When it comes to strategy there really has only been three categories; real time, turn based and a sort of third person action. No one has really put these three together yet until now. In a few months time Battlefront will ship Drop Team, one of the most ambitious real time strategy games ever made which has the scope of Master of Orion, but the Micromanagement of a third person action game. We've been giving a very early build the once over and while the game is still a while off, it's hard not to be impressed by just how much you can do in this game. If this is done right it could be as revolutionary as a certain C&C game by Westwood.
Drop Team has a fairly cliche storyline and is a bit like 1984 where big brother is the government and controls almost every facet of life in the galaxy. This was harmonious until revolutionaries began to move to the outer reaches of space; places where the government does not want people to live. Outside the governments control they were freely able to build up their army to take the government on and win the galaxy back for the people. This is where you come in to fight these battles and defeat the government of the galaxy once and for all.
Drop Team is so unique it's hard to put into one genre. On the one hand you'll be performing tasks very similar to a game like Master of Orion, while on the other hand you will actually be controlling the units moving into battle. If micromanagement and complex gameplay is not your cup of tea, then this probably isn't the teabag you're going to want in a few months, but on the other hand most strategy fans will lick the cup clean. To give you an typical example of how the game is played at the start of the battle, the lines are drawn and you have a few minutes to position your troops and units before commencing. Once the battle begins you can switch control between units and move them, tell them to fire and generally have the most control you've ever seen in an RTS game.
Although the structure of the game isn't heavily present in the build we are currently playing we can see potential for an excellent campaign. Some tasks include taking over cities, defending locations or just obliterating opposing units. The units are dropped onto the map with dropships, hence the name, and it works in a way very similar to Ground Control 2, one of the better RTS games of 2004. What we can tell you though is that there are three layers to the game; commander, leader and infantry. The commander controls all the battles and this is a bit more representative of a traditional RTS game, the leader sends down units but doesn't have control over them while infantry actually gets in and lets you play with the units.
Another interesting facet of the game is the varied size of maps. They range from a 100km through to a whopping 900km battle surface which can lead to some truly lengthy and epic battles. The battlezone's also have varying weather which does affect visibility and how units move. You really have to think about where you go in the game because of the terrain. As is becoming popular in strategy games these days, where you go affects the vehicle. Harder terrain is slower to cross and can get you stuck in an ambush, so the quickest path may not be the most effective. Terrain includes jungles, ice, snow and desert, so unlike other strategy games you will encounter a lot of different surfaces for battles.
One area which some people may frown at is the visuals. However this is a game that really wants gameplay over graphics and it really shows. This has always been the policy of Battlefront, and you really have to ask yourself, would you prefer a high degree of advanced graphics or an insane amount of gameplay depth? In this genre, the latter is almost always the better. This is a game for strategy purists, not fly by night commanders. This is also shown by the engine being used. As you play it calculates many algorithms to determine the damage based on weapon, terrain, velocity etc.
Drop Team really is one of the most unique concepts we've seen for quite some time in the strategy genre. The amount of scope really is unmatched and over the next few weeks we'll be giving in depth assessment of how the game is coming along - the units, troops, background story and generally everything else - if it's in the game we'll cover it. We'll hopefully have an interview as well so, if you have any questions you'd like answered, email us!