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Sorcerer King about to go gold

imageIn the next few days, Sorcerer King will go gold.  That term means a lot less in the digital era since it’s just the moment that it’s 1.0 and we’re ready to say “this game is worthy of being purchased for the posted price.”

I’m both excited and nervous about reviews.  In the past, our games were designed with “drive by” reviews in mind.  That is, they were fairly straight forward in what they’re about.  Sorcerer King, however, is not.  It doesn’t fit nicely into a genre whole.  On the good side, the game is immediately fun to play.

Sorcerer King is NOT a 4X fantasy strategy game along the lines of Fallen Enchantress, Endless Legend, Age of Wonders, etc.. The best way I can come up with is that it’s a 4X RPG.  You’re building an empire but the empire is your character.  It has 4X elements but it has more RPG elements than traditional strategy elements.  The best way I can describe it is that it’s fantasy Star Control which is a cop-out. 

Sorcerer King’s goal: Blend Star Control and Master of Magic

What I wanted to do with Sorcerer King is blend Master of Magic and Star Control together.  No easy task which is why it’s taken us 2 years to make this game because the two games contradict each other.  Star Control 2 is designed to be played once.  Master of Magic is designed to be played over and over.  That contradiction is where most of our design time has been spent (as well as a goodly chunk of the game’s budget). 

There is more content in this game than our last 3 games put together. And yet, most people won’t ever see half of it unless they play for a very long time.  That’s because how do you make an EMPIRE RPG (if there’s such a genre) highly replayable unless every game plays out differently?

While I love Galactic Civilizations III, I think Sorcerer King might be the funnest game Stardock has ever made.  It’s the first game we’ve made in some years where I go back to playing it to make little tiny tweaks over and over.  “I’m just testing it of course”.

Hunting season on game developers

imageWindows 10 comes out this month.  It’s a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users.  I am very hopeful that people will take advantage of this because DirectX 12 matters a lot.  It will represent a revolutionary jump in game visual fidelity once it gets fully used.

That said, the game industry has gotten a lot less fun to work in this past year. Not a day goes by where some idiot is attacking me, personally, online over things that I never said or did (or, at best, they torture the context so much that they might as well have simply made up their allegation whole cloth). 

It’s not just me, of course.  It’s become a virtual plague for developers as everything we make or post is scrutinized as if we were running for public office.  That’s not what we signed up for.  We just want to make cool games and release them, not worry that the outrage brigade is going to be calling our offices demanding we be fired because they don’t like the “subliminal, ableist, misogynist message in our game”.

At least I’m able to respond to this publicly as I am not answerable to anyone other than our customers who, by and large, like what we do.  But most developers do not have the luxury and they’re getting pretty fed up as they weigh their “fight or flight” instincts.

Tolerance for other points of view is a win-win for civilization

I like people. Someone disagreeing with some view I have doesn’t affect my opinion of them.  I can read someone’s book, watch someone’s movie and be friends even if we disagree on politics.   My concern is that it is becoming increasingly common for people to celebrate their intolerance rather than trying to overcome it.

Unlike the movie industry, the game industry doesn’t generally inject its politics into its creations.  My only agenda in my creations is for people to have fun. There’s no underlying message, subliminal or otherwise.  I have no passion for causes or politics. My passion is to make cool stuff.

I can’t predict where things will go.   I just know that something that can’t go on forever won’t.

What’s next

Stardock has a very busy year coming up.  Sorcerer King is this month.  Servo is this Fall. Ashes of the Singularity is this Winter. Offworld Trading Company is early next year. And between all that there are new games to announce, new expansions, DLC, etc.  And Star Control should be ready to be announced this Winter. We have a fun time making these games and we really enjoy interacting with our player bases.  We have less fun receiving emails, messages, and wishes for us to kill ourselves.   


Comments
on Jul 11, 2015

I agree; it's the best game you've made since GalCiv2 and honestly, with some added factions and more of everything (quests, items, etc), and varying Sorcerer King forms, I think it will be the best game you've ever made, period.

 

Its systems work so well together that you can't help but play over and over again. Every decision matters and tactical combat feels weighty enough while being fast and fun that I *want* to fight every fight. 

 

Well done, guys! Can't wait to see more of it!

on Jul 11, 2015

What with FE LH 2.0 ? Any new dlc or expansion?

on Jul 11, 2015

It's sucks you have people calling you and complaining.  I think its a fun and unique game, and it plays like the way you have explained time and time again.  Keep up the good work.  You guys make good games and I enjoy them. 

on Jul 12, 2015

Regarding reviews/coverage, I can suggest:

  • TotalBiscuit (big SoaSE fan exspecially with mods)
  • Jesse Cox
  • Angry Joe
  • Quill18
  • Tech Raptor
  • Niche Gamer

These all have, or have recently gained a lot of traction amongst a segment of the PC gaming userbase and mostly have a moderate to high investment in the 4x-RPG style games.  As you know, many of us don't give a flying fudge about "traditional" press anymore.  They still hold some sway, but for this genre blend?  I doubt they'll have the impact youtubers would have.

Really looking forward to playing it, and seeing how different it is from FE.

on Jul 12, 2015

I really like Sorcerer King. I would agree that it feels like the best game you've made since Galciv 2 (I'm still waiting on Galciv 3 to ripen a bit). Any plans on adding steam workshop?

on Jul 12, 2015

I'll say it's the best game you made period.   It made me abandon GalCiv3 despite that being good.  Hoping for more content down the road.

 

Sucks you have to deal with the BS, but that's part of being a celebrity- and popular game devs are celebrities now, whether they like it or not.

 

At least you don't have to be someone else like many other devs who work for publishers.   I know the BS has gotten so bad these days that I've largely retreated into a close personal shell when it comes to my online persona- at least in terms of anything that can be attributed to my real name.


That said I'm not as optimistic as you are, I believe this can go on forever, and it will.  

 

on Jul 12, 2015

wow, so many good words. thats good. but game is nowhere near gold, unfortunately compared to FE:LH it has impproved content, but also some regress in other areas, and that what makes game less enjoyable. for now i would give it 7/10

on Jul 12, 2015

Omatkoicorko

wow, so many good words. thats good. but game is nowhere near gold, unfortunately compared to FE:LH it has impproved content, but also some regress in other areas, and that what makes game less enjoyable. for now i would give it 7/10

I guess it goes to show that no matter how solid/mature a release candidate is, there is always "that guy".  Just gentle teasing, my friend.  

on Jul 12, 2015

SK is my favourite game, of this type. I would easily give it a 9/10 and once a few bugs are fixed it could get to 9.5/10. It has that one-more-turn factor, in spades. Every game plays out differently. Each "hero" can alter the game style. 

 

Not that it can't be improved. For example,

- I have never found any use for changing landscape

- placing roads is another redundant spell

- I never harvest mountains or forests

 

I love the hypnotism spell, I will attack a reasonable foe and try to poach one of their better units. The destroyers (mounted rogues) or Elite Bandit Archers are great units to add to your own army.

 

Only major gripe is that in my most recent game I have had the enemy leave the battle field before the battle was finished. The enemy left even though they appeared to be almost as strong as I was. And most annoyingly the enemy left during the final battle. What an anti-climax. There I am round two fighting the SK and all of a sudden, I have won.

on Jul 12, 2015

BTW I do find a use for raise/lower land on rare occasions on insane, where you need to avoid some fights for a good while.

 

on Jul 13, 2015

Frogboy


Quoting Omatkoicorko,

wow, so many good words. thats good. but game is nowhere near gold, unfortunately compared to FE:LH it has impproved content, but also some regress in other areas, and that what makes game less enjoyable. for now i would give it 7/10



I guess it goes to show that no matter how solid/mature a release candidate is, there is always "that guy".  Just gentle teasing, my friend.  

nope, it shows that there is always a room to improve, and always you can find who can see more than others. simply, i am not in love with game like you... i like it, but it need more improvement than you think.

on Jul 13, 2015

Omatkoicorko


Quoting Frogboy,






Quoting Omatkoicorko,



wow, so many good words. thats good. but game is nowhere near gold, unfortunately compared to FE:LH it has impproved content, but also some regress in other areas, and that what makes game less enjoyable. for now i would give it 7/10



I guess it goes to show that no matter how solid/mature a release candidate is, there is always "that guy".  Just gentle teasing, my friend.  

nope, it shows that there is always a room to improve, and always you can find who can see more than others. simply, i am not in love with game like you... i like it, but it need more improvement than you think.

 

In *your* opinion, maybe, but I think it's the best 1.0 game they've made in a long, long time. Maybe ever.

 

It's neck and neck with my prior favorite modern 4X, Endless Legend. I have almost played it as much as I have played EL already. With more content and maybe more sovereigns and stuff, it may become my most played game ever.

 

 

on Jul 13, 2015

I’ve been staying away from the recent betas since it was so close to release. I figure I would wait until launch before I hopped back in.

Last night I broke down and decided check things out for a few minutes.  That turned into 6 hours.  It was just too fun to stop playing.  

on Jul 14, 2015

I've purposefully stayed out of SK's early access, because I wanted to only get the "complete" experience. I'm very excited for the imminent release, Stardock can expect some $$ from me

 

on Sep 16, 2015

It's a very good 1.0 release. I think it was an excellent idea to use the basic FE:LH setup and mechanics as a basis for a new fun game. There are a few irritating bugs, but I think that's just the way the industry is these days. All the bugs I can think of should be easy to fix, they're to do with errors in how a particular spell is coded rather than gaping holes in the mechanics or the AI. I look forward to them being fixed by 1.3, and maybe fleshing out some underdeveloped parts of the game in 1.3 or 1.4.

The 1.0 AI is leaps and bounds ahead of where the FE AI was on release. From memory it was only by about 1.6 of FE:LH that the AI wasn't downright stupid. The AI in SK is not perfect, but it needs minor tweaks rather than a complete rewrite.

I'm glad you're emphasising the 4X and roleplaying side of things, as that is what makes the game unusual and fun. Having the roleplaying element in a 4X is very unusual; the only comparison I'm aware of was the first King Arthur game. I would personally continue to develop the roleplaying side of things, as while the 4X side could be polished I think it's more or less adequate. It's the roleplaying side in a 4X game which is unusual and which I think you can emphasis as the Unique Selling Point.

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