You know what, I miss this song. It used to be a bit of a sardonic bit of cheer before a flight. I’m from England, I never want to take the weather with me when I’m going on holiday, I go to avoid the perpetual drizzle. When not avoiding it on holidays or in work, I’m avoiding it by playing video games. Some of those video games are strategy games. A strategy game has been revealed today that allows you to control the weather and that game is called Etherium.
Etherium isn’t the first game to use weather as a key part of war. Well, every game uses it with fog, but I mean direct control of the weather and using it as a sort of weapon for either defensive of offensive purposes. Elements of War is what I’m thinking of, released about two years ago and pretty much flew under every radar. It poorly received due to it lacking some basic features we’re all used to and that it simply wasn’t polished for release.
That’s quite irrelevant because this game is neither developed nor published by the same teams. Indeed, the only link is weather and I’m just harping on about it because I’m listening to Crowded House.
Etherium is actually developed by Tindalos Interactive, the guys behind the space strategy game Stellar Impact. They’ve decided to be a little more grounded here, but no less futuristic. The press release states how it’s got your usual army building to control resources and land. We all know that’s part and parcel for most real-time strategy games now. What interests me is what is said next:
Etherium has a unique and dynamic weather control system that has a direct impact on the player’s gameplay and strategy. You can use a sandstorm to approach the enemy base unseen, or mount a rearguard attack crossing a freezing river with your tanks. This weather control system will also work through synergy with the special skills of the factions. For example, one of the empires may create localized weather conditions, to help its army, or hamper the opponent’s forces. Another faction will have the ability to see into the future to predict where and when the next climatic events will occur, and devise a strategy based on future events.
The solo campaign in Etherium is non-linear, so you are free to decide how your conquests progress: you can choose which of the planet’s continents or moons will provide the setting for your next mission. It may be more advantageous to conquer particular territories, but these may also be better defended. You will also have to stop the enemy from recapturing territories you have gained! Every continent and moon has very diverse environments, and varied terrain that will force you to adapt your strategy and employ different tactics: arid desert, jungles and swamps that impede the advance of the tanks, icy worlds, island archipelagos… you must consider the terrain very carefully before implementing your strategy! You will also encounter six secondary factions during the campaign (raiders, alien beings, etc). You could of course fight them, but alternatively you could also rally them to your cause, to exploit their units and special skills!
A non linear campaign sounds terribly interesting to me, not that I know how it’ll work. Possibly like Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Battle for Middle Earth II. It also mentions how there will be up to four player multiplayer as well, but I’m never that big on MP anyway.
Oh, and the images look pretty. Will they be actual gameplay footage on this upcoming 2014 PC exclusive title? I would say not, but they still look pretty.