One morning last month I woke up at 6:45 AM and made my way to the den to boot up my laptop. It was already afternoon in France, the home of Tindalos Interactive. I had the pleasure of speaking with Romain Clavier, Co-Founder of the studio and Director of the upcoming Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. This adaptation of the RTS board game includes a single player campaign, centered around the Gothic War period within the Warhammer 40K universe. Romain was happy to take some time and give OnlySP an in-depth look into the single player campaign, and explain the thought that went behind the campaign’s development.
When I asked Romain to describe the reasoning behind the inclusion of a single player campaign, he pointed out their importance in the RTS genre.
“I think that today it’s very important in an RTS to have a very strong solo campaign,” he said. “A big reference with Battlefleet Gothic is doing a campaign that mixes elements from God of War II and XCOM. I think that those two games manage to make a really really cool solo experience. On top of [this], we also wanted to transcript the story of the Gothic War in Battlefleet Gothic because all our campaigns reflect the events that occurred during the Gothic War in the 40K universe.”
Creating a successful single player campaign, therefore, required dedication to this universe. Romain said “I think that the most challenging part was to be [faithful] to the original material. When you work with the 40K setting…you can’t do whatever you want, because it’s a very rich IP, but the universe has many codes and many rules and you have to respect those codes. We are, at the studio, huge fans of the Warhammer 40K universe, so it was really, really interesting to work on this.”
An Ambitious Campaign
I went on to ask Romain to give an in-depth look at the single player campaign. “In the solo campaign, the player has the role of the Admiral Spire, [who] is someone promoted on their own,” Romain started. “He was a captain before this, but during a tragic event, he became admiral during a critical period in the Gothic sector, which is the 12th Black Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler, the Warmaster of Chaos. The player will have to evolve during a campaign that is turn-based and, of course, the mission is real time. The player will have to face the events of the Gothic War, which is a very rich period of the Warhammer 40K universe… it’s very rich and it’s very detailed. We have a lot of information and material regarding this period, so the player will have to face the 12th Crusade of Abaddon the Despoiler, but [will] also have to deal with non-stop raiding [parties] from Orcs and Eldar Pirates. [There are] not only, in the campaign, the Imperium and the Chaos, there [are] also the Orcs and the Elders, and the player will have to deal with all these things at the same time.”
“In the classic RTS campaign you have to extend, in the Battlefleet campaign you have to keep what you have. This is very different, and I think it’s quite interesting.”
Romain went on to explain what separates Battlefleet Gothic’s single player campaign from others in the RTS genre. “The interesting point in the campaign, what makes this campaign quite original, I think, is that… we wanted to do quite the opposite from what you can find in other RTS campaigns,” Romain said. “At the start of the campaign, the player has all the Gothic sector under control of the Imperium, and as time goes by, [the player] will lose worlds in those sectors [but] will have to keep all those worlds in order to maintain different bonuses. In the classic RTS campaign you have to extend, in the Battlefleet campaign you have to keep what you have. This is very different, and I think it’s quite interesting.”
The single player campaign focuses around the Imperium. I had to ask if there will be upcoming, separate campaign for each faction and Romain responded “At first, for the release of the game, we want to do a clean and very polished campaign that is Imperium only, but in the future, if the game meets a certain [level] of success, we absolutely want to make a lot of other campaigns because it was very, very interesting for us to work on this campaign.”
Following up on my previous question, I asked if there will be any new factions included in the game as a whole. The game currently includes four factions: Chaos, Eldar, Imperium and Orcs. “Of course, our goal would be to make all the factions available in Battlefleet Gothic,” Roman said, “but this is something I can’t promise. It all depends on the game’s success.”
Romain had a similar response when I asked if the game will be released to consoles along with PC: though he never says never, for now the game’s only coming out for PC.
Romain went on to describe the intricacies of the single player campaign, saying “All of the battles, of course, will occur in space, but we have a lot of different missions during the campaigns. We have special scripted missions with special rules. We have also a lot of different objectives that may happen during the campaign… for example, you have a mission where you have to escort the convoy. You have also planetary assault, you have [a] mission where you have to assault a space stations, you have [a] mission where you have to retrieve some secret data on a specific ship, you have [an] assassination mission where you have to destroy a target ship. We also have some [bosses]… in the game. I don’t want to say anything more about the different bosses that you may find in the game because it will spoil the pleasure.”
The combat in the single player campaign is basically the same as in multiplayer, he said. “It’s a RTS where you don’t have to build units during the mission, you already have your armies just like in a Total War mission, for example,” Romain explained. “You will have to deal with your assets, so it will mostly [depend] on how you are able to make quick and smart maneuvers using your skills in the best way possible, using the environment, before the start of the mission, [selecting] a fleet that fits with the objective. For example, in a mission that requires your ship to be very fast and very maneuverable, it will be better to take small ships. Instead of this, with missions where you have to destroy a space station or lead a planetary assault, you’ll have to get a strong ship… like a battle ship or battle cruiser or something like this.”
Romain went on to describe the mechanics of the campaign. “The most important part is that our campaign will combine turn-based mechanics,” he said, “which is something that’s cool because the mission is quite fast, it’s very engaging, so when you get on the campaign map you have the time to set all your fleets. I think this is something that’s really important in the campaign is that all the damage you take on the ship will be permanent, you’ll have to repair the damage. Also, when you lose the ship you lose it forever, so you have to be really careful [about] managing your ships during battle. There [are] lot of options, also, for ship personalization. You will be able to buy upgrades for your ships, new skills, upgrading the crew… so there’s a lot of possibility for upgrading your ships in the campaigns.”
Tindalos has received positive reception toward Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. “The response of the community was very good,” Romain explained. “In fact, all the trailers we made for the game [have gotten a] very nice reception from the players.”
Romain went on to explain their particular position via-a-vis the fanbase dedicated to the 40K universe and board game. “We are quite excited about this, but we have also a lot of [caution] that comes from the player, because we know that Battlefleet Gothic is licensed, that many players really, really, really love it. It’s a strong license in the 40K universe. The game is no longer [continued] by Games Workshop, so a lot of players, with this game, [felt] like it was a sort of messiah. So far, the reception [from] the community is very good.”
Indeed, Tindalos appears to feel the weight of their position especially because they’re located in France: “In France, we have an amazing and big – the [largest] in the world, in fact – community of Battlefleet Gothic players of the board game.”
Based on what we’ve seen so far, I’d like to think these fans will be pretty pleased.