In May we released the latest version of Eternal Escape. Now we will take this as an opportunity to compare our game with other turn-based tactical games. The games we have chosen are:
Valkyria Chronicles, Mutant Year Zero, XCom 2, Jagged Alliance 2, Wasteland 2
As this is a longer blog post, we divided the article into six parts. Please understand that we can not deal with all topics, this is just to give you a first insight we will compare other points in similar posts in the future. If you have burning topics, please write in the comments, we will clarify them in the next article.
In contrast to the games mentioned, we divide Eternal Escape into several episodes with an approximate playing time of 10 hours. You will be able to play any episode without any prior knowledge and still easily get into the overall story.
Eternal Escape is a singleplayer game and will be available on numerous platforms, including PC and the latest consoles. However, the game will not be available on mobile phone or tablet but can be played on the road with the Nintendo Switch. There will also be different levels of difficulty for all types of players, from beginners to veterans.
In order to create a replay value in our game, there will be some customizable gameplay modifications that will enrich or complement replaying. We also want to give the completionists among the players a long-term motivation with challenges, item collections, and achievements of all sorts.
2. Gameplay – Tactical missions
As far as tactical mission gameplay is concerned, Eternal Escape has the most similarities to Jagged Alliance 2 and XCom 2.
At the beginning of a mission, the player has the possibility to set up a squad consisting of up to 8 Characters. Outside of the battle, the missions run in real time allowing the player to roam around and explore freely, resembling stealth games like Commandos or Shadow Tactics. Stealth mechanics give you the opportunity to gain an edge, for example, by expanding your view distance or sneaking up and silently killing enemies. As soon as the combat mode is activated or the player is discovered by an opponent, the mode changes to the typical turn-based sequence.
Each character has a different amount of action points that he can spend on skills, items or basic actions.
One difference with Jagged Alliance 2 is that Eternal Escape and XCom 2 do not have different hit zones. Targeting certain areas of the opponent's body will not be possible. However, debuffs like hits to the hand, for example, can be caused, by equipping skills with equivalent effects.
The characters will also be able to exchange items with each other during combat.
Plus, it's worth exploring maps completely because you can find alternate paths, items, blueprints, or resources to upgrade weapons and armor. You will also have the possibility to return to a map at a later time to explore them, because enemies, items, and resources can respawn.
3. Gameplay - Strategy map
When you travel from one point to the next on the map, you may experience random events such as fights, traders, etc., in the same manner as Wasteland 2 has it. Dynamic squad compilation, skills, and item assignments allow you to customize your group for the upcoming mission. There will also be specific character skills which are useful on the strategy map.
As with XCom 2, time is the most important resource in Eternal Escape. It is mainly responsible for micromanagement on the strategy layer. As a result, players may decide to make or improve an item at the workbench, or they may prefer to go on another mission that would otherwise be unavailable. On the map, unlike Wasteland 2, you move indirectly on a "path network" between the missions. In the first episode, we don't have any enemy movement on this map but we are planning to implement this in the following episodes.
4. Camera/ Character / Controls / Misc
The main character in Eternal Escape must be present in every mission and therefore will not be allowed to die. To assist him, you can supplement the group with characters from the squad pool before each mission. The squad pool is made up of people who can be recruited during missions, for example, through quests. The first episode will have a total of 20 recruitable characters.
The tactical missions have a third-person view, similar to Valkyria Chronicles, but can be switched to Top Down for a better overview. On the strategy map, there will be a networked prison which is shown in a top-down view.
Eternal Escape is played via mouse and keyboard. A gamepad control for consoles is also already implemented and is constantly improved and build upon.
Since we want to offer a high level of complexity and individuality, the HUD will be very customizable. Each HUD element can be switched on or off. There will be several visual aids as well as formulas and other advanced metrics that can be viewed if necessary.
The story plays an important role in Eternal Escape. You will have to make decisions that can influence the story. Each side character has its own story and motivation, which you can figure out through trigger events in the course of the game. This will also strengthen the loyalty of the side characters to the main character. The main plot of Eternal Escape is of course about the main character. Nevertheless, the side characters in the squad lead conversations, which can contribute to the understanding of the events taking place in the world of Eternal Escape. In addition, there is indirect storytelling, such as audio-log, which brings the player closer to the world in which he finds himself. Many of these mechanics were recently used in Mutant Year Zero.
6. World-Setting / Music / Audio / Video / Text / Mods
The setting of Eternal Escape is science fiction with cyberpunk elements. For this reason, supernatural abilities in terms of futuristic technique will be an element of the game.
The squad member will respond to statements in the tactical missions with appropriate vocal sounds as you know them from other games in this genre. The present use of music is not final. We will still adapt it to the setting. At the moment, no localized, as well as rendered cutscenes are planned, but the game text, as well as the menus, will be translated into different languages.
One last thing, Eternal Escape will also offer community mod support.