Julian Gollop Interview

RPG Codex recently chatted up industry veteran Julian Gollop about a range of inspiration-, development-, and gameplay mechanic-related topics, from his first major release, X-COM: UFO Defense, onward to his latest endeavor, Phoenix Point. Here's a little something to start you off:
Speaking of names, are there any people who have had a large influence on you and your game design recently or in the past?

Blimey. In the past there would be boardgame/RPG designers such Gary Gygax, Greg Costikyan, Marc W. Millar, and then computer game designers such as Mike Singleton, who made the excellent 'Lords of Midnight', and Sid Meier, of course. Recently Jake Solomon and Ananda Gupta for their work on the new XCOM series.


Destructible terrain and a measure of verticality has been a common feature in your games. Just how destructible will the terrain be in Phoenix Point? How vertical?

It will be fully destructible apart from the ground, in a similar way to XCOM 2. The amount of verticality we implement is still to be decided. There are some interface issues that need to be resolved.


New-XCOM uses ‘abilities’ for its units, and in Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars you implemented something very similar, with the squad being a toolkit and each squaddie a unique ‘tool’ with abilities directed toward very specific solutions. Will Phoenix Point use a system similar to this or return to the hands-off approach of the original X-Com?

Phoenix Point uses willpower as a key stat. A character's willpower rating determines initial and maximum will points for a battle. Will points are spent on most special actions and abilities. Will points can be lost through injury, morale effects (such as comrades dying or facing a horrifying monster) and special enemy attacks. Forcing will points below zero may cause panic and loss of sanity. Will points can be recovered by resting or through special abilities, such as a leader rallying action.