By now all of you should be aware of the still-unfolding disaster that is EA’s SimCity. And if not, what rock have you been hiding under? Its yet another example of EA screwing their customers, attempting to completely control every aspect of what you do, primarily so they can make as much money from you as possible. It could be this time EA have finally gone too far, but we’ll have to wait and see how this saga will unfold over the next few days. In any case, I feel like this is an excellent opportunity to compare how games should be developed and how you actually should engage with your customer base if you want ensured success and longevity for your product. For this I shall be looking at Bohemia Interactive (BI) and their upcoming title Arma 3.
Ahhh Homeworld, possibly my favourite game of all time next to Half-Life. It was a very unique RTS when it came out and for some reason remains a very unique RTS even today because to my knowledge, no-one has done anything quite like it since. Homeworld first appeared in September 1999 and spawned two more games, Cataclysm and the sequel Homeworld 2. All three were lauded for their design, storytelling, music and overall production. Homeworld 2 was released in 2003 and since then… nothing. Homeworld has essentially been sat on by the various companies that have owned its IP over the past 10 years. Homeworld 3 is something many space/RTS lovers want but has been nothing but a pipe dream and the franchise looked to be long dead and buried. But now there is hope where once there was none as the now bankrupt THQ starts selling off its various IPs including Homeworld…
WARNING!! This review contains plot spoilers!!
You may remember that I covered some news about this game about three months ago. Back then it certainly looked promising, with the devs making bold statements that this would be “space combat reborn”, taking inspiration from classic flight sims like the X-Wing series, Wing Commander, Freelancer and so on. Strike Suit Zero (SSZ) was finally released on January 23rd and I immediately picked it up on Steam. It’s been a long time since I last saw a decent space flight sim and I was eager to jump straight into it. So does the game hold up to the promise of being space combat reborn? In a word… no.
What I think many of us have suspected for some time now has been confirmed. Gabe Newell has confirmed that Valve are working on Source 2. Ambushed by a group of 4chan members on his birthday, they presented Gabe with a physical Mann Co box as his birthday present for which he had to pay the usual fee you need to pay to open the boxes which amused me no end. Gabe being Gabe took it all in good humour and after the celebrations, spent some time answering their questions which gave us some very interesting information.
Blizzard have finally given us a release date for the next chapter of the Starcraft series, Heart of the Swarm, and about time too. So mark your calendars up for March 12th 2013. It’s already been well over two years now since Blizzard first released Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and quite frankly I’m surprised it’s taken Blizzard this long to release the next chapter. I know there are balance issues to address for the very competitive multiplayer side of things and of course you want to make sure the story is up to the same quality as the last instalment, but really three years between releases? Being the skeptical, cynical sort I can only assume its Blizzards way of milking our wallets as much as possible. Of course I’m not a developer either so what do I know?
It looked like this was never happening, and while I remain mixed on whether BSG really needs prequels – it’s nice to see it will finally get its debut. The two hour film about the first Cylon War will be aired online on Machinima Prime in 10-12 minute chunks starting on the 9th of November 2012, at some future distant point it will be aired as intended as a complete film.
And I admit it does look pretty sparkly.
These past few weeks have given us a remarkable number of new space sim titles where previously the genre was pretty devoid of anything new or decent (see Strike Suit Zero and Star Citizen for more info). And this trend continues with another blast from the past, the Elite series. I only ever played Frontier Elite II which came out in 1993, but I remember how awesome it was. It was the first space sim I had played which had such an open and free-form sandbox world where you could go and do whatever you wanted. Now one of the original creators of the game, David Braben, has announced a Kickstarter project to attempt to revive this once great series. And whilst I welcome this news with caution, I’m actually rather concerned.
It seems that a return to those good old days of space sims is really on the horizon. Hot on the heels of my article regarding Strike Suit Zero comes another title called Star Citizen. This is a title being developed by Chris Roberts, the man who gave us Wing Commander and helped to produce Starlancer and Freelancer. Some weeks ago the news was broken that Chris intended to develop this game by launching a Kickstarter page and other forms of crowd sourced funding. They have since reached their initial funding goals and development has now begun on this possible future gem. More
Does anyone remember the good old days when space flight sims were decent and plentiful? TIE Fighter was one of the first games I ever owned on floppy disk and allowed me to fall in love with this genre of gaming (as well as invert my mouse in FPS games). From there I’ve played many of the classics from Frontier Elite II to Tachyon: The Fringe. It seems to me the past few years have seen a complete lack of any decent efforts with the exception of the X series of games made by Egosoft. Are space sims just not cool anymore? Well it seems others out there feel the same way and want to stage a return to those good old days with a little PC-exclusive title called Strike Suit Zero. More
Warning! This review contains some spoilers of the plot and is based on v1.0.3 of the game!
For this, my third review, I have once again gone for a fan-made modification to have a look at and this time we delve into the dark and grim world of Battlestar Galactica (BSG). The reimagined one of course, unless you somehow find the original 1978 Battlestar ‘dark and grim’ with Dirk Benedict leading the charge. Diaspora: Shattered Armistice is a mostly single player experience that uses the open source Freespace 2 engine and it follows the plotline of the reimagined BSG of the Cylons launching an all-out surprise assault against the Colonials and effectively disabling most of their fleet by infecting their computer systems with a virus. You are a pilot on-board the Battlestar Theseus and you are tasked with defending her and the fleeing civilian ships you encounter at all cost. More