I recently had the opportunity to speak with Malte Lebahn at Stardock, and being featured in a new series from the company about the greater strategy games genre called Strategy Visions. Basically, the series is about why people love strategy games, and how the genre might grow. Their first video is about why people love space strategy games, and is well worth watching. The video I was featured in was about the visions that Brad and I have about how strategy games can allow players to feel more immersed in worlds that feel alive, something that other genres tend to do much better in general.
Our conversation ranged from what brought me into RTS gaming, to the current pitfalls and future direction of the genre. Seeing the final product, I’m thrilled at how the video turned out, and I hope that I acquitted myself well when speaking on the topic.
Being featured alongside Stardock’s Brad Wardell (a man who has spent his entire career making, writing about, and publishing beloved strategy game franchises) was unexpected and kind of an honor: their first video featured acclaimed strategy designer Soren Johnson, noted RTS commentator GeneralsGentlemen (who is now a senior designer working on Ashes of the Singularity), and Paul Boyer, the lead designer for Galactic Civilizations 3. That my words and thoughts would be sought out alongside theirs is unexpected, to say the least.
In the video, Brad focuses on the larger strategy picture: managing people, seeing the rippling consequences of one’s actions in a larger interconnected system that feels like a real world or a real universe. During the interview with Malte, I was focused mainly on competitive-style strategy games: how to make the play spaces feel more engaging, and in narrative, the benefits of having the player feel like they aren’t the only thing in a narrow, artificial construct designed for narrow and artificial ends. My inspiration came partially from the Homeworld series, and how in that, though the settings are bare (either deep space, or open desert) they manage to convey gravitas and a sense that your fleets actually exist in a real and living universe apart from what is strictly necessary for combat to occur.
I deeply appreciate Stardock taking the time to speak with me on this topic, and I really hope that I carried myself well in addressing it.
Thank you for your time, and I’ll see you on the battlefield.