidious Rex says:

    I hadn’t seen anything about this game since the initial trailer (which piqued my interest). I let out an involuntary sigh when this video opened with the words free to play multiplayer game. I’m too old and misanthropic for all this playing with other people business. Also, in my mind, I can’t get past the lack of ‘completeness’ and ‘ownership’ with FTP games, whilst understanding that ownership in this digital age is murky at best anyway.

    tl:dr harrumph

    • VenomousClaw says:

      I’ve heard it’s going to have a single-player mode of some kind. I’m not sure if it’s a campaign or skirmish though.

    • Thankmar says:

      Couldn´t have said it better.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I could care less about the ownership, or completeness or whatever. My problem with FTP games is that they almost always suck. It just incentives a bunch of design decisions I don’t care for. If someone released FTP FTL or Skyrim I would play that. But the games are never that good. They frequently have this doll house feel where it is all a show to squeeze some money out of you.

      I would rather just pay the money up front and not have the game experience sullied by commerce as much.

      • Noxman says:

        So you do care a bit?

        Other than being facetious I concur with your point. F2P games always feel bare-bones, the entirety of the mechanics designed around ensuring addiction rather than fun (endless carrot on a stick etc).

        I also agree with the sense of completeness. I dislike the idea of never ever being able to play/complete all of a games content. I don’t mean the Arkham style ’20 hours of finding collectibles’ but key game mechanics/content, imagine if you couldn’t use daedric artifacts in Skyrim unless you were a ‘Premium Account’.

        Unless you pay money and play for months you will never use this spaceship or this gun. F2P isn’t choosing how much you would like to pay, its choosing how much content you want to miss out on.

    • manio22 says:

      Exactly my thoughts. It’s one of the games that i would like to have a free camera and looking around as spectator all these gorgeous battles, but the game play and the ‘feeling’ its a huge turn of .

  5. smiddy says:

    “Free to play 5v5 multiplayer death match” and instantly all my hopes for what this game was going to be have gone straight out the airlock.

    ITS NOT EVEN IN SPACE!

    • FireStorm1010 says:

      Same here. I love big ships and space, but mp/online doesnt interest me at all.

      • UtopiaBorderPatrol says:

        I’m gerneally interested in the concept of this game, but I was hoping there would be at least 8 players on each side with a greater size variety in ships to deliver more options.

        Well, we’ll see how it goes.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      Yep. Me too. Yet Another Arena Combat game – with a twist! – as if the PC doesn’t already have two million of them. I’m as disappointed in this as I was about Hawken. And F2P too. Well done, gents. This, for me, was a masterclass in how to kill interest in a title.

      • Dragon Master says:

        Please don’t speak as if you represent the whole gaming community. Many people, myself obviously included, are drawn to exactly the PvP aspect of the game. A masterclass example of how you can’t please everyone no matter how good of a game you make, considering you even quoted Hawken here.

        • Hanban says:

          Uuh, unless the person you’re responding to has ninja edited, it’s quite clear he/she is not trying to speak for the whole gaming community. Looking to mech and space games, there’s has been very little focus on singleplayer experiences lately so I can’t help but agree.

          • Hunchback says:

            [edit] I somehow missed the ” Looking to mech and space games” part of your post. You can ignore all this, i suppose. [/edit]

            That’s not entirely true, SP is coming back with a force.
            Lately there’s been a rise in Point and Click Adventures in general, and recently a TON of good SP games released – Alien Isolation, Shadow of Mordor, Grimrock 2, Wasteland 2, just all came out this or last month. There’s also Dark Souls 2 game and soon the western version of it, forgot the name…
            My backlog is so big i can’t ever finish it, and yet here i am wasting time in playing the Heroes of the Storm tehnical alpha… Bah, i hate how lazy i am lately playing stupid games over something deeper and harder.

          • Dragon Master says:

            I may have been a little sour at the time, but the whole tone of his comment suggests as if it’s a bad thing in general that the game is multiplayer and not just because of his taste. Then again I may be misreading so I’m open to debate.

          • Kempston Wiggler says:

            I reckon you’re being a bit sensitive there, DM. I don’t think I generalised at all. Perhaps my cynicism made it seem that way but I do always try to speak only for myself.

            I’m just not a fan of interesting concepts being restricted to/wasted on arena shooters. It always feels like a waste of potential, the least imaginative, least interesting game concept around.

  6. Hunchback says:

    EVE Combat Simulator 2015: Light Edition ?

    Not bad to be honest, could be amusing. I dig the idea of big ships with many guns, not direct control of your fire but more like when to fire, etc… IF it does get a complex combat model like EVE does, with trajectories, velocity, explosion range, friendly fire, tracking, falloff, shields, armour, damage types, heals, energy required to activate modules, ECM, movement impairing systems, support class ships etc etc… It might be a very fun experience, a way to enjoy the combat of EVE without all the grind and drama of EVE.

    Buuut, 5v5 seems a bit too limited, and the “systems” to be limited to shields, jumps and different weapons. We’ll see, i guess.

    [edit] Didn’t they say “Spaceships” in the video? Where’s the actual “space”? I mean, a plane IS in space i guess, but i doubt that’s what they meant by “spaceships”, or if they did my car is also a spaceship… :/ [/edit]

  7. Bassem says:

    Why did it have to be multiplayer based? And free to play? Chances are I’ll still play it, more so if they added a co-op mode at least.

    Shame, a single player full campaign would be lovely with such a game. Sort of an aerial MechWarrior.

    • Thrippy says:

      Spec Ops: The Line tried to present a modern narrative approaching the twisted nobody-wins darkness of a Full Metal Jacket or Apocalypse Now. You can quibble about how successful that game was. I award massive points for trying and that such a goal was important to them. Now they are preoccupied that Dreadnought will live up to that standard. Are we name dropping the celebrity writer hired for this again? He just wrote Alien: Isolation… and other stuff.

      So, yeah, Dreadnought promises one the most eagerly anticipated SP campaigns of next year for me. If anyone can make you care about a spaceship outside of Homeworld or Mass Effect, it may well prove to be these guys.

      And giving gamers an engrossing campaign might otherwise motivate them to buy better ship stuff out of a free to play store when the tease of tricking out their multiplayer game would not. Clever?

      • Bassem says:

        “Dreadnought promises one the most eagerly anticipated SP campaigns of next year for me”

        So it will have an SP campaign after all?

        • Cinek says:

          It’s suppose to have an “episodic single-player campaign” and right now there’s pretty much nothing known about it. Looks like it’s going to be an afterthought, either released slowly in patches over the years in a hope to encourage single player gamers to stick with multiplayer, or released in a DLCs / expansion packs.

          I don’t know which one of these would be worse.

  8. Lim-Dul says:

    The gameplay itself looks a bit like Guns of Icarus without the first-person micromanagement (read: potentially less fun).

    • Mr. Mister says:

      If you’d be interested in a “Guns of Icarus” with big spaceships in space, small spaceships, FPS elements (including boarding, shooty-shooty, vehicles and sabotage), 6DOF and up to 32vs32, you should follow Angels Fall First: Planetstorm.

      • Lim-Dul says:

        Noted, thanks. :)

        I fear the project might be too ambitious to ever be fully completed though.

        I don’t know if you heard about Eternal Silence. Similar concept, smaller scope:

        link to moddb.com

  9. tumbleworld says:

    “You Sunk my Battleship!”

  10. Armitage says:

    The game looks great, but I don’t understand why these spaceships are not in space.

  11. SophiaButler says:

    Pretty much what I wish EVE did with itz combat system, but a bit too quick and floaty than what I’d expect at that scale.

  12. Buuurr says:

    Meh, was exactly what I would said it would be when I first saw the trailer… no surprise here. Moving along.