And yet, that's exactly what he did. Elder Games may sound all big, official, and plural, but it's actually just a single, Herculean soul: a guy by the name of Ede Tarsoly. For the past two years, he's been very probably going out of his mind to synthesize Meridian: New World, a fully featured traditional sci-fi RTS. I mean, just look at that. I'm pretty sure it would take me two years to Photoshop a screenshot that nice - let alone build a full game around it. The game itself sounds quite impressively tactical, too - if a tad generic.
Meridian apparently has "a focus on storytelling," though its tale of Daniel Hanson (Dear Future Parents, MORE INTERESTING NAMES, PLEASE) and a mysteeeeeeeeerious planet doesn't strike me as particularly novel-sounding. The feature list is similarly standard, but nonetheless impressive, given the context:
- Traditional RTS gameplay with a focus on strategy - the forceful approach rarely works
- Experience a world of choices where every decision has an impact on the world around you
- Use the right tool to get the job done: equip your units with 15 different weapons
- Gain XP during battle and upgrade your commander profile with special combat abilities
- Get to know the people on board your ship: by talking to them, you influence the crew's behavior
- The level editor and scripting tool used to build the campaign will be available upon release
- Never run out of maps with the in-game custom map downloader and official levels made available frequently after the game's release
Special commander powers could further liven things up, and multiple play styles - ranging from covert sabotage to hyper-high-tech guns-a-blazing - are supported. Also, there's some kind of crew influence system that reacts to your mid-battle choices, and I'm definitely interested in hearing more about that.
I admire Tarsoly's single-minded (and, well, just singular) determination, but it's much too soon to tell whether or not it's paid off. Here's hoping. This world could use some new RTS powerhouses, regardless of their dev team size.