Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Watchlist: The Masterplan

Title: The Masterplan
Developer: Shark Punch
Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux
Releasing late 2014
Drawing inspiration from both legendary tactical turn-based games and classic heist movies alike, the goal of The Masterplan is to put together the right crew, get the right equipment, and finally plan and execute the biggest heist ever.
I had been following The Masterplan closely after seeing it on Screenshot Saturday and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the game's press demo. It's a small early slice of the game - a small store, three criminals to control - but it was more than enough to make me very eager to see how the game grows in the future.
The Masterplan is set in the 70s, the era of The Getaway and Dog Day Afternoon, of cunning thieves and daring heists. From a top-down perspective, you control a group of crooks in typical tactical game fashion (set waypoints, select actions, pause and queue commands) as you plan out and conduct robberies. In the case of the press demo, your goal is to steal as much as possible, the primary target being the safe in the back of the store. How you approach this is up to you. My first attempt went downhill fairly quickly. I spread my trio throughout the store and draw my guns to hold up the clerk and civilians. I was directing the people to the back at gunpoint, when another person entered the store. Panicking, I shot him, but that took my attention off the clerk, who drew a shotgun and opened fire. By the time gunfire died down, I only had one robber left. The police were on their way. I hurriedly stole what I could and barely escaped to the getaway vehicle.
My second attempt went much smoother. I left one person as a lookout, sent my group member who specialized in lock-picking to go around the back alley and enter through a side entrance and had my third robber kept the people inside at bay. Within minutes, the contents of the safe was mine, I was able to direct everyone to a back room and knock them out, and all three of us escaped to our getaway van. Such different outcomes showcases The Masterplan's tactical depth and gameplay freedom.
The Masterplan is still in development, with an Early Access release planned for this summer. Aside from more heists, more criminals to use, and refining the controls, the developers want to add a mission editor and experimental modes such as a twin-stick where you directly control a single character. You can learn more about The Masterplan here and follow its progress on TIGForum or the developer's blog. The game was recently Greenlit.

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