FFG talks with Star Wars X-Wing Developers to take on some “behind-the-curtain” questions!
Have you ever wondered how the X-Wing developers decide what ships to include in a wave? Or the process behind creating those ships? What about their reactions to the “meta” and the community at large? Well Fantasy Flight Games sat down with Star Wars X-Wing Game Developers Alex Davy and Frank Brooks to go over those questions and a whole lot more – check this out:
via Fantasy Flight Games
FFG: Thanks for meeting with us, guys! I know you’re both busy, so let’s dive right into the heart of the matter. How did you guys decide which ships to release in Wave VIII?
Alex: After Wave VII, we were getting close to getting Scum onto an even level with the other factions. We knew we wanted to finish up the bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back and their signature ships. With the Rebels and the Imperials, we wanted to create the ships from Star Wars Rebels as it had just come out, and we were stoked to be able to work with them so close to their addition to the intellectual property.
FFG: Once you had the ships selected, how did you then go about deciding what they would look like in terms of stats, upgrades, maneuver dials, and other game elements?
Alex: That’s the question, isn’t it? We always start by analyzing the source material and trying to create an in-game profile of the ship that matches its canonical capabilities.
Frank: If those capabilities are debatable, or if the details are scarce, we may drift the design toward a ship that the faction needs. In Wave VIII, we took what we knew of the Mist Hunter and used it to fill a “heavy fighter” role that the Scum didn’t really have yet.
Alex: The big thing for the wave was to get the look, feel, and mechanics of the Ghost right. It was lucky we had an entire season of the show to base our design around! Even so, I would like that show’s creators to know it was not easy to translate their ships into mechanical designs for the X-Wing Miniatures Game… though it was a lot of fun to work on such a wild ship design!
FFG: What made the Ghost so challenging?
Alex: The Ghost is just a crazy ship. It has fore guns, a dorsal turret, and a dockable attack shuttle that also functions as the vessel’s rear guns. Turning all of those moving parts into something that would be fun in the game was a fascinating challenge.
FFG: How often would you say you feel challenged to translate a ship’s features into game mechanics?
Frank: The TIE phantom’s cloaking ability and the K-wing’s SLAM ability were definitely wacky abilities. Docking theGhost and Phantom was another good example of a crazy effect that we wanted to capture in the game.
Alex: Anytime there’s an interesting, unique aspect of a starship—like SLAM, cloaking, tractor beams, etc.—we work really hard to incorporate it into the game. And we try to make sure it opens up new strategic avenues for players to explore. Tractor beams took a long time to implement properly, but I’m really excited for how they’re going to shake up the game.
Frank: We had actually been throwing around ideas for the Tractor Beam as far back as Wave IV. The TIE Defender originally had one, but we really needed to make sure cloaking felt right. That meant that tractor beams took a bit of a back seat until we could have more time to invest into incorporating them into the game in a way that really felt right. Also, if we had added both tractor beams and cloaking in the same wave, it would have been a lot to process all at once. I’m glad we waited.
FFG: As far as getting things right goes, how do you know when you have something right?
Alex: Part of it is feedback. Part of it is instinct. We definitely test all new content against powerful meta archetypes like dual IG-2000s, Palpatine and Aces, TIE Fighter swarms, and Rebel all-rounder lists like Paul Heaver’s World Championship builds. We always strive to make each new release completely viable, as well as entertaining and interesting for casual players. The cool thing about the metagame, though, is that people often take it in directions we didn’t anticipate. We give them the toolbox, and what they build with it can be incredible. We definitely didn’t anticipate a triple K-wing list making it into the top tables at Worlds, but it was one of the strongest lists we saw all weekend.
FFG: I know they are all your babies, but do you have any favorites among the ships and upgrades in Wave VIII?
Alex: I love a lot of things in Wave VIII, but I’m all about bounty hunters. Always have been, always will be. I think Dengar, Zuckuss, and 4-LOM will shake things up in a big way. I’m also really excited to watch Paul Heaver’s Boba Fett hit the metagame like a thermal detonator. That card was a blast to collaborate on. Overall, though, I love theGhost and the Phantom. It’s a wild Swiss Army Knife of a ship, and on top of the opportunities it offers competitive players, it’s going to be a real boon to the players designing missions on the X-Wing Mission Control.
Frank: My favorite ship from Wave VIII is definitely the Punishing One. First of all, it’s called the JumpMaster 5000! How great is that? CamelCase and everything. Second, I have been wanting to have a ship that has an asymmetrical dial. In real life aviation, not every ship is perfectly capable of making any maneuver. The asymmetry of the ship design just means that it would naturally not be able to turn to the right as well as it can turn left. Its thrusters are not behind its center of balance. The ship would have to bank or flip in order for it to be able to turn the other way. I am so glad that the asymmetrical dial made it into the final version of the ship. It will be fun for players to try to predict their opponent’s moves knowing that it has a preference for how it maneuvers, and it creates interesting decisions for the player flying the JumpMaster that start as early as setup.
For the full interview go read it directly from Fantasy Flight Games – they have a ton of great info and insight into the process of developing ships for X-Wing. It’s a fascinating read!
Wave VIII is in stores now – What do YOU think is the biggest game changer in this wave?