NEWS: Interview time with Privateer Press!


Recently, we caught up with Privateer Press’ marketing manager, Lyle Lowery, about the newest offshoot of the Level 7 universe, Level 7: Omega Protocol. Unlike Level 7: Escape, you’re actually breaking in to Subterra Bravo. Because, y’know, that sounds sane…Then again, when you’re flanked by an elite group of Special Forces commandos, it’ll probably be a little more reassuring. 

Hopefully this'll make Subterra Bravo easier to navigate this time!

Hopefully this’ll make Subterra Bravo easier to navigate this time!

So Lyle: we’ve covered a lot of the Level 7 stuff, from videos to developer diaries to customization options…so tell us all about Level 7: Omega Protocol!

Level 7: Omega Protocol is sort of the spiritual successor to Level 7: Escape. Story-wise, it’s the sequel and happens after the story of L7:E. In L7:E you were playing a human survivor trying to escape from the Subterra Bravo facility…in Omega Protocol, however, you’re playing as one of the elite commandos infiltrating the base to reclaim it from the clones

Like a cleanup crew?

Exactly! So it’s like a series of sweep and clear missions. It’s a semi-cooperative game in which each player controls one of the human commandos, and one other player plays the role of the alien/clone Overseer, who controls all of the clones and creatures that the human commandos have to clear out.

You play on a lavishly illustrated board of map tiles with finely detailed plastic figures and it’s a sort of tactical combat game, so it’s all about running and gunning, but it uses an adrenaline mechanic that, very loosely like the fear mechanic in Escape, is a resource used to fuel your actions.

The adrenaline mechanic is an action point system, but it’s a cyclical system in which all of the adrenaline points used to buy actions go over to the Overseer player to fuel all of the Overseer actions.

In other words, the more actions that the human players take, the more fuel the Overseer has to make counter-actions.

Oooooh! Shiny!

So is the idea to spend as little points as possible, so as not to give the Overseer any extra power?

The idea is to be as efficient as possible. The best strategy for the commandos is to be efficient and to the point, giving as little to the Overseer as they can afford to.

You mentioned that it’s semi-cooperative. Escape was semi-cooperative, but in the way that you could screw over your buddies or use them to your advantage. Does Omega Protocol share the same dynamic, or is it more team-tactic-based?

We call it semi-cooperative, because while there’s a team of fully-cooperative human players, there’s also the Overseer who opposes them…so not everybody in the game is on the same team.

Level 7: Escape had a lot of customization options…will Omega Protocol have anything similar?

Yes! In L7:E, there were skill cards that customized each character. In Omega Protocol, there are kit cards, which are equipment cards that each commando has access to. And each commando is different, so not everybody’s playing the generic rifleman…or anything like that. We have a team of specialized characters: a leader, a countermeasures expert, a heavy weapons specialist, a rifleman…and each one of these guys has a selection of items that they can customize their build with. You have a number of kit points to customize your commando with before you begin, and you can use those points to buy special equipment and abilities, to customize your character for the level.

I notice there’s no “fire blindly, screaming bloody murder” card here…

Can you re-spec your character mid-game? Or are you stuck with whatever abilities you bring in?

You can choose to re-spec between levels.

 For people who were fans of Escape or any of the other Privateer titles, will Omega Protocol be an easy transition for them to make, or does it have a similar feel as Escape?

It’s a pretty different experience. That being said, it’s also really easy to grasp and you don’t necessarily need any other experience with Level 7 to truly enjoy it. For those that did play previous Level 7 games, you have that compelling narrative and story experience.

So there will be more mythology/storyline aspects to explore, then? Will new storyline windows be opened up with Omega Protocol?

Absolutely. There will be an expansion of the history behind Subterra Bravo and the Level 7 experience, not just in this game, but further down the line as well. Probably the biggest and earliest piece of fiction associated with Level 7: Omega Protocol will be featured soon on our website It’ll be a prequel story for Fire Team Disco, and will tell you how the team comes together.  We’ll also have content in No Quarter, the official Privateer Press magazine.

These guys look a little familiar…and not in a good way.

Tell us about some of the play mechanics. Are there elements that will be rampantly unfamiliar to people who have played miniature-based board games in the past?

The mechanics are easy to grasp whether you come from miniatures-based games or not.. The adrenaline system, as I mentioned before, is pretty new and different than a lot of other games you’ll see. One of the elements that’s different about Omega Protocol is the stance system. Basically, you can take one of three stances for each turn, and the stance determines how aggressively or how passively your posture dictates your actions for that segment. For example you can be in a cautious stance where you move about at a measured, tactical clip while being prepared to react to enemies. Or you can take a reckless stance which allows you to cover the most ground, but gives you less adrenaline to work with for attacking. There are also special abilities associated with those stances, as well.

Can you go into the adrenaline system a little more?

The number of adrenaline points you spend dictates how much you can move. For example, the stat “Speed 4”: that doesn’t mean you can only move 4 spaces, and it’s the end of your turn. It means that you can move 4 spaces per adrenaline point. You can also fire once for every two adrenaline points you spend, so you can move, shoot, move and shoot again if you have enough points.

Given that it’s going to be teammate cooperative, is there a sharing mechanic?

Yes. In order to share items, you’ll need to be adjacent to the player you want to trade with, and I believe it costs an adrenaline point.

They just click together!

Can you talk a little more about the Overseer player?

Definitely. The Overseer has a lot of abilities that are extremely interesting. The Overseer has interconnecting “puzzle-piece” type tiles which act as the Overseer dashboard.  The dashboard serves as a set of abilities available to the Overseer. It might be something like “spawn more clones”, or it might be something like an environmental facility effect, like “seismic activity makes rubble come down from the ceiling”. So, as the Overseer, you’re actually in control of the facility itself, as well as the clones and monsters within.

So you can actually manipulate the environment?

Absolutely. Also, one of the other neat elements of the game, are when there are moments of “faulty intelligence” as the human character. So, the map is predetermined by scenario, but the events that unfold within them are controlled by the Overseer. Sometimes, the intelligence (predetermined layouts and locations that the commandos already know about) is “bad”, which means you’ll have to flip the tile over, revealing an unexpected different side of that segment.

So with all of the Overseer abilities in mind, why would anyone ever want to play a soldier?

Well, we definitely made both sides really fun to play, and I think they both bring different elements to the table. The team aspect of it is great, and the tension you face as a human player trying to survive is a lot of fun. But yeah, it’s absolutely a blast playing as the Overseer! When you have that much control over everything happening around those players, it’s awesome.

“Awww man! Faulty intel AND clones!?!”

You mentioned the commandos getting “faulty intelligence”…how does that work, exactly? Is that something an Overseer can enact, or is it situational?

The way it works is, before the game starts, the Overseer puts room cards in each room. When the human characters enter the room, those cards are revealed and they’ll tell you not only what spawns there, but also what environmental effects happen as well. So, you might draw a “faulty intelligence” card at that time that flips the tile over.

And the Overseer knows what cards are in what rooms?

That’s right. There are some that are predetermined by scenario, but largely, the Overseer gets to pre-plan…like, “this is how I want my dungeon to be”, so you can plant the traps the way you want.

So as Overseer, the overall drive is to overwhelm and destroy the humans right? Once the human characters die, is the game over? Or is there some kind of respawn element? Like “reinforcements arrive!” or something?

There is a system in place, where the human players are brought down, they enter a downed state. So, they’re crippled and need medical attention from the other players. Other players can revive you, but it’s difficult—it takes time and adrenaline—and it definitely puts the other players in a detrimental spot of having to cover someone else. There is a way to recover from that downed state, however.


“That’s what I’m talkin’ about!”


Is there some kind of countdown clock in place? Will they eventually die…or are they just in a weakened state perpetually until you save them?

They don’t just eventually bleed out from being downed, but commandos can be killed at a certain point in the game. Until they die, they’re extremely vulnerable: like, they can only move a space or two, and obviously they won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the team. Essentially, they’ll be left for dead if nobody goes back for them.

And that’s a viable option? You won’t get penalized?

Sometimes…sometimes you have to leave a man behind. Kind of like Escape, there’s a little bit of that semi-cooperative element, but it’s definitely more team-oriented than Escape was.

If you had a player adjacent on each side, would it cut down the time and cost to heal your fallen teammate? You know, if you were looking to make a hasty exit…or is it just a set cost and time?

It’s kind of a set time and cost.

Will every level feature a “final fight” or a big boss? Or is it just “clear the whole area” plot device?

There’s definitely that “final level” that’s a culmination of everything you’ve done before, and it’s a conclusion to the story as well.

So will the final fight pretty much be “Overseer vs. human”, or will it be a basic objective to complete?

Each stage is different, but there’s definitely that climactic boss fight for the last mission.

“Ooooh! Click me! Click me!”

When the game comes out this Fall, will you be selling additional miniatures or cards to supplement the game?

We actually have a preorder bonus, where if you preorder the game through your local retailer, or pick it up from us at GenCon this year, we’ll throw in extra promo figures…but we don’t have any immediate plans to release them as accessory products.

How are fans digging the expansion pack for Level 7: Escape?

It’s going over really well! It adds a lot to the game! It adds a little bit more variety, a little bit more options in terms of the enemies you face and the weapons you get to deal with them! It’s a lot of fun and it’s been really well received.

Well, that was quite the interview, eh? If you can think of anything else you’d like us to hit them with, drop us a line in the comment section…and if you’re chomping at the bit for more about Level 7: Omega Protocol, be sure to check out the developer diaries here, here and here!



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Author: Mick View all posts by

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