View Full Version : Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde First-Look

04-29-2003, 12:13 AM
We take an early look at Jaleco's console-friendly RTS game.

April 28, 2003 - Ron and Chris Millar are names that should not be taken lightly. Having worked on a multitude of successful games (StarCraft, Warcraft II, Diablo) , many of which continue to have a cult following, any game with the name "Millar" attached to it is, at the very least, deserving of an extra attentive eye. So, when publisher/developer Jaleco Entertainment announced that the Millar brothers had jumped off Blizzard's ship and joined their own, you can be sure that our interest was more than a little piqued. But the question remains: What would the Millar brothers, known for the experience and contributions to the RTS genre, have up their sleeve that would cause them to leave one of the most well-known and respected publishers in business? Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde, that's what.
Currently scheduled for a November release, Goblin Commander doesn't stray too far off the path that Ron and Chris have been traveling along all these years; the game is a real-time strategy game, but unlike most other RTS games, the interface has been simplified and condensed specifically for play on a console. See, most RTS titles incorporate a more sophisticated control scheme that works incredibly well with a keyboard and mouse, but becomes considerably less functional when adapted to a console controller. The reason for this is not only the lack of buttons available on a controller when compared to a keyboard, but when having to quickly select specified units and zoom in and around a map during the heat of battle, even an analog joystick can't match the precision and speed of a dedicated mouse.

But simplified doesn't necessarily mean dumbed down. Think more along the lines of streamlined. Goblin Commander will still allow for complete control over a host of different units, and although the execution is different, the end result will be a scheme that is just as powerful and intuitive as standard PC controls. A bold claim? Absolutely, but who better to make such a claim than two Scottish brothers who helped create some of the most beloved strategy games in recent memory. To facilitate such a claim, the brothers have given the player the ability to not only set up waypoints for units to follow, but also to control the units directly, in real-time.

Speaking of units, a unit is built by entering a clan shrine and selecting the goblin unit you wish to create. That's it. There are no build times at all. Once you've made your decision, your unit(s) is immediately ready for disposal. The catch here is that you are capped off at ten units per tribe at any one time. While this is significantly less than a typical RTS would allow, expect level designs and enemy numbers to accommodate such modest numbers. Also, along with the standard units, the player is allowed control of one titan, a super-sized unit that does not respond to waypoints and can only be controlled through user possession -- quite an interesting twist on the RTS genre.

Creating an intuitive, console-friendly interface is only part of what sets Goblin Commander apart from other RTS games, though. Anyone who's played a real-time strategy game that's been released in the last, oh, ten years or so, will be all too familiar with the typical pattern found in such games: Mine resources, build units, send them out, repeat ad infinitum. Obviously, many gamers have no beef with this sort of gameplay, but this is one aspect of strategy games that the Millar brothers wanted to away with. What does this boil down to? That's right, no mining resources. That's not to say there will be an absence of resources, but the traditional methods of gathering funds have been dramatically altered. Souls, the main unit of currency needed to purchase units, are accumulated by simply defeating enemies or by capturing conveniently placed soul fountains, and gold, necessary for unit upgrades, is found by demolishing level structures or by finding it in hidden locations throughout each level. Simple enough, no?

An RTS game made specifically for the console market has been a long time coming. Aside from the Genesis classic Herzog Zwei, RTS games have rarely worked as well on consoles as well as they have on their native platform, PCs. One look back at games such as StarCraft 64 and, though an honest and commendable effort, horrid memories of cumbersome controls and Lilliputian sprites quickly overtake any fond memories that one may have had with the game. Will the Millar brothers, with their ambitious and daring title, be able to leave the same mark as they did for PC gaming? Well, the expectations are certainly there.

Check back with IGN for more details regarding Goblin Commander: Unleash the Horde in the coming weeks. For now, be sure to check out our new screens of the game in our media section linked below.

04-29-2003, 12:55 AM
Hmm....this sounds very good! But, I will wait to reserve judgement until I see some screenshots.

04-29-2003, 01:07 AM
I'll defenitly be getting this bad boy. I've been waiting for a good RTS on the 'Box. I really liked Starcraft 64, C&C on the PS, and Warcraft II on the Saturn.