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Etoychest hits and misses

December 31st, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Media

In their year end wrap-up, E-Toychest gave strategy awards to both Galactic Civilizations II (for turn-based) and Company of Heroes (for real time). Both choices are obvious.

However, each entry makes at least one serious error.

There were a lot of turn-based strategy games released this year, but none were quite as successful as Galactic Civilizations II.

A lot? Really? Unless you count wargames – and I’m sure they’re not counting wargames – you have GalCiv 2, Heroes of Might and Magic V, Sword of the Stars and Space Empires V. Maybe you can throw in the Civilization IV expansion. You could argue that GalCiv and HoMM are the only major new titles in that list. (I’m not forgetting Dominions 3, but these guys don’t sound like Dominions 3 players. Same goes for all the other marginalia like Forge of Freedom.) In what universe is this “a lot”? These are flight sim numbers. This is why the continued division of strategy games into real-time and turn-based is silly for awards purposes. Once you toss in a genre buster like Medieval II: Total War, the categories make zero sense in any case. End the segregation and stop pretending that turn based games are a thriving subset. They are near and dear to my heart, but let’s keep the family together.

On Company of Heroes, the writers note:

For years, the real-time strategy genre has stagnated, churning out Warcraft clones one after the other, covering every conceivable historical or hypothetical future era. Only recently have developers come to realize that the genre has become so dilute by the RTS regurgitation project of the early 21st century that it actually represented untapped potential for innovative developers.

The tense confusion with the “has” in the opening clause and “recently” in the second sentence leaves me unsure if they think that the RTS was cured by Company of Heroes or whether this is a trend that goes back a few years. But Warcraft clone? Have they played Age of Mythology? Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns? Majesty? By any measure, they are underestimating the richness of the RTS genre. Though still mostly about gathering resources and killing things, but if this is what it takes to make a clone, then I guess Neverwinter Nights is a Bard’s Tale clone because you kill things and level up.


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