ID@Xbox Blog

Phantom Doctrine: Bigger, Better, and More Tactical

When the team at CreativeForge started outlining the scope and goals for our next game, we didn’t have to start with a blank slate. Our tactical western Hard West was met with a warm reception from fans, even though it was definitely an independent game. We kept improving it with periodic patches for two years, but there’s only so much that can be added to a charming, yet small, title.

The untapped potential of the turn-based tactical games has always been a big draw for the team. While we love and respect the venerable franchise about angry E.T.s, we believe there are many settings and stories which can fit the genre. Enter Phantom Doctrine: a game of tactics, strategy, and espionage in the 1980s Cold War years. It’s an exciting spy thriller with a global conspiracy at its core.

One of the goals the team set for itself was to offer players as much choice as possible while keeping gameplay exciting and challenging. That means a lot of freedom in choosing how you tackle the hostile world of the Cold War espionage: you can focus on maximizing your team’s chances with research, new weapons, informants and highly skilled agents, embarking on missions only when fully locked and loaded. Or you can just charge in, grabbing enemy operatives, dismantling outposts and capturing weapons, leaving running your base to agents.

Another important choice is the way you tackle each individual mission. Phantom Doctrine uniquely fully supports both stealth and combat. While it’s immensely satisfying to move behind enemy lines like ghosts, there’s nothing wrong with taking the nefarious Conspiracy head-on. The former lets you use reconnaissance, disguises and silent takedowns to achieve your goals silently. Enthusiasts of open combat can reach for dozens of Cold War-era weapons, armor and explosives. Position snipers, grenadiers or spotters around the battlefield to keep fire support on standby.

The best thing? Just like with running your base, you can change your mind anytime and start playing differently!

We’re all fans and players of turn-based tactical games ourselves, so another thing was also always on our minds for Phantom Doctrine: replayability. Not only is the game really huge, but it can also be enjoyed multiple times, in many different ways. Even for our testers, who know it really well, a typical single-player campaign provides excellent fun for 35-40 hours at a time! So how do we make sure it’s fresh and fun again and again? A huge pool of 60 massive, unique Cold War maps from around the world with multiple sets of objectives, changing patterns of guards and security systems. Randomized agent names, backgrounds, and professional skills. Ever-changing codenames and case files to piece together using the Investigation Board. Last but not least: three different campaign backgrounds to choose from and an Expanded Playthrough feature which unlocks additional story information on subsequent playthroughs.

Finally, the hardcore players who set their turn-based tacticals to eleven and plow through will also find something for themselves, with optional Ironman Mode, selectable difficulty and a wealth of options to maximize their chances of victory. Stay tuned for more from Phantom Doctrine, coming August 14th behind an Iron Curtain near you!

Kacper Szymczak
Lead Designer
CreativeForge Games