Gotland University's Game Design course is a powerhouse of independent development; a bastion of creativity and design excellence that's responsible for Gamescom's most exciting titles. Kaiser Kommando Interactive is a new studio formed from a small team of Gotland Graduates... and their first project is possibly one of the most impressive games of the entire show.
Imagine a free-to-play competitive RTS, with deep customisation elements, set in the skies of a gloriously stylish steampunk world.
Now put on a new pair of pants as I tell you exactly why your premature excitement is absolutely justified.
Victorious Skies is designed to be a competitive tournament-driven real time strategy game that focuses on combat between massive aerial battle fleets. Enormous carriers, nippy destroyers and stealthy 'submarines' dominate the skies, and its up to players to create a powerful force out of over 200 varied and balanced array of units. Each admiral will only have a set number of points to spend, meaning that deciding on which ships to deploy will be paramount to success. The larger ships trade off manoeuvrability for power and armour - and will be extremely expensive to match - whereas the smaller units will be much more versatile in combat. Special abilties like smokescreens and fighter bays add even more strategic depth to the package.
Great pains have been undertaken to ensure that the control system is as intuitive as possible, though there'll naturally be a few little nuances to learn due to the unique aerial setting. You'll select and deploy units using a simple selection of clicks, but the battlefield itself is separated into three separate planes stacked one on top of the other. Some vessels can move between these planes and attack targets at adjacent altitudes, whereas other ships need to be situated on their same level in order to engage the enemy. Or worse, show their vulnerable undersides to foes below. Submarines, most interestingly of all, are nigh-on undetectable when operating within the cloud layer, making them an incredibly potent terror weapon but vulnerable when exposed. Despite this impressive depth, switching between planes is incredibly simple and all of your units will be visible simultaneously.
Customisation is going to be one of the most important and enjoyable facets of the Victorious Skies experience. Hundreds of ship modules and weapons can be purchased and equipped on your armada, gradually creating a truly unique task force that can fight the way you want.Your admiral can also be "pimped out" with a huge number of purely cosmetic vanity features.
Since it's designed to be Free To Play, you can't blame the developers for covering their microtransaction bases. They've got to get paid, after all.
The experience will revolve around tense, slick multiplayer matches and the acquisition of new upgrades, but Kaiser Kommando also told us that they're planning to implement a dynamic world map containing dozens of territories to fight for in real time. Hopefully some factions and alliances will make an appearance. Victorious Skies packs the innovation and prowess usually displayed by the biggest triple-A titles, yet is being developed by a young team on a shoestring budget. It's truly humbling, and we wish them the very best of success.
My sources inform me that Victorious Skies is being considered by a number of prospective publishers, and I genuinely hope that one of them bites. Kaiser Kommando Interactive are onto a unique and exceptional concept that thoroughly deserves to be enjoyed by millions. PC, Mac and iPad have been suggested as potential launch platforms, and we'll keep you up to date with the latest.