Clockwork Empires is now in Earliest Access, which is basically just buying access for the game a month before it hits Steam Early Access. For Earliest Access you pay $29.99 and you will receive a Steam key for use on Early Access.
Firaxis' Civilization: Beyond Earth's product page has been updated with a release date: October 24th.
In case you've forgot what it's all about, Beyond Earth will be a standalone Civilization game set in space. Kind of like Alpha Centauri, I assume and hope.
Sid Meier's Civilization®: Beyond Earth™ is a new science-fiction-themed entry into the award-winning Civilization series. Set in the future, global events have destabilized the world leading to a collapse of modern society, a new world order and an uncertain future for humanity. As the human race struggles to recover, the re-developed nations focus their resources on deep space travel to chart a new beginning for mankind.
As part of an expedition sent to find a home beyond Earth, you will write the next chapter for humanity as you lead your people into a new frontier and create a new civilization in space. Explore and colonize an alien planet, research new technologies, amass mighty armies, build incredible Wonders and shape the face of your new world. As you embark on your journey you must make critical decisions. From your choice of sponsor and the make-up of your colony, to the ultimate path you choose for your civilization, every decision opens up new possibilities.
"Return of the Messari features a brand new alien faction that will play a main role in the later stage of the game. This ancient civilization that disappeared from the Pandora planet ages ago, comes back to its birthplace to recover its property. Therefore not only the players will have to fight their way to survive on the hostile Pandora’s environment but also deal with another aggressive enemy who comes with powerful units like gigantic mechs and motherships."
"The Messari will target the stronger factions as a priority which will probably confuse the issue and change the balance of power on Pandora. As a result the players will have to take into account this new gameplay element to take advantage from this fearsome alien invasion."
Anyone who pre-purchases Pandora on Steam will receive the expansion for free. Matrix Games will also be releasing Steam keys to everyone who bought any previous version of the game.
"We are thrilled to finally give Stronghold players a release date for the game. Fans of the Crusader series have high hopes for Crusader 2 and although many want to get their hands on a copy as soon as possible, it was never our intent to rush the development process. Since the beginning of the project we have maintained that Crusader 2 will pop its head above the parapet only when we are happy that it is truly ready for battle," said Bradbury.
"Well now we think it is almost there, we are about to go into final testing and have recently been confident enough to demo our baby at public events such as EGX London, Rezzed and PAX East. We will have a sequel worthy of the Crusader name come September 2nd.”
The Mars RTS by Soren Johnson has been finally officially announced. Offworld Trading Company is now available for pre-order, with two ordering options on their site, a normal copy for $34.99 (5 dollars off the release price) and the Founder's Elite Edition which will allow you access to prototypes, even before Steam Early Access; and you'll have access to private feedback forums.
The first prototype should be released this Fall, but the actual game's release date is undetermined.
Paradox has released two developer diaries for Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations, one in text and the other in video form. Both talk about some of the new features.
For example, Policies are going to be introduced as a free feature for everyone, which are special, permanent Decisions that can only be activated if you max out two specific idea groups.
For example the Weapon Quality Standards, that gives 5% discipline, requires Economic and Quality ideas and cost Adm points while the Anti Smuggler Act, that gives +10% Trade Efficiency, costs Mil points and requires Offensive and Trade Ideas.
Along with that, there will be modifications to existing Idea Groups, some balancing modifications, and you have the ability to form Courland now, sweet.
Kerberos has begun crowdfunding on Kickstarter for Kaiju-a-Gogo, a strategy game where you take over the world by trashing cities with customizable Kaijus (Giant monsters, IE: Godzilla, in non-weeaboo speak.).
They're asking for $50,000 dollars and they've reached, as of this post, just under 10,000.
That aside (well, and some outdated UI concepts), I’d say Age of Empires’ fantasy offshot holds up rather well. Visually it’s, y’know, fine, having successfully shaved perhaps four or five years off its apparent age, but the it’s the game itself which stands tallest.
It’s a happy mix of good, old-fashioned, getting-on-with-it building and surprisingly large-scale battles with varied armies. It’s oddly, lackadaisically-paced compared to today’s gogogo real-time strategy, though you can very much see the seeds of the intensive multi-tasking that has increasingly come to the fore.
Paradox has released a developer diary on the upcoming 1.6 patch for Europa Universalis IV. While this diary is filed under the Wealth of Nations expansion tag, the content is general and will be available for everyone, regardless if they own the expansion.
Macro Build Interface
First up is a big rework of the interface we like to call the Macro Build Interface, the interface that lets you build stuff like buildings and armies by clicking on the map. It used to be that it had to tabs that allowed you to build either units of buildings. Among all the interfaces in EU4 that was the one that added the most to making the game smoother to play and we figure we could do more with it. For 1.6 we have added the following to that interface: Make Core, Change culture, Send Missionary and Harsh Treatment. To further improve usability you of course get information per province relevant to what you are trying to build, revolt risk for Harsh Treatment for example. A minor thing is that you can now more clear how much power each building will cost.
The next little improvement has to to with loans. Since people can take a lot of loans very fast we’ve noticed the need to repay a lot of loans, therefore you now have Repay All Loans button that will repay as many loans as you can currently afford.
Holy Roman Reforms
Then we are adding a specific improvement for players in the Holy Roman Empire, and thats the ability to actively vote on Imperial Reforms. You just use the checkbox to announce the highest reform that you are willing to accept.
And for the final improvement something that came in just recently, and thats the ability to selectively call allies into war. So if you know one of your 4 allies will refuse, just leave that box unticked.
Paradox has released a new developer diary for Hearts of Iron 4, detailing the changes to the production system. Notably, they've split the production system into three different areas, Civilian, Dockyard, and Military.
You can check out the diary here.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has released another part to their interview with Soren Johnson, the man behind Civ IV. Now he's working on an RTS that takes place on Mars and apparently has a heavy economic focus.
RPS: Your setting is Mars, but what kind of Mars? Because there are lots of Mars-es. Wacky Mars, pseudo-realistic Mars, entirely realistic Mars which is completely dead and really boring, Mars bars, etc.
Johnson: I think we’re probably somewhere in the middle. It’s not really hard sci-fi. The reason you colonize Mars is so you can supply food to people in the Asteroid Belt. You have people on Mars. They create water and oxygen and food, and they ship that to the Asteroid Belt, because Mars is a lot smaller than earth. It cost a lot less fuel to get ships off of Mars than Earth. So even though obviously it’s a lot easier to grow food on earth, it takes a larger amount of fuel to escape Earth’s gravity. So that’s theoretically one of the ideas behind the usefulness of Mars.
Though at the same time, we have some somewhat goofy technology. Teleportation, perpetual motion, cold fusion, just some stuff that type of futurism and whatnot. It’s not something I would ever put forward as, “This is an educational game about Mars.” It’s just a nice setting. What I really like about the setting is it’s a plausible empty environment that will get developed quickly with modern stuff. We could theoretically make this game in the new world of 1500, right? But you don’t really have an energy market to produce interesting resources quickly. Things happen a lot more slowly. This is a nice place to be able to start with an empty map, which is always a real nice thing in a strategy game.