Posted on 10 Mar 2016 by Stephen Haselden

An Unlikely Inspiration

Wargaming are a big company who’ve made a lot of money on their freemium third person simulations so it came as a real shock when they took on an utterly alien project to their usual games and bought the rights to Master of Orion. Wargaming then declared that they would remake the classic in modern form, something no one else has accomplished in the last twenty years!

Master of Orion is THE 4X game (Expand Explore Exploit Exterminate) that all other 4X games are referenced too, but Wargaming did not flinch, they declared their passion for strategy and proceeded to throw money at the project.

Now after two short years and a lo tof funding, Wargaming are on the final leg of production – balancing their game and hunting down the last few bugs while simultaneously promoting their product on Steam Early Access.

With just over a week since they made their game public, feedback for the game has started to become clear; there are some complaints over features like starlanes, real time combat, and the AI. The last one is not unusual, as there is not a single 4X game in existence which hasn’t had complaints over its AI, but starlanes and real time combat are both deviations from the original Master of Orion design so they are causing some aggravation amongst MoO purists. On the whole however people have been enjoying Wargaming’s new title with most players are accepting the various “modernisations” they’ve made to the original MoO.

But did they just copy Master of Orion?

Below are some screenshots from the new Master of Orion, mixed up with screenshots from another 4X game that is not the original MoO – StarDrive 2:

System View from StarDrive 2.
System View from Master of Orion.
Another System View from StarDrive 2.

It’s kind of hard to tell the difference unless you know the games well. Here are some planetary management views:

StarDrive 2.
Master of Orion.

And some galaxy views..

StarDrive 2.
Master of Orion.

And finally some scenes from the battle screens…


As you can see it’s kind of hard to tell which is which, the other 4X game that looks so similar to MoO is of course StarDrive 2. Even the monsters look nearly the same!

StarDrive 2 is a one man indie title released in April last year. Daniel DiCicco is the programming guru who’s accomplished on his own what it’s taken a whole team from Wargaming to match. Actually that’s not quite true the new Master of Orion does have many features that StarDrive 2 cannot match, such as; hollywood voice actors, and the names and IP of the original game, however on the flip side, SD2 still sports turn based ground combat and the best ship design features seen in any 4X game.

Apart from looking very similar, both games were designed to be close to the original Master of Orion, both games include deep ship design, combat mechanics and real time battles. This similarity is the most surprising because the Battle Arena in StarDrive 2 is not something seen in the original MoO and is not even seen in any other 4X.

To say this is all just a coincidence would be taking things too far. In my opinion this leads to only one conclusion; that the dev team at Wargaming saw StarDrive 2 as a viable parallel for their game and have copied parts of it as closely as they have copied MoO.

Zero also modelled StarDrive 2 closely on the original MoO but wanted to modernize it at the same time. Maybe Wargaming thought this areas of “modernisation” have encompassed all the areas they wanted improve too because apart from the voice acting there doesn’t seem to be much else that is unique to MoO that isn’t seen in SD2. At least not yet.

When asked to comment about how close the new MoO looks to SD2, Daniel said: “It looks wonderful.” Well I guess you can’t improve on perfection (or at least being really close).

StarDrive 2 just released its second DLC called “Sector Zero”.

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