Just a quick post to point out some upcoming RTS titles from independent or smaller studios and why I think they’re worth looking into. This list is in no particular order.
Contact Vector is an upcoming indie RTS by industry veteran Stephen Moorhouse and has lots of things that are worth mentioning. It focuses on ship-to-ship combat with fleets, as opposed to tanks or elves or other more common RTS fare. Firstly, and closest to my heart, Contact Vector promises to focus on unit control and strategy over resource management. To me, the most fun part of strategy gaming is the decision making involved in combat, not the decision making involved in base building, research etc.
Like classic RPG titles by Black Isle, Contact Vector (single player) allows the player to pause the game to issue orders, making it a hybrid turn based/real time strategy game.
Lastly, but certianly not least, ships appear to be highly customizable, with tens of hardpoints for (presumably) armor, weapons, sensor arrays and the suchlike, making fleet composition as much a part of the game as fleet combat. Sadly, due to resource restrictions, Contact Vector is only promising to launch with single player, but if the appropriate Kickstarter stretch goal is reached, multiplayer may make it in eventually.
There Came an Echo is a Kickstarter project I backed last year. It’s a single player, story driven squad based combat game after the style of Commandos. The player controls a small team (I believe 4?) of partisan soldiers as they infiltrate compounds and shoot bad guys etc.
The interesting thing about there came an echo is that it is designed to be entirely voice controlled. Soldiers can be ordered to move, shoot, change combat stance or target priorities, and a wide array of other things, with a voice command from the player
I’m a sucker for voice control, what can I say? It’s going to be coming out on Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC. It will be single player only, but the concept is so original I can’t help but be a little excited.
Perhaps the most ambitious independent RTS of all time, Novus Aeterno wants to become the definitive MMORTS. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but very exciting for the genre.
Ok, technically Grey Goo doesn’t count as an independent RTS title, but nonetheless it’s on my radar. Petroglyph is a company I’ve rooted for since their earliest games: Empire at War (often heralded as the best Star Wars RTS to date) and Universe at War, an oft-lambasted but truly fun RTS that I really enjoyed.
Grey Goo is seeking, in StarCraft 2 esque fashion, to revitalize the “classic” RTS by rethinking mechanics in terms of the decisions players are asked to make on a second by second basis. Grey Goo’s goal in that regard is to minimize the need for worker or base management, while still retaining base-related decision points. Each faction is also highly unique, designed (in what I find to be a risky move) to appeal to a specific playstyle: the Beta are maneuverable and modular, the Humans are defensive uber turtles, and the Goo are the aggresive player’s dream. Check the video below to see what I mean:
Total Annihilation on steroids. Not sure what else needs to be said.