Flying Squirrel talks Battle Cry of Freedom, a rallying call for 'skill, fun and history'
Posted: 03.12.2012 14:14 by Simon Priest Comments: 3
Maxim Munnig Schmidt is leading his four man indie team of Flying Squirrel to develop Battle Cry of Freedom, which has the enormous ambition of 500-player battles set during the US civil war.

Not surprisingly, he admits it's a "really big challenge" after deciding to double what they managed with Napoleonic Wars for Mount & Blade. The team are avoiding 'grinds for stats'.

Schmidt doesn't want that Call of Duty-style of online play that piles rewards on those who've played longer, but instead wants a level playing field where skill is rewarded.

"It’s more of a personal decision than whether people want it or not. I try to distance myself from what the rest of the industry is doing," he explained in our interview, referring to unlocks. "The unlocks and RPG elements that a lot of games are putting in are important for a lot of people, but I believe that what is important is making a good game that people can enjoy and have fun playing instead of grinding towards better stats to be better than everyone else."

"It really annoys me. I come from a background of playing a lot of first-person shooters, and as soon as the Call of Duty series started to implement a system where the longer you played the better guns you got I thought: “Wait a minute? What about player skill?”" There won't be any persistent character system - just a player and his boots.

Schmidt continued: "I want it so that when players play our games for the first time, yes, they may not have a lot of skill yet simply from not having played, but they’re not at a disadvantage just because other people have played the game for years and are at Level 60." This is why they kept the project away from a publishing deal; so they can exercise freedom.

"A lot of publishers want to stick with what they believe people want and what they perceive every game should have nowadays. If you are going to stray from that path, then you’re going to get a lot of negative attention."

Right now Battle Cry of Freedom has its own crowd-source campaign running through Flying Squirrel directly. The team want pledge money left untouched by the likes of Kickstarter and Amazon.

"Of course, they also get a lot of bonuses such as publicity and so on," said Schmidt of projects on sites like Kickstarter. "We’ll just have to see if it works out. If doing it through the site doesn’t raise enough we can always look at those other options, but for now I’d like to keep it on our own site."

Historical accuracy is very important to them with Battle Cry of Freedom, but they're making a game first and so fun is paramount. "Having features that are realistic but not fun to play is not on my agenda. A good example is misfires. Imagine you load your gun, click and nothing happens and then someone else kills you. It might be realistic but it’s not fun."

Their historical focus is instead turned on the battles themselves and the little things. "The battlefields, the weapons, the uniforms are all completely accurate. We spend a lot of time on that because as both a historical enthusiast and gamer, I always get annoyed when other games do something that isn’t historically inaccurate," he added.

"If you look at something like the Total War series, a lot of those games have so many historical inaccuracies that it’s just painful in my eyes. I think our games can also be like a history lesson, to show how things really were."

Check out our full interview with Maxim Munnig Schmidt on Battle Cry of Freedom. The indie project is looking for €60,000 in donations from backers and currently has just over €3,900 from 113 donors. This will be Flying Squirrel Entertainment's first ever standalone property. Learn more about the game on the official website.


By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Dec 03, 2012
This, for me, is definitely one to watch and I do hope they get their funding squared away. The battles would be fantastic to take part in, particularly for this historian. Half way through reading McPherson's "Battle Cry Of Freedom" at present, so am hankering for a Civil War fix beyond the John Tiller series and "Take Command...".
By DAmicoThunder (SI Core Veteran) on Dec 03, 2012
It does look rather intriguing.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Dec 03, 2012
Great name too: 'Flying Squirrel'. Sounds like a porn superhero:)