I’m Tom Ivey, the design lead on Armature Studio’s new multiplayer space shooter, Dead Star on PS4. Today’s an exciting day for everyone on our team here at Armature. We’re finally able to reveal our game to the PlayStation community!
Start Small, Dream Big
In November of 2013, three developers inside Armature came together to begin work on a new game prototype. Huddled together in a corner of the studio, we only had a few computers and a basic goal: build a fun, fast, arcade-style multiplayer space shooter.
We wanted combat to feel exciting and engaging: scout ships zipping in and out of asteroid fields, raiders appearing from cloak to strike at the enemy, and frigates bombarding the area with missile fire. In order to ensure that a player’s skill and strategic choices were paramount to success, we adopted a top-down perspective for the game and focused hard on keeping the controls simple and responsive.
Very quickly we had a solid framework: a demo that captured those moments unique to a multiplayer experience — people yelling and moaning and cheering all across the office as they won, lost, or made that one-in-a-million shot. With our core gameplay locked down, we began expanding our tiny demo into a full-fledged universe.
Welcome to the Wastes
In the world of Dead Star, any citizen who violates the law of the galaxy is banished to the Wastes: a black void of scorched metal and irradiated rock a hundred light-years from habitable space. At the center of this prison-space sits the Dead Star, a massive red giant corrupted by dark antimatter.
Life in the Wastes is a constant battle for survival, a war between psychopaths and criminals fighting over whatever scraps of technology they can find floating in the remnants of the centuries-old battlefields. As if this existence wasn’t miserable enough, now the Dead Star has begun collapsing upon itself, threatening to go supernova and annihilate every living thing within a dozen light-years.
When you first start playing Dead Star, your pilot has just been exiled to the Wastes. In our primary game mode, you’ll fight over control of the prison, earning fame and rewards based on actions you perform in battle. Your skills in combat will determine whether you die in a blast of laser fire or gain infamy as the galaxy’s greatest pilot.
As we expanded the dramatic universe of Dead Star, we also expanded the core game systems to include modern twists on the genre. We focused on three primary goals for the game:
- Support many unique play styles: Dead Star offers a variety of ships, each with unique abilities that can be unlocked and upgraded on the fly within a match. The game also provides multiple roles in combat, from defensive positions like mining and base upgrading, to offensive roles like long-range scouting and control-point capture.
- Create strategic variation: Instead of providing a limited set of static maps with known strategies, Dead Star’s procedural map generation system creates multiple randomized scenarios every match, then lets players vote where the battle takes place!
- Add the “Whaaaaaaat? Factor”: With Dead Star, we’re trying something a little crazy. In our to-be-announced game mode, we allow players to dynamically impact live, ongoing player matches in a unique and exciting way.
In the coming months, we’ll reveal more details on these and many other features, unveiling the mysteries behind our new game mode and giving you a behind-the-scenes look at Dead Star’s systems.
For now, I hope you enjoyed this short glimpse at the game, and I look forward to fighting alongside you in Dead Star on PS4!