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GDC 2012: A Look at ‘Starship Troopers: Invasion’

Feel like 1997’s Starship Troopers left a little to be desired? You’re not alone. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions is taking another stab at it with the fully animated Starship Troopers: Invasion, due out this summer. And it won’t be alone: there will be a companion game released for iOS.

Starship Troopers: Invasion (the game) is being developed by industry newcomer Spectre Media, and it looks like its coming along well. The game is going to be an on-rails third-person action game, set in the universe of the film but not hitting quite the same story notes. Both take place on an isolated Federation outpost, Fort Casey, that’s under attack by the Bugs, the arachnid enemy from the Robert Heinlein novel and the films. The hero, a member of the Terran Federation’s Mobile Infantry, is alone and up against a huge enemy force.

It sounds as though Spectre Media has been inspired to some degree by Infinity Blade. Players will explore the environment, taking the occasional branching path to discover the secrets and destroy the bugs of Fort Casey. There will be upgradable weapons and power armor, resources that can be gathered and IAP options. Combat will consist of tapping to shoot and gesture-based weapon swapping.

From what we’ve seen, Starship Troopers: Invasion has some serious potential. It’s done a good job of mixing tension with cathartic action. There’s a need for stealth as you travel through the game’s hallways and caverns: make too much of a scene, and you’ll draw the attention of infestations of Bugs while you’re stuck in narrow corridors. A rear-view camera lets you know when Bugs are sneaking up behind you, and then you’ll have a choice. Will you stand and fight and risk bringing the full wrath of the Bugs down on you, or will you flee?

Story-wise, the game runs parallel to the movie, tying into it without telling the same tale. It can be enjoyed with or without the film, but the story from each will enhance the other. Invasion also bears hints of a greater story for fans of the novel. If you’re an action nut, it sounds like you can safely ignore it and keep mowing down bugs, but there’s lots out there to be found for the curious player. Plus, the assets for the game are shared from the film production, so it’s sure to look great when it’s complete.

Starship Troopers: Invasion will be released this summer on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Spectre Media hasn’t finalized price point for the launch, but they don’t expect it to be higher than $0.99. We’ll bring you more info as it’s available.