Flash of Steel header image 2

News Flash: Strategy game makers run out of titles

April 26th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

Supreme Ruler: 2010We had Supremacy: Four Paths to Power this year. Supreme could be the new extreme.

War Leader: Clash of Nations – If only it were Rise of Nations. Instead, another WW2 RTS.

Throw in recently played Act of War, Knights of Honor and Tin Soldiers and you have the trite title all star team.

This is, of course, unavoidable. Strategy games can’t have names like Duke Nukem or Serious Sam. The names have to have appeal to some sense of grandeur or desire for power but the English language is only so big. How many variations on “power”, “empire” or “conquer” have there been in the history of strategy gaming? And, as the library of world conquest games grows, there will be fewer and fewer instantly recognizable concepts.

If you call a game Gettysburg or Napoleon’s War then there is no doubt that the gamer knows what is in the box just by looking at the name. Civilization was a tantalizing title for a game simply because the word is so big that my early nineties mind was boggled at the possibilities.

But try a name like Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns. What is a Kohan and why does it have an immortal king? And the sequel Ahriman’s Gift doesn’t improve the name at all. If you do fantasy strategy you have to use recognizable constructs like War + Craft or Hero + Might + Magic. No real shocks there.

Children of the Nile is a great name for a very good game. You instantly know that it is a strategy game set in Egypt. (It beats the pedestrian Pharaoh as a title.) Pax Romana is such an obvious title that it’s surprising that it took so long for someone to use it. (Too bad the game was so bad.)

But for the most part, strategy gamers will have to accept that there is a limited vocabulary for the games they like to play. But remember – sports game fanatics have it worse.


No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.