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Question What happened to Real Time Strategy Games?

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Borealis7

Platinum Member
Oct 19, 2006
2,803
145
106
RTS games can be a thing on Xbox now that MS offeres KB+M for their console, just not many developers working on RTS these days in general.
it would be funny as hell if PC RTSs will be ported to Xbox, since we only see things happening the other way around.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,666
6,663
136
mobas took over
That's half the story. The other half of the story is that the biggest, best-selling RTS games of all time came from a studio that stopped making them (Blizzard). Yes, there were some other excellent or at least okay RTS games out there . . . but Blizzard was the king.

Among those who were left to play RTS games, many of them gravitated towards MOBAs since they simplified the entire process of playing in an RTS-like environment. No more managing empire build orders (now you just manage your hero), no more managing dozens of troops at once (now you just manage one, or maybe a half dozen or so if you have a summoner/mind control hero). MOBAs are infinitely more accessible. Plus games like LoL and DotA2 are essentially free. It's hard to compete with free, even for indie titles that only charge maybe $19.99 or similar for the title brand-new.

So basically the stupidity of mankind
That isn't very nice of you.

Also, I don't agree that it would take $10 million or more to make a competent RTS in this day and age. Kohan: Immortal Sovereigns probably didn't cost $10 million to make, and it was fantastic. A remake in simple 3D (which is today generally cheaper than 2D) would probably run a lot less assuming someone cloned all the good parts of Kohan.
 
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Roger Wilco

Golden Member
Mar 20, 2017
1,186
758
136
I still play Starcraft 2 almost daily. I imagine I'll be waiting a long time until something better comes along.

Xbox is finally getting mouse and keyboard support, so that could help create a larger market for the genre. However, I can see the horrible jaguar CPUs being a huge bottleneck for modern RTS games. If the PS5/XB2 have some solid zen cores, pretty much anything could run on that.
 

miss.geek

Junior Member
Jan 30, 2019
4
0
6
Seems like gamers are not interested currently. I mean, most of them are not interested. Unfortunately, developers are more money-oriented nowadays, only some of them really follow their fans interests. Others make products for public, kind of pop-games.
 

funkgab

Member
Dec 30, 2005
52
0
66
Blizzard seems to be doing the whole HD series, with Warcraft being next but I think starcraft is still lowkey alive and kicking, but the PC only market is kind of going away unfortunately last one I played was battlefleet gothic 2, and planetary annihilation, homeworld deserts before those two, but the audience is very niche everyone wants now now now, so moba's and or instant action games I'm guessing are whats in
 

Wall Street

Senior member
Mar 28, 2012
691
44
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One thing which I think hurts RTS games is the multiplayer. In shooter you can play with better players than you and have fun and sometimes get hits in even if you know they will win most of the time. In RTS, multiplayer tends to be one-on-one and tends to be an APM battle when the more skilled faster player usually trounces the weaker player. A lot of people are not attracted to the APM aspect of RTS games because this makes them just less fun to play. It isn't relaxing at all trying to play Starcraft 2 with a 4 base economy and 200 supply of units. Also, one-vs-one multiplayer modes are historically less popular because you can't blame or get carried by teammates. Look at how Starcraft 2 tried to boost online popularity with casuals by doing coop missions. Look at how MOBAs evolved the genre by making it 5v5 with lower APM ceilings and more downtime. RTS games can still exist as primarily single player games, but it takes a big AAA team to make a 30 mission campaign for a PC only game.
 

Roger Wilco

Golden Member
Mar 20, 2017
1,186
758
136
One thing which I think hurts RTS games is the multiplayer. In shooter you can play with better players than you and have fun and sometimes get hits in even if you know they will win most of the time. In RTS, multiplayer tends to be one-on-one and tends to be an APM battle when the more skilled faster player usually trounces the weaker player. A lot of people are not attracted to the APM aspect of RTS games because this makes them just less fun to play. It isn't relaxing at all trying to play Starcraft 2 with a 4 base economy and 200 supply of units. Also, one-vs-one multiplayer modes are historically less popular because you can't blame or get carried by teammates. Look at how Starcraft 2 tried to boost online popularity with casuals by doing coop missions. Look at how MOBAs evolved the genre by making it 5v5 with lower APM ceilings and more downtime. RTS games can still exist as primarily single player games, but it takes a big AAA team to make a 30 mission campaign for a PC only game.
Team matches are still pretty popular in SC2 (2v2, 3v3, 4v4). I always considered MOBAs to be far more APM-heavy because they are primarily micro focused. In SC2, if you take care of your economy, know what units counter what, and understand basic timing builds, you can hit Platinum league. IMO, APM only really becomes an issue when reaching the higher leagues of play, and by then, much of that will probably be second nature.

SC2's biggest problem is that it is almost a decade old. People have grown bored and moved on to other games. MOBAs started raking in cash, so Blizzard focused on creating their own MOBA.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,666
6,663
136
In shooter you can play with better players than you and have fun and sometimes get hits in even if you know they will win most of the time.
Depends on the FPS. I used to play a game called Dirty Bomb which had pretty intense movement mechanics that made it impossible to peg down skilled players. They would destroy newbies and get insane 20:1 k/d ratios on a regular basis. Nobody new wanted to play when they inevitably got matched against a vet (thanks to low player count).
 

dud

Diamond Member
Feb 18, 2001
7,631
72
91
Because they require a keyboard and mouse.

This. I have to give credit to Budashes for this observation. Any decline in the RTS genre may be due to the "dumbing down" of our society/culture.

Over 40 years of gaming I have found that the RTS genre has been the most enjoyable to me. As I enter my retirement years I plan to ramp up my RTS playing ... to exercise my mind as I go to the gym to exercise my body.


Long live RTS ...
 

Zenoth

Diamond Member
Jan 29, 2005
5,082
104
106
RTSes were never meant for consoles, originally. Saying that they require a keyboard and a mouse is like saying that they should have been made for consoles, but that the RTS decline is due to the fact that most console companies almost never produced (at least officially) a keyboard and a mouse for their system (I can only think of the Dreamcast right now which did have those, I know more did too but it's only been a few select). That doesn't quite make sense to me. If I'm a game developer wanting to make an RTS game, I won't make it for a console and then cross my fingers that the company responsible for the platform I chose to make the game for will happen to also make a keyboard and a mouse for it. And if they don't, then I'll have to hope the game audience of that system will be content playing it with the system's controller. No businesses, no devs would rely on that to exist.

The problem isn't that RTSes require a keyboard and a mouse. The problem is RTS makers made the choice (or publishers did, whichever way) to leave the PC platform in favor for consoles with the prospect of making more money because the assumption was that the audience(s) on those systems was bigger. They never thought about the severe consequences of a completely different interface to interact with the games would provoke in the genre. They just thought about the money and did very little to absolutely no forward-thinking ahead of time. It was, ultimately, in the hope to make more money because even if RTSes started on, and became popular on, and because of the PC platform, they were relatively still a niche thing by comparison to how much money other "Console exclusive IPs" were making in the meantime. I think that Nintendo were happy swimming in their Mario money, while Westwood had to work their ass off with C&C2 and hoping it'd work well enough to keep their job.

I'll never blame consoles, or the "dumbing down" of society for the decline of RTS gaming in general. I'll blame the publishers and/or the developers who simply left their original established and comfortable platform (PC) in favor for the consoles. It was their choice. I do NOT know a single console gamer who ever wanted Command & Conquer on the N64, to use just that example. About as much as I've never heard a single purely PC gamer ever saying that they actually wanted the Zelda or Mario franchise to come on PC (excluding emulation). And no console gamer uses the argument that those franchises never came to PC because they 'require a controller' (which has been a type of peripheral we can get on PC since... I can't even recall because it's been there for way too long by now).

The PC platform had "its own things" (games, genres) that consoles didn't. The PC platform had RTSes and action RPGs just to name those two (also Flight Simulators and so on), the consoles had their Platformers and their Beat 'em Ups. But consoles grew up in popularity with the arrival of the NES, the market "share" of consoles Versus the PC for video gaming massively increased; of course in favor of consoles, because hey... remember how much it cost to get a good "gaming PC" back then? Exactly. The publishers (surely) and at least some developers of course saw that happen, and the scent of money coming their way made them make some pretty stupid decisions in the name of business and profits. The mistake wasn't exactly to 'just go' with consoles and their RTSes in an attempt to 'bring the genre' over to a new audience to make more money. The one big mistake that corroded the genre over time was to LEAVE the PC platform almost entirely, instead of doing both. It's been only very recently that we've seen a very small humble and almost silent 'return' of RTSes on PC, thanks to the sudden surge of "Indie" style development teams being able to experiment and do whatever they think might work on platforms that didn't exist the way they do right now, barely 10 years ago, such as the Steam Early Access system. Games like Grey Goo wouldn't have been remotely discussed internally anywhere in the industry just 10, 12 or 15 years ago. It would have been deemed a failure by the big companies that the 'daring' teams would have relied on to publish their games.

Nah, requiring a keyboard and a mouse isn't a problem; if you make the game for the PC. No one is asking for RTSes on consoles. So the keyboard and mouse requirement thing I just cannot agree with. Heck, there's more market for RTSes on mobile than there is on console, especially nowadays. Kids today want to play Fortnite and more generic FPSes (generalization aside the gist of the idea is there; I am still a console gamer myself, I'm not just a kid anymore and I hate Fortnite, but I do NOT ask for nor want an RTS on my Wii U, and will not ask for anymore RTSes by the time I get my Switch specifically for Super Mario Maker 2). No one there is asking for, much less caring about the future of Command & Conquer or a return of Dune, or the sequel to StarCraft 2.

If an RTS comes out tomorrow on PS4 and isn't popular because it 'requires a keyboard and a mouse', then the problem is the platform it was made for. And I put the blame on the publishers and/or developers (or whomever made the conscious choice between them, or both of them).
 
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Anteaus

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2010
2,448
4
81
It's hard to monetize RTS games in the same way you can a FPS. They are seen as less profitable and therefore not worth the effort.
 

GodisanAtheist

Diamond Member
Nov 16, 2006
3,296
1,843
136
It's hard to monetize RTS games in the same way you can a FPS. They are seen as less profitable and therefore not worth the effort.
-The Dawn of War series did a "great" job monetizing additional races, additional heroes in their "MOBA" wave mode, skins, etc. While Relic is/was a great developer, their biggest contribution to RTS games recently has been a solid monetization model.

In fact, RTS games seem like a genre built for microtransactions.
 

Anteaus

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2010
2,448
4
81
-The Dawn of War series did a "great" job monetizing additional races, additional heroes in their "MOBA" wave mode, skins, etc. While Relic is/was a great developer, their biggest contribution to RTS games recently has been a solid monetization model.

In fact, RTS games seem like a genre built for microtransactions.
Perhaps you are right, but even so AAA publishers don't like taking chances. They are like Disney. If they don't think they can make all their money back within the first week or two of sales they don't risk it at all. I think that if RTS games were as ripe for monetization as you say, they would be doing it.

Even then, I wouldn't buy it if that were the case. I was the biggest C&C fan back in the day. They could make the perfect RTS that was critically praised, but if it contains even one instance of a micro transaction in the form of a loot box or requires an artificial currency to buy DLC, then I'm out. Maybe I'm showing my age, but I'd rather give up gaming than support the continued diminishment of a hobby I've enjoyed for so long just to keep quarterly stock prices high.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,029
263
126
If you enjoyed Company of Heroes, an Early Access game called Iron Harvest is still in development and seems to be making great progress. They Are Billions is a pretty challenging zombie RTS and really addicting if you take the time to learn the mechanics (it's not very difficult to figure out, just very unforgiving).

As for the rest, if I'm in the mood for a great RTS, I unfortunately have to go back to the roots with Brood Wars, Warcraft 2, TA, TA Kingdoms, and my personal favorite - Dawn of War Dark Crusade. That being said, I honestly don't want any AAA publisher trying to make a new RTS. We saw what happened with DoW3 and considering how big of a fan I am of the W40K universe, I still refuse to play that cash-grab abomination.

If you haven't played the old LOTR battle for middle earth RTS, imho it's the best ever made. Saying this and i LOVED C&C, red alert, WCII&III.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lord_of_the_Rings:_The_Battle_for_Middle-earth
I recall this being on Steam for a long time but I never looked into it, but now I can't seem to find it anywhere and with that EA label, I'm worried it's now on Origin. Is there any place to buy this game now? Amazon has the Anthology listed for $323, but I'm sure it can be found cheaper elsewhere.
 
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DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,666
6,663
136
@Stg-Flame

EA left Dragon Age: Origins on Steam (and GoG). That's a, what, 2009 title? I would imagine that a 2004 title hasn't been pulled off stores due to Origin.
 

Anteaus

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2010
2,448
4
81
I think the RTS experience hit it's zenith with Forged Alliance in regards to scale and number of types of units to play with. I'm sure some could argue SC2 was closer to the roots, but I disliked how rigid the gameplay as it was balanced for competitive play.

The spiritual successor to SupCom failed, so now there is a sort of vacumn in that area. I'm hopeful someone will iterate on that theme, but I'm pretty sure no AAA developer will make the attempt for some of the reasons I mentioned earlier in the thread.
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
3,029
263
126
Well knowing where it's not doesn't help me. It's available on Amazon for a measly $323 or used for $12, so I'm not sure what's going on with that game.
 

DrMrLordX

Lifer
Apr 27, 2000
17,666
6,663
136
Oh well yes, it doesn't help you actually buy it. I'd say get it used and be happy you were able to do that. If you need it.
 

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