EA has closed German real-time strategy specialist Phenomic.
EA has decided to make a Play 4 Free version of online real-time strategy and card-trading game BattleForge.
Genre mash-ups are nothing new, of course. Many games attempt to drum up interest by splicing the popular elements from different gaming styles, and the result can either be refreshing or desperate, depending on how compatible the transplanted parts are. However, few mash-ups are as ambitious, or as acronym-unfriendly, as Battleforge. Borrowing bits and pieces from World of Warcraft, Warcraft III and Magic: The Gathering, it's the first ever massively-multiplayer online real-time strategy collectible card game. Call it an MMORTSCCG, if you must. Just don't blame me if you cough up a hairball trying to pronounce it.
The meat of the game is real-time strategy, although it eschews the usual resource-harvesting and base-building micromanagement. New troops can be spawned wherever there are active units, and the only restrictions come from your power reserves. Find a dormant power crystal, activate it and it starts feeding points into your reservoir automatically until it runs dry or is smashed by the enemy. Each new unit spawned, structure created or spell cast depletes your power pool. Defeated or destroyed units pour their cost back into use after a short time.
Also dictating your abilities are elemental orbs, and it's here that the collectible card element comes into play. Rather than selecting a race or faction and making use of whatever comes with the territory, you're able to build and customise your own army culled from packs of virtual cards.
EA's genre-spanning strategy title BattleForge has just entered the public beta stage.
It's a chimeric beast, with a real-time strategy core, but fought with custom armies built from decks of digital cards that are traded online by an MMO-style community. It'll feature single-player as well as co-op and versus online modes, plus guilds, marketplaces and auctions in an attempt foster the trading community vital to its success.
Signing up to the beta will grant access to all 200 of the in-game cards, as well as every map and an upgraded unit card should you then go on to purchase the game.
EA has nudged quirky online RTS and card-trading hybrid BattleForge back by a few days to 27th March. We had expected the game on 24th March.
EA has said ambitious RTS-cum-MMO BattleForge will launch for PC across Europe on 24th March.
EA Phenomic believes its co-op card-battler BattleForge could be the game to finally establish real-time strategy as an online gaming genre.
Developer EA Phenomic will open the BattleForge beta to the public this Friday 7th November.
The rather late arrival of the open testing phase means launch has been pushed back from autumn 2008 to early 2009.
BattleForge is a fantasy real-time strategy game based around collecting and trading cards that make up the buildings, units and powers within armies. A bit like those WWF wrestling stickers back in the 1990s then, only completely different.
EA will be hosting an enormous public event inside the largest temporary structure ever erected in London's Trafalgar Square on 31st October and 1st November.
EA has announced a new card-battling multiplayer real-time strategy game called BattleForge, from its EA Phenomic Studio in Germany. It's due out on PC this autumn.
It's not entirely obvious how BattleForge will work, but EA says you will be able to win, trade and buy cards online to build up a fancy deck, although the "buy" bit isn't obligatory and you will be able to play the game without making any additional payments.
There's also a bit about the game's fiction. "For mortals caught in a clash between insane gods and ancient giants, standing together is the only option," it explains.