If you're making a game, I suppose that means you're allowed to call it whatever you like. I suppose that also means you can change the name of the game whenever it suits you. That's what Mode 7 has done: fed up with what it believes is a "rubbish" name, it's decided Frozen Endzone is now Frozen Cortex. Another motivation for the name change is to shrug off the Madden connotations of 'Endzone'.
If you took all the pomp and spectacle out of American Football and boil it down to a few key moments, you'd have Frozen Endzone (or a Melted Endzone, if you're being pedantic). You'd also need to randomise the pitch and player positions, make it turn-based, and add robots, but the shoulder pads, balls, and tactical tosses are ripped straight from the playbook.
Playing Frozen Endzone is like watching a coach's game-changing scrawl come to life: each game begins with two teams of five facing off on a randomised pitch of high and low walls, with the attackers running down the screen to the Endzone. Each bot on the field is controlled by placing waypoints for them to follow, drawing out routes through the series of random walls the game generates. Depending on the side, you're either hoping to set-up a glorious series of snaps that'll end with a touchdown, or positioning players to arrest the attacking team's goal charge.
Sport, up to now, has been dangerously lacking in bi-pedal robots. This seems like a big failure, given that bi-pedal robots aren't going to demand massive salaries, drunkenly assault clubgoers, or spend the majority of their time filming adverts for razorblades. As role models go, they're pretty much perfect. In this sense Frozen Endzone is depicting a utopia: one where automated athletes do battle, all without ever feeling the need to spit on the pitch.
Minecon wasn’t only about Minecraft. Mojang were good enough to invite along the bright lights of the indie dev scene to give a series of inspiring, funny lectures, describing how they got into the business and what they’ve learnt along the way.
Taking to the stage in chronological order: Hello Games, purveyors of deceptively chirpy stunt-biking game Joe Danger; C418, Minecraft’s maestro of electronica; Introversion, creators of Uplink, Darwinia and the tremendously tempting crowdfunded clink-sim, Prison Architect; Suspicious Developments, aka Tom Francis, aka maker of Gunpoint, aka PC Gamer writer, aka man sitting two metres two my right as I type this and looking rather dashing too, I might add; Mike Bithell, the dev behind clever platformer Thomas Was Alone; and Mode 7, creators of simultaneous turnbased-tactics masterpiece Frozen Synapse.
Hit the jump for the videos of each talk, and watch out for our PCG-helmed indie dev round-table which we'll publish in the next few days.
Frozen Synapse developer Paul Taylor, from Mode 7, wrote a "mini-postmortem" at Games Brief on how business and design considerations influenced the game's development and marketing. He explains why Mode 7 gambled on a higher price point (for an indie game) and discusses how Frozen Synapse is at once limited by being pay-once, but how it would likely fail as a free-to-play game.
He writes, "Pay-once is the most maligned business model out there right now: I would suggest that even the most hardcore entrenched old-school developers have been won round by the raw data that free-to-play games have generated, so pay-once is in decline."
However, he also points out that a game like Frozen Synapse does not lend itself to F2P, and that Synapse's target audience of hardcore gamers is "averse" to F2P models. He also admits that designing for "pay once" let Mode 7 design a game that was "not based around restricting the player's access to content."
The simultaneous turn-based strategy game, Frozen Synapse is finally getting a full release this Thursday after a long beta period. It will be available to buy on Steam, Matrix games and on Mode 7's Frozen Synapse site. The game's still available to pre-order right up to the Thursday release date at the price of £16.99 / $25.99. Pre-ordering will get you an extra copy of the game to gift to a friend.
The game has two players controlling small squads of fighters in a neon blue arena. Orders are issued to each team in five second chunks. Once all of the commands are given, the result plays out, men are shot, walls are exploded and it's back to the strategic view to adjust your strategy for round two. It's a fast and extremely tense take on your traditional turn based strategy. There's a full single player mode, too, with more than fifty missions. It's rather good. Check out our Frozen Synapse preview for more information.
RPS have news that Frozen Synapse now has a 55 mission single player campaign, available to everyone involved in the beta. The missions will challenge players to "escort VIP’s, assassinate nefarious scientists, rob banks, conduct honey-trap operations and defend confused philosophers."
Everyone who has pre-ordered the game will have access to the beta, and by startling co-incidence, the developers have just announced a pre-order sale that knocks 30% off the price. Every purchase of Frozen Synapse also comes with an extra free copy that you can give to a friend.
Frozen Synapse is a multiplayer turn-based tactical combat game set in a destructible neon world. It's not your typical strategy game. There are no bases or build orders, it's just your tiny squad, a hidden enemy, and some rocket launchers. It's a tense and brutal take on turn based strategy, and it's coming to Steam early next year. Here's why you should be excited.