Arcen Kickstart AI War 2, Will Anything Survive?

Posted on 18 Oct 2016 by
Stephen Haselden

Released in 2009, AI War Fleet Command was, and still is, a groundbreaking RTS. The first game from celebrated indie developer Arcen Games, AI War catapulted them into a career of innovation, instant cult classics, and extremely good after sales support. Seven years since their brilliant first title, and ten innovative games later (plus many exciting and non-stingy DLC’s), and Arcen Games are have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a sequel to their much loved original.

Al War is an asymmetric RTS/4X/Tower Defense: yes, this is typical for Arcen, they like to mix genres about as often as they like to make games. AI War places you in charge of the last remnants of mankind, caught in a struggle against a superior enemy of Artificially Intelligent beings. You will always be outgunned, the trick to surviving (let alone winning) will be to find the holes in your enemy’s tactics. Given a brief window of opportunity while the AI keeps itself busy in dealing with bigger threats. You need to be subtle and sneaky so as not to draw your foes attention. You cannot win a head-on war here. This huge imbalance of power, along with the differing technologies for each side, is what Arcen mean by an asymmetric RTS.

So what is AI War 2? Not a direct sequel, the most obvious difference between AI War and AI War 2, is the move from 2D to 3D. However, in a game that owes its success to its extraordinary gameplay, this is hardly the most important change. When deciding exactly how to remake AI War, Arcen opened the design document to their fan base. What developed was a game based on the same principles as AI War, but reworked completely in style and usability. AI War 2 takes all the controls and functions of the well developed original (which boasts six DLC packages and numerous extensive free upgrades), and makes them clearer and simpler to use. Beyond its ergonomics, AI War 2 has a number of exciting extras to look forward too, such as solar systems as battlefields, new research system, new races to play as, and a new AI that will surprise and decimate you, in new and inventive ways.

Launched last Tuesday, the AI War 2 Kickstarter campaign is off to strong start; raising a little over $50k of its $300k goal. Arcen Games have a proven history not only making in innovative and great games, but in managing multiple releases and following through with every project. I’ll admit, I haven’t enjoyed every one of their games, but I’ve always been impressed with what they’ve managed to produce.

AI War is wonderfully genre breaking, in many ways it resembles a 4X, with you commanding the expansion of colonies, research, construction and most importantly, strategy, all set in a massive, hostile, and mysterious galaxy. However once you start to play AI War, you realize that its differences to other games, run much deeper than simply what genre it is.

One of the most common experiences for people playing AI War is losing. Not just losing by a small margin, but getting MONUMENTALLY STOMPED by the enemy. This is because Arcen Games created AI War to be a paradigm shift set in huge galaxy and has been described as “playing chess without knowing the rules”.

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