Nintendo Debuts Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. for 3DS

Posted by at 1:36 pm on June 12, 2014

Steam 3DSNintendo has announced a brand new game for the Nintendo 3DS—Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. It’s a turn-based strategy game with elements from action games. Specifically, the action elements draw from third-person shooters. S.T.E.A.M. is being developed by Intelligent Systems, the developer of Fire Emblem and Advance Wars. The game is produced by Hitoshi Yamagami. He’s the Nintendo producer on games like Xenoblade, Fire Emblem and Style Savvy. During the presentation, Yamagami said that people have a kind of timidity about turn-based strategy. He’s been thinking about why it is that people have this aversion to these games.

S.T.EA.M. takes place in a London that’s entirely steam-powered. In this world, wireless technology such as radios are a new invention. The game’s main character is named Captain Fleming and players command the Unit S.T.E.A.M., an elite fighting force created by Abraham Lincoln.

Nintendo said the “move, attack, select new unit” format doesn’t work for this kind of game. They wanted to bring non-linear problem-solving to the turn-based format. Your turns in S.T.E.A.M. are essentially limited by how much steam you have on a little bar on the bottom of the screen. Until you’ve performed some kind of action like an attack, even if you move, your steam won’t be completely depleted.

The fifth mission in S.T.E.A.M. is titled “Liberating Boston”. The mission started out with 9 units on the Nintendo 3DS’ bottom screen. One of them looked like it has a pumpkin for a head. Another looked like a… tiger… thing. Nintendo said that each character has unique characteristics and powers. We wanted to make it easy to tell what kinds of powers characters have just by looking at them.

Even if you aren’t very good at Math, you can still enjoy this game a lot, the game’s developers say. This also means that you won’t be grinding for experience to boost stats—instead, you’re focused on expanding the team and making the team itself stronger. You’ll get new characters as you go through the game, and new weapons that allow for different ways of attacking. There’s no way to grind your way into an all-powerful character, and there’s no all-powerful weapon waiting at the end. Your victory depends on how well you can use the powers of your team together to defeat each map.

Nintendo wanted S.T.EA.M.’s characters to be iconic. The artists on the development team at Intelligent Systems drew inspiration from Silver Age American comic books. Intelligent Systems paid close attention to colour and shading in the game. They also used pixel art for the terrain, so that no matter what distance you look at the textures from, they maintain the same visual style all the time. The goal is to make it so every map is some place the player feels they’ve never seen before.

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