A week ago we released a Preview, by our editor DjPaultjeD, for this awesome strategy game called Aven Colony. We went ahead and asked the developers a couple of questions for you, the readers and Keen Gamers. Here's what they had to say.
Could you please tell our readers more about your studio? Who are you guys? Where are you
from? How many talented people do you have in the studio and some interesting stuff around
We're a tiny team of 4 developers in Austin, Texas. All of us are former AAA developers with decades of experience.
How long has Aven Colony been in development? And when will the game be released?
We started working on the game in late 2013. We expect to launch the full game sometime in early 2017 on Steam and itch.io simultaneously.
Why did you choose the Unreal Engine when a lot of developers are switching to Unity?
We are using Unreal Engine 4. We like the combination of C++ and Blueprint visual scripting that Unreal offers, and we feel it's preferable to what Unity provides.
Aven Colony gave a real Anno and Cities Skylines vibes; did those games have any
influence on the game development?
We were influenced by almost every city-builder we've played in some way. We did a lot of due diligence when we started, and we analyzed the Anno series, the Tropico series, Cities: Skylines, Outpost,
Fallout Shelter, Banished, RimWorld, and of course SimCity.
Planetbase has a similar combination of setting and genre but that game makes very different design decisions, and it wasn't announced until we'd been in development for a year and a half, so it didn't influence us at all.
The main difference between Aven Colony and earlier games is that Aven has a lot more
micro management. Is that something you had anticipated from the beginning?
I disagree. I feel the core gameplay is actually closest to the Tropico series, and the level of micromanagement is about the same. Our goal from the start was to build a game that could scale smoothly from a tiny colony on an alien world all the way up to a big, glorious sci-fi metropolis on an alien world, and we've designed the game in a way that minimizes micromanagement as you scale up.
As a point of comparison, if you look at a game like Banished or RimWorld, those are games where you generally have to micromanage every colonist and assign individuals to each job. Aven is more like Tropico in that you can generally focus on just placing, repairing, upgrading, and recycling buildings, and your colonists try to be as autonomous as they can.
Aven Colony is still in Beta, so would it be possible for you to expand on the features that’ll be added in the full release?
We'll be adding quite a few additional buildings between now and release. We have art for a Plasma Turret to help defend your colony, a Lightning Tower to defend it from lightning storms, and a Stadium. Those should be coming online gradually over the next few weeks.
We're also starting work on one more very unique new building and will add as many as we can between now and release.
We'll also be fleshing out the single-player campaign further and filling out the remaining sandbox missions.
We also have a huge new feature that we're starting work on right now. I can't really say much about it, but I can tell you that it's very novel and I think it will really help set Aven Colony even further apart from existing city-builders.
Are there plans for any updates or additional content?
We can't say too much specifically at this point, but of course, we'll add quite a few additional buildings and missions between now and launch. We also have a big new feature in the works that I think players will find very exciting … and very unexpected.
In your opinion, what was most difficult in the development of Aven Colony?
We had some unexpected obstacles along the way. A few challenges popped up at a few points along the way that made parts of the project far more challenging than they should have been, and almost got the project killed. But there have also been quite a few aspects of the project that have gone miraculously well.
We've seen some really hard times, but the promise we saw in the game itself, and the tremendous culture on our team, kept us going through some very dark times.
Should people out there expect another game like Aven Colony?
We'd love to grow Aven Colony into a long-running franchise. We'll almost certainly do expansions and DLC at some point, and if the game does well, we absolutely expect there will be an Aven Colony 2.
Thank you for answering these questions. Do you have some final thoughts you want to share with our readers?
Games are a bit of a unique art form. Games have their own identity, and they have a funny way of growing life on their own, and forming their own identity that's somehow unique and distinct from anything you try to impose on it.
It's a bit like raising a child (or at least, what I think raising a child would be like). You can try as much as you want to mold someone, but at the end of the day, the child's own personality and identity are going to come through, and you have to listen to that.
So that's how it's been for us. We've tried to build a certain game and poured our own ideas into it. But where we've ended up is a new place, a place we could never have anticipated when we started out. We've ended up with something really new — a game that's familiar enough to people who play city-builders that they can feel comfortable getting started, but new enough and deep enough that it takes city-builder games somewhere they've never gone before and offers far more gameplay than we ever anticipated.
And I think some of the additions we have in store for later on during the beta will really surprise people.
So you heard it here first. A lot of plans from Mothership Entertainment for this game. DLC's that are coming up and plans for an Aven Colony 2! Well, we for sure can not wait to see all the plans the lovely folks at Mothership Entertainment have to show us! Thanks again for your time guys!
To see some in-game footage of the game, check our video preview below: