When I think of game developers, nobody in South America comes to mind. That changed yesterday, when I spotted the press release for Taikodom. Brazil struck me as a very unlikely place for a studio to be, but their game certainly looks like it has a lot of potential. EVE Online has definitely proven that space RPGs can have a lot of staying power when done with pizazz, but EVE also has a lot of flaws. Will Taikodom present the same issues or will their skies be a little more friendly to fly?
I was logged into the current Brazilian servers (though it sounds like North America will have their own unique servers to play on as opposed to merging into the existing environment) and took control of a ship already in a party of three. The ships were working together at level 50 to overcome a difficult mission. First, I tried the heavy tank-type; my missiles were slower and it took me a while to get the aiming right, but once I got going I was able to protect the smaller, faster ships from being pounded on too much.
The second ship in my little group was a zippy little machine that any twitch gamer would be proud to call their own. It was a challenge to fly, let alone aim, but any time it connected to the enemy it did a considerable amount of damage. The third ship with me was a convoy ship -- it couldn't really do much offense-wise, but it sounds like it held all the goods acquired from the game's kills and missions. I can see these sorts of ships being very important to the economy's growth and stimulation. I asked the developer, who took time to for a one-on-one session with me, why there was no ship that was centered on buffing and/or healing. He said they were definitely considering it, but that it was a long term plan for a year or two down the line. Thinking big!
Unfortunately, I didn't get to play much beyond the mission I was in, but the game looks very interesting. I don't think I'll push to get into the closed beta, but I will certainly dabble with it once it's officially launched. I was surprised that it didn't feel more like Star Fox, but instead feels like its own unique space game. It's like playing an RPG except your characters are ships in space instead of people. Hopefully we'll see the game this year, though Gamers First was not able to confirm a 2009 date as of yet.