Sci-fi games may not always promise the brightest futures but they can lead to the most wildly varying experiences. Take Neopolis from Omni Systems. It’s a real time strategy title that mixes in first person perspectives to offer action from up top and up-close-and-personal. There are aspects of urban warfare and stealing items for augment your army but the end goal is a simplified strategy experience that everyone can enjoy.
GamingBolt spoke to Omni Systems creative and managing director Rudolf Kremers about the game and where its design philosophies come from.
"You can discover and adapt buildings that are of strategic importance, and then occupy them to control their turf and attack passing opponents."
Neopolis appears to be a fun mish-mash of influences from Akira to the Warriors. What inspired you to combine these into a real strategy title?
CAN YOU DIG IIIIIIT!!!!??? Ahem, yes, those two films are the key influences out of many, and I think they mash up really well. I regularly re-watch these films and at one point I realized that it’s quite easy to imagine the mad gangs from the films as RTS unit types, each with different powers and abilities. Both films feature a really well designed city, which is presented as a “character” in its own right. From there it was easy to see how well this could work as a game concept.
What is the underlying structure beneath Neopolis‘s simplicity? Did you look at similar titles like Advance Wars for how to “declutter” the whole experience?
Much of my research happened when I made Eufloria, and Neopolis shares many design philosophies with that game. It places the same emphasis on translating environmental aspects into strategic elements.
Terrain plays a big part in any real-time strategy title. How can players in Neopolis use it to their advantage and what are some of the more interesting strategies that a predominantly urban landscape provides?
Terrain is even more important in Neopolis than most other RTS titles. In our game you don’t build bases and factories, or develop new technologies or mine resources. Instead pretty much everything of strategic value is out there, pre-built into the city for the player to find and control.
You can discover and adapt buildings that are of strategic importance, and then occupy them to control their turf and attack passing opponents. You can also conquer unaligned crew HQs to add units to your side. Any troop movement is limited to the roads system; which is another huge strategic factor. I could keep going with lots more examples, but I want to leave some surprises for the players.
Can you tell us about the first person mode in the game? Is it akin to Battlezone’s mix of RTS and FPS action?
In our game, the first person mode allows the player to do various things you can’t do in top down mode, but to be clear, it’s not a standard FPS mode. Instead you can do things like scan buildings for power-ups and mark them on the map, plus some additional functionality, which we will be revealing more of in the New Year.
"Vehicles can be found all over the city, but when occupied by enemies you can try and steal the vehicle for your own use."
What’s up with the dojo? What can you tell us about “stealing” different vehicles and units for your own usage?
Well, the game has RPG elements, insofar that you can level up your units either through combat, or through training them in Dojos. It’s a pretty cool system as you develop a bond with your units.
Meanwhile, vehicles can be found all over the city, but when occupied by enemies you can try and steal the vehicle for your own use. You have to damage it badly to do so by literally kicking a rival crew out of the driving seat, and then escorting it back to your own base for repairs, so again, we’re adding in lots of opportunity to be strategic as you take over the terrain.
What kind of progression system will Neopolis have? What kind of specialty units will players have a choice in creating?
There’s a single player campaign, which takes the form of a “career mode”. You start out with a bunch of newbies in an unknown crew, and you start to work your way into the limelight and fame by taking on bigger and stronger opponents.
You don’t “create” units in Neopolis, but you can unlock abilities as they grow in experience.
How long is the campaign for Neopolis? Are there any other modes for dedicated players like Skirmish? What kind of multiplayer support is featured?
This certainly won’t be a small game! The campaign mode is very big and multifaceted and the current plan is to make it replayable with different crews, plus there will be a whole bunch of extra game modes; single and multiplayer. I am currently designing one called “Gauntlet”… Let’s just say, we are not skimping on modes and we hope to offer a long, and fun, engaging experience for both fans and newcomers to the genre.
"We want to make sure the game has a long and happy life, and we have lots of ideas that we think would work really well post-release."
What challenges did you face in bringing Neopolis to the PS4, especially with regards to using a controller for an RTS?
Translating RTS controls to Joypad/Console GUI is something we have done before, and we feel confident it can be done right. The game was designed from the ground up to be very user friendly, so we have fewer actions to incorporate than some other strategic titles.
The trick is to keep it simple and automate and contextualize a lot of functionality. (Sorry that sounds like a very dry answer, but it’s true!). Our aim has always been for this to be the definitive RTS on console.
With the uptick in RTS titles for consoles, will we see any other potential strategy titles from Omni Systems for other platforms like the Xbox One?
Everything is possible! Sony has been very receptive to the game, and we’re proud to be launching on PS4 and on PC. We’d of course love to see the game on as many platforms as possible in the future
Is there a post-release content plan for the game to keep it going?
Yes, we want to make sure the game has a long and happy life, and we have lots of ideas that we think would work really well post-release.
And lastly, what is your take on CDPR’s Cyberpunk 2077, another cyberpunk game due sometime in the next few year?
I am pretty excited as I love cyberpunk and I am interested to see what a big industry player will produce.