Shock! Horror! Evil Genius 2 announced

Today, in news I never thought I’d hear: Evil Genius 2 has been announced. Evil Genius, to refresh your memory, is a 2004 real-time strategy game made by Elixir Studios, about a Bond-y villain building super secret bases for dastardly reasons while fending off meddling spies. It’s a bit like Dungeon Keeper, and it is good fun. Sniper Elite developers Rebellion picked up the rights to Evil Genius back in 2006 and, after a foolish attempt at a free-to-play Evil Genius for Facebook a few years back, now say they’re making an actual proper real Evil Genius 2.

“We’d like to make this super-duper clear – this isn’t a remaster,” Rebellion said in today’s announcement. “Evil Genius 2 will be a fully-fledged sequel and it won’t be free-to-play.”

Rebellion don’t say when we might see this game, as “development only began this Spring and is still at a very, very early stage.” But what’s taken them so flipping long? They offer a long answer.

“As some of you may remember, we were very close to announcing this project several years ago. Back then, our plan was to crowd-fund a new Evil Genius PC game and we made a series of steps to launching a campaign.

“So why didn’t we go ahead with it? Firstly, we were in the middle of a big transition into becoming our own publisher and we needed to put resources into the projects that became Zombie Army Trilogy, Battlezone on PSVR and Sniper Elite 3 & 4.

“Secondly, we decided crowd-funding wasn’t the way we wanted to go. After the growing success of the Sniper Elite series and other Rebellion games IP, we started to feel it wasn’t fair to ask fans to fund a new game if we didn’t need them to! With some big projects now out the door and being enjoyed by gamers worldwide, we feel like now is the time to return to the world of Evil Genius.

“So yes, it’s taken us some time to get to this point. But today we are in a position where we can happily say Evil Genius 2 is an actual thing we’re actually coding, designing and er… arting, right now!”

Evil Genius is only one of the things Rebellion have hoovered up over the years. They own Battlezone and have released remasters of the ’90s Battlezone RTSs as well as a new arcade-y Battlezone tank shooter. They’ve bought publishers of roleplaying games, magazines, and board games. Heck, they even own the galaxy’s richest source of thrill-power, 2000 AD – with Judge Dredd, Nemesis the Warlock, Halo Jones, Strontium Dog, Rogue Trooper, and all that (and are looking to license ’em to developers).

Anyway! Evil Genius. The first one is £1.79/2,49€/$2.49 in the Steam summer sale right now.

Here’s Rebellion boss (and actual horse-riding jouster) Jason Kingsley to gab about Rebellion’s upcoming games, including Evil Genius 2:

37 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Mungrul says:

    Evil Genius was fun in concept, and the animations and style were superb. But the game itself was monstrously janky.
    I tried it again recently, and it just takes too long to do anything remotely useful, while enemy agent action ramps up far too quickly in comparison.
    Besides which, the trap system needs a LOT of refining to make it more transparent and friendly.

    I hope they learn these lessons with this sequel.

    • haldolium says:

      True. Evil Genius was very charming and quite novel as well, but it just wasn’t a very polished game and could be rather frustrating.

      Never the less, good to see someone care about the IP. Really looking forward to this.

    • Premium User Badge

      DuncUK says:

      Evil Genius had bags of style, alot of half baked features (e.g. tourism as a base distraction was barely functional, traps barely worked and were arguably not that useful) and increasingly brutal difficulty with near-invincible opponents whose frequent visits required severe micro managing. Despite all that, I still loved it and am stoked for a proper sequel that hopefully fixes many of these issues and creates something more cohesive.

      • Archonsod says:

        I don’t think the problem was the hotel or the traps – both work quite well if you know what you’re doing. That’s the key point though – it never really explains how the various attributes affect the behaviour of your own minions or your enemies, which was something of a core principle for building an effective (tourist) trap network. It was kind of left up to the player to figure out why their own minions were setting off traps, or what the difference was between sapping an agent’s blue bar was versus their yellow bar (the same applies to the world map mechanics too). Tied to a game which doesn’t easily let you undo mistakes, and is more than happy to let you play for six hours before realising you screwed yourself over with the first corridor you built, is less than ideal.

    • Archonsod says:

      “I tried it again recently, and it just takes too long to do anything remotely useful, while enemy agent action ramps up far too quickly in comparison.”

      It’s quite possible to get through the first chapter without any non-scripted enemy agents turning up (although IIRC that does include one super-agent).

      • Premium User Badge

        Mungrul says:

        And where did I say I just played the first chapter?

        The first chapter is very quick and easy to complete; it’s later in the game it gets bogged down.

        Sending workers out on world missions takes them away from your facility, lessening the amount you can dedicate to research and development, as well as decreasing your security.

        Unless of course you send less out on missions, which means it takes longer to do anything because this limits your finances.

        Simply being able to increase game speed would have been a massive improvement. But even there, you’d face a disparity between the time you need to do something and the increasing frequency of enemy agent incursions.

        • PaulV says:

          “and the increasing frequency of enemy agent incursions.”

          1. Being on the world map and completing missions increases your heat. This brings additional enemies to your island. Heat will dissipate over time.
          2. Initially the enemy will mostly send over investigators, because they don’t know you’re on the island, they rather only suspect it. They’ll have a look around to see if they can find evidence of evil geniusing. If they manage to leave the island with said evidence, they’ll send in soldiers (how deadly they are depends on your heat level). Evidence that leaves the island also raises your heat.
          3. If you kill investigators it’s also taken as very suspicious, raising your heat as well as enemy presence.
          4. If an investigator goes home without finding anything (or forgetting they found anything), your heat actually goes down and they won’t send anyone for a little while. There’s various colored bars you can “attack” with your social minions that will decrease an investigator’s effectiveness and may even make them forget they saw something fishy in the first place. This is how you prevent the death spiral of ever increasing enemy forces.

          So if you’re getting completely murdered, that’s not the game being unbalanced, but rather you having put yourself into a battle you can’t win.

          • Premium User Badge

            Mungrul says:

            Point missed again I see. It’s less about that and more about how this all serves to artificially extend how long it takes to do anything. It swiftly goes from being a light-hearted, fun distraction to a long-winded grind.

            I’m happy that there are people out there as passionate about the game as you guys are. But I also know that guys like you will never accept criticisms against your favourite game.

    • Troubletcat says:

      I err… never had any of the problems being described in here. Played the game when it first came out without the help of guides or anything and didn’t have any issues.

      It did rely a lot on copious reading of the in-game help system to actually understand systems which is pretty bad game design by modern standards but for that kind of game, at that time was pretty normal. Even before I’d done the reading, I don’t recall having a hard time picking it up or thinking that its systems were particularly opaque.

      I’d definitely place it in the ‘flawed gem’ basket for other reasons, but I would never describe it as janky or poorly balanced.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I always recommend infinite cash to people who want to play it. The economy in that game is just kind of broken.

    • 4Valhal says:

      That was kinda the joy of these games of that era… Theme Hospital, Evil Genius, Dungeon Keeper, etc. They were all kinda half-off bundles of fun.

      Honestly that’s what I miss the most from the 90’s and early 2000’s were the games that developers tried hard to get done and released and just seen how they did, maybe making a patch if it made money. That was also when games were 20 bucks new.

      I remember some game I played that was about being a mob boss/running a pizza joint. You could break into other warehouses, take over territory, etc. It was janky as hell and tons of fun. And I didn’t get online to bash it and whine about it… I just enjoyed it. (Not saying you are, just in general thats what happens on these gamerag.c0mz)

      Now days a game like Evil Genius would of been crowd funded and put in Greenlight where it would of been bashed to hell by 12 year olds seeking perfection, lost funding, and never made it.

  2. Whelp says:

    Fuck yeah! I love Evil Genius to bits. Played through it again just last month (got the ID destroyer ending muahahaha)

  3. Solidstate89 says:

    Shit. Are you telling me I’m going to have give Rebellion money? Damnit.

    • Troubletcat says:

      Curious as to why this would be a problem… I’ve always thought of Rebellion as one of the good guys of game development.

        • April March says:

          Looks like you’ll have to rebel against your rebellion that reblled against Rebellion’s rebellion that someone else was using the word ‘rebellion’.

          I think less than a third of the words ‘rebellion’ in the previous paragraph match the word’s actual meaning. Try to spot them!

        • Ejia says:

          To be fair, sometimes I think Sins:Rebellion was made by, er, Rebellion, and not Ironclad.

  4. TychoCelchuuu says:

    Whoa, didn’t see this coming. The soundtrack for Evil Genius is a real treasure.

  5. Premium User Badge

    flyingscorpions says:

    Excellent first game.

    Needs a fast forward button.

  6. Ejia says:

    Wow, this was definitely a surprise. Time for another infinite wind corridor trap!

  7. something says:

    “Secondly, we decided crowd-funding wasn’t the way we wanted to go. […] we started to feel it wasn’t fair to ask fans to fund a new game if we didn’t need them to!”

    It feels so weird to hear that from a publisher. Is it April 1st again?

    • Troubletcat says:

      Yeah, that’s what I thought as well…

      Kickstarter being used by companies that could afford to just fund their own projects really irks me. It takes attention and funds away from the people that really need it.

      I also really hate it when studios with plenty of money release games into Early Access. Don’t charge money for a half-baked product you can already afford to finish.

      • bills6693 says:

        To the latter, I think it depends on how the company is using early access. For example some companies (e.g. Amplitude) use EA as a way to get player feedback and involvement in designing their games before release, not as a way to get more money, especially as they’re published by SEGA now.

        • jonahcutter says:

          Yep.

          Klei as well is an example of a studio that makes excellent use of early access to improve their game.

  8. Kollega says:

    Dear Rebellion,

    I have been an Evil Genius fan since around the same time you bought the IP rights in 2006. I bought it around the same time it first appeared on Steam, and that’s only just ’cause it wasn’t sold in Russian retail. Evil Genius is one of my favourite games ever, because it lets you play as a true classy Bond villain, the gameplay actually centers around managing a cartoony evil organization – though it sure could do with less waiting around for the spy agency heat to subside – and the amazing art and music make the experience really come together. You’re already making Evil Genius 2 as a pay-once game. If you take a sufficient amount of other necessary steps to not fuck this up, I will forever owe you, big time.

    Sincerely,
    Kollega.

  9. Koozer says:

    I’ll keep a Goldeneye on this.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      So long as we get it from Rebellion with love.

      • Kollega says:

        A sequel after 13 years proves one and only one thing: diamonds like Evil Genius really are forever.

        • ye-ole-PK says:

          This is a Royale of a game. I will be like an octopussy and grab with eager tentacles.

          • 4Valhal says:

            I hope, given their Facebook success, that Evil Genius doesn’t Only Live Twice…

  10. Premium User Badge

    Tkrens says:

    THIS IS AMAZING. Hot diggity I loved Evil Genius. I haven’t read the article yet however I am extremely hyped already. I’m on the high-speed electrified hype train.

    Though I should probably read the article in case this proves to be a cruel, savage joke.

  11. Abacus says:

    Evil Genius is one of my favourite management games of all time. So much charm and style, loved the soundtrack. The gameplay had a lot of problems but there was a complete drought of Dungeon Keeper style games and Evil Genius was such a fresh take on things.

    ISLAND BASE MONORAILS, PLEASE!

  12. Biscuitry says:

    The Rebellion blog post seems to have disappeared. Is anyone else seeing that?

  13. JustAchaP says:

    A lot of things they can improve on in this sequel. Hopefully they figure out which stuff.

  14. DWRoelands says:

    Official confirmation on the Evil Genius Twitter.

    link to twitter.com