Last week we kicked off the series of developer diaries for Supernova, the highly anticipated second add-on for our epic sci-fi shooter Galaxy on Fire 2™ for iPhone and iPad, by giving you some first-hand insight into the design of the new logo. Today we wanna fill you in on the backstory of the new expansion pack and let you know more about the enthralling new adventure that awaits the reckless fighter pilot Keith T. Maxwell in Supernova™! In order to do so, we’ve sent a bunch of questions over to Bernie Duffy from Dublin, Ireland, who is our guest writer for the Galaxy on Fire 2™ – Supernova installment. Bernie studied filmmaking at Purchase College in New York and worked in various capacities in film and theater for over a decade before making the move into games five years ago. He believes himself to be at the fore of a creative mass-migration from the film industry into games. Bernie is also a space-opera nut, which may be reflected in some of the new GOF material. Since he came up with some very detailed answers, the following interview should be a mandatory read for all iOS-pilots! Hope you enjoy it![full]
Fishlabs: Could you give us a very brief synopsis of the Supernova story? What is the new add-on all about and why would you say that it’s Keith T. Maxwell’s biggest adventure to date?
Bernie Duffy: As the title suggests, this new story involves a cataclysmic stellar event which shakes things up in a Midorian system, displacing millions and creating fresh border tensions with the neighbouring Nivelians. While Keith is engaged in humanitarian missions to extract refugees from the affected areas, he is asked to become an emissary to the Nivelians to negotiate peace and aid. This leads to unexpected intrigues and deceptions, as the sector becomes increasingly hostile in the chaos of the disaster.
This could be Keith’s greatest challenge so far, as besides walking a fine political line, and coping with the deteriorating affects of intense gamma rays, he must now tackle an unknown and powerful stealth enemy intent on making the most of the bad situation.
FL: While Galaxy on Fire 3D focussed on the conflict between the Terrans and the Vossk and Galaxy on Fire 2 set all four factions up against a devious new enemy of unknown origin, the next add-on Supernova will put the long-lasting struggle between the Nivelian Republic and the Midorian rebels into the centre of the attention. Why did you decide to shift the action to the Mido sector this time?
BD: Everybody involved in story development felt that the Midorians needed a fuller explanation. As the youngest and most vulnerable faction in the GOF universe, recently created from the Nivelian Civil War, we wanted to level the playing field for them somewhat, give them a chance to break out and prove themselves. This, however, turned out to be a literal trial by fire… and the verdict is still not out!
The Midorians embody many noble traits which we 21st Century humans would find admirable. They are go-it-aloners, multi-racial and resourceful, out to make their stake on the new frontier. Their freedom means more to them than anything. It is these qualities which endear the born-adventurer Keith to them, and brings him to their aid in their ordeal. But whether Keith succeeds in his efforts is ultimately up to the player.
FL: In Supernova, politics and diplomacy are as much a part of the story as space battles and skirmishes. In what way do you think do these aspects make for a deeper and all the more enthralling back story?
BD: It’s risky introducing political thriller elements into an action game, and by no means do we want to detract from the gameplay. Balance in plot development was key to this new turn, but it is something that we hope players will appreciate in the end. Our hero, Keith, has such a galactic reputation at this stage that it only seemed the next logical step that he should be able to use these credentials as leverage in negotiations between the various factions. Contacts he has made in previous episodes may since have even graduated to positions of greater influence, while his non-aligned status allows him to navigate the disparate corridors of power.
The Supernova storyline should offer an overall insight into how the various frontier societies operate, and how their inter-relations may shape their futures.
FL: Are there any particular mysteries, plot holes or cliffhangers from the previous instalments of the GOF-saga, which Supernova is going to unravel, solve or bring to a conclusion?
BD: Well, I wouldn’t want to reveal too much, but we did look to wrap up some loose ends from the previous episodes. I think I will be cautious with this question and keep my lips sealed until closer to the release date!
FL: Could you tell us a little bit about the characters of Supernova without giving away too much at such an early point of time? Which old friends or foes will the players meet again in the second add-on? And who are the most striking new characters, whose acquaintance they are going to make in Supernova?
BD: Love interest Carla Paolini remains a significant figure, although some strain is beginning to show in her relationship with Keith as their desires for the future begin to diverge. Brent Snocom has risen to the top of Terran Fleet, and acts as an important liaison for Keith. Our favourite multipod, Mkkt Bkkt, has resumed operations somewhere in the galaxy, although finding him will be tricky! Khador is still the wiz of Deep Science, but a new arrival will ruffle his feathers in a big way.
I had a lot of fun introducing two new characters in particular, Thadellonius Moonsprocket and Brillo Lampeter. Mooonsprocket is a kind of bumbling professor from the early 1950’s, modeled on one of the original Doctor Who’s, and is the source of some light-relief in the form of unfortunately timed double entendres. His full-time psychiatrist, Lampeter, is a kind of Bobolan Doctor Watson, who always has to have the last word. Together they travel the galaxy falling further into disrepute from their misadventures, but it is Moonsprocket’s unorthodox methods which will be key to fixing the current cosmic crisis.
Gunant Breh makes a return in a much more important role as his mining operations and even his own family become engulfed by the supernova event. Other movers and shakers of both Nivelian and Midorian factions are introduced as the plot thickens.
FL: Which is your favourite moment in Supernova? Why?
BD: Also a difficult question to answer without giving away too much! I really went for a satisfying ending with this episode, a real wrap up, a get-together, a knees-up! Bringing all the characters together is something that was a lot of fun to write. There’s the bittersweet tinge of tragedy to it all, and there is the ridiculous, but there should be in there a reward for the player who has stayed with these characters for so long. Wait and see, play it for yourself, you’ll see what I mean.
That’s it guys… hope you enjoyed the read! If this interview made you even more curious about Supernova, please let us know in the comments which aspects of the new storyline you find most interesting and which of Supernova’s characters (old or new) you find most likeable! And don’t forget to check back on our blog next week, when we’re going to give you an exclusive sneak peek at the new star systems of Supernova and their distinctive assets, designs and features.
BTW, if you wanna find out more about Bernie and his work, feel free to visit his official homepage at http://bernieduffy.com/ and followhim on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/berniejduffy!