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Interview with Digital Reality on New “Imperium Galactica”

By on March 29th, 2013 9:25 am

On February 2013, Digital Reality, the creators of the real-time space 4X game series Imperium Galactica, announced that they are “currently working on a new Imperium Galactica game”. By then the only concrete thing we were told was that it will be an online game. It would use a custom-made engine DR had been developing, and that engine would be the “first step” towards the “long-term development of several playable phases”. I reached Digital Reality for more details about the game. Here’s what the Digital Reality CEO, Andras Peller, had to say. Enjoy!

SS: Which platforms are you planning to launch your new game for? (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, others?)

Andras Peller: Eventually the game will be playable on several platforms, but initially we are focussing on a PC release.

SS: What about the genre? Is it going to be a 4X game like the previous Imperium Galactica? Is it strategy? Simulation, other?

Andras Peller: Our idea is to take the 4X genre and evolve it into something more. So it will derive from 4X elements, but we will look at each of the “X” elements to find a new spin on it. The end result will not be a traditional 4X game, but nonetheless it will captivate the charm of 4X with hopefully new gameplay experiences.

SS: Will there be a single-player mode? Or, only multiplayer?

Andras Peller: Generally speaking, no. But there will be some solo gameplay included. Yes, the game will be online multiplayer.

Imperium Galactica | Real-time space 4X strategy game - Digital Reality

Imperium Galactica (1997)

SS: You said it will be an online game. Which type? Will it be an MMO, with a persistent world perhaps?

Andras Peller: It will be an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online), but not persistent world. It does not mean you lose your gameplay!

SS: Will the game be online-only? Meaning, you need to be online to play?

Andras Peller: At this point, the game will be online only.

SS: What more can you tell us about the “long-term development” with “several playable phases published in the future.”? Are you going to release a playable version at alpha and then beta stages? Are you planning to open pre-orders by then?

Andras Peller: Think lateral evolution. Instead of building the whole game at once, going alpha, then beta, then release and then adding (end) content to the core gameplay (the traditional route), we want to build a dynamic world that changes and evolves further with each new installment. This process will definitely take some time, most likely spanning over years. We hope the fans will accompany us on this journey. A more detailed description can be found on our forum.

As the game will be free to play, there won’t be any preorders.

Imperium Galactica 2: Alliances | Real-time space 4X strategy game - Digital Reality

Imperium Galactica 2: Alliances (2000)

SS: Do you have a rough date for your first playable phase release already?

Andras Peller: Soon(tm). Just kidding. We hope to have the first instance ready this year. We know that the fans are dying to play the game, but we also do not want to disappoint them. The old “it’s done when it’s done” applies here.

SS: Will the game be free-to-play?

Andras Peller: Yes, the game will be free to play, but, this is important, NOT pay to win!

SS: Are you planning to go to Kickstarter or other crowdfunding platform as of now? Do you envisage to in the near future?

Andras Peller: Although Kickstarter is an awesome initiative, and we have had this question from many fans, we will not do any crowdfunding.

SS: What more can you tell us about your new Imperium Galactica game?

Andras Peller: To touch on the subject of 4X again (we know it’s a hot topic for our fans), the first installment that will be released will contain the “eXtermination” element. That being said, we look forward to seeing all the ideas the fans come up with about that on our forum.

Digital Reality is a Hungarian publisher and game development company, responsible for the space 4X strategy series Imperium Galactica and Haegemonia. They recently announced to be working on a new “Imperium Galactica” game. Imperium Galactica games don’t appear to be on sale for the PC anymore, at least officially (you may try Amazon, but be careful with OS support). Imperium Galactica II: Alliances is available for the iPad though. Haegemonia games for the PC can still be bought as digital download at GamersGate or GameStop.

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54 Comments


  1. BTAxis says:

    I guess you just submitted all the questions at once by mail or something? It seems weird to ask about multiplayer when he just said there would be no singleplayer.

    • Adam Solo says:

      Yes, it was an email-based interview. And, you’re right. That part is awkward to read at the moment. I’ll probably tweak that, thanks.

  2. Sledge Hammer says:

    Well, there goes the hope for a decent comeback of another 4x space game series.
    Free2play mmo, and 4x elements rethought with a spin?
    Thanks, but no thanks!

  3. Buxaroo says:

    You had me at Imperium.

    • Lens Flares Suck says:

      You lost me at ‘online’.

      This may well be another ‘Sim City Online’ disaster.

  4. RandomBlue says:

    I’m interested to see what they come up with but several of the things they’re talking about doing really turn me off towards the game. MMO, no real single player, FREE TO PLAY. Gah.

    Free to play is a cancer on the gaming industry IMO. There are very few F2P games that don’t force you to spend money if you want to play long turn without being severely handicapped in one form or another.

  5. Garmine says:

    I’m looking forward to it, but the “only online” part makes me worry a bit. We’ll see :)

  6. Gunnergoz says:

    RTS? No Single Player? Thanks for letting me know now so I don’t waste time following this one.

  7. Jeff P says:

    You lost me at MMO. I thought the desire to clone WoW died as their user base declined. Either MMO recipe – buy the game and pay a hefty subscription monthly, or free-to-play unless you want the good stuff which you must pay for – involves a serious monetary outlay, vastly more so than a decent single/multi-player game.

    No thanks. I’ll keep my cash.

  8. RandomBlue says:

    To sum up: Hey 4X fans, here comes our awesome NOT A 4X!!!

  9. Evil Azrael says:

    Same goes for me. As much as i anticipate a new Imperium Galactica, i want to play at my own pace, at my own chosen time in my own defined environment. I am a solo player.

    • AstralWanderer says:

      “As much as i anticipate a new Imperium Galactica, i want to play at my own pace, at my own chosen time in my own defined environment. I am a solo player.”
      Me too – this really smacks of a screwup from Digital Reality. If it’s going to be a completely different game type from the previous ones, they ought to have the courtesy to choose a different name.
      Luckily there are plenty of other upcoming 4X’s to choose from.

    • Mark says:

      My thoughts exactly. I’ll give this one a miss.

  10. Novakiller says:

    Before everyones starts raging its not going to be the same, I would strongly suggest that you go try out the interactive tease they have on the main website guys… You’ll need to disable any AV or firewalls if you have trouble running the thing but I can safely tell ya, its going to be something quite different we haven’t seen in this genre for a very long time. Keep in mind though, its just a tech demo to show case some of what the game engine will be capable of… Create more then one planet, and you’ll end up making your own solar system… the planet stuff is quite amazing…. Of course the jury is still out about the whole MMO situation but guys serious, give it a try see what you think… Obviously this game isn’t going to be complete for several years as they start dishing out all the core gameplay aspects…

    Be nice if Adam Solo can find out any info regarding weather or not any developers from the original Imperium Galactica II is working on stargazer… that may put some minds at ease knowing that. Do check the forums as well..

  11. Zeraan says:

    No questions about re-releasing the previous installments (Imperium Galactica I and II) through digital stores like GOG.com or steam? I will buy those instantly if they provide them!

    As for the new game, I’m going to take a “wait and see” approach, and since it’s free to play, no risk for me to give it a try.

  12. ashbery76 says:

    Oh dear.

  13. salvo says:

    well, thanks for the info adam, another thing I don’t have to care about anymore :-)

  14. Aleteja says:

    Thanks for information. One less game on me radar. Gonna share it on Facebook if some of me friends missed it. Cheers.

  15. TimmY says:

    Meh, I would’ve paid for a single player game.

  16. thrangar says:

    You lost me at “on line”

  17. Alien JD says:

    I don’t like multiplayer so I’ll pass. Too bad I liked Imperium Galactica and loved Imperium Galactica 2. I’m hoping IG2 comes to GOG soon…hint hint nudge nudge.

  18. Martok says:

    Yeah, the MMO aspect is a deal-killer for me as well; what a disappointment. I wish Digital Reality all the luck in the world, but this holds absolutely no appeal for me.

    I also second those hoping IG2 comes to GOG. Loved that game (I’m still upset I lost original copy)!

  19. Fluffy Bunny says:

    Haha, free to play. Yeah, no. Sorry guys, as long as there are real games to play, I’m not going to waste my time on business models disguised as games.

  20. Viktor says:

    Is it that developers don’t learn the lesson already?? Come on, who they think they are developing the game for? If people… (read, paying customers, aka gamers…) WANT an OFFLINE game… Jeez… the least you can do, as a business man is give the customers what they want so you make a profit??? Business 101. Pure exchange principles. It’s being done since we paid with bananas and pottery.

    IMO, I’m NOT buying that. I’ve saved myself from the SimCity horror and I can do twice.

  21. Zero says:

    Well, let’s keep an open mind until we see it! These guys made a game that defined your expectations for years. Let’s see what else they have up their sleeves.

    • Martok says:

      The problem is that the majority of 4x gamers generally prefer singleplayer over multiplayer — something you’ve probably become very aware of during your development of StarDrive (the vocal proponents of MP notwithstanding). ;)

      If this new Imperium Galactica was being developed with both SP and MP, it would be an entirely different matter. However, the MP-only aspect of this new IG title is going to be a total turn-off to most 4x enthusiasts, no matter how well-made the game might be otherwise. If we can’t play against AI opponents at our own leisure, it’s something we’re just not going to be interested in.

    • Eno37 says:

      No way. If you have an ugly flower growing amongst your roses the best plan is to rip it up and stamp on it lest others bud from its roots.

  22. Lemming says:

    Free to play and DLC is a huge disappointment. Whatever happened to the good old days when game manufacturers were more concerned about gameplay than raping the wallet of the gaming society? Seriously, if you make a good game instead of banking on hooking people to buy more crap they don’t need you’ll end up making your game iconic (like starcraft). Nothing is ever free, unless the only pay part is for customization of graphics or some other BS that doesn’t involve gameplay. Seriously, I thought they’d know better than to make Imperium 3 a free to play game, this is sacrilege. I seriously enjoyed Imperium Galactica 2 and was more than willing to shell out the $60 to play that game.

    SOOOOOOO DISAPPOINTED. Been waiting 8 years for the next Imperium and this is what I get? Might as well play a different 4x game then

  23. magogian says:

    Sounds like a freakin terrible idea.

  24. Edward Ryan says:

    Ya this does sound disappointing I too have been waiting for another Imperium Galactica game now for ages!!!and was my favorite 4x Game and now thanks too Zero I also have Stardrive :) Ya I agree with Zero about waiting and seeing what these guys can come up with, if it truly is going to be groundbreaking well the fact that it is an MMO might not be relevant!.

  25. Tristrim says:

    It seems they have not learned from the failings of D3 and Simcity both which had far more money to make it work. Maybe they should think of a offline mode for people.

  26. Game over man says:

    No single player !!?? No thanks..

  27. eccy says:

    Hi, I’m eccy, the community manager for the new IG game.

    I’d like to thank you for the feedback, it’s greatly appreciated.

    I know that there are objections to the free to play model, and the MMO set up. These objections are pretty common when a game is announced to be free to play or mmo, especially in the current situation with these models backfiring left and right it seems. Be sure we had this in our mind even before the hotly debated Simcity topic.

    Before I get to our reasoning for our choice, I’d like to clear up some things.
    DLC means downloadable content, usually paid. This is one way of monetizing the game, but it isn’t free to play. Free to play means that all content is reachable, given an amount of time. You can use microtransactions to speed up this process, but ultimately, all content is reachable for anyone, just at different speeds. (Paid) DLC means that some content is not reachable for a given portion of the players. We won’t be using DLC, so all content is reachable for all players, even people who chose not to pay.

    The CEO, Andras, tried to stress this in the interview but I will say it once more: the game will not be pay to win. We still believe in fairness, free to play was conceived on the basis that time = money, not money = skill/money= imba equipment etc.

    That being said, the biggest concern is that it will not be a traditional offline single player game. There are various reasons why we chose mmo over traditional offline.
    The way we want to release the game, in installments that evolve the universe with each installment, adding more layers to the gameplay, would simply not work as easily in an offline setting.
    Adding other players to the mix also gives a bigger ‘meta game’, where social contacts provide and sustain content that we could never offer.
    And lastly, for us using the MMO way was the least restrictive way of having some sort of DRM involved without pissing off players too much. There is no beating around the bush here, piracy is a big thing, and offline games without some sort of DRM are cracked within days, if not hours after release (and some even with DRM).

    But the debate about free to play or MMO is bigger than “just” the upcoming IG game, and we know that there are many games out there that rubbed the players the wrong way. All we want to ask for at this moment is that you don’t dismiss the new IG game purely on the raw “stats” provided, but keep it in focuss as we develop it along, I daresay we might suprise you ;)

    Now we cannot promise that we will please each and every fan of the game, that is impossible sadly. But, we want to make the best game within this frame work, and for that we need one important thing: you, the players. We’ve got a forum where you can discuss (or rant, your choice) with us, it is read by the developers when they are not sweating on their code and the game development. Stop by, have a post, make a rant (don’t be suprised if you get an answer). Adam was so gracious to link to it in the interview post, but I’ll add it here too: http://bit.ly/YdvazB

    As a final note, before I end my epic wall of text, single player will not be available in the first installment, due sometime this year. But, it does not mean we have forgone it completely, and we definitely know that it weighs on the minds of players.

    Cheers,

    eccy

    • AstralWanderer says:

      Eccy, thanks for taking the time to post here.
      One objection to the direction DR appear to be taking with the new IG is that it is going to be a very different game from previous versions. With the singleplayer offline IG1/2 you could play and set aside those games as you chose. Multiplayer almost invariably pushes players to team up (so having to be online at specific times) and often requires minimum levels of play (so no stopping for a few weeks or months). For myself and others, that means singleplayer is far more preferable.
      F2P is arguably the biggest misnomer in the gaming industry. Multiplayer games require significant maintenance (on top of development costs) and the only way “F2P” can work as a business is by pushing players into transactions. Even if they are not “essential”, they need to be pretty darn desirable or DR will lose money on a large scale.
      Finally you say:
      “…using the MMO way was the least restrictive way of having some sort of DRM involved without pissing off players too much. There is no beating around the bush here, piracy is a big thing, and offline games without some sort of DRM are cracked within days, if not hours after release (and some even with DRM).”
      Take a long hard look at sites like the HumbleBundle and GOG (selling DR’s Haegemonia at http://www.gog.com/gamecard/haegemonia_gold_edition BTW) whose big selling points are *no DRM*. Piracy has been present since the earliest days of gaming (indeed, I would argue it was the driving force before games were widely available) and the industry has managed to prosper regardless. Allowing fear of piracy to dictate how you treat your legitimate customers is an appalling strategy which is costing many publishers an increasing amount (I boycott any form of DRM myself and so have not purchased anything from EA since Dragon Age Awakenings, nothing from Activision/Blizzard and only the occasional DRM-free offering from Ubisoft). If you’re so concerned about online copying, there is a simple answer – don’t release anything and leave the marketplace open to those more willing to treat their customers with respect.
      Thanks for reading.

      • Mark says:

        Well said, I would agree with pretty much all of this.

        I think the idea that a game company is so worried about piracy that they mutate their game into a form that no one has the slightest interest in playing is just….. bizarre.

        As you pointed out, there are other companies out there with a far more sane view on customer relations and they are the ones that will be getting my money.

      • Gray Carlyle says:

        Amen brother! Well said. I would like to add that I have serious concerns about the f2p/p2w balance. Balancing will be hard if not impossible to achieve apart from cosmetic stuff. Any gamplay relevant stuff will screw the game, since I assume it will be competitive multiplayer.

    • Oldgamer says:

      No offense but I will never play any f2p our any type of mmo game. If any game announces itself as such it’s instantly off my radar. I wish you good luck but I will never be interested regardless of your reasons.

    • RandomBlue says:

      I’d like to point out that games without DRM are not “cracked”, there is nothing to crack as anything requiring a crack is considered to have DRM. Even games with DRM are cracked within hours or days if not prior to actual store release, which is why many intelligent consumers point out that DRM usually causes more problems for paying customers than it does for pirates as DRM tends not to play well with all configurations. In many prominent instances in the past, DRM has even caused major performance issues with the games it is embedded in. For example, Morrowind, a major AAA RPG had many issues caused entirely by the DRM included in the game. The Witcher 2 also had similar issues. Beyond that several always online DRM games such as SimCity and Driver: San Francisco were unplayable, or almost so, at release due to issues with the DRM.

      Regardless of the DRM, which really isn’t a major issue for me personally, the negativity you see from almost everyone else posting here is due to both Free to Play and apparently a drastic departure from the 4X roots of IG.

      We can only wait and see if what is produced is a good game in the vein that most of us are interested in. However, the Free to Play issue is a huge one. Almost every F2P play I’ve seen has basically tried to extort money out of players to continue playing, meaningfully, after a certain point. The problem isn’t that we’re against spending money, most of us aren’t. I’d gladly pay up front and even a monthly fee (for online only games) if I found the game enjoyable. The problem is that the F2P model is mostly a dishonest model designed to trick players into spending more money than they realize. For example, almost every F2P game shows purchase prices in an in-game currency without a display in the local user’s currency and requires you to purchase that currency in batches, not just the amount needed for the current transaction. It’s sleight of hand combined with the gift card model. Hoping we don’t know how much we’re spending and hoping we’ll spend more on in game currency than we ever actually use.

    • Osirion says:

      I was happy when you announced a follow up since a got the first 2 game and loved them but sad when you added MMO…

      I do not want to compete with another player, i do not want to interact with them… I want to play at my pace for this type of game. Being forced to play with another human when you are not interested will not add to my pleasure, it will only kill it.

      Online only… What happen if my link is down? Yep nothing… So sorry but no thanks… To bad since i really like the first 2 one… I still have the original CDs…

      If the game is only available when we are Online then i will not buy it or play it. I refuse to be dictated when i should play.

  28. SchDerGrosse says:

    “Andras Peller: To touch on the subject of 4X again (we know it’s a hot topic for our fans), the first installment that will be released will contain the “EXTERMINATION” element. That being said, we look forward to seeing all the ideas the fans come up with about that on our forum.”

    So we’ll have a game with with the eXtermination part at the release and over the years they MIGHT add some other 4x elements.

    This combined with the Free to Pay, I mean free to play aspect results in a deadly mix for me.

    I have nothing against companies going for the quick money on the MMO market but DONT DARE TO CALL your product Imperium Galactica.

    The funny thing is, that the game might be quite successful. I bet a lot of 13 year kids will be fascinated by the shiny graphics and the online play.

    I myself as a fan of the 1st and 2nd installation (+ lets not forget about HAEGEMONIA!!) will stay away from this abomination. But hey its obvious we are not the target audience.

    Shame on you digital reality. Shame on you.

  29. spec says:

    yep seems everybody is trying to get a piece of MMO pie, F2P or otherwise but i will say sorry but no thanks. singleplayer would be another story. would definedly buy that. i seriously hate current “everything must be online and multiplayer trend”

  30. borovnica says:

    Well I guess I’m happy I never played IG, otherwise I wouldn’t be happy :D
    I’m really interested to see what they plan to do with this, I like inovation. I know people hate f2p, but depends on what games you played, dota 2 and lol are prime example how to do this kind of model. Guild Wars 1,2 are good example as well, granted they have to be bought, but in game shop is purely comsetic and boosts to XP, etc…
    Don’t get me wrong I prefer single player games, and only mmo I played is Guild Wars 1 and 2, so I had positive experience with MMO genre. All in all good luck to making something new, I really hope it works out for ya :D

  31. shbs says:

    What a damn shame.

    Imagine a game that took the basics of IG2 – but updated it with bit of Galciv2 and ship design aspect of Stardrive.

    I’d pay money for that.

  32. Peter says:

    Disgrace to make it a MMO. Why does everything these days have to be a MMO? MMO’s are overrated and are all the same.

    I bet you MOO 4 will be a MMO too … [sigh]

    ps Digital Reality, im still waiting on a remake of the game “Reunion”! :(

  33. Daniel Judah says:

    Opening statement : I will not play any online-only games.

    As I don’t buy Sim City, I won’t also buy this game. Though I love Sim City very much, though I still play and mod Sim City 4 to this day, I won’t buy their game.

    Not to mention that this game is F2P. I won’t have a problem shelling out my cash for a good game. F2P with DLC content is a recipe for disaster. 4X is not only about extermination, if I remember correctly.

    Instead of debating about ONLINE ONLY MODE AGAIN, as we have debated in Sim City forums eons before the game is launched, why the developers didn’t learn from Sim City’s failures? Look at Sim City now, only praised by “few gaming sites” but shunned by majority of players. Look at how Sim City 4 flourished and still has loyal followers, while Sim City 5 fails to gain new players.

    Digital Reality may grab some new customers, maybe some kids who are fascinated by “possible extermination”, shiny graphics, or by how they could get shinier gun faster than others by shelling out cash. But you WILL LOSE A LOT OF YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS.

    All developers insist that we need some social content. In fact, I don’t care at all about social content. I play 4x games usually in short burst, sometimes I shelve it for weeks because I am busy. Must I attend to my empire at all times? Seriously, MOST OF US DON’T CARE ABOUT SOCIAL CONTENT. Read it again, please. Oh, take a look on how buggy is social interaction in Sim City, if you need an actual case.

    Dynamic universe? A PAID DLC will do that just fine, thank you. We don’t need dynamic universe if my carefully-crafted empire destroyed by kids who has 16 hours of gaming each day, or have some cash to have uber ships faster.

    Lastly, you won’t surprise me.
    I love the game, as I love Sim City much. But I do hate the business model. Giving you and EA my money will definitely show the gaming world that we love “so-called free to play games”, while in fact, I and a lot gamers abhor them. If you gain profit, all developers will follow suit, and the gamers will be at loss. I won’t show ANY SUPPORT to companies that engage this kind of business model, regardless of the quality of the game.

    Thank you.

  34. drinkdhmo says:

    This is a terrible idea! Learn a lesson from Star Citizen. They are recreating a game we all loved in a genre that was supposed to be dead and making a killing. They are bringing it into the 21st century with style, all without buying into the bland pay-to-win or subscription business models. DR could do the same, but they have to resolve right now not to sell out to the corporate bean counters!

  35. fanboysmustdie says:

    Star Citizen has a very similar model to f2p, just watch this interview:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcoKythmkUs

  36. dthorus says:

    The game has been cancelled.

    • RandomBlue says:

      Well that sucks. I was hoping they’d see the feedback and change directions or maybe come out with a great game despite what we all expected. Oh well.

      • vackillers says:

        Its not the game thats been cancelled, and we have had no official word yet from Digital Reality, all there has been so far is one person on the official forums has mentioned that Digital Reality have gone bankrupt or are shutting down due to financial issues.

        This could mean anything about the game! most likely to be cancelled but without an official word yet from DR, its all but pure speculation at this point.


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