Tuesday, March 30, 2010

They don't make em like they used to

Or maybe they do, but I was playing Total Annihilation with my wife last night and it was remarkable. Here was a game produced in 1996 that surpasses any real time strategy game Blizzard or EA has made as far as customizable controls, selecting hundreds of units at once, holding a button and giving your units a lengthy list of their own AI commands, or using and abusing the terrain around you. Some major love went into this game and it shows. It wasn't built just for profit, it was built with love. Then another stark lesson popped into my mind from this game. As much of a success that Total Annihilation was, the sequel by Cavedog, TA Kingdoms, was awfully done, and pushed out long before it was ready or very fun. This caused Cavedog to lose all face and bomb off the face of the earth. Blizzard, though the original Warcraft wasn't even close to TA, did an ok job, and on their second attempt did something ten times better (funnier and better story, still not a very complex RTS but oh well) Then they did and even better job on the story for Starcraft and Diablo and so on. The character development and creativity and masterful artistry has done well for Blizzard. Each game they make they try to do ten times better than the previous iteration. If you want to flourish with sequels this is what you gotta do. I still say their RTS's are simplistic and not as good as TA or its later version, Supreme Commander. But I'm just talking about mechanics and tactical options and coolness. In many other regards, (story, characters, lore, art, music) Blizzard takes the cake.


Anton said...

I never got into RTS. I did own Warcraft 2 ten years ago...where did I put that copy? Oh well. I always got spanked at that game when I played online.

Thallian said...

Oh yeah, you should just play against friends. Playing online teaches you new strategies but its mostly just a clickfest.