one can deny the popularity of Real-Time Strategy games such as WarCraft,
StarCraft, Age of Empires, and so on. Sierra's Ground Control will combine
the elements of the great RTS' of old with the 3D aspects of the other
popular game genres.
GC is set in the year 2419. A devastating third world
war has taken place, and now war has moved to the stars, leaving Earth
at peace. There are two factions competing to colonize alien worlds, the
Crayven Corporation and the Order of the New Dawn. You will control leaders
of both in separate campaigns. The entire game will take place on the
planet Krig-7B, with each faction fighting each other for certain aspects
of it. There is a secret on this planet...a secret which the Order has
obtained while the Crayven Corporation plans to take over the Order's
colony. As the Massive Entertainment GC story states, "Heaven help
us all if they use it.”
Control will remove your god-like status of looking down on your units
and micro-managing them. This time you'll be in the fray in your command
unit, right there on the battlefield, in 30 single-player missions. It
is up to you to protect that unit, along with completing the task at hand.
Other features making this game so revolutionary compared to other RTS'
includes the lack of resources; there's no more chopping down lumber or
mining gold. Limited Units… say goodbye to getting enough money to buy
hundreds of units. You pick your guys, head out, and that is the point
of no return. You must choose well which units you bring into the field,
depending on the mission. Martin Walfisz comments on unit selection:
"Besides selecting different unit types the player
can also equip the units with a wide variety. Selecting better weapons
will increase the firepower and range, but decrease the speed and perhaps
the armor. Picking a faster engine may decrease the armor and firepower.
Most units also have one or more special weapons (with limited ammo) and
special equipment (e.g. cloaking fields, deployable radars, deployable
repair stations, mines, and more) to choose from."
Control's engine has been built from scratch, and similar to TRIBES, will
feature huge battlefields without tapping game performance. One of the
other main features of this new engine is a camera than can rotate 360
degrees. Others are, less notable features include fog, realtime shadows,
particle explosions, and dynamic lighting. You will be carrying your battle
units across beautifully rendered forests, deserts, ice lands, and jungles.
Multiplayer GC has received a lot of attention from
Massive Entertainment, as in any game; multiplayer is often the reason
consumers purchase games (or a
reason). Their prize MP feature is called "drop-in,” and this is
what Walfisz had to say about it:
"For the first time ever, people will be able
to join an RTS game at any time, play for hours or just a few minutes
and still have a good time. No need to first find players, then agree
on a map, and then construct units and go resource harvesting for 30 minutes
before you spot the first enemy unit. Our drop-in play allows for instant
action. However, if you want to play the old way, we support that too."
very interesting aspect of multiplayer is that should you join a game
where other players are setup and established, the server will decide
which units you will need to fight the enemies, and give them to you.
This way, you don't have to start from the ground-up while everyone else
is packin' heat. Just one of the many revolutionary things found in this
great-looking game. There is a maximum of 8 players on LAN and 4 via the
Internet. A level designer at Massive, Henrik Sebring, had this to say
"Reinforcements are supported in the multiplayer
game. As squads are destroyed in combat, new squads will be available
to bring down to the surface with drop ships. The interval and the number
of reinforcements are configurable for each map."
Ground Control multiplayer will proceed to merge the
RTS genre with the FPS in ways. There are multiplayer modes such as deathmatch
and capture the flag, as well as a mode called Flag-Zone, similar to UT’s
Domination or TRIBES' Capture and Hold, where certain points are taken
and defended from the enemy.
say that this game is a milestone for RTS' to come is an understatement.
Features never before seen in the most popular of games such as Age of
Empires and StarCraft are sure to make this game a hit. It is developers
like Massive Entertainment and Sierra and their experimentation with hybrid
games that keep these days of gaming as exciting and fresh as they are.
Look for this one soon, folks.