Mohawk Games—the indie studio co-founded by Civilization 4 lead designer Soren Johnson—have officially unveiled their first game. Offworld Trading Company is an economy-based RTS in which money is your greatest weapon. In the metaphorical sense, I'd hope—unless we'll be ordering hundreds of units to stuff pounds, dollars and euros into custom-made muskets, with marginal stat boosts based on the weight and heft of a faction's currency.
"Money is the heart of Offworld Trading Company," explains
Mohawk's announcement post
. "Players gain cash by selling excess resources like carbon, fuel, and silicon on the open market, and spend it buying the resources they're short on. Prices fluctuate in real time; dump a bunch of iron on the market and its price will crater, making it cheap for other players to buy up (and making their stockpiles worth much less in the near term)."
Players can extract resources from the planet, but to do so, they'll need to own a claim—gained either by spending resources on your colony, or cash at the black market. "Getting a new claim in Offworld Trading Company is a lot like claiming an expansion site in a traditional RTS."
While it doesn't sound like you'll be directly attacking your enemy, you can use the black market to hire pirates who will, for instance, harass an opponent's supply lines.
It's definitely an intriguing concept, and Mohawk's example of a possible strategy hints at the depth of intrigue it could offer. They tease a scenario in which a player buys and hoards a world's water supply. They also attack their opponent with an EMP—stopping production, and so driving down that company's stock value. By offloading the now in demand water at a much a higher price, the player can use that money to buy a large chunk of the now rock-bottom stocks from their enemy.
There's no release date for the game yet, but Mohawk are planning a Founder's Pack beta this Autumn, and an Early Access release soon after.