While at E3 2016, I had a chance to sit down with Garret AJ, the Art Director of Perihelion Interactive, to preview the developer's upcoming title The Mandate. This ambitious title aims to put players square in the midst of an intergalactic mess as the captain of their own ship. The Mandate's plot centers on the Imperial Dynasty, currently at the brink of civil war with a rebellion ready to begin any second. The Grand Fleet, under the command of the Empress herself, has gone missing, and the leading lady has seen fit to pull you, a disgraced and imprisoned captain, out of prison in the hopes of finding the fleet. Once freed, you are given command of your own ship and free rein of the galaxy.
The Mandate will seamlessly combine both aspects of RPG and RTS into the singular title. Crew leveling, upgrading your modular ship, and adventuring around the galaxy will play heavily into the storied RPG elements of the game. Space combat and boarding actions, however, will fall more in line with the RTS portion of the game and will take place in different views and screens. Boarding actions, for example, will even take place on an entirely separate map representing the ship in question while your units are members of your crew sent over to take the ship.
Garret explained the goals of Perihelion were to change up gamers' approach to the space RPG, changing our focus from solely being on the captain and his ship to spreading it around to the crew themselves. Marking the game as entirely different, the crew acts as the captain's "skills" so to speak, and with each rank, they gain in their respective positions, the stronger your captain and ship are as a result. Increasing the security officer's rank will help in boarding actions while the science officer may get bonuses to research and more. In doing this, the developers hope to create a stronger bond between you and crew, making it a true impact when one of them falls in battle.
Helping create a deep atmosphere and draw you in further will be the ability to dive really in and manage different aspects of your ship and starbase. There are five factions represented within the game, each with its unique design and feel. These factions will influence your ship and starbase's overall design and style within the game. On top of leveling your crew as well, there are five separate classes of ships, each with their three-piece modular system. This not only allows you to upgrade your crew and officer capacity but radically change your ships around to match your play style. If you want a heavy hitter ship, but like to keep a solid distance between you and the enemy, it is possible to gear your ship towards that. Alternatively, it is possible to go head first with a battering ram prow meant to rip into enemy ships.
I'll admit the game's scope, feel, and look impressed me. I did not see much in terms of actual gameplay, but based on the description, videos, and images I saw I am definitely looking forward to this title. This ambitious space-focused RPG initially began as a Kickstarter title with a release timeframe of Q1 2012, so it was a bit surprising to see the title at E3 this year. However, in speaking with Garret, the sole aim of the developers is to deliver a full and complete title, so development has gone slower than anticipated. However, that is not to say it is not happening. The team is hoping to see an alpha sometime early next year.