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WHAT: New AI War Expansion Next Month

I'm thinking of buying Space Alert. Should I buy Space Alert?

Christ. Not last week I posted about Arcen Games’ colossal update of their maximalist space strategy game AI War, which included hundreds of new ships and porting the entire game to a new engine. Guess what? They’ve just announced a new pay-for expansion, Light of the Spire, will be released next month. Arcen say they’ve got some “some seriously cool ideas for this one, too”.

What’s happening with Arcen’s finances? Weren’t they in trouble? Well, in a recent blog post they’ve once again displayed a remarkable degree of transparency.

Basically, it sounds like the release of AI War 4.0 has temporarily put them in the clear. On the subject of why they’d release an expansion where all the proceeds go to charity while they were running out of funds themselves, founder Chris Park says this:

We’ve had loads of people telling us we should “put an end to that charity thing” and look after our own finances first. If we go out of business we won’t be able to help the charity any longer, whereas if we get stronger and bigger we later can do more for charity. Our answer is, simply: no.

On the surface that seems like solid advice, but we’re not keen to start going back on our word just when things get rough. The charity micro-expansion has been a boost to us in terms of visibility and press, so it’s not like it’s completely selfless at this stage, if that makes those worried about this feel any better. But even if that wasn’t true, we wouldn’t want to cut this off, as we deliver on what we promise and we’re not about to start taking money promised to sick kids just to help ourselves. I’d rather go out of business.

It brings a tear to your eye. To lower the tone slightly, I really hope a consequence of this won’t be AI War being included in the actual Child’s Play aid packages. I cannot imagine anything more heartbreaking than some tired, diseased kid eagerly loading up his new videogame and promptly getting brutalised by an angry AI after fighting it for 11 hours. Imagine it. The click of the closing laptop, then silence. The child, he is too tired to cry. So tired…

So, how about that new expansion, Light of the Spire? I was going to write about AI War sometime soon, but this messes with my plans. I’m gonna have to get a move on, or everything I write will be outdated and I will be the laughing stock of games journalism.

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Quintin Smith

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