Paul Johnson revealed Ultimate War Game to us about a month ago, the final installment in Rubicon’s long-running series of lighter turn-based tactical titles. What he had to show back in July was mostly just the scale of the game, which will be the biggest of any of Rubicon’s offerings to date.
He got in touch last week to reveal a little more about what’s coming — namely random map generation. The previous Great Little War Games were all played out on pre-built terrain, but Ultimate War Game will offer infinitely varied maps and the ability to do the Amerigo Vespucci thing and craft your own.
“When we ship the game we’ll probably give access to the map editor which allows you to tailor a landscape in fine detail,” Johnson tells me. “We’ll be using the very same tool to make the mission maps when we start on the campaign stuff, so everything needed will be there.
“We’ll also add something that uses a phrase you can type in as a seed to make a totally random map, like they do it in Worms and other games. That way players can share good ones amongst themselves and not have to spend all day dragging sliders about just for a quick ruck.”
After the jump, a (very) short video showing off UWG’s base-building, another new feature that’s in the works. Ultimate War Game will be out for iOS & Android later this year.
The Icewind Dale Business Improvement Board really prefers you use the name “Refreshing Breeze Dale”.
Here’s the first big announcement to be trumpeted at PAX: Icewind Dale is getting the same makeover and tablet port that fellow D&D RPG Baldur’s Gate got back in 2012.
Besides running on modern PCs and mobile devices, Canadian devs Beamdog say that the isometric RPG includes both expansions to the original and will have new content including new character classes and loot, plus cross-platform co-op multiplayer. Another first is that, unlike the two previous Baldur’s Gate remasters, Icewind Dale is coming to phones as well as tablets.
The original PC game from 2000 is the favourite RPG of many D&D heads that I know, and the remake of Baldur’s Gate got top marks from our man Phil, with Clancy being similarly enthusiastic about BG II. I wonder how well this is going to work on phones, given that the UI was a bit of an owlbear to wrangle on a larger device, but hey — more D&D on your mobile.
There’s video after the jump, y’all, and there’s more details at IcewindDale.com.
What is a mobile video game worth? Quite a lot, say Square Enix, who are stubbornly sticking to their gunblades on mobile game pricing strategy. Their iOS port of PS2 JRPG Dragon Quest VIII launched back in May at the price of $20 — it’s on sale this weekend for the very first time at $15, still a vertigo-inducing price tag by App Store standards. It’s tempting to look at Squeenix and see a doddery old man complaining that kids these days listen to their music too loud and expect their games to cost a dollar.
Cas Prince of PC game developers Puppygames recently wrote that game prices are dropping so precipitously that the rich and diverse ecosystem of game creators we’ve come to enjoy is in danger. That long post includes apparently self-immolating statements like “[customers] are worthless to us[.]” But hear him out.
“Once upon a time, back in the early 2000s or so, games would sell for about $20 or so. Some developers did really well at that price point -– I mean really well. Most of us didn’t do that well, and made beer money, but we carried on making games anyway because that’s what we liked to do, even if nobody wanted them. When we got a customer we were able to treat them like royalty.”
“Then came the Humble Bundle and all its little imitators. It was another cataclysmically disruptive event… You’ve sold 40,000 games! But you’ve only made enough money to survive full-time for two weeks because you’re selling them for 10 cents each.”
Obviously, Prince is talking about one- and two-man indie studios here, not publishing behemoths like Squeenix. And casting Squeenix as the defender of the “premium”-priced game is problematic when the other fork of their mobile games strategy is pushing free-to-play bilge. But at least Square Enix have resisted the temptation to rip out Dragon Quest’s spine and turn it into a freemium cyborg like Namco did with Tales of Phantasia.
I wonder sometimes about publishing this (mostly) weekly price drops post. Am I aiding the forces pushing game prices down? I love getting a game for a dollar as much as the next guy, but many of the games I love can’t be sold profitably at a price point that low. I don’t know. I’ll keep doing it out of inertia for now, but I’m open to the notion that there’s something better to be doing on Saturdays.
Once a month, the PT staff gather around the Official Pocket Tactics Ouija Board and Comcast Customer Service Help Line and (after making the traditional offerings of ASL chits and Vimto) commune with the animistic spirits of the App Store to divine their favourite games of that lunar cycle.This past August, the rituals were particularly draining: not only were there a slew of important releases to choose from, but the App Store spirits kept erroneously rejecting our submission.
After the jump, Pocket Tactics‘ favourite games of August.
As a teenager, I dealt with my insecurities and troubles the way most teenagers in the 80′s did, I grew a spectacular mullet. This has absolutely nothing to do with Heavy Metal Thunder, the new app from Cubus Games, even though it sounds like it should. Seriously, Heavy Metal Thunder sounds like a terrible set you’d see at the county fair, headlined by Warrant or Faster Pussycat. That said, I did have a pretty awesome mullet.
Instead of a app that lets you hire a one-armed drummer or replace your lead singer with a pale imitation who only got the job because he can’t drive 55, Heavy Metal Thunder is a sci-fi adventure that puts you in charge of repelling an incoming alien invasion. After saying it out loud, I guess the whole sci-fi thing does sound a lot better, especially since Heavy Metal Thunder is interactive fiction in the same vein as the gamebooks from Tin Man Games or inkle. Honestly, the screens and trailer for this one look a lot closer to Tin Man’s take on digital IF.
Heavy Metal Thunder releases on September 3rd, so we can probably expect it next Wednesday night. I’ll be spending the weekend playing the hell out of this one, so I should have a review ready at launch.
Everyone here at Pocket Tactics should be familiar with Luca Redwood’s work. Not only did his last game, 10000000, win puzzle game of the year back in 2012, but the rogue AI, M.E.T.I.S., from his latest game and set forth a challenge that the readers of Pocket Tactics blew apart.
Well, the game that spawned M.E.T.I.S., Smarter Than You, is slated to hit the App Store on September 25.
Smarter Than You is asynchronous Rock, Paper, Scissors which involves lying, bluffing and basically doing your best Vizzini impression except you’re doing it against people all over the world whom your never actually met. If that’s not enough, Luca’s added a crazy monetization scheme that involves giving tips to other players who you enjoyed playing against. Somehow, Luca gets a cut. Or something. Even he’s not quite sure if it’s going to work. Otherwise the game will be free to play. Yes, it’s a free-to-play, social game and I can’t wait to try it out. What’s happening?
Trailer after the break. See you on September 25th. Or, maybe I won’t. Or maybe that’s just what I want you to think.
From the Pocket Tactics New Release Assessment Centre and Horse Racing Tip Emporium high atop Mount Hexmap, the report has just arrived via PT HQ’s elaborate pneumatic tube messaging system: it’s a pretty decent Wednesday night. Also I have some hot horses for tomorrow’s 4 o’clock at Saratoga. Email me about those.
There’s three ports you’re going to want to investigate: two from other gaming platforms, and one from the pulpy world of books. But there’s also more made-for-mobile games that may catch your fancy. A lot of lighter stuff this week, but interesting. Trailers and chat after the jump.
You might think you love Panzer General, but I promise that you don’t love Panzer General as much as Nicu Pavel does, who has been working on his free open source remake of SSI’s PC strategy classic for over two years now. In some cultures, Pavel is now legally married to Panzer General.
Back in January, Pavel brought the web-based Open Panzer to iOS, but this week has arrived for Android devices. “It’s also available on Google Chrome and FireFox OS,” Pavel told me, “but I don’t think it matters for many.” Nope, I don’t think it does either. What about Chumby, though?
Given its HTML 5 roots, Open Panzer doesn’t feel quite like a native app, but Pavel has stuffed it with content like a Zimmerit-covered Thanksgiving turkey. There’s a ton of campaigns in this turn-based operational level wargame, including the just-added “Great Patriotic War 1942-1945″ (Soviet side, 20 scenarios) and “Das Reich (1939-1945)” (Germans, 32 scenarios). It’s not as nice to look at or touch as Slitherine’s Panzer Corps for iPad, but you can’t beat the price.
Pavel’s planning his next update already: Open Panzer 3.0 will be ticking with a new AI and a new weather modelling system.