Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

Apparently Julian Gollop (the creator of many classic strategy games like X-Com: UFO Defense, Chaos, and Laser Squad) has just announced that his studio will be going forward with the development of a new game called Phoenix Point.

Very little has been revealed about this project thus far, other than that it will be "turn-based tactical combat - world based strategy". There is also a single teaser image, which appears to be the silhouette of some sort of monstrous insect-like creature with a human face.

The official website is here: http://www.phoenixpoint.info/

EDIT - They've been slowly but steadily releasing teaser updates lately, showcasing a variety of the strange alien creatures that will be featured in Phoenix Point. There's a definite aquatic theme, and it does appear that it's an "Alien Invasion" scenario set in a modern or near-future setting (as evidenced by the image of a rifle-armed human in one of the pictures).

All of the updates are added to the official website, generally including one piece of concept art and one caption with a small amount of new information. Although little is known about the game overall, each new update reveals another small bit about the game:

1) "They mutate to counter your tactics. Phoenix Point - Turn based tactics, world based strategy."

2) "Phoenix Point features large scale monsters. Your soldiers can target specific parts of a monster to achieve different effects. The Crab Queen has a black mist ejector in its abdomen. If it is disabled the queen will no longer be able to eject mist which summons reinforcements and gives them cover. Shooting out its face will send it into a blind frenzy, rendering it unable to direct attacks or movement."

3) "An alien mutated organism with human and crab elements combined to make a formidable close combat foe." (in reference to the crab-monster showcased in Teaser #3).

4) "The Fat One - A hideous beast, pregnant with a swarm of alien minions within it's belly." (in reference to the bloated monster showcasted in Teaser #4).
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

It's been a couple of months since Julian Gollop started teasing his new project, "Phoenix Point", and he just put up a new post on Linkedin. There's not much in the way of new info there, but it does state that Julian Gollop and Snapshot Games are currently looking for investors, publishers, and games journalists who can help with the project. They also note that SnapShot games will be in attendance at E3 next month.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/phoenix- ... ian-gollop

I also notice that the Phoenix Point website has been revamped again. It's sporting a new picture again, this time of a futuristic city built into the side of a mountain, overlooking a blasted landscape with a few insectoid monsters partially visible in the foreground.

It also looks like they removed the teaser images from last month, so I'll have to see if I can track them down again.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by sear »

Definitely intrigued, though without much more info there's not really much to say yet. :P
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

True, we don't know a whole lot about the game just yet. But even the sparse amount of details available have been enough to pique my interest. Julian Gollop plus classic X-Com strategy plus modernized gameplay all adds up to something I'd love to get my hands on. Just a shame that it sounds like they're still in the pre-production phase, because that means I likely won't get to play it until 2018 or so. ;P

Tracked down the teaser images again, since they were removed from Snapshot's official webpage. Each image shows concept art, mostly focusing on potential enemies that can be encountered in the game.

Teaser 1 (Unknown): https://gallery.mailchimp.com/a71adf141 ... a47aae.jpg

Teaser 2 (Crab Queen): https://gallery.mailchimp.com/a71adf141 ... 9b3afd.jpg

Teaser 3 (Crab Man): https://gallery.mailchimp.com/a71adf141 ... 1ece03.jpg

Teaser 4 (Fat One): https://gallery.mailchimp.com/a71adf141 ... ea414a.jpg
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by Ranger1 »

Julian will be at E3 this June trying to get publisher & media interest. Expect more info then.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Looks like the first official screenshot has now been released, with the promise of more during the official Phoenix Point presentation at E3 in two weeks.

http://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/e7ei5z ... 650-80.jpg

I tried finding a larger version of the picture, but unfortunately there don't seem to be any in circulation. Still, the picture is at least clear enough to pick out some decent details.

Obviously, this appears to be a human soldier wielding an assault rifle against a Crabman. Crabmen have already been confirmed as being one of the most basic "rank-and-file" of the monsters, though this particular one appears to have a human-made firearm grafted to it's arm in place of it's claw.

It's definitely worth noting that the Crabman has both a normal Hit Point bar, but also five smaller "location-based" Hit Point bars, each with a special effect for depleting health in that location. Disabling the right arm would disable the claw-based melee attack, while disabling the left arm would disable the Crabman's gun. Disabling the either leg would reduce the Crabman's movement by half, and presumably disabling both legs would immobilize it entirely. Disabling the Crabman's head would impair it's vision.

Each Hit Point bar also seems to have three color-coordinated segments, ranging from green to orange to red - possibly indicating that there are varying degrees of penalties as a creature becomes more and more wounded?

Aside from that, there are definitely some other basic details visible. The soldier's information is visible on the bottom-left of the screen, while the weapon details are visible in the bottom-right corner. I can't make out much in the way of the weapon details (aside from the fact that it seems to do 12 damage (10-14 against the Crabman), has 9 Range(?) and 7 Accuracy(?). It's also interesting to note that there are two other weapon icons to the left of the rifle's stats, which make it look like the soldier is also carrying a grenade launcher and a sniper rifle. That seems to imply that soldiers won't have predetermined class-based loadouts, like they do in the newer XCOM games.

I'm liking what I'm seeing so far. Can't wait for the official reveal at E3.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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And there we have it, the first major batch of information on Phoenix Point has been released. The bad news, first: It's slated for release in 2018, so we're going to be waiting a while.

You can see a whole bunch of details over in Rock Paper Shotgun's latest article:
https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/0 ... an-gollop/

The key points are as follows:
* The game is set in 2046, after an ecological event awakens a dormant alien disease in our oceans. This disease is represented by a strange black mist that is slowly engulfing the world, mutating anything it comes into contact with. As of the beginning of the game, the black mist has covered most of the oceans and is now starting to encroach on the land masses as well.

* The player starts the game with control of just one location, the settlement of Phoenix Point. This settlement only survived the black mists because of it's elevated position.

* There are other surviving settlements around the world, but they're under the control of other factions that have different ideologies about how to approach the black mist. They can fight, trade, or ally with both the player or each other.

* The three main NPC factions are Sanctuary (who believe they can use science to co-exist with the aliens), the Human League (who believe in removing the threat with overwhelming firepower), and Advena Domine (who are essentially alien-worshipping cultists). Each of these factions possess special resources and technologies that the player may otherwise never develop, and the player can acquire them peacefully through trade and alliance, or through force by raiding them. The player can raid Advena Domine settlements, for example, to claim the technology necessary to splice alien DNA into their own soldiers. There are multiple endings to the game, and certain endings can only be acquired if you make peace with certain factions.

* The global map is handled very similarly to the original X-Com games. Each settlement has a limited travel range based on the vehicles stationed there. As better vehicles are acquired, the travel range is increased, allowing the player to better reach points of interest. These points of interest most commonly consist of either "scavenging zones" where the player can find valuable supplies, or "attack zones" where the player needs to thin out growing numbers of alien biophorms before they start posing a threat to surrounding regions. Rival settlements will also appear on this map, allowing the player to raid them or reach out to them for diplomacy and trade.

* Much of the game's focus is on tactical turn-based combat, which takes place on procedurally generated tactical maps. This is handled similarly to the newer XCOM titles, but with added layers of complexity. Notably, the player will be able to target individual body parts, crippling their targets with well-placed attacks. One of the key aspects of combat against the alien biophorms is the black mist - which many of the larger biophorms will emit from certain growths on their body. This mist will conceal areas on the tactical map, making it hard to determine what threats lurk in that area, but the mist can be removed with certain technologies - or by destroying the growth that's emitting the mist.

* One of the new strategic elements to tactical battles is the "tactical deck". When battle maps are procedurally generated, a number of "strategic points" will be scattered across them. These points represent things like important vantage points, control points, or alien resources. Taking control of these points during a battle will allow the player to draw and play cards from the "tactical deck", providing temporary bonuses to their soldiers or temporarily penalizing the biophorms.

* Much like the tactical battle maps, the biophorms themselves are procedurally generated(!). When a new campaign starts, the biophorms that the player encounters will primarily consist of heavily mutated ocean creatures such as fish, crabs, sharks, and octopi. However, as the game progresses, the mist will begin to flood over various land masses, mutating the local animals and adding them to the "procedural biophorm pool". As a result, tactical battles in different geographical regions will result in the player encountering completely different types of mutated animals. A battle in African savannah may see the player fighting against mutated lions and elephants, while a battle in Mexico might see the player fighting mutated packs of wolves or lizards.

* On top of the mix-and-matched species components, the alien biophorms will also evolve based on how the player handles them. If the player makes heavy use of a particular tactic, then it will increase the chance that the biophorms they encounter in the future will be specifically adapted to counter that tactic. A player who makes heavy use of long-range sniper fire, for example, may find that the biophorms start developing their own long-range weaponry or thick shield-like carapaces. If a player significantly alters their battlefield strategy, it may end up significantly changing the types of biophorms they encounter in the future.

* Alien biophorms range wildly in size. Some are as "small" as a human, but others can be much larger. Pictures have already shown some biophorms that are the size of small buildings, and one of the new pictures from E3 shows a spider-like biophorm so large that it almost takes up an entire helipad.

* Humans are pretty versatile too. The player's soldiers will be fully customizable. There will be character classes, but the classes won't be as the ones presented in the more recent XCOM games. The player will have a large amount of control over equipment loadouts, allowing them to use different mixes of weaponry, as well as various types of armor, enhancements, and even robotic drones.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

Phoenix Point has moved into full-fledged production now, and Snapshot Games just released their first big update of the year. There's a decent amount of new information in circulation.

First up, there's a new teaser trailer available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA8qUfUd25s

The trailer mostly consists of past promotional images, but it notably includes a brand new atmospheric music clip - which was composed by John Broomhall. John Broomhall is the composer who created all of the music for the classic X-Com games, and he's now officially part of the team working on Phoenix Point.

Aside from that, Snapshot Games reports that they now have working systems in place for the tactical battle system, AI, and alien mutations. They're now working on the geoscape design and large-scale monsters. We can expect to see more frequent updates from them in the next few months.

Phoenix Point is tentatively slated for release in 2018.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

Julian Gollop has just recently started an AMA thread over on the Reddit boards. Lots of interesting info and insight there, from the man himself.

https://www.reddit.com/r/PhoenixPoint/c ... point_ask/

Some of the general highlights of the discussion so far, all of them quoted directly from Mr. Gollop.

On the game in general: "Phoenix Point has several standout features - such as procedurally generated aliens, large scale monsters. However, I think the biggest difference is in how the world works. Phoenix Point is definitely more 4X-like - with exploration, discovery, expansion, diplomacy. The human factions are just as important as the aliens. They have resources, tech - and secrets - which would be valuable to you. I am taking some inspiration from X-COM Apocalypse here - but applied to a world scale. The aliens and human factions would do stuff - events would happen - even if the player doesn't intervene. This is something I have been wanting to implement in a game for a long time. I am also really happy about the modern Lovecraftian vibe the writing team are creating."

On the combat system: "The current system we have is something a bit in between. There is an implicit AP system, but the presentation looks like the modern Firaxis XCOM with an 'action zone' and a 'dash zone'. The action zone may be bigger or smaller depending on the weapon or equipment chosen. Your moves can be interrupted on spotting an enemy or taking a hit - and you can react as you see fit. A major feature of the system that a character's 'willpower' rating gives you will points, which you spend on certain special actions. There is also a hit location system with disabling wounds to different parts of the body having different effects. This is quite cool actually - especially when you shoot an alien's gun or shield of its wounded arm."

On alien evolution: "Our current idea is to effectively have a dynamic difficulty system that somewhat reflects how evolution works. If the player humiliates the aliens, this will cause them to generate new mutations. On the other hand if the aliens are doing well with a particular mutation they will deploy more of them - until the player learns how to deal with them. There will be an element of randomness in the mutation side, so it won't be very predictable. We will, of course, be testing this thoroughly."

On factions: "Relationship will change according to many events and action (or inaction) by the player. Formal alliances can be made, but require obligations - especially to defend havens belonging to the allied faction. You will face a problem if you have two allies that start fighting each other. You will have to chose one side or the other if you are going to maintain any alliances. In some cases you may want to take something from a faction by force, and there will be long term consequences. It will be a dynamic system that reflects each factions objectives and concerns."

On soldier management: "There are classes, and also multi-classing for soldiers (currently 3 basic classes and 5 specialist classes). There will be an RPG system with skill trees. Yes, they will have an inventory. Not decided what restrictions we are putting on squad sizes yet. It will be randomly generated soldiers, as in XCOM." "Yes, there will be extensive visual customisation options - and like XCOM you will be able to save character to a character pool."

On randomly generated tactical maps: "We will have a generated map system similar to XCOM 2 (and for that matter similar to the original X-COM). I know what you are talking about with faux-variety, as you put it, of XCOM 2. I think this affected the city maps more than the wilderness ones (which I liked better). In XCOM 2 the 'plots' (which defined the layouts for the main elements) were fixed (which meant the roads were fixed). Maybe there was not enough variety in those. Modding is something we want to do, but it is quite a big thing to support, and will depend on funding."

On save-scumming: "We haven't made any decisions on this yet. I don't think PC games will be happy without a save scumming system though. If we allowed saves, there would be an iron man mode as well."

On soldier survivability: "Yes, you are right about the firefights in XCOMs - you need to hit the enemy with overwhelming force before they get a chance to attack. Phoenix Point definitely isn't working the same way. Your soldiers are a bit more durable, and when hit points are reduced to zero the soldier is considered alive but unconscious. He/she can survive the mission, although he/she will be out of action for a while. There is a wound system that can disable a leg or arm during battle which can be a serious setback. A marksmen can target specific body parts of enemies."
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Snapshot Games recently circulated a poll asking fans what elements of game design they felt were most important for a turn-based tactical strategy game like Phoenix Point, and the results are in! In order from highest to lowest priority:

1. Good AI. (92%)
2. Large variety of mission objectives. (88%)
3. Destructible environments. (88%)
4. The mutation/evolution system. (84%)
5. Multi-level terrain. (84%)
6. Large variety of weapons and equipment. (82%)
7. Interesting story elements and plot twists. (80%)
8. Procedurally generated battlefields. (80%)
9. Base defense missions. (80%)
10. Extensive skill trees. (80%)
11. Other factions to interact with. (76%)
12. Detailed resource system and economy. (76%)
13. Realistic hit probabilities for shooting. (76%)
14. Wounding system that can disable body parts. (74%)
15. Detailed geoscape, ala X-Com. (74%)
16. Huge monsters. (74%)
17. Modding support. (72%)
18. Inventory management in battles. (70%)
19. Multiple bases or outposts around the world. (70%)
20. Modern Lovecraftian style. (70%)
21. Stealth system and stealth abilities. (68%)
22. Robotic units like drones, mechs, or mini-tanks. (68%)
23. Large squad sizes (more than 8). (66%)
24. Time Unit system instead of 2-Action system. (64%)
25. Less RNG dependence than modern XCOM. (64%)
26. Detailed air interception system. (64%)
27. Soldier class system instead of open-ended soldier development. (52%)
28. Co-op multiplayer. (48%)
29. Pod activation system similar to modern XCOM. (48%)
30. Controller support. (38%)
31. PvP multiplayer. (34%)
32. Console support. (32%)

And Julian Gollop had the following to say about the results of the poll:

"Good AI tops the poll, and this is slightly, but pleasantly, surprising. For me it is always important, but I also want enemies to have distinct behavioural traits and a bit of unpredictability (i.e. randomness) thrown in.

A large variety of mission objectives comes second, and this is understandable. This is one of the key mechanisms which can make missions interesting over the long stretch of a campaign. I also want missions to have a meaningful context in the wider, strategic level of the game - and I want them to have their own unique stories. It’s a tall order, but clearly a high priority.

Fully destructible environments rank 3 in importance. It’s great to know that people still want to blow stuff to bits. I was a little disappointed that in XCOM 2 I could barely raze one building to the ground with a squad of grenadiers. I want to see structures toppled crushing monsters beneath them. I want enemy cover obliterated. I want mass destruction to be a possible strategy - at least in some situations. Bring it on.

At number 4 the mutation system for the aliens is a key new and unique feature, so I am pleased that this is rated so highly. But, as they say, the devil is in the details. We have a basic system working already and it is already proving interesting. However, we found that it is important to convey visually in some way all the key abilities that an alien may have, and to let the player get used to a certain type before mutation occurs. You will be able to name the alien mutant variants yourself, by the way, which can help with your battle field assessments e.g. the next time you come across ‘vomiting b*****d’ you know not to get too close to it.

Multi-level terrain at number 5 is a mild surprise, especially given the difficulty of navigating a more vertically complex map. We will have to strike a balance between interesting topology and usability here. Good level design is key.

For the 6th most important feature It’s great to see value attached to interesting story elements and plot twists - and you can be assured that with the extensive world building we have been doing with our writing team (Jonas and Allen) you will not be disappointed on this score.

It’s nice to see base defence missions ranked high at number 9. I missed this with the new XCOMs. In Phoenix Point your bases can be attacked by other human factions, not just aliens. Furthermore, the aliens will steal technology from you and other human factions. This should spice things up a bit.

Pleasantly surprising for me was the desire to have a more detailed economic system. Phoenix Point has some distinct 4X like elements to the strategic side of the game. The human factions gather resources, build structures, establish new havens, build tech and enter into alliances. From the player’s point of view, exploration, resources and diplomacy are important. I am very excited by developments in this part of the game.

The bottom end of the table reveals that you clearly want the focus to be on a PC based, single player experience. It would definitely be wise of us to place our limited resources in this direction."
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

It appears that Julian Gollop and the folks at Snapshot Games have decided to go ahead and run a Fig campaign to gather investors and crowdfunding pledges. The campaign is live already, but only if you were subscribed to the Phoenix Point newsletter - in which case you'll receive a "back stage" invitation to pledge early. The campaign will be going public in twelve hours.

The campaign includes some nice new info about the game, including a trailer that shows off more gameplay, numerous new screenshots, several new details about the game setting and mechanics, and a tentative release date (late 2018).

There are numerous rewards being offered for various tiers, mostly covering the usual array of goods you'd expect from a Kickstarter campaign. For better or worse, this includes some in-game items that are exclusive to the Fig campaign (a cosmetic "Alien Chitin" armor and weapon set) which is available at $50 and up. Early access is planned for October of this year, and is available at $50 and up. The basic physical collector's edition is available at $105, with fancier versions available at $250 and $500.

The Fig campaign is aiming for a fairly modest goal of $500k. The campaign hasn't even officially started yet, and they're already sitting at $65k.

Personally, I've already locked myself in at the $50 tier. I would have gone higher, but I just can't really justify more clutter, given that my gaming room is already overflowing with "collectible" trinkets. Still, this is a project I'm tremendously enthusiastic about, and easily my most anticipated game of 2018 (thus far).

I'll update this post with a link to the Fig campaign once it's open to the public later today.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Is anything said about paypal pledgeds?
Will it be available as soon as Phoenix Point has reached its goal?
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Godfather101 wrote: April 25th, 2017, 12:53 am Is anything said about paypal pledgeds?
Will it be available as soon as Phoenix Point has reached its goal?
I don't see anything about it on the current version of the campaign page, but there's a disclaimer informing me that it's not the "final" version of the campaign page. They might add that information when the campaign goes live later today.

But I've gone ahead and asked about it in the Comments section, and later I'll ask about it on the Reddit AMA thread as well. Hopefully I can find out. :)

EDIT - As an aside, the Fig campaign is now live:
https://www.fig.co/campaigns/phoenix-point#about
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by sear »

Backed!
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

Official word from Julian Gollop is that they're currently "looking into" accepting donations directly through PayPal. Nothing firmly stated, but it sounds promising for folks who don't want to use Fig/Stripe.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by Godfather101 »

Okay, thanks for the info Saga!
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Backed.
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

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Day Two, and Phoenix Point has reached $342k in funding - more than halfway toward their fairly modest goal.

They just released the first Campaign Update today, showcasing a few news articles that are promoting the game around the web. The update also talks a bit about the alien concept models (with a pretty cool shark-alien concept picture), gives a bit more information about the soldiers you'll be controlling in the game, and gives a bit more information about one of the in-game factions.

https://www.fig.co/campaigns/phoenix-po ... 55#updates
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by Woolfe »

Damn that looks good.

I wonder how they are managing squads. I actually really dislike the 4 man squad thing.... It has become a pet peeve of mine... Illogically so.

I am curious as to whether they will make it more fluid. IE. You have a 4 man vehicle, then you can take 4 men. You have a 10 man vehicle, then 10. Or better yet, 2 4 man vehicles, you can take 8 men. Or split them into 2 teams in different locations.... etc...

I think I am going to back this....
It's not too late. Make it Eight!
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Re: Julian Gollop's "Phoenix Point"

Post by SagaDC »

Woolfe wrote: April 26th, 2017, 6:21 pmI wonder how they are managing squads. I actually really dislike the 4 man squad thing.... It has become a pet peeve of mine... Illogically so.
You might be misinterpreting there. Four is the minimum number of soldiers you can take on a mission, not the maximum. From Gollop's statements elsewhere, I get the impression that you can indeed bring along larger squads as you invest in more or larger vehicles. :)

I can't state that with absolute certainty, but it's worth noting that in the the recent poll Snapshot Games did, they specifically asked players about whether they wanted "larger squad sizes (more than 8 soldiers)", and it got a 66% positive response (though to be fair it did end up pretty low on the overall priority list). At the very least, that seems to indicate that their plans will at least allow for "standard" squads of between 4 to 8 soldiers.
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