No, Really, What Is Starvoid?

By Jim Rossignol on August 24th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

That looks real-time enough to me.
Paradox’s games don’t exactly all leap out and explain themselves the moment you glance at a statistic-framed map screen, but even among their current line-up Starvoid is looking a little obscure. Which is odd, because it’s actually fairly straightforward: it’s an RTS. But it’s not a classic base-builder, no sir, in fact it’s something a bit more akin to classic multiplayer deathmatch modes. Leap in and just start fighting other players. No building, no resource wars, just a bunch of units and blowing each other up. It is, in fact, “mostly about the fun!” says the design director. Tsk. Strategy players don’t want fun, they want clicks, and reasons to frown for extend periods of time.

For purposes of answering the question “what is Starvoid?” you can watch the devs explain themselves – and Starvoid – below. I mean they sort of explain it… don’t they? Okay, no, I still have no idea. Sorry! The game arrives next week, apparently.

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38 Comments »

  1. Safewood says:

    Can this STARt to fill the void in my rts heart?

  2. mcnostril says:

    Visually, this looks disturbingly similar to DoW 2.

    • Cuddlefish says:

      I honestly thought they had somehow misposted a Dawn of War 2 pic until I looked more closely. Uncanny.

    • Sardonic says:

      You said it, I’m surprised Paradox doesn’t get sued more. Ah well, I suppose with WiC’s drop in/out server and matchmaking architecture and DoW2′s gameplay, it could be good.

      But seriously paradox, can’t you keep your eyes on your own paper?

    • Silvermarch says:

      Yeah, that was my first thought too.

      • Lord_Mordja says:

        It’s missing the most important visual cue from DOW2, however, and that’s readability.
        From the trailer, all the units seem difficult to differentiate at a glance and use such a faded colour palette that they barely stand out from the landscape.

    • LXM says:

      Agreed, all the trailer did was make me want to play some DoW2

  3. Rikard Peterson says:

    Interesting. Now, if someone would do the same thing for a turnbased game, and make it work. Then I’d be very interested.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yeah. That was my thought as well, actually. It’s baffling that companies of Paradox’s ilk haven’t turned out an awesome turn-based tactical strategy in the past couple of years.

      • kaffis says:

        Precisely. My biggest disappointment with the Real Time Strategy genre has always been that it teases me with words like “strategy,” and often even delivers “reasons to frown for extend periods of time,” as you so eloquently put it, but then deny me the *time* to perform said frowning at a comfortable pace.

        This most often causes all pretense of making actual decisions based on my frowning musings to be cast aside in favor of rote repetition of trained responses to specific stimuli, which isn’t nearly as interesting a prospect.

  4. Koozer says:

    Unfortunately, the only parts of RTSs I really enjoy are base building and resource management. Shooting always gets in the way of making pretty bases :(

    • belgand says:

      Agreed. Building your base, doing research, politely existing with your neighbors. It’s really the best part of RTS games. Whenever I actually have to leave my base and go fight someone I always get upset that I’m no longer having fun.

      Then again, I also find the combat parts of RPGs to be tedious and would much rather just find new towns to explore and interesting people to chat with. Take out the inventory and towns in an RPG and you just have a lifeless hunk of a game.

      Perhaps the time has come for developers to acknowledge that for at least a portion of their audience the “fun” “action” of their games are actually the bitter pill we have to swallow in order to play the bits we enjoy.

  5. dontnormally says:

    Please be anything like Myth.
    edit: sci-fi Myth. I and II (not III).

    • bhagan says:

      I will sacrifice my firstborn to Paradox if it is so

      • Berzee says:

        Don’t do that.

        Maybe you could dedicate (like Hannah did with Samuel) instead of sacrificing. Little dude in a hand-stitched coat runnin’ around the Paradox offices.

  6. MythArcana says:

    Let me guess…it’s a stripped down SupCom2 meets DotA with ICR for DRM and DLC for every single new unit to come out. Yeah…pass.

    • Unaco says:

      Do you have knees left? Or a desk?

    • Brun says:

      “ICR” would be unprecedented for a Paradox title, they usually don’t do things like that. Not sure why you’re jumping to that conclusion, other than being a bitter old man.

      EDIT: Okay, multiplayer-only. So maybe ICR. But so what? I thought that ICR was okay for multiplayer-only titles, right?

    • Eclipse says:

      but what’s ICR anyway? :O

      • Brun says:

        It’s the same thing as “always-online” but some nitpickers around here don’t like that terminology.

    • belgand says:

      Hmm… but does it have TLA?

  7. ceenima says:

    …multiplayer only?
    that’s a little worring

  8. Bobka says:

    “No building, no resource wars,”… no fun?

    • Phasma Felis says:

      So it’s actually about strategy? Bitchin’.

      Don’t get me wrong, I liked C&C and Starcraft, but it always baffled me how “real-time strategy” somehow came to mean “SimCity with guns”. This whole notion of three guys with hammers rolling up to a warzone, building an entire R&D campus/factory complex/military firebase in minutes using stuff they find on the ground, and then manufacturing soldiers on the spot to charge suicidally at the guys doing the same thing a quarter mile away…never stops being hilarious.

      • belgand says:

        By which you mean “all about tactics”.

        A game that is “all about strategy” would involve you managing the entire army and probably controlling logistics and supply trains. It would have absolutely no fighting aside from “send this unit over here” and then waiting to hear what happened to it.

        In fact, Crusader Kings II is pretty much along these lines. You don’t control the battle, you have commanders to do that. You control the strategy.

    • pakoito says:

      Dawn of War 2.

  9. Jools says:

    Man, I feel like such a ridiculous stick in the mud for even bringing this up, but I hate when developers say something is “all about the fun.” It’s such a meaningless thing to say. I mean, I generally don’t run out and buy games that I don’t think are going to be fun. And I generally don’t expect developers to aspire to make things that aren’t fun. It usually just means “we got rid of all the stuff that acts as a barrier to entry for this genre even though that stuff is probably the reason people enjoy it in the first place!”

    I’m turning into such a grumpy old man. :(

    • NathanH says:

      Your post is all about the grump. But correct.

    • Baines says:

      What about art-style indie games? The ones that are all about the art, or all about the message, or all about being counter to mainstream fun, or whatever happens to be the cool thing to be about that week?

    • reggiep says:

      I’m pretty sure he means fun as opposed to serious. Starcraft is fun, but when you start getting bogged down in APM and all the minutiae of the strategy, it starts to be work. People like work when they are good at it, but that doesn’t necessarily imply fun. Starcraft at that level is more stressful than fun I think.

  10. Rawrian says:

    They should have spelled the name like StarVoid, it sounds like something that has to do with starving children and robots to me.