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2005 preview

January 2nd, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

A new year, a new crop of games to look forward to. Like many things, the anticipation of a new game can be almost as much fun as playing it. The slavering over screenshots, the guesses over what will and will not be possible, the temptations offered by the developers…all sweet stuff.

Here’s a digest of the strategy and wargames that I’m looking forward to in the new year:

1) Legion Arena (Slitherine) – I’m not a huge fan of Slitherine’s games, but I am a huge fan of the developers – nice people who are genuinely excited to make games that they themselves like to play. Legion Arena will be sort of like online Rome: Total War, at least the battle part of it, only with a ladder, upgrading armies and more realism. It will also be the test drive for their new battle engine, to be used in Legion II.

2) Imperial Glory (Pyro Studios/Eidos) – Speaking of Rome: Total War…this looks like an Ensemble game, but isn’t. It’s Napoleonic warfare in real time, with a strategy overlay. Sound familiar? It looks pretty and will even have naval battles on a small scale. Whether they can do more than copy the Ensemble Studios look remains to be seen.

3) Hearts of Iron 2 (Paradox) – The original was a good game plagued with too many AI issues to be fun for too long. Amphibious landings were a problem for the computer opponents and only a heavily scripted mod made it much of a game at all. But look out Rommel wannabes, it appears that the Swedish masters of grand strategy have finally put it all together. Early reports from people who’ve played preview versions say that they’ve made the game more approachable for newbies and more interesting for hardcore players. Less micromanaging with a more realistic sense of running a war.

4) The Movies (Lionhead/Activision) – OK, we all know that Peter Molyneux has been biting off more than he can chew lately. Black and White was a great diversion for a few hours but had no longevity. Fable was not quite what was advertised. And The Movies is every bit as ambitious as those two. Lionhead boasts that over four million possible combinations of movies can be made, and, if they pull it off, websites will be full of what the public has to offer. Once again, I think that Molyneux has set too high a PR bar to meet, but no one fails as spectacularly as he does.

5) Imperium: Rise of Rome (Michael Akinde) – This is more of a guess than anything. Michael is a Danish computer scientist who has been working on a hobby project for a couple of years now. He is making an ancient Rome grand strategy game. He is making it very slowly and very low tech. But it looks very promising and could be the game that I hoped Pax Romana would be. Considering the pace he is going, 2005 could be a little optimistic on my part. But a man can dream.

Feel free to add your own “eagerly awaited” list in the comments.


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