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As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
As the captain of a Mandate starship, you lead a crew through the galaxy where they will adapt and grow as they fight alongside you.
16,408 backers pledged $701,010 to help bring this project to life.

The Mandate Producer's Letter

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Dearest patient Backers, ahoy!  

First off, let me introduce myself; my name is Michael I am the executive producer for The Mandate and I arrived in the team full-time about 4 months ago. My role is to oversee the production, ensure we are actually building the game that will deliver the experience we envisaged, and I negotiate with our publisher.  

Originally, I was only working as a consultant but I fell in love with the universe, the game itself and the talented people building it. When they asked me if I could join full time I didn’t had to think twice. It is not the easiest project but all of us are fighting for making it the incredible experience we all want it to be.  

First off, let me apologize to you on behalf of the whole Mandate team. We read the forum and tweets regularly, we know you are waiting for at least news and we know our communication was very timid, skittish and lately almost frozen. Today finally we have news worth sharing, this means positive news.  

The team and the project went through a rough patch last year. We iterated and changed and fell short while building the grand vision of the game we had, we struggled to communicate our intentions within the team, we faced difficulties with our heads down.  

One of the decisions we made early on was to relocate the team and work mostly from our office in Slovakia. This helps a lot as it improves communication and gives us much faster iteration cycles. We also worked on sharpening the game vision, and organized the teams differently. We convinced amazing people to join the team – I am super happy that we found Iain and Charles as game designers, Amelie as UX/GUI designer and Donna as our Community Manager (you might have already met her).

In this global world we learned that communication needs to be easy and instant and that humans -- even the nerds we are -- benefit from being next to each other to make quick and better advised decisions.  

Many of you have been supportive enough to write "take your time and don't screw up this game" that's exactly what we intend to do, to continue to do until we get it right.

Decisions and changes were made to the team and to the game so that by bringing the pieces together we could find the internal logic we were missing so far. Now we need to flesh things out so that the dream we had 4 years ago can stand on its strong base.  

Let me now give you the details of what we’ve achieved so far and the issues we have encountered.  

World building  

We are putting the Galaxy together. The first Cluster, which consists of a four star system, is done and it was very needed to have the core systems in place for fast iteration and to have a quality benchmark for level design -- now it’s much easier for us to expand and build the rest of the “world”. It was a major step and we’re much relieved now that it’s completed and that it works as we imagined it.  

We wanted something rich, we have it, next for us is: build on it and use it up to its full potential.  

Missions  

We are starting to populate the Clusters with missions. This includes both tutorial missions and advanced missions.  

Since the relationship with the crew is our focus, personal missions will be included, like requests from your very own officers. You will dive into their Background and learn about the world you live in through their own experience. We know precisely the experience we want to create but it ties into a lot of game Systems. We are looking at how to integrate this at the moment.  

As of today, the entire story for the first Cluster is completed, we are currently designing the crew missions, additional side missions and faction specific missions.

Story  

Some of the delay can be attributed to the narrative. When we put everything together, we felt, that it was too weak. Of course our universe stayed the same and, but we have now achieved the internal consistency we needed and a way for the player to create his unique version of the story.  

There is a much deeper and richer narrative, which ties into you as a captain on a personal level as well as your crew, while still retaining all we have promised before story wise, like the conflict between factions for example.  

Events  

Events are situations that happen during play and require a response from either your crew or your captain. Basically every event has a clear cause and effect, but there are a couple of events that are triggered randomly, to act as some kind of surprise element you need to take care of.  

For now, events are split into two categories: Interior Ship Events, affecting the interior of the ship and Space Events, relating to situations that occur outside of the ship, such as rogue asteroids, pirate attacks, etc. This is one of the things we had right, so we kept it and are working on integrating it to the missions.  

Exploration  

Exploration will be a big part of the experience when you are roaming the universe. You will encounter different Points of Interest (POI) -- You can unveil them by ordering your Astrogation Officer to activate the ships’ scanners. There you might find lore, items, events or other types of activities, such as special combat encounters. This is part of the things we decided to add as we looked at how we could make our adventure mode the most interesting we can. We will confirm several more aspects as we move forward.    

User Interface  

For our internal test purposes, the UI did not have to be very user friendly or pretty, so let me tell you, it made Amelie’s eyes bleed. But slowly but surely we are changing this, replacing placeholder art with real art assets – she is thankfully already recovering. Of course this process needs a lot of iterations, but hey – we are getting there and moving towards playtest in the next 3 months!  

Control Scheme  

This is one of the things that nobody notices if you get it right, and everybody complains about it if you do not. During the last months we iterated on the control scheme for the Adventure Mode. Currently you can decide how to navigate your ship, you can also set a desired camera angle to enjoy the universe either top down or more from a third person view. We need to pass the validation test in a few months and iterate to make it smooooth.  

E3  

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We wanted to use E3 to reconnect with the press and the user base. Garret, our art director was joining our publisher in L.A. this year.  

It was great for us to talk to the press and showcase what we have in a transparent fashion, it was great to talk to the curious and the fans, to collect feedback, to get to know our audience better.  

These events have the power to ground you, you work all year long on your thing and then you remember bluntly who the people are you’re making this game for.  

Our motivation got a big boost, we’re just as excited and impatient as you are to be able to share more of the stuff!  

The rough patch I was telling you about in the intro  

Well, it’s no news that objectives and priorities change during production, systems have to be altered or extended, to match new needs and wants from the community. Code and art have been refactored, designs have been updated and extended. We were ambitious, we took risks and tried things. Trust me we still are, but some of the stuff was just not working and we had to fix it before going further down the line, even if going further down the line is somehow reassuring because then you ask no questions. 

We have finally reached a stage where we feel the ground work has been laid for the game that we want to make, there is still a lot of work but we have the solid base we needed. Now we are building on it, careful to check, test and iterate we are still making the game that got us started.  

Once again, I want to thank you for your support, for your understanding, for believing in the same game vision we do. Making good games is a challenge but it’s the one we chose and it’s the one you trusted us with. We’re getting there.  

Michael

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Comments

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    1. Johan Nilsson on July 24, 2016

      Don't rush things. Quality first. Keep up the good work! This game is going to be fantastic.

    2. Missing avatar

      Wesley Tamkin on July 21, 2016

      Thank you for the update. I certainly care about a quality product more than it coming out "on schedule." This is a game after all, nothing depends on it coming out at a certain time..but its quality does matter to how I enjoy it.

    3. Missing avatar

      RecklessPrudence on July 15, 2016

      I haven't said this before, but I honestly was not aware you were getting heat from impatient people - so here it is: TAKE AS LONG AS YOU NEED! Seriously. I would MUCH prefer to have one of the LITERAL games of my dreams - not figurative, as in I have been dreaming of a game much like this for more than two decades - be done RIGHT, than to have you compromise your design because people can't wait for quality.

      I will wait AS LONG AS IT TAKES, for you guys to put out the game of my dreams. Don't listen to those that can't wrap their heads around how genre-changing this game will be, that want you to rush and put out merely a good game, rather than a superlative one, one that will define the genre for years and stand as a shining beacon of game design.

      I, and many more like me, will wait.

      If that means we get this in 2017, we'll be happy.

      If that means we get this in 2019, we'll be happy.

      IF THAT MEANS WE GET THIS IN 2021, WE WILL BE HAPPY.

      Release something you can stand behind.

      Release something you can be proud of.

      Release something that will be remembered among the greats.

      As long as it takes.

      It will be ready when it is ready.

      We will wait.

    4. Missing avatar

      Matthew Hilliard on July 5, 2016

      The fact that you are willing to be transparent about the ups and down of getting an ambitious first project where you want it is a good sign...I'll wait and enjoy the vision when it's ready.

    5. Robin Andersson on July 4, 2016

      oh right, this was a game I backed. I sort of....forgot.

      Still, nice to see its chugging along

    6. Missing avatar

      Tim on June 29, 2016

      Wow. Some real vitriol posted on here...

      Thanks Michael, for your frank report on how development is going. I think those that even remotely understand the work that goes into such a project appreciate that this game was probably not going to hit its release dates from the beginning. It really irks me when a small studio puts forward a grand plan to make an ambitious title that people want to play, and people end up more caught up with silly things like release dates and lack of forum posts.

      Every minute the devs are posting on the forums is a minute they're not making the game. I'm not saying that communication could not have been done better - even Michael appears to acknowledge that.

      I'm another in the camp of 'take your time and do it right'. The world doesn't need another half-baked crowd funded project kicked out the door before it was ready. Kudos for you guys for having the guts to make the tough decision to hold out and get it right. And kudos to your publisher for allowing it. Ultimately, that's a decision that costs money, but it's the right thing to do for the fans, and for you guys - so you can make the game you wanted to make.

      Good luck!

    7. Daniel on June 29, 2016

      You still haven't updated your own website mandategame.com to include these kickstarter updates.

    8. TouchGameplay
      Superbacker
      on June 28, 2016

      Take the time you need but stop with those "Coming soon" lies since nobody does believe that since you are already the third year over your own Deadline!

    9. Joos on June 28, 2016

      The video looks and sounds awesome.
      I do feel you should change the slogan from a question to a proactive statement.
      Maybe something like: "Become the captain we need."

    10. Missing avatar

      tracek on June 28, 2016

      A developer is never late, nor is he early, he delivers precisely when he means to. Actually I'd prefer you people busy coding than feeding us. Just deliver the game some day - thanks and best of luck!

    11. Michaeljack on June 28, 2016

      Sorry, but to me this is sounding very much like that this project has been tossed to another, (cheaper?) team in Slovakia because the original team left and management doesn't care anymore. Coming after such a protracted silence it feels even worse. What with the disaster that that was Mighty number 9 you guys need to be very transparent so let's see some evidence of the work that's going on, release an Alpha Build, even if it takes more time...frankly I think we need some convincing, I know I do.

    12. Missing avatar

      Nathaniel Zaharia on June 28, 2016

      I'm patient, and I really want the game to come out well, so take your time. But, to echo everyone else, we really do need to hear from you more often.

    13. Paul Usher on June 28, 2016

      I know im just going to echo what the others are saying but you need to communicate with us more, i nearly forgot this game existed because you waited so long to give us an update. Let us know whats happening, good or bad, it can really keep us backers happy and stop us from worrying that we wasted our money on a "no show" game. Furthermore, we need an upodated timetable, as we have been waiting for a long time. I see people below saying
      "you only get one chance for a first impression" im afraid that "First impression" hasnt been incredible, you started with lofty goals only to go silent for 6 months and provide us with a little information, plus the video you shared really doesnt tell us much, its just few short clips and some music, all of which weve seen before, although to the videos credit I do like the heat effect on the sun, but i digress.

      All that being said, im happy for you to take your time just, KEEP US IN THE LOOP!! at the very least hire someone to manage social media and post on the forums/ facebook etc so that we are not left wondering if your even making a game sometimes.

    14. Rob Crowther
      Superbacker
      on June 28, 2016

      "Stay up to date with The Mandate: "

      Is this supposed to be ironic? I count one update in the last 6 months on each of the links.

    15. ThomasN on June 28, 2016

      I was at gamescom and all I saw was some marines you could direct RTS style to some turrets in a narrow gangway, then die.
      Now in this video I see ships flying over space background playing orchestral music.
      Above a text where we are informed the producer of this game changed 4 months ago (!) and also just now an (additional?) game designer.
      If I were a publisher I would can the whole project.

    16. TK on June 28, 2016

      "We read the forum and tweets regularly, ... Today finally we have news worth sharing, this means positive news."

      If you watch the forums to regularly, why not post then!? ANY communication is better then none. Sorry but to late for me, hope you do well and make a great game but really, that's probably not going to happen.

      I regret backing this.

    17. Christoph Wassermann on June 28, 2016

      This game was remarkably ambitious from the very beginning, so the delay doesn't surprise me at all. It's going to be tough to live up to all of the expectations, but I'm willing to give it some more time before calling it a failure.

    18. Missing avatar

      Greg Paletta on June 28, 2016

      So is it true that this letter is damage control, you're out of money, and half the staff quit because of your inability to pay them, and you're relocating to Slovakia to save money?

    19. Missing avatar

      Peter Ho on June 27, 2016

      Thank you for the update. Please keep us backers update with any progress of the game.

    20. Dave Douds on June 27, 2016

      Thanks for the update, team. I'm totally happy to wait until you feel that it's ready to go. Be well. <3

    21. Rand Chua TL on June 27, 2016

      Thanks for update #58.
      But we backers wants to know more info on the timeline for this game.
      When are we going to be able to play this game? (This year Dec 2016?)
      Possible for more regular updates on forum, Kickstarter, Fackbook and the MIA twitter account?

    22. Solaris on June 27, 2016

      I'm 100% behind you taking your time. Thanks for the update.

    23. Vocarin on June 27, 2016

      "It's great to work on something and then reconnect with people and get validation."
      Respectfully, if your programmers want proof that their work is going to connect with the fans, why not put it in the alpha and release it to the backers who paid for that tier? I'm sure they'd love to have the chance to play literally anything at this point and give feedback on what needs to be done to improve it. That way the programmers could get that motivation and the fans won't be screaming for blood.
      I have a few questions that weren't touched on in this update. When is the alpha going to be out? What is your updated timeline? When is the next update going to be released? Will the Unity assets on the website be updated or are they going to stay as is until the game is released? If they are going to stay as is, will Peri remove them so that new visitors to the site won't get the wrong idea? Is Gamescom going to delay the development or are you showing the same stuff as you did at E3 so the dev team can keep working? Is the community manager going to get more involved on the forums, or is she working more on drumming up interest on the various media I have seen The Mandate featured in? Are The Mandate's Twitter, Facebook, and forum pages going to be updated more regularly? What is there is from 2015.
      An update that addresses these questions would be very welcome, I think, since I know I'm not the only person who has them.

    24. Kaymish on June 27, 2016

      Thank you for the update. I would like to echo some of the other backers in the opinion i dont mind how long it takes just i wish Perihelion would share more information with us, even bad news can be worth telling, when all i see is the sound of silence i get more worried than if i hear there are some non catastrophic troubles.
      I am still excited and i am wondering if the play test that was mentioned is going to be open to backers

    25. Casey Ryback on June 27, 2016

      oh and also... it seems not much has been done over the years. I could be wrong, but I always felt the team put too much emphasis on boarding combat. Anyway... you guys are now officially in competition with Star Citizen for who will release their game first.

    26. Casey Ryback on June 27, 2016

      is the game still gonna be open ended though? If I recall (after all these years), the game was announced to be some kind of Mount and Blade in space. Is it still going to be that?

    27. Chuck Dee
      Superbacker
      on June 27, 2016

      @Adam- they meant the team, if that wasn't obvious.

    28. Missing avatar

      Adam Holcomb on June 27, 2016

      "In this global world we learned that communication needs to be easy and instant and that humans -- even the nerds we are -- benefit from being next to each other to make quick and better advised decisions."

      It doesn't even need to be goddamned instant. It just needs to be more than once every six months!

      And if you're reading the forums how about you POST ON THEM!

    29. Simon Rust on June 27, 2016

      im still happy with how the game is progressing and i will be happy when it comes but as i said years ago take your time im in no rush to get this game and when i get it ill play the shit out of it

    30. Missing avatar

      Hoebelix on June 27, 2016

      I've just one thing to say after this update:

      "Take your time and don't screw up this game"
      ;)

    31. Kelly Costanza, OOoE's Faceless Lord on June 27, 2016

      Dear Peri, I am happy for the info and optimistic about the future. I have written an Update for the Mandate Backers group on Steam with my summation and thoughts about the game's progress, development, and hopes for it's future. If you would like, I would love for you to read it.

      http://steamcommunity.com/groups/Mandate#announcements/detail/606114015069178423

    32. Simon Rust on June 27, 2016

      i love how you used my comment im pretty sure i wrote that take your time and dont screw it up

    33. Brett Harrington on June 27, 2016

      As they say, an unfinished game can eventually be good. A bad game is bad forever.

      Thanks for the update, and I look forward to playing this one day.

    34. Dave, Shadowrunner on June 27, 2016

      Take the time you need to make the best game you can. Just please drop us a line every couple of months. This certainly isn't the worst communication I've seen from overdue KS developers, but it could be better (more frequent).

    35. Jose Pedro de Leon Alvez on June 27, 2016

      lokiracer, I remember them saying that they have the members of the team around the globe.

    36. Chris J Capel on June 27, 2016

      Thanks for the update, was getting worried! Glad to hear you're back on track - now go make a great game! There's been a lot of worry over Kickstarter recently, I hope The Mandate lives up to the great idea!

    37. Missing avatar

      Alexey Kukharuk on June 27, 2016

      Gosh, I hope my great grandchildren get to play it. I will make sure to add my kickstarter account to their inheritance list.

    38. lokiracer on June 27, 2016

      You relocated your employees from California (where you campaign states you are located) to Slovakia?

    39. David Drake on June 27, 2016

      I was just chatting with a coworker about this game recently. It's good to know you're still alive and on track. Take your time, do it right. You only get one chance to make a first impression!

    40. Soraking007 on June 27, 2016

      honestly as long as the game gets done in good time and doesnt dissapoint totally a bit like mighty no9 im happy. take your time. i dont think anyone is so desperate to play the game that theyd berate yu for not being finished this has been a long road for everyone.

    41. Tsubakixv on June 27, 2016

      Thank lord jesus! So when do you think we'll get updated documents for the design tier backers? Specifically the Mercenary Company tier.

    42. Missing avatar

      Paul on June 27, 2016

      Good luck Michael, and congratulations (or condolences :) ) on taking the lead.