During Gamescom 2016, we also had the chance to talk with Johannes Reithmann of Icebird Studios for their upcoming game Subsiege.
Johannes explained the game to us as a multiplayer RTS-Moba mix. The game has been in development for 6 years now and basically started as a university project.
Subsiege is a fast paced, tactical survival game with main focus on thrilling multiplayer matches. It combines the players passion for Hero Units from “Dota” with the beloved tactical fighting and moving behaviors from Starcraft – but without any waiting times for matches to begin! In a dangerous underwater world you control a squad of hero-like units and hunt down other players in order to survive longer than every other player – its hunt or being hunted!
“We are taking the best things we like on RTS games and putting them in a MOBA game. I was a huge fan of StarCraft II myself for example and I wanted to see quite a few things in a different way,” explained Johannes.
The game is made with Unreal Engine 4 and is set in a universe where the world has flooded and the most important resources are 3000 meters underwater. For that reason, the players team up in groups of two and fight to the very death in order to secure those resources for their team. The player is the commander of a 6-ships fleet with ship selection being very important for the game’s strategic and tactical maneuvers.
“Unlike traditional RTS games, there are no bases and you work with oxygen. You run out of it and you are dead. You have to kill other players to get more oxygen.” Simple as that and yet so complicated at the same time, the oxygen mechanic allows for a lot more strategy in this MOBA game where instead of heroes we have specific ship classes with special abilities. Deciding between combat and collecting resources can be smart or an utterly terrible idea depending on how the enemy players are going to strategize in your current match.
“It feels sort of like a Command & Conquer free-for-all mode,” noted Johannes. There are different tactical approaches for so many things in the game. Even the mid-to-end game content provides a few things to think about too. At those time points, a huge node of oxygen appears in the middle of the map, forcing players to go all-in, thus creating a 12 player mayhem. However, the most important thing to note about the game mechanics at this point is that the oxygen allows for a very active kind of gameplay, since most strategy players prefer to sit back and build up. In Subsiege’s case, as a player you are forced to seek out your opponents and exterminate them for their oxygen.
In-game you still get to move your ships just like you would move a hero in a MOBA game and you level up together with your teammate, allowing you to focus on specific tasks each time (one in combat and the other harvesting resources). “The are no items which makes it less complex on that side of things,” says Johannes and continues to explain that “matchmaking is very important as well since a lot of balancing will need to be done in order to prevent various issues that players of different skill levels might experience.”
In the game “you win as a team or you lose as a team” and “ship switching mid-game can be very important.” With that and a lot more, we are eagerly expecting the release of Subsiege. The game is expected in Q1 of 2017 for PC and the next big step is to go to consoles as Johannes told us.