Phantom Doctrine

A host of new gameplay details about the upcoming Cold War-set turn-based strategy game Phantom Doctrine have been revealed during an E3 livestream today.

One piece of information sure to appeal to solo players is the revelation that the campaign is expected to last between 30 and 40 hours, but the game will offer plenty of replay value. After completion, players will be able to revisit missions, which employ some procedural elements to ensure no two playthroughs are the same.

Two separate stories will be available, with one following a CIA spy and the other a KGB agent. However, the title is not intended to tell a typical tale of East vs West and Communism vs Capitalism. Instead, each side will stumble upon a bigger, undefined threat.

Alongside these overarching details, the developers from CreativeForge Games provided new information about the gameplay. Although ostensibly similar to the likes of XCOM, Phantom Doctrine will not feature a class system for the units. Instead, the game provides basic skills and backgrounds that players build upon to make each agent unique.

Additionally, the team moved to assuage fan fears about the damage caused by losing a high-ranked unit within the permadeath system. Every soldier will have access to the same skills and abilities, but rookies will be more limited than veterans.

As for the core gameplay systems, Phantom Doctrine employs something the team calls “next-generation turn-based combat,” which incorporates some real-time elements. During the panel, the developers spoke about the “breach” mechanic, which allows all of a player’s agents to enter a room simultaneously to take down multiple foes without raising an alarm.  Other aspects of the evolved turn-based system include smart environmental traversal, such as the ability to leap obstacles dynamically.

One of the other core systems is the Investigation Board, upon which is laid clues that the user must piece together to unlock secret files and ultimately solve the case at the heart of the game. Additional clues can be picked up as loot during missions, and unlocking files provides extra locations, characters, and missions.

The developers also revealed that the had originally planned to name the project MKUltra after the CIA experiments of the 1950s, though settled on Phantom Doctrine following confusion about the relevance of the title from other countries, saying Australians thought the experiments were about “giving people acid.”

Phantom Doctrine is expected to launch later this year on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

For all the latest on the title and all the latest from the world of single-player gaming, be sure to bookmark OnlySP and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

Damien Lawardorn
Damien Lawardorn is an aspiring novelist, journalist, and essayist. His goal in writing is to inspire readers to engage and think, rather than simply consume and enjoy. With broad interests ranging from literature and video games to fringe science and social movements, his work tends to touch on the unexpected. Damien is the former Editor-in-Chief of OnlySP. More of his work can be found at

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