Simutronics upcoming mech arena shooter Galahad 3093 isn’t the kind of simulation mech game you’re probably used to seeing. Unlike sim-style games like Mechwarrior, Galahad combines the tactical gameplay of mech fighters with the personality and accessibility of modern hero shooters like Overwatch and Valorant. David Whatley, President and CEO of Simutronics, told us a little more about the studio’s new approach to the classic genre.
When development on Galahad began, Whatley and his team looked around and didn’t see many people making the types of games they themselves wanted to play. “I go into Fornite or whatever and it’s just a complete waste of time,” Whatley said. “I get slaughtered instantly. There’s a massive number of people who grew up playing shooters, and now just can’t compete at that level. So it’s not really much fun.”
Simutronics has been making mech games for nearly three decades. Its first online shooter, CyberStrike, released way back in 1993. Back then, Simutronics was one of the only companies developing online shooters. CyberStrike predates the internet as we know it today, so if you were a fan of online shooters back then, it’s likely that playing modern FPS games can feel a bit unfair. “The thing is,” Whatley says, “I’m 54, and my reflexes are not equivalent to a 14-year-old’s. So I wanted to make a game that had a high time to kill in it.”
According to Whatley, the mech genre presents a perfect opportunity for a more tactics-focused FPS experience. “[It’s] more about the positioning, the strategy, and the types of tactics you use, rather than just your ability to line up your crosshairs on someone’s forehead.” For Whatley, mechs are the perfect vehicle for designing the kind of FPS combat he’s after because they are giant armored machines that can take a lot of damage. This gives them a high time to kill, which lends itself to more tactical gameplay.
But Galahad certainly isn’t just your daddy’s mech shooter. Players will be able to make the standard choice of mech type and configure it with a custom loadout of gadgets and weaponry, but they’ll also choose a pilot, called a Knight, each with their own unique abilities. Whatley believes that combining the strategic gameplay of a mech game with the hero shooter genre gives his team new ground to explore. “Not only do they exist in the world as giant, lumbering beasts of heavy destruction, but they’re also known for upgradeability and lots of customization,” Whatley said. “That’s the aspect we’re trying to keep alive and well. And then we’re bringing in the hero shooter side with the Knights. Each one of those provides an active and passive ability to the game, which when you combine those together, it becomes a geometrically expanding design space.”
Needless to say, there is a ton of depth to the loadout and customization in Galahad 3093. It’s already a big game, and it’s only going to get bigger. Current future plans include a seasonal battle pass system that rewards new Knights, new weapons, and new modules for further customizing your loadout. Battle pass subscribers will have access to all the new content in Galahad first before it eventually becomes available to everyone. Fortunately, Whatley ensures us that those battle pass rewards won’t create a pay-to-win situation for Galahad. “It won’t allow you to be infinitely powerful,” Whatley said. “You’re not paying to be a god, you’re paying to get access to more toys.”
Despite the huge variety of playstyle and customization, Whatley is only planning to launch Galahad with two maps and one game mode. “We wanted to just focus on [one game mode] and make that work as well as possible,” Whatley said. “You see [a problem], especially with hero shooters like you saw what happened with Crucible where they had a bunch of game modes, but the heroes really only made sense in maybe one of them. That’s just a fundamental problem with her shooters. So we’re going to not make that mistake, we’re going to focus specifically on the one game mode that we have and make that play as fun as possible.”
Galahad 3093 has been running periodic playtests through Steam for anyone that wants to try out the game. So far, those tests have only lasted a few hours, but soon these playtests will stay up for multiple days, up to a week, so that the team can test out the progression system and collect feedback from the community. Whatley expects Galahad to enter early access later this year on Steam and Epic, with a full release planned for sometime in 2022.
In the meantime, you can try out the game yourself by joining one of the scheduled beta tests on Steam. You can join the off Galahad discord server to receive notifications about upcoming playtests, provide feedback to the developers, and hang out with Galahad 3093’s growing community of players.
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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