- Phantom Galaxies will be released in Early Access on November 15, 2023.
- This highly awaited sci-fi adventure combines space exploration with exciting Mecha combats.
- We interviewed Blowfish Studios’ Co-founder, Aaron Grove, to discuss different aspects of the game.
Phantom Galaxies has remained an anticipated game over the course of its initial announcement back in 2021, with one of the reasons for that being the genre that it emphasizes—a mecha fighter with an open-world simulation setting. Popular indie game developer Blowfish Studios is the one helming the project, with a subsequent focus on Phantom Galaxies to thrive in the Web3 gaming ecosystem.
In recent times, eXputer held a Q&A email interview with Blowfish’s Creative Director Aaron Grove, going over the development of the title, its inspirations, and some of the major changes that the studio would be inclined to make to Phantom Galaxies, should the community respond with appropriate feedback. Read ahead for interesting insights into the world of the highly anticipated mecha shooter at hand.
Question: Phantom Galaxies is being considered by many as a pivotal game in Web3 gaming. But how exactly do you think it will play a role in shaping the future of video games?
Aaron: Phantom Galaxies, being a Web3 game, is looking to change the narrative of traditional gaming. We believe it’s the future of video gaming; player-owned digital assets are a major leap forward. At the moment, traditional gaming is a rental economy; you don’t own your experience and time spent playing. Web3 changes that for the better; more power goes back to the consumer.
Question: Blowfish Studios has developed many titles spanning various genres. I am curious to know why the team chose Mecha to be the right choice for a Web3 game.
Aaron: Mechs are cool! Big mechs are even better! My Co-founder and I are fans of Macross, Gundam, Transformers, Battletech etc.., we’ve always wanted to create a great mech game that pays homage to the animes we grew up watching.
Question: The game has two versions, one for Web3 gamers and one for non-Web3 gamers. Did the team feel like it wouldn’t perform as well as intended if it focused on just one thing?
Aaron: So the 2 versions are the ‘same’ except for, correct, 1 has Web3 integration, and the non-Web3 is more traditional; it will be available on Steam & Unreal Store. We felt it was important for the game and the community to create a product that can be experienced by both player groups. Over time, we hope the non-Web3 player will see the value in the Web3 product and join the better experience. Just one final note on that: players from both versions will be able to play and see each other.
Question: How long has the game been in development for? And when did the idea or initial concept of Phantom Galaxies arise?
Aaron: It’s actually been in development for some time now. We originally had plans to create an origin story of Goda, sort of like an Uncharted game, with a strong narrative story and semi-linear gameplay. But since our acquisition by Animoca Brands, we pitted another product we have into the current Phantom Galaxies game we have now. The origin game is on hold for now… Maybe one day[we will continue it].
Question: Can you tell us more about this origin game?
Aaron: Yes. The original game in the PG universe was meant to be an origin story of one of the main characters; her name is Goda, pronounced Go-da. Can’t really go into detail because it’s shelved at the moment, but [it’s] not dead.
Question: I noticed that you could do a Barrel Roll in Phantom Galaxies, which made me wonder, what other games or pieces of media did the team take inspiration from?
Aaron: Lots of work has gone into looking at other games and seeing what works great and what doesn’t. We’re constantly improving the game and adding features we like from other games. If we think it’s good, cool, and works, then we’ll see if it’s something we can add. But I’m a big Destiny 2 fan, so some things do borrow from the technical side of how Bungie does what it does…
Question: 2023 has been a great year for video game releases, and it also brought the release of Armored Core 6, one of the most highly acclaimed mecha-based games. Although Phantom Galaxies will remain free-to-play, do you still consider AC6 a big competition?
Aaron: AC6 is great; it looks great and has amazing boss fights. We take inspiration from it, but we’re also a different product. I wouldn’t call it a competition, to be honest. We hope to define what a high-end Web3 game can be and just create a great player experience and community. Maybe we can do a collaboration with AC[Armored Core]? Who knows…
Question: Aside from being a great year for video games, 2023 has also seen many titles that could be more optimized. Phantom Galaxies has reasonable requirements for a AAA title, but I’d like to know how well-optimized it would be in Early Access. Granted, the optimization in the final version would be much better.
Aaron: We’re constantly working on the games, adding new features, and updating existing ones. There is a roadmap on the website that outlines what we’re planning to add and update to the game. I hope the experience is solid for the players and they join the journey with us on Phantom Galaxies. We anticipate Early Access will last roughly a year. During that period, there will be lots of adjustments and cool new features & places added.
Question: Space and Mecha are two things I love immensely, and I am sure many of our readers do as well. Phantom Galaxies, however, not only involve space and Mecha, but these Mecha can also transform into ships for aerial combat and exploration. However, I would love to know how big those features would be in the game; how much space can we explore? How much customization can we do with our Mecha? Is the transformation of Mecha seamless?
Aaron: At the moment, ‘space’ is limited; you can’t fly off endlessly, and that’s the same with the surface gameplay. But that doesn’t mean those things couldn’t change in the future. If it’s a massive community request, we’ll look into the feasibility of making it happen. But we do have plans to create thousands of planets and asteroids using a generative method for all the planets and asteroid holders, so there will be lots of places to explore, fight and build.
There will be Mech customization. I can’t say too much on this because we have a few systems in the works, but it will be both cosmetic and functional changes.
The transformation of the mechs is seamless; the 2 forms, Mech or Fighter, have their pros and cons, so make sure to use them in the right situation.
Question: You said something about there being a plan to add thousands of planets with a generative method. Will that be similar to or on the same scale as Starfield? And are you looking to improve on how Bethesda has done it since procedurally generated planets in Starfield have received mixed responses from fans?
Aaron: The planets will be generatively created based on the planet’s NFTs traits. At the moment, we have no plans to do them like Starfield, so we’ll see how the R&D goes.
Question: If a person wants to move on to the Web3 integrated version after playing the non-Web3 integrated version, will they have to start over, or will their transition be seamless with the assets transferring without an issue?
Aaron: The idea is to have as seamless a transition as possible; we understand that this is an important part of onboarding Web2 players to Web3.
Question: Phantom Galaxies will be released in Early Access on November 15, and how long is it expected to stay that way? Is there an unofficial release window we can hope for?
Aaron: We’re looking at about 1 year for Early Access. We still have a lot of really amazing game systems to add additional content, and there is a lot of Web3 integration we want to get right before the big launch.
Question: How many hours of the main game will be in Early Access content? And how long can we expect the main storyline to be in the full release?
Aaron: I would say somewhere between 6-10 hours of story gameplay, which is growing with each major update.
Question: What will the post-launch support look like for the game? Both during Early Access and beyond that.
Aaron: We have the Whitepaper on the website, which outlines the roadmap for the game. There are some minigames in development that will support the main game, and we have lots of extra content that didn’t make it in this major update but will be coming out in the new year.
Question: Zilliqa announced it would release a Web3 console that could compete with next-gen consoles and allow players to play many Web3 games in one place. Do you think a console like that would be massive for the future of games like Phantom Galaxies?
Aaron: It’s probably a step in the right direction. Currently, Web3 is still in its infancy, [and] we have a long way to go, so anything that advances the technology is a positive, but we just have to wait and see if it’s the right fit for our game.
Question: Lastly, the recent collaboration with Shrapnel is expected to bring much good content, especially when the announcement said this will be “rich with possibilities.” Can you tell us what sort of content we might see?
Aaron: Yes, the recent announcement with Shrapnel, another Web3 game, is really exciting. There are lots of great things we can do here; we’re not tied down with our universe to be only Phantom Galaxies content. Our universe is open to creating a rich multiverse experience for our community and bringing in other brands and communities that align with our values. The future of Web3 is exciting this way, and Phantom Galaxies will be a great space to experience what the technology can do.
Question: Is there anything else you would like to talk about? Something that we haven’t touched upon yet.
Aaron: Thanks for the opportunity to have a chat. Have a look at the Generative Avatars and Starfights you can mint as NFTs. (I personally think they are the best-looking NFTs on the market…) And [I] hope to see your reads in PG soon!
Phantom Galaxies holds the potential to be one of the most promising titles in the history of Web3 gaming, given how the game has a full-scaled release planned for next year. It takes inspiration from notable titles like Destiny 2, Armored Core 6, and others and seems to be doing many things right. On another note, the interview with Aaron also piqued my interest in the original game that focused on one of the main characters, Goda.
Perhaps the currently shelved game will be revised on some level in the future as an expansion since the studio is open to creating a “rich multiverse.” Moreover, Phantom Galaxies’ recent collaboration with Shrapnel might also bring about some content that could be part of this multiverse, which is something else to look forward to. However, what excites me the most is the potential for a vast amount of content post-launch, which includes more planets to explore and battle in, an ever-growing story, and so much more.
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