One of the most intriguing surprises of this year's E3, from a Nintendo perspective, was the reveal of Starlink: Battle for Atlas. A multi-platform title, the trailer showed a Switch Joy-Con Grip first of all for its interesting mix of conventional controls and toys-to-life style add-ons. It was a change from the usual 'tack the Switch name on at the end' treatment that we've seen in some other cases.
Nintendo UK has now published a fairly lengthy interview with Matthew Rose, Producer at Ubisoft Toronto, to go into a bit more detail about the game.
Starlink Battle for Atlas is an epic action-adventure game. It takes place in a massive, open, living space and it puts you in control of a team of star pilots, who are trying to save Atlas from a threat called The Forgotten Legion.
One of the really cool things about this game is that it features a completely modular star ship collectible where you can combine ships, wings and weapons however you want, to build your playstyle and take on the threat. And then when new challenges come up, you can adapt on the fly by instantly reconfiguring your star ship model.
It shares a lot of elements with toys-to-life games but we think this is actually something pretty new that people haven’t seen before. That’s thanks to the combination of this completely modular collectible you can really mix and match, and its really deep, open world gameplay experience, where you can seamlessly travel among the planets of Atlas, exploring their ancient secrets and pushing back against the dynamic threat.
This is a completely proprietary technology, built from the ground up by the team at Ubisoft Toronto. We assembled a team of experts from the toy industry and games industry to work hand in hand to make something that is completely instantaneous, so when you connect that part it immediately appears in-game.
It’s incredibly flexible technology; you can stack parts, you can reverse them if you want to put your weapons on backwards to shoot someone that’s chasing you, and you can combine different pilots, each of whom is going to give you a unique special ability, a skill you can upgrade and their own story.
Rose goes into detail on some of the different playstyles supported through different gear and parts - some may opt for power, or speed, and there are also various special attacks depending on characters and ship parts. The diversity of combat scenarios, planets and exploration options is also highlighted as major selling points.
It's also stated that players should be able to enjoy the game without maxing out credit cards on toys, while co-op allows players to share parts.
It was very important for us to be extremely player friendly in what we’re offering. We want people to buy the collectibles because they think the collectibles are amazing. The modular play gives you all these cool creative things to do and build. But we don’t want to force you into buying them. You can complete the entire game just with the starter pass. Even if you are a minimalist, you don’t want more stuff on your shelves, you can even get digital versions of all the parts. You can play the entire game digitally, which is something we’re really proud of.
...We're planning split-screen multiplayer throughout the game, something we’re really excited about. It’s primarily a co-op mode. If players want, they can also turn on friendly fire, so they can fight head-to-head and really make up their own rules. But it’s primarily a co-op experience throughout the game.
...You can hand them back and forth (ship parts) and one of the really cool things is that it gives you this whole other level of combinations that you can build. The game’s kind of all about building a playstyle and building combos, but when you have two players, you can have one player who decides to be a very heavily armed tank while another player maybe goes for a really light fast agile ship, going around the periphery and choosing a different weapon to complement their friend’s. We also support playing co-op, even if you only have one set of toys. Since each part unlocks a digital version of itself, the second co-op player can actually play accessing all of the digital collection.
It's certainly worth checking out the whole interview for more details (link below).
This game is still quite a way off, scheduled for Fall / Autumn 2018. Is it on your radar?