Rebel Galaxy Interview
with Travis Baldree
Rebel Galaxy is an upcoming game from Double Damage Games that was just recently announced. The game is being developed by Erich Schaefer and Travis Baldree of Double Damage Games. They both recently left Runic Games (amicably) to develop Rebel Galaxy. We were fortunate enough to have Travis answer some of our questions.
Why go it (mostly) alone, the two of you?
(Travis) I really started out doing things solo, and have always done lots of side projects. I'm comfortable and used to doing things at a small scale where little coordination is needed, and you just act on instinct and move as fast as possible. For the past 8 years or so, we've been slowly scaling up to a larger and larger team size, and while there are lots of benefits to that, it's just a very different way of working. It's really refreshing to get back to that instinctual, fast style of development.
I don't want to answer for him, but Erich has been on larger teams for much longer, and I think this is as invigorating for him as it is for me.
How does it feel working on a whole different style of game?
It makes everything fresh again. We've both been making action-RPGs for a LONG time now - Erich something like 20 years, and I'm probably at about 10 now. A genre switch alone is a big plus, and building for consoles out of the gate - but also, since we're building out a combat system that hasn't really been done this way before, there's the basic joy of working it out. It opens up a lot of options that are fun to explore.
Could you tell us about what content will be randomly generated?
The universe and solar system layouts, the anomalies and locations within them, and the faction layouts throughout the system are randomly arranged. We're still tooling with how factions are rearranged for each playthrough. Since a lot of the game is exploration, making sure that you don't know what's out there is the main thing we want to accomplish. We're still in the middle of development, so many things are subject to change, but those basics are pretty set.
What level of customization will Rebel Galaxy have?
You can purchase various different ships (the final count is undecided at this point, but it should be a fairly substantial number), each with different hardpoints, turret locations, base stats and hold sizes. Then you can customize a wide variety of components, from broadsides, to secondary weapons, to each individual turret, shields, hull, hold extenders, deflectors, software modifications, engines, warp-drives, scanners… Lots of stuff! We've got various ideas that we haven't explored yet as well.
What will the story be like and how much of a RPG is it?
We have a baseline story that we'll be fleshing out through development. The story itself will primarily consist of set missions that are pre-designed, and lead you around the galaxy. The role-playing in the game really gets down to how you interact with the various ship captains and aliens you come across - and how you're approached craft in the different factions. We're unlikely to present you with the BIG MORAL CHOICE conversation option - it's more systemic than that. Do I exploit this opportunity even though it will anger this race? Do I buddy up to the militia, and then take advantage of their lax attitude to smuggle right under their noses?
What type of freedom do players have in the game as to how to approach missions etc.?
This continues to be actively developed, but it mostly gets down to how the baseline game systems interact with missions. Let's say I get a distress mission - a merchant is being attacked and will pay me to rescue him. When I arrive and do a scan I find out he has a bounty on his head from another faction. I could kill him and take the bounty, and skip the mission. Or say there's a military convoy I encounter on my way. If I've been helpful to the military, I can ask them to follow me and give me a hand - then I arrive with backup and make short work of the attackers. Neither of those options is part of the mission - they're just systemic options that can intersect.
What is one of your favorite aspects of Rebel Galaxy that you can talk about at this point in time?
I really like the combat system. It's got a big, cinematic feel that I love, and it's unique - there are lots of options, lots of ways to play, and I feel like a badass.
What is it like developing for the PS4 vs. the PC?
The PS4 has been very easy to come to grips with. We contracted Blitworks to do the initial port work, and then synched up with them as the renderer was being completed. It's a very pleasant developer experience. It's nice to be able to shoot off a build from the same project, and then turn around and try it out on the PS4 behind me.
Do you plan to release Rebel Galaxy on any platforms other than PC and PS4? (Also, is it a simultaneous release on both platforms?)
We're still discussing this - there are a few other platforms we'd like to release for but aren't going to announce until we're 100% positive. We're not going to commit to simultaneous release on anything - we'll get it as close as we can, but we don't have the resources to guarantee it.
Photo: Erich Schaefer and Travis Baldree (left to right) of Double Damage Games
Should we expect to be able to get our hands on the game sometime in 2015?
That's the plan! It should definitely be in 2015.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Thanks for reading, and we hope you get a kick out of Rebel Galaxy!
Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us!