Microsoft recently announced that they wouldn't be publishing Digital Anvil's 3D space strategy game "Conquest : Frontier Wars", saying "Microsoft had high aspirations for the game, and it simply did not progress as they had hoped it would". It looked like the end for the game, with the publisher saying that "in line with [Microsoft's] goal of delivering only top-quality games that deliver a fresh and immersive experience, they decided to stop work on Conquest and place the development team on other projects".
Just a day later though, Digital Anvil announced that rumours of the game's demise were somewhat exaggerated, and that Microsoft had agreed to let them continue work on the title and look for another publisher for it. Associate producer Eric Peterson seemed somewhat miffed at the whole affair, commenting that "I do not know why Microsoft would make that statement". There have been several changes to the game's design during its development though, with the full 3D setting being replaced by a traditional 2D map and interface (although the game's graphics are still in glorious 3D accelerated polygonal technicolor).
"With any game, changes and re-design happen as you go along", Eric explained. "We felt that the game played better as a fleet based real-time strategy game, and therefore needed some interface and control changes to allow the user better playability to some of our more unique features. By going to a standard 2D interface in an actual 3D game, we made the game easier for people to play, thus decreasing the learning curve and increasing the fun factor."
How the game will pan out and who will end up publishing it remains to be seen, but with Conquest by all accounts virtually complete now, we should hopefully see it appear on shelves some time early in the new year. And with novel features like the ability to wage war across up to 16 seperate maps simultaneously and having to maintain supply lines for your fleets, it could prove to be rather more innovative than Digital Anvil's last game, the unremarkable space combat sim "Starlancer". Meanwhile development of Digital Anvil's other titles, "Loose Cannon" and "Freelancer", remains uneffected.