Supreme Commander 2: Supremier

By Alec Meer on June 11th, 2009 at 12:20 am.

Ack, how did we manage to miss this? Oh yeah – it must be because we don’t care about PC games one jot. So did you see that Ratchet & Clank XII, eh?

Pfft. SupCom 2 is a fascinating endeavour – partly because it’s a sequel to a game that scared away half of the people it wanted to appeal to, and partly because developer Gas-Powered Games teaming up with Square “…” Enix is about the most improbable match-up since Howard the Duck and Lea Thompson. Uber-hardcore RTS meets incoherently self-indulgent auto-mythologising: whatever will happen?

Well, something like this:

No, not that. That’s just bullshit CGI posturing with zero relation to the game itself. More like this:

And this:

Interesting that this stuff concentrates on the fundaments of RTS combat, and reassuringly so to PC old-hands, whereas reports I’d heard previously had concentrated on the improvements to storytelling and accessibility: always SupCom’s greatest stumbles. SupCom2 seems to be trying to do two very different things at once. Really hope it can pull it off, and that the mewling of the shocked fanbase doesn’t mean whatever GPG are trying to achieve with this gets lost in the noise.

Oh -those ramp-based levels seem a bit DemiGod, no? Quite the departure from SupCom 1′s endless, strangely flat battlefields…

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65 Comments »

  1. Lord_Mordja says:

    Just don’t go to the official forums. It’s… Ugh.

    I need a drink.

  2. Acidburns says:

    YES! SC was one game I never did well with in multiplayer, but was also one of the few games where I enjoyed the single player campaign; played through it a couple of times with different sides. They’ve definetly been inspired by their demigod work. Supreme Commander was 100% PC game and proud of it.

    Whats going down on the official forums?

  3. Gap Gen says:

    There are some nice ideas. Unit cannon. I want.

    But yeah, Supreme Commander’s design was fine, but it felt much more clinical than Total Annihilation, which felt positively terrifying at times, thanks to the constant scale of zoom. In SupCom, I only truly realised how big the Galactic Colossus was when Rooster Teeth did a video with one in it. If you can zoom out, it needs some reference frame so that you can go “Oh, my. A robot the size of a mountain just blew up another robot the size of a mountain” rather than “a robot killed another robot of a similar size”

  4. Loki says:

    Where is my scale? the endless endless scale….
    If this is anything to go on the it looks as if it is moving much more toward C&C than the previous game.

    (also Taylor if your reading this get back artistic control, no more fricking flame breathing Godzillas.)

    PS please don’t let this be a repeat of Kingdoms failtasticness.

  5. Meatloaf says:

    The walkthrough gentleman lacks confidence. It’s kind of sad. He sounds like someone trying to sell his product two minutes after his dog dies.

  6. fulis says:

    that’s chris taylor for you

  7. Serondal says:

    Maybe it’s just the 100th time he’s done that speach that day and it’s the 4th or 5th day

  8. Hulk Hogan says:

    Well, it can’t possibly be worse then the original SupCom. (aka. ordering icons to attack other icons at really low frame rates: the game)

  9. Bhazor says:

    My biggest complaint with the original was how dumb as a brick unit AI was. Just sitting there under artillery bombardment whilst my own artillery fails to move three feet in order to return fire, hundreds of tanks advancing in perfectly straight lines into fixed gun emplacements, endless ruddy collisions making the simplest move order into a weird sliding panel puzzle.

    What was really annoying though was how good the strategic AI was and how dynamic the air units were in comparison. Couldn’t they have carried some of that across so we could have some exciting fights rather than just two sides sitting there exchanging shots and remaining perfectly still.

  10. Eschatos says:

    The story of Supreme Commander was shit, but the gameplay was cool. It disappoints me that they’re taking away the stuff I liked a lot about the first one.

  11. Serondal says:

    This looks fucking amazing! as far as the first game being bad I have to disagree since I still have it installed on my computer and I just played it last night o.o There is just something about having 100 highly detailed units storming into battle at different scales (Small tanks with giant tanks and rolling death fortress backing them up, fighters whizzing back and forth with missile fire launching over head) SC was amazing! I’ll never really understand people holding a grudge against a game because they’re computer couldn’t run it.

  12. DK says:

    They completely destroyed (don’t want to use the r-word) the entire art style of the original Supreme Commander. They’ve diluted it’s simplicity and wonderful consistency to a colourful, boring mess.

  13. radomaj says:

    THIS IS NOTHING COMPARED TO STARCRAFT II! (Had to be done.)

  14. Sid says:

    The environments in the first one were dreadful. They just seemed to consist of enormous barren plains, so this is a definite improvement.

  15. Moonracer says:

    I remember a huge problem I had with Supreme Commander was that you couldn’t change the camera angle. Well, you could, but as soon as you let go it snapped back to a top down angle. I think that really destroyed the whole element of scale, since I couldn’t see enough of what was going on to play well unless I zoomed out more.

  16. nichevo says:

    I like the art, I like the meaningful unit upgrades (longer cannons, added AA gun, etc), I like the interesting new map possibilities (though I hope we don’t lose our old-school “continent and ocean” type maps).

    But the most important thing is scale! Seeing experimentals trading fire while smaller units battle underneath is a good sign. Now I just hope that arty guns and/or tac missiles have real reach to them so I can feel like I’m playing with proper armies!

  17. Thranx says:

    Don’t like the explosions throwing crap everywhere. That’s going to get real old, real quick, especially on a battle field with 50+ units being popped in 15 seconds. Even my nice super machine will lag. I no likey the lag.

    I also concur with the dislike for the wow gayness colorfication. :) I loved the look of Supcom 1

  18. steve says:

    “No, not that. That’s just bullshit CGI posturing with zero relation to the game itself.”

    Well, it’s all made from in-game assets, so it’s technically not “zero relation.”

    Also, the explosions are tuned a bit… aggressively for E3 demo purposes. They probably won’t happen with that great a frequency in the final game.

    As for the color, that’s just one map. I can assure you there will be plenty of other maps done in serious PC-appropriate grays and browns. Maybe even some green, but you know, dirty, gritty, serious PC-appropriate green.

  19. woppin says:

    Thranx, the stuff going everywhere after explosions thing was in Total Annihilation, the cheap flashed from SupCom annoyed a lot of people as they looked worse.

    Also I really like the levels…very Demigod…very pretty.

  20. Eli says:

    “incoherently self-indulgent auto-mythologising”

    will you please sleep with me?

  21. Gurrah says:

    Awesome! I’m biased because I am a total TA nd SC fanboy, I’d even let them get away with that weird dinosaur, but I did not see any proper LASERS on the Cybran units, just some sort of red plasma being spewed around. Cybrans need lasers, fast pulsing lasers. Best E3 video in my opinion, but then again, I am massively biased.

  22. MeestaNob! says:

    Looks great, but I hope they stick with the Robots That Fight In The Future theme rather than employ too much fantasy stuff from other genres (That Godzilla thing worries me a smidge).

  23. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    Only really played the demo of SC, but I was into Spring (excellent TA open-source thing here ) at the time so I didn’t really see the point in playing the bastardized version. :P I like the unit-shooter and the platformy-map thing (both look rather cool) but it looks like SC2 is scaling down the amount of units further than SC1 which (if I remember the AIM threads at the time) was less than Total Annihilation/Spring.

  24. Hulk Hogan says:

    I’m glad they got rid of the horrible muted tones and greyness from the past game.

    Just because Epic did it doesn’t mean everyone else has to, a little colour and vibrancy won’t turn you gay, people. (The Adventures of Big McLargehuge and Bulk RocktossGears of War might)

  25. ReturnToNull says:

    UNIT CANNON! Although I’m as always wary. Although I never played release the beta of the first SupCom was full of all kinds of fun little imbalances. Orbital Artillery super unit in thirty seconds, anyone? Or the T3 gunships and one of the races utterly useless AA.

  26. Wooly says:

    “Whats going down on the official forums?”

    It’s the end of the world.

  27. Tei says:

    Mixed feelings.

    First video: This is a no-video. Theres nothing on the video, is empty, nothing occur.

    Second video: OH NOES, A DEMIGOD MAP. Second trough.. this will be awesome, I suppose, for the fans for the serie.

    Third video: Again the demigod map. I want to build the tanks with whatever is made the floor, because this floor seems undestructible.

    Good luck and wellcome!. Good news again!, man, E3 this year has been crazy.

  28. SwiftRanger says:

    @Moonracer: ever tried Ctrl+V? :)

    Shameless plug but you can see more info in this massive SupCom 2 overview thread. I think pretty much every single snippet and video of the game is there and yeah, it does seem Chris Taylor and Steve Bauman have been giving the same demo hundreds of times during E3 (which is why you sometimes hear something new here and there, also funny stuff).

    If you watched and read everything then you’d know about hundreds of units, huge maps (this was a pre-alpha staged demo and all that), 25 experimentals for the three sides, Unit Cannons, escape pod and jumpjet upgrades for the ACU, a revamped economy system (read: no more stalling to confuse people) and lots of Woo going on. Not to mention the more sci-fi features like a neural net AI or flow field pathfinding.

    It’s going to be different but to me it sounds they’re directly tackling the less positive points of the original: poor performance, standard storyline and the steep economy learning curve.

  29. MrBejeebus says:

    If i fire 20 tanks at a building will it blow up?

    also i want this game!

    gpgnet wont work for me so i havent been able to play it for a several months :(

  30. Ashurbanipal says:

    Actually, I recently bought the Supreme Commander collector’s edition because it was absurdly cheap. I’ve tried to play it a few times but it hasn’t really grabbed me. Don’t know what it is. Several things, I suppose; squinting at the little nondescript robots crawling across the map like ants, the bulky interface, the dull, washed out colours of the thing. But all in all, I was delighted with the shiny little badge that came with it.

    I’m going to try it again, because I don’t think I’ve given it enough time, and I like the concept of giant vehicles of destruction and a mega-scale zoom. I have to be honest, I’ve never particularly liked any game Chris Taylor has ever released and I just might not grasp where he’s coming from. They all feel a bit soulless.

    With that out of the way, the above trailer looks amazing and, contrary to some of the previous commenters, I think it’s visually beautiful and engaging. Definitely makes me think of getting the sequel to a title I’d otherwise have no interest in.

  31. Jason says:

    Like the man said, its EARLY but still i can smell demigod all over it like whiskey on my old DT teachers breathe. I found demigod dull and repetitive, hopefully it will take demigod interesting idea and add some variety.

    I hope the unit design is rough/early because it sucks robot dinosaur dick. but yay for shooting units to where you need them.

  32. Professor says:

    SupCom was a sort of paradox for me. On the one hand, it talked about scale, massive amounts of units, and on the other hand, the game expected you to micromanage thanks to the shitty AI and the fact that units are produced in single quantities. That’s pretty stupid, even games where it makes sense that a unit consists of 1 actual unit such as C&C has realized that multiple units is more fun. Huge scale X Huge micromanagent = Too much for little old RTS noob me.

  33. SwiftRanger says:

    Who needs squad-like units when you have multiple formations, advanced grouping and waypoint options? Don’t click on every unit and send it manually to where you want but click on the factory instead, put it on infinite repeat queue, and place a factory waypoint directly to where you want your army to go. Grab some air transports, let them assist the factory et voila, you’re safe.

    No, about the only feature from a C&C game I’d love to see show up in SupCom (2) is that backwards driving toggle (C&C3).

  34. l1ddl3monkey says:

    I love Sup Com and FA. LOVE them.

    The only downside to SupCom; Just about everyone else that plays it online (present company excluded, of course).

    I just have a small circle of likeminded individuals and we play our private games every now and again. Means I can’t play as much as I’d like (against human opponents anyway) and of course I would like more FA action but, as with the PS3 and Xbox, I won’t play any online game that forces me to socialise with children and people who use their prowess at online games to make up for their shortcomings in real life.

    Yeah you beat me at FA – put it on your CV and see if it gets you a payrise. In the meantime I’ll be in this bar here talking to some real women, maybe you could pop along and tell them how good you are at managing an economy in SupCom and repeat that 32 minute rant you subjected me to on how much you hate Restorer spamming noobs; it’s sure to get you some action.

    For those of you who don’t like the games standard (admittedly shitty) AI: http://code.google.com/p/sorian-ai-mod/

    SupCom 2: Hopefully a good thing. I have my fingers crossed!

  35. Lonkero says:

    @Professor
    I suggest using the “repeat que” button and having factories assist one another (default action for right clicking factory with another one selected). The shift key is also useful. Supcom does get a bit micro intensive but unit production does not cause that.

    But SC2…. to keep the rant short I’ll just say that I for one think the art style is awful (those things look like toys, not robots) and the scale seems so badly toned down that all we have left is another bland rts.
    And yes, I consider the SC:FA to be an excellent game.

  36. Sabre says:

    I always wanted to like Supreme Commander, it looked so nifty, had top-notch music and really engaging voice-overs, but I could never get past the game’s second level. The Aeon kept crushing me, every single time I gave the game a try. I couldn’t break their defences on my own, and there’s no cheats out there to give me the leg-up I needed. I’d love to get this sequel, but when I can’t even get anywhere on the original, what’s the point?

  37. Voidman says:

    Like Chris said in the commentary this is pre-alpha (although it feels quite fleshed out already). I actually liked the platform structure of the demo map where you can expand using “islands in the sky” abusing air transport units natch – it feels like a nice addon to the gameplay. I doubt it will be the exclusive map format though (coz that would be just dumb), may however suggest more complex traditional land/sea maps with more levels of terrain – which could be very interesting. I agree that some unit designs are out of place – a friggin disnosaur! wtf is wrong with the consistent insectoid design?! – and it even breathes plasma and pivots by sliding (which may be improved but…), in short: bollocks!, also those AEON hovering balls with banners(?!) – it looks like something out of shitty japanese crpg – which make sense given the developer – still not very practical design not to say “crappy”. AT least UEF featured some fine ideas.

    Finally, he said “awesome” way too many times – which can devolve even a gaming celebrity to a retard.

  38. TauQuebb says:

    @l1ddl3monkey: Agree with you compleatly on that, no one plays for fun, only to win by micromanaging the economy with specific tuned build orders.

    Brought FA it to a lan party, everyone said they would ‘give it a go’. We ended up playing nothing but FA for the weekend.

  39. Ginger Yellow says:

    Can’t watch videos at work. Are the voice actors from Ghost in the Shell and the original SupCom returning?

  40. Gap Gen says:

    I’m not sure about the inclusion of proximity bonuses and shields in Sup Com. In TA, the uniqueness was partly the way the game encouraged you to build all over the map, rather than building a few, dense bases. Sup Com forces you to do the opposite, encouraging clustering of buildings to allow proximity bonuses and optimum shield placement rather than spreading out structures to prevent it all going up in one go.

    I still have happy memories of 6-hour skirmishes in TA with each side having an almost impenetrable fortress covering half of a vast map (nukes considered cheating, and I don’t think the AI used them, either).

  41. Vandelay says:

    I certainly like the look of this more than the original. Everything was so bland in SupCom, from the levels to the units. Nothing was particular exciting, and the odd unit that was slightly more interesting was irrelevant as you played the majority of the game zoomed right out so everything was just blocks. The larger number of experimentals here seems more promising and that map looked like a more interesting style. Just as long as they can get the scale of the original then I can’t see why anyone would complain.

    I also hope they speed things up. Units took an age to build (I usually found it wasn’t worth building some of the tier 2 units until you reached tier 3,) and then once you got the required 100 odd units you would have to spend the next 20 minutes waiting for them to reach the other side of the map. This was made even worse if there was water or a cliff separating you and the enemy, which meant you had to use the transport that could only carry a few units at a time. Having to move all your units with these would take forever.

    It also has the problem of the standard skirmish AI being absolutely hopeless. Only the toughest difficulty seems to do anything, and even then is a walk in the park for a mediocre player such as myself. The Sorian AI linked to above does improve this quite a bit.

  42. Tei says:

    I want future versions of SupCom to enhance the engine:

    There was a ultra-awesome video made in-game for SupCom1. But once in-game, the game was nothing like that. The camera controls angle and altitude where linked. So you was force to see in a very limited not-epic way your units. This was made like that (that strange and anti-usability) maybe because the map borders where ridiculously horrible.
    I want future versions of SupCom to at least fix that. Maybe a mix of the lame map design of DEMIGOD and a terrain engine can do that. Whatever… I just want to move the camera to see my units anhilating the enemy bots in scenes much like these of the video of SupCom1. In this area, Supreme Commander has unfullfilled the initial promise. I have still to see a epic scene on the game.

    GAMEPLAY: You guys can have your “C&C 3″ style gameplay, I have no problem here, because I am sure some modders will create a mod with “classic economy” SupCom. Anyway,… the C&C games come with “smart harvesters” that automatically search and collect stuff. Something that I have never understand from the TA gameplay is why harversted has to be microed. Why my commander has to be microed to play like a very dumb harvester. On a game with some really awesome anti-micro features, having this ultra-pro-micro feature make no sense to me.

    So… Give me a new engine, with better map borders and a free camera. Give me a beffed up AI for the harvesters. And we have a deal.

    Probably I need a new engine version because of the map borders. Anyway, If you are creating a new engine, hee…. don’t forget hills!.. different heights are part of the RTS culture. Theres a reason millions have die to conquer a hill on the WW1 and WW2: mayor vision distance and superior distance for artyllery / ranged weapons. I would be lame to play a RTS game with 1 chocke points, and a flat map. It may work for Demigod, but DG is a different type of game.

  43. Rei Onryou says:

    Am I the only one that liked the Cybranzilla? They’ve brought dinosaurs back to life, made them breath fire, made them huge in size, then attached armour and weapons to them. What’s not to like (apart from being incredibly different to everything else in SC1)?

    Also, unit cannon!

  44. Kris says:

    I can honestly say that the GPG and Square-Enix partnership concerns me. I actually think Square have gotten worse at telling stories as their games got bigger i.e. FFVII was probably the turning point and their strategy prowess starts and stops at FF: Tactics. Tactics doesnt seem bad but doesnt seem to have transerable game mechanics. Which seems to amount to SupComm getting overlong cutscenes and no useful strategic input from Square. Even worse, they may want to start showing every shot by a unit as an FMV cutscene.
    Imagine the scene, 100units on screen each with cutscene every time they shoot, like summonings in FF!

  45. Bhazor says:

    The art style of Supreme Commander? Whats that?

  46. Nallen says:

    SupCom 1 prompted my last PC hardware upgrade.

    I now feel Intel should be paying GPG some sort of comission :)

  47. Kieron Gillen says:

    Rei: If liking cybernetic dinosaurs is wrong, I don’t want to be right (trad)

    KG

  48. Rei Onryou says:

    Kieron: It all stems from my childhood love of Dino-Riders. Because all dinosaurs should have giant lasers attached to them. Seriously, this needs its own game/mod.

    <3 cheesy 80's cartoons with Peter Cullen and Frank Welker.

  49. AndrewC says:

    But why bother wrapping all the robot stuff around a real dinosaur? Why not just make a robot dinosaur?

    Unless, I began pondering, the devs did it deliberately to set up a conflict between the heartless machine designed only for war on the outside with the organic creature trapped within. And then I remembered Squeenix, and imagined emo cutscenes of a T-Rex crying in the middle of a battle.

    And it was the greatest thing ever.

  50. DK says:

    “The art style of Supreme Commander? Whats that?”
    Look at any Aeon unit. You’ll instantly know it’s an Aeon unit. Look at any weapon fired by an Aeon unit. You’ll instantly know it’s an Aeon weapon.
    It’s an incredibly coherent and consistent art style – something this very much does not have anymore. (Ugly, bloated Ball-things are not Aeon. Dinosaurs are not Cybran. UEF tanks do not have rounded corners.)