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Jeremy Spillmann First Strike: Final Hour interview

Jeremy talks to us about their nuclear war game.

© Blindflug Studios

First Strike: Final Hour is the new game from Blindflug Studios and builds on their highly successful mobile app to take you to the forefront of a global nuclear war.

In our First Strike: Final Hour review we were highly impressed with the game on all levels particularly the gameplay and presentation. We recently got to sit down with Jeremy Spillman, the man behind the game and ask him more about the inspiration, gameplay and game in general.

Jeremy Spillmann, Lead Game designer at Blindflug Studios

Hi Jeremy, thanks for taking the time to talk to Entertainment Focus

No problem, a pleasure to speak to you

Can I just ask, as an avid movie fan, was the game inspired by the movie Wargames? I have always wanted to play the game that was on screen at that time and this was the closest experience I had to this.

Yes! More people have thought this than we first thought. The concept was to create a fun, engaging game that also had a far deeper meaning.

I loved the game and I enjoyed the replay ability of it, how did you decide on the levels of difficulty assigned to each of the different nations?

The roots are based in the balance of power. During development in 2014 the only coverage was based on Iran and North Korea developing weapons but it took for granted the 50 years of research by the USA, Russia, Europe and China and also the amount of weapons that had been stockpiled in the real world.

Watch the First Strike: Final Hour trailer below:

 

Following on from this how did you decide on the aggression factors of other nations? As the USA, Brazil was consistently the biggest aggressor.

The AI is opportunistic. Due to start of game technological constraints the will normally attack the closest player since they don’t have ICBMs. Oddly, Western Europe will most often initiate an attack on Iran!

The AI targets using decision maps. You have played using the First Strike option? This means you attack with all of your weapons at once against a single target. This means that the opportunistic AI will see you as vulnerable and attack you whilst you are unarmed.

To win the game I’d say play at a medium level. If you are too strong you’ll be a target for many powers, if you’re too weak you’ll be vulnerable. Best to be somewhere in the middle!

The graphics have a retro feel that really add to the feeling of it being a strategic game rather than a war simulator, what settled you on this style?

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, gameplay; we felt that having rockets firing across the globe will often keep things off camera as you target and monitor other superpowers. This means you have to keep switching around the world and can miss what is happening in your own nation. Secondly, we wanted the view to be of a beautiful floating rock in space that gets more and more destroyed, charred and black as the play develops. We really feel that in this game, the globe is the main character.

The diplomacy function was very useful in allowing the player time to properly research before the carnage begins, however, the game does not utilise this in the way I expected i.e. defensive pacts instead settling on non-attack pacts, can you expand on this?

This is a new feature for the PC version. After 2 ½ years on mobile we surveyed users to find out what they would like added to the game. The surprising answer was diplomacy. We wanted to make sure the game stayed simple without the build-up time of games like DEFCON. The focus had to remain on attack.

View some First Strike: Final Hour screenshots in our gallery:

I have enjoyed the amount of gameplay it takes to uncover all of the different nations, research and weapons necessary to be able to dominate the globe, it was refreshing to find a game where as you get better it gets more difficult, how did you decide on this being the best path for the game to take?

As we discussed earlier, Wargames was a major inspiration for the game. At the end of the movie where Joshua is performing fast simulations of all the possible outcomes of a nuclear war which are all resulting in the same outcome. This is the principle behind this. The more superpowers you have, the more weapons, the more technology, winning just gets harder and harder. Even though we have had reports of players winning the game as North Korea on Hardcore mode we still believe this to be impossible!

How did you come up with a system to make the unwinnable war one that a player can win?

Do you win? I’m not so sure. Even if you are victorious you have still lost at minimum half of the world’s population. This is what we were trying to show in the game, even when you win the world loses. You get the victory but the planet is charred and black.

Finally, are there any other games in the pipeline? Sequels, add ons to Final Hour?

We’re not sure yet. We wanted to make this the ultimate version but have had to omit some planned features like multiplayer play because we realised that it would be unfair if you get raffled with North Korea; you’d lose the game within 2 minutes against superpowers with a stockpile of weapons!

First Strike: Final Hour is out now on Steam.

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