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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.

Community Drop: Game Vision

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Hello all!

In the last update, we promised that we would share our plans for Early Access and the vision for the game with you. If you already saw that update, you’ll know that we talked about some changes in the scope of the game and a new focus for the initial release. We’ve had to take some tough decisions and we’ve taken a hard look at what we pitched, what you wanted and what we can deliver.

So, we will start with the overview. We will release The Mandate as an Early Access title in 2017. The Early Access version will introduce you to the story and give you the opportunity to explore the universe. We expect to have the opening arc of the main story and several hours of side-quests as hand-crafted content for you to explore. In addition, you will be able to explore fringe clusters and experience the sandbox.

We will have trading, combat, customization, and crew management. You will be able to find your own role within the universe. You can be a trader, finding rare and valuable cargoes and matching the lowest prices with the highest bidders. You can hunt pirates in the lawless fringes or become a pirate yourself and prey on fat traders scurrying from port to port. You can fit your ship with a variety of modular ship sections to optimize your vessel for different roles. Finally, you will be able to interact with your crew. They will progress along with you and you will have choices to make about their specialization as well as potential replacements. Crewmembers will have their own stories to explore and personalities that might impact the way that you choose to explore the game.

Work in progress: ship refitting
Work in progress: ship refitting

Let’s take a closer look at some of those systems.

First, the story. The Mandate has a huge and branching plot that’s already fleshed out and that will take a long time to play through. The story is branching based on your decisions - which faction you choose to support as well as which enemies and allies you made.

This means that you will be able to replay it several times and get a different experience each time. The Early Access version will introduce you to the first act of the story and give you a chance to take your first steps in that journey. As well as the main story, there will be crew missions, side-quests, and all kinds of discoverable content waiting for you. Your relationship with your crew is important to the game and we’ll have some of that in the Early Access version. Your officers have skills that affect the performance of your ship and help you in other areas such as diplomacy, trade, and science; skills can be learned and officers can specialize as you journey through the galaxy. In addition, your officers will impact the story as a result of their personal stories and their personalities.

We’ll release significantly more content after Early Access; you’ll get to advance further along in the main story as well as finding more things to do along the way. The story is a central pillar of the game and you’ll be thrust into the very center of galactic politics and intrigue with the opportunity to change everything. As we previously mentioned, the Early Access version will be a single player experience. The story is designed around a single captain and their crew.

The first sandbox cluster will comprise 3-4 systems. These will be filled with NPCs to interact with, resources to find, trade deals to make, pirates to dodge (or hunt!), and an opportunity to make your name as whatever you want to be. More fringe clusters will be added after Early Access with a different mix of content and new opportunities to explore. What we call Fringe cluster is the wild region outside the mandate space. Everything is possible here and they can be dangerous for the unwary. As you progress, you’ll find greater rewards in more remote areas - if you are prepared to accept the greater risks.

Work in progress: trading interface
Work in progress: trading interface

When we looked at your expectations for the game, a common theme was customization. You wanted the opportunity to adjust the way that your ship and your crew worked together so that’s an important element for us, too. Ships are modular; different sections can be fitted together. Different subsystems and weapons can be added to really specialize your vessel for the task at hand. Whether you want a fast trader, a science vessel, or a heavily-armed warship, you’ll be able to adapt your ship as you want. Your crew is also central to your plans. Your officers will progress and have the opportunity to improve and specialize. You will be in control of how they develop so that your crew and your ship together form a perfect tool to carve out your place in the galaxy. The crew are also part of your experience in other ways. They will have their own motivations to explore, loyalties, and personality traits which can affect the way that you progress through the game. You’ll have choices to make about your crew. Will you replace difficult members or work through their problems? When the Early Access launches, these systems and options will already be in place, more choices and further opportunities will be added after launch.

Exploring and chasing danger implies the chance to get into combat. We have come up with a different approach to most space games. We wanted a system that was about resource management and planning, which also emphasized command rather than one that was about twitch play or reflexes. We want you to be a commander rather than a fighter pilot. We want you to make the decisions that matter and then watch your crew make them happen. We’ve built a system that runs as asynchronous, turn-based battle. You’ll plan your actions, provide orders to your crew and then watch those actions play out in slices of real-time. You can adjust your plans and react to new information between each turn as well as run simulations of the next few seconds to check your strategy. We will be able to give you a detailed look at this later on.

Work in progress: the bridge of your ship
Work in progress: the bridge of your ship

The center of your experience is the bridge of your ship. You will see your officers working away at their stations, as well as the holo-projector which lets you plan your journeys around the galaxy. It also runs your battlespace simulations. A large viewport shows you a variety of camera angles outside your ship as well as a series of options when you are docked in a station. This is your command center and you can run everything from here. You can zoom in for fine-control and closer inspection or you can issue general orders from the default view. Later on, there will be an opportunity to have your own base of operations as well as to lead your crew in daring boarding combat operations. Boarding combat will be developed after the Early Access Launch. We have a list of features that we hope to have ready to roll out between Early Access and final release and we will be able to give you a more complete view of those plans closer to the time. For now, we are concentrating on what we know we can deliver and avoiding the trap of over-promising.

All in all, we have a solid design and framework to build upon. We are busy making all of this work at the moment and we will be sharing development updates with you all the way up to Early Access and beyond. Look out for videos of the team at work, feature and art showcases and gameplay videos as we get closer to release.

Austin48, Captain Dangerous, and 96 more people like this update.

Comments

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    1. StanleySteamer on August 14, 2016

      My confidence in this project is being shaken.

    2. Jason Garner on August 12, 2016

      I haven't finished creating my officer yet, I take it they aren't due to be added yet anyway right? :)

    3. Jason Garner on August 12, 2016

      Getting excited now :)

    4. Rand Chua TL on August 11, 2016

      Is anyone able to enlarge those new mandate photos in the update?
      Can we have a much more details of timeline of stuff to expect with our updates?
      The 1st picture pic got the icon 'buy ships"?
      Can the future enlarged picture come with some texts explanation of the icons please?

    5. Helena on August 11, 2016

      Well, it's good that it sounds like most of the major features promised in the Kickstarter are still planned (at present). Shame about multiplayer, but if something had to go then that was the obvious choice, since most people (myself included) are probably more concerned about the singleplayer game. I would like to see this 'roadmap' that was promised, though, and find out what's next on the cut list if things don't work out.

      Also, regarding combat: are you saying that ship-to-ship combat is turn-based now? If so, I'm... actually really happy about that. I've never been much of a fan of real-time combat; I like having the time to plan out my next move.

    6. Alasdair Grierson on August 11, 2016

      Can you actually list what was cut and what was put on the backburner?

    7. Ron Lowe on August 11, 2016

      So I pais for Beta access. When do we get it?

    8. Missing avatar

      WintermuteX on August 11, 2016

      So, yeah: what exactly was cut? Did you really expect you can feed the people something and stay silent about what is cut?

    9. Young_Gangrel on August 10, 2016

      That is great to hear, congrats on the achievements. I have one question though, when do we have to submit our captains and officers? because I paid for that right and I've been told NOTHING about it in my emails and personal messages sent to the company.

    10. Daniel on August 10, 2016

      Looking good so far, just remember if you want to keep the fans and wider audience on you side, communication is key! I've seen communities turn against their developers too often and the key factor was lack of communication. Doesn't matter what you've done, just talk to us once a week or drop into the forums if you don't already. I have to admit I myself haven't joined the forums yet. But the communication needs to be visible, you have to be seen to be communicating. Love your work guys, can't wait to play.

    11. Daniel on August 10, 2016

      Looking good so far, just remember if you want to keep the fans and wider audience on you side, communication is key! I've seen communities turn against their developers too often and the key factor was lack of communication. Doesn't matter what you've done, just talk to us once a week or drop into the forums if you don't already. I have to admit I myself haven't joined the forums yet. But the communication needs to be visible, you have to be seen to be communicating. Love your work guys, can't wait to play.

    12. Mark L
      Superbacker
      on August 10, 2016

      I appreciate the update. The plans so far seem reasonable and realistic. To those asking for details of what will be added later, after Early Access, I will hazard a guess: I suspect it will depend a lot on how well the EA sales go. If they sell a lot, they'll be able to add lots more features, if it sells poorly, not so much. I suspect that they are hesitant to make too many definite promises about the future without a better idea of how sales will go, since promising too much too quickly is the mistake that was made originally.

    13. Wes Johnson on August 10, 2016

      "we promised that we would share our plans for Early Access and the vision for the game with you."

      You also promised us a game by now, how's that turning out. More marketing garbage for vaporware.

    14. Missing avatar

      Geoffrey Kelly on August 10, 2016

      So it seems the major cut is boarding and shipboard actions? You will no longer see beyond the bridge or interact with your crew beyond talking and RPG mechanics?

      To be expected really, but at the same time worrying. You will have a hard time differentiating yourself from lots of other variations of 4x games now. A big sprawling involved story is a good start though! :)

    15. Warren Gardner on August 10, 2016

      So where is the road map and what exactly is being cut, whats the plan for release?

    16. Missing avatar

      Kristian Frost on August 10, 2016

      This road map seems well-planned, deliverable, and will produce the kind of game I thought I was buying into.
      I hope all turns out well for the project. I feel sympathy for those whose favoured features have proved unrealistic; some other Kickstarters I have backed have gone in directions I was far less pleased with.

    17. NobleBrutus on August 10, 2016

      Make me a game. Make it good.

    18. Nick Hanson
      Superbacker
      on August 10, 2016

      Sorry if this was mentioned earlier but the kickstarter mentioned a gog.com release for Windows and Mac. Linux is now supported by Gog.com as well and they have their own "Early Access" program called "In Development". Do you plan on releasing a linux version on GOG as well and/or participating in the "In Development" program or will the game be Steam only until final release?

    19. Steve Mellan
      Superbacker
      on August 10, 2016

      Can we ensure that the bridge crew get seats as seeing them and the Captain standing up through thick and thin looks unrealistic , they need to sit down for several reasons so let us allow them to anchor their behinds please.

    20. alcaray on August 10, 2016

      How is the promised GOG/Humble distribution path coming along?

    21. Missing avatar

      Paul on August 10, 2016

      Hi Perihelion!

      Good luck during the next months. Please don't forget to update every now and then.

      Most kickstarter backers realize (or should) that estimates are thrown off and plans change. I think Mandate bit a lot and it might not be easy to chew.

      You should bring up for consideration giving an overhead view of the project. A lot of backers are worried about the projects' overall health. It would definitely help backers if you could go for a "We've had some trouble and are projecting we might have to cut corners" if that is the case.

      There might be some initial backlash from the vocal backers, but having an idea that something is going to happen is usually better than it happening without warning.

      Regards!

    22. Steve Midgley on August 10, 2016

      It's good to see that the new team is being practical and realistic about delivering a product that will be playable. In that light it is still frustrating to recollect all the older, meandering posts from the original team - where everything was promised but nothing was moved forward. Good luck finishing a version of the game that will actually be playable!

      FWIW, I'm glad you are postponing implementation of boarding combat. I know a lot of fans want that feature, but if you can't get the larger ship-based combat right, boarding combat doesn't even matter.

    23. Michaeljack on August 10, 2016

      A lot of promises for content that will come later. I don't believe any of them!

    24. Kai Barnard
      Superbacker
      on August 10, 2016

      Lots of words but no roadmap or timetable

      and yes please, the below - what is being removed

      Whats going to be in EA

      What priorty 1 for next release, priorty 2 etc

      Times whens this all going down

      Still EA q1 2017

      Then build 2 when

      ...and design an X - when are we going to get the forms etc - still in games

    25. Missing avatar

      Flump - the flying turtle on August 10, 2016

      I read the update but it is not clear to me what is being removed from the final game. For example will there be board combat in the final version (even if not in the initial early access). To be honest (using boarding combat as an example) I rather have well done features than feature that meet check list but are not very good.
      -
      Anyway I think Arthur suggested this but can we have a bullet list of what will be in early access what will be in final game and what might show up but depends on budget/time and what has definitely been removed.

      The thing I am suggesting is an easy to read bullet list that makes it clear not various thigns mentioned or not mentioned in paragaphs of text.

    26. Timothy Cook on August 10, 2016

      No boarding combat for the first release? That makes me sad, that's the part of combat I was most looking forward to... but it's much better to hear about things now than later. Still excited for early access. Keep the news coming please!

    27. Dano on August 10, 2016

      I second what Arthur proposes. while i'm sure some will use it as fodder for griping about what we're not getting that was promised, most will see it as a use tool to manage our expectation.

    28. Missing avatar

      Arthur B
      Superbacker
      on August 10, 2016

      This is useful and substantive, thank you.

      To help manage expectations, would it be possible to get a breakdown of all the "baseline" game features and stretch goals promised during the Kickstarter, and let us know which you anticipate will be present in some form in the Early Access, which you hope to add during Early Access, and which we may need to consider to be aspirational goals which may or may not make the final cut?

      I think most reasonable backers understand that if you have to make a choice between a) scaling back on some of the stretch goals in order to deliver the game, or b) refusing to compromise on anything and not being able to deliver anything, it'd be greatly preferable for you to go for option a), but with so many different features having been promised during the initial Kickstarter it may be best to start managing people's expectations now so people aren't surprised by what is absent when Early Access comes around. (Far better for us to expect that a feature will be absent and presently surprised when it turns up for us to expect that it will be there and disappointed when it isn't, after all.)