It started out as a mini-game inside Project Gotham Racing 2 for the original Xbox but Geometry Wars has grown since then to become a well known stand alone game franchise on its own. This week, the arcade shooter series gets a new installment, Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, from UK-based Lucid Games. It's being published by Activision as the first game under their revitalized Sierra brand, which will be dedicated to launching smaller, downloadable titles.
Geometry Wars 3's biggest feature is that it uses 3D grids for the first time, as players control their ship and combat a variety of enemies with different power ups in its unique retro art style. The game is out this week for the PC, Xbox One and Xbox 360 platforms, among others. We got a chance to ask some questions, via email, to Lucid Games co-founder Craig Howard about their work on Geometry Wars 3.
First, how did Lucid Games come to be formed?
Lucid Games is an independent studio formed by a group of ex Bizarre Creations employees who wanted to create great games with AAA production values. We now have a great mix of guys and girls who have worked on a wide range of games from PGR to Wipeout and obviously Geometry Wars.
How did the idea come about to develop Geometry Wars 3?
There have been a lot of idea's knocking about for a while within the team, as we started getting them together with various prototypes we felt that we had something that would prove to be an exciting new installment in the Geometry Wars franchise.
The first two games in the series are really incredible arcade shooters. How hard was it to bring that same experience to a new generation of hardware?
Yes the previous games were fantastic, and we have been really meticulous in bringing the core elements over to the new machines to ensure they capture that magic of the 360 originals. All the nuances of the controls and enemy behaviours have been accurately moved over to ensure that fans of the originals will be able to pick up the pad on their new machine and will feel at home.
How does the 3D grid element change the gameplay compared to the first two Geometry Wars games?
The 3D grids bring in some interesting new tactics to the player, for example an enemy may be chasing you and you can fly to a narrow part of a shape to outrun them and take them out, or you can use more precise analogue ship movement to slow down at times when moving around a sharp corner. We feel that these add depth and a different range of tactics for players to use when in some battles. We also have a range of 2D shapes, ensuring we have a large amount of variety in the challenges for the player.
What can you tell us about some of the power ups in Geometry Wars 3?
The power ups are triggered by destroying a swarm of special enemies (Called Super states) that appear in different formations for a brief period of time. Depending on their shape you trigger the appropriate power-up, including Homing missiles, Quad bullets, Shield, spreadfire and more.
What are some of the opponents like in the game?
Lots of the old adversaries are back, including Weavers who dart out of the way of your bullets, and spinners that charge at you quickly and split into two when shot, however over the 50 new levels there are a range of new enemies to encounter such as gobblers who actually pick up Geoms to hinder your score,
What can you tell us about the gameplay modes in Geometry Wars 3?
We have a range of gameplay modes for the player, including evolved levels where you have to score as much as possible before you lose your life, pacifism modes where you have to score by using tactics other than shooting, painter levels where you have to stop the grid being coloured in by painter enemies and much more.
What other gameplay elements do you think are important?
There are a lot of elements in Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, one big addition over retro evolved are the drones, these act like a wingman and have different personalities and attacking traits. You can level them up and also assign them a range of special abilities that you can trigger when in the heat of a battle.
Are there any plans to add new levels and content to the game after its release?
We hope to bring more content in the future as there is a lot of things that we want to explore further with the game, and we love working on it.
Finally, is there anything else you wish to say about Geometry Wars 3?
It's great pick up and play fun, and even better with friends as you can challenge them on every one of the 50 levels as the game has individual leaderboards and a rival notification system. You can also play Co-Operatively with up 3 friends around the same machine in a special 10 level adventure and you can also battle online with 8 player competitive multiplayer.
We would like to thank Craig for answering our questions. Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions is out now for PC, via Steam, and will be released for the Xbox One and Xbox 360 on Wednesday.