Stormgate: Ex Developers want to make StarCraft II obsolete

Stormgate

Stormgate is a co-op real-time strategy game developed by Frost Giant Studios, which includes former Blizzard employees. Now they want to make Stormgate StarCraft II obsolete. The game will be created in the Unreal Engine 5 and will carry on the spiritual lineage of the once-popular StarCraft and Warcraft games. At Gamescom 2023, ComputerBase got into a conversation with the developers.

Social RTS is developed with the community

Stormgate was first announced at Summer Game Fest 2022, Stormgate StarCraft II, and the developers presented the first gameplay a year later at Summer Game Fest 2023. And at Gamescom 2023? Originally, Frost Giant didn’t want to show anything at all, because there hasn’t been much new since June, but then I spontaneously received a slot for the opening presentation Opening Night Live – and for this, I quickly put together a new, one-minute trailer, which for the first time shows units of the second faction Infernals shows.

The mech-proven human faction has been seen before, and the third faction that will definitely be available at release has yet to be announced. And it will be some time before version 1.0 is released, it shouldn’t be until 2025. In any case, the developers want to start with an open beta beforehand. Closed test phases are currently running again and again, in which around 3,000 players are involved – most of them are RTS veterans and from the community, says Frost Giant. In general, the development is very close to the community: There is a subreddit, a public discord server and a discord server for closed playtest players. And the developers are everywhere and in exchange with the community, they proudly report.

Stormgate
Stormgate (Image: Frost Giant)

Around 60 full-time developers are currently working on Stormgate. The game is sometimes primarily financed by the South Korean publishers Kakao Games and Riot Games, but they are looking for other investors. As before, Stormgate should remain permanently free to play, but in any case, Frost Giant emphasizes this again and again, without Pay to Win in the PvP part. In addition to classic 1 vs. 1 matches, three players per team should also be possible, each in competitive mode with a ranking list and without. In addition, there will be a full co-op mode for PvE to play against the AI. A game usually runs for 15 to 25 minutes.

Between and beyond StarCraft II and Warcraft 3

The game speed is between StarCraft II and Warcraft 3, but in general, the RTS should become more accessible with optionally reduced macro-management. After the release, if Stormgate is well received by the players, there will be a fourth or even fifth faction and more cards are in the works anyway. Thanks to a map editor, these will also be able to be created by the community, explains Frost Giant.

The general goal of the production is to revive the Blizzard real-time strategy genre and to surpass StarCraft II and Warcraft 3 in every respect – at least. Ultimately, this ambition was the reason for founding Frost Giant Studios in the first place: The long-established developers wanted to develop a game that Activision Blizzard didn’t want to finance, because titles like Call of Duty or Diablo Immortal are simply more economical.

The Unreal Engine 5 had to be heavily modified by the developers for the game, they say. In principle, Epic Games’ engine offers a good basis, but it is not necessarily designed for fast real-time strategy games with an isometric camera perspective. It was a lot of effort to minimize the latency. And the tick rate of the servers is 64 Hertz. That doesn’t sound particularly impressive in a competitive game and in the year 2023, but StarCraft II runs at just 16 hertz. Frost Giant cannot yet comment on the system requirements. In principle, the developers want to keep these low, but ultimately the Unreal Engine 5 is the limit here – it is said that every 10-year-old system will no longer be able to be taken along.

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