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Interview: Blackbird Interactive’s Crossfire: Legion

Crossfire: Legion is the latest RTS game from Blackbird Interactive, developers of Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak and Hardspace: Shipbreaker, the latter of which just released v1.0 on Steam which you should definitely check out. Crossfire: Legion is set in the near future of the Crossfire universe, where society is disintegrating and the world is consumed by corporate conflicts. Players take control of a fearless faction commander (and his army) of one of the three factions – Black List, Global Risk, and New Horizon – and fight for supremacy in a variety of terrains and environments in single and multiplayer campaigns.

We’ve been playing the latest version which includes Act 1 of the story campaign, Payload and Versus modes as well as traditional multiplayer matches an d having a lot of fun. Thanks to Koch Media ANZ, we got to quiz Maurice Grela, Game Designer for Blackbird Interactive about the philosophies and design behind Crossfire: Legion, a modern, action-packed, real-time strategy game that launched on May 24, 2022, in Early Access on Steam.

Which previous RTS games provided the most inspiration for Crossfire: Legion?

Command and Conquer and Starcraft play a really important role in helping guide our design decisions. In addition to our inspirations from other games, we’ve been able to draw inspirations from previous Blackbird titles such as Deserts of Kharak. The Starcraft modding scene deserves a specific shout-out. We’ve studied the popular user-generated content and tried to learn what made this franchise so popular for so long.

What are some key elements of Classic RTS games that Crossfire: Legion features and enhances within the genre?

A level editing tool that is set for release later this summer in Northern Hemisphere and winter in Southern Hemisphere. We’ve also developed a wide variety of game modes for players to enjoy that are inspired by classic games and mods. Finally, we’ve provided a large roster of units for players to craft the armies they’re sending into battle.

How big is the development team and how long did it take to develop the game to this Early Access version?

The team consists of three teams: Blackbird Interactive, Koch Media, and Virtuos who support the development of Crossfire: Legion. The game has been in development for a few years prior to our early access release.

What can you tell us about the story campaign without giving too much away and how important was it to include one?

We felt that a single-player campaign is an important part of the classic RTS experience. Upon full release Crossfire: Legion will offer players a 4 act campaign that explores the world of Crossfire: Legion. We’ve worked really hard to make sure that our single-player offering provides well-written narrative while offering compelling missions that challenge players.

What was it like working with Elias Toufexis and the other voice actors?

Humbling to work with so many esteemed actors! As a game designer, directing voice actors allows me to provide a personality and story to every unit in the game.

What options do players have for co-op?

At the moment our live Early Access build contains one coop mission. We plan on releasing several throughout the life cycle of the game.

How excited are you for the competitive side of the game and the partnership with ESL?

We’re looking forward to cultivating a group of competitive players that will form the basis of our tournament scene.

What was the most challenging feature of Crossfire: Legion to implement?

Achieving a compelling balance between appealing to the nostalgic RTS experience and what players expect from contemporary AAA games.

What has been the most rewarding part of developing Crossfire: Legion and now releasing the game in Early Access to players worldwide?

Working closely with a closed testing group and our player base. Going through early access has given us the opportunity to seriously consider the feedback we receive from our community. Most of which has been positive.

What’s next for Blackbird Interactive?

We’re working hard toward Crossfire: Legion 1.0 along with some big updates in between, but for BBI as a company, we just released Hardspace: Shipbreaker and have a number of really exciting projects in development that we can’t quite talk about yet!

Is there anything else you would like to mention to new players to Crossfire: Legion?

We’ve received a lot of very helpful feedback through our discord and post-game survey. Soon, we’ll be providing updates that address the feedback from our community.

Announcements still to come for the Early Access phase of Crossfire: Legion:

  • New maps and units
  • Additional game modes (including Battle Royale, Round Robin and more!)
  • Built-in replay system with analysis function to improve your own tactics
  • Level editor tool to create your own maps & modes to share
  • Steam Workshop with unique community-created challenges

We have been playing the early access version of Crossfire: Legion recently, including the campaign, and you can read our thoughts here. Blackbird Interactive are also working on Homeworld 3 which is set for release later this year. With its unique visual style, mood and 3D space fleet combat, Homeworld 3 will immerse old and new fans alike. The epic story of the Hiigaran people will continue after the events of Homeworld 2.

This interview was facilitated by Koch Media ANZ and Crossfire: Legion is out now on Steam Early Access.


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