Ensemble Studios Takes a New Approach To RTS on 360 with Halo Wars

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With games like Lord of The Rings: Battle for Middle Earth 2 and Command and Conquer missing the mark for real time strategy games on consoles, Ensemble Studios decided to take a new look at the genre.  Knowing the restraints of the controller, Graeme Devine, lead designer of Halo Wars, explained a different approach to controlling units on 360.  In an interview with Gametap he explains the early development ideas that formed Halo Wars,

“When we started work on Halo Wars we started from scratch, we threw the mouse and keyboard paradigm away and rethought what it meant to control a real-time strategy game. I really think that’s one of the big differentiators with Halo Wars because it allows us to bring the depth to the controller while, in our opinion, improving how controllable we can make the genre.”

Another major part of real time strategy games is resource management.  Games like World in Conflict and Company of Heroes have broken away from the pack by making the game about exciting skirmishes and not digging for resources to build things.  Ensemble seems to be doing the same thing yet differently.  Devine discusses the design philosophy,

“We showed supply depots in the E3 video bringing supplies down from Spirit of Fire. But the key development model for Ensemble is to iterate, and while supplies are still in the game today, we’ve iterated hard on the resource model to find the right balance. I think we’re still working out the model to find that in the game.”

I am hoping that Halo Wars won’t disappoint in the arena of depth or excitement, yet from past experiences with console based rts games I don’t know if it will be succeed in either space.  Although, with the veteran design team at Ensemble and their resume of creating great games I feel a bit at ease with the project.  For more check out the full interview at Gametap.

[Via Gametap]

-Matthew “Webnet” Moore-

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