At this year’s Rezzed gaming convention, one of the very few games that managed to catch my attention was a little known space combat game by the name of Strike Suit Zero. I’m not sure as to whether this was due to its genre setting – as space combat games aren’t well catered for in the modern games arena, or whether because it was one of the very first games one saw as they walked into the Brighton Centre. What I do however know though is that Space Suit Zero looked absolutely gorgeous.
If you’ve ever played the somewhat obscure Omega Boost by Polyphony Digital, as well as yesteryear games such as X-Wing, Wing Commander and Freespace, then you’ll instantly be familiar with the the play mechanics of Strike Suit Zero – as not only do you get to control a space craft that is able to utilise full 360 degrees movement, but you are also able to pilot it once it transforms into a mech – hence the ‘Suit’ in the title.
With the soundtrack being composed by Paul Ruskay (Homeworld), and the space suits being designed by Junji Okubu (Steel Battalion, Infinite Space), the game is already looking to be an incredibly polished experience, with the game scheduled to be released in Autumn 2012 on PC first, with console versions looking to be released in early 2013.
To find out a little bit more about the game, I decided to interview Jamin Smith (Community Manager) of Born Ready Games, and find out as to why the game looks so astounding.
What sort of game is Strike Suit Zero?
Strike Suit Zero is a space combat game. We’re hearkening back to your Wing Commander and your Freespace. It’s kind of like Homeworld in terms to atmosphere and tone, and we’re looking to reignite the flames of the space combat genre which has been dead in the water. There has been a little bit of a resurgence over the last few years, but we’re hoping that we’ve got the game to really kick the genre back into the life. So we think we’ve got a good game on our hands with any luck.
So how long has Strike Suit Zero been in development for?
The game’s been in development for about two years now. We’re a 20-strong studio, so we’re not massive, but we’re not tiny either. It’s a good place to be, and the game is out this Autumn.
It looked like a PC game. Is that the case, or will it be coming out on consoles as well?
We’re very much leading on PC and are launching on Steam first with an Origin launch to follow, whilst console versions will follow in 2013. So it’s not exclusively PC, but it is our lead platform for now.
What technology engines have been used in the creation of the game?
It’s all our own stuff, and our own engines.
This may sound like a dumb question, but are these 20 odd people that are working for your studio actually getting paid?
Yeah, yeah, we’re definitely getting paid. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t (laughs).
The game has an extremely gritty, yet highly stylised aesthetic look to it. What games would you say have been an influence on Strike Suit Zero?
Our whole game is about a transforming robot – it’s a fighter ship first, and then it transforms into a mech. So we’ve been influenced by a very Japanese oriented style, with our mech (and many of our ships) being designed by a chap called Junji Okubu. He did all the mech design in Steel Batallion, and he’s quite a renowned name in mecha design. So we brought him on board for Strike Suit Zero, and he did all of the work for our Strike Suits, as well as a lot of our ships as well. Junji Okubu was a big leading force on our art design. Obviously in terms of the aesthetics of the game itself, our art guys have done a lot of work to make it look… you walked past it today, and it looked really striking.
It’s the best looking game of the show, apart from Aliens: Colonial Marines…
Brilliant. That’s great to hear. I think the colour palette itself is brilliant. You look at the hues of the blues and the purples… It’s just a very striking colour scheme, and this does the game a great favour as it looks great.
Obviously you’ve gone out of your way to recruit personnel for your 20-strong studio, but have you incurred any difficulties along the way when recruiting high quality and high calibre staff?
In terms of the experience of the studio, our lead guys have been in the industry for many years. For 10-15 years, they worked on projects that were both both big and small. We’re a young studio, and Born Ready Games has only been together now for about a month, but we worked previously as Doublesix Games. So as a studio we’re very young, but the talent we’re pulling from has many years of experience.
Born Ready Studios is only a month old. Why the change in name?
We had a grand ambition for Strike Suit Zero, and with our old studio we couldn’t quite fulfil it. We wanted to expand the game’s universe, it’s narrative, and everything inside of it. And we couldn’t quite fulfil that, so we branched off from our publisher and we’re now fully independent. We’re developing it, and we’re going to make it exactly how we want to make it, and this has allowed us to do a lot more with the game that we couldn’t do previously.
I assume you are self-publishing it?
We are indeed, yes.
What pitfalls and drawbacks do you think you’ll encounter from self-publishing the game?
At this stage we haven’t self-published the game, but we’ll come to that hurdle when we get there I suppose.
What about in terms of console development. How supportive have Microsoft and Sony been in terms of offering support for getting Strike Suit Zero on their consoles?
Because we’re not launching until next year on consoles, we haven’t gotten to that stage yet, and haven’t really spoken to them yet.