Phoenix Point Development Update, Julian Gollop Interview

The development blog on the official Phoenix Point website has a beefy new update that takes a look at the evolving designs of the game's New Jericho faction and some of the common enemies you'll encounter, and welcomes the newest additions to the Snapshot Games team. The update is packed with concept art, so you may want to check it out directly, but here's an excerpt anyway:


As a bonus to this update, we're also sharing a little information on the redesign work of some enemy types. Most of what you will have seen already will have either been early concept work, or the early 2017 prototype build which you may have seen on YouTube and various other sites. Many of the assets were placeholders, and even the custom ones were still in the very early stages and rough around the edges.


The Crabmen

Probably the most seen and most iconic of the enemy types we have shown so far are the Crabmen. While a few different mutations have already been seen within the prototype, a few changes are being made to the design to make them less human, more practical, and more creepy!

On of the first considerations was moving away from the very human looking head that the basic Crabmen had in the prototype. The redesign covers the eyes with a fleshy membrane, exposes the upper jaw, removes the lower jaw and adds some tendrils. On closer inspection, the human qualities this creature once possessed can be seen, but the Pandoravirus has really done a number on these poor, unfortunate souls.

Next came a redesign of the body itself. This time, trying to keep the creature humanoid, but again making it look less human. The claws have been redesigned, as has the shell, body and additional limbs. The leg to body ratio also sees a slight adjustment.

Another major design overhaul for the Crabman is his shield mutation. In the prototype, the shield was little more than an inanimate chunk of shell which the Crabman would carry around, and could deploy as cover. The redesign sees the shield as a mutated claw - actually part of the creature itself. This is also an oversized, mutated but still functional pincer. Its design is also reminiscent of the toughest seashells.

The Team

Two new developers joined the Snapshot Games team in October, each bringing their own unique experiences and talents with them.

Yasen UI/UX Artist

Yasen joins the team as a UI/UX artist with over 9 years experience. He's a big fan of games such as Half-Life, Shadow of the Colossus, Diablo, BioShock, Dead Space, Dishonored and Assassin's Creed.

Yasen is currently working on the functionality and visual appearance of the interface for Phoenix Point.

Alex T. Game/Level Designer

Alexander joins the team as a level and game designer. He's previously worked on the Assassin's Creed series: Liberation, Rogue and Origins - all for Ubisoft.

Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 2 and Tyranny are amongst Alex's favourite games.

Alex is also the lead singer in a Johnny Cash tribute band.

Alex is currently working on defining the unique look of the Phoenix Point factions and environments as a whole.

And over at Dev Game Club, there's roughly an hour long podcast interview with Snapshot Games' Julian Gollop. Here's the full list of topics covered there:

Welcome to this special bonus interview episode of Dev Game Club, where we welcome Julian Gollop into X-COM Base Provolone for a chat. We delve into the genesis of the game, how a publisher saved the game and itself, and many other topics surrounding the development of the game. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

Issues covered: Julian's ludography, genesis of X-COM, adding isometric rendering, Microprose's demands of the Gollops, interceptions, bolting on a strategic layer atop the tactical model, having more intelligent aliens and reverse engineering, men in black not making it in, intrapublisher competition, tabletop boardgaming and influence, miniature wargaming, simultaneous movement games, division of labor, geoscape rendering, going to the pub with the producer, getting canceled and not knowing about it, being developed under the radar, QA standing up for the game, working in-house, seeing through the cruft, advancing the alien agenda (mission counts), scaling difficulty, game not being played through before ship, small QA team, adding a difficulty scaling system last-minute, the save game bug, enjoying a simulation of intelligence (of an alien nature), how the alien tech tree works, deployment tables for mission types, save-scumming, theorizing about the difficulty curve, difficulty as draw and happy accidents, "When gamers were gamers," QA as a critical team element, explicit research goals, research as storytelling, procedural generation of level tile placement, descriptions of Phoenix Point, 4X with a declining population, explicit story, the Phoenix Project.