Phoenix Point Update #28, Julian Gollop on Lovecraftian Games

A new Fig update informs us that Snapshot Games' Phoenix Point has now more than doubled its initial $500,000 goal thanks to the slacker backers, and that means that the previously unmet Floating Phoenix Base stretch goal can now be added to the game as a free DLC for all backers. You can read more about this new development in this open press release:


Phoenix Point, the upcoming strategy game from X-COM creator Julian Gollop, has now more than doubled its original funding goal of $500,000.

To mark this milestone, the company is announcing that the previously unmet "Floating Phoenix Base" stretch goal will be made available to all backers as free DLC.

Snapshot Games CEO and creative director Julian Gollop said: "Thanks to the incredible support of our fans, we have added some tremendous design, art and technical talent to the team. I'm hugely grateful to everyone who supported us, and I can't wait to show you what we're making for you."

Regular updates on the game's progress are posted on the Phoenix Point development blog. For interviews, key requests and other matters, contact the developer directly. The game is available for pre-order now at the Phoenix Point store.

About Phoenix Point:

Phoenix Point is the new strategy game from the creator of the original X-COM series. It features turn based tactics and world based strategy in a fight against a terrifying, alien menace. You will face an alien threat that mutates and evolves new forms in response to your tactics. The strategic level of the game is deep and complex: you will have to manage your relationships with other human factions as you take on a wide variety of missions including kidnaps, rescues, assassinations, sabotage, haven assaults and base defence.

The game is in development for Windows PC, Mac and Linux, and scheduled for release in 2018. The game originally debuted on the Fig crowdfunding platform, and hit its initial goal within a week.

About Snapshot Games:

Snapshot Games was established in 2013 by Julian Gollop, legendary designer of the original X-COM games, and industry veteran David Kaye. In 2014, Snapshot Games successfully funded its first game on Kickstarter, Chaos Reborn, which launched in October 2015 to an 85/100 on Metacritic. Snapshot's studio in Sofia is a team of experienced developers from Ubisoft, Crytek, and other European studios.

And in other Phoenix Point-related news, you can now read Julian Gollop's thoughts on the lack of creative usage of Lovecaftian themes in video games in the latest installment of his PC Gamer column - The Gollop Chamber. An excerpt:

The company which has really delved deep into the Lovecraftian Mythos is board game publisher Fantasy Flight Games, with titles such as Arkham Horror, Mansions of Madness, Eldritch Horror and the rather excellent Arkham Horror Card Game. FFG’s take on the Cthulhu Mythos involves a lot more confrontations with monsters, and a significantly more diverse and interesting set of ‘investigators’ than Lovecraft envisaged, but it retains a good deal of Lovecraftian flavour.

There have been very few direct interpretations of Lovecraft in computer games. Bethesda’s Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth published in 2006 was an FPS with a few puzzles which didn’t really capture the essence of Lovecraft. More recently, Bloodborne incorporates a very strong Lovecraft influence (but sadly is unlikely to find its way onto the PC). Cyanide Studios' upcoming Call of Cthulhu is perhaps the most promising game on the horizon, although it has now been delayed until 2018. For me, what makes this one exciting is that it is an official adaptation of the Call of Cthulhu pen-and-paper RPG. I am awaiting its release with eager anticipation.

As much as I like Lovecraftian games, I have one complaint—these games are almost all set in the 1930s. You might argue that this was when Lovecraft set his stories, but I would counter that Lovecraft’s success was partly based on using a contemporary setting and the latest scientific knowledge known to him. A better implementation of Lovecraftian horror would need to be set closer to the present day and informed by modern science.

This brings me to my latest project, Phoenix Point, which has some very strong Lovecraftian themes, but set in an alternate histor with dramatic events occurring in the near future. The main adversary in Phoenix Point appears, at first, to be a virus known as a pandoravirus, which contains a massive genome with many unique sequences not found in any earth-based life form. The pandoravirus has been lying dormant under the permafrost for millennia, but is released into the world's oceans as a consequence of global warming. It proceeds to mutate earth-based life forms progressively from the smallest to the biggest, affecting humans eventually, and combining them with other animals and a distinct alien influence.

Around this we have created sophisticated game lore, thanks to our writing team of Jonas Kyratzes, who worked on The Talos principle, and Allen Stroud, who worked with me on Chaos Reborn. We have a great collection of short stories, many Lovecraftian in inspiration, available on our website for you to dig deeper, if you are interested. I feel that with Phoenix Point I have finally been able to bring back some of my earlier influences which led to my rejected game pitch in 1994. All is not lost.