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Slitherine Campaign Documents

September 1st, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

IGN is running a series of bits that give us some insight into the campaigns in Slitherine’s upcoming strategy title Legion: Arena. There have been three so far; Caudine Forks, Cannae and Zama. For some reason, they are in the RPGVault section of the site.

Considering that Legion: Arena will allow the player to develop his/her own army and allot experience to the troops, the role playing connection is clear. But the campaign diaries at IGN offer no hint of how that will work. In fact, the previews are little more than accounts of major historical battles, illustrated with screenshots from the game and the occasional picture from an Osprey book. The descriptions are certainly lively (even if today’s exaggerates the impact that Hannibal’s elephants had at Zama), but serve as little more than accounts of battles that are mostly well documented elsewhere.

How will these battles fit into the context of the game? Can the player enter these battles with the historic setup or will he/she have the opportunity to develop his/her own personal army to refight them? Where is the discussion of the command structure, which will allow the player to give limited commands to armies in the field based on experience and ability?

As interesting as these historic battles are, they don’t do a lot to generate enthusiasm about the game.

Compare this to Creative Assembly’s previews before Rome. The most significant were their Decisive Battles/Time Commander TV ventures. Time Commander is the superior show since it actually shows people playing the game. There were options beyond the historic outcomes. But in both, the key to the success of the programs was that they let interested gamers look at the game in action. And it look beautiful. Which worked because the 3D battles were the major selling point of the game. It turned out that the campaign was great, too, but screenshots and movies worked to show gamers how it would look since that’s what a lot of us were interested in.

We are not interested in how Legion: Arena looks. At least not primarily.

Don’t get me wrong. It looks just fine. It doesn’t have the sheen of Rome, but that’s not what these guys are about. This game is about army building and personal connection to your troops. Previews should show that. It’s not like you can jam a Legion: Arena preview with talk about different factions, because there aren’t that many. What previews there are out there mostly tell us stuff we already know.


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