An Interview with Cubical Drift about upcoming game, Planets³ — Lookout Minecraft
What do you get when you cross Minecraft, some Kerbal Space Program, and Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts? You might get a game that looks oddly enough like Planets³ <planetscube> — a first development effort by fledgling studio, Cubical Drift. Planets³ is less an open world crafting simulator and more a directed Sci-Fi RPG that gleefully wears its influences on its pixelated sleeves.
Gameaspect had the chance to interview Michael Thomazeau, the project director of Planets³ and CEO of Cubical Drift, about the future of Planets³, the hurdles that they face in the years before a final release of of their game, and the difference between Planets³ and its predecessors
GameAspect — Voxel based gaming has been around for a while, long before Minecraft, but it’s difficult to think of a Voxel based game that has had the medium defining influence like Minecraft. What does Planets³ draw its influence from and how different is this experience from other sandbox Voxel based games?
Cubical Drift — Planets³ is not a sandbox game, it’s an RPG. And it’s an RPG based on a voxel world.
You will have a complete story from the start of the game to the end of the story. There will be NPCs, with their own stories, which will follow you during all your adventure, helping you to progress. There will be a simple but deep craft system. Construction will even take part in the story.
Secondly, its art will be different; the multiple block shapes allow real diversity of creation. As you can see in the concept art, it is really something else.
And third: we are in space!
GA — Besides Voxel gaming, space exploration games have been given a second wind from Kickstarter and other crowd-funding websites. What is it that makes space exploration such a compelling and enduring theme in video games and why does it work for Planets³?
CD — I think that space in the next step of human exploration; we are only at the beginning of that.
So being able to play games that drive players into space is really answering some of this exploration desire.
And of course Planets³ will allow that, travel from planets to planets to resolve universe mysteries.
GA — With these open-world/sandbox style games, gamers will want to be able to create and manipulate the game in a direct way. Does player modding become important for the longevity and future creativity of Planets³?
CD — Yes, absolutely! We will deliver a first “version” of the game. But we want players to customize as many aspect of the game as they want. Thanks to “modding”, Planets³ will continue to live for many years.
GA — Vehicles and extra-solar travel seem to be an important aspect of Planets³: how does the development team handle the physics of each cubical world, the vehicles on them, and the space in between worlds?
CD — As you may know, we are only at the beginning of the development, and the physical engine is not yet implemented. This will be our next challenge. What we want to do is to create a vehicle system as realistic as possible. There will be collision and destruction of vehicles blocks depending on what you do with them! An example of realism: to maximize the speed and the longevity of your vehicles you will need to build a flat long road.
GA — Will there be an ability to take creatures, people, etc., from one planet and bring them to another? Does evolution change or vary from planet to planet?
CD — Players will be able to do that, but perhaps not in the first opus.
Planets will be different from each other’s by their landscape and wildlife. Some of them will even force you to be in a special condition (in a protective suit for example) to be able to run through them.
GA — Cubical Drift is a fairly new gaming studio, brought up during the age of Kickstarter. How will you maintain your development studio after the release of Planets³ and what can a young start up development studio learn from crowd-funded development?
CD — Yes we are a small team and we created the studio in October.
We have 7 years of development planned only with Planets³. We have some many ideas to implement, so many platforms to approach.
But we have ideas for others games too, but we will focus on Planets³ for the moment.
GA — With a final release of Planets³ slated for 2017 preceded by intermittent alpha and beta releases, what will you do to keep Planets3 relevant in the minds of gamers for the next 3 years?
CD — There will be the first opus release end of 2015, named “Race to Space”. It will be a complete game and it will allow players to appreciate the first features of the “Planets³ project”. This first opus will be restricted to a unique solar system, and the story will end in suspense, but this is really a complete and viable game. Then the second opus, “Space enemies” will end the story, adding more new features.
GA — An exciting development for Planets³ is your early discussion of multiplayer functionality. While PvP will be an option, your push for a Cooperative game world is very exciting. How will you facilitate the process to make a cohesive cooperative world in Planets³?
CD — Planets³ will ask a lot from the players. You will need to “harvest” a lot of resources to research new items or build structure or vehicles; you will need to run through a lot of enemies. The game will be more fun and much easier when playing with friends; some dungeons will be very hard if played alone.
And as the players can choose their fighting style, being a group will also make combat easier.
GA — How does Planets³ separate itself when it comes to crafting and design in a Voxel based game? How can vehicle, weapon, house, etc., design be any different than your competitors.
CD — The creative members of the team make a lot of efforts to have an original design for our game, and I think that what we see in the concept arts is really different from what our competitors have.
Our craft system (item or in game vehicles creation) is really different from what our competitors created too. And we hope players will like it!