Panoptes is a single-player collectible card game about cyberpunk and demons developed by Suricate Games. Dmitry Gavrilov is a producer that worked on this project. He told us about the team and the reasons to make CCG.


Image Credit: Suricate Games

Hi! Could you please tell us few words about your company? How long have you been developing games?

Hi! Our company was established in 2012. We just wanted to make a couple of small mobile games, but later we realized that the market required more than we expected. So we hired experienced and skillful specialists to develop more significant games. We divided the company into several teams so that each of them could focus on one project. Now we hire new employees rarely, all our staff has been working in this field for ages.

Panoptes isn’t the first project of yours. As far as I know it’s the only one that was released (at least with Early Access). Paper Knight and Z for Zombies, which I saw for the first time on White Nights Conference in 2012, are still in production. Why did the company change the priorities? And, by the way, when will other projects be launched?

Z for Zombies is one of our “survived” early projects. The game has already passed soft launch stage. It will be published by Playscape, so the hard launch will depend on them. The team of Paper Knight polished the game, the release is around the corner.

The ideas of all three games came to our minds at the same time. As for Panoptes, we just asked ourselves: “What if we create a mobile game with dice mechanics like Elder Sign from FFG, but also with longer progress, various characters and complex world?”

Later we decided to convert the idea into a proper concept. Gameplay, setting, goal platforms were changed. Right after the pre-production we hired new team members and speeded up the development process. The game was published before other projects, but it’s too early to dwell upon its success, it’s only a pre-alpha version.

How long have you been working on this project? How many people are in the team?

We have been working on it for about half a year plus 6 months that we’ve spent on pre-production. At the beginning, there were something around 5 people, now there is up to 23. Most of the team is creating various content for the game like graphics, effects and the elements of setting.

Considering the success of Hearthstone I can understand why you decided to choose CCG, but what helps this game to stand out from the competitors?

Panoptes is more an adventure card game than TCG. Unlike other games, Panoptes’ duel mechanics isn’t only self-sufficient part of the game, but also is a piece of the campaign, where characters are progressing. The main difference is in the battle part: a player fights with packs of monster, not with one opponent. Each enemy has his own characteristics and abilities, which work well with each other. A character fights alone, using cards from a pre-made deck. In short, each level is a puzzle wrapped in a card game.

It’s a very bold decision to focus on single-player. How will single-player campaign look like and what should we wait from it?

We have a big story about aliens, demons, and secret organizations, so you will be surprised.

We came up with a lot of instruments for the story to develop and for a player to be involved. The single-player campaign is linear in the current build – a player just finishes one quest after another. We have plans to add parallel stories, to increase difficulty with the second walkthrough and to make additional game modes. I assume, a nonlinear walkthrough will be made, but in a very simplified version.

The game isn’t only single-player, but also a paid one. It’s ok for board games and real CCGs, but outdated for digital ones. Why did you go that way?

Our gameplay doesn’t support basic PvP. When we were making a decision to focus on single-player, we gave up the concept of time-limited gameplay. Also, we chose Steam as a platform because of game’s setting and complex gameplay. We decided to make a full version of the game for Steam’s community and not to go with microtransactions. Of course, the plan is to add DLC and additional episodes.

Are you going to release a free-to-play Panoptes with PvP later?

Yes, we have plans to add asynchronous multiplayer, co-op and also a feature for players to trade. But it’s all in a distant future, everything depends on the team.

I see. Thank you!