PAX Prime 2014 Interview: LEADtoFIRE – An Animal Revolution RTS

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Nathan Hale (The American Revolution)

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Imagine commanding an army of your own which does only what they’re told and fights for one uniform cause. In Pocketwatch Games‘ new game, LEADtoFIRE, this is the precise position you are placed in. LEADtoFIRE is described to be an “arcade-style RTS set in the world of the animal revolution.” Xsolla was able to speak with Pocketwatch Games’ very own Developer and Designer, Andy Schatz and Andy Nguyen, at the most recent PAX Prime event to gain some insight into their new game in production.

About the Game

LEADtoFIRE may seem like any other real-time strategy or RTS game out there but the key conceptual difference is in the controls themselves. Nobody but the developer says it better as Andy Schatz states, “You’ll win or lose based on the merits of your strategy and the depth of your skill, not the speed of your mouse-clicking finger.” By simplifying the controls and hotkeys which make similar games such as Starcraft so hard to master, LEADtoFIRE puts greater emphasis on strategy, confrontation, and exploration.

Andy Schatz: Maybe it’s just nostalgia speaking, but I want to play an RTS game that feels like a battle of wits, not a battle of clicks.

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Games are usually between 3-12 minutes long and run on a best of 3 strategy so there are chances for counter measures.  The game is called an arcade RTS because it runs only on 2 buttons. Custom race building is also a highlighted feature which differentiates LEADtoFIRE from other RTS games. Rather than being restricted to 3 classes, you can customize each race and unit to the style you are accustomed to running. Whether thats a rushing style or tanky expansionary style, the world is your oyster.

Interview:

How is Pax for you?

Andy Schatz: Pax is so much fun. We’ve done PAX for Monaco four or five times and this is the first time we’re doing it for LEADtoFIRE. We’re only four months into development with the game which is insane. It was funny, the first day was kind of quiet and then today, all of a sudden we have people coming back saying, “My friend told me to come visit and that I had to play this game!” We have all this temporary art and animation in this game but people sit down and then it just grips them and our booths been packed with repeat visitors all day because of the word of mouth. Being at the ground floor and seeing the snowball just start to roll downhill before it starts to turn into an avalanche is just so much fun.

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Andy Nguyen: The most rewarding thing that I see being at PAX is that we’re making this game for a certain type of people. We’re making the game for us because we like to watch Starcraft and we want to play and enjoy it. But we also know that there are other people like that out there as well. When we come to PAX and we place it, most people tell us that Starcraft is just too hard and then we let them try out our game and they’re running some insane strategies right off the bat on their first game. It’s the most rewarding feeling ever.

Andy Schatz: It’s for all ages and all skill levels. We’ve had Diamond level Starcraft players tell us that they love the game. I’ve had a 5 year old run through a full game before so it really is for everyone. The people in our pre-alpha get so deep into our strategy that the depth is still all there, we’ve only simplified the controls and the micro is not something you have to worry about.

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The masterminds behind the hit game, Monaco, certainly know what they are talking about when it comes down to diversifying and simplifying a game without losing depth. LEADtoFIRE looks to open the popular RTS style gameplay for everyone and eliminate the steep learning curve games such as Starcraft require. It will be available on Steam so look for it on there or visit the Pocketwatch Games blog for updates.

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It was a pleasure speaking with you individuals at PAX Prime and we wish you all the success moving forward.

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