Everspace and taking space roguelikes beyond FTL

Rockfish Games' shooter the first cross-platform title in the Game Preview Programme.

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Gamereactor recently caught up with Michael Schade, CEO and co-founder of Rockfish Games, to talk a bit more about Everspace and its unique approach after a successful crowdfunding campaign.

The interesting roguelike space-shooter has a strong following in the crowdfunding community and received positive feedback after alpha testing. Although the spaceship genre has been popular recently, Schade hopes the roguelike elements will set Everspace apart from the crowd, saying "we looked at titles like FTL: Faster Than Light, and just tried to really bring that genre further like add really high end visuals that we haven't seen in an indie roguelike title yet and also really take those roguelike elements, because we know it's not really for everybody, because you die a lot and you start from scratch and so on, which is why we said we make this a little bit more forgiving and we add long term progression".


The idea of long term progression to some roguelike fans may raise an eyebrow or two but Schade assures that although they want the game to appeal to a wider audience it will also include a hard-core mode for roguelike fans that does feature perma-death.

Everspace is set to utilise VR, as with many games currently in production, but may offer a different mode for the platform. Schade explained how they would be making some tweaks to the game to make the virtual reality experience more enjoyable for players.

"For us the challenge is, we do have a lot of interaction within a menu, so like equipment screen you have to repair your ship and such and usually if you are in VR, it's not a good idea if you have things in your face very close, it's kind of hard to navigate and you don't use the mouse and keyboard, you have gamepad controls, so a lot of work will go into designing the interaction, the user interface, how to upgrade and repair your ship".


He also touched on the fact that the game is quite fast-paced and may make people feel sick in VR and the changes they intend to implement to combat that.

"Of course everyone is afraid of getting nauseous and so on, so what we found out already is if you're flying a spaceship and you're rolling a lot of people don't like that, so at least we have to reduce rolling, maybe we'll really get rid of it at all and in general we have to slow down the pace of the game, so on the one hand side we want to have a fast-paced space-shooter, but having something fast-paced, with a lot of changes and fast changes in direction is not good or VR".

Schade also spoke to us about why he feels Everspace was successful and what makes a good Kickstarter campaign, detailing the issues he faced when creating it . "So I think we got caught up with too many stretch goals that serve only a niche audience, like supporting Mac and Linux and different languages".

Kickstarter has seen a lot of success stories, particularly when it comes to space-based games, and Schade commented on how he believed in the platform and "would use it again, I still believe that if you do a Kickstarter right and adapt to how it changed over time you can be very successful".

Everspace will be available on Xbox One & PC and is currently in beta form. It was announced at Gamescom as the first game to be available on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC as part of the Game Preview Programme.


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REVIEW. Written by Mike Holmes

"True to the legacy of the games that it draws so much from, Everspace is challenging and built for replayability."

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