I'd entirely forgotten that Wargming.net, publisher of the World of WarVehicles games, had acquired the rights to the Master of Orion and Total Annihilation licenses back in 2013, so when the news of a Master of Orion reboot arrived this morning I was taken aback.
"What?" I said. "Who?"
I didn't ask why though because I can fully understand the desire to revisit one of the original and best 4X strategy series. Details and video below.
OK. Let's be frank here - it looks like a video made for a mid-nineties sequel to a 2d game that exists purely to show off the new 3dfx Voodoo graphics. Spaceships, now in all of the dimensions. Let's move away from the video and take a look at the FACTS.
Wargaming aren't developing the game - which they simply refer to as Master of Orion - internally. Development duties are with "Argentine-based NGD Studios...with key members from the original title’s team". NGD have previously worked on one of the better received Adventure Time games, Finn And Jake's Epic Quest, and Bunch of Heroes, a top-down co-op zombie shooter with humour. I don't detect a strategic legacy, although Wargaming have something of the sort themselves, having begun their march toward world (of Tanks) domination with the turn-based strategy of Massive Assault.
Enhanced visuals, built from the ground up, breathe new life into the vast galaxy available to explore and conquer, as well as give new personality to the many races which call it home. Players can expect a revamped user interface, an orchestral score from the original game’s composer, voiceovers by well-known actors, new user tutorials, and more to deliver a classic yet fresh experience to one of gaming’s most respected franchises.
The mention of "new user tutorials" and a revamped interface makes this sound like it might be close to a remake rather than a reboot. Could it possibly be a jazzier HD/3D/jazzed-up sort of thing rather than a reinvention? It seems possible. Someone crunch all of the numbers in this section of the press release and see if they add up to some sort of MOO/MOO 2 hybrid (we will not mention MOO 3 again, ever).
Lead one of 13 playable races in your bid for galactic domination, each with several unique advisors, racial advantages, technologies and specialized ship designs. Will you choose the fearsome Alkari warriors, savvy Gnolam traders, the sentient Meklon robots, or a race closer to home: humans?
Colonize planets; grow your army; befriend nations or battle them. With Master of Orion’s massive galaxies ranging from 20 solar systems to over 100 with unique stars, new and untamed worlds are all waiting to be seized in your fight for supremacy.
Will you crush worlds; manipulate leaders; horde resources; all of the above? With nearly 100 unique technologies and over two dozen types of structures to aid in your galactic conquests, the choice is yours.
The official site disagrees with the number of playable races (it reckons 10, which is the same number as in the original game). There's no release date as of now but we should learn more at E3.