Inspirations for XO – The Sci-fi game we’ve been waiting for

Jumpdrive Studios is wrapping up our 5th week of development for XO, and since we haven’t openly shared much about the game yet, we’d like to introduce some of the concepts and inspirations we’ve been working with to create the universe.

In XO, you play as the commander of a rag-tag fleet of starships trying to escape an unbeatable enemy. Your job is to save as much of humanity as you possibly can. Every time you emerge from a jump, you’ll have to make quick decisions, with few resources and little time before you’re forced to jump again to avoid destruction. It will be difficult, and honestly, the first few times you play you’re likely to fail. Playing XO is about being a leader in desperate times and making the most of a losing situation. It’s a different take on the real-time strategy (RTS) game. Rather than building empires or colonizing new planets, you’ll be giving tactical orders and reacting to how those commands play out in real time.

We want to capture the difficulty of being far from home while fighting a war of attrition. You’ll have to make the hard decisions; which members of your fleet to keep safe and healthy, who you must leave behind, and sometimes who to sacrifice. Each time you play the game, these social and political elements can play out differently. You could choose to command in a militant fashion and wind up with a mutiny on your hands, or try to take care of everyone’s needs and end up being demolished by the enemy. Triaging these competing demands will play a large part on your experience as well as your outcome.

Early Art
We’re really fortunate to be working with Brian Davis, an artist who’s worked with Atari on San Francisco Rush 2049 and many other games. We’ll have a lot more to say about our visual style and art as development progresses, but here’s an early look.

The Battleship

We’ll be talking in-depth about the process of going from concept to finished artwork soon (so make sure and subscribe!)

The idea for XO was dreamed up many years ago, back when I was busy with other entrepreneurial endeavors. We’ve drawn inspiration from many sources – the 2004 Battlestar Galactica TV series, the Lost Fleet sci-fi book series, rogue-like games such as FTL, World War II convoys, pioneer stories of the Oregon Trail, and even my own experiences running small businesses through two economic meltdowns.

For all of us at Jumpdrive Studios, XO is the sci-fi game we’ve been waiting for – that’s why we’re making it. We are building a truly strategic game free of micro-management, that really gives you the feeling of being the commander. It’s a game I’ve desperately want to play, and I’ve waited long enough.

XO is being built in Unity3D and will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux.

– Brian Jamison