It’s here. The latest game heralded by Command & Conquer’s own Louis Castle – War Commander: Rogue Assault – has just launched for mobile platforms. As far as RTSes are concerned, you can’t get much better than having a veteran of Westwood Studios on the team.
War Commander: Rogue Assault takes on the traditional smartphone RTS with concepts such as no build times and direct control of your units. In a sense, the game takes a “PC game” approach to mobile.
Want to know even more about the game from Castle himself? Check out his thoughts in our interview below:
How have RTS games evolved since your time at Westwood Studios? In regards to mobile, what good (and bad) changes have occurred within the genre?
RTS games have evolved a great deal since their early formative years. The PC RTS experience has leaned into e-sports and even created the entire MOBA genre. This has been truly exciting to watch as each game builds upon the audience of previous games with more complexity, depth and actions players can take. This has resulted in most RTS games on PC and console having a vast learning curve that makes it very difficult to attract new or casual players. Unfortunately many games now are pale copies of the leaders in this space, trying to do too many things instead of focusing on unique play and innovation.
Many of the types of games I loved to play are simply not being made anymore. On mobile I’m constantly surprised by the innovation and creativity with new strategy game releases. Although most do not touch on the core elements that make PC and mobile RTS exciting to me, it is still great to see so much variety. Of course mobile also suffers from the massive amount of copycat games. That’s why I’m so excited by what we have created with War Commander: Rogue Assault at Kixeye. I feel it is a very innovative blend of traditional PC RTS and tower defense play scratching an itch I have for the games I played for the past 20+ years.
How does War Commander: Rogue Assault negate the pitfalls that other mobile RTSes fall into?
War Commander: Rogue Assault seeks to delight players with a game that, unlike most games, actually looks and plays like the mobile strategy ads on TV. Rogue Assault is in full 3d with a realistic art style, a wide variety of units that players can actually control during the battle and a long-term technology tree that develops over months of play. We eliminated artificial timers for repairing and building your base, added two full single player campaigns and created a very deep meta-game with a massively multiplayer world map.
These choices, and others, were made to give Rogue Assault players some of the great moments our team has had playing traditional PC and console RTS games over the years. We also studied and incorporated many of the tower defense and core progression mechanics from other successful mobile games to ensure that Rogue Assault has the core strategy elements we find appealing in successful mobile strategy games.
Given that War Commander: Rogue Assault will be free to play, how will the game generate revenue (additional levels, upgrades, time-limited perks, etc)?
The Rogue Assault game economy is built upon a free game experience that rewards highly engaged players with resources and skills learned from battles over a very long game arc. Players gather resources like any other PC or Console RTS game though production facilities, fighting enemy bases, and completing campaign missions.
Those resources are then used to develop their own base and expand technology to acquire better units for even greater battles. Payers can invest in purchases that will help to improve progression efficiency as they play the game. This, pay to play model, has more in common with experience accelerators when you log into a MMO RPG than other games’ approaches.
Every player in War Commander: Rogue Assault balances investing in their offensive technology and their base defenses. Quick match incursions allow players at all levels to find other players’ bases to attack. Attacked players can revenge attack to attempt to recover their lost loot. Shortly into the game, players are introduced to the massive world map of War Zones, set in Western Europe and North Africa.
In War Zones players can deploy Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) in real time to offer reinforcement support to alliance members or benefit from their own or alliance artillery strikes among many other strategic choices. The targets of these attacks can be any of the more than a hundred maps created by Kixeye designers or the thousands upon thousands of enemy bases created by other players.
How does it feel to be back working on a large scale RTS with War Commander: Rogue Assault? How is mobile development different – or similar – from the development climate in the 1990s/2000s?
I’m having a great time working at Kixeye on War Commander: Rogue Assault. The quality standards and dedication to the game shared by everyone at Kixeye is really exciting. The size of the team and the cross-disciplinary collaboration required is very reminiscent of my game making history on PC and console games.
Creating for mobile has many of the same challenges of platform scale team management of PC and console game and adds a few additional challenges. I find the incorporation of economy balancing and player telemetry to be the most interesting additions. Balancing economy with game balance is a great puzzle to solve while telemetry validates individual design decisions in a way that is unprecedented.