Ironclad brought us Sins of a Solar Empire in 2008, and we enjoyed (opens in new tab) its space-based mixture of RTS and 4X. Its next project, Sins of a Dark Age (opens in new tab) , pivots the developer's focus to the expanding MOBA genre, and it seems part of the reason for the change comes from Ironclad's belief that RTS games are "very niche," as Director Blair Fraser describes it in an interview with RPS (opens in new tab) .
"RTS games, to my mind, are very niche now," he says. "And that's unfortunate, because that's what I love, and that's what I grew up playing, and that's what I make. Or made, anyway. I just think the demographics have changed. Company of Heroes may be profitable, and StarCraft II is an anomaly, but most of them aren't gonna get big numbers. It's a dying market.”
Fraser thinks Sins of a Solar Empire avoids this problem because it "diverged" from the classic RTS structure. "It still has a very specific community that wants more," he adds. "There are games like Total War as well, but they broke away from classic base-building, because that's done. It's sad for me to say, but that's done.”
Is it done? Though RTS games, like pretty much every other genre, continue evolving and innovating (opens in new tab) over the years, classic-style entries still shine—Total Annihilation, Supreme Commander, and StarCraft II spring to mind.
Head over to RPS (opens in new tab) for the rest of the interview.