The quest for a worthy successor to Master of Orion continues, and Lord of Rigel, from the indie devs of Rhombus Studios, is one of the latest contenders. Their inspiration is clearly Master of Orion 2, judging from the game’s screenshots and their frequent updates on this site’s forums. Their strategy seems to have been to pick up from Master of Orion 2 and stick very close to its formula, while enhancing it to today’s standards and fixing some of its weaknesses. But, it’s not only about Master of Orion 2, apparently. Here’s how the devs describe their game.
“We’ve been working on a turn based space strategy game in the vein of Stardrive, Endless Space, Galactic Civilizations and Master of Orion called Lord of Rigel. Basically we’re taking everything we like, tossing out what we disliked, and really focusing on the end game which is always a bit of a weakness in these sorts of games. Having a Babylon 5 style cold war with two elder species is our answer, basically trying to do what Master of Orion 3 was aiming for with the New Orions and Galactic Council. The big thing separating us from the flock comes down to fleshing out the universe and sticking with turn based tactical (since so many current games have real time or non-interactive cinematic tactical).” –Rhombus Studios
The project seems to have started in early 2014. In September 2015 they released a demo for their turn-based tactical combat system and soon after they launched a Kickstarter campaign, that didn’t succeed.
But, it wasn’t the end for the Rhombus team and their venture, and in the latest status update they state to have been doing good progress and hope to release still in 2016 (as a matter of fact, Lord of Rigel almost made it to our 2016’s “can’t miss list” but we ended up not including it because we tried to be a bit more conservative with the release schedule expectations this time).
Key game features include:
- Turn based strategic and tactical combat (\Edit: now a real-time combat system as clarified by the devs in this post’s comments)
- Randomly generated Galaxies with a wide range of customizable parameters
- 10 Pre-set species with unique characteristics
- Species customization
- Minor species, including two Elder races waging a cold war
- Rich technology tree ranging from lasers to artificial planets and Dyson spheres
- Fully customizable space ships for waging war
- Easy to grasp but deep economic system
- Leaders, either mercenaries or from your empire, who are shaped by their successes and failures.
- Diplomatic system that is simple, but has considerable depth
- Several victory conditions including military, diplomatic, and research options.
- Strategic resources that require unique strategies to acquire, hold, and exploit
A few thoughts
The idea isn’t new. Many have tried (and are trying) to recreate the Master of Orion experience in one form or another (not to mention the official Master of Orion reboot itself which is on the way). But, again and again all seem to fall short to the expectations of people who want to relive the old classics’ experience. And, it’s not hard to understand why that happens, and why it’s such a challenge to create a worthy successor to Master of Orion: it’s because Master of Orion 2 (and its predecessor) greatness was not due to a particular aspect or subset of systems that need to be captured or done well, but due to the fact that the entire product worked brilliantly as a whole (not without its weaknesses, of course).
So, instead of trying to revolutionize the formula, what Rhombus’ team seems to be doing here is to take the totally opposite approach, by going with a very conservative design built on top of a proven concept. But, how close to the formula will Lord of Rigel really be, and how much will it need to be for the experience to feel familiar but at the same time still feel fresh enough to stand on its own? That’s what we’ll find out in the near future as we’ll follow this title and let you know more when/if it’s pertinent.
Lord of Rigel is a turn-based space 4X strategy game (\Edit: with real-time combat – as clarified by the devs in this post’s comments) currently being developed by Rhombus Studios for the Windows PC, Mac and Linux and, by the latest devs’ update, is expected to release somewhere in 2016.Subscribe RSS
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