April 6, 2015 by brennon
It’s time for another Q&A session and this time we not only got to sit down for a chat with Anthony from Icarus Miniatures but also check out some exclusive renders for the amazing looking Gabriel Cross who features as one of the Mercenaries in their game!
BoW: First off tell us a little bit about how Icarus Miniatures got started and what drove you to start working on this Sci-Fi wargame…
Anthony: The idea to make a game came one afternoon when a friend and I were sat around lamenting the latest developments of our main gaming system at the time. We weren’t happy with the direction it had been taking, and one of us (at this point, I can no longer remember who) said “We should just make our own game” in passing.
The idea stuck in my head and over the next few weeks I started to sketch out the core of what would become The Icarus Project.
Tell us a little bit about the background for the game world and some of the factions that you’ve talked about already like the Alliance, Ji’tar and Nexus…
The background of this universe actually existed long before it became a game. I began writing stories about the Bounty Hunter, Gabriel Cross, whilst in University. These stories developed and I started building a world around the character.
My original plan was to turn the universe into a novel series; it wasn’t until I began to take the rules I was writing seriously, and realised that I would need a world to set the rules within, that I decided to combine the two.
I think that was actually a blessing because it means that I know these characters and have lived with them now for nearly six years; which will hopefully mean there’s more substance to the stories they appear in.
Let’s break down the factions for you…
The Galactic Alliance of Humanity is one of the biggest factions and they control the most territory. The Alliance is a collection of human-controlled worlds who have agreed to be governed by a central body, and all obey a set of standard laws across Alliance space. They’re quite a utilitarian faction and invest heavily in the military which is all very functional.
The Nexus are the closest thing to a main villain the game has. When most people refer to the Nexus they are actually talking about the Nexus Separatist Movement which an extremist group that has seized control of most of the Nexus worlds. They consider themselves to be THE dominant species in the galaxy and have a particular hatred of humanity. The Nexus have been responsible for two galactic wars and have a reputation for their barbarity.
The Ji’tar are one of the smallest factions in terms of the amount of planets they control. Their empire is a collection of eleven main worlds, and a handful of trading worlds set on the very edges of explored space.
The Ji’tar are famous for their metal; which is only found on their home-worlds. Ji’tar metal is immensely strong which makes it fantastic for armour and their economy is fuelled by exporting a tiny percentage of this to other civilisations.
There were originally twelve worlds on which the metal was found however during a war with another race, the Ji’tar destroyed their own world to deny the enemy access to the mines.
One of the races we’ve yet to show, the Praesidians are the oldest known race, and responsible for creating the Council which is the galactic body that most of the races belonged to prior to the second Nexus war. The Praesidians are also responsible for the Light Gates, the portals which are used to achieve interstellar travel.
The majority of the Praesidian race left known space shortly after the second Nexus war. No one knows why.
The newest player on the galactic stage, the United Robotics Corporation is a mega-business that has moved from supplying technology for home and industry, to a military robotics manufacturer. The URC are a group of transhumanists who believe humanity’s next evolutionary step is robotic upgrades and artificial intelligence.
Factions are awesome but of course there’s the rules to consider too. Can you give us a run down of the basics and tell us why your game stands out from others out there at the moment?
The system works on an alternate activation mechanic where each player performs actions (usually two) with a single miniature at a time. The core mechanics are simple and easy to learn as we want people to be up and playing in as little time as possible.
The more advanced rules, and special rules, are where the flavour really starts to come in. Terrain is a big aspect of the game and miniatures can interact with terrain in some really cool ways. For example a player may have a miniature on the second floor of a building when an enemy throws a grenade into the room. The force of the explosion might push the model out of the window where they then have to test to see if the fall to their death. They might even perform a great act of agility where they tuck and roll when they hit the ground!
We want to help players create as many cinematic “watercooler” moments as possible.
As we can see with the images of Gabriel Cross here you’ve started work on the miniatures for the project. How has the process worked from concept art to finished project?
There’s always a worry when you approach a concept artist or sculptor that what they produce won’t reflect the vision in your mind. Luckily, we’ve managed to partner with some exceptionally talented people, so this hasn’t been a problem.
We began looking for artists around October time last year and must have worked our way through nearly 400 applications to settle on the group we’re working with now.
Prodos Games are handling the sculpting of our miniatures now. Having seen the amazing quality of work they have done with Warzone and AvP, there wasn’t really anyone else we wanted to work with. It also really helps that they are based in the UK too. It means we don’t have to worry about waiting on products to arrive from China.
With that in mind which has been your favourite model to see come to life through the artwork by your various artists?
It will sound terribly clichéd but every new piece is my favourite. I think because we’re using the same group of artists, each concept improves because our relationship and communication with the artists is improving too.
With each piece the artists are learning what we like and don’t like therefore becoming more comfortable with the world and race they are sketching.
We try and keep all concepts for one race with a single artist for consistency but the Mercenary characters will probably get spread across all the artists; they’re varied anyway.
How have you found working with the community as they test out your rules? I imagine there’s been moments where they’ve helped you out and other times where you’ve staunchly wanted to keep certain rules as they are!
Our play test group on Facebook is where we’ve had most of the rules discussions, and so far they’ve been fantastic. We welcome any and all ideas and so far we’ve had some really good ones from the folks in that group. Everyone in the group is really nice too, which is a huge bonus when you’re trying to build a community.
The group has also been a good place for us to show off early WIP art and rule ideas to get feedback before the general gaming public see them.
Luckily we haven’t really had any situation where someone has suggested a change we haven’t agreed with. From the moment we published the rules online, the game stopped being ours, and became the communities. So, if the community want’s something changed, who are we to argue?
The game has existed in a constantly updated form online but when could we expect it to fully release?
We’re aiming to go to Kickstarter this September (2015) to fund the first few starter sets. Because of how young the game is, we won’t be funding a big rule book. Much as we want to have a 200 page full colour tome, filled with background and pictures, we don’t want to release a product that is redundant in twelve months because the game has been updated.
We are doing this properly, which means going a little bit slower, but this will result in a stronger and hopefully better quality product in the end.
We will however be releasing the Bounty Hunter, Gabriel Cross (featured in the renders above), to retail before then. We want people to see the fantastic quality of the miniatures first hand before we start looking for funding. It will also help us test out our internal systems on a smaller scale before we have to do it for the Kickstarter.
Thanks for the chat and we’re loving the work that’s going into Gabriel Cross right now, a superb looking sculpt.
What do you think of Gabriel Cross?
"We weren't happy with the direction it had been taking, and one of us (at this point, I can no longer remember who) said “We should just make our own game” in passing..."
"We want to help players create as many cinematic “watercooler” moments as possible..."