Studios born of a passion for the creative process are not unusual. In fact, that’s surely the initial basis for most indie teams, whether they turn professional or maintain their ‘bedroom coder’ status throughout their time in the sun. Some however, live and die for that passion, and Born Ready are doing just that for their upcoming space combat title, Strike Suit Zero.
A project that began life after the doublesix studios team had finished work on All Zombies Must Die! Scorepocalypse, Strike Suit Zero has seen the Guildford based Born Ready come from nothing to having a sizeable team built from a successful Kickstarter campaign. Some would argue that only good things lie ahead; that the value of investing in Strike Suit Zero has already been proven. While it’s true that the team have already seen a fantastic amount of positive feedback for a videogame relatively few people have yet been able to play there’s still a long road ahead, and the team haven’t let this success prematurely go to their heads.
Being walked through the story, the universe Born Ready hope to create with Strike Suit Zero and the remarkable amount of attention that has been paid to even the smallest cosmetic details, it’s hard not to be impressed with the achievements that the studio has already earned. But Strike Suit Zero isn’t a comic book or an animated movie. It’s a videogame. An interactive experience in which the player induced action is the most important part of the product; Strike Suit Zero most certainly has a solid foundation, but it takes more than a cohesive backstory and unique visual design to make a videogame.
In the year 2299 the human race discovers ‘Fold’ technology, accelerating space travel far greater than the civilisations of the time could possibly have imagined. While exploring the further reaches of the galaxy, the humans that remain colonised on earth rebel. A great war ensues, and the rebels discover a technology capable of destroying entire planets. The United Nations of Earth (UNE) has been ripped apart by the rebels, and with their numbers decimated they make one final attempt to bring peace back to the human race: commissioning a small task force to fight back, with you at the helm of the Strike Suit.
After the initial tutorial level the player will be brought up-to-speed with the storyline pretty quickly, allowing them to jump into the combat without the need for lengthy exposition. The player is initially restricted to specific vehicles for each mission (replaying previously completed missions will offer you a choice of craft) but upon reaching the third the fabled Strike Suit becomes available. A two-mode vehicle, referred to as Fighter and Mech, players must charge their Flux bar in order to perform the transformation. The Fighter mode is a less agile craft best used for closing the gap between player and enemy, plotting a line of attack and initiating combat before leaping into Mech mode to utilise the added manoeuvrability and firepower.
All craft have customisable weapon slots available (varying in number depending on the vehicle) and the Strike Suit is obviously the most well equipped. The variety of weaponry encourages the player to experiment and find their favourite combinations, but even in the short time Electronic Theatre has spent with the videogame there were some which stood out as being more favourable for specific styles of play. Utilising the Mech mode to whittle down enemy numbers is just as valid a tactic as embracing the added aggression during tough fights, as the accrued Flux bar doesn’t decrease over time but rather when performing specific actions; players won’t find themselves falling back into Fighter mode before their plans have been fully executed as it’s firing that last shot that will be the catalyst for the automatic transformation, not making use of the lessened turning arc or handy dodge manoeuvre.
As the core experience involved action-orientated space combat missions, players will learn the best way to use vehicles and weaponry as they progress through the videogame. However, Born Ready is keen to ensure there’s plenty of replayability invested in Strike Suit Zero, ranging from the scoring system and leaderboards to unlockable additions to your craft. Each mission will feature secondary objectives that can affect both the outcome of the plot and the player’s armoury. For example, failing a defence mission could result in a person involved being dead later in the videogame, while completing it could grant the player access to new shields for a specific craft. It’s a system that will demand some fine tuning for sure, but one that if handled well is sure to pay significant dividends to all who endeavour to find all of Strike Suit Zero’s nuances.
Despite its seemingly humble beginnings, Strike Suit Zero is looking set to become a comprehensive space combat experience. Just as the player’s vehicles feature different strengths and weaknesses, so too do the enemy units, each requiring different tactics to take out. It’s a complicated scissor-paper-stone set-up that demands greater player investment than simply pulling the trigger, an effort that’s almost certain to satisfy the needs of the most demanding audiences. Whether or not Strike Suit Zero can reach the wider audience on PC and later consoles remains to be seen, but Electronic Theatre will of course keep you updated with all the latest details on this promising prospect.