Period of Empires IV and Real Time Strategy Games in Rocky History

The real -time strategy is there was a time.

Period of Empires II: Definite Edition Constantly breaking 20,000 simultaneous players on Steam, it puts it in the league with legendary RPGs to like The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. An unexpected remaster of the original 2020 Command and Conquest saw more than 42,000 simultaneous Steam players at launch. And most gaming companies, including Microsoft and Tencent, are bankrolling the studios behind new RTS entries like Period of Empires IV, which is scheduled to release on Oct. 28.

This resurrection is good news for fans of real -time strategy games, but the difference should be adapted to the preferences of modern gamers. Fortunately, the developers behind blockbuster real-time strategy games tomorrow are thinking about past mistakes in the genre.

The Golden Age

The seed of this kind of real-time strategy was planted when Chris Crawford published an agreement about the future of real-time gaming, titled “The Future of Computer Wargaming,” in the winter debut in the 1981 issue of World of Computer Gaming. He argues that “real-time play is both more realistic and more challenging than playing a series of games. It may be obvious now, but in the early 1980s, it was a direct challenge to a status quo.” quo that saw computer strategy games as copies of physical, turn-based little wargaming.

Crawford started his ideas in the 1982’s Legionnaire, an early real-time strategic game that puts squads of Roman troops against AI-controlled barbarians. Legionnaire new, but also somewhat ahead of its time. The game proves that real-time play is technically possible, but it’s a challenge, since only time-lapse computers can keep up with small, static maps, with a single dozen visible units in most.

Still, the concept is starting to move. Games like The Ancient Art of War, released by Brøderbund Software for MS-DOS and Apple II in 1984, and Duke of two, released for Sega Genesis in 1989, pushed the boundaries of real -time gaming. These ideas were gathered in 1989 Populus, a “game god” from Peter Molyneux’s Bullfrog Productions. Populus isn’t a real-time strategy game, but it does have an attractive, intuitive interface that fans will know differently.

If these games provide a blueprint, it is Dune II laying the foundation. Released by Westwood Studios in 1992, it was the first game to mix base building, unit command, and gathering sources with real-time gameplay and a graphical mouse-driven interface. It delights the adrenaline rush of an arcade game with the complex strategic decisions of an empire based maker. The game was a bit of a hit, sold about 250,000 copies in the first few years, but it convinced the game’s maker, Westwood Studios founder Brett Sperry, that a follow-up was needed.

Although Dune II did not receive a direct sequence. Sperry, failed on the restrictions and costs of licensing an established franchise such as Dune, prompted Westwood to gamble on a new, original IP that disrupts modern warfare and the technology that drives it. Louis Castle, spoke to Computer and Video Games Magazine in an interview in 2008, Westwood said that “players like to think of their home computer as a terminal on a real battlefield that communicates directly with your units on the field.” The Westwood team took inspiration from the media coverage of the Gulf War but added its own sci-fi spin.

Gambling pays off. Command and Conquest hit stores in 1995 and sold more than a million copies in its first year, establishing Westwood as a leader in a new, breakout class. The studio doubled its outcome with the release of Red Alert in 1996, which sold out faster than its predecessor and included an online chat program, Westwood Chat, that players could use to organize online games. Westwood’s rapid release of two blockbuster titles puts real -time strategy on the cover of PC gaming magazines, not just in the United States but around the world.

The market, hungry for RTS games, used to be able to support roundups like this in the Computer Gaming World, with several launches each year.

Photo: CGW Museum

David Kim, leading game designer at newly formed Uncapped Games and former designer of Starcraft II, introduced in Red Alert while growing up in South Korea. “Red Alert is the main game played in all multiplayer, ”Kim said. “I really understand this, and we’ll play after school.” Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, and Australia are also the leading markets for real-time strategy games, with new RTS games consistently topping the countries chart.

But the success of Red Alert is the tip of the iceberg. Blizzard Entertainment, which has earned a reputation for quality with its own hit real-time strategy, Warcraft, came on the scene in the 1998’s Starcraft. Kim and her friends, like many PC players, jumped into the new game and never looked back. Blizzard’s RTS sci-fi RTS rocked up the charts, selling 1.5 million copies by the end of the year to become the best-selling PC game in 1998. It will continue to sell at least 11 million copies, a number ahead of the 2017 release of Starcraft: Remastered. Activision-Blizzard has not released sales figures for the remaster.

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