World of Goo co-creator Ron Carmel and Flower Garden designer Noel Llopis are currently working on a diplomacy-based title called Subterfuge — a game of world domination played out over the course of several days.
Subterfuge is being developed as a mobile title, with a planned launch on iOS and Android. Speaking with Polygon via email, Carmel explained that the game is meant to be played "a little bit at a time" every day, rather than in long sittings. By checking in during the day, players can issue orders and participate in diplomatic or deceitful situations with others.
Carmel said that on a basic level, Subterfuge "plays out like a world domination game." Players move forces by sending subs between outposts around their territory.
"They can reinforce their defenses by sending forces to an outpost they already own, or try to take over outposts by sending forces to outposts that other players own," Carmel said. "Subs are slow and take a long time to travel between outposts, so even if I send a sub to the nearest outpost, it will still take at least 12 hours for it to arrive at its destination."
According to Carmel, Subterfuge's time scale helps open a space for players to talk with each other, form alliances and so on.
"This is the well from which the game derives its depth and why it's not really a world domination game in the same way that other games are," Carmel said. "Being a political game by nature, we're faced with the same design problems inherent in all political games, not the least of which is a whole group of problems that fall into to quality of life category. It might sound weird, but we actually want to take up as little of the player's time as possible and not reward players for spending inappropriate amounts of time on our game."
The idea is that players will have equal footing no matter how long they choose to play. The developer wants players to feel as though they don't need to constantly check in.
"We want to make sure that the player who checks the game five times a day for five minutes at a time is as engaged, and stands as much a chance of winning, as the person who spends five hours a day in-game, and wakes up three times per night to make sure they don't miss a beat," Carmel said.
Subterfuge has been in development for more than a year. A release date has not yet been announced for the game.