Games For 2008: Multiwinia

If there’s one thing that makes me happy about 2008 as a year for PC games, it’s that it’s going to be really diverse. There’s not going to be anything else much like Multiwinia (“Survival Of The Flattest”), the multiplayer wargame that indie-chums Introversion are currently developing. It’s based on retro-sweetheart Darwinia, which stole our hearts away in 2005, but there are some pretty significant differences: not least of which is that the previously passive Darwinian nation has now fractured into a bunch of warring tribes, battling for resources and control of key locations.

Things are not as we left them…

One of the immediate reactions to Darwinia was that it might make an entertaining multiplayer game. Introversion, stretched for time and resources, had expressed their intention to create a multiplayer aspect, but needed to get the game finished. With continued interest in the multiplayer concept they concluded that rather than simply making a multiplayer add on for the original game, a totally new game was required. Hence: Multiwinia.

This means it’s quite different to the Darwinia we know and love. You’re now at war not with the virus, but with evolved, angry Darwinians. Introversion have created units, maps and game modes designed for competitive multiplayer games, and even pumped up the visuals a little to make that iconic look come to life in online battles. You just have to look at the screenshots we’ve seen so far to get a taste for that: explosions, plumes of polygons, tiny green men, shrinking, dying… oh the humanity. The strongest influence, perhaps, as you might infer from these screenshots, is that of the Total War games, with ranked, flag-bearing lines of Darwinians marching around the map.

Anyway, it’s two to four players, with various map sizes, objectives and play styles. It’s hard to say just how it’s going to compete with the multiplayer strategies that we’re used to, but with Introversion quoting anything from five minutes to half an hour for a game we can assume it’s going to be even faster paced than the single player game.

Interestingly, there could be some random elements finding their way into the fray. While the virus infestation from the original game has been defeated it hasn’t gone entirely, and might well crop up during your game. Introversion have said that their might well be third-party forces on the battlefield, but they’re not keen to unveil them just yet.

Introversion seem to have learned a great deal from contending with mutiplayer issues with Defcon, so I can see their work on Multiwinia benefiting enormously. It’s was definitely worth the wait to get a full game, rather than simply expecting Darwinia to be modded into a multi-user state. (And yeah, let’s have a co-op Darwninia now…) Anyway, I’ve actually convinced myself to get excited by writing this preview. I’ve realised can’t wait for Multiwinia: get on with it, Introverts!


  1. Chris Evans says:

    While I have loads of respect for Introversion and have bought Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon, I just have never been able to play their games for any length of time.

    They have great concepts and the games are great, but they just don’t do it for me which is a real shame. I think a similar thing will happen with Multiwinia for me :(

  2. Seniath says:

    I recently went back and finished Darwinia, and am now eagerly looking forward to this return to the world of Dr Sepulveda’s little green men.

  3. Mark says:

    “[W]e can assume it’s going to be even faster paced than the single player gamer (sic).”

    Well, there go my chances of playing it. I can’t handle Defcon at speeds faster than 2. Now I get to be outmaneuvered in Darwinia as well? Sounds like it’s going to be Starcraft all over again….

    And it’s a shame. I want to support Introversion, and I really want to revisit Darwinia!

  4. Geoff says:

    I love Introversion. I bought Uplink back and the day, and convinced many friends to do likewise. I will admit however, that I never actually finished it. I had a hard time getting into the proper plot; I mostly enjoyed the “doing missions to earn money to get better gear” part. Once I finally got the hang of hacking a bank, it seemed like money was unlimited, so I sort of lost interest. A shame, really, and the fault is mine for not using the shiny new gear to cruise through the plot part.
    I was also really impressed, upon returning to it a year or so later, to see that they added significant features to the game, not just bug fixes (the whole LAN hacking bit wasn’t in the original I played)
    And Darwinia I did play through all the way to the end. I quite enjoyed it, but I can’t say I ever thought “I wish this was multiplayer”. Just not really my thing. But the next single player game from Introversion, sign me up.

  5. fluffy bunny says:

    Looking forward to this! I’ve enjoyed everything from Introversion so far.

    BTW: The comments thread for Mount & Blade seems to be locked.

  6. Feet says:

    And you call it Horse and Blade several times. I mean really you should call it Horse and Sword, if you’re not going to refer to it by its actually name of Mount and Blade. You sillies.

  7. Kieron Gillen says:

    Er… fixed?


  8. malkav11 says:

    Mm. Didn’t care for Defcon (although I am apparently the only one). Doesn’t make me hugely excited about this. Although to be fair, competitive multiplayer is not really my thing.

  9. MaW says:

    Multiwinia’s going to be completely different to Defcon, I’m sure. I can’t get my head around Defcon at all, it has to be said. I had some fun playing it (and some nightmares afterwards, that game is CREEPY), but…

    Still, I rank Darwinia as one of the best games I’ve ever played, and can’t wait to get my hands on Multiwinia and start smashing those evil differently-coloured Darwinians to pixel dust.

    Oh no, what did I just say! Ban the game now!

  10. Rich Powers says:

    Picked up Darwinia for $6 at Big Lots a few months back. Funny how that bargain bin steal turned out to be one of the best games I’ve played in yearss.

    A multiplayer version will sell volumes over Steam I’m sure, especially if Valve discounts the game like it does with most Introversion titles.

  11. Kast says:

    Those poor widdle Darwinians :( Fighting and killing each other. Here’s hoping their souls remain intact and as such return to the land to be reincarnated like before. As such no more Darwinians will trully die, never again after the Soul Destroyer viruses took so many from us.

    I’ll burn every Gaulish town I come to for them daring to kill the heir to my shining Roman Empire. I will obliterate the entire world under a nuclear holocaust in DEFCON. I will frame a man for rape, murder and political engineering then destroy his company’s computer networks for the fun of it in Uplink. But I will fight tooth and nail to save every last little Darwinian and compulsively clear each island of red infection before continuing. It will be so terrible to see them slaughter one another in pointless, innocence-lost conflict.

  12. KBKarma says:

    Yeah, I’m looking forward to this one.

    I will admit however, that I never actually finished it.

    Not many people have, afaik. I sure haven’t. I keep getting caught robbing banks. Like some kind of high-tech but inept bank-robbing person you see in those TV shows about stupid criminals.