PAX Prime 2013: Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, features, and PS4 version

PAX Prime 2013 Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, more features and info about the PS4 version

Guns of Icarus' Online's concept of crewing airships in a steampunk future might be a little strange at first, but it's something that Muse Games is really passionate about. I linked up with founder Howard Tsao yesterday at PAX Prime to talk about the game's upcoming Adventure Mode, which will add new context to battles over the unfriendly skies.

The new online mode won't replace Guns of Icarus' current lobby-based multiplayer mode, but it will add new content, including missions and factions to provide a backdrop for actions in the game's steampunk world.

A reason to fly

The goals behind Adventure mode are to add more color to the Guns of Icarus world and give players more things to do. The focus of the mode will be the interactions between six different factions, each imposing an ideological spin on their post-apocalyptic steampunk world. Some want to use science to create a golden age, while others want to restrict the use of technology in the hopes of restoring the natural world. All of them will be in conflict (or cooperation) with each other, and crews will be asked to run missions for their faction and interfere with other factions' missions.

Each faction is designed and inspired by an existing world culture, and the developers are working hard to add a unique ethnic feel that still remains true to the genre. The players of each faction will be able to outfit themselves with unique equipment and fly unique ships that will identify thems as a member of that faction.

The missions available will include PvE-type missions, including some really wicked-looking boss ships. Howard mentioned that his team is currently working on AI for ship crews, especially pilots, and want to emulate a real human pilot flying a craft and a real crew to work the ship. He joked that if a pilot takes an especially hard turn, the G-forces might actually incapacitate the AI pilot. I thought that was kind of wild.

The focus of Adventure mode is still on PvP though, and there will be plenty of options to shoot at other players doing missions. Factions will be able to compete or cooperate in missions to gather resources and develop their factions, and a large portion of the faction's objectives will be player-generated. Howard was a bit hesitant to reveal exactly what that meant, but he did imply that a faction could be wiped out through hostile action and/or re-established entirely.

PAX Prime 2013 Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, more features and info about the PS4 version

Airships on next-gen consoles

The guys weren't too talkative about the PS4 version of the game, but I think that's because it will largely be the exact same game. Howard explained that the only real obstacle his team is facing is controller integration for the menus and methods of communicating between console and PC players.

In fact, the reason the PS4 was chosen as the game's console platform was that it allows for Steam integration, which will permit players on console and PC to play with or against each other.

Howard did express that he wants to improve players' ability to communicate in general. He noted that the team was going to implement a way for PS4 and PC players to communicate via voice and also add more methods of nonverbal communication. The intent of the devs is to add a large number of nonverbal commands (such as "Go here," "Do this," "Help over here," etc.) that can be quickly accessed to improve players' ability to communicate even if they don't speak the same language. He mentioned that the team is looking into voiceover talent for the nonverbal lines as well.

He did tell me that the biggest roadblock for PS4 development is actually licensing right now rather than any development hurdle. He didn't give me an exact "when" for either Adventure mode or the PS4 version, but it seemed as though a lot of the bricks had already been laid when we talked.

PAX Prime 2013 Guns of Icarus Online's new Adventure mode, more features and info about the PS4 version

The short term

Howard was pretty hyped about some of the short-term changes too. The nonverbal crew command system is coming in the next patch, and the ability to dye clothing is also going to be available to help crew members to stand out more from each other.

Additionally, he was really excited to talk about some new unlocks, specifically books that add more information about lore and gameplay. Players can expect to be able to read about the new factions as well as advanced stats and strats for operating their ship in the next patch.

He also mentioned some big changes to the new-player experience, including beginner tooltips for tasks aboard ship and improvements to the beginner skill and lobby interface. I thought that these were pretty welcome improvements, since Guns of Icarus is a fairly complex game.

While you'll have to wait a little longer for Adventure mode (he estimates June of 2014, though nothing is set in stone), the above changes (plus quite a bit more) will be released on September 16th. Of course, if you want to play right now, Guns of Icarus Online is available both on the official website and Steam.

Massively's on the ground in Seattle during the weekend of August 30th to September 2nd, bringing you all the best news from PAX Prime 2013. Whether you're dying to know more about WildStar, The Elder Scrolls Online, EverQuest Next, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!