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Rise of Legends Campaign Info

July 29th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Gamespot has a preview of the campaign story for Big Huge Games’ upcoming RTS Rise of Legends, coming to us via Ike Ellis and Paul Stephanouk. The plot sounds like what you would find in any RPG. Person on periphery of power is thrust into position of Grave Responsibility and must navigate the Treacherous Waters of politics and diplomacy. In other words, there will be a lot of fighting.

Having just finished reading John Sutherland’s essay on story-telling in games, it looks like BHG is following all the rules. I like how the design of the campaign will attempt to link role-playing choices (like party composition and character upgrades) to a strategic plan (who you trust and who you kill). The challenge of bringing open-ended gameplay to a story based campaign cannot be underestimated. Truly open play would allow you to lose a battle, or even a city, and still progress through the campaign. Losses and retreats in most RTS story campaigns are scripted (“You are outnumbered and must hold off the enemy until 12 Foozle-slayers successfully leave the map.”) even though a good strategy game – and even a good story – should allow you to recover from a loss.

This is why I love emergent story-telling in games. Don’t tell me that Civilization or Europa Universalis don’t have stories. Any game you can tell a stroy about has a story. I’m currently absorbed in the tiny roguelike Dungeon Crawl, and the only plot elements that are given is that there is a dungeon and some McGuffin I have to get. But I can tell you lots of deep stories about how my moronic characters have died.

But, the “campaign” game has become de rigeur for RTS, even though most do it very poorly. Rise of Nations had a decent campaign game, and the expansion made some great additions. Even the scripted stories in Age of Mythology and Act of War were above average. But all these games are designed with skirmishes and multiplayer flexibility as the major game elements. Still, there is an insistence that there be a campaign mode, though I know of few gamers who point to the Joan of Arc campaign as a big plus for Age of Empires II.

BHG is spending quite a bit of time on the character development, and the screenshots show a beautiful and foreign landscape, quite unlike anything we have seen in other RTSes. Rise of Legends is still my number one must-have game for the new year, and the tiny game designer me grows a little more intrigued with each preview.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Jim9137

    My character, JamLXXVII got stabbed by JamII.

    It hurted me, deep down there. :)

    And I’m happy that people are realizing the story potentional of games, especially strategy games, because hey, that’s what we have been doing all the time! Telling a story to ourselves, regardless if it was about squashing german resistance or surviving few tons of falling blocks.