So, Petroglyph revealed their newest project, titled Victory, last night around midnight. It’s to be a Kickstarter-driven action strategy game that looks to be quite similar in some respects to their latest game, End of Nations, which is now in development by Trion Worlds. Below, we’re going to take a look at their pitch and give our thoughts about the project. Read on!
Last night around midnight PDT, Petroglyph officially revealed details about their latest game, Victory, after a little more than a week of buildup via their twitter and Facebook pages. The game is being billed as an “action strategy” title (I’ll cover exactly what they mean by that below) and looks to be in many ways similar to End of Nations, which was Petroglyph’s most recently developed title before this one. However, they’re making a pretty big deal over some of the key differences players will see in this game (without specifically mentioning what’s now Trion’s title)… But, I’m getting a little ahead of myself.
Let’s take a look at the reasoning behind some of the decisions they’re making with Victory, starting with the obvious question:
There are likely a number of reasons they’re pursuing Kickstarter over a more conventional publishing route. Looking back at Petroglyph’s recent history, it’s obvious they’ve had a rocky relationship with a number of their publishers, going back quite a ways.
First, there was Universe at War, where Sega and Microsoft had a great deal of say in Petroglyph’s development process, including control that led to the addition of the Masari faction (originally, humans were planned for a 3rd faction). Also, the 3-part QA process for patching, tied in with Microsoft’s Games for Windows Live service, led to a slow patch cycle that left critical issues unaddressed for far too long, and tied the multiplayer in the beginning to the Xbox Live Gold membership, meaning that you had to pay to play on the ranked ladder. That was not good for the title, and along with some persistent issues such as pathfinding and hero balance, led to a shortening of the game’s lifecycle.
Then, with Mytheon, Petroglyph again hit the rocks with their publisher. When publisher UTV True Games was purchased by Disney, the project was discontinued amidst legal frustrations over the game’s source code.
Fast forward a couple of years and Petroglyph again got into trouble with their publisher, this time the respected MMO developer and publisher Trion Worlds, again losing control over their title (in this case, End of Nations)… While I’m not here to make excuses for Petroglyph or take sides in the disputes mentioned above, it does stand to reason that Petroglyph would be a little leery about taking on another publisher after having (form their perspective) toxic relationships in so many games in the past. With the game’s community directly funding development, they’ll have freedom to build the game that they and the community want. Of course, the denizens Internet can be a troublesome bunch to answer to, as well.
The game is billing itself as an “Action Strategy” title, which is an interesting choice to me. I agree that End of Nations billing itself as an MMORTS was perhaps not the best choice of genre titles, but to me these games feel more like tactics games than anything else. Action Strategy is one of the terms that people use for MOBA games, and while there are some slight similarities here with both types of game featuring team-based arena combat, I’m not sure if that’s the way they want people to think about this title. Though to be honest I’m at a bit of a loss at what might be the best genre descriptor for a game of this type… I’m glad I’m not the person in charge of labeling this game. They’re in for a rocky road ahead, I think.
But it’s not all roses and explosions for Victory. Real-time strategy gamers, well… like real-time strategy games. There is a group of gamers (author included) who enjoy tactical games without basebuilding, but the decision to not include this is always a divisive one.
Also, Petroglyph’s engine is looking a little bit dated at this point. The game’s not ugly, but compared to next-gen titles like Command and Conquer or Company of Heroes 2, the footage we’re seeing doesn’t really measure up. And speaking of Company of Heroes 2, it’s rather daring of Petroglyph to release another strategic World War 2 game so close to the release of COH2. Despite their differences, comparisons of the two titles will be inevitable, and I’m not sure that in most cases they’ll favor Victory.
Will you back the game?
Petroglyph is one of those developers I can’t help but want to support. They have a storied history, as many of their core team members worked on the venerable Command and Conquer games including Red Alert 2 and Tiberian Sun. They made Empire at War, arguably one of the best Star Wars RTS titles ever made, and have overseen some ambitious projects that have been plagued by issues time and again.
Now, they’ve decided to put their idea in the hands of the very gamers who’d be playing the game. To me, this is the final test for whether the gaming community agrees with Petroglyph on what the future of the RTS genre will be, or at least whether there’s room for this interesting type of strategy wargame in the greater landscape of strategic games. It’ll be interesting to watch the Kickstarter campaign unfold, and any drama that develops between Trion and Petroglyph, since Victory and End of Nations share many common features.
Do you think that the concept behind this game is sound? Would you play Victory, or go one step further and actually support it on Kickstarter? If not, what do you see as the major issues with the concept?