Icelandic game development often seems synonymous with outer space – something that two former CCP heavyweights, Hrafnkell Óskarsson and Ásgeir Jón Ásgeirsson, have no intention of changing.
Together they’ve founded a new studio west of Reykjavik called Solid Clouds, and are hard at work developing their debut title Starborne: Sovereign Space. A multiplayer strategy game, Starborne will pit thousands of players against each other as they build their own galactic empires, competing and cooperating to succeed.
Nordic Game reached out to Solid Clouds community manager Arelius Areliusarsson to learn why the world needs yet another game set in space.
NG: What was it you felt was missing in the MMO space that Starborne will provide?
AA: There have been massively multiplayer strategy games around for a decade at least, but none of them have ever felt truly 4X, as one’s empire is more often than not confined to a single city in a single square, with no expansions available. In these games, the map has devolved into a secondary element – reduced to the singular function of creating distances between players, with no real estate value or direct impact on one’s gameplay. Vice versa holds true for most 4X games, in that they are designed as single player experiences with (sometimes) multiplayer modes.
What was missing was a true massively multiplayer 4X game where the map matters, where you build new cities and expand your borders for the prosperity of your empire – or to the detriment of other empires. Starborne will feel like playing Civilization in space with 20,000 of your best friends.
Here’s a first peek at Starborne’s in-game map:
NG: Why space? One could think: After spending years at CCP, haven’t the developers seen enough spaceships?
AA: Firstly, it’s a case of writing what you know. We have a seasoned team, (experts) in providing beautiful, immersive space exploration experiences to their audiences, and we intend on capitalise on this. Secondly, the MMO strategy market is all but bereft of space themes and thirdly, it’s because the CEO (Stefán Gunnarsson) is a massive space nerd! We’re talking super sci-fi nerdism here.
NG: What are the current challenges in getting Starborne ready for alpha?
AA: We’re in the middle of a major overhaul of the UI and game graphics. As these are key factors to the game being playable, they need to be completed before the next testing phase can begin. The progress so far has been amazing, and we are fully confident everything will be ready in time.
Starborne: Sovereign Space is slated for alpha release this summer. Take a closer look at the game at starborne.com.