Arcen’s Next Game Is Skyward Collapse

By Jim Rossignol on April 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am.


Chris Park has revealed that the next game from Arcen (AI War, A Valley Without Wind) will be called Skyward Collapse. So what is it? Well, “it’s a turn-based 4x simulation god-game.” He explains: “Set high in the sky atop a floating landmass that you are actively constructing as the game progresses, you oversee two warring factions (Greeks and Norse). Via solo play or co-op, you play as “The Creator,” helping both sides of the conflict — granting each side buildings, resources, and even new citizens.” It’s a game about balancing conflict, as Park writes: “your goal is to balance this conflict as best you can so that neither side gets wiped out. You win by having the most points generated (read: most carnage) without either side committing genocide.”

There’s a bunch more information through the link. They’re aiming for a beta this month, with the first version of the game appearing in May.

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45 Comments »

  1. MuscleHorse says:

    After the absolute cluster-fuck of awful of AVWW I can’t bring myself to be interested in anything Arcen does now. Pretty much every design choice in that game was terrible despite the initial reveal being so promising.

    • MrMud says:

      Still, AI war is one of the best strategy games ever made… That at least makes me interested when they talk about a new strategy game.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I just hope people don’t give up on Arcen for AVWW, ‘cuz Arcen really doesn’t deserve to be abandoned just yet: AVWW wasn’t actually bad, it was pretty decent as a game,it just didn’t really have any appeal.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          What AVWW really needed were some good writers and some semblance of a plot. A big sandbox isn’t that interesting when it is all so samey.

        • realityflaw says:

          The biggest issue with AVWW is that it didn’t play to Arcen’s strengths.
          Arcen has great game designers and great programmers, but not great writers, artists, animators, etc.

          Even after they brought in a contractor to polish the art AVWW felt like it was comprised of ‘coder art’. The game mechanics were solid, and AVWW1 in particular was a lot of fun to play. But it’s hard to get over those lackluster production values in that genre.

      • kemeno says:

        Yeah, I definitely think of strategy games when I think of Arcen, in spite of their latest offerings not really being from that department. I’m happy to see them go back to designing the kinds of games I’d really like them to make!

        This seems like something I’ll be keeping on my radar, for sure.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        What did people like about AI war so much? To me it seemed like the worlds best tower defense game?

        • sinister agent says:

          Put shortly, it was an RTS where you actually had to think about your every move, rather than just building the biggest clump of units possible and steamrolling it across the map.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            I think that’s a rather crass summation of a pretty important genre for PC gaming.

            Besides, Star Ruler should have taught everyone that fielding the biggest individual unit, and steamrolling everyone, can be VERY fun, even if the UI was pretty obtuse. I still fire that one up, from time to time. AI war, on the other hand, sits on my steam with (checking) 118 minutes played.

            Maybe I’m just too thick and American for a “proper” strategy game, but I prefer to think that AI war was just overrated.

        • Brise Bonbons says:

          Part of AI War’s brilliance is its huge variety. You could play it like a massive tower defense game – at least on certain map settings and difficulties – but you can also play it as a stealth-RTS game where you never really reveal your presence and destroy installations with cloaked craft, or assault forces delivered directly to their target via jump ship. It can also be a balanced strategy game where static defense protects key production while your offensive fleets scour the galaxy for resources while methodically reducing AI fortress worlds.

          The options in the game are just massive. Different map types result in totally different game flow. The tech tree is hugely important and truly forces you to make decision that effect how you play the next 8-12 hours of your game. Not to mention all the optional mechanics that can be toggled on and off on a per-map basis, such as alien factions, asteroid mining, space trains, massive space drills that threaten to destroy planets, and on and on.

          It is a hard game to appreciate, certainly. It can be counter-intuitive if you’re used to other strategy games, and the UI can be challenging to learn. But it is certainly one of the best RTS titles I have ever played.

        • realityflaw says:

          I tend to enjoy an emphasis on strategy rather than tactics in my RTSs. Shepherding massive fleets in battles on multiple fronts while orchestrating precision attacks on key installations just really does it for me.

          I’d buy AI War all over again if they’d implement automated combat AI a la Dark Reign so I didn’t have to babysit my fleets so much.

  2. misterT0AST says:

    I hope this won’t be like every other Arcen game I played: nice premise, trememdous lack of charisma of any of the graphics or design choices, high quality programming and good overall execution, wobbling back and forth in uncertainty over what the game should be until after it’s released, absolutely no fun mechanics.
    I frankly wish someone else thought of the games, Arcen developed them.
    They’re so competent, open and serviceable, and yet it’s so hard for them to grasp what is NICE and FUN.
    I’m still AMAZED at AVWW’s multiplayer: no limit of coop players, as many as the server can take. And it all worked as smooth as silk for me.

  3. Ianuarius says:

    Jesus. At first glance that screenshot looks really good. Then you zoom in and find out that everything must look good from a distance since the grapchics are god-awful. What a shame.

    • Chalky says:

      You’re right, the graphics are pretty bad despite looking good when zoomed out.

      Still, this is probably just placeholder or rough concept graphics.

      *edit* actually, I’m wrong and the game is out next month. A shame indeed, but games don’t need to have awesome graphics in order to be fun. I guess we’ll see.

    • CobraLad says:

      Zoomed it after your comment.
      dat building perspective…

    • Aklyon says:

      I can’t tell if you seriously dislike the graphics or people are just not liking them because its an Arcen post :\

      • terry says:

        They might look better if they chose a light source and stuck to it. As it is the light is coming from directly above, from the top right and the top left, depending on which asset you’re looking at. It’s scrappy in the extreme.

  4. FFabian says:

    Greek and Norse? Can it get any more boring?

    • Isair says:

      This is is something that at first seemed like a minor issue, but the more I think about it, the more it annoys me. Why choose two cultures that have nothing to do with each other? If it’s just for aesthetics, couldn’t you just go with Romans vs. Celts? Why choose two polytheistic and fairly non-religious cultures when you’re playing as “The Creator”? Actually, why choose any real world cultures when you’re on a floating island? If you somehow have justifications for the last one, why not use it to pick two cultures that aren’t as overexposed?

      Everything about it just seems like they put a bunch of ancient cultures on a dart board and closed their eyes.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        That does seem rather strange. As is the MAXIMUM CARNAGE idea, although that could work given sufficient in-game reasons.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          That game idea seems perfect to comment on modern day (or any day, really) arms trade. Setting it in a classical world seems… strange.

      • iniudan says:

        Greek not been religious, you are mostly talking insanity, Classical Greek were very religious, simply seen by how extravagant their holy site were.

        Three of the ancient world wonder were dedicated to their mythology. Statue of Zeus, Temple of Artemis and the Colossus of Rhode.

        In Alexandria’s temple of Apollo, they had automated sliding door. The first vending machine was also build to distribute measured quantity of holy water. All this thank Heron of Alexandria mind, inventor of such thing has the first steam engine (Aeolipile) or the first recorded wind powered device with his wind-powered organ.

        • David Bliff says:

          Well they weren’t religious in the sense that we understand it. “Superstitious” is more accurate, though without the condescending implications. The important thing is that their religion wasn’t moralistic. That’s a fundamentally different approach to the divine than later Western religions would take.

    • sinister agent says:

      It could be humans and orcs, or elves and dwarves. Like every other game in the universe.

  5. Mr Chug says:

    Sounds like a more in depth version of Fail-Deadly which doesn’t end in nuclear war.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      Did Arcen make fail deadly? Because this is clearly inspired by it.

      • invicticide says:

        Arden didn’t make Fail-Deadly, I did. :)

        This is the first time I’ve seen that mechanic pop up elsewhere. It’s an oddly fascinating experience, to say the least.

        • KDR_11k says:

          I think I’ve seen it in one other game before this (and after Fail-Deadly, of course) but I don’t remember what it was, probably something I saw on Greenlight among the 1250+ titles I voted on there.

  6. avruis says:

    That looks promising. I enjoyed very much both AVWW2 and Shattered Haven. Will keep my eye on this one

  7. BurningPet says:

    Finally. i have been waiting for Arcen to develop another strategy game ever since AI wars and they finally have! i suspect their strength which was always in the strategy genre will have a chance to reveal itself once again.

    Mentioning the serious graphic design issues Arcen has is starting to become boring. if they choose to lose thousands of potential players i guess its their choice.

  8. Commissar Choy says:

    I liked AVWW and like the look of this.
    I found AI War too intimidating.

  9. sinister agent says:

    This is a terrific concept. Brinkmanship as a core game system is just inspired.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      By inspired I hope you mean inspired by other games which have previously done the exact same thing?

  10. Brise Bonbons says:

    I am very curious about this one. I enjoyed AVWW1, and liked the strategy layer play in AVWW2 but the combat and exploration in the second game didn’t click with me.

    I am hoping that this game will be less of a struggle for Arcen. I applaud them for developing outside their strategy box for a while, but I must admit I’m much more confident in their ability to make a turn based 4x game than a platformer, at this point.

    Also I’m pretty damn bored of platformers right now.

  11. DarkFarmer says:

    I like to try to usually follow the “If you cant say anything nice”… adage, but I really have to speak up as yet another weird-looking and obviously hasty Arcen title gets press. Arcen is IMO a totally mediocre indie developer that I feel really gets way too much press for how sort of middling their games are. I mean, yes I am a struggling indie who never gets any press, so of course, these are comments from the peanut gallery, but good games should reach out and grab you, and all Arcen games ever do is immediately swat me away. I totally understand that as devs they have alot of passion, and these projects clearly contain alot of effort and work, but so do all games. Why do they get a free pass and no one else i guess is my question. Flame away, this is definitely a rant.

    • David Bliff says:

      They at least admitted that AVWW was a piece of unfinished trash by giving everyone who bought it a free copy of the sequel on Steam.

    • drewdupe says:

      If you make a game as awesome as AI War then I will start caring about your projects too.

    • dE says:

      I’m not entirely sure Arcen actually does get a free pass. Tidalis tanked cause it couldn’t gather enough attention. Shattered Haven is probably in the same boat (it’s already on a 75% sale for crying out loud).
      What Arcen does really well is communicate. They actively listen to feedback, have detailed and working websites (hint: double-check your cyber-wing link… I kinda hate parked domains), provide detailed changelogs and explain their decisions in great detail, they create Lets Plays of their own games, they credit their playerbase in the games for suggestions. It’s all these little things that add up. Also it helps that their title AI War was a surprise hit.
      If I look at your website and actively dig for information, all I can find is you releasing those some games. Something not having worked out in the past and something about caffeine. Uh, cool? If you’re angry that you’re not getting the same kind of coverage as Arcen does, you need to improve your communication channels and advertise a bloody hell more. Also know your target audience… by the looks of it you’re selling android games and nothing but.
      Pump out an addictive PC game, contact John or any other of the folks (there is a special button for Indies) and see what happens.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      Part of it is because they made games a lot of people liked (AI War, Tidalis). AI War: Fleet Command is still one of the best strategy games out there, and Tidalis is one of the more clever and content-packed casual puzzle games there is.

      They have made other games that haven’t been liked, but they’ve still been putting out a lot of content and features for AI War so that hasn’t stopped them from continuing to make a game that a lot of people do like.
      Even if their other games after Tidalis didn’t exist, continuing to support and improve that game in the way they’ve been doing would still be getting them “press” anyway.

      In that sense they’re not really getting a free pass. They’ve already been doing enough to get “press” and the stuff they’ve done that hasn’t been well liked has occurred more in addition to rather than in place of that.

    • DarkFarmer says:

      Hah hah! I regretted posting this as soon as I did it. I love how the one post I hoped no one would read ends up getting the most replies of anything ive put on RPS. I love the internet. PS heres some PC games they are both free

      https://sites.google.com/site/gamecyberwing/ remake of Herzog Zwei in 3D

      https://sites.google.com/site/roguefleet/ space survival roguelike permadeth fleet sim (think Battlestar Galactica simulator)

      sorry about the rant, Arcen. Keep on keepin on.

  12. Andy_Panthro says:

    Reminds me somewhat of Mega-Lo-Mania in some ways. Which is a good thing, I think.

  13. oldkc says:

    FOR- THE THUNDUURR

    …..FOR THE STORM.