The Mandate is already an unusual sci-fi roleplaying game in that it features a Tsarist scheme, but the developer wants to stress crew dynamics akin to those players might see in Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly.
In an interview, Perihelion Studios executive producer Ole Herbjørnsen related, "We model the chain of command. You will have enlisted, non-commissioned officers (and on bigger ships commissioned officers) who all report to you, their captain. Your behaviour and conduct will affect and shape your crew. Crew can earn promotions and you may take them from green enlisted to specialists or turn them into captains suitable for command of their own starship (not all crew are suitable for command, however)!"
"When off-duty, crew will go about their own business on the ship," he went on to describe, "You may walk around and interact with them, and some may have quests to offer you. Other times events may transpire on the ship as a response to what recently occured in the game. E.g. perhaps you took on a fresh batch of crewmen to replace losses and one of these turns out to be a saboteur? Or a particular crewman (who you may have grown fond of) displayed cowardice in battle. How do you react to this? Do you court martial that person or look the other way? In addition we want you to be able to take prisoners and put them in the brig for later interrogation. Or you might receive a mission from a faction to escort a dignitary, who would then be on your ship and could offer additional lore or even quest opportunities."
As for crewmember deaths, noted that redshirts will die quickly, but the longer the crew serves on the ship, the higher their survivability. "If you take a lot of damage to your ship, expect casualties. Enlisted may die quickly, however, since the player has invested a lot of time and effort into his/her officers and captains, we will provide difficulty setting options so you can decide whether they die or only get wounded," Herbjørnsen noted.
Speaking of ship combat, players will be able to board other ships - or fend off a boarding party on their own ship - which will take place in pausable real time.
"Space combat and boarding operations may take place at the same time. In singleplayer you will be able to pause and issue orders to both. We are planning some smart ways of easily switching between the two control modes, similar to a picture in picture view." Herbjørnsen then teased, "One of our backers suggested allowing for the possibility of using multiple screens, which is also a very interesting idea, and perhaps a worthy stretch goal?"
The Mandate can be found on Kickstarter , and is already close to halfway to its $500K goal after a week of crowdfunding.