AAfter several years of high-profile teasers and investments, this month’s Summer Game Fest gave fans their first look at stormgate: A free-to-play real-time strategy (RTS) game from Frost Giant Studios. Much stormgateThe details of, including a wild, futuristic future filled with robots and demons, are eye-popping, but the real promise lies in the impressive history of Frost Giant Studios – some of the biggest developers of Blizzard Entertainment’s mega-hit real-time strategy game. star craft 2 have come together under one roof to bring Stormgate to life.

Leading this zerg avalanche of ex-Blizzard developers is Frost Giant CEO and co-founder Tim Morten, who was the director of production for star craft 2. speaking to NMEMorten says that while the Frost Giant team “strongly believes that the best days of the RTS genre are yet to come,” they know that Blizzard’s formula, games that balance large-scale macro decisions with smaller micromanagement, is “timeless.”

you are watching: Frost Giant Studios CEO Tim Morten on ‘Stormgate’: “The best days of the RTS genre are yet to come”

“Fans of the genre will attest that there is nothing like it in gaming,” says Morten, who described stormgate as “an evolution of Blizzard’s real-time strategy games” in 2021. This is a design approach that Morten attributes in part to the game’s SnowPlay engine, which he says will offer “best-in-class pathfinding for hundreds of of units”, but there are no bigger changes for the genre in the works.

storm door. Credit: Frost Giant Studios.

“We also see opportunities for innovation in making RTS more social and more accessible. Real-time strategy games have largely been solitary experiences: You typically explore the story on your own or go into 1v1 competition against an opponent,” which, according to Morten, “can be a challenging experience. stressful and negative; Make someone stop wanting to play the game ever again!”

Morten adds that “team games and cooperative modes like star craft 2The popular Commanders co-op mode has addressed that to some extent,” but Frost Giant believes “there’s a lot more room for evolution” in that department.

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“On the one hand, we’re looking at ways to make our story missions playable both solo and cooperatively. We are also very excited about our three player open mode against AI. This mode will feature a variety of playable lead characters, meta progression, and ways for players to customize their armies and discover powerful synergies to take on even more challenging AI opponents. […] We’re also working to lower the skill level of our game by providing easier ways to perform certain actions, like building our equivalent of a barracks.”

On the subject of doing stormgate Easier to learn, Morten compares the approach of manual cars to automatic ones: “The automatic is simpler, requires less attention from the driver, and works well for most people. The manual transmission gives you more control and increased performance, which is optimal for competitive drivers looking to squeeze every ounce of performance. Likewise, we’ll have simpler ways to perform certain commands, but you can also do things the old-fashioned way if that leads to a more precise or optimal result.”

storm door. Credit: Frost Giant Games.storm door. Credit: Frost Giant Games.

Making Stormgate more accessible not only shakes the reputation of hilly learning curves that games like star craft 2 have: Morten says it addresses why real-time strategy games haven’t kept up with the public popularity of games like Fortnite Y League of Legends.

“There was never a real decrease [in RTS player numbers], there was only a massive increase in the popularity of other genres. What the genre has been missing, compared to FPS, MOBA and Battle Royale [genres], is a modern free-to-play game with strong social features that can reach an even larger community. We believe that stormgate can be that game, which can break down the barriers that have kept some players from discovering the fun of RTS, and bring the RTS genre back into the spotlight where we think it belongs.”

Despite star craft 2 may have been the greatest inspiration for stormgateMorten reveals that in terms of setting, which he sums up as “epic conflicts with cool robots fighting space demons”, Frost Giant has benefited from a much broader pool of influences for the game’s setting.

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“We play pretty much every RTS out there and also take inspiration from other genres and gaming mediums. When we thought about the setting for our game, we explored all sorts of ideas, from superheroes to westerns to sci-fi to fantasy. We were particularly inspired by what the Marvel Cinematic Universe was able to create: that world supports all kinds of stories and characters, so we created a world of science and fantasy where our designers and writers can have the creative freedom to explore all kinds of unit designs. and stories without feeling constrained.”

storm door. Credit: Frost Giant Games.storm door. Credit: Frost Giant Games.

Morten adds that for many of the Frost Giant developers, stormgate it is your first opportunity to “clean the slate” with a new IP. “We are honored to work on wonderful worlds and game universes like Star boatKoprulu sector of ‘sy warcraftit’s Azeroth, but now we’re building something from scratch and exploring ideas that we never got to do in those previous games. That is really exciting!”

Morten and the team at Frost Giant aren’t the only people excited about stormgate. The studio has already raised £18.4m in funding, with giants like Riot Games (the developer behind League of Legends Y valorant) Y PUBG publisher Kakao Games contributes. Morten says these investors believe stormgate it can “attract new players to the RTS genre,” and on an appropriate note, he explains.

“For many of us, it’s more than the fun of playing RTS that drew us to this genre, it’s also the community. Many of the Frost Giant team came from the real-time strategy gaming community before becoming developers, either as modders or as part of the esports scene. Many of us have been connected to the professional gamers, broadcasters, esports organizers, and gamers in the RTS community for over a decade, some for our entire professional careers, and we’re here to do something for them to enjoy that could bring even more value to their lives. more of us together for years to come.”

stormgate is scheduled to begin testing in 2023, and registrations are available here.


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