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Interview: Part 2 Failure: NeuroSlicers Highly Anticipated RTS

This is the second part of our two part interview with Justin French, CEO of Dream Harvest Games. In our last article, we spoke almost exclusively about Justin’s experience in the industry and the journey that led to the creation of Dream Harvest Games.

Today, we learn more about the studio’s premier game, dark cyberpunk real time strategy (RTS) Failure: NeuroSlicers. Justin has graciously shared details about the game. The information below is his response to questions about core game play and mechanics.

Trio_map capture_11Failure: NeuroSlicers is currently in the Pre-Alpha stage of development. It is worth noting that it is possible to gain free access to the Pre-Alpha by joining the community over on discord where Dream Harvest will be rewarding the most vocal and passionate members with access to the Pre-Alpha in batches. Players can join the discord community by heading to

The Backstory Behind Failure: NeuroSlicers

In 2248 MindCore, a global technology and biomedical mega-corporation develops a highly complex deep neural and information exchange network with funding from the Government.1925987b-2433-4b23-82e1-5abfdc3cfac2_rw_1200The NeuroNet – Designed to store, catalogue and disseminate all of humanities knowledge in real-time via a new form of BCI (Brain-Computer Interface) called the Neural Latch, it’s aim; to create a safer, stronger and more open, always connected society and to provide jobs and a form of escape from the real world. With such a vast library of constantly changing data, MindCore had one major obstacle; the data
was just too complex for even those with highly augmented interfaces to navigate, input wasn’t a problem, but accessing and using the data was.

With this problem they formed a subsidiary, Tesseract.7094d1eb-f317-4eea-833b-2afada68e7b5_rw_1200Years later, an unknown entity leaks protected information, proving the security of the network has been compromised. Despite Tesseract efforts to reassure the population and gradually lock down the sectors, people start questioning the real intent of the company.
After a day known in history as The Breach, the AI now running autonomously decides to open the entirety of the NeuroNet’s sectors to all and then promptly disappears without a trace.

IllustratedLogo_SmallSquare_previewChaos ensues with protests rising in every corner of Nexus City. Tesseract, whose stock collapsed, deploys Slicers to penetrate the Keeper’s defenses but remain unsuccessful till this day and declares the Nexus a Police state, organizing public execution of rogue slicers and data sellers. Panic and paranoia spread like wildfire.

Every person’s deepest secret is buried down in the network. Its access only depends on the time and effort you’re willing to put to retrieve it, or to destroy it.

You are a Slicer, paid by the highest bidder, who will you side with?

Game Premise

Play as a Slicer, a hacker for hire working for the Factions/Corporations in the game. You start off quite weak, with only a small selection of abilities to outfit your deck with, but as you take more contracts for the Corporations you’ll unlock new abilities to slot in and take into battle.

These Abilities are made up of Units, Buildings and Hacking powers which we call Functions.

Trio_map capture_10Matches take place in a variety of levels, each of which have their own sets of global objectives to capture and control that effect a level and match in interesting ways. On top of this you’ll have specific Contract objectives that you’ll need to complete during a match for your given Corporation.

You’re not locked into a Corporation from the beginning of the game, but the more you take contracts for one the more the others will be less likely to give you contracts. You’ll eventually need to choose a side.

With each contract you’ll learn more about the ethos of each Corporation and you’ll also be progressing the core narrative, learning more about the NeuroNet, the world outside, and why The Keeper, (AI that was built to control the network) went rogue.

Game Play

Trio_map capture_09The goal of Dream Harvest was to remove the tedious aspects of RTS games while keeping deeper core concepts which draw gamers to the genre. The game is based on information, so you are able to see what your opponent is doing at any given time. Each player is able to react to their opponent’s strategies, working to set up situations to which their opponent won’t be able to adequately respond. Units are automated, and summon directly onto the battlefield, making surprise attacks and flanking quite effective.

The game tends to play out as a tense struggle over resources and territory, with flanking, surprise attacks, and feints. Unlike most RTS, Failure places a premium on being able to flank your opponent, and tricking your opponent into wasting resources in one area of the map can really pay off elsewhere.

Clip1With AI-controlled units, unit placement and the path your units follow into enemy territory have a tremendous amount of weight. We provide plenty of tools for each player to use during combat to tip a battle in your favor and keep your opponent off balance, while keeping your interactions with your army and territory straightforward and understandable to player of all skill levels.

What Makes Failure: NeuroSlicers Unique?

Trio_map capture_06We are putting an emphasis on counter-play in Failure. We are designing our Scripts (units, abilities, and turrets) to interact in deep and meaningful ways with a wide array of other Scripts. We’re steering away from hard counters, so skillful application of your units and abilities will be required to carry the day. Failure is an objective-based game, with both annihilation-style and capture-based victory conditions, allowing players an array of goals to pursue and methods to pursue them.

What Makes the Game Stand Out?

We have a selection of core features that set the game aside from other RTS games. This includes:

  • AI powered units that are clever enough to know what to do in a given situation
  • Heavier focus on Macro over micro, requiring you to take different tactical decisions over traditional RTS games
  • No fog of war, we’re a total information game
  • Small Battle Arena like maps with different global objectives to fight over
  • A true player progression system
  • A multiplayer narrative driven campaign co written by Antony Johnston, writer of Dead Space and the recently released blockbuster film Atomic Blonde
  • True load-out customization allowing you to bring in any of the units, buildings or hacking powers that you’ve unlocked into a game
  • Other customization features that we’re not quite ready to discuss
  • Amazing AAA quality graphics that pushes what can be done in a RTS game

What Games Influenced Failure: NeuroSlicers?

hRnz9btwgQqJZZ4Y5FDdrKThe obvious ones are StarCraft and other core RTS games. But really, we’re taking ideas from a wider variety of genres than just RTS. We’ve been looking at the recent success of Battle Arena games such as BattleRite and also of course MOBA’s such as DOTA and Heroes of the Storm in regards to our level based global objectives.

We’re also looking at the narrative approaches to games such as Destiny, Destiny 2 and other MMO’s as our campaign is played with others, in multiplayer, but it’s as deep as a single-player game – at least that’s what we’re attempting to do, just instead of NPC’s you’re fighting against other players.

Then there’s the obvious book references that include stuff by William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and a few others along with films such as The Matrix, THX 1138, Blade Runner, etc.

What About the Music?

The music was originally being composed by myself, however, I felt that someone with a bit more musical chops could do the game more justice.

downloadFor this reason we brought Daniel Elms on board. He’s previously contributed to a number of Emmy winning films and TV series including BBC TV Drama, Taboo and the Ridley Scott directed Stephen King TV adaptation of 11.22.63 among other stuff.

He’s super talented, though has never done any game work, however I jumped at the chance to start writing and learning how to do interactive music.

The style is a blend between electronic, organic glitch and orchestral and we make use of live musicians as well as modular synthesis and re-sampling in interesting ways. We wanted to make sure that the OST has its own sound that matches the theme of the game and the push and pull between the digital world of the NeuroNet and the real wold outside of the network.

You can listen to some of both of our stuff over on SoundCloud.

Or check out Dan’s latest piece for the game here.

Will the Game be Available on Console?

We’re currently focusing our efforts on the PC/ Mac / Linux versions of the game until we can raise additional funding.

HACS_001_logo_R_adHowever, due to the focus on Macro over Micro the game works well with a controller which means we’d like to eventually get it to current generation consoles and even the Nintendo Switch if possible.

The game also lends itself to touch screens so we’ll likely to a version for mobile down the line in one form or another.

TrailerLoop600X400Failure: NeuroSlicers has been designed as a game as a service, we’ve planned a whole load of free and paid content for after release such as: tournament system, level design tool, modding tools and more. Ideally the game will have a long lifespan and if it does we’ll continue to update the game with new content as often as we can.

In addition to this we’d love to launch the game on multiple platforms and have already begun discussions with major platform holders including Nintendo. Though in order to get the game on these platforms we’ll need more funding.

There will be more to come on Failure: NeuroSlicers. We will be tracking their progress closely and working to bring you the latest news and progress on the game!

Developer: Dream Harvest Games

Anticipated Release Dates

  • Pre-Alpha – Early 2018
  • Alpha – Q2 2018
  • Open Beta Q3/Q4 2018
  • Full Release TBD (Late 2018 / Early 2019)

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