E3 2014: Nintendo Announces New IP, Called Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.

At a special roundtable event, Nintendo announced Code Name: S.T.E.A.M, a new IP which will release on the 3DS next year.

According to livetweets from the roundtable event, the game’s opening cinematic was shown, showing a character called Fleming battling aliens in steampunk London. The game will be made by Intelligent Systems, the team behind Advance Wars and Fire Emblem and will be a turn based strategy game with action elements taken from third person shooters. The game seems similar in style to Valkyria Chronicles, with the mix of both shooting and strategy. When asked, the lead developer admitted he is a fan of Valkyria Chronicles but that the game was not inspired by it. They wanted to create a strategy game but with some shooter elements within it.

The game will have you playing as Unit S.T.E.A.M, a fighting force set up by Abraham Lincoln to fight the aliens and the art-style is a mix of American comics and steampunk. The reason you start in London is because it was the home of the British Empire during the 19th century so the aliens would attack there first, according to the developers. You will go to other locales as the game goes on, including the USA. You move round each unit round the map and attack by using action points, indicated by a steam gauge which decreases as you attack. You can move as you see fit, not using your steam gauge up until you decide an attack but if you get caught by an enemy, you get locked into the amount of steam you were using to get you to that point.

CNS Lion

This is how the game looks when you are choosing your attack. You can clearly see your Steam Gauge at the bottom.

Positioning and using the vertical nature of some maps is key to gaining an advantage in battle. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M also seems to take elements from games like XCOM, having the ability for characters to go into an Overwatch state, to stun enemies during their own turn but this takes up steam. These Overwatch attacks can be stacked up (just like in XCOM) and can lead to massive damage if attacks are successfully chained together. Maps also have checkpoints which allows players to save their progress mid game, as well as to cash in medals gained from the aliens for more health and steam. However, you can also use these medals to buy better weapons so you must balance between saving up your medals for a new weapon, or healing up your party mid mission. Unlike Fire Emblem however, the game will NOT feature permadeath. You will be able to revive teammates using medals dropped from enemies or picked up from exploring the map. You can do this at the in game checkpoints, otherwise they will appear next mission. As for multiplayer, the game will have it in some online form, but details are yet to be finalised on that, according to the developers.

The developers state that there is no undo button to actions as it was considered a mess during development. In terms of characters, you get to pick 4 to take on a mission and there is no XP in the game so you cannot grind up your characters. You have to focus on collecting weapons and characters and building a balanced team. Each character’s main weapon is designed with a power or animal motif, with the main character of Henry having a gun called the ‘Eagle Rifle’. Other characters include a woman with a fox motif and a talking lion. Characters even have special attacks based off their specific animals, with Henry being able to summon a steampunk eagle to attack enemies. The game will have a sizeable cast, not apparently as large as Fire Emblem’s but more will be revealed as development continues. As for amiibo support, the developers said that they will ‘think about it’.

CNS Henry

Lincoln would be proud of this incredibly patriotic attack.

While the general art style is based of comic book artists like Jack Kirby, the alien design have a Lovecrafitan feel to them, sharing a icy design. Most of the enemies are blue/purple in colour, and can use weapons and machines just like the heroes. The devs promises that there will be a ton of alien variety. The music in game is also very rock heavy, reflecting the steampunk setting of the game. It also promises to be dynamic and will react to enemy activity and your actions.

CNS Battle

An idea of what the enemies look like, and your perspective during their turn.

Also, the developers said that the development of Code Name: S.T.E.A.M does not impact any future Fire Emblem or Advance Wars games that that development of FExSMT is progressing well. Unfortunately, they could not reveal more in fear of losing their jobs apparently.

We will be able to see the game in action tomorrow during Nintendo’s Treehouse stream but what do you think? Do you like this new IP? Tell us in the comments below and look out for more on Code Name: S.T.E.A.M in the coming months.

UPDATE: Here is a video, showing the showcase of Code Name: S.T.E.A.M from the Nintendo Treehouse stream