A couple of months ago, the surprising news came by that a Nexus sequel was being worked on. As a huge fan of the original, I had to know more — and of course, share it with you guys — so I wrote the folks at Most Wanted Entertainment and asked if I could do a Q&A with some folks behind the project.
I’ve finally gotten the answers — provided by lead designer Attila Anga and managing director Mike Horneman — and you can read them after the cut.
Brian: A sequel to Nexus was teased shortly after the original game’s release, and then didn’t materialize until recently. Might I ask what delayed the game?
Mike Horneman: Work had already started on the sequel but due to several factors the project was never greenlit. The main reason for this is that we had to make a choice which projects we could fund and Nexus was quite an expensive title to produce.
Brian: Will any time have passed between the original game and the sequel, and has the main character, Marcus Cromwell, changed in any way?
Attila Anga: About 25 years have passed after the Battle for Earth. Angel left the humans to continue her mission and defeat the Artificial Gods. No one saw her ever since.
The Earth slowly managed to recover from the reign of the Entity and life got back to the ordinary. However the World has changed. The space-gate leading into our Solar System closed again, separating humankind and some alien spaceships trapped in the solar system from the Vardrag Confederation as well as all the other known races and planetary systems.
The colonization of the Solar System – thanks to the technology of the aliens stuck here – improved significantly.
Marcus Cromwell, the mysterious man gets more and more separated from society and although people respect him, they are also afraid of him. From time to time he has strange visions and he didn’t age a single year in the last quarter of a century. He is leading research along with some old friends on a distant space station, developing a space-drive enabling interstellar travel.
That’s when one of the outer space stations goes silent…
Brian: The original was pretty linear in its storytelling and gameplay, which isn’t bad and made for tight storytelling, but we’re wondering if the sequel will be more open in any way?
A.A: No, it will be the same. Some mission elements can have influence on later missions, like in the 1st Nexus (for example if you saved the Gorg leader, he joined you in the last battle), but other than that, the story will be linear.
Brian: Speaking of, what can you tell us about the new story, if anything?
A.A: I don’t want to reveal much about the story yet, for obvious reasons.
The game starts in the Solar system. The wormhole leading to the Vardrag Confederation collapsed, so we are once again restricted to only our star system. With the new IP (Inter-Planetary) Drives the mega corporations spread all around the Solar system and fighting among themselves for resources, planets and moons. The extremely rare Psis also became very much sought after for their abilities. Most of them are working for the mega corporations, in their most secret space stations. Marcus Cromwell is leading research along with some old friends on a distant space station, developing a space-drive enabling interstellar travel with no success so far. That’s when trouble arises; space stations get destroyed with no survivors whatsoever. What happened to them? Who or what did it? Is there connection between these space stations?
Brian: Nexus was very detailed and deep, and along with that was a very complex control system. Will the sequel retain the level of detail found in the original, or will it be more streamlined in some way?
A.A: We aim to keep the original complexity. Hardcore players can use manual control to target each weapon and activate/deactivate each device separately. Less hardcore people can use the Commands and Behaviors to let the AI do the job for them. We also add some new features, like the Psi powers.
Brian: The original Nexus had a graphical engine that was amazing in its detail, and yet still ran great on modest hardware at the time. Are you using the same engine this time around, or is a new engine being used, and if so, can you give us any details on it?
A.A: We use Havok’s Vision engine. The original Nexus engine was a masterpiece but it’s more than 8 years old now, so a next-gen technology is definitely at least on a par with it.
Brian: As the last game had a pretty active modding community if I’m remembering correctly, so I’m wondering if Nexus 2 will support any kind of modding to give it any extra longevity?
A.A: Yes, we definitely will support modding. We also plan to make modding easier and with more possibilities (like GUI modding).
Brian: What kind of multiplayer options will we have this time around?
A.A: We would like to make minor multiplayer improvements on the existing game experience but we do not plan to add new multiplayer modes or separate multiplayer missions.
Brian: Moving onto non-game questions, why have you chosen to finance the development through crowdsourcing and what are your expectations of this model? Are there any sort of limits caused by financing this way?
M.H: Quite simply because this title lends itself perfectly for this model of funding. It has a loyal and extremely enthousiastic fan base. The genre itself is starved of new, innovative games due to the fact that the larger publishers are only interested in the huge blockbusters and won’t consider what they think of as ‘niche’ titles for development.
We don’t forsee any limits, rather just new possibilities where the community can directly support us for this and future titles (Add ons, etc). Ask us when the project is done and we’ll tell you if we think there are limitations ;-) we’re new to this kind of crowd funding model too…
Brian: Will there be any kind of early-access beta available to those who’ve donated?
M.H: Most probably.
Brian: Finally, in terms of what you’re allowed to share with us, what about Nexus 2 gets you most excited and passionate?
A.A: Working on the sequel of a fantastic game we all love is more than enough to make you extremely enthusiastic and excited. :)