There aren’t that may serious RTS developers left in the world. Only three remain standing- Relic, Blizzard, and Creative Assembly.1
Strangely enough, nobody cared when they had a sneak peak of Dawn of War 3 at E3 2016. I’m guessing the reason why is because it was a pre-alpha build that players couldn’t interact with, and I’m usually wary of any version of a game that doesn’t have a public playable build yet. However, I did find something amusing about one of the design decisions made about the game based on what Eurogamer covered:
Relic Entertainment’s strength over Blizzard is that their RTS games always looked a lot better.2 While they went for a more realistic art style with Dawn of War 2,3 they chose to use brighter colors and simpler unit model designs for this entry, which is not what you’d typically use to emphasize the grim darkness of the far future. The reason given was it’s easier to discern information with brighter colors and simpler designs, especially when there’s a lot of action happening on the screen at once and you need to make that split-second decision that will either make or break your army.
Of course since Blizzard hired all of the top-tier RTS talent over a decade ago, they already figured this out, which explains why they did it for Diablo III despite it being just as grimdark as the Warhammer 40K series.
Based on what I’ve heard about the game so far, they’re going back to their Dawn of War 1 roots, which got me interested in this. My only concern is if they’ll bring back all of the other factions from the first game, since what really disappointed me about Dawn of War 2 was that they never brought back every single playable army from the tabletop game.4
- Okay, you can also lump Blackbird Interactive in there too, even if they’re technically former Relic employees. ↩
- There’s a technical reason for that. Blizzard codes their games to run on as many low-end systems as possible with the tradeoff being that players don’t see much framerate improvements if they’re using bleeding-edge hardware. ↩
- They were kind of forced to go with that since were using a modified version of the engine made for the Company of Heroes games. ↩
- Funny that the only army they left out in the first Dawn of War game was the Zerg-like Tyranids, which they promptly shoved in for the launch of the second game. ↩