The fall season is the biggest time of the year for video games. We’re going to hear plenty about Call of Duty, Medal of Honor and Assassin’s Creed, with their terrifyingly large marketing budgets and massive fan bases. But, for once, let’s focus on the excellent strategy games that are coming out this fall. It’s already been a great year for the genre, and there are some wonderful titles coming up.
Legends of Pegasus
Release: August 10th
Kalypso is best known for Tropico, the outstanding island dictatorship simulator. Legends of Pegasus is a completely different effort, a bold new 4X game with a hybrid RTS/turn-based gameplay system. That’s right: this is Total War: Space. If the company that makes one of my favorite games then takes one of my favorite gameplay mechanics and applies it to one of my favorite genres, I think that’s a must buy. I’m most interested in the real-time terra-forming. No more will the player be cursed with colonization of barren planets. Instead, there is an option to change those planets into something completely different, and view that change in realtime. In addition, the game features a 40 hour single player campaign, which will hopefully add some depth to the universe. This is a 4X game to be excited about.
Release: August 28th
Developed by indie developer Blue Giant Interactive, Tryst is a fast paced RTS game based on the inevitable conflict between robots and humans. The emphasis here is on speed, unique units, and exciting gameplay. The game has both single player and multiplayer, and a new state of the art graphics engine. Keep your eye on this game.
Port Royale 3: Pirates & Merchants
Release: September 4th
Released on PC earlier this year, Port Royale 3 will now grace the PS3 and Xbox 360. Strategy games on console are few and far between, and games that focus on trade and naval combat are even fewer. With its blend of city building, trading, and exciting naval combat, the game offers a compelling blend of different play styles. Choose your path as either a merchant trader or a fearsome pirate. With both campaign modes and free play, this is a compelling addition to the console strategy pantheon.
End of Nations
Free-to-play grows a little more strategic this fall with the launch of End of Nations. This RTS game exists in a persistent, MMO-type world. Over time, the factions in the game will battle over the entire planet, causing the map to shift, and changing the gameplay. Players units are fully customizable, allowing you, as the commander, to tailor your armies as you see fit. This is the sort of game I’ve been waiting a long time to sink my teeth into. We’ll see how the final product developed.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Release: October 9th
Gamers that were dismayed at the thought of a first person shooter version of XCOM were relieved when Firaxis (developers of Civilization) announced that they were creating a different version of the beloved strategy franchise. What’s better is that the turn based game will be released on console as well, allowing more gamers to experience the wonder of XCOM. Squad based tactical gameplay is the rule here, taking gamers back to an era long passed. This is the type of game we’ve needed for some time. I’m interested to see how well Firaxis brings an old design model to the current generation of technology.
Hearts of Iron 3: Their Finest Hour
Release: Quarter 3
Hearts of Iron 3 was an awesomely detailed strategy game. Covering the Second World War, it enabled you to fight history’s biggest conflict on a amazingly small scale if you desired. Or, you could opt to automate any function of whatever nation you wished to rule, from research and diplomacy to combat in the field. HoI 3 returns this fall with new elite units, scenarios covering the Winter War and the Spanish Civil War, and that additional historical depth you can always expect from a Paradox Interactive update. For World War II buffs and strategy lovers, this will be an effort to see.
Release: Quarter 3
Zeal Game Studios takes us to the realm of Starvoid. This RTS focuses on easy to pick up gameplay. There are a wide variety of unit customization options, which increase as the player gains experience over time. As a mercenary commander fighting over fuel in the outer reaches of space, the player will experience a hybrid of RTS and MOBA gameplay. Keep your eye out.
A Game of Dwarves
Release: Quarter 4
Last but certainly not least is A Game of Dwarves, also from Zeal Game Studios. As a Dwarven price, you’ll order your minions to delve into the deep, building massive halls and tunnels. Dig too far, and you will awaken massive creatures. Each session dynamically generates a new world, giving the game massive replayability. I am a huge fan of city builder sims, and the dwarven aspects combined with the combat provide a compelling new challenge. I’m excited to dig into this one.