Code Name: STEAM is the next Nintendo 3DS game from the creators of Fire Emblem, the company announced today.
The cel-shaded steampunk game will launch next year for Nintendo 3DS. STEAM is in development with Intelligent Systems and is being headed by Hitoshi Yamagami, whose previous works include Xenoblade Chronicles and the Fire Emblem and Pokemon series.
"As you can tell from my history I have been working with Intelligent Systems for a long time and became a big fan of turn-based strategy, but I've always wanted to share these games with more people; this has been quite a challenge for me," Yamagami said during a presentation on the game.
"I have been sharing Mr. Yamagami's worries," added creative director Paul Patrascu. "I wonder why strategy games don't have more fans. The answer I came up with myself, perhaps in many strategy games, there is too much abstraction between the player and the game world. What happens is often dictated by invisible parameters and numbers you don't understand. The interfaces are often quite abstract."
STEAM stands for "Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace." The title is a team-based strategy game with some action game and shooter elements, is set in London during the middle of the 19th century. All machinery runs on steam. In the game, STEAM is a force created by Abraham Lincoln to defend the world from alien invaders. Players will harness this force to control different fighting units of up to four members and combat monsters. The game will also have some exploration elements and players will be able to swap between different characters in first-person point of view.
"We turned again to action games, to first-person shooters," Patrascu explained. "The thought process between a strategy game and a shooter are quite similar. You get some information about the environment and then you come up with a plan and then you execute a plan. You do that in a linear fashion in a game like Fire Emblem. In a shooter you have to solve problems in a non-linear fashion."
The game's main campaign is divided into missions, which are further divided into several maps. Players can unlock new weapons, characters, and boilers — the items that let them harness steam — as they play. Weapons are designed based on animal motifs that reflect the using character's personality, and each character has a special unique ability that can used once per map. The adversaries, the aliens, are based on creates from the mythology of H.P. Lovecraft. According to designers, the game will never play the same way twice. There is no permadeath.
Players will also collect medals throughout the game that will restore health and steam. However, using lots of medals will prevent players from obtaining some of the game's more powerful weapons later in the game.
According to art director Takako Sakai, the game's cartoony visual design was influenced by Silver Age comics. The soundtrack is being composed by Taishi Senda, who worked on the Advance Wars series.
"Since the GameBoy Advance, Advance Wars... the music has been composed by Taishi Senda, I think you noticed the similarities," Patrascu said. "I wanted the music of the game to reflect steampunk setting. Most of the arrangements use a stringy part, inspired by 19th century music, the heavy metal is inspired by the machinery."
There won't be online play, but developers said there will be a mode that is "multiplayer which will be online." There will be multiple modes.
"The goal of this game was to make a strategy game that would be as accessible to as many people as possible," Patrascu added.
In April, Nintendo filed a trademark for Code Name: STEAM.
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