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And on the 23rd of October, the classic strategy game design concepts returned
When I think of classic strategy games, I think Civilization, Star Control, Ultima, Wing Commander, Master of Orion, Baldur’s Gate and of course Master of Magic.
Because of the…unusual nature of Stardock, we have the luxury of trying to make a game that, we hope, is a love letter to that classic age. The user manual, the lore book and that the game itself will keep showing new things each time you play for months in advance are all things we wanted to emphasize as being part of the overall experience. Our industry just doesn’t make games like this anymore. The “ROI” just doesn’t work out. But we can. Because for us, Fallen Enchantress isn’t a “product”. We care about it. It matters to us. We want to make a game that not only we want to play but others will play for years to come. We want a game that even if there were no expansion packs or sequels (and there will be), would, on its own, provide months of enjoyment. We wanted a game that you would never have to update if you didn’t want to. We wanted to make a game that you’d never need to buy an expansion pack if you didn’t want to.
So what’s next?
Of course, we haven’t forgotten we live in the age of digital distribution. We embrace that and plan to take full advantage of it. The 2-week code lock down we have has been lifted by old man Paxton and we can begin to check in “Stuff”. You have to understand, I stalk you people. You think that French language forum stops me from reading what strategies get used? You think because the forum is in Russian and someone is mentioning a cool way to outflank the AI that I can’t use Google translate? So there’s always new things we can put in and thanks to digital distribution, we can, painlessly. So expect to see new AI strategies, UI tweaks based on customer requests, and of course bug fixes.
It’s a great time to be a PC gamer. Our employers – you guys – can tell us what you’d like to see. We can see what we can do and add it in and push it out. For us old gamers, this is truly a golden age we’re in.
I would expect to see a v1.01 download patch in the next week or so. I can’t list everything that’ll be in it. I have a lot of new AI ideas I want in. I’d like to make the battles a bit more multithreaded. I am sure there’s plenty of bugs out there that the guys will be fixing. The date will be heavily dependent on when the server loads come back down to earth.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
As I type this, there’s a lot of outstanding games that have recently come out. Let me use this space to advertise some of them. There’s XCOM, Dishonored, Borderlands, Torchlight, and a bunch of big games coming out in a few weeks. I’ve used my +1 boots of groveling with the media to try to get reviews. And they’re trying. But there are only so many gaming journalists and so many games. As a practical matter only the player base can save the day. We have lots of advertising lined up. But we’ll need people to give honest reviews of the game on various sites as well as just tell your friends and neighbors about the game.
The good news is that despite all the competition, we’re in the Steam and GameStop top 10 best sellers. And we haven’t even started getting the big reviews yet. That’s a good sign. 4X strategy gaming appears alive and well. And since we’re giving away just under 100,000 copies of the game, it’s going to be a real challenge to be a “top seller” (that’s $4 million in free games). Since most games only sell a third that number in their life time, it’s going to be a difficult hurdle to jump for this game to be listed as a best seller.
The fun is just beginning
I like to say that games are never truly “finished”. They simply ship. I don’t like to think that Fallen Enchantress is "finished”. There’s so much potential here. And together, hopefully we’ll be able to build on the cool game we’ve got today into something that really does (to quote one of my favorite games) “Stand the test of time”.