Amplitude talks Endless Space, wants "beautiful" battles like in the movies
Posted: 25.06.2012 12:55 by Simon Priest Comments: 3
New startup Amplitude is developing Endless Space as their debut title and they've even roped the community into the development process with their Game2Gether concept.

The indie outfit encourages fans to look over the team's design documents of the game and give as much feedback as they can. They enjoy "full editorial independence" with Endless Space.

Amplitude co-founder and Creative Director Romain de Waubert de Genlis says it's a "bit of a dream come true" to be free of the big publishers and getting to make full creative choices.

He's worked with the likes of EA and Ubisoft during his 15 years in the industry, and now he's running his own indie startup with Endless Space. "If we hadn’t made this move, I feel like I could have waited all my life, as big publishers are not only not very much into PC gaming, but not very much into 4X strategy which is seen as very niche," said de Genlis.

The team really want to suck us into the universe of their space 4X.

"One thing that for us was important was to drag the players into the game and in order to do that we really wanted to put some special effort into creating a universe that is both something you can recognize and feel a connection to, and at the same time, something that can stand on its own," he explained.

Major influences on Endless Space? "Dune, Wheel of Time, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, amongst other books and movies. Game mechanic wise, our fathers would be Master of Orion, Civilization, a tiny touch of Total War. Of course as we play a lot of games, and many others could have very well influenced the design at some point."

He continued: "Our goal with Amplitude and Endless Space is to open the 4x genre to as many people as possible, so we worked a lot on the game's accessibility through game design choices, interfaces, attractive visuals and even generally the universe as we mentioned before." They have to have substance and not just marketing gimmicks, says de Genlis.

"They need substance as a unique selling point, and we hope they get that through playing our game: We don't have top of the range technology, we don't have an unlimited amount of budget and we built the studio around the project so we mainly wanted to create a solid gaming experience."

The studio is involving the community heavily in their day-to-day with the Game2Gether campaign, which lets those who want to have access to game design documents. The studio's forums have plenty of room for users to share ideas, question the devs and vote on features. It's so Amplitude can "concentrate our community's creativity."

"We wanted to give them all the assets to be able to participate in a constructive way to the development of the game. That's why we started by giving out our game design documents, that way we all had a common basis from where we could start discussing gameplay elements," said the studio co-founder.

"We also wanted everyone to be able to participate, that's why we have the forums for the people that were really into discussing each feature in detail, but we also have the votes that are more friendly for people not aware of game development or simply don't have enough time to spend on the forums."

"...we wanted the creativity to be fun, that's why we included all the XP and award/achievement system into the forums, the G2G points for votes etc... we want to build on that, today we're a very small team and we really tried to find funny ideas to reward the community."

Speaking of fun, de Genlis promises us some mighty fine space battles in this 4X: "Basically our vision is that the combat is the tip of the iceberg of your strategy," he began. "We will never want to see micro-management combat in our game, and we see Endless Space as more of a ‘Civilization in space’, not a game about space tactical battles."

"Yet we want the battles to be rewarding because there is nothing more beautiful than space battles in movies: How many of us are still fond of the Star Wars space battles or the Battlestar Galactica space battles?"

"Our battle system is made to fit in with the global experience we want to give, quick intense beautiful battles where you don't need to be a mouse ace to win and definitely not a micro-managing freak," noted the creative director.

Check out our full interview with Amplitude's Romain de Waubert de Genlis and Max von Knorring.

Related games: Endless Space (PC)

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By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jun 25, 2012
Was there a beta, how did you manage to play this already? :)
What do you mean with battle system being a downgrade? A downgrade compared to what?

edit: I see that one gets into the beta by a pre-purchase :)
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jun 25, 2012
Should have pre-ordered when it was 25% off as now I'll have to be waiting for it to go on sale having just splurged on "Rebellion" and "Pegasus Rising" is on the horizon. I never played "MoO" which I hear this is very much like (just didn't appeal to me in the '90's) so I'm happy to wait and see how the launch goes.