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Developer Spotlight - IainC
Hello everyone! My nam is Iain and I’m the Design Director for The Mandate. I joined the project back in May - you might remember that Michael mentioned some new people in his last producer’s letter - and I’m very excited to help bring this fantastic universe to life.
I’ve been working in games for almost 20 years now, I started off at Games Workshop as a designer for tabletop miniature games and, over the years, I’ve worked on everything from AAA MMOs and FPSes to mobile games. Most recently I came from Wargaming.net where I worked on a couple of different projects and I recently moved from Kyiv to Kosice so that I can work directly with the core team in the Perihelion offices. As a keen photographer, I’ve been spending most of my free time roaming around the Slovakian countryside trying to capture the incredible scenery of this part of the world. I’m also fortunate enough to live right in the heart of the historic town centre so I’ve been happily snapping the gorgeous gothic architecture that Kosice boasts. I’m originally from Scotland, so I didn’t learn any Slovakian at school. While all of the team here speak excellent English, I often need to fall back on my bad German and terrible Russian outside the office.
When I joined the project, I spent a long time reading all that I could about the game, I went through the Kickstarter page and the website, looked through all of our documentation and tried to understand what was happening in the development process. I could see how much potential there was in the game and that there were many exciting possibilities that we could explore as a team. However there were also some big disconnects between the way that we were working and the result that we wanted to produce. On top of that, we had a lot of different conflicts between the expectations of our community. We talked about this in the team and worked through the problems with some experts and, eventually came to the conclusion that we needed a new approach to building The Mandate.
So, as well as introducing myself, I’m also introducing the vision for the game to you. We know that you’ve been waiting a long time for something from us, and our plan is to deliver something soon. We aren’t going to take another three years to build a whole new game. We expect that we will launch Early Access in early 2017. You’ll get a roadmap of our new plan and a more detailed overview of the new game vision in the next couple of updates, then we’ll be answering some of your specific questions once you’ve all had a chance to read those.
As you can probably imagine, some things are going to be different. The scope of the game has become more focused and we’ve had to take a long, hard look at our feature list. We’ve been collecting feedback from the forums, Kickstarter comments, and other sources to understand what you wanted from the game and we’ve distilled that down into a set of core principles. There’ll be a longer article in next week’s update giving you more detail, but for now, I can tell you a little about what to expect.
Firstly, most Early Access games are basic, bare-bones affairs that will be built on and polished until the final release. Ours is no different. The game that we will release in the new year will not be the full game, but it will be a playable slice of the final product. We’ll have exploration, combat, the opening arcs of the story, customisation and the opportunity to discover our universe. It’s also going to be a single-player experience. We looked hard at what you told us that you wanted and a strong story was one of the most commonly discussed features. We want to do that right and we want to give you an amazing adventure. That can be done best in a single-player environment. We haven’t ruled out the possibility of specific co-op content in the future but we aren’t going to develop any for Early Access.
The story won’t be the only content in The Mandate, you also told us that you wanted an interesting sandbox to play in and so we are building a game that rewards exploration and discovery as well.
Once we have launched the Early Access version, we’ll be adding new features, new content and polishing the game based on the feedback from our players - from you. We expect that we’ll be pushing out updates to the game every couple of weeks once we are live so there will always be new things to explore and new adventures to find. As we get closer to Early Access, we will release another roadmap describing our plans for after the launch.
We have a strong core team here in Kosice and we have some great people working alongside us in other locations too. Michael and I have looked hard at what we need to produce and we know that we have a steep hill to climb. The team is confident that we can build a great game. We are confident that you will be excited to play it.
All the best!