Interview With Dakka Squadron Lead Designer Jon Cooper

WAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH! Sorry, I just couldn’t help it.

Recently I’ve been so into Warhammer 40k. I’ve researched so much lore, browsed endless minatures, and purchased many games. However, there was something missing from all the 40k video games I’ve bought. That would my favorite race: The Orks!

So, I did a little digging and found that there in fact was a video game currently in development about none other than my favorite green skin brutes! Now of course I just had to get apart of this sweet, alien fungal action. I reached out to Dakka Squadron’s development team to have a little chat about their upcoming title. Lead designer on the project, Jon Cooper, accepted our invitation, and gave us a little look inside the world of Phosphor Games.

Interview

Massive Dog Fight In Dakka Squadron

1) What is Dakka Squadron? 

Dakka squadron is a fast-paced aerial shooter. Where the player completes missions to gain teef to unlock new weapons and planes to bring more dakka to the enemy.

We wanted to keep the game close to the ground to capture the feel of ork flyers zooming across a battlefield.  This means that you’ll have plenty of obstacles to fly around to get enemies off your tail and that you’ll have plenty of interesting flying moments as you zoom through imperial ruins, red rock canyons, and lava caves.

It shows off the setting as you can fly around and through these gigantic structures and alien landscapes, better than if the game was set at ten thousand feet.

2) What has the development process been like working with such a legendary franchise?

It’s been really fun.  I’ve been playing Warhammer 40k since ‘94 when I picked up my first box of space wolf grey hunters and then the second edition boxed set soon after. My grot corps are still made up of mostly those second edition gretchin.

Games workshop has been great to work with, when I was writing the campaign it was helpful to get the finer points of Orky behavior and lore from GW.  They also gave us tons of references so our artists just had to pop over to the next room and pick up a Dakkajet, or piece of terrain to use for reference.  

3) What would an average mission in Dakka Squadron look like?

Flying, hah!

The player will select the mission and have the option to select their plane from the list of planes in their hangar.  Then after a brief level intro explaining the mission they would be in the thick of it.     

We have two main types of missions: Burning skies, and death from the skies.

These are air to air engagements and air to ground engagements respectively. 

Once the objectives are completed the mission will end, and the player will gain any teef or other rewards they earned and then move on to more missions or the scrap pile to modify their jets.

Some missions are short and simple encounters, others are more intricate, and string together air to air, air to ground, defensive, and escorting objectives.  

The mobile versions of the game and the PC version also have different missions, with the PC missions being more intricate and longer.

4) Will there be any kind of multiplayer for players to expect, either competitive or cooperative? 

Yes, the PC version will have a competitive deathmatch mode.  Players will be able to host deathmatch games of up to 30 players with the option to add bots to fill in empty slots.  They will also be able to earn teef in deathmatch to unlock weapons and gubbinz.

5) What other game mode options does Dakka Squadron have?

Currently the campaign and multiplayer for PC.  Mobile versions are single-player campaigns only.  If things go well we would like to add more modes both multiplayer and single player.

6) Was Dakka Squadron built with singleplayer in mind? If so, can players expect a high replayability? 

Yes, the single-player campaign will take the player across the main story and across the five planets.  Once a planet has been completed then replayable missions will be available to continue to play and gain teef to unlock planes and weapons.  The mobile version is structured a little differently and will have these repeatable missions intertwined with progression.

7) What has been your favorite part of developing this game?

Getting to work in a franchise that was always my dream to work in.  Some of the earliest pitches and design documents I wrote up in my career were for 40k games. Doubly so that this game is an ork centric game, a faction that I love and collect.

Working with talented passionate people, some of whom were already fans of 40k some of whom this was their introduction to it. 

Getting the campaign in, working with the voice actors, and seeing the characters come to life was a real treat.  Then taking that and with the team putting it all together to make an entertaining, challenging campaign.

Seeing the art and animation come together with the gameplay and level design to create the experience of bullets flying, planes exploding, threading the needle through a ruined imperial cathedral also can’t be beaten.

In hindsight really all of it.

8) What has been your least favorite part?

Development is full of ups and downs.  There have been some great highs and some pretty low lows on this project.  Trying to complete a game during the pandemic has been a challenge for us all at Phosphor. We came through it and have a great game to show at the end of it.  

9) What all platforms are you expecting to release Dakka Squadron on?

We have launched on Android with a Google Play Pass subscription and Google Play Store.  We will also be launching on IOS and PC.  Consoles are planned as well.  

10) Going forward, could players expect additional content added to the game?

Yeah, if the game sells well, we have plans for additional content and support. 

11) Last very important question….are you ready for a WAAAAAAAGHHHH?

 WE IZ ALWAYZ REDDY FER A WAAAGH! 


We are always grateful for the opportunity to chat with our favorite game developers. If you’re interested in Warhammer 40k or just looking for some sweet Orky action, definitely keep Dakka Squadron on your radar in 2021.

For all things geek culture keep it right here with 101 Militia Gaming!

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