After spending many a year over on Steam, pushing the PC crowds through numerous tactical battles, it’s time for Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike to make its way to console, launching on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. With such a unique premise and outline, we wanted to find out more about why console gamers should be excited for this strategic roguelike affair. And so we hunted down the development team in order to fire some questions their way.
Hi, could you please introduce yourself. What is your role at Convoy Games and on the development of Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike?
> Hi, I’m Roy Hornstra. We’re a small team so we all share a lot of responsibilities, but I’d say I’m mainly the guy who draws all the pixels.
So sell it to us, why should gamers be interested in Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and PC?
> Convoy is a unique take on the roguelike genre, combining tons of action with strategy and roleplay elements through random encounters. Something that’s not seen much, especially on consoles. So if you’re looking for something fun and different, Convoy is for you!
Where did the idea for Convoy come about? What has been the inspiration behind it?
> It all started on a summer’s afternoon in my backyard. I was drinking some beers with Sander (our main designer) when we were brainstorming some ideas for a project. We made a small prototype and knew we had something great. We mainly drew inspiration from great games and movies such as FTL and Mad Max, as well as pop culture.
Roguelike games are fast becoming two a penny. What is in place to ensure that this is one that will keep fans of the genre coming back for more?
> Our unique combination of strategy, roleplay and action is something that’s not seen too often. Of course there are also tons of unlockables and encounters that play differently, depending on your choices, that should keep players engaged for quite some time.
The pixel art style that Convoy comes with looks absolutely glorious. But why did you decide to run that route? Were you tempted to go big on the detail with a different visual look?
> To be honest, with me being the sole artist, going with pixel art was the most realistic option for us in terms of resources.
Could you tell us more about the post-apocalyptic setting that Convoy features?
> So the game takes place on Omek Prime, a mostly abandoned desert world in the fringes of the Landinar Empire. Its lands are controlled by three major factions who all hate each other. On your journey you’ll meet these factions, as well as a lot of individual characters with their own stories. From pirate captains playing chess to a mysterious lady robbing statues. As you interact with them, you’ll learn more about their history and the history of the planet as a whole.
You promise ‘a new take on tactical combat’ with Convoy and the name certainly implies that tactics will play a big part in the game. Please could you elaborate more on the tactics and combat we’ll be treated to?
> Your main objective during combat is to keep your MCV (Main Convoy Vehicle) alive. While it can have some powerful gadgets, most of your firepower comes from the escort vehicles. It’s important to move them to the right positions, drawing the enemy field of fire while you open up on them. Your MCV’s abilities allow you to make some interesting tactical moves. See a cliff on the side of the road? Maybe ram the enemy into it! Is there a minefield coming up? Use your EMP to stun the enemy so it can’t evade them. You can pause time at any moment to consider your next move and plan your orders.
Raiders and warriors are just a couple of the foes we’ll be trying to keep the convoy safe from. Could you detail some of the differences between the most fearsome of enemies?
> The three major factions each favor different types of vehicles. The raiders are generally pretty fast and evasive with lots of rockets. Privateers focus on all-out firepower and ambushes with landmines. The TORVAK are pretty squishy but use high-tech lasers and shields, making them tough to damage without the right equipment. Then there are a bunch more unique enemies with their own features and abilities. Oh and of course the Keepers…
Upgrading convoys looks to be one of the most important aspects of the game. How does that system work?
> Your vehicles start out fairly weak and definitely need some upgrades if you want to make it to the final boss. On your journey you’ll collect parts, weapons, support items and fuel which can be used to upgrade your convoy in camps scattered around the desert. In these camps you can also buy new weapons and vehicles, repair your convoy and stock up on fuel.
It’s been a while since Convoy first rolled onto Steam. How has the console launch come about and why has it taken so many years for the switch to take place?
> Convoy was our first game as a studio and after the initial release we needed a break to get our heads sorted out. We then worked on our second title Landinar Into the Void, which took us nearly five years. Meanwhile we had occasionally released some extra free content for Convoy, and we were looking around how we could bring Convoy to a bigger audience. We partnered up with Triangle Studios who helped us with a lot of things for our console debut.
And following on from that, what have you learnt from the PC reception that you are taking in to this console launch?
> One of the biggest takeaways for us was that people either love or hate Convoy! There are quite a few references to pop culture in the game, and the reception we got was an interesting mix. Most people loved it, some thought it was overdone and lame. I guess everyone has a different sense of humour and you can never please everyone. That said, we think console gamers will appreciate what we’ve done.
Will all versions of the game be the same? Have there been any development issues/oddities you’ve come across in making the move from PC to console?
> The Console release has a small bit of extra content that is not available to PC players yet. Other than that, they are the same, including the free content updates PC players have been able to enjoy over the last years. Our main challenge for the console release was the user input and UI. Making it all work smoothly with a controller is a lot harder than simply using a mouse, so that took us some time to get perfect. We also had to do some optimization work to a lot of the UI to make it look good on bigger screens.
If you had one tip to give to any newcomer to the Convoy scene, what would it be and why?
> Oh there’s a lot of tips I could give. Make sure you have enough fuel, evade all incoming skulls, ramming is extremely effective… But if I had to choose one: Don’t piss off Andy, he’ll mess you up if you’re unprepared!
As Xbox gamers we absolutely love achievements – so much so that many look forward to games just for the cheevo list. Could you tell us more about the achievements present in Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike on Xbox One – are there any really fun Gamerscore givers that we should be looking out for?
> We have a lot of fun ones. Most are quite achievable by simply playing the game and getting better at it over a few runs, while there are also a couple that require a lot of luck. My personal favourite is the Speedrun achievement. It’s not impossible, but you’ll need to master the game and have luck on your side!
And finally, Convoy Games making a convoy game. Does that mean we’ll be treated to further convoy-filled experiences going forward?
> Maybe! We’ll let the world know when that day comes.
Massive thanks go out to Roy for taking the time out in the build-up to the launch of Convoy: A Tactical Roguelike on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch. If you wish to know more about the game, keep an eye out for our fast upcoming review, or just head to the Xbox Store and grab yourself a download for £12.49. We’re sure it’ll deliver you something pretty unique.