Hey folks, long time lurker, first time poster here. I've been working on a game lately that strays a bit from the typical side-scrolling space shooter formula, as you can probably tell from the title. (Early, early alpha screenshot below.) Thing is, I'm starting to second guess myself a bit and I'm not sure if the way we're going with this will actually be fun. So let me know what you think!
There will be 2 phases to the game, and it will work pretty similarly to the XCOM formula. You'll start out on a world map in the shape of a globe and the planet is under siege by aliens, just like XCOM. You'll build a base, staff it, research things, etc.
You'll recruit from a very small pool of available pilots who qualify for the program (It's based on psionics, though. XCOM, anyone?) and choose which pilot will fly which mission. Missions will appear, again, similar (EXACTLY THE SAME?) to XCOM. When your sensors detect an enemy fleet, or if a city is being attacked, an enemy capital ship is discovered, rescue attempts for downed pilots, etc, you'll be able to click it and fly a mission there or completely ignore it. Incidentally, that means these missions will be random instead of linear or mostly linear the way most space shooters are.
Actual missions are where things get changed up. Instead of earning cash for killing enemies, your pilots earn experience and research bonuses for your labs. Each pilot will be able to pick a skill tree of what to focus on, for example, piloting, weapons or toughness (or something). The pilots will level up in traditional RPG fashion, and the better you perform during missions, the faster they'll level up. Research bonuses are acquired by performing difficult things in missions, sort of like achievements. Completing a long string of kills, using only one type of weapon, not taking any damage, etc. (There may or may not still be usual shooter power ups in a mission. Research and experience may take the place of that)
Lastly, there will be skills and special abilities that pilots can learn. These will be similar to using a MEGABOMB or something, except they'll do different things. The buttons 1-4 will be the skills you can bring with you, each will have a cooldown. This may include slowing down time, invincibility shields, improved damage, MEGABOMB, healing yourself, etc.
The reason we're adding these elements to the game is partially because I think it'd be fun as hell, but also because my team and I just aren't skilled enough to make some amazing shooter like Gradius or something. Making a good shooter requires some level of genius I just don't possess, so the hope is that adding this kind of depth will even that out.
So, now you have the idea. Here are my questions/concerns.
Will having random missions detract from the way a space shooter normally works?
Would a base-building, long research projects, XCOM-inspired campaign work for this kind of game?
Is a complicated RPG levelling element (assuming it's done correctly) tedious or more fun? Would normal space shooters like, say, Raptor benefit from this? Will it work doing this with multiple pilots?
All in all, does adding this sort of thing take away from what makes a shooter a shooter?
This was sort of a rambling post since I just decided to get your thoughts on a whim, but hopefully you guys can follow everything okay. Any advice/thoughts/questions/etc are welcome, so fire away. Thanks!