Retaliation: Enemy Mine has made further progress and its single-player release is now available on Desura, with multi-player and many more features coming soon free of charge.

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We have therefore taken this opportunity to do a little dev-blog on the game and ask the lead designer of EM, Giuseppe Insana, a few questions:

Tell us a bit about yourself, what makes you unique!

Heh, everyone is unique, that’s what makes all of us special in a different way! Let’s say I am basically an all-round designer, from games to logos, from houses to fonts, from pipes to languages, from restaurants to seals. As a gamer, I’ve been playing and coding since the glorious early c64 days and then on and on and on 🙂

How long have you been designing games?

The first main project, and a very successful one, is dated 1995: an online role-playing game (MUSH they were called) with a cyberpunk theme and its own custom combat rules, implants, economy and everything else.

How did you come to meet up with XTSS?

Once I finished the prototype for a videogame based on the Retaliation board game, I contacted XTSS and presented it to them. They liked what they saw and after some talks decided to re-create it to a high standard, transforming my clunky javascript into the smooth and extremely portable c++ game you see now.

What was the original inspiration of the Retaliation series?

  • A deep love for strategy games,
  • The frustration from the extreme simplicity of Risk coupled to the actual great fun of playing it among friends,
  • the dearth of simple and yet complex war games, especially in the app markets

… all this led me to simply stop searching and instead sit down and create my own.

As for inspiration, the list is veeery long, as there is a little bit of everything in the blend: Risk™, Chess, WeiQi (Go), role-playing games (from D&D™ to Rolemaster™), Axis&Allies™, Memoir’44™, Panzer General™, Xbattle™, Powermonger™, the Ancient Art of War™, Dune™, Civilization™, Genghis Khan™, Warcraft™, Xconq™, Centurion™…. ™™™™ and ™ 😛

How long has the Retaliation series been in development?

Two years now, starting with Path of War and now Enemy Mine. The original board game was created in 2012.

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In the era of mindless mobile gaming, give us some insight as to why you have chosen to develop a turn-based strategy game?

We can’t all make the same games, can we? Even back when shoot’em up and bullet hell games were all the rage, players loved to also try the occasional puzzle-game, and enjoyed it tremendously.

We believe a nice strategy game can be very much appreciated after shuffling cute monsters around for a while, especially if said war game doesn’t require memorizing huge rulesets or control tons of variables.

Also, while RTS are very fun to play, they often risk falling prey to clickfests, where rapidity of clicking beats acuity of thought. With TBS that risk is removed and only how you decide to play matters.

What type of player do you think EM is best suited for?

Actually we found that even 5-year-old kids can have tons of fun commanding tanks in Retaliation (and actually do so very well)…

Retaliation was designed to be enjoyed both by people approaching war-games for the first time and also by those who are experienced strategists and are looking for a fresh challenge.

Those who love to try different ways of “beating” a game will particularly love Retaliation.

The game runs exactly the same on each platform, with a very simple UI, no dialogs or status windows, so it can be played while quietly sitting at a desktop or anywhere else on a smartphone.

If you could describe only one unique aspect of Retaliation: Enemy Mine, which one would it be?

The perfect balance of each aspect, making no single strategy the “winning one”. In fact, it allows and encourages players to experiment and create their own tactical toolbox. You can play aggressively or defensively, with heavy artillery or with sneaking intruders, spread thin or concentrated… and still enjoy it thoroughly.

What is the current state of EM and what new features are looming on the horizon?

We are currently completing and playtesting the code for cross-platform online multiplayer 🙂 This will allow for example matches between android users and windows ones… and even the possibility of transferring a match from one platform to another.

More features will appear in future updates, like co-op campaigns, additional unit types, extreme fog of war, tabletop mode…

Are there any future plans for the Retaliation series that you can
share?

There is actually a certain Retaliation RTS whose development has already started 🙂

What is the funniest ‘bug’ you’ve encountered so far throughout EM’s development?

There was a time when tanks just kept flying away, diagonally across the screen and out of it, instead of just sitting tight and exploding as they were supposed to 🙂

A question we MUST ask everyone we encounter…. are you familiar with the Age of Empires series… and if so, what’s your favourite game within the franchise? 😀

AoE II: I have very fond memories of all the funny and intense LAN matches played against my flatmates in Cambridge! Walls! We loved building walls! 🙂

Where did the name ‘Enemy Mine’ come from? The movie?? 😀

😀 It’s actually a reference to the ancient proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” (similar to “War makes for strange bedfellows”). When playing multiplayer games you’ll find it a quite accurate description of what’s going on 🙂

Apart from your own :P, what is your favorite board game?

Wei Qi (also known as Go or Baduk): simple rules and infinitely complex strategies; “it is not merely the world’s oldest game but its most elegant” (as David Wingrove so aptly described it).

Which platform do you believe holds the most potential for the future of gaming?

I’d say Android. It has now reached the point where it can accommodate both casual and heavy/intense gaming. I was just yesterday using my phone as a console, hooked up to the TV through HDMI and playing Asphalt 8 and Tekken 3 with a Bluetooth gamepad while comfortably seated on the sofa… We can all agree the platform has come a long way since its first games…