Age of Wonders: Planetfall Preview/Interview

Age of Wonders: Planetfall was announced during this year's PDXCON with a trailer and a brief overview of the game's features, but if you're interested in something a bit more in-depth, you can check out this early preview peppered with quotes from Triumph Studios' CEO Lennart Sas, courtesy of PCGamesN. An excerpt:

Age of Wonders: Planetfall burns the routers, knocks the satellites out of the sky, and mothballs the interstellar shuttles. Technology that has united us and allowed us to explore the universe is destroyed. The Star Union, once a galactic empire that spanned many thousands of worlds, has collapsed, marooning its people on their individual homeworlds. Cut off from one another, they have evolved to become culturally unique: scavenging cyborgs, bioengineering amazons, and bleary-eyed expeditionary forces awoken from cryosleep.

The game begins just as hyperspace travel becomes possible again and these inward-looking people begin to find each other. And, er, perhaps blame each other for what went wrong with their empire.

“It’s a great start for a conflict, but it also means that the worlds that you are visiting in this game are going to be filled with history, like the Roman Empire, with ruins and ancient droids everywhere,” Triumph Studios CEO Lennart Sas tells us. “There’s loads to discover. Think Fallout on a galactic level.”

The goal is utopia, a new Age of Wonders, but there’s no harm in making the most of all the regrettable conquering and conflict that has to happen along the way. Each campaign has you resettle a single world, which is procedurally generated according to your inputs. Fancy a little less desert and a higher concentration of Imperial remains? There’s a planet to meet your exacting specifications.

Once landed, you’ll follow a formula of outward expansion familiar to the genre. The planet is divided - in squiggly, freeform fashion - into sectors. These named areas are dominated by cities, ruins, or geological features, and each has its own allure - a river delta might offer fertile wetlands, for instance, high in agricultural potential.

Additionally, you can read this PC Gamer interview with Lennart Sas, where he talks about the game's unusual sci-fi setting and its tactical combat that takes certain inspirations from the XCOM games. Have a look:

As teased in the trailer above, Planetfall has sci-fi-inspired, turn-based, ranged combat—which makes comparisons to XCOM inevitable, reckons Sas. He admits features such as cover, overwatch and destructible terrain accentuate the link, but suggests the way battles play out stands the two apart.

"I think what's different with XCOM is that our battles need to be concise, they can't last for one hour," says Sas. "They need to allow for a large variety of [participants] be that critters, monsters, tanks, airstrikes. Once you play, I think you'll notice numerous, quite significant differences between the two."

One significant different between Age of Wonders of old and Planetfall, however, is the busyness of battlefields. Whereas Age of Wonders 3's manual battles unfolded on a flat field, where obstacles solely served to impact movement—Planetfall has high ground, explosive cars and biodomes.

"There's a lot more interaction with the terrain compared to previous Age of Wonders games," says Sas. "In terms of hazards, the simple things like explosive cars show that. Indeed, there's going to be two layers—natural terrain and terraces, higher grounds. You also get sieges, and taking down citadels. There are a lot of things you can use like biodomes. You can decide to blow them up, dig into the concrete foundation there and find materials. These choices are a lot more apparent than in older Age of Wonders. There's a lot more going on."