PAX South 2016 provided me with the opportunity to interview Tony Medrano, Creative Director, and Sr. Yager Development producer Frank Lucero of the hotly anticipated space combat game Dreadnought, published by Greybox. At PAX East 2015, I had a chance to play an earlier version, and this new version is leaps and bounds better. Their booth was the biggest at the convention, by far and matched the game. There were massive amounts of customization, battles on a large scale with huge ships, and a gigantic place in my heart. The little boy in me was very excited to play the game of the space ship where I got to fly around and launch the enemy with massive missiles. I was enthralled and eager to learn more as soon as I sat down with the developers.
Dreadnought, what is it? It is a tactical space combat game based on a team that takes place in several different locations and with a total of 5 different primary classes of ships. It falls in line with a simulator for flight, but is a third person and gives the game a slower feel. The point of the game is to destroy the ships of the other team. To win, support each of your teammates and concentrate on bringing down the enemy team together.
The amount of options available for play is quite extensive in terms of customization. There are five primary groups, each with their own light, medium, and heavy structures. The namesake Dreadnought, Destroyer, Tactical Cruiser, Support Cruiser, and Corvette classes are included. For example, the Heavy Corvette has an option to fit mini-bombs that are launched, one of the many ways to customize. Heavier, slower, and more of a tank, the Heavy Corvette is. This enables it to still be relatively maneuverable and get to do some quick damage in tight corners, but then be able to get back out relatively quickly.
New on-ship weapons are some of the cool new features that are included in the new version and they each have mini animations. It seems minimal, but it really looks good to see the turrets move and respond to placement. It adds a little extra that really distinguishes games. Besides that, it is possible to change the overall color of the ships to suit friends. It is just an extra bit of fun to improve Dreadnought to roll into battle with an entire armada of similarly decked ships that can add a little intimidation factor. Finally, with the addition of potential face/body/heads, etc., there is a planned ability to customize the captains, but the focus is on the ships and the core experience as of now.
Dreadnought's visuals are absolutely lovely. From the loading screens depicting the Rings of Saturn to the ship preview, the futuristic ships and environment are gorgeous through the actual gameplay.
At first, core game play can be a little overwhelming, as there is a lot going on even though the ships are moving relatively slowly. There is a lot of positioning that needs to be considered, sightlines, and if there is an ability to get behind your position and flank, as with most tactical games. If this is not enough, try to keep aware of the classes that the rest of your team is playing and also add depth to their position. You can simply use the core guns throughout the whole game and slowly grow and expand the ability to unlock and apply to cater to your style of play. Or you can add the skills that are unlocked as you play as you progress, and create a bigger and stronger ship. All of this adds to the depth and potential of Dreadnought's long-lasting nature.
The plan is to allow the player to slowly unlock the items and various weapons available with regard to progression. There is no dedication as of now to being a level-based unlock system versus a currency-based system. Either way, for Dreadnought, the focus will be the best scenario, which allows the most fluid progression but also has a good way to give access to the more difficult builds to use. To fully implement the more complicated builds, there are some configurations that require more familiarity with the overall game. Based on the feedback from Alphas and Betas, the currency unlocks mechanic level verses will then be decided.
The developers were reluctant to give a solid date when asked about the launch of Dreadnought, instead of leaning on basing everything on the game's quality. When the alpha is not even out, there is a lot to be said of a developer not looking to monetize their game too quickly and rush development. They expect to launch in 2016, but there is nothing more they can say. You can be sure Gamer Assault Weekly will keep you informed when dates are announced.