When it comes to mobile FPS, it’s often tricky to get the fundamentals right on a platform lacking a physical controller, large display and hefty RAM. With Combat Squad: Project Wednesday, A-33 Studio bravely took on the challenge of making a decent shooter that plays to the strengths of mobile gaming, rather than its weaknesses. The game was released earlier this year, and places you in charge of a five-person team of customisable soldiers, battling against other players online.
Whether the developer’s aspirations for Combat Squad have been achieved is for you to decide. The proof is in the shrapnel-laden, gunpowder pudding, after all. But we caught up with the people at A-33 Studio to find out what the process of making the game was like, and what they hope gamers will experience playing it.
148 Apps: What do you feel distinguishes Combat Squad from other mobile shooters?
A-33 Studio: One distinguishing factor is how the effectiveness of your tactical and strategic decisions depends on the combination of agents you select for your squad. Each agent has unique characteristics and players can recruit and customise them with Perks to fit their style of gaming. For example, a player may pick an agent that specialises in close-range combat, equipping them with the Suicide Bombing Perk causing them to detonate upon death. That turns the character into an effective assault unit.
In Combat Squad, you have the freedom to customise and experiment with different tactics to find out what works for you.
Q: What challenges did you face during the development of Combat Squad, and how did you overcome them?
A: To make battle between squads possible, much of our effort went into the development of the AI system. In the one-versus-one PVP mode, AI controls all of the agents except for the ones controlled by the players. This requires AI that can work tactically to complete the mission, even if the players wander off to fight alone.
One of the key challenges was finding the right balance for the AI’s ability. If the AI is too good, it makes the player feel like a sidekick. If the AI isn’t good enough, it gets in the way of the player carrying out the mission. To find the solution, we conducted countless experiments to reach the point in Combat Squad we’re at today. But we’re still making improvements and will continue to do so.
Q: Which part of the game are you personally most proud of and why?
A: There are many FPS games, each with different paces of battle, many of which we found to be on the slow side. What we really wanted for Combat Squad was to create fast-paced FPS battles that deliver the tension of the battlefield. We also wanted the game to feel dynamic, precise and feature high quality graphics.
In order to fully utilise the graphical potential of the Unreal Engine 4, along with achieving the other goals mentioned, we have worked very hard. We’re proud to say we fulfilled much of what we envisioned for Combat Squad. From now onwards, the feedback from players will help us discover what the game is lacking, and how to improve it into the future.
Q: What do you feel players will enjoy most about the game?
A: The DIVE system is a feature unique to Combat Squad, and we expect many players will find this interesting. DIVE was developed to give players tactical influence over the battlefield, swapping between agents in their squad at will. For example, imagine an enemy sniper positioned in the distance confronts a player charging in with a submachine gun. In other FPS games, the player would typically either attempt to find a different route, or rush headlong into the sniper’s path. With the DIVE system, however, there are more options. The player could dive into an agent in a different location to flank the sniper, attacking from a different angle. Diving in and out of the right agents at the right time and place is a great tactic and enables you to control the battlefield.
This article is sponsored as part of Steel Media Preferred Partners.