Now Blizzard behemoth StarCraft 2 has re-written the real-time strategy sales rule book it's hard to see how Ubisoft's R.U.S.E., due out next month, will compete.
Senior producer Mathieu Girard, however, has a plan. It involves the home consoles and motion controls, two technologies Blizzard has so far kept at arms length.
In this interview, Girard discusses how Ubisoft is using Sony's Move controller to make R.U.S.E. better on console and explains why Kinect's been left behind.
Eurogamer: How did PS Move integration come about?
Mathieu Girard: Ever since we started RU.S.E. we wanted it to play as a natural, easy to handle game, even though it could be very deep because of the complexity of the units and environment.
But still we wanted to have simple controls. So from the start we thought about playing with a pad, with a mouse and keyboard obviously, with multi-touch as well, as you may have seen in the early demos.
And then we heard about the Move. Internally we started the reflection: is it a good game to have the Move?
We started first the reflection ourselves. Then we built up a first prototype with the first set of interactions with the Move. Instead of raising the Move stick to zoom in and out, we had the controller going close to the screen. It wasn't that pleasant.
We had this first prototype. We showed it to Sony. Some of the guys in London were very enthusiastic about it. They have us some feedback on how to improve it.
We went back to work. We polished everything. We added lots of immersive controls, like opening the menu, like being able to navigate inside the menu with the Move, not with some kind of directional stick. Now we have something that is final.
I would say that the Move integration was very quick - a lot faster than what we expected compared to working with the Wii, for instance.
We have not worked on the Wii with R.U.S.E., but compared to other engineers at Ubisoft who've done it. It was pretty fast to integrate.
I was not sure if it was just going to be a gadget, but it turns out it's a very cool and natural controller. We're very excited with it. It's very responsive.
You have the optical solution, the sphere, which is detected by the camera. You have accelerometers and gyroscopes. You can combine all of these systems together to form something very precise and natural to work with.
Eurogamer: When did you first begin working with Move on R.U.S.E.?
Mathieu Girard: I would say four or five weeks ago.
Eurogamer: Only four or five weeks ago?
Mathieu Girard: Yes.
Eurogamer: And you went to Sony with a prototype before they approached you?
Mathieu Girard: Maybe we've talked about it. You know they come to our offices from time to time to discuss our next products, what's going on.
Maybe they mentioned it. But I think the decision came internally from Ubisoft.