Release Dated: The Grey Goo Petroglyph Do

'I'll splode you!' 'Nuh uh I'll splode you first!'

As end-of-human-civilization scenarios go, I quite like the sound of grey goo. Yes, self-replicating nanomachines converting everything into more of themselves will become a real problem at some point, but think of the fun we can have in those first few minutes and hours, playfully feeding items into nanomachine puddles and – carefully – flinging around spadefuls of fizzing sludge.

That’s not quite the premise of Petroglyph’s game Grey Goo. We haven’t really had a gander at the RTS since they announced it in March but now that Petroglyph have announced a release date – January 23rd, 2015, calendar compulsives – let’s have a look-see.

So… we won’t be carefully feeding sticks into grey goo and marvelling at how they seem to vanish into the puddle. Sadly it’s set on an alien planet rather than our own Earth consumed by goo. What we will be doing is building bases, harvesting resources, raising armies, and blowing up other things wot are doing the same. That’s sorta Petroglyph’s deal, going all the way back to when its founders worked on Command & Conquer at Westwood. They’re had a run of bum games, though, leaving a trail of closed free-to-play games, a cancelled Kickstarter, and End of Nations vanished.

But enough history. Grey Goo is a plain old pay-once retail game, which I’d say is better suited to RTSs than trying to bend them into F2P. As for what’s different about it, it’s pretty big on base-building as you can see in these eighty minutes of livestreamed matches from a recent beta build:

14 Comments

  1. Cinek says:

    I got mixed feelings… in some ways it smells like yet another generic RTS. But the mechanics of goo, even though crippled by making them spawn regular units, seem rather interesting. Shame that they didn’t go full on with the goo making it purely one “unit type” that can split into a different sizes and grow by consuming stuff around – both friendly and enemy. Instead – as far as I see – we’re just getting regular faction “with a twist”.
    I hope there will be a demo version to try it out. It might be a good game, though I smell “generic RTS” all over the place.

    • Sucram says:

      I think you meant to say ‘generic RTS’ rather than RPG.

      Personally I miss traditional RTS games, there seems to be a dearth of them since they all got turned into MOBA games.

      • Bobka says:

        I also miss traditional RTS games. People complain about “base building” being a generic or overused mechanic, but really, I’d say it’s no different than “shooting,” which is way, way more common – it’s not about the core mechanic, it’s about how that mechanic fits into the wider context of the game, and how the experience feels as a whole. A single shared mechanic across many (fairly successful) games doesn’t automatically make that mechanic bad.

        Plus, the pendulum has swung far enough the other way that I feel a game like Grey Goo is really quite different compared to almost anything else released in the past few years. It’s practically a retro novelty at this point.

        • iondream says:

          I’ll second that. There are very few RTS’s being made. The player base is largely the same as it was years ago, it doesn’t have the sexy mass appeal of other game types, but people play them for much longer than other game types. I think if you don’t like “Base Building” you probably aren’t that into RTS’s in general. I realize that’s controversial. Then again, I play Dawn of War 2, which has no base building and plays much faster, so there is a case for it being fun too. Grey Goo seems like a long game RTS, where games without base building, like DOW2, are short game RTS. I for one want more long game RTS games.

          • NemesisZidar says:

            An Rts without basebuilding is no Rts.Thats one problem today, every idiotic developer throws this genre around without knowing what it is. And no, Total War is no goddamn Rts.Its an Rtt.Thats how we decided to call the genres 20 years ago and defined them. But idiots in the industry (mostly indies) throw words around without knowledge and then try to ride on the wave of them being so long into that, being veterans, being one of us. I say shite on them. People not knowing the difference and meanng between Rts an Rtt dont know anything about those games anyway.

        • Cinek says:

          I think you have been in a different world than I did… since when anyone considered base building to be overused?!
          And what the heck MOBA games got to deal with that? MOBAs as far as I’m concerned are 3rd person action games where you sometimes got an ability to control more than one unit. I know that people consider MOBA to be a sub-genre of RTS games, but they got next to nothing in common with RTSes, it’s only because of where DOTA started. If DOTA would be a mod of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light everyone would accept MOBA as a sub-genre of action platformers just fine…

          • Razumen says:

            The gameplay of MOBAs are pretty similar to RTSs though, despite the lack of units you do move your character around and view the world just like you would in an RTS. And though you have a lot less units to contend with, your own character has a lot of abilities that you need to coordinate together along with your teammates to be effective. Not to mention paying attention to the enemy’s positions on the map via wards, scouting, etc. Even your creeps’ position plays a role.

            On a competitive level, which necessitates each heroes huge strengths over the regular minions, it’s one of the closest things these days to a single character in a RTS game with an emphasis on micro over macro.

          • Volcanu says:

            To be fair about 15 years ago there were a lot of generic RTS games which relied on base building and then either tank rushing or just blobbing a giant army into the enemy base. I remember how refreshing something like Ground Control was (and later DoW) because they did something different and subverted or dispensed with a lot of that. But I’d say the pendulum has swung back now most definitely and building a base is now rarely done in the few RTS titles that actually get released.

  2. Cinek says:

    By the way – is it just me or did they reuse SW:EaW engine? Cause rendering style of this engine oddly reminds me of that older game (Obviously looks better now, it’s not an accusation, just a question).

    • evilbobthebob says:

      Almost certainly Cinek. Petroglyph have used the Alamo engine for all their games. On the plus side, it makes things reasonably moddable; on the downside, modding work I’ve done on SW:EaW has really shown its limitations.

  3. skyturnedred says:

    I just can’t get into an RTS that doesn’t zoom out like Supreme Commander. That game spoiled me, it should be a default feature.

    • vorador says:

      The genre peaked on that one. Sure Starcraft II provides a more “tight” experience and a better single player, but it doesn’t bring to the table anything new like SupCom did.

      Too bad about the sequel. Wait. What sequel?

  4. Xyvik says:

    Meh. I’d love to see a return to traditional RTS glory, like maybe an Age of Empires 4 or something, but Petroglyph have lost any semblance of talent or hope for me.

    First, their Star Wars game was an interesting idea, ruined by non-interesting ideas (team players all control the same, single base? ground battles were only check-point-gathering areas for dropping troops? crap)

    Universe at War was actually pretty cool, with some unique ideas thrown in, but ruined by having a hideously small unit cap. It felt like they were trying too hard to be Dawn of War, which is not something you want with a game that claims to have a “Universe” at war.

    After that, well, the post mentioned the string of badness that followed. I’ll glance at this when it comes out, but have no hopes at all.

  5. Furiant says:

    This article’a title sounds like a Cocteau Twins song.