Continuing the theme started with the previous update, today I’d like to share more games that inspired us when designing Book of Aliens. Last time I talked about thematic influences and the X-Com games. Today I’d like to name a title that helped us engineer and shape the goals for the top-level gameplay mechanics in Book of Aliens. 

Before we start, a quick disclaimer – Book of Aliens will not be a “clone” of any of the games listed as influences and it will feature unique game mechanics all over the place. In fact, it will have more unique features than Book of Demons. In our experience, however, when you introduce elements that are novel, you have to balance them with a dose of elements that are familiar to the players. If you fail to do so, you might end up with a game that is too weird and alienating. That is why we like to analyze other games that do things well and use the philosophy behind their solution to our own ends. 

Influence #2 – Hades

At first glance, Hades might seem like an odd choice for a mechanics influence. After all, Book of Aliens will be a sci-fi tactical turn-based strategy while Hades is a story-rich real-time roguelike dungeon crawler. What could the two so different games have in common?

Well, for one thing, Book of Aliens will also be a roguelike. Yes, I know what you might be thinking: “Not another roguelike!”. But bear with me for a while, because this is where the Hades influence matters. You see, Hades is one of those roguelikes that even roguelike-haters tend to love, and this is our objective as well. 

So how are we going to do that? Just like in Hades, all of the runs (missions in Book of Aliens) allow you to make progress in the bigger story (campaign in Book of Aliens) and vice-versa, the advances in the story make you better in the runs. 

This is simple yet effective, but also very difficult to get right. Hades certainly nailed it and we’re also aiming at a similar progression vibe, even if we’ll be using different tools. Book of Aliens will not be as story-rich as Hades (at least in terms of the number of dialogue lines), so we need other mechanisms to keep the players excited for more after they complete a run. In fact, this is something we’re trying to push to the next level and we’re bringing in more classical progression mechanics to avoid all of the restart-from-the-beginning-each-time roguelike feel. 

Basically, we’re trying to have the cake and eat it, too. We want all of the pros of roguelike games such as high replayability and the excitingly unpredictable nature due to high levels of randomization. At the same time, we want none of its drawbacks like having to start from the beginning every time. Will we succeed? We hope we’re on the right track!

Take care and stay safe!