We threw a few questions at Steve Bristow, Strange Brigade‘s lead designer, to find out exactly what to expect from the upcoming game. 

Where did the idea for the game first come from?

One of the very first inspirations for the game was this classic British adventure serial book. On the cover there was a picture of a tiger jumping onto a stunning Bugatti car, mauling it while it’s being driven through a jungle at some crazy speed. It became a motif for Strange Brigade in development – we strived to make sure we were hitting the same heights of extraordinary adventure.

What about the 1930s was so appealing to you?

It’s the style of those early adventure stories. There’s so much of our current entertainment that has roots in the pulpy, “find-out-next-time” entertainment of that era. There’s a naïve but captivating charm to things like the classic matinee films and the comic books that come from that time. That’s something we’ve also tried to capture in Strange Brigade – that quintessential sense of heroism and adventure that defined the era.

What was the inspiration for Seteki?

The line between history and fiction from the time of the Pharaohs is pretty fuzzy, which suits our fantasy perfectly. We’ve blended some factual and some, probably apocryphal, references to come up with Seteki; the god-like power of Hatshepsut and Nefertiti with the mercilessness of Nitocris, add a bit of rum devilry and we’ve got a mysterious and charismatic baddie for the Strange Brigade to cross swords with.

Is the co-op local, online, or both?

Just online, I’m afraid. We know there are a lot of fans of local co-op – we have a lot of fans in the studio – but the way we’ve designed Strange Brigade, it sadly doesn’t fit the local co-op mould. The very cool thing about the online co-op, though, is that it’s drop-in, drop-out across the whole of the story campaign. That means you can do some parts of the game alone and some with your friends, or all of it alone, or all of it with friends – however you wish. Friends can even drop in and out during levels. It’s a very flexible experience.

What kind of customisation can players expect?

Plenty, especially when it comes to weaponry. Players can choose from a wide variety of classic, elegant-looking guns of the time, and they can unlock new ones throughout the adventure. Then there all the limited-time special guns that players can acquire temporarily, before losing when they run out of ammo – things like the blunderbuss which just tears through lines of enemies. They’re really fun but they’re not for keeps. On top of that, players can further enhance their guns with magical gems – the Strange Brigade is supernaturally gifted after all. Players can find gems by exploring the world and looking for treasure hidden in the shadows.

Speaking of supernatural gifts, each member of the Strange Brigade also has their own unique set of special powers. Gracie, for example, can draw an enemy to her before chucking them back into the fray, where they subsequently explode! It’s like she turns the enemy into a grenade! There’s are 16 powers in all, and four for each character – for example, one of Frank’s is that he can summon the undead to fight alongside him, while Archie can turn mummies into chickens – because why wouldn’t you turn mummies into chickens?

What kind of easter eggs can movie buffs expect?

Well, if I told you, they wouldn’t be Easter Eggs. We’ve often put stuff into our previous games, references and nods to inspirations or influences, largely to amuse ourselves, and Strange Brigade follows that Rebellion tradition but you’ll have to find them for yourself!

Can you play by yourself?

Yes, very much so. It’s something we’ve tried to promote with all our recent games, that you can enjoy them in either single-player or co-op. There’s a very strong single-player experience in Strange Brigade, and a lot to explore and discover when playing at your own pace.

Can you injure teammates?

Ha ha, definitely. We have an option to toggle friendly fire, but there are also the myriad dangerous traps to worry about!  If you’ve got a mate near some spinning blades waiting to whirl, or hovering over where spikes pop out of the ground, you need to be careful about setting those traps off – or not, if you so choose!

Are there different difficulty levels?

There are. You can go easier or harder than the default difficulty. The difficulty levels are related mainly to the amount of damage enemies inflict on you, but the number of enemies also changes depending on if you are playing alone or in co-op. So if you’re playing co-op on the higher difficulty, you’ll have lots more enemies and they’ll deal big damage with their attacks. It makes for a very intense experience!

Strange Brigade releases August 28