Have you heard of SQUAD? Well, if you like realistic first-person shooters and cooperative gameplay, then this is the game for you. The game is still in early access on steam, but Keith “Litoralis” Weisglas from Offworld Industries was nice enough to sit down with us and talk about their project.
xp4T: Tell us a little bit about Offworld Industries Ltd. How long have you been collaborating together, and how did you get started?
Litoralis: Offworld Industries is a startup studio with a core team of developers who either developed the award winning BF2 mod Project Reality over the prior decade, or who spent years and years playing PR with us as they pursued game industry professions. We’ve grown from a core of 15 members to closer to 30 as we’ve expanded to fill out our needs to be a self sufficient studio and fulfill the market’s demand for our game after very successful Kickstarter and crowdfunding campaigns through 2015.
XP4T: A big part of your game is teamwork. A lot of games have talked about this in the past, but what makes teamwork so essential with Squad? What is to prevent the “Lone Wolf Syndrome”?
Litoralis: We as a group have been part of a mod that spent a decade developing game design systems to encourage teamwork and communication and disincentivize lone wolf behavior. We have left money on the table by not promoting in game actions that discourage teamwork, there is no grinding, there is no levelling, there is no special hats to gain by going off and increasing your K/D with a specific character or weapon class. Much of what I mentioned has evolved in the industry as a way to maximize profit , and came at the direct expense of promoting and encouraging organic social interaction in game. We go a step further and provide in game VOIP, using a system similar to our prior mod, Project Reality, and even somewhat similar to the radio mods for the ARMA series, providing every single player the highest quality audio codec on the market, the OPUS codec, same as used in Teamspeak3 and Mumble, so there is no need during a match to use any type of external VOIP program, allowing you to meet new players and build a natural camaraderie at the beginning stages of each round of Squad. We will implement every Steam ‘join on friend’, ‘join as party’ feature also, so you can jump in with some friends to form the nucleus of a in game squad, and have the ability to adopt and adapt as other join your squad.
XP4T: Would you recommend playing the game with friends, or can players simply jump in and start playing with randoms?
Litoralis: The game is a social event, join solo or come with friends. We have over a hundred communities across more than a dozen languages that play the game, put some time into the game and you’ll find a number of groups who fit your desired levels of sociability and seriousness, and you’ll find groups who specifically moved to Squad to find social gameplay, and find new gamers to take on this sandbox shooter environment.
XP4T: Due to the teamwork aspect, is there as sharp learning curve for the game, especially when it comes to communication?
Litoralis: Squad is in a sense a middle ground between full milsim games, and arcade run and gun shooters. The key for those coming from arcade shooters is to engage your brain and turn on your mic. Actions and inaction and each and every decision will have more significant consequences, but once you work through the learning curve and stop throwing away your respawns everything has more meaning, with meaning comes more engagement, excitement and teamwork. For guys coming from milsim communities the increased pace of engagement, and the streamlined movement, spawning, communication and medic actions take some time to pick up, but should be an adaption of their existing gameplay style, and allows them to boot up Squad and be in game in under 3 minutes experiencing exciting teamwork based FPS play, any hour of any day of the week they have time to put in a 45 to 90 minute gaming session.