MMOGs seem to be boldly going into space with a higher frequency these
days as gamers shed their shields and throw down their swords to take
up the role of intergalactic explorers. One of the more highly
anticipated titles comes to us from Gamigo in the form of style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy,
a ship based space combat MMOG that puts players in the cockpit of a
highly customizable craft and sets them loose upon each other in a
faction based struggle for galactic domination. We sat down this week
at GDC with Falko Böcker of Gamigo to get the inside scoop on
this German import from Reakktor.

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Fans of Black
know that this game
has been in development for several years and that it almost
didn’t make it to market. Originally slated for a 2009
release, the game had planned on being a subscription model MMOG to be
published by the now bankrupt 10tacle studios.  Reakktor
refused to give up on the game however, and development continued with
hopes for finding a publisher that would do the epic title justice.
While reaction has been mixed to the announcement of Gamigo as the
games new publisher, mostly due to the related announcement of a
microtransaction based free-to-play model,  fans need not
worry as both companies are committed to delivering a top notch product
that will satisfy free-to-play veterans and subscription model
adherents alike. While final plans and systems are still being hashed
out for the item shop, the core principle that guides them is that
“Our core strategy for the cash shop is that it
must always
be a trade off of time vs. money, you will never be able to buy a
weapon or an upgrade that is not available to a free player”
according to Böcker. He went on to further explain that
“If you put a lot of time into the game you will be able to
attain and see all there is in the game” and “There
are plans for boosters to help you level faster, so that if you have a
friend that plays a lot and your time is restricted you can make up
that difference via the cash shop”.

The game itself is mostly instanced based, but there will be several
static zones that players will gather in, such as space stations that
will allow them to both show off their impressive hardware as well as
accept missions and queue into PvP battles.  One of the more
intriguing mechanisms in the game is a PvP matching system that
evaluates a player’s level and equipment and matches them to
them other players; while
it doesn’t sound all that different
from existing systems in other games, it has a unique twist according
to Falko “If the top three players in the game are grouped up
together they may find that there isn’t a lot of competition,
so what the system does is evaluates those factors and will match them
up against an appropriate group to make it fair, so it may be a group
of eight lower players that make an even match for these
three.”  Innovations like this are a big reason this
game has success written all over it.

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Large group play also factors heavily into style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy
as guilds will vie for control of precious resources throughout the
game.  Players will have a strong reason to socialize and make
friends in Black
as guilds will be
able to build their own modular space stations and through them gain
access to some of the most powerful items in the game. Players that are
in smaller guilds need not worry about being locked completely out of
the upgrade fest however, as the larger and more powerful guilds will
actually be able to allow outsiders in to purchase these items, earning
the guild monetary rewards for their hard work.

While the game has been in development for several years, there are
still a few features and systems that need to be fine tuned. We asked
about the crafting aspect of the game in relation to modular ship
design and while there will be pieces that are craftable, the final
of and total number are still being hammered out by the

Even though the focus of this game may be heavily PvP oriented, fans of
story based gaming and PvE won’t be left out in the cold
vacuum of space in style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy.
German science fiction writer Michael Marrak has been commissioned to
write the story of the game and in perusing the mission selection
screen there were just as many, if not more, PvE missions to be had
than PvP ones.  Another highlight of the game are the
graphics, just because there is no boxed copy to be purchased here
doesn’t mean this is a cheap knock off, the graphics are
stunning and this game will test your systems capabilities—it
may be time to upgrade that video card folks.  Also needed to
enjoy the game at its highest levels will be a stable internet
connection as the twitch based gameplay and highly technical physics
engine used to render space combat simply won’t fly on a dial
up connection.

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is without a doubt
one of the more exciting titles on the horizon for release this year,
combing all the hallmarks of MMOG gameplay with a style="font-style: italic;">Wing Commander
style combat system, but if you aren’t a fan of the genre and
space games don’t appeal to you don’t expect style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy
to convert you. “If you are only about fantasy and
traditional RPG MMOGs, maybe style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy
is not for you” stated Böcker. “It is
aimed at the action player who wants exciting combat and space
fighting.” While this may seem a harsh stance on the surface,
it really epitomizes why this will be a great game; a highly polished
concept that doesn’t attempt to be something it
isn’t but rather revels in everything that is, a beautiful
MMOG with a whole universe of addicting high speed space combat.

We want to thank Falko for taking time from his hectic GDC schedule to
sit down with us and give us a look at the game and also to Business
Development Manager Dilek Ilboga for facilitating our meeting and
loaning us her internet connection. Stay tuned to Ten Ton Hammer for
more breaking GDC news and more about style="font-style: italic;">Black Prophecy.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Black Prophecy Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016