Allow me to stop you mid-headline-scoff to go no, really. Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander [official site] puts you in control of a space station, able to build modules, train officers and construct ships to fight, trade and diplomise in an intergalactic war that’s going poorly for humanity. It’s a bit XCOM, limited resources making you choose between this upgrade or that, praying that every scouting operation and away mission won’t lead to a thoroughly bisected crew. Unfortunately, what it doesn’t share with FTL is being out or fully funded. It’s on Kickstarter after $40,000 Canadian (Just over 31k USD or £21k) but that does mean you can at least see it explained and in action below.
I don’t know what to get excited about first. The potential is ludicrous, the promise immense. It’s very Kickstarter, but with a few bonuses that give me confidence. Games like this have proved popular before so funding, particularly at this low goal, shouldn’t be an issue as long as it gets to the right audience. The team behind it is experienced, having shipped a number of games in the mobile sphere, though all were free to play. The art is just fantastic, I mean look at this:
Away missions just being pop-up dialogue boxes was always a great shame in FTL, I was desperate to see my crew members in a different context. It should also mean there’s decisions being made that lead to crew members never returning, rather than a couple of behind-the-scenes dice rolls.
Meanwhile in space, we get this lovely sort of thing:
I find it very difficult not to make sound effect noises while looking at this. Shoom, kabloom, bzzzrrvvvrttt, pew pew pew.
It would be a pity for a game like this not to come to pass. Unfortunately, the pitch isn’t great. Too many stretch goals laid out on day one (I’m fast coming to the conclusion that the right decision is to introduce these only when you meet or are very close to your initial goal); a few typos; not enough in-depth information on the way systems will work, or at least current plans. The video’s good, but the weird 4:3-Widescreen hybrid it’s running in is a hiccup and front-loading the cliché ominous voice-over plot isn’t for the best. The overarching storyline barely matters – FTL’s was disinteresting, non-sensical and barely present – it’s all about the side missions. Finding this ship here, that bit of technology, first contact with THEM.
Halcyon 6 might be strong enough to pull through all that though, and it’s early days for Massive Damage to fix their mistakes. As always, it’d be great to see something playable that shows how these good ideas form into a good game. 15 CAD/$12/£8 will get you a copy, optimistically in December.