Fishlabs, the German studio behind popular space trading and combat sim Galaxy On Fire games for iOS devices, today announced that it is currently developing a massively multiplayer online game called Galaxy On Fire – Alliances, with real-time strategy components, aiming for a release later this year. The spin-off project is designed to capitalize on the success of the original GOF and GOF 2 games, but starting with a free-to-play model and incorporating massive multiplayer elements like alliances, resource trading and P2P combat.
If you haven’t tried Galaxy On Fire 2, I’d highly recommend you go check it out, especially since it’s free right now as Apple’s “App of the Week” pick on the App Store. Fans of games like Escape Velocity for the Mac and Freelancer for Windows will likely find themselves on familiar ground, but the GOF series, and GOF 2 in particular, does the best job yet of translating that experience to the iOS platform. Plus, while it employs in-app purchases, it does so in a way that only modestly affects gameplay, so you can achieve full enjoyment simply playing through without paying for any upgrades.
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Galaxy On Fire – Alliances will be a different beast, as it is designed from the ground up as a free-to-play experience. That means you can bet that in-app purchases will be a more core element of gameplay, and likely something that players will feel more compelled to indulge in. Fishlabs did an excellent job of threading the needle on paid unlockables with GOF 2, however, so I’m very interested to see if the company can pull off the same kind of subtle approach to the F2P market.
Alliances will features three factions, the Terrans, the Vossk and the Nivellians, competing for a newly-explored part of space. Players will engage in tactical combat, diplomatic activity, trading and resource management in order to research and develop new technologies and gain control over these territories, as well as form alliances with their fellow players, which you probably figured out from the name. Fishlabs promises “epic space battles,” and I can’t help but hope this game can somehow live up to the precedent set by EVE online for desktop space exploration sims.
While Galaxy On Fire – Alliances isn’t set for release until the third quarter of 2013 on iOS (after which it will eventually be ported to Android, the developer says), but gamers will get a glimpse at it at GDC in San Francisco at the end of March.