I don’t post to this site much any more (something I’m hoping to do better with from here on out) but I had to break my long silence to share this with you all. Ashes of the Singularity is a new twist on the large-scale RTS formula, a beast quite different from other large-scale RTS such as Supreme Commander or Planetary Annihilation. Its focus is almost more tactical than economical, and it uses a Company of Heroes-style territory capture system that I found to be quite interesting. In my overview of the game, I mentioned that I find its quanta system, which is used for upgrades, increasing the player’s supply cap, and for launching superweapons. It’s a tactical, constrained, interesting resource in a game that’s all about massive scale and epic battles, and its use creates opportunity costs and hard choices, which are some of the most interesting decisions players can make in games of any genre.
Stardock has just announced the game’s first expansion, an expandalone title called Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation. Upon receiving an email from Stardock’s media department, I immediately contacted them for some clarification. Here are some of the salient points:
They’ve got a new intro site up here.
Current owners will be able to get it for $15USD, while new owners can get in on the action for $40USD
They’re increasing the player cap and map size up to 8v8.
They’ve unveiled a strategic view, seemingly similar to what’s used in Deserts of Kharak and Act of Aggression, and possibly replacing the “super minimap” (I’m sure that wasn’t the official term) that the game launched with. Look at it, below. I’m already a fan – Even as someone who’s only played a few dozen hours of the game, I feel that this provides a lot of information about the larger-scale state of a battle.
Escalation will come with 2 new campaigns and a slew of challenge missions.
Both of the game’s factions will get new units and structures, including new air units for both factions (which will be very welcome for me, as someone who is a big fan of air superiority). Sadly there’s not a ton of specifics on this yet, though the Substrate are apparently getting an economic booster unit, which will just further cement them as my favorite of the game’s 2 current factions.
Full press release below:
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation increases map size, player count, unit types, adds strategic zoom and more
Next-Generation real-time strategy game gets bigger and better
Plymouth, MI. – August 24, 2016 – Stardock revealed Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation today. The stand-alone expansion includes everything from the base game while adding features and
content requested by players.
Escalation increases the player count per map from 8 to 16, doubles the size of the largest map type, introduces two new story-driven campaigns, adds strategic zoom to manage world-sized battles, includes many new units, supports upgradeable defensive structures and much more.
“Bigger, better, bolder – that’s what Escalation is,” said Brad Wardell, president and CEO of Stardock. “We listened carefully to the feedback the players gave us on the release, rolled up our sleeves, and have created what we hope is one of the most epic scale real-time strategy games ever.”
The original release of Ashes of the Singularity was praised for both its innovative game mechanics and as being the first game to support Microsoft’s DirectX 12, enabling the game to deliver high scale with high fidelity. With Escalation, Stardock and Oxide have focused on making the game support a much wider user base.
“With Escalation we’ve been able to use Oxide’s Nitrous engine to deliver stunning visuals while lowering the hardware requirements,” said Wardell. “Anyone running Windows 7 or later with a decent hardware setup who likes real-time strategy games becomes a potential player.”
The game, set in a post-technological singularity future, puts the player in the role of the commander of either the post-singularity humans or their AI opponents called The Substrate. That game supports map sizes ranging from small, arena-style all the way up to world spanning massive maps with up to 16 players.
All of the races from Ashes of the Singularity get new units and buildings in Escalation. For example, the PHC gains some new defensive structures, a strategic bomber, a gunship, new combat vehicles and more. Meanwhile, The Substrate gain defensive structures including an anti-air cannon, as well as
some new flying units and a unit that bolsters their economy, among others.
While Ashes of the Singularity has many strong multiplayer features, Stardock expects most people to play the game exclusively single-player. To that end, Escalation adds two new campaigns that provide players a host of new custom challenges in addition to the already excellent single player sandbox game.
Escalation will be available for pre-order on 8/25/16 and will release Fall 2016. At release, existing Ashes players can upgrade for $14.99 and new players can get Escalation for $39.99.