Back in 2020, a team of StarCraft 2 veterans announced the launch of a new outfit, Frost Giant Studios, with the stated goal of creating "the next great PC real-time strategy game." We got our hands on that effort, called Stormgate, earlier this year, and it certainly looked like Frost Giant was on track to deliver that promise, with a debut effort that's "shaping up to be a brilliant blend of modern and classic RTS."
Clearly we're not the only ones excited for it: Frost Giant launched a $100,000 Kickstarter campaign on December 5 to support the development of Stormgate, and it was fully funded in just 15 minutes.
Stormgate is an RTS that pits far-future humanity against the invading forces of the demonic Infernal Host in a pitched battle for the fate of the Earth. "It's built on familiar foundations," online editor and PC Gamer strategy guy Fraser Brown said in his June preview, which is to be expected from a game coming from Blizzard veterans, but it's not just a nostalgia project: "There's progression here, with new ideas and interesting twists sitting alongside classic touches."
The underlying technology also promises bigger and better things than its predecessors: Frost Giant says using the Unreal Engine 5 enables it to render more than 1,000 individual units in the game with no loss of performance or smoothness, while rollback technology helps smooth out online gameplay.
All told, it seems to be coming together very well, so you might naturally be wondering why Stormgate requires a Kickstarter at this point. According to the campaign description, it doesn't—the game "is fully funded to release"—but some fans are eager for a physical edition, and there's also a big backlog of players wanting to jump into playtesting.
"We think we've put together a truly special collectible for our most dedicated supporters, but producing the Stormgate Collector's Edition will require a commitment from our players to cover our manufacturing costs," Frost Giant wrote.
"We have also received countless requests for beta access. Scaling online multiplayer testing for a massive audience can get very expensive—beyond what we can support without additional funding. This campaign will allow us to welcome many more players to playtest Stormgate as a reward for directly supporting the studio."
Frost Giant seems pretty well set on that front. After surpassing its goal within minutes, the Stormgate Kickstarter campaign has continued to rack up numbers, and now stands at more than $896,000 pledged—that's nine times its initial goal. With all but one stretch goal now funded, and the last within easy reach, it may be time for Frost Giant to start thinking about what comes next.
Stormgate still doesn't have a release date, but the first closed beta test for Kickstarter backers is targeted to begin in February 2024. More playtests will presumably follow, and the early access release is expected to happen later in the year. Stormgate is available for wishlisting now on Steam.