Stardock have announced *deep breath* Elemental: Fallen Enchantress - Legendary Heroes, a standalone expansion to their standalone expansion. But while Fallen Enchantress was Stardock's mea culpa for the problems surrounding Elemental: War of Magic, Legendary Heroes promises to expand upon FE's solid foundation. It promises new maps, monsters and an enhanced levelling system.
This might be the first game I’ve ever been given as penance. It’s a standalone expansion for the turn-based strategy game Elemental: War of Magic, which was released in such a shocking state of disrepair that Stardock decided to make this expansion free to everyone who bought the main game at launch. It’s an extreme gesture, but the right one. Elemental: War of Magic was patched drastically and often, but the constant state of flux made it hard to get into. Fundamental game mechanics were being changed, and savegames were usually incompatible between versions.
Those of us who loved its potential were willing to wait for Stardock to take a proper second stab at the idea: a turn-based fantasy strategy game about building an empire while your hero fights monsters and levels up. But yeah, we would have balked at having to pay for it.
If you consult your nearest time-sundering crystal ball, you'll recall Stardock releasing the infamously panned Elemental: War of Magic, a turn-based fantasy strategy yarn, in 2010. Atrocious bugs, befuddling AI, and half-finished mechanics even caused us to issue a warning to wait for patch fixes before reaching for your wallet. The release of Fallen Enchantress earlier this week represented Stardock's tabula-rasa restart of Elemental, and in a letter sent to his customers, CEO Brad Wardell offered a free copy for War of Magic owners, writing, "We failed to deliver the game we said we were going to deliver."
Yes, in this week's Silly Legal Challenge (though one that looks like it was actually filed a couple of months ago, and is only now being noticed), Rebellion is trying to get control of the word... well... Rebellion - no doubt helped by the fact that it has never, everbeenused before.
Sins of a Solar Empire publisher Stardock has announced that the 2012 version of its recurring presidential campaign strategy game, The Political Machine, will be available on "most digital distributors" this summer for $9.95 USD (about £6, if directly converted). The players are Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, or a custom candidate, and the goal is to "win the hearts and minds of America’s voters" against a human or AI opponent.
Galactic Civilization 2 is now available on Steam. If you have any interest in strategy, or space, or conquering space using an army of customisable doom ships then you'll definitely want to check it out. It also has incredibly smart, creative AI. A full sized game can take weeks and weeks to complete, a fact our own Tom Francis knows all too well. We'll be posting his Galactic Civilization 2 diaries shortly.
The Steam version is the Ultimate Edition, that means it comes with both expansions, Dark Avatar and Twilight of the Arnor which add new campaigns, enemies, tech trees and even spies to the original. It's on sale at 25% off for the first week until December 9, meaning you can own all the space war you'll probably ever need for just £9.74 / $14.99. Go go go!
Now that Stardock has sold its digital distribution business to GameStop, it was only a matter of time before we saw games like the stellar space war strategy Sins of a Solar Empire pop up on Steam, where it'll find a whole new universe of customers who might never even have heard of Impulse.
According to a Stardock press release, Sins is the first of several Stardock games that will be making their way to Steam in the near future, though the specific list of games has yet to be confirmed or denied by Stardock PR.
Chris leads the team as Logan, Dan, Evan and Lucas discuss Minecraft's profits, GameStop buying Impulse, Logan's scandalous Reddit tell-all, a new spin on Truthiness and Falsity, a major videocard listener question, and much more!
PC Gamer US Podcast 267: IAmA Podcast
Yesterday, the world's largest physical game retailer announced that it would buy its way into the online PC game distribution market by acquiring Stardock's Impulse service. On the other end of that deal is Stardock founder and CEO Brad Wardell, who started up Impulse in 2008. We got Brad on Skype to discuss what this deal means for him, for you, and for all of PC gaming.
Game retailer GameStop has apparently decided to buy its way into two PC game-selling technologies at once. In a single press release, the retail giant announced that it will acquire both Stardock's Impulse download service (a competitor to Steam) and Spawn Labs' streaming service (a competitor to OnLive). The release indicates that Impulse will continue to function as normal, but will be fully integrated with GameStop.com within the next few months.
With GameStop's backing, Impulse could suddenly become a real threat to Steam, which currently dominates digital PC gaming sales. Founded in 2008 by Stardock, it's currently a respectable but distant competitor that's gotten some attention through Stardock's own games like Sins of a Solar Empire, Demigod, and Elemental.
(Note that GameStop isn't buying all of game publisher/developer Stardock, only the Impulse, Inc. subsidiary.)
Brad Wardell, president of Stardock, has revealed at GDC how Metracritic has a profound impact on developers. Talking about the companies less-than-well-recieved title Elemental: War of Magic, he stated that the game achieved a “Metacritic score of 56. 56 means it gives you cancer."
Elemental didn't quite get the reception Wardell had hoped, with mediocre reviews and a poor response from players. "I had people telling me I should die of cancer," revealed Wardell.
Stardock have released a preview trailer for the upcoming Elemental expansion, Fallen Enchantress. The video takes us through some of the combat changes that the expansion will make, and introduces us to some of the new wandering monsters, including Morian the Ruin of Summer. I thought rainclouds were the ruin of summer, but I was wrong. It's actually a twenty foot tall half swamp, half bear monster.
Fallen Enchantress is due out before summer, and will be free to anyone who bought Elemental before October 31 2010.
Stardock's founder and CEO Brad Wardell - believes that the full-price retail game system is on its way out, and that free-to-play games will soon be the leaders of PC gaming revolution. Stardock have previously published grand space-faring strategy Sins of a Solar Empire and its upcoming expansion Rebellion.
Talking to Gamasutra, Wardell said: “The idea is that the PC game market is slowly moving over to a model that is more akin to what you're seeing on mobile device, which are much less expensive. In an age where you're used to spending only five, six bucks for a game, it's really hard to go back to the PC and pay 60 bucks for a game, especially if it's becoming increasingly loaded with features and content you'll never make use of.” Read on for more details on Stardock's plans for the future.
Elemental's first expansion has been announced. It's called Fallen Enchantress, and is set to add new weapons, spells, magical equipment, creatures and lands to the game. The expansion is due to arrive in the next few months, and will be free to those who bought Elemental in 2010.
Stardock's CEO Brad Wardell has said that Stardock expect Elemental: War of Magic to make a loss for the company in the long term, but that it's worth pushing ahead with development and expansions to restore PC gamers' faith.
Josh, Evan, Dan, Chris and Andy break in the new year with an action-packed podcast, covering news fresh from CES like Razer's Switchblade concept and Intel's Sandybridge CPUs as well as what we think of Sid Meier's Civilization V lead designer, Jon Schaffer, moving to Stardock. We also interview Jim Lee, DC Comic's co-publisher about his time as a hardcore MMO player, and how his playtime helped shaped DCUO, which is set to launch next week.
PC Gamer US Podcast 254 - Cool Story Bro
Stardock today announced that they have hired Jon Shafer, the Lead Designer on Civilization V, and that he will be working on saving the troubled Elemental: War of Magic before starting up his own project within the company. Stardock have also hired fantasy and science fiction author Dave Stern to work on storytelling across all of Stardock's games.
Last week I played Elemental: War of Magic for the first time in months. And I saw something I had never seen before--a defeat screen.
I've spent a few days vetting the phonebook-length list of changes made in last week's 1.1 patch to the game, an experience I've converted into words about what's improved, what still needs work, and most importantly, if Elemental is worth your time yet.