Nintendo's eagerly anticipated developer session for a previously unannounced 3DS title has taken place, and it revealed a brand new IP. It's Code Name: S.T.E.A.M, a title that originally emerged through a U.S. trademark in early April. In that filing it had the full title Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace.
Nintendo's Hitoshi Yamagami spoke first and described the gameplay of the project as a "turn-based strategy game with lots of unique elements from action games". In exciting news, and perhaps inevitable considering the genre, Intelligent Systems is confirmed to be developing the title. In typical style for the studio the campaign sounds like it could be extensive — it'll be split into missions, each with "several maps".
The event began with an opening movie showing a 3D steam-era London, which our writer at the event has described as sporting a beautiful "comicbook aesthetic" — character design is inspired by American comic books, artists like Jack Kirby and Bruce Timm, while there's an animal motif to weapon design and characters. Alien designs, meanwhile, are original yet "riff on creatures from the Lovecraft mythos". In the audio department Yoshito Hirano — best known for his work in the Advance Wars series — is producing the soundtrack; it's a mix of 19th Century strings and rock music, which reportedly sounds terrific.
Back to gameplay, an over-the-shoulder third-person viewpoint will be utilised to draw you in closer to the action, as opposed to the abstraction of mini-map-style strategy; action elements from shooters will be utilised for movement and attacking. Touch screen controls will be integral to the experience. In addition, in the absence of a mini-map the emphasis will be on exploring with multiple characters in order to get an overview of the battlefield. Movement and attack options will be driven by a limited supply of steam — each character wears a backpack boiler that needs to be used carefully; these boilers, weapons and characters will level-up with progress through the game. Every character will be able to equip a second "sub-weapon", while each will also have a Special Ability that can be used once per map — our writer has described the latter as "fantastically over-the-top" in action.
One peculiar detail is in the apparent inclusion of multiplayer, though our reporter in the event admits to quizzical looks as it was said that there's "not going to be online play but there'll be multiplayer, which is online." This may suggest a form of asynchronous or delayed form of communication, such as moves submitted but not interacting and engaging in real time. It may just be a concept lost in translation, but it seems clear that online play will be available in some form — details were not given but are promised for the future.
This title is due in 2015.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will be extensively shown to the public in the final day of the Nintendo Treehouse live broadcast, which we will host and live blog right here on Nintendo Life.