God’s Got Game: Skyward Collapse Trailer

The Collapse part of the title will be because of exhaustion.
By the time I’ve finished writing this paragraph, I expect Arcen Games to have written, coded and released 17 games, with additional DLC and ports. They’ve already released procedurally generated platform RPG A Valley Without Wind 2 and disappointing environmental puzzle game Shattered Haven this year, while turfing out hefty patches in preparation for an AI War expansion pack. And now I’m told turn-based 4x strategic god-game Skyward Collapse is out before the end of May. Guys, slow down! I can’t write that fast.

The game has an interesting precept. You’re the creator. You can squeeze gods from your own hands, create artifacts and creatures from Norse and Greek mythology, but don’t have control of any of the factions under your gaze. At the same time you must encourage the side to go to war while keeping the world of in balance. In essence, prod the people into fighting, but not allowing either side to win. It seems like a turn-based strategy game with a hint of The Sims: you can only influence how people work, trade, and fight, though you have direct control over the buildings and resources.

An example.

But you can’t just strip them of the ability to gear up for war: roaming bandits make defense essential. Not to mention, crime in each village goes up and up the longer it’s without a military presence, until it collapses into anarchy. You can construct embassies and assign traveling diplomats to them in an effort to reach a state of enlightenment where crime is no longer a threat, but this is difficult and only affects the two villages that are undergoing peace talks; their neighbors will remain as warlike as ever!

Free will is not a good trait to give people when you’re tasked to keep them in check. Subjugation all the way. See the trailer below for a peek. It’s not comprehensive, but shows off the art style and a few of the choices available.

The beta will launch on May 23rd. Oh look, they’re working on another game.


  1. wodin says:

    Soon as I saw the combat my heart sank.

    • frightlever says:

      I don’t have a great record with their games but the rapid development cycle means something has to give. If people like the concept, the core gameplay, they can release a second version that refines the graphics, the way they did with Valley. If it doesn’t fly, no harm done. It’s not like better graphics will make a good game.

      • wodin says:

        True..but that just looked poor..blimey I’m happy with Dom 3 battle system and graphics so my expectations aren’t high..but what I saw looked like poor graphics and gameplay mechanic..

        Also isn’t the beauty of a god game seeing your little minions walk around building and fighting and sinking in lava?

      • mouton says:

        I mostly stop noticing whether graphics are good or bad a few hours into a game. A strong gameplay will win over shoddy graphics and poor gameplay will expose pretty graphics to be the dead empty shell that they are.

        That is probably why many AAA shiny “blockbuster” games last only a few hours anyway.

        • wodin says:

          Again I agree..but part of the joy of god games is seeing your little animated minions..they don’t need to look amazing..but better than cardboard cut outs..

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      • Eldiran says:

        Unfortunately they also give up good game feel with their art, which is part of gameplay (a large part in the case of platformers). Frankly the problem isn’t that the art is poorly illustrated, but that all the high-fidelity graphics they do have are terribly used. Levels are a random mash of styles and characters animate like double-jointed stopmotion dolls. The attacks are all weightless particle effects of approximately the same shape.

        Suprisingly, Valley Without Wind 1 was way better animated than 2 (the protagonist was at least).

    • Rollin says:

      I feel the same about pretty much every turn based game since MOO2, they should just switch to a mini-RTS for it. There was a 1989 video game called North & South which did that and it was actually fun. Guess nobody caught on.

  2. Thurgret says:

    “The”? The what? Am I just missing some subtle joke in the first picture’s mouse-over text?

  3. antoniodamala says:

    The gameplay seems ok, but the game looks so ugly. It’s almost like they made an effort to look that ugly.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Now admittedly I have a crappy connection so I saw the trailer at a fairly low res and can’t see the full details of the graphics but the only things that looked wrong to me were the lack of animation (and the unit death effect) and one GUI window I saw there (gold border, black inside?)

    • Chalky says:

      Yeah, it looks really really bad.

      The combat is sort of like Monty Python but without any of the charm.

  4. MrWolf says:

    I hate — HATE — the font in all Arcen games. It’s the #1 thing that turns me off of their otherwise generally very interesting ideas, gameplay wise.

  5. GunnerMcCaffrey says:

    Not to mention, crime in each village goes up and up the longer it’s without a military presence, until it collapses into anarchy.

    You know, like in real life!

    • Triplanetary says:

      Yeah, it’s a little depressing when people cavalierly assume that people can’t behave themselves without a gun pointed at their head.

    • thecommoncold says:

      No, see, what is really going on is the military presence only LOOKS perpetual and things only LOOK lawful, when it is in fact constantly undergoing a rapid serious of violent revolutions, coups and brush wars, only to replace the current military oppressors with new military oppressors. And things are only “lawful” in that the newest winners rewrite the history constantly to hide the crime and violence they used to get in power.

      Of course, that’s all going on under-the-hood, so to speak. The game ingenuously represents it as peace to save on computing power.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        Bravo. [Strokes beard approvingly, discovering for the first time that he has no beard]

  6. guygodbois00 says:

    Skyward Collapse: A game by Monty Python.

  7. AngoraFish says:

    Precept? To take the opportunity for a gratuitous Princess Bride quote, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    • elevown says:

      Yup- precept means command or something similar. Did you mean concept?

      • Craig Pearson says:

        It’s from an earlier draft. I was actually using it because you’re commanded by another god thing, but couldn’t really figure that part out in my mushy brain. It is a hanger-on from an earlier time, a glimpse into an article now lost to us. Let us wish it a fond farewell.

    • frightlever says:

      To be fair to CP, he WAS typing left-handed.

  8. dE says:

    while turfing out hefty patches in preparation for an AI War expansion pack.

    All I needed to hear. My enthusiasm for ArcEn has waned a bit. But another AI War expansion sounds about right. I really, really enjoyed the Ancient Shadow one.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Keith just did a major overhaul of the AI in the latest patch, too.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      Yes AI War is getting another expansion and more free content and gameplay updates. The next update is going to be mostly about improving the AI and giving it more varied and interesting behavior.
      Arcen still continues to make AI War and they probably will for the foreseeable future, that has not changed.

      From what I’ve heard, at this point even if things go badly it’ll just mean Arcen shrinks back to the guys that make AI War, so they’ll probably continue development on it as long as people want it.

      So yea, there’s more AI War to come and there’s not much to worry about on that front.

  9. James Allen says:

    Actually, the game is in beta now and version 1.0 will be released on May 23rd.

  10. misterT0AST says:

    at 0:11.
    A fucking spelling mistake. In the official trailer.
    That’s the care they put in their work.
    Come on!
    How come it is so hard to learn when to use the apostrophe and when not to??
    How do people keep making this dumb, easy to avoid mistake?

    If that’s how they write sentences, I wonder how they write code.

    • sinister agent says:

      That’s not a spelling mistake; it’s a grammatical mistake. Conversational english has vastly different rules to any kind of code, so the comparison is fairly meaningless.

      • misterT0AST says:

        Whatever kind of mistake it is, it still pisses me off to no end.
        I’m sorry if the comparison between a fixed grammar rule of the English language and fixed coding rules of a programming language seemed too far fetched.

        • sinister agent says:

          It’s in a programmer’s remit to know code. It’s not in their remit to know grammar. Yeah, they should’ve checked it, but it’s no more relevant to the quality of the programming than a French tutor’s understanding of html would be to their work.

  11. strangeloup says:

    This post reminded me that I got Shattered Haven for £1.50 or something and still hadn’t played it.

    I took a break, played it for about half an hour, and came to the conclusion that yeah, it’s not very good, is it?

    Skyward Collapse at least has the dubious advantage of being an Arcen game that doesn’t look like butts. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite fond of AVWW and AI War (though admittedly rather more in a ‘these have really neat ideas’ way than actually being remotely competent at them) but they are not so much easy on the eye. Maybe it’s a sign of things to come and Spiderweb will hire an artist for their next RPG.

  12. PUKED says:

    “Arcen” and “strategy” is all I needed to hear.

    Their games since Tidalus have been questionable at best, but the consistently excellent design decisions they’ve made in AI War over the years is pretty undeniable. If Arcen’s cut out for anything it’s strategy.

    • Zorn says:

      I didn’t know about Arcen, when I purchased A.I. Wars. I just saw someone made a game
      I was longing for being made again, a game like those I grew up with. I then realized,
      I’m just not that invested anymore. But I don’t regret buying it. This is one of the
      games I buy, I’d gift, because I want to live in a world where these games exist. And
      I want that people are able to fall in love with them, like I did, when I was growing up.