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Not Contemporary

July 12th, 2011 by Troy Goodfellow · 27 Comments · Design, Industry

In an interview with MCVUK, Christoph Hartmann, the president of 2K Studios, was asked about why X-Com was being turned into a first person shooter, instead of using the IP as God intended – a tactical strategy game.

The ‘90s generation of gamers all love Xcom and we own the IP, so we thought OK, what do we do with it? Every studio we had wanted to do it and each one had its own spin on it. But the problem was that turn-based strategy games were no longer the hottest thing on planet Earth. But this is not just a commercial thing – strategy games are just not contemporary.

I use the example of music artists. Look at someone old school like Ray Charles, if he would make music today it would still be Ray Charles but he would probably do it more in the style of Kanye West. Bringing Ray Charles back is all fine and good, but it just needs to move on, although the core essence will still be the same.

That’s what we are trying to do. To renew Xcom but in line with what this generation of gamers want. The team behind it is asking themselves every day: ‘Is it true to the values of the franchise?’ It’s not a case of cashing in on the name. We just need to renew it because times are changing.

I have to be careful how I write this post (can’t really offend anyone) but since people are going to ask me about this on Formspring or on the podcast or over Twitter, I have to comment. And I can’t lie to you guys.

First, it is clear that 2K is trying to cash in on the name recognition, and there’s nothing wrong with that. When they acquired the IP, there could have been rules in place that required they use it or the rights would revert to the previous owner. There is no reason to use the X-Com brand name on an alien shooter unless you want to exploit the nostalgia that people my age have for that name and series. It is a perfectly sound business decision to just slap the IP on a shooter, and I’d rather someone came out and said it. This makes financial sense.

Second, I think there is only a small risk of brand confusion here. When people my age say they wanted a new X-Com game, I doubt that any meant that they want a box or desktop icon that said X-Com. There are a thousand good names for an alien killing FPS – X-Com was chosen because it is a recognizable brand name even if the new game has nothing in common with what gave the brand power to begin with. For this audience of a certain age, there will be no escaping the question of why 2K is taking the brand in this direction. There will, of course, be thousands of people who will buy the new X-Com without having any connection or nostalgia for the name, which, let’s face it, is a pretty good name. For these people, the game has to stand on its own through marketing since the name creates no warm fuzzy feelings. As far as 2K’s future is concerned, it’s these new gamers that really matter. The X-Com name creates the media buzz, gets the game on all the websites and some cover stories, and then new gamers keep the IP going with an entirely new meaning. Tactical strategy X-Com dies.

Third, and most important for the purposes of this blog, Hartmann is absolutely right that strategy games aren’t contemporary insofar as AAA budget development is concerned. The budget problem is a big one facing the industry at large. As companies expand and the gaming dollars are harder to grab, the top publishers are playing it safe, spending money not to stand out but to blend in. Since the biggest sellers of the last few years have been military shooters, publishers tend to feel justified spending tens of millions of dollars chasing these “sure things”. Of course, this means that all the AAA strategy customer dollars are left for a handful of titles to scoop up; Total War, Starcraft, Civilization, maybe Dawn of War. It doesn’t help the genre that PC gaming dollars are scarcer than console dollars, both because strategy gamers will stick with one title longer than gamers would with a story based shooter and because Steam sales have encouraged PC gamers to wait for a big discount.

Of course, I think that strategy games in general are very contemporary – probably one of the most contemporary genres because there has been more experimentation and originality in the genre in the last five years than I have seen in most other major genres. Part of this is because the explosion of new platforms in the last decade (consoles, handhelds, cellphones, Facebook, browsers) has opened a space for thinking about strategy games in new ways, leading to a feedback to the PC where the open architecture lets designers go nuts. Look at the small science fiction subgenre – Gratuitous Space Battles, AI War, Sins of a Solar Empire, Distant Worlds, and in a couple of months, Sword of the Stars II; each of these is distinct and unique and original in core design. There are only so many ways to capture a flag, but apparently many ways to capture a galaxy.

I guess it comes down to what it means to be “contemporary”. If you are talking about the contemporary bottom-line (“What will the most people pay to see?”) then Hartmann is right on. As gaming became a mass audience affair, the tastes of the gaming population changed and those tastes leaned to shorter games with multiplayer sessions you could wrap up in an evening.

But, for me, the question is what is the spirit of contemporary game design all about? I am not arguing that what is popular is bad, or that 2K is wrong to make the choice that is making. But I think there is genuine enthusiasm in both the games media and the gaming audience for games that let you do things you didn’t do before. Increasingly we are seeing talented AAA designers and developers breaking free from the established publisher model and setting up their own studios because they want to experiment and they want to recreate the feelings they get when they play boardgames or arcade games with friends.

That is the contemporary side of gaming that I would invest in. If I had money.


27 Comments so far ↓

  • Prof. Loewy-Brueller

    Somebody give this man lots of money, post haste.

  • Kingdaddy

    Christoph Hartmann is an amazing man. It’s quite an achievement to say profoundly stupid things on several fronts simultaneously.

    1. As you say, Troy, we’re not interested in buying a game because of the label slapped on it.

    2. Strategy games are not contemporary? Guess he must have missed that Starcraft thing that got released last year.

    3. You might argue that first-person shooters, the more “contemporary” format than strategy games, is itself rapidly losing its “contemporary” strategy. Other than a few AAA titles, how well has the genre been doing? Is the fact that a new game is an FPS a sure sign that it will succeed?

    4. Who’s to say what this generation of gamers want? The success of Angry Birds certainly took a lot of people by surprise. Does it matter what genre Angry Birds fits into?

    5. What the hell does “Is it true to the values of the franchise” mean? I wasn’t aware that X-Com was a belief system. Silly me, I thought it was a game that succeeded because of a neat combination of game mechanics and theme.

    6. Ray Charles would not morph into Kanye West, if he were alive today. And Kanye West is no Ray Charles. By the way, people are still buying Ray Charles songs, even if Christoph Hartmann thinks we should all “move on” musically.

  • Danjuro

    I totally agree with what you may have meant to write but didn’t because you are an educated gentleman.

    And with what you wrote too, obviously.

    That being said, it was really naughty of you, not skipping that music allegory in your quoting!

  • Chris Parsons

    Naturally, I take exception to Mr. Hartmann’s comments. Not just because I love strategy games personally, or work at a place that makes strategy games, but because I see the young guys working here and what they play on game night: strategy games! Board games, card games.

    There are many examples of turn based strategy games developing in social media as well. “Farmville” and similar games are being used by a hell of a lot of people. No doubt some will develop a taste for more complex strategy games.

    Plant me firmly in the camp of “label don’t make the game”. The game under discussion actually looks cool, but to paraphrase that old political quote: “I know X-Com, I played many hours of X-Com, X-Com and I are old friends. Mr Hartmann, you’re not making X-Com.”

    Meanwhile, I do sincerely wish Mr. Hartmann the best of luck with his cranial-rectal inversion.

  • Justin Fletcher

    “If you are talking about the contemporary bottom-line (‘What will the most people pay to see?’) then Hartmann is right on.”

    Except that he explicitly says that it’s “not just a commercial thing.” With his tortured Ray Charles analogy, he’s pretty clearly saying that the genre itself is old fashioned and quaint.

    It could be that he actually believes what he’s saying, but I find it more likely that the quote is just some poorly conceived spin. Maybe he needs to hire another PR firm. Any recommendations, Troy?

  • Troy

    He says it’s not commercial, but we both know it is. There’s no reason to define contemporary the way he does if it’s not determined by market forces.

  • Evrett

    “This makes financial sense.” Does it? I would think 2k would make more money recycling what the series is known for and owning the benefits of that success for 10 years rather than producing a first person shooter of questionable merit that will turn off customers loyal to the brand.

    Why are companies so afraid to go with what works? These game makers always sound like flaky artists to me when they say “were going to take so and so in an entirely new direction. This wont be your favorite game with updated skins”

    You know I’d pay a lot for my favorite games brought up to spec with modern computers. If it aint broke dot fix it. But they have to be artists..bah

  • Troy

    Evrett, you are assuming that making the series what it always is more profitable than chasing the unavoidably larger market of FPS players, many of whom have no attachment to the old game. Even if X-Com is not a hit, it will sell more as a shooter than it would as a strategy game.

    Now, again, this assumes that they plan on a AAA budget. You can make strategy games for less than you can a shooter, but 2K doesn’t do games that aren’t AAA budgets. Unlike Civ, X-Com has been a dead franchise for a decade; how many people can they really count on?

    Could a tactical strategy X-Com be a huge hit? Absolutely, in the right hands with the right design. And that might even mean turning off hardcore fans of the original games in some ways (look at Fallout 3, for example). But it would also mean taking some big risks and modern big game publishers are notoriously risk averse.

  • BigDaddy

    Yeah, that FPS version of the original Command & Conquer made financial sense too, right up until they couldn’t sell any copies of it! Halo and the multitude of add-ons in that series pretty well covered the “Alien encounter FPS” genre. I’m sure they will sell some copies, especially if the XBOX360 version has on-line multi-player death match.

    That’s the true spirit of X-Com right?


  • Jason Lefkowitz

    Hey, remember when Wing Commander was a AAA series? So someone took the X-COM name and slapped it onto a crappy space shooter? I bet that was a big hit!

    Oh, wait.

    Hey, remember when Unreal Tournament ruled the world? So someone took the X-COM name and slapped it onto a crappy shooter? I bet that was a big hit!

    Oh, wait.

    That X-COM name sure reels in the audience!

  • Chris Floyd

    Is it possible that Xcom could take some elements of the original strategy game and apply them to an FPS in a way that creates something that’s nothing like a turn-based strategy game (there’s no way it could be like that) but is also something new for the FPS genre? I’m thinking particularly of the idea of owning or managing a crew of agents, or maybe making some research or advancement decisions at your base. These things can’t make the game a true successor to X-Com, but they at least reflect something in the original game and they could make the FPS something worth talking about and playing.

    Troy, you make a good point that probably the purpose that the Xcom name serves is to put the game on the media’s radar. Most of the game’s market will not have a lick of interest in what the game was before it was an FPS.

  • Adam D

    While I’m not annoyed at the change in genre (Fallout did it just fine), I am quite annoyed that there’s been no official attempt at another X-Com in the classic style. It doesn’t even need to be a AAA attempt just a ‘special edition’ or something.
    From a consumer view there appears to be a market for remakes of games, to name a few: The Monkey Island special editions, Colonization got a remake in the Civ4 engine, Resident Evil was remade on Gamecube, hell Street Fighter 2 has had so many it’s now up to Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix (I wish I was making that name up).
    In a world of Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix is it too much to ask for a X-Com HD, a Super Alpha Centauri or a Warcraft Turbo Remix?
    In my ideal world an X-Com HD remake would be offered as a pre-order bonus for XCOM, it would a lot more interesting than a few extra weapons and costumes that most pre-order DLC seems to be, and certainly a lot more likely to make me slap down my money on a pre-order than wait for the inevitable big sale on Steam or elsewhere.

    As an after thought I had while I was writing this, the whole ‘contemporary’ thing rubs me up the wrong way, especially since that some of the current trends indicate the ‘contemporary’ of tommorow could mean ‘Facebook’. On one hand I shudder at the thought of X-Comville, but on the other hand it’s more likely to be some kind of strategy game than an FPS.

  • Anders

    I was furious when I first saw the FPS trailer. But then I realized it was titled XCOM and not X-COM…sure it’s a subtle difference but I’ll take it!

    I think they are making a HUGE mistake making it a FPS. And judging from the YouTube comments, and comments on other sites, it seems most people are outraged and disappointed. As am I.

    This disappointment did lead to me buying the X-Com complete Pack at Gamersgate, however, and I am enjoying it greatly…and then I cry a little inside.

    This whole issue has made me despise 2k as a gaming company. I hope XCOM fails like Duke did….

  • Evrett

    “Even if X-Com is not a hit, it will sell more as a shooter than it would as a strategy game.”
    My premise is that 2k could ride multiple xcom strategy games for the next 10+ years rather than this 1st person shooter and make more moeny with less risk. Strat games also have more DLC potential than 1st person shooter do…which seems to be 2ks thing the way they’ve whored out pieces of Civ.

  • Chris Parsons

    You know, I can actually imagine a hybrid FPS/squad tactical game that could capture some of the X-Com special sauce. I’m thinking of a game like Brothers in Arms, where you control a team leader and six squaddies.. But so far it doesn’t look like this is anything but a pure FPS.

    Admittedly I am biased, but I think turn-based games have the potential to be very popular with the right design. Especially if they offer an asymmetrical option for multiplayer as some of the casual games do.

  • Brad

    I’m okay that the big studios are staying out of the strategy game market. That leaves more room for the mid-size and indie developers to innovate and keep the true core of pc gaming alive and well.

  • Alex Ryan

    I liked your point Troy about what it means to be “contemporary”. Using his music analogy, if Ray Charles went Kanye West, we’d have (going forward) something like 1.5 Kanye Wests, and 0.5 Ray Charleses, or worse. If i want to listen to Kanye West, i’ve already got Kanye West for that. Iron Maiden have been sounding distinctly like Iron Maiden for over 30 years, and that is fantastic, having nothing at all to do with nostalgia. Some people really like that sound, and they’re that much better off that someone is out there selling it.

    So i guess i have trouble not feeling like being “contemporary” is just a euphemism for being like everyone else; being a follower, going where the money is. And sort of a lame excuse for bottom line driven risk aversion.

    A taste for Kanye West is no more artistically “valid” than one for Ray Charles, and one for Ray Charles is not old-fashioned or dated, one is just more common and thus more profitable than the other. There’s nothing inherently morally wrong about trying to make money, but we should be honest about it.

  • Patrick

    I can see the reasoning behind the whole idea of their decision being a financial one, and I really can’t blame them for it. If they feel it will help their sales, hey good for them. It’s not, it really isn’t, that I am against them using the X-Com name for a first person shooter to boost sales, it’s rather that I do not think it will work.

    The problem is what you hinted at in the blog and what others have said here; the X-Com franchise, the X-Com property, the X-Com name recognition, whatever you want to call it, is utterly without value these days. The modern generation of gamers has probably never heard of the title, let alone played or enjoyed it, and therefore probably don’t have any loyalty. The X-Com name only really, and this has been the case for maybe ten years, still has value for the people who have been screaming and begging for a new X-Com game since the strategy ones were released. You know, the people who look back at it with fondness?

    It is my guess that they (we?) are not the sort to get excited over another first person shooter. So if the old guard isn’t terrible excited, and the new gamers have no clue, who is this X-Com really for? I have no idea.

    On another level, it would be wise to consider that X-Com as a series, in and of itself, is fairly worthless. Tell me, what is is that is so great about the intellectual property behind the title? Has hostile aliens making a powerplay for the Earth never been done before? Are greys and mechs that unique? Retro future cars? The setting is cliched. The plots were almost non-existent. The styles have always been strange. The graphics weak. The weapons and vehicles same as pretty much anything else. The only thing of valuable belonging to the X-Com franchise, on a purely franchise front, is the “gameplay system.” And they’re not copying it.

    I guess you could make a case that X-Com, alone in terms of name, has a purely aesthetic value. Or maybe that they’re hoping the annoyance of the “old guard” will generate free publicity? I don’t know if they’ve planned it out to that level. Cynically, I guess they have, but purely as far as cash grabs go based on name alone? Silly. We’ve had, what, three failed attempts at having an X-Com FPS? Two of them were axed for being crap before they ever saw light of day, and the last fell apart commercially. And those titles happened back in the day when X-Com as a series was relevant and fresh.

    It could work. The companies behind Fallout 3 certainly did well for themselves with the reboot. A lot of the old fans seem pleased too. As for me, I had been wanting a Fallout 3 for a very long time. I didn’t buy it though, nor did I want to. What I wanted and was excited about was Fallout 3: The Van Buren Project (breaks my heart that didn’t happen). What I wanted were the systems behind the first two Fallouts and even Brotherhood of Steel, and not just Oblivion with the Fallout name. Power to Bethesda for doing what brought them sales, but it didn’t get my dollars. Name recognition alone does not buy my loyalty.

    I don’t even know where I was going with any of this anymore. I hope I made something like a valuable point in there.

  • Josh (Preciousgollum)

    Mark my words: XCOM as an fps is being used to cash in on the critical and commercial successes of Bioshock, given that both games have an eerily similar style. Bioshock is also published by 2K games. Both games, apart from obviously using the same engine, Unreal Engine, most likely also share similar custom tools used to create their games.

    I admire (creator of Bioshock) Ken Levine’s enthusiasm for games and I will admit that he is a decent writer, as evidenced by his ability to create narrative universes, however, the games that he makes or influences in any way often fail to live up to the hype or the standard that other games set with regards to gameplay – the crucial element of a videogame.

    I enjoyed Bioshock in almost every way except the gameplay. Bioshock, for the depths of rapture itself, ironically, was shallow as a gaming experience – a survival theme with utterly non-challenging gameplay delivers an oxymornic experience. Everything about that game was an exercise in using narrative as an excuse for some poor game design choices.


    Vita-Chamber makes the game deviod of challenge: “Ah, but you are supposed to feel bored by immortality because it’s a philosophical notion”. Strictly Linear game: “Ah, but you were mind-controlled”.


    Levine is even worse than Hideo Kojima for teasing people within their own purchases and he does it as a westerner for a western market so there is no cultural mystery for me to be lost in. Bioshock represents many of the practices that reflects hollywood film-making at its most wooden and disappointing – using writing to cover up various technical, fiscal or time-based deficites that play a large part in the reality of the creative industries.

    XCOM will most likely pander to such ideas and be left worse-off due to a possible lack of talent when it comes to weaseling out of the mainstream conundrum of poor game-design ala Bioshock.

    I am in no way a ‘hardcore gamer’, having started out on a playstation at a young age and generally lacking the ‘pwning’ skills that some people have, however, having walked many avenues of gaming, I have realised that games should be increasingly challenging and tough, as a person gets better playing, in order to maintain a person’s interest and to titillate an element of the human condition – the desire for survival (including the completion of challenges).

    I started be increasingly bored with many titles up until I found the joys of Hard Mode (now known as my new normal mode – except for strategy games because I consider it an ‘AI cheat’) – I was born again.

    The lack of even basic advice to customers about the way in which they are supposed to approach a game, particularly when regarding difficulty modes, is, at least in my opinion, one of the fundamental problems with the hobby. The product itself, in many cases, should be designed to encourage the player to aim for a higher challenge.

    This same basic principle applies to all games, including chess: as soon as somebody is clued-up in what they are really looking for, whether by hint or design, when playing a game, the more they will enjoy it.

    Fallout 3, to take examples of the above, really interested me until I understood exactly how, as a game, it could never live up to my expectations for an experience, knowing this, I could now go back and enjoy it as a game – I can hopefully gleam a challence from it. This is the way to break the ‘Chick Parabola’ that I have been hearing of.

    Resident Evil 4, for all that I initially rejected it for tampering with my beloved series, is one of my most favourite games of all time – the gameplay itself crafts the narrative experience that story-theme required – back and forth tension.

    The old X-com is on my hard disk (Steam sales), yearning for me to one day have a full-go in an attempt to decipher its design-enigmas.

    I could talk about Civ, paradox etc all day but I think those have probably be done-to-death already.

  • Josh (Preciousgollum)

    Oh btw:

    Civ IV was better than the sum of its parts; Civ 5 is as good as the sum of its parts.

    This is because Civ IV’s style was, although a game, expressed thematically in the style of a simulation (so was X-Com) whereas Civ 5 was designed purely as a game, one which lacks some gameplay elements to make it flourish as such.

    Civ IV touched my imagination whereas Civ 5 is so far dull-in-claws when attempting to scratch that itch I feel in the more logical elements of of my brain when I am playing Civ 5. I always win, just never in a way that satisfies me.

    Paradox is my new darling (have their faults though). Nothing’s perfect.

  • Chris Parsons

    Bill Abner skewers Hartmann’s remarks. Very funny: http://nohighscores.com/node/1158

  • Ginger Yellow

    “Now, again, this assumes that they plan on a AAA budget. You can make strategy games for less than you can a shooter, but 2K doesn’t do games that aren’t AAA budgets. ”

    And this is why I don’t understand modern game publishers. I mean, I like a lot of AAA games, and I understand everyone wants to have a Call of Duty or a Mass Effect to wave at shareholders. But low-to-mid budget games fairly often make huge returns on their investment that 95% of AAA games can only dream of. And when they fail, as of course many do, they won’t bring down your company (I’m looking at you, TOR). Double Fine have shown how successful this sort of strategy can be compared to the orthodoxy, and it’s allowed them to unleash their creativity. More importantly, it gives people a means to access niche markets profitably. And if the internet has taught us anything, it’s that the world is made up of a ton of niches.

    Why do so many publishers refuse to even countenance the idea of semi-niche titles with lower budgets but higher potential returns on the back of a dedicated audience? I’m not saying the games have to be super-obscure, but the attitude seems to be: “If we can’t make a game that appeals slightly to half of the world’s population, it’s not worth making a game at all.” What about a game that appeals a lot to 10% of the population and costs 10% as much as the AAA game to make?

  • Josh (Preciousgollum)

    It is the ‘mainstream’ design approach to games, as endorsed here by 2k, that makes games such as Civ 5 the relative disappointments that they have become. It’s all about making people think that they are having fun when they migt have a real reason to be bored.

    It is a shame to see industry-moguls foster a ‘disconnect’ between the mainstream audience and enthusiasts for the medium, after all, both groups enjoy accessibility but it should not jeopardize the quality of the core-elements of a game – after all, regardless of any accusations of ungratefulness, would we not expect the enthusiast to be the one well-versed in rating the more tangiable qualities and more objective appeal of a product?

  • redprimemover

    Mr. President’s comments were a load of crap. It reads like a lot of rhetoric that Troy saw right through: 2K’s decision is to use a known brand, slap onto a hot genre, and make money. A good business strategy. Yet, it seems like Mr Hartmann was both trying to apologize to “the 90’s gamers” (as if we are fossils) and telling them/us to go suck it! Clearly, and in his words, it is all about using X-COM to appeal to “this geneartions of gamers” (evidently, us 90’s gamers stopped playing games…shuffleboard anyone?) But as has been well said by others, that aspect of it makes no sense. If 2K feels an FPS is going to make them the most money, then make the best damn FPS as possible but “this genereation of gamers” has no connection to X-COM. The best comparison I can give to that is World of Warcraft/Warcraft. Sure, I assume there are some Warcraft vets playing WOW, but I also assume very few WOW players even know or played Warcraft the RTS. WOW stands on it own merit (because in the opinion of all its subscribers, it is worth their good money to play and keep playing). If this X-COM FPS succeeds, it will because it was a good FPS, not because “this generation of gamers” got nostalgic on X-COM like a Ken Burns documentary!
    Just say what needs to be said 2K; don’t confuse the issue with flawed music analogies. Again, as was said above, there are numerous examples of music artists who kept to their formula, philosphy, and/or approach, and have been consistentently successful. Iron Maiden, as mentioned above, has not just been successful for 30 years because of what they only did in the early 80’s, but because to this day, they continue to make new music (2010’s The Final Frontier had their best 1st week Billboard charting in their history, and this was their 15th studio album!) and make a point of telling their fanbase that they don’t want to live off what they did 25 years ago. So, for 2K, they have to make a decision about priority. In this case, they want to get the biggest bang for their buck. So be it, but don’t throw pissed on comments on those who loved X-COM and that its orginal form just doesn’t confrom anymore!

  • Kingdaddy

    “Why do so many publishers refuse to even countenance the idea of semi-niche titles with lower budgets but higher potential returns on the back of a dedicated audience?”

    Because they’ve adopted the same blockbuster mentality that has ruined Hollywood?

  • Ginger Yellow

    Because they’ve adopted the same blockbuster mentality that has ruined Hollywood?

    The thing is, even Hollywood has matured beyond “only blockbusters”. You have in-house offshoot studios like Fox Searchlight making relatively low budget films, which is arguably even more of a risk than low budget games, given the difficulty of distribution.

  • jr

    “As companies expand and the gaming dollars are harder to grab, the top publishers are playing it safe, spending money not to stand out but to blend in.”
    Damn worst economical-marketing concept ever… Its like making sandals and trying to follow the same designs are made in china sandals….. WTF DO YOU THINK YOU WILL SELL??

    “It’s not a case of cashing in on the name. We just need to renew it because times are changing.”
    ORLY?? Gamers dont shift the game industries to one side and another massively each years. Industrials are the ones creating trends and move times…
    Hell this doesnt even make any sense!! Paradox Interactive, old Swedish strategy games company is growing EXPONENTIALLY right now. And they sell ww2 grand strategy games (Heat of Iron. 3 games in a series plus 3 exp packs each!!) and historical grand games (Europa Universalis, 3 games lots of ex packs each. Just to name one). Worse they are making more strategy games of the SAME series. If being redundant in rts/tbs games is bad for gaming companies then PI has been lucky for 10 years…