AI War 2 Early Access Release and Why Arcen Are a Model Indie Dev

Posted on 18 Oct 2018 by
Stephen Haselden

It is my pleasure to belatedly announce AI War 2’s Early Access Release. AI War 2 was on Steam Early Access, on Monday this week. The slight advantage to a late announcement is that I get to tell you about the players and the developers’ initial reactions. Less than 48 hours after AI War 2 became available on Steam, and there are already 48 positive reviews for the game. This isn’t a huge amount of reviews certainly, and most of these reviews belong to Arcens (well deserved) pre-existing fan base. However, this is still a healthy number of reviews, especially for something on Early Access which, naturally, will keep many gamers away (as it’s not a full release). Despite the fact that most of these reviews will be from fanboys, the 100% approval rating for an EA release, shows that Arcen are not slacking with their from their usual standards (you can trust these guys to deliver a quality, fun, and unique product).

Early Access is still Early Access, and Arcen are using this service exactly as intended – By this I mean; they have given their customers a working and fun product, but one that is still incomplete. Within a day of release, Arcen released a further update to the game, with extra content and various bug fixes and tweaks, and with an apology for the less than full list of additional content. This is typical Arcen deprecation, they get hit with the same problems as other devs: feature creep, bugs etc.. which lead to inevitable delays, but they handle these problems speedily and with humility and always give you more game than they initially promised. Case in point: Many planned features for AI War 2 EA release have been pushed back slightly, but this was due to Arcen adding an entire extra faction to the game, based on the work of one of their fans!

I am gushing somewhat, and I’ve not actually told you a thing about AI war 2. But, with the constant deluge of shitty AAA (and some indie) Dev behaviour, a company like Arcen seems like one worth gushing over. But now, to the game….

AI War 2 is the sequel to the acclaimed AI war series, Arcen’s flagship title. AI War is a space-based RTS that broke the mould, by making the AI impossible to beat in a head-on fight. In practical terms, this means you are pitted against a vastly superior force, who are not only faster more numerous and more powerful than you but have a very smart AI too. The only chance you have is to remain as innocuous as possible and try not draw the attention of your enemy as you gradually build your forces, you are aided by the fact that the AI has other enemies to deal with, but they won’t keep the AI occupied forever so you have to work smart and work fast and strike at the optimum moment.

AI War 2 is designed on the same premise as the first AI War. Notable differences include more factions and customisation, greater mobility and stability, multithreading technology for better performance, 3d instead of 2d units, revamped UI and additional controls, more polished gameplay and mechanics, spoken dialogue from 25 different voice actors, new musical score, and more XML documents to allow for a ‘crazy’ amount of modding.

As you might have guessed, AI War 2 has got my attention, so I’ll be breaking down its gameplay and general condition further for your benefit, in a PJ Preview coming soon.

Official Press Release


Sequel to space strategy cult classic arrives at long last

October 15th, 2018 — Arcen Games is excited to announce AI War 2 is out today in Early Access for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms!

AI War 2 is a grand strategy RTS hybrid against an overwhelming, inhuman enemy who has conquered the galaxy. The enemy has made only a single error: underestimating you. You must steal as much technology as you can, take enough territory to fortify your bases and launch your attacks. But every conquest you make turns the attention of the AI ever more in your direction… so choose your targets with care.

AI War 2 is the epic sequel to 2009’s space strategy hit, AI War: Fleet Command — critically acclaimed for its dastardly AI and totaling nearly 2 million units sold, with more than 650,000 base game sales and 1.15m expansion purchases made to date.

What’s New and What Are We Working On?

We still have a lot we want to add, and even more we want to polish, but the current version of AI War 2 is already vast:

  • Many optional factions, each with their own goals and strategy, creating a living galaxy.
  • Polished gameplay mechanics, representing everything learned from the original AI War: Fleet Command’s six expansions.
  • Redesigned UI, currently going through iterations.
  • Over 1700 lines of spoken dialogue from more than 25 actors, and more to come for the AI itself.
  • 1.5 hours of new music added to the 4.5 hour score included from the original AI War: Fleet Command.
  • A ton of map types, with a lot of sub-options to make them even more varied.
  • Crazy moddability, with many levers available in easily-accessible XML.
  • Multiplayer is temporarily disabled, but still being implemented.
  • Multithreading for modern performance, and a codebase that will not summon an elder god.

AI War 2 Early Access is now available for $19.99 with launch discounts on Steam and Humble Store, and coming soon to other PC shops.

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