We may have mentioned Cryptic Comet's Armageddon Empires a few times. Just a few, you understand. So we're excited that Chief-Cryptic Vic Davis has got less-Cryptic and revealed what Codename Brimstone is. It's Solium Infernum and it's a simultaneous-turn wargame which charts the battles between the Dukes of Hell for Satan's empty throne, complete with six-person multiplayer. The nobles of the cities of sin duking it out? Pardon the pun: Hell, yes.
And since Vince gave us an early heads up, we've got more information and art beneath the cut.
The basic set-up is explained on its basic web-page. Satan's sodded off, leaving the throne empty and a pit full of fiends eyeing it hungrily. You play an archfiend trying to secure it against up to five others (with the little devils inside your PC able to play any character if you don't have enough friends). There are both openly militaristic and diplomatic approaches to the problem, trying to gain sufficient prestige to claim the position of the absent adversary. The diplomatic element is hinted to be particularly strong, with arcane rules of the demons possible to manipulate to increase your standing. For example, declaring a vendetta and then wagering some of that precious prestige on how much you make that hellspawned bastard pay. Alternatively, framing opponents and so on. It seems deliciously wicked. And it should be, after all. It's Hell. It's not going to be a group hugs.
Oh - integrated play-by-email and hotseat options too. And randomised maps for unique hells, with places of power to be fought over and so on.
Bar what's on the website, there's some details Vic mentioned to us. For example, your archfiend can be customised right from the start - your attributes, infernal rank, public objective and perks can be tweaked. You're also able to improve your demon in "spheres of evil" as you progress - Deception, Prophecy, Destruction, Diabloism, and the old-favourite Wrath.
There's also some notes about the forces. Specifically fifty legions - which you bid for, seemingly - which gain experience and can be pepped up with Praetors (i.e. Heroes) and various artifacts. There's over thirty of these, gathered from your Ritual Chamber. And this ties together in some card system a la Armageddon Empires, as evidenced by these Demon Cards.
EDIT: Actually, we evidenced wrong. As Vic says in the comments thread: "The gameplay is a bit different than AE. The only “cards” that you get to play with are part of the resource system… and it’s a twist on the Ticket To Ride boardgame system. Your minions can present you with “Tribute” each turn in the form of resource cards. Depending on how you level up your Diabolism (Charisma) power you get offered better tribute and you can keep more of it. These resource cards are then used to bid on things in the Infernal Bazaar, fuel your rituals, and other good (bad?) things too."
Oh - and the map, minus places of power, will look something like this. Three sizes, randomly generating, and looping - because if hell has an end, it's not really a hell worthy of the name. After all, where would you fit all the sinners?
So - er - asteroids as a strategy game. In Hell. I just like writing "In Hell", I'm afraid.
Oh - worth stressing: Everything's in progress. Especially the map, though if you were expecting it to go head to head with World In Crysis, you probably clicked on this thinking "Solium Infernum" may have been the Deus Ex sequel or something. And you played Deus Ex for the shotgun and clicked through the dialogue.
Not that there's anything wrong with that. RPS loves all its readers. Please love us too.
The game'll be out in Winter 2009. Hopefully we'll have more before then. But - y'know - Vic had our undivided attention when he said, "Multiplayer game from the maker of Armageddon Empires about warring demons in hell", y'know? We also strongly suspect there's much room for bad puns, which is always another major plus for us.