As if one unfinished Godus game weren't enough, Peter Molyneux's studio 22cans have launched another. Godus Wars arrived [official site] is out on Steam Early Access today. It appears to be a combat-oriented spin-off with the fighty improvements that 22cans had billed as coming to the original Godus. Folks who bought or backed Godus get Godus Wars free, and it even comes with Godus thrown in, but I'm still not really sure why it's a separate game.
First, the basics: Godus Wars is a skirmish RTS with AI opponents. Two deities square off by sculpting land, raising armies, summoning their godly powers, and activating special abilities with their selection of 'cards' collected by playing.
Now shall we have a little history lesson? Let's. Godus is a strategy 'god game' from 22cans, the new studio of former Bullfrog and Lionhead co-founder Peter Molyneux, who was hugely influential through games including Syndicate, Populous, Theme Park, and Dungeon Keeper. Godus was to be a return to his god game glory days, a pitch which raised £526,563 on Kickstarter in 2012. When the first release arrived in 2013, it was barebones and so far from what people expected. And then improvements and expansions were slow to arrive. And then 22cans said they might never finish everything the Kickstarter billed. And then John had a word with Peter Molyneux about its many failings and oh gosh.
So here we are now, with Godus still far short of the game they pitched to pledgers, and things that look like they were supposed to be in Godus being in a separate game. 22cans say they haven't abandoned Godus, but don't say what they are doing with it. "The release of Wars proves that we are still dedicated to Godus," they say.
Why a separate game, given that it even includes Godus? Molyneux explains its origins in a Steam post, but that's mostly talking about additions and changes they started when trying to improve Godus. It sounds a bit like their experiments went too RTS-y, too far from god game. So what's happening with improving Godus's own combat?
I'd guess they're also hoping Godus Wars will become a little success of its own, shaking off Godus's stigma and - perhaps more importantly - the weight of those negative Steam reviews. That Eurogamer bit says 22cans need to sell tens of thousands of copies to see their plan through, which EG present as not being that many but to me sounds pretty high considering how well Godus has gone down. As a separate game, Godus Wars starts with a clean review slate.
Anyway. It's £10.99 on Steam Early Access for wild and trusting dreamers. I'll wait to see how it shapes up, thanks.