Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

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Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-29 08:02pm

Has their been a Star Wars real time strategy game since the (amusing by disappointing) Empire at War? I bought a copy of Empire at War (came in a pack with the original KotOR, and together are the only Star Wars games I've ever purchased), and despite its somewhat generic nature and missed potential, I enjoyed it. But I haven't heard of any subsequent strategy games of note. It seems to be all shooters and MMOs these days.

Because I'd really like a good strategy game in the Star Wars universe, taking full advantage of modern gaming technology.

Since the industry seems to be dominated by shooters and MMOs these days, I suppose you could try a hybrid game. Like a strategy MMO where each player starts out with a small force and battles other players online on a galactic scale, and/or a hybrid of strategy and shooter, where the player takes the role of a commander who, rather than directing operations from a third-person perspective, fights on the front in first person (most top commanders in Star Wars do), while also being able to issue larger strategic orders via a holomap or something. I don't think Star Wars has done either of those before, though as I said, I haven't played that many Star Wars games.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by GuppyShark » 2018-01-29 09:05pm

EA has the license, so anything other than a safe bet won't be happening, whereas Lucasfilm seemed to enjoy trying new things and trusting the license to bail them out if the underlying title wasn't a success.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-01-29 10:54pm

My thought as to why we haven't seen as many RTS games in a while is that making an RTS that is playable on consoles, but still good enough to be respected by RTS fans on PC is difficult. But multi-platform releases are much more profitable than single platform, so AAA focuses on multi-platform.
EA has the license, so anything other than a safe bet won't be happening, whereas Lucasfilm seemed to enjoy trying new things and trusting the license to bail them out if the underlying title wasn't a success.
It's not that a SW RTS won't be a safe bet. It's that a SW RTS won't make all the money and EA doesn't want games that won't make all the money. Which means exploiting gambling addiction unless that become illegal.

Remember, if you look at what EA said to investors, you'll see that the lootboxes weren't required to make the game profitable.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-01-30 06:38am

RTS is not as popular genre as it once was. There are fewer RTS games than there once were.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-01-30 12:35pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-01-30 06:38am
RTS is not as popular genre as it once was. There are fewer RTS games than there once were.
This is the main thing, I think. PC gaming is less popular than it used to be, outside of MMORPG's. Unless you're playing on a team with someone, RTS games tend to be largely a solo affair, multiplayer being a bit of an afterthought and mostly consisting of 'ok i'll be on this side, you be on that side, let's go'... minimal social interaction. 4X/turn-based strategy games can be a different situation in multi, but that's even more niche. RTS games are kind of a hold-over from the pre-Internet gaming era, before it was a *given* that EVERY game would have Internet multiplayer. Like... I dunno, Command and Conquer, Emperor: Battle for Dune, Age of Empires, that kind of thing. Dawn of War kind of marks a general shift from the old standbys of 'mine resources, set up farms, build forces, attack' by simplifying the resource system to just taking certain points on the battlefield and holding them. I don't know if you even have to do that anymore with most current RTS games...

From my limited view of the market these days, gaming seems to be all about consoles and mobile lately. Neither really lend themselves very handily to RTS play, which tends to have a lot of right-clicking, keyboard shortcuts, and various selectable functions per unit. I can see a simplified version of RTS games working on mobile, hell there are already options for that kind of thing IIRC, but something more in depth beyond just 'click unit, tell it where to go, select attack' may be trickier. Granted even many PC RTS games aren't much more complicated.

I think part of the equation is accessibility as well. Unless a family is well off, they're not likely to have more than a couple of PC's or laptops, which have to be shared among the family members. Access may be granted depending on priority, for example a parent may monopolize a PC for the whole night if they have a work thing. Mobiles on the other hand aren't usually shared. Consoles are pretty much exclusively for playing on, so there's minimal competition for their use in the household; the parents usually have better things to do unless they're trying to spend time with their kids. The young adult market has also grown massively, I figure a pretty decent proportion of millennials are playing games as well.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Lord Revan » 2018-01-30 02:45pm

There has been RTS games that change the traditional Command and Conquer style RTS, the Total War series for example and to a degree the Empire at War series mentioned previously. Both have a turn based "strategic" map where you build and recruit things and a real time "tactical" map where battles are handled.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-30 06:15pm

So basically, the answer is "EA sucks"?
Lord Revan wrote:
2018-01-30 02:45pm
There has been RTS games that change the traditional Command and Conquer style RTS, the Total War series for example and to a degree the Empire at War series mentioned previously. Both have a turn based "strategic" map where you build and recruit things and a real time "tactical" map where battles are handled.
Total War games are basically a turn-based strategic game welded together with a real-time tactical game, yes.

You can also play Total War purely as a turn-based strategic game simply by autoresolving all the battles. I've done that.
Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-01-30 12:35pm
Zixinus wrote:
2018-01-30 06:38am
RTS is not as popular genre as it once was. There are fewer RTS games than there once were.
This is the main thing, I think. PC gaming is less popular than it used to be, outside of MMORPG's. Unless you're playing on a team with someone, RTS games tend to be largely a solo affair, multiplayer being a bit of an afterthought and mostly consisting of 'ok i'll be on this side, you be on that side, let's go'... minimal social interaction. 4X/turn-based strategy games can be a different situation in multi, but that's even more niche. RTS games are kind of a hold-over from the pre-Internet gaming era, before it was a *given* that EVERY game would have Internet multiplayer. Like... I dunno, Command and Conquer, Emperor: Battle for Dune, Age of Empires, that kind of thing. Dawn of War kind of marks a general shift from the old standbys of 'mine resources, set up farms, build forces, attack' by simplifying the resource system to just taking certain points on the battlefield and holding them. I don't know if you even have to do that anymore with most current RTS games...

From my limited view of the market these days, gaming seems to be all about consoles and mobile lately. Neither really lend themselves very handily to RTS play, which tends to have a lot of right-clicking, keyboard shortcuts, and various selectable functions per unit. I can see a simplified version of RTS games working on mobile, hell there are already options for that kind of thing IIRC, but something more in depth beyond just 'click unit, tell it where to go, select attack' may be trickier. Granted even many PC RTS games aren't much more complicated.

I think part of the equation is accessibility as well. Unless a family is well off, they're not likely to have more than a couple of PC's or laptops, which have to be shared among the family members. Access may be granted depending on priority, for example a parent may monopolize a PC for the whole night if they have a work thing. Mobiles on the other hand aren't usually shared. Consoles are pretty much exclusively for playing on, so there's minimal competition for their use in the household; the parents usually have better things to do unless they're trying to spend time with their kids. The young adult market has also grown massively, I figure a pretty decent proportion of millennials are playing games as well.
What I think, then, is that more people need to try to reinvent the RTS genre for the current era. Like the multiplayer RTS idea I posted in the OP. It won't be a "traditional RTS", so it might piss off some older gamers, but I think (in my humble non-designer opinion) that it could be done, and done well.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by ray245 » 2018-01-30 06:19pm

RTS games aren't that big of a thing in part due to resources being concentrated on Console-capable games. RTS as a genre is still reliant on a mouse and keyboard.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-30 06:20pm

ray245 wrote:
2018-01-30 06:19pm
RTS games aren't that big of a thing in part due to resources being concentrated on Console-capable games. RTS as a genre is still reliant on a mouse and keyboard.
Well, that's the thing- I may just be displaying my relative ignorance of computers and gaming, but I don't know why you couldn't make a good console RTS. I smell a largely untapped market.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by GuppyShark » 2018-01-30 06:30pm

Halo Wars reviewed well, if I remember rightly.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-01-30 06:41pm

Star Wars as a RTS has several interesting possibilities, because the films tend to center around war and you can have different types of strategy in-place. You can wary between various scales, from low-number conflicts to planetary conquest.

However, personally I would like Raven software (or the designers) to continue Jedi Academy. It was a game where you most felt like a Jedi (the Force Unleashed actually feels LESS like so) and was very unique.
Well, that's the thing- I may just be displaying my relative ignorance of computers and gaming, but I don't know why you couldn't make a good console RTS. I smell a largely untapped market.
To start, you need to make RTS work with controllers. This is not a trivial problem it sounds. You can develop several games until you figure out how to do that. That was a big problem in the past because controllers were essentially used as joystick-mice, which was painful to use.

There have been several attempts at hybrids. Brütal Legend and Viking: Battle for Asgard comes to mind, which were awkward mix of TPS and RTS. They did sort-of center around simplified strategy though, or outright tower-protection.

But the bigger problem is simply creating a market and convincing console players that they'd enjoy RTS games. It's a chicken-or-egg problem that can only be solved by taking a big risk of throwing a game out there. Which is already difficult to justify when the "home" realm of PC market seems to be tapped out.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-30 06:59pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-01-30 06:41pm
Star Wars as a RTS has several interesting possibilities, because the films tend to center around war and you can have different types of strategy in-place. You can wary between various scales, from low-number conflicts to planetary conquest.
Indeed.

One of the opportunities I think Empire at War missed, incidentally, was the chance to create different factions with highly different styles of play. There was some variation between the Rebellion and the Empire in the game, but not enough. Both had the same basic categories of units, and both followed the same basic strategy- island hopping from one star system to another via winning conventional battles, until one side had all the planets.

I'd have perhaps taken the riskier and more challenging but ultimately more interesting route: have the Rebels play more like an insurgency. Hit and runs, assassinations, sabotage, diplomatic wrangling to incite planetary uprisings. Which the Empire would have to counter through more conventional means of overwhelming numbers and firepower.
However, personally I would like Raven software (or the designers) to continue Jedi Academy. It was a game where you most felt like a Jedi (the Force Unleashed actually feels LESS like so) and was very unique.
I've never played Jedi Academy, but I enjoyed the "being a Jedi" stuff in KotOR, and wish there'd been more of it.
To start, you need to make RTS work with controllers. This is not a trivial problem it sounds. You can develop several games until you figure out how to do that. That was a big problem in the past because controllers were essentially used as joystick-mice, which was painful to use.

There have been several attempts at hybrids. Brütal Legend and Viking: Battle for Asgard comes to mind, which were awkward mix of TPS and RTS. They did sort-of center around simplified strategy though, or outright tower-protection.

But the bigger problem is simply creating a market and convincing console players that they'd enjoy RTS games. It's a chicken-or-egg problem that can only be solved by taking a big risk of throwing a game out there. Which is already difficult to justify when the "home" realm of PC market seems to be tapped out.
Too many people playing it safe, I guess. But someday, someone might just make a lot of money by taking that risk, and pulling it off. I can only hope.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by eMeM » 2018-01-31 05:28am

RUSE was a successful and well recieved console RTS, although it clearly showed the limitations of the medium. RUSE's developer, Eugen Systems, went on to create PC-exclusive Wargame series and more recently Steel Division, and those were much more detailed, complicated and demanding, but orders of magnitude less popular.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-01-30 06:59pm
Too many people playing it safe, I guess. But someday, someone might just make a lot of money by taking that risk, and pulling it off. I can only hope.
A Star Wars game will not be taking any risks, not with EA holding the license. Which is bizarre, considering that every Star Wars game will sell, no matter what (9 million BF2 copies sold despite the unprecedented backlash), so the license should be THE opportunity for taking risks, but as EA demonstrates again and again, with lootboxes in BF2, cancelling Visceral Games title because it was single player so harder to put lootboxes in, rejecting a space sim game because those don't have audience big enough (meanwhile Elitre Dangerous, Star Citizen...), simply making money isn't enough, they have to make ALL THE MONEY.

The situtaion we have right now is fucking ludicrous. It's been what, five years since EA acquired the license? In five years one of the largest publishers in the world, with countless internal studios and more or less unlimited budget, with outside developers coming to them with their proposals, we got a grand total of 2 (two, t-w-o) games, both of them poorly recieved shooters and there is no game in sight at the moment. With the cancellation of Visceral's project it looks like the next Star Wars game will be Battlefront 3, rushed and unfinished to release with the last sequel movie as is tradition...

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Vendetta » 2018-01-31 06:46am

ray245 wrote:
2018-01-30 06:19pm
RTS games aren't that big of a thing in part due to resources being concentrated on Console-capable games. RTS as a genre is still reliant on a mouse and keyboard.
Not actually true.

The decline of RTS games have basically nothing to do with consoles and everything to do with the rise of the MOBA genre. League and DotA ate the RTS genre's lunch by presenting functionally the same set of constraints and decisions (the capabilities of your selected force, what the enemy can do, territory control via lane advancement, and scouting to find out what they are doing due to map design and fog of war) but in a far more accessible format because of the concentration on a single hero instead of managing a whole army and economy. Also because free to play games also synergise well with the way the asian market does PC games in PC Bangs where it's your account that matters not your purchased and installed copy of the game so everything is transferrable.

If everyone (including EA) hadn't gotten bored of trying and failing to get a slice of the League/DotA money already, you can bet EA would be pimping their Star Wars MOBA as the next big thing.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-01-31 09:36am

I'd have perhaps taken the riskier and more challenging but ultimately more interesting route: have the Rebels play more like an insurgency. Hit and runs, assassinations, sabotage, diplomatic wrangling to incite planetary uprisings. Which the Empire would have to counter through more conventional means of overwhelming numbers and firepower.
Yes and they could have made a tie-in with Rouge One, which was basically this. Asymmetrical, intelligence warfare. I'm sure there is a good, non-SW version of that somewhere.
I've never played Jedi Academy, but I enjoyed the "being a Jedi" stuff in KotOR, and wish there'd been more of it.
You should, if you like FPS. Jedi Academy managed to do well (mostly) in terms of combat mechanics: if you ever wanted to battle stormtroopers, this is the game. A lightsabre felt like a lightsabre, being able to cut things severely and even leave melting marks. The powers felt more your own. You had conventional FPS games with lots of guns, but for the most part it was easier and best to play while wielding a lightsabre. Be warned that the mechanics are not refined to perfection, especially the lightsabre-to-lightsabre combat, but it played uniquely and in many ways better than Force Unleashed (where the lightsabre felt like just a glowing stick, even the Lego games felt better than that).

I highly recommend Jedi Outcast as a predecessor too. It should have a demo floating around somewhere.
Too many people playing it safe, I guess.
As pointed out, EA is a notoriously a no-risk company. Which it has been for years and a bane on good gaming for over a decade (if not decades).
But someday, someone might just make a lot of money by taking that risk, and pulling it off.
EA would have to expire the licesce. There is no way they would ever allow anything even remotely experimental.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-01-31 10:58am

eMeM wrote:
2018-01-31 05:28am
(9 million BF2 copies sold despite the unprecedented backlash)
Problem is, they were aiming for 10 - 12 million sales. Thus, they are disappointed with "only" 9 million.
eMeM wrote:
2018-01-31 05:28am
RUSE was a successful and well recieved console RTS, although it clearly showed the limitations of the medium.
How well received was RUSE on PC ?

The only RTS I can recall being well received on consoles and PC was Tooth and Tail. Which worked because it really changed how players control their forces.
Zixinus wrote:
2018-01-31 09:36am
EA would have to expire the licesce. There is no way they would ever allow anything even remotely experimental.
This is the problem.

Even when they don't need much experimentation. They just need to license the code for a well regarded RTS, reskin it to Star Wars, then market it. It will sell.

The only hope I see for a decent variety of SW games is for Disney to not renew EA's exclusive license when it expires.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Zixinus » 2018-01-31 11:43am

bilateralrope wrote:
2018-01-31 10:58am
eMeM wrote:
2018-01-31 05:28am
(9 million BF2 copies sold despite the unprecedented backlash)
Problem is, they were aiming for 10 - 12 million sales. Thus, they are disappointed with "only" 9 million.
Did they profit off the game in the end though?
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by eMeM » 2018-01-31 07:27pm

It would be the worst project management in the history of video games... in the history of everything if selling 9 million (actually it seems like it was a bit over 7 million with the target being 8 million) copies didn't turn profit. But as I said, profit is not enough, it has to be all the profit.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by bilateralrope » 2018-01-31 07:47pm

Zixinus wrote:
2018-01-31 11:43am
bilateralrope wrote:
2018-01-31 10:58am
eMeM wrote:
2018-01-31 05:28am
(9 million BF2 copies sold despite the unprecedented backlash)
Problem is, they were aiming for 10 - 12 million sales. Thus, they are disappointed with "only" 9 million.
Did they profit off the game in the end though?
I don't know. All I know is that EA are planning to turn microtransactions back on in BF2 soon, with no detail on what form they will take. Probably cosmetic lootboxes.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-01-31 08:58pm

Adding: "Buy the Star Wars gaming license off of EA" to the list of things to do if I ever become a billionaire.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by GuppyShark » 2018-02-01 04:10am

eMeM wrote:
2018-01-31 07:27pm
It would be the worst project management in the history of video games... in the history of everything if selling 9 million (actually it seems like it was a bit over 7 million with the target being 8 million) copies didn't turn profit. But as I said, profit is not enough, it has to be all the profit.
You need 10 million copies sold in order to feel pride and satisfaction.

It's a return on investment thing - just making a profit isn't enough, you're spending a lot of money on these games, you need to make more profit than if the investors hadn't just sunk it into a mining company or something.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-02-03 11:46pm

eMeM wrote:
2018-01-31 07:27pm
It would be the worst project management in the history of video games... in the history of everything if selling 9 million (actually it seems like it was a bit over 7 million with the target being 8 million) copies didn't turn profit. But as I said, profit is not enough, it has to be all the profit.
The top AAA video games how now cost as much a 500 million dollars to develop and market, and if we assumed that the (shrinking) the vendor's cuts are cancelled out by people buying versions of the games that cost over 60 dollars, you would need to sell 8.3 million copies to break even. Also the flip side of the exclusive deal EA has with Disney is that Disney takes a very large but unknown slice of all revenue, not profits. So while I doubt this was a 500 million dollar game because it only took two years instead of three, and I'm sure it was profitable, the return on investment may not look too good either. 8 million sales probably really is needed for a significant profit.

The costs of AAA are staggering now, and the end result is only around 25 studios are left trying in the whole world. Not long ago the number was around five times higher.
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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by eMeM » 2018-02-04 06:39am

500 million, I doubt that. The most expensive games that we know of were CoD:MW2 and GTA V, with ~250 million budget (in case of CoD 200 million for marketing, 50 for actual game :| ), and if it was even close to that I'm sure the poor starving CEOs of EA would disclose it precisely to reap some symphaty points.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by CetaMan » 2018-02-06 12:37am

As an EaW Modder who works with people on some high-profile mods I would like to say you can actually work it into a decent modern RTS game. A few upgrades to the engine and some optimization to make it less spaghetti-code and you could easily do an EAW 2.

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Re: Why no new Star Wars RTS game? And what would you like to see?

Post by eMeM » 2018-02-06 07:59am

CetaMan wrote:
2018-02-06 12:37am
As an EaW Modder who works with people on some high-profile mods I would like to say you can actually work it into a decent modern RTS game. A few upgrades to the engine and some optimization to make it less spaghetti-code and you could easily do an EAW 2.
Could you recommend some mods improving the gameplay?

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