The Design and Development of Project: ELITE

The world we know is gone. It’s fallen into the hands of an invading alien force, and humanity is holding on by only a thin thread of hope. There are few brave enough, skilled enough, and foolhardy enough to take on this mission. If Project: ELITE fails, we all go down with it. 

This sets the stage for one of the most exciting, innovative, and at times, stressful games in recent memory. Project: ELITE made a huge impact when it first hit Kickstarter in 2016. With its cooperative missions and real-time game action, players were thrust into a tense battle for survival with the entire human race hanging in the balance.

Project: ELITE was in development for about one and a half years, from conception to the first release of the game,” said Tsantilas. “The CMON edition has a lot of new content which was not included in the first version, content which we have been working on since 2017. We have also improved many aspects of the game. We’ve been working closely with the CMON development team and have perfected this content for the latest edition of Project: ELITE.”

Due to the real-time mechanics of the game, both Tsantilas and Kokkinis faced some interesting design challenges unique to this style of game. 

“When you're developing a real-time game, you have to find that sweet spot where the game is simple, but also interesting,” explained Tsantilas. “It must be simple enough to be easy to play in real-time, but also interesting enough to keep the player involved. Personally, I think that one of the most successful elements of the game is that we made sure to give the players ‘time-outs’ between the 2-minute-rounds of explosive action. That gives them a chance to compose themselves and strategize for the next round.”

Despite being a game that relies heavily on a frantic, speedy mechanic, the designers didn’t want to leave out the theme. Project: ELITE is a game with a rich backstory and an almost cinematic feel to its presentation. They drew upon their love of science fiction movies and books to create the world the game is played in.

“The Alien universe definitely influenced the theme of the game. I'd also say Starship Troopers and Ender's Game certainly played a part in the conception of the theme.”

A huge factor in transporting players into this world was the new high-quality art and miniatures that are an expected element from any CMON title. Making players feel like they were in the middle of a desperate situation was a top priority for everyone on the project.

“Playing Project: ELITE feels like you're playing a video game or starring in a movie. The art and the miniatures play a very important role in the player's immersion,” said Tsantilas.

A constant theme throughout Project: ELITE is teamwork. You need to have it to survive different missions, and it was crucial in the design process as well.

“Me and Konstantinos have designed New Dawn together, and we will release another game later this year,” explained Tsantilos. “I think working on a project together with people makes game design way more fun, as long as you and your partners work well together. Good teamwork plays a big part in reaching a desirable result. That's exactly what's happened with me and Konstantinos. We ‘click’ and we work very well together, and that's what I think makes the end product so much more successful than if we had been working separately.”

Just like the design process, the missions in Project: ELITE are going to test the synergy level of your team.

“The missions are designed in such a way that teamwork and strategic planning are demanded of the players.” Little missteps can occur, and in the pressure of real-time, that’s when everything can go to hell. “Critical thinking is one of the first things to fall apart during the real-time phase of the game and it’s instead replaced by yelling and panic all around the table. But that is one of the things that make the game so enjoyable.”

Players familiar with the original edition will be happy to know that they are able to experience the same game as before. However, the CMON edition comes with some exciting new elements that will be revealed as the Kickstarter campaign continues.

Project: ELITE is all about coming together as a team to get the job done. From the original design partnership between Tsantilos and Kokkinis, to the work Artipia Games and CMON have done to update the game, to the teamwork you’re going to have to display to win a mission and keep hope alive for another day. You can choose to fight together as a unit, or die alone. The choice, and the fate of the world is up to you.

Project: ELITE is coming to Kickstarter on October 30 at 3 PM EST.

Read the Project: ELITE overview article here.

Read the Project: ELITE Heroes article here.

Read the Project: ELITE Aliens article here.

The Design and Development of Project: ELITE

Related news