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More RTS games should have gross ogres that burst open for a reverse Alien-like surprise

Stormgate, an upcoming RTS from former Blizzard devs, has revealed three new units in its Infernal Host faction, one of which lives inside another

A cropped-in close-up of the two-headed ogre Brute unit from the Infernal Host faction in Stormgate
Image credit: Frost Giant Studios

If you've been keeping an eye on Stormgate, the upcoming free-to-play RTS being made by former Starcraft II and Warcraft III devs, then its big bads, the Infernal Host, will probably be familiar in name, if nothing else. But during tonight's Gamescom Opening Night Live show, we got our first proper look at this demonic alien faction, as well as three of the units that will be at our disposal on release. And sure, the worker Imp and its long ears will no doubt appease the Grogu fans out there, but my personal highlight is the creepy flesh monster, the Brute. It looks rightly horrific, with its pair of grinning maws and glistening, pale skin, but at the tap of a key, it will rip itself down the middle in a mess of blood and gore so that two Fiends can burst forth Alien-style to continue the assault. It's kinda gross, but also weirdly rad? In any case, I'm into it.

In addition to those three units, Infernal Host players will also have to master their faction-specific Shroud system. This is a dark swirl of magical energy that grows as you build more of their Infernal structures, and will allow you to cast ritual spells to buff your units. It remains to be seen how far you'll be able to extend the Shroud across the map, but I suspect that keeping your units within it will be a key strategy to earning yourself an Infernal victory in its co-op matches and ranked competitive modes.

A close-up of the flame-tailed Fiend unit from the Infernal Host faction in Stormgate
A close-up of the long-eared Imp Worker unit from the Infernal Host faction in Stormgate
The Brutes (above, header) burst open to reveal the Fiend units (left), while the Imp Workers (right) are your classic (but cute) resource-fetching grunts. | Image credit: Frost Giant Studios

I was never much one for the high-level play of Starcraft II, admittedly, but I'm heartened by Stormgate's commitment to both co-op real-time strategizing, and giving players the option to just fight against the AI. For instance, its campaign can be played solo or with a friend, and there will also be a co-operative 3vE (three players vs the AI) mode, in addition to its 1v1 ranked matches against other players, and, further down the line, a team-based 3v3 mode as well.

A desert battle between human and demon aliens in Stormgate
Image credit: Frost Giant Studios

Best of all, though, developers Frost Giant Studios have really taken a hammer to the notion that you need to perform hundreds of actions per second to stand a chance at victory. Ahead of tonight's Gamescom reveal, I was given a quick glimpse of the Infernal Host in action, and pretty much every command you can think of, from constructing buildings and units to individual unit attacks are all mapped to your keyboard. This means you can queue up more units without having to click on your barracks, for example, and just start plonking down buildings without having to remember which thing lets you build what structure. I like the idea of this a lot, and I'm looking forward to getting to grips with it more thoroughly in its next alpha session.

Frost Giant Studios say there's still more reveals to come for Stormgate as they gear up for launch, so keep an eye on its Steam page for the latest updates.

For more of the latest news and previews from Gamescom 2023, head to our Gamescom 2023 hub. You can also find everything announced at Opening Night Live right here.

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