High Seize Hands-On

Who would have thought that Nokia would encourage piracy on the N-Gage? We investigate.

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Game Developers Conference, San Francisco--Every console worth its sea salt needs a pirate game, and the N-Gage will soon be able join the club. High Seize, a nautical action strategy game that is currently under development by Pathway to Glory creator RedLynx, is intended to provide N-Gage fans with a more-casual approach to turn-based strategy. Nokia didn't have a playable version of the game available at GDC, but a producer was on hand to provide some gameplay details and screenshots from this appetizing privateer simulation.

High Seize will take place in the Caribbean Sea of the 17th century, which was apparently a lot like the Persian Gulf of the 21st century--a very messy area where the great powers of the day vied for wealth and political power. We didn't learn much about the game's story, other than that it won't be fully linear; the phrase "sandbox gameplay" came up in our discussion of the game's open-ended, goal-oriented play. We also saw screenshots that suggested that High Seize would have three major components: prerendered story sequences, an isometric adventure mode for sailing and exploring islands, and a combat mode that looked an awful lot like the turn-based battles from the Advance Wars series.

Nokia personnel made it clear that High Seize was being aimed at a different segment of the market than games like Pathway to Glory: so-called "bus stop" gamers who don't want to be intimidated by their play experience but are still looking for an immersive environment. No further details were on offer, unfortunately, other than a nebulous statement that High Seize would be "easy to play, but tough to master," like the game of chess. Part of this simplification process will be concentrated on the game's N-Gage Arena features, apparently. For instance, the matchmaking process for multiplayer games over Arena will be improved dramatically from Pathway to Glory's system.

It's very difficult to draw any solid conclusions on High Seize from the small amount of information we were able to gather, but RedLynx's involvement is certainly an encouraging sign. The Finnish developer was very successful with its previous game, and it seems as though High Seize may further refine that game's formula for success, when it comes out in October. We'll be on the lookout for more substantive details, so check back often.

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