July 24, 2015 by brennon
It’s time to catch up with Anthony of Icarus Miniatures as he not only tells us a little bit about the background and progress with the game but also shows off the awesome Gunslinger render! You can see him below and find out more about the game too!
BoW: The Icarus Project is further down the line now and that means we’ve seen some rules changes. Can you fill us in as to the tweaks that have been made with the communities help?
Anthony: The main changes since the last time we spoke have been character changes. As the background of the universe has become more fleshed out, new characters have been added, and some have been removed.
In the earliest versions of the rules we had some units that were there mostly to fulfil a “type” of unit that people have come to expect. As the universe has developed and each version of the game has matured, we’ve moved away from having units in the lists that don’t serve the narrative.
We’ve also added bike rules to the last version, which add a new aspect to the game in terms of movement options, but also help build on that cinematic core we’re trying to build. What’s more awesome that killing a rider, causing the bike to veer out of control, crash into something (or someone) and explode!
Other than that, just lots of tweaks and clarification to make everything as clear as possible.
BoW: As well as the rules developing we’ve also seen lots of characters getting additional background (and the art looks great too!). With that in mind what’s the process for coming up with new characters and fitting them into the world?
Anthony: Character development comes from one of several places; I’ll either get an idea about a character’s story – such as them being present for a certain event, or I’ll get an idea for the look of a character and work from that.
I usually wait to write out their unit profile until they’ve had some background written, as that often influences their play style and equipment.
Sometimes I’ll start with the profile to fill out a certain role that’s needed in the list, and then add background to the unit later.
That’s why you’ll have seen name and description changes over time. The Trax Brute, for example, was just called a “Nexus Heavy” at first, as I knew I wanted a hard hitting unit in the list, but didn’t have anything to apply it to.
BoW: …following on from that, who has been your favourite character to work on the background for?
Anthony: I think Charlie Bishop has been my favourite character to write the background for so far. She has such a tragic, heart-breaking back story, which was a lot of fun to write.
It’s been pointed out that a fair amount of the characters have less than happy pasts, which is what I love about them. I have a penchant for broken characters; I think characters are so much more interesting when they have stained pasts and real struggles.
BoW: One of those cool characters is the Gunslinger who we see here in the awesome new renders. Can you tell us a bit more about him?
Anthony: The Gunslinger is an Alliance Marshal detective. The Marshals are the equivalent of police in the Alliance; they’re responsible for upholding the law, and brining criminals to justice.
But they famously have little regard for real justice. Most Marshals are bullies, and use their position to discriminate and persecute.
The Gunslinger is among the minority who joined the Marshals because he genuinely cares about the people of the Alliance. As a detective, he’s not limited to a single system, and can roam from planet to planet, taking the cases no one else can solve.
He’s far from perfect though; he’s notoriously dour, and is not one for idle conversation. He can also be rather heavy handed, and has been known to borderline torture criminals for information.
BoW: In the grand scheme of things the world of the Icarus Project looks like it has a lot of fighting but there also seem to be opportunities for peace too. How has the relationship between the Humans and the Praesidians changed since first contact?
Anthony: The Alliance and Praesidian Republic have always had good relations on the whole, especially as the Praesidians have stepped in to save the Alliance on multiple occasions.
However, at the end of the second Nexus war, the majority of the Praesidian Republic boarded ships and left known space. No one knows why they left, and this has caused a rift between the Praesidians that are left and the Alliance.
A vocal section of the Alliance government is pushing to extend Alliance borders into Praesidian space and expand their territory.
This hasn’t happened yet, but if it did, the Praesidians would surely retaliate.
BoW: From peace to war now; the Nexus are certainly the most deadly species out there it seems. Do you find that with a ‘big bad guy’ you have a need to humanise them in any way, or do you just go full on evil!
Anthony: Up until now, most of the focus on the Nexus has been on them as the “big bad”, but most of the Nexus we’ve seen so far have been part of Varakos’ separatist movement. In the next version of the rules, we’ll be seeing a few Nexus units that break from that mould and are actually working against him.
But despite the barbarity of the Nexus, and Varakos, there are still “human” aspects to him. At the core, Varakos became who he is in response to the prejudice and discrimination he had suffered in his early years.
BoW: You mentioned last time that Gabriel Cross was the main driving force behind the idea for this project way back when and he tends to pop up in the stories for a lot of your other characters too. Do you see him doing this a lot more as the background develops – it certainly sounds like a great idea to forge his narrative.
Anthony: Gabriel and the Nimbus crew serve almost as a “main character” for the story, and a lot of the major things that have happened are seen from his perspective. Because of the Nimbus’ mercenary status, it allows them to be present in a lot of situations and introduce the “reader” to races and characters in a way that is easy to understand.
BoW: On the topic of the community once more we know that they help with the design of the game but have they influenced any of the background you’ve been writing too?
Anthony: Oh certainly! The way the community has picked up these characters and races and said what they want to do and see has had a direct impact on the story.
Our playtest group on Facebook has been invaluable for bouncing ideas around, and there have already been community members there who have begun to create their own stories.
It’s great when someone takes the existing background and forges their own narrative in the gaps, I really encourage it. In fact, there are units in the upcoming version that have come from direct conversation with one member of the community – we’ve been discussing these characters and building their story around what already existed, which has gone on to influence some of the development for the existing characters.
BoW: We’re guessing that the project is going to keep pushing with the narrative as the game comes to fruition – do you think you’d ever go back to writing that novel for the game?
Anthony: It’ll definitely keep pushing forward. I have the broad strokes for what is in store for the galaxy for the next five years easily. Some of this will come in the form of a campaign down the road, but a lot of it will come from written stories.
Later this year I’ll be starting a short story anthology that will serve as a good narrative introduction for people – where they’ll learn about some of the characters and events in the background.
But I also want to go back and expand Gabriel and the Nimbus’ story through novels. There’s so much to tell about the story of the crew and their relationships that it can’t fit in the background segments of the rules, so long-form narration is the only way.
BoW: Finally, with this new render we see another awesome step forward. Who’s next to see their model come to life that we should be looking forward to? If you can tell us that is!
Anthony: Things are pedal to the metal at the moment. We’ve just sent off the 3D print for Gabriel to be cast up, and we should have the finalised cut files for the Gunslinger to print very soon as well.
Moving forward, we’ve started work on the “basic” units for the game and have both the Alliance Trooper and Nexus Grunt in sculpting at the moment.
We’re still on schedule to launch the KS in early September, and should have a nice strong base of sculpts to show potential bakers.
Thanks for chatting with us and we look forward to seeing the Kickstarter campaign and more miniatures in the run up to it!
What do you think of the Gunslinger and the background for the Icarus project? It all seems like it’s going in a neat direction with plenty of character driven plots pushing the narrative onwards.
Let us know in the comments below.
"The Gunslinger is among the minority who joined the Marshals because he genuinely cares about the people of the Alliance..."
"It's been pointed out that a fair amount of the characters have less than happy pasts, which is what I love about them. I have a penchant for broken characters..."