World Of Tanks Publisher Working On Master Of Orion

I’d entirely forgotten that Wargming.net, publisher of the World of WarVehicles games, had acquired the rights to the Master of Orion and Total Annihilation licenses back in 2013, so when the news of a Master of Orion reboot arrived this morning I was taken aback.

“What?” I said. “Who?”

I didn’t ask why though because I can fully understand the desire to revisit one of the original and best 4X strategy series. Details and video below.

OK. Let’s be frank here – it looks like a video made for a mid-nineties sequel to a 2d game that exists purely to show off the new 3dfx Voodoo graphics. Spaceships, now in all of the dimensions. Let’s move away from the video and take a look at the FACTS.

Wargaming aren’t developing the game – which they simply refer to as Master of Orion – internally. Development duties are with “Argentine-based NGD Studios…with key members from the original title’s team”. NGD have previously worked on one of the better received Adventure Time games, Finn And Jake’s Epic Quest, and Bunch of Heroes, a top-down co-op zombie shooter with humour. I don’t detect a strategic legacy, although Wargaming have something of the sort themselves, having begun their march toward world (of Tanks) domination with the turn-based strategy of Massive Assault.

Enhanced visuals, built from the ground up, breathe new life into the vast galaxy available to explore and conquer, as well as give new personality to the many races which call it home. Players can expect a revamped user interface, an orchestral score from the original game’s composer, voiceovers by well-known actors, new user tutorials, and more to deliver a classic yet fresh experience to one of gaming’s most respected franchises.

The mention of “new user tutorials” and a revamped interface makes this sound like it might be close to a remake rather than a reboot. Could it possibly be a jazzier HD/3D/jazzed-up sort of thing rather than a reinvention? It seems possible. Someone crunch all of the numbers in this section of the press release and see if they add up to some sort of MOO/MOO 2 hybrid (we will not mention MOO 3 again, ever).

Lead one of 13 playable races in your bid for galactic domination, each with several unique advisors, racial advantages, technologies and specialized ship designs. Will you choose the fearsome Alkari warriors, savvy Gnolam traders, the sentient Meklon robots, or a race closer to home: humans?

Colonize planets; grow your army; befriend nations or battle them. With Master of Orion’s massive galaxies ranging from 20 solar systems to over 100 with unique stars, new and untamed worlds are all waiting to be seized in your fight for supremacy.

Will you crush worlds; manipulate leaders; horde resources; all of the above? With nearly 100 unique technologies and over two dozen types of structures to aid in your galactic conquests, the choice is yours.

The official site disagrees with the number of playable races (it reckons 10, which is the same number as in the original game). There’s no release date as of now but we should learn more at E3.

65 Comments

  1. Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

    Wargaming is not the publisher of choice for me when it comes to dealing with the awesome legacy of MoO. :/

    Hopefully they will surprise and prove themselves worthy of the series, though.

    • Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

      No edit button. Ffs rps.

      I hope that they will in no way include microtransactions. That would piss me off beyond belief.

      • dontnormally says:

        NO MICROTRANSACTIONS
        NO MICROTRANSACTIONS
        NO MICROTRANSACTIONS

  2. Hedgeclipper says:

    Some question marks round the developer having the experience but all in all I think.. *clears throat* squeee!

  3. Shar_ds says:

    FWIW, Massive Assault was a fantastic little war game. There’s probably no relation at all between the teams (pub or dev side), but that’s not a bad single-game legacy to have!

    • Tony M says:

      MA Phantom Renaissance is one of my all time favorite strategy games, and I still go back to play it. I was pleased that Wargaming.net found big success with World of Tanks, but disappointed because that meant we’d probably never see a Massive Assault sequel or another strategy game from these guys.

  4. RedViv says:

    Cautious excitement. Yes. That’s the best description for my state right now.

  5. BurningPet says:

    Wow, that trailer..

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      RaveTurned says:

      Dogfighting around asteroids? I guess they’re making an elite-style spaceship sim.

    • -Spooky- says:

      You mean the clone / redesign of the intrepid class from Star Trek? Well done. *slow clap*

      • Ejia says:

        I was going to protest that it looked more like a Nova class, but I can see the resemblance.

  6. AngoraFish says:

    Please please please please keep it 2D everything.

    • Sirius1 says:

      Unfortunately, devs these days consider 2D obsolete. I agree with you, I’d like it to be 2D, but I can’t see it happening.

      • Zenicetus says:

        Not exactly obsolete. Games like Endless Space and GalCiv3 are still played with 3D spaceship models restricted to a 2D grid. The trailer hints at 3D tactics, but it may just be for the cinematic effect.

        • vlonk says:

          But 3D combat will complicate the turn-based combat of MoO. It might be a design space best left untouched. Otherwise kiting strategies get even stronger because you cannot corner those pesky little missile boats.

          • Colwolf77 says:

            Combat in 3D doesn’t have to be overly complicated and can still use a turn based system. It just takes a clever intuitive way of putting across the information. I think a lot of games that have used 3D in the past for tactical space combat have done so without considering the gameplay enough and done it purely for the visual aesthetic.

          • dontnormally says:

            Flotilla is the only turn-based 3d combat game I can think of, and it did it pretty well.

            I would prefer things stay locked to a 2d plane, though.

      • manny says:

        Sorry guys, Massive Assault uses it own propriety 3D game engine, which looks crap, and will no doubt be used for this new Master of Orion game.

  7. TheWhippetLord says:

    I hope I may be forgiven for being That Guy, buuuuut…
    -Do Wargaming.Net do any games that aren’t online-only with a multiplayer focus? The new MOO site is asking for a login for their unified MMO-type login.

    -Number of races: 10 would suggest MOO, 13 was the number in MOO2, which would make more sense. (Although I did once speak to someone who preferred MOO to the sequel.) No mention of custom races yet, as far as I can see, which was half the fun.

    They’ve not put much art up yet, but the Burathi looks authentically daft. The Sakkra is more ‘Depressed Gorn forcing out a stubborn poop’ than I remember.

    -Galaxy size: 20 – 100 systems seems about the same as MOO2.

    I would dearly love an updated MOO2 but I’m not celbrating yet. After all, I bought the Unforgiven Sequel so I learned to be suspicious about my MOOs.
    Not much evidence to go on yet, but I’m cautiously pessimistic. There are so very many ways that they can feck this up.

    • salgado18 says:

      Don’t forget this part:

      “With nearly 100 unique technologies”

      MOO2 had OVER 200 techs, and that was one of its greatest strenghts. It was pretty hard to max all techs because of the sheer number of them, and designing ships was very fun thanks to the infinite possibilities.

      I’m very cautious too. But, if they screw up, I’ll just install good old MOO2 and give it a go :)

      • whorhay says:

        Your tech was actually limited to researching up to 1/3 of the possible options, unless you were a Creative perk race. You could also try to steal and trade for tech but that never worked well for me.

        I always played Creative perk though and never had any trouble getting all the techs, that said I was a kid and was likely playing on a Candy Land type difficulty level.

    • WyldFyr says:

      Hey, I’m one of those guys!

      I wont go into why I didn’t like the 2nd.. lets just say I had issues with the UI design and felt it didn’t play at all like the original.
      With that said, I’m also cautiously optimistic. *fingers crossed*

      • WyldFyr says:

        Hey, I’m one of those guys!

        I wont go into why I didn’t like the 2nd.. lets just say I had issues with the UI design and felt it didn’t play at all like the original.
        With that said, I’m also cautiously optimistic. *fingers crossed*

        Sorry, also cant find the edit button, and I dont know how to use html tags, lol….
        I was just responding to TheWhippetLord saying
        “Although I did once speak to someone who preferred MOO to the sequel.”

  8. Bladderfish says:

    What did happen to Chris Taylor anyway? Wargaming.Net bought him up, and that’s the last we heard of him.

    Be great to see a story on what he is doing now. Always liked the guy.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Chris is working on a new Total Annihilation game, that is pretty much confirmed. The only question is whether it’s a free-to-play game or not. Same here with MoO.

      Though when those Atari-acquisitions happened there have been several comments the Wargaming-peeps know their classics (TA and MoO still have a good name, despite some lesser sequels/spin-offs). You can’t shoehorn every genre into a free-to-play experience.

  9. Sirius1 says:

    My very first thought on reading the title was “Oh God, they’re going to turn it into an MMO.” I’m at least slightly less pessimistic having read that they are outsourcing development to a single-player-game-centric dev. I still have little hope that it will live up to the name though.

  10. jezcentral says:

    O.M.mf-ing.G.

    MOO and MOO2 were my nineties.

    Hell, I even played MOO3 twice. (I managed to lose my second game without even meeting any aliens, thanks to the council vote. Never went back).

  11. Mogglewump says:

    I find myself repeating this like a mantra: “Please don’t f*** it up.”

  12. Gilly says:

    we will not mention MOO 3 again, ever
    More’s the pity. MoO3 was the only one with any interesting ideas, IMHO.

    • Sin Vega says:

      I never got into the first two, they just never grabbed me (stark contrast to Master of Magic, which was and remains immediately brilliant). The third though, that one was a real shame. It tried to do some very clever things, particularly with macromanagement and automation.

      Aside from the massive bug problems, I do wonder if it could have been something really special if it had just admitted it was a whole new game and nothing to do with the Orion series. If it should be compared to anything, it’s Distant Worlds.

      • Arglebargle says:

        MoO3 was actually pretty interesting, with the help of a couple of years of intense modding design work. Out of the box it was somewhere between a kludge and a clusterfuck. I may be slightly prejudiced towards the series though, as the robot voices were done using my old vocoder.

      • Smurph says:

        MoO3 was one of the first games I bought with my own money, and without having played much 4x before I had lots of fun with it. There was way too much tedious stuff looking back, but there is something cool about starting a war and immediately having dozens upon dozens of individual combats taking place all over the galaxy. The only thing that comes close is probably Hearts of Iron.

      • Colwolf77 says:

        I actually wouldn’t mind if this version of MOO took a leaf out of Distant Worlds book when it comes to automation. Admittedly in Distant Worlds it is pretty heavy going and complex but this could be an opportunity to bring that system to a new audience and maybe (yes, I usually hate this word)’streamline’ it.

    • Cinek says:

      MoO 3 was a game of great concepts and flawed execution. IMHO there’s really quite a lot of things they could take from it to the new game.
      Actually – despite of what some people here say – I would not buy MoO 2 with modern graphics. I played and enjoyed it as a retro game it is, but there’s just… too little content in it for a modern day commercial title. So taking some inspirations from MoO 3 would be highly on my list of recommendations for a new title.

      What I’m afraid most of are micropayments. Last thing I want is WoT transferred to 4X game using an old brand. MoO deserves better fate than that, and I hope it will get it.

  13. Det. Bullock says:

    I have high hopes for this, at the moment I still play Master of Orion 2.
    I have tried Galactic Civilizations 2 as an alternative, but I found the ship customization system to be uselessly complicated, in MoO 2 you had two simple lists for weapons and implants and a number that determined the space available on the ship category of your choosing while in GC2 having to place everything in a 3D enviroment manually was a bit too much hassle for me.

    • Sin Vega says:

      You know you can just staple the ship parts on wherever, right? You don’t even have to pick a spot, just double click on the part you want and it’ll pick for you. It means your ships will look crap but I always end up doing it anyway because reorganising all your designs every 15 minutes due to new technology was tedious.

      • Det. Bullock says:

        Yes, I’m aware but having spaceships looking like that takes me out of the game, and one thing is to find the right combination of implants for your strategy, another is losing hours just to make a spacehip look the part.

    • Shadow says:

      Maybe I’m just thinking GalCiv3, but didn’t GalCiv2 have a number of stock ship models per race as well? You don’t really need to spend much time in the ship designer if you don’t want to. Pick a model, install weapons and systems (just like in MOO) and you’re done.

      • Det. Bullock says:

        Sincerely I don’t remeber any option of the sort, the only presets were the starting models, anything else you had to cobble toghether yourself.

      • Ejia says:

        Yes, GalCiv 2 had a few basic shapes/models that would pop up whenever you’d research something that could apply to ships.

      • Zenicetus says:

        In addition to the basic default models, in Galciv2 you could save your custom ship designs to be used in following games (at least on a per-faction basis, Terran ships for Terrans, etc.). So if you didn’t want to use a default design, you only had to create your custom version once, then call it up as a template in future games.

        IIRC, the trick was to save a physical design with all the “jewelry” bits, but without any modules as a template. If you saved it with modules, you had to have all those modules researched before you could use it.

        GalCiv3 uses a similar system but I haven’t had enough time in the game yet to figure it all out (blame Witcher 3).

      • Det. Bullock says:

        Yeah, the problem is I could not really get the hang of it, after a few hours trying to create something that didn’t look like a bunch of Lego bricks mashed toghether I just gave up, a ship editor this complex would have been a cool feature if the aesthethic part was optional and allowed to select weapons and implants and allowed at least a small library of hull presets for each category to select from like in MoO 2, but having to create your own presets is a pain if you are not good at it.

  14. Sin Vega says:

    I’m glad to be honest, the originals really need a tune up. Even several years ago, the interface was pretty cumbersome, and it’s a quite ugly pair of games. Something taking the good bits of the design and sprucing them up could be a great thing all round,

    • LionsPhil says:

      I dunno, I found MoO1 to have a lot of early VGA charm when I finally got it from GOG a couple years back or so.

      MoO2, not so much. With the higher resolution, it lost a lot of soul, and variety between your different advisors of your race. (Didn’t help I found the game less tightly focused either, without ever really opening out to scratch the itch Stars! nailed so perfectly.)

      • Sandepande says:

        MOO2 was perfectly capable, but MOO had that special something. One of the best bits, and still yet to be seen anywhere, was the randomized tech tree. It was great, having to slog with first-generation shields when everybody else has gone past Mk. X…

        • Darloth says:

          Sword of the Stars 1 had that too. It was great there, also. You should try it and see if you like it (realtime combat rather than turn based, though) because it draws a lot of inspiration from MoO 1. Alas, Sword of the Stars 2 tried to do much of the same things as MoO 3, and failed for many of the same reasons.

        • WyldFyr says:

          ” One of the best bits, and still yet to be seen anywhere, was the randomized tech tree”

          THIS!
          I tried to get back into 4x space games (Sin of Solar empire & MoO3, but no SoTS or Galactic civ, sorry.) since my days with the first 2 MoOs, but gave up when it seemed like every 4x i read up on only had the boring static trees.

          I loved turning warlord early in my MoO games once I discovered I had the neutron pellet gun in my research list.
          :]

  15. feday says:

    Really, just give me Moo2 with a slightly more tightened up interface and improved resolution/graphics. Add to that savable build queues – NOT AI administrators, mind you, just a list of queue slots so you can one-click get a production or research heavy base going. Maybe do some slight rebalancing (for instance, tone down the overpowered subterranean ability and minified beam weapons). Oh, and speed up the massive battles when there’s like 3 rows of ships on each side.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Seriously, any developer out there wanting to look at how to do automation in a 4X, look at Stars! Saved build queues is only the beginning. It was serious about letting you define your will to the orders system and leave you with only interesting new peturbations to deal with each turn.

      • Apocalypse says:

        That might be true, but at the same time the interface of moo2 is still functional for me. While moo1 is simply a nightmare.

        Similar things can be said about Starcraft these days. Fear the swarm? No Fear blizzards unwillingness to cut off old interface restrictions ;-)

        • WyldFyr says:

          Reallly? I found it to be the other way around. MoO1’s interface wasn’t bad for its day. You could fly around the map on the main screen and get info, place orders, and fine tune settings, all without losing much of the big picture. No pesky “windows” popping up and taking up nearly the whole screen! And all the special screens were one click away, with everything you could possibly need either on those screens or just one more menu down. None of this having to drill down 3 or 4 menus for something-you-need nonsense.
          I wont say it was perfect. There were some things hidden by hot keys, like missile base removal for instance. And it was tricky (or sometimes impossible) to click on fleets, But it was a joy to use compared to its dark, overbearing, and clunky successor.

  16. XhomeB says:

    Just look at Battle At Antares and build upon these foundations, if something doesn’t work in an “improved/changed” state – clone the solution provided in MoO2. Success – guaranteed.

    I don’t trust Wargaming as a publisher one bit – too focused on MMO space – but there is always hope.

  17. Superpat says:

    While I do love 4x strategy games, they always end up feeling too centralised to me, too monolithic. I want emergent factions, rebels, mergers, civil war.
    Basically I really want a 4x game that borrows its faction model from europa universalis or crusader kings.

  18. Cinek says:

    Wow, that’s some cheap-ass CGI there.

  19. Hunchback says:

    Enter premium races, premium ammo, premium skins, premium tech, premium ships and Type59’s…

    GTFO Wargaming, go back to milking tankers!

  20. vlonk says:

    Oh please do not fuck it up Wargaming. Both TA and MoO (1) are dear to my heart. I dare not speak the names of childhood games that got murdered in clickety cash grabs lately.

    All you really need is to bring the UI, automation and graphics to date. The core design, especially of MoO 1 is so on the spot. You have 100% of the planetary resources at your finger tips, how will you split those %? Need that planetary shield because a hostile fleet is inbound? Are you going to turn the planet in the meantime in a dump with all the pollution? They had a biogenetic killer virus and destroyed the planet anyway, ups. Should have evaced the population or build that extra starship instead I guess.

    It desperately needs an improved UI though. Neither the racial research bias is explained in game, nor the diplomatic bias of the races to each other. This game is so unbelievabely gimped without reading a good strat guide or the manual. Also a lot of the crucial information is hidden in submenues, no automation, sometimes complicated fleet management, etc. Just give it the “endless legend” UI and graphics treatment, that is all I would ask for. Fun Fact: MoO 1 still has a better AI diplo game than Civ 5 (of course much worse than EU 4).

  21. Nouser says:

    That galactic map seems to be based on the fixed hyperspace jumps of MOO 3. That kills part of the hype for me.

  22. socrate says:

    numerous reboot or remake are made for the new generation which seems to be basically made for a mindless chimp these days…and while im excited about this…i can’t help but to look at what as happened to my once loved title and MoO as to be one of the best 4x of all time…its not really an easy task for dev that never really proved themself or showed anything really interesting to begin with…and lets not forget the AI these days who is beyond bad in 99% of the game made,MoO had good AI somewhat amazing compared to the AI seen these days.

    seeing the really bad CGI doesnt really help ease the uneasy feeling this brings…also that focus on multiplayer and login doesnt inspire good things at all also.

    i guess il just wait and see…MoO2 still the best 4x of all time…dont screw this up

  23. Sidewinder says:

    What do you mean “one of the original” series, Adam? The phrase “4X”, as gloriously inaccurate as it is (seriously; none of those words start with X), was coined in a review of the original Master of Orion. I suppose you could argue that other earlier games had similar features, but let’s give credit where credit is due. On that note, thank you for simply referring to it as a “video”, rather than calling it a “trailer”, as so many would; it’s good to know that at least one person in Europe understands how time works. Also, what the hell is a Meklon?

    When one speaks of a Master of Orion sequel, the first thought is likely to be “it can’t be worse than MOO3”. A comforting thought, but I’d have you recall a conversation that must’ve taken place in ’84 or ’85 between two Hollywood executives, which lead to a bet that absolutely no one could make a movie worse than Superman 3- a bet which lead directly to the making of Superman 4.

    You’ve got a precious IP in your clutches, Wargaming.net. Make us proud- or you will make us very, very angry.

  24. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    They better not fuck it up with Free to play concept and microtransactions. Master of Orion is one of the best strategy games out there

  25. RegisteredUser says:

    For all the fans that are skeptical of this one and who were disappointed by the “Ship combat? Autoresolved and just a move animation!” idiocy that is Galactic Civilizations, take a look at the much by-RPS-beloved Distant Worlds: Universe game.
    While “realtime”, it is most definitely worth checking out due to the option to customize ships, stations, etc. and having a decent enough tech tree and plenty of races.

    Chances are DW:U will make you happier than whatever is going to come from this new MOO. Other things worth mentioning may be Endless Space, Star Ruler and Star Drive as series. While it still ran Space Empires was also okayish in a bind.

  26. Idealist says:

    How in the world did I miss this? Note to self: fail to check RPS for a few days more frequently. MoO was my childhood in so many ways. While I’m skeptical about Wargaming…if they really brought in David Govett to update the musical score, that gives me a good feeling about how much they respect the property.