One thing is for sure: the narrative that underpins the Infinity universe never stands still. The political and military machinations that provide a dramatic underscore to Corvus Belli’s tactically rich and reactive sci-fi skirmish game are always developing, and we’ve already seen old armies swallowed up and new ones produced as the story unfolds.
With the new expansion book, Daedalus’ Fall, the creative minds at Corvus Belli have continued to weave new threads. Old units are getting refreshed with new abilities. Weapons and equipment innovations continue apace and new factions prepare to explode onto the battlefield. Being an Infinity player is never boring!
We had great feedback from our little chat with Angel Giraldez, the painter whose work was for many of us the first experience we had of Infinity. Now, Chris is delighted to bring you a little Q&A with the genius at the heart of it all... Gutier ‘Interruptor’ Losquiños!
From what we've seen of the new book, there are a lot of exciting new things happening in the Infinity universe. Did these new plot ideas develop recently, or have you had a long-term plan for how the story is going to change?
When writing I always try to add to the fluff any ideas that can be developed in the future. I call them “doors to be open if necessary”, so the changes or turns in the background have a base to justify them, and wise readers will not be totally surprised.
The Japanese Uprising could be predictable considering the treatment these people suffered and the two (not only one!) subversive groups they have (Kempeitai, Tatenokai). The Imperial Service was depicted with a dark and zealot side, so it’s not strange to envisage their reckless reaction against what they consider a menace against their country. It is true that I’m playing a long-term game, but sometimes the thread is more precise, other times more vague. But there is always a guide to follow.
You always manage to come up with awesome new technology and devices to set new units apart. Do you create these specifically to provide solutions to challenges armies might face, or just to add to the 'toy box' for players to use?
When adding something to an army, or just to the pool of game resources Infinity has, it is made to provide a different game experience, or to differentiate an unit, or even an army, as happened with AI Motorcycle and with G: Marionette, or with the WildParrots or the Dazer, for example.
It must be really cool to see how passionate and involved the community is when a new unit profile is released. Was there ever a response to a profile that you felt was different to how you expected?
It sometimes happens. One of the problems of having a big community of players is you cannot satisfy everybody, and unfortunately sometimes one of the disappointed players is also the noisiest, so you are getting the wrong impression of that profile or an idea that the model is not successful. However, the best option is to wait and check sales and Army statistics which usually contradicts that doomsayer.
I've been running Kozmo from Aristeia! as a Rudra gunbot - with a few modifications! Do you foresee any further crossover between these two games? As the threat of the EI increases will we see Maximus taking to the battlefield for Pan Oceania?
There will be more crossmedia products, that’s sure. However, even having characters that can fit perfectly in Infinity, not all the Aristeia! characters have room in a regular Infinity game as they don’t really have a battlefield role. Apart of that, we all hope the situation won’t become so harsh that it would be necessary for Maximus to have to raise his shield to protect the Human Sphere!
Games are usually 300 points, with upper and lower tiers too. Have you experimented with even larger games beyond 400 points, and what suggestions would you have for players who want to try 500 points+?
Big games are interesting when both players want to play with TAGs (Tactical Armoured Gear). So, for example, in a 500 points game, both players agree to use that extra 200 points to line up at least two TAGs. But it is important both gamers add TAGs to the army list to avoid Order spam and too ensure that player turns are not too long.
TAGs can be absolutely devastating, hulking over ordinary infantry.
Also, do you have any tips on running 4-player games or 2v2? Is this something you have done for fun at the office?
Yes, since the beginning we have tried that, and there is a funny story about Fernando and a friend of ours who inspired the Ariadnan character Pavel Aleksei McMannus, playing as a single team but with a Lieutenant for each player, when it was supposed each team would have only one. Both had the identity of their Lieutenants so well hidden that the other was not aware of it!
You seem to have a real focus on balance in the game. We've seen sectorials discover new fireteam options, limited insertion armies find new ways to move beyond 10 orders, and vanilla armies gain new defensive options in the form of units like the Libertos. Is your philosophy to add options to achieve balance, rather than take things away? And how much effort goes into maintaining this fine balance?
Keeping the balance is the hardest part of the job, and it is what requires the most time and effort, that’s for sure. Sometimes, I would prefer to remove options or resources from the army lists or rules, but people usually get angry when you take things away, so we do that only when it is really necessary.
We add new options if they are required to keep balance or just to keep with a gaming style, as happens with Combined Army or Tohaa which have special rules for them, to reflect they are aliens with alien behaviour or technology.
When you are working on new armies and plot developments, do the visual artists often inspire your ideas?
Usually troop and general background is done months before our concept artist starts to work with that, so it is up to me to build from zero. I would say that, even being a very visual person, comics and literature are more inspirational to me rather than the artwork you find on the Internet, for example. When you are working on background the narrative is important, such as the reasons why things happen. If you only depend on a cool image to start working, the story you create could be merely superficial.
Infinity stands out not just because if its unique and groundbreaking mechanics, but also because of its social, political and economic depth. Your interest in history and mythology has clearly influenced the universe of the game. To what extent does your vision of the future in Infinity match your genuine hope for humanity's future? And how much do current world events influence the narrative of the game?
Well, one of the intentions when we created Infinity was to be totally apart from the usual dystopic or grim futures provided by other games. In cyberpunk-themed games, the states have failed and have been replaced by companies which makes the future an unpleasant place to live as a regular citizen. We didn’t want to talk about those futures where you only find war… we wanted a future brighter than that, but with a necessary conflict so the game had sense. We think the Human Sphere (generally) would be a good place to live, better than the current age, with social improvements but with some dark corners.
Of course, the vision of that future has changed slightly since its conception in 2003. Maybe we are more conscious about the progressive effects of climate change, so Haqqislamite terraforming engineers were right! 😊 However, even considering checking the newspaper is a daily task for me, it is not worth trying to find direct connections between current events and Infinity events. Ties are more related to philosophies or military, technological or political theories.
For example, the article in Third Offensive about the relevance of Ariadna in participating in international conflicts to get more political relevance and influence in the Human Sphere is based on some real stories about the importance of a country in participating in those situations. Notes about how private military companies work and the problems they could cause are also based on real reports.
With the shocking developments and changes to the story in the last couple of books and campaigns, people are already trying to work out what's going to happen in the future. Is the Human Sphere in for a bumpy ride? With there be a virtual battle between the EI and ALEPH? Could you give us any hints at what's on the distant horizon? Should we be scared?
Yes, a bumpy ride could be a good definition of what’s coming. Right now, all the pieces are in place for the next events, and there are clues in the last three books about the intentions of the EI and about where her plans are going. The reboot of the Shasvastii is a key element in her schedule.
However, people don’t need to be scared. ALEPH is always watching and taking care of us, helped by the impressive power of PanOceania, the not-less impressive power of Yu Jing and a little help from the other factions. So, we can all sleep as ALEPH will be always there for us!
What's your favourite unit from the new book, and why? What's your favourite old unit that's been given a new upgrade (such as wildcard, etc)?
The truth is that I don’t have favourite units, as after all, all of them have been created by me, and there is always a piece of me on all of them. I’m happy with the result of the Shasvastii as the Shasvastii playtesters consider the new Sectorial as in keeping with the same feeling of the previous one, only better.
Looking back, I’m glad to see people have welcomed so well the Druze Bayram Security sectorial army, which has an extra element of coolness due to the appearance in the Outrage Infinity manga. I’m happy too with the Aristeia! characters that have crossed to Infinity, as most of them have been created (from a fluff point of view) by me, like Major Lunah or Dart, for example. This provides me with a chance to help the Aristeia! developing team, and participate in such great game too!
If you don't mind us asking... when you're hard at work on telling this epic sci-fi story, what do you listen to?
Uuuuf! The playlist is long and varied. It depends on the day, but pop, rock, electronic, OSTs, jazz and classical all appear and are mixed in that playlist.
From Jamiroquai and Florence and the Machine, to Nelly Furtado, crossed with Muse, Daft Punk, Kasabian, David Bowie, Hans Zimmer, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Vangelis, James Bond’s OSTs, Esperanza Spalding, Jorja Smith, something of French hip-hop like Orelsan… and I’m missing a lot.
Right now, I’m revisiting the Garbage discography (nineties are back!). But, at the end, when you are deeply concentrating you stop hearing anything and music works as white noise to isolate from the environment which usually is noisy (being at CB or in any cafeteria where I usually work)!
Playing in a club on Bakunin right now.
Thanks Gutier for taking the time to answer our long and demanding questions! We really appreciate it. If you haven’t put Daedalus’ Fall on pre-order, please do so. And if you have any other ideas of people you’d like us to interview, let us know! But for now, go and have a rest, people. War is coming to the Human Sphere, and when it hits, there won’t be time to chill! Thanks for reading, and stay frosty. There’s nothing worse than missing an ARO, right?
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