Real-time strategy games can be pretty complex, but you generally don’t have to concern yourself too much with the economic particulars of whatever war you’re fighting. You harvest your Tiberium, your vespene gas, your minerals, and turn them by alchemy into tanks, guns, and troops. You’ve got tactics to focus on, after all, no need to concern yourself with the dollars and cents.
But Industrial Annihilation—which starts its crowdfunding today on StartEngine and can be preordered on its official site—is chucking all that out the window. Mashing up a factory sim and an RTS, the latest game in the Planetary Annihilation series promises to have you laying out an achingly efficient supply chain for your various wars at the same time as fighting them.
“The idea very much came from playing games like Factorio,” says the team at developer Galactic Annihilation in a chat with PC Gamer, “To us, factory games all felt like they could use a real RTS layer in them.” So you’ll spend a big chunk of your time in Industrial Annihilation planning out your factory, establishing your supply lines, and deciding how best to defend your myriad conveyor belts from enemy incursions. A bit like a real war, then, except you can direct all your available industrial capacity to manufacture something called a “fusion planet crusher”.
Galactic Annihilation (that’s the studio, not the game, and yes I get them mixed up too) is keen to emphasise that both sides of Industrial Annihilation (that one’s the game) are fully featured games unto themselves. “The intent is to have a world-class factory game that people can engage with, combined with a world-class RTS game,” the team told me, adding that the studio is trying to cater to people who come to the game from things like Factorio and more traditional RTS fans.
“The [RTS] genre over the years has moved towards focusing on the combat units at the expense of base building,” says the team, “We feel like the base building lovers have been left out and we really hope Industrial Annihilation will really bring those players back and cater to what they love.”
The notion of juggling a war economy at the same time as juggling a war might sound a little overwhelming, which is why you can delegate half your responsibilities to the AI in order to focus on whichever part of the game you really want to get into. “The goal is to have the entire campaign playable as a factory game if you so choose,” say the devs, while other players could—at least in theory—leave a lot of the economic management to the AI while they focus on waging war. It sounds like that’s a little less feasible, though: The team points out that “It’s one thing to create a base and then give the AI units to play with, and it’s another thing altogether to ask it to create your base for you.”
On top of that, there’s plenty of niceties you’d expect from an RTS game in the modern era. Industrial Annihilation will let you choose between two main factions—Chaos (those would be the bad guys) and Machina—as they wage war for control of the galaxy in both a single-player campaign and multiplayer matches. Each side has its quirks and playstyle differences, and each will need to build up an effective war economy before it can win.
Also, as an aside, the team promises “Tsar Bomba level annihilation” from the game’s expansive nuclear arsenal, which is both a strange sentence to read in a giddy tone in a press release and also something I am 100% on-board with.
Consider me curious about this one. The emphasis on economic management sounds like it could either be a fascinating wrinkle or too many plates for my fragile brain to keep spinning at once, but the team seems cognizant of that. “This isn’t the kitchen sink game like [Planetary Annihilation],” they told me, “With PA we literally put in every crazy idea we had and what we found was that a lot of that stuff just isn’t effective or doesn’t get used as much.” Even with an expanded focus, it sounds like Industrial Annihilation is trying to cut out the cruft.
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