Why Relic?

Hey, Microsoft, why you choose as developer Relic Entertainment? Yes I know they creating good rts games, but all their game was about squads, combat tactics and with minimum economics, aoe was always reverse of it, it was about ecnomy, deep base building and ages, of course, but not abut squad tactics combat with covers. And that fact that relic make rts with horrble balance? Why you chose this developer? Why not Robot Entertainment (many of creators of aoe franchise now works in this studio) or Creative Assembly, that know how works economy in strategy much better than relic?

Robot was another good option that I am sure Microsoft considered. Maybe they are a little too small or there was issues with AoE online? Not sure tbh, I would have been just as, if not more happy if they had got the contract. Not sure if Creative Assemble are a better choice for a macro orientated RTS. As far as I know their notable games are mostly RTT (Total War series).

Relic have been hit or miss over the years. Hopefully that Microsoft money motivates them back to their A game. I just wonder if early development shifted attention to AoE4 from to DoWIII, and in turn affected that game detrimentally. It was Relic’s poorest show yet by a fair margin. I just hope they leave out hero elements in AoE4…

Relic created the greatest RTS ever made and here you are suggesting a sub-par studio that has made mediocre games at BEST. Relic may not have made resource-centric RTS games but at least they’ve made games that are fun.

Creative Assembly would have been an interesting choice but I’m sure they have their hands full with the WarHammer Total War series currently being developed at their studio. I’ve never actually played a Relic game before so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with the Age of Empires series (ironically they’re also tied to a WarHammer franchise like Creative Assembly however I haven’t heard good things about the third installment of their 40k series).

Regardless I’m sure Microsoft did some extensive research and went with who they thought was the best possible option.

@Sweeper said:
Creative Assembly would have been an interesting choice but I’m sure they have their hands full with the WarHammer Total War series currently being developed at their studio. I’ve never actually played a Relic game before so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with the Age of Empires series (ironically they’re also tied to a WarHammer franchise like Creative Assembly however I haven’t heard good things about the third installment of their 40k series).

Regardless I’m sure Microsoft did some extensive research and went with who they thought was the best possible option.
Yeah the bugged RTW2… great option.

@Sweeper said:

Regardless I’m sure Microsoft did some extensive research and went with who they thought was the best possible option.

Here’s the answer.

There aren’t good RTS centric studios anymore. At least not who have been sustained all these years through economic collapse and publisher shutdowns. No matter what we say about Relic, they have produced few of the greatest RTS games when they were part of THQ. They went to ground after they were acquired by Sega. So, as @Sweeper mentioned, MS must have done an extensive research and must have asked respected development studios. Forget not that CA (another company Sega acquired then ruined) already made Halo Wars 2. And that game was average at best no matter how hard you want to defend it. And it didn’t sell well and didn’t receive flying review scores. After Ensemble Studios, I too think Relic could be the only studio who can make a decent enough age game, that is if they are untouched by Sega and stay true to vision of Ensemble Studios.

But here is a question for everyone: Why did MS didn’t make an age game within their own studio even though they are so huge? I know they can’t resurrect Ensemble Studios, because giving a job to 3rd party company is more cost-effective and I know they can’t hire few important figures of Ensemble team (contract issue??). Out of anyone, MS is only guys who have published and took some role in all AOEs so it makes sense if they were making the game. So why Relic but not Microsoft Studios? Conspiracy!

MS has successfully hired third party firms like Relic, Robot, Gas Powered Games, and Smoking Gun Interactive to develop its games for years. I’m not privy to those discussions, but I believe the idea is that it is easier to manage a project by subcontracting much of the work out. Making a game requires a huge influx of labor for a relatively short period of time. It’s expensive to hire tons of employees and disruptive to then lay them off or otherwise reorganize them. An existing studio with their own projects is often able to devote its labor force to the AoE project and then simply reassign the talent to other projects as necessary.

This isn’t a super contentious area for us to ponder. It’s just business.

I think they tried to go with their own studio, but decisive games didnt work out.

Seeing their up-to-now approach, I think we can expect some truly great things. Just give them a shot, our knowledge about the new product is almost non-existent, hence it’s way too early to judge on anything. Nevertheless, I’m excited!

@Augustusman said:

@Sweeper said:
Creative Assembly would have been an interesting choice but I’m sure they have their hands full with the WarHammer Total War series currently being developed at their studio. I’ve never actually played a Relic game before so I’m looking forward to seeing what they can do with the Age of Empires series (ironically they’re also tied to a WarHammer franchise like Creative Assembly however I haven’t heard good things about the third installment of their 40k series).

Regardless I’m sure Microsoft did some extensive research and went with who they thought was the best possible option.
Yeah the bugged RTW2… great option.

I never said that CA was a prefect developer, EVERY developer lets bugs slip through. Look at Bethesda, they make AAA games that sell millions upon millions of copies and yet their games are littered with bugs. All I meant by CA being an interesting choice is that I enjoy the way the Total War series plays. No, it wouldn’t work for Age of Empires if they simply reskinned a Total War game and made an Age of Empires theme.

However, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t mind letting them build off of the already existing Age of Empires formula and adding in their own twist. For example, I think CA does a wonderful job with their political system and the way allies and enemies work. They basically make a mini game out of the politics in their games. Sieges in Total War are a blast, I wouldn’t mind seeing something similar introduced into Age of Empires as an alternative method to breaching someones city.

There are loads of developers out there that could add their own flavor to Age of Empires and enhance it beyond what we currently have and Microsoft believes that Relic happens to be one of those developers.

@Mehkind said:
There aren’t good RTS centric studios anymore. At least not who have been sustained all these years through economic collapse and publisher shutdowns. No matter what we say about Relic, they have produced few of the greatest RTS games when they were part of THQ. They went to ground after they were acquired by Sega. So, as @Sweeper mentioned, MS must have done an extensive research and must have asked respected development studios. Forget not that CA (another company Sega acquired then ruined) already made Halo Wars 2. And that game was average at best no matter how hard you want to defend it. And it didn’t sell well and didn’t receive flying review scores. After Ensemble Studios, I too think Relic could be the only studio who can make a decent enough age game, that is if they are untouched by Sega and stay true to vision of Ensemble Studios.

But here is a question for everyone: Why did MS didn’t make an age game within their own studio even though they are so huge? I know they can’t resurrect Ensemble Studios, because giving a job to 3rd party company is more cost-effective and I know they can’t hire few important figures of Ensemble team (contract issue??). Out of anyone, MS is only guys who have published and took some role in all AOEs so it makes sense if they were making the game. So why Relic but not Microsoft Studios? Conspiracy!

Staffing up and sustaining a game studio (or the part of the studio that knows how to make an RTS) is time consuming, expensive, and only pays off if there’s a very long term strategy. Making AoE in-house would require a commitment to RTS game production I’m not sure they’re ready to make just yet. It’s not the most popular genre these days - AoE DE and IV are a big risk as it is (IV more so than DE).

The RTS Centric matter is very important, just wanna add my two cents to the conversation:

Take the AOE 3 game, and consider it was a “pioneer” in 2006 in making what is today a normalized and to me often failing practice: making half non “pure” style games. What I mean is that indeed AOE 3 had this Rpgish thing included (which I do not like even if innovation is cool and experimentation is very important in HUMAN ORGANIZATIONS).

This type of stuff can be seen strongly and failing for example in The Division (pseudo Tom Clancy game).
Mixing RPGish stuff with hyped and not real tactical gaming (bullet sponge) or better said a Diablo style gun game.

I am not for the “Pure Race” type of games, I am just saying that if a game is REal Time Strategy it should try to deliver and get better in that type of game maybe even becoming a competitive game, not trying to PROFIT by indulging in what is a WOrld wide trend of making RPG games just because like this you will earn more money.

Last but not least to verify what I am saying and how is important to broaden the purchasing base check the charts showing how many players do play RTS (WE ARE A VERY SMALL HYPER SMALL NICHE).

So yes with (horrible) match making inside game system and the ranking system (that invests in breaking human value and possible games because people stick to that information and break chances to play together in a reiterated continuous practice that plagued from 2008- 2009 always more and plagues strongly today AOE 3 - instead of a cool MSN gaming zone free play elorating only showing score) destroyed with the unabalncing of civs, the game experience and made greedy a lot of players who today feel ok to hack, smurf etc.

The more you put “power” and hierarchy in games the more people will love to get on top even with illegal (especially if you do not implement an always uopdated “punkbuster system”) ways.

So my point is stick to Strategy and of course give a Relic touch (as it is normal it will happen) but try to innovate in the Strategy way, remove this Cards BS thing and remove the Ranking system that ESO introduced. Remove the desyinc bug by allowing to Restart MP games with STANDARDIZED but random saving time one ages so that players can start game from ranodm (just) points and can CHOOSE if it’s worth to start not depending if they were in advantage or not in the game.

Yeah, lets remove the ranking system, so people will have no idea how good their opponent is. It must be fun not knowing whether your opponent is a a console player using a mouse and a PC for the first time in his life or if its Flash (Player who had been regarded as the best SC: Brood War player of all time and who has been dominating the scene for 10 years.)
And while we are at it, lets also remove the name of the player we are playing against and add bots to the matchmaking system as well, so you wont know whether you are playing vs a player or a computer.

Yes remove the ranking system.
You go on elorating and search for the player on your hand held device asking to wait a second and if you want to consider this information before playing you do acting accordingly you don’t plague of prejudice the WHOLE GAME.
You just got owned, let people vote now.

For people who don’t know - if u wanna see also all the hours spent on AOE 3 check http://aoe3.jpcommunity.com/rating2/ _ Tomahawk _ (without spaces only underline close to the T and w) my battle name since 2006. (let’s forget the MSN gaming zone and the AOE I — offline).

I just figured out that every one of tomahawk’s paragraphs are actually giant sentences. It’s like reading William Faulkner.

Relic is simply one of the best to make ww1,ww2 and modern era games. (i guess we will go there)

I also wondered why Relic. Let me explain: knowing that Relic is developing AoE 4, it makes me excited and incoherent at the same time. I do not know what to expect from Relic, and this makes me nicely nervous because it is a gamble for me. Looking at the previous Relic games, I can say that surely it is a great development studio, but it differs from the AoE genre. Obviously, for AoE 4 it takes something innovative, different than the previous chapters, so it’s a new study. However, we hope Microsoft can keep Relic within certain tracks so that an AoE style game is developed. After the last interview, I feel safer; having heard Microsoft say that the game wants to remain rooted in the AoE franchise. I admit that I would have liked to see the Creativy Assemble: he has already had microsoft relations for halo wars 2, proving he does not develop a total war style game (as dictated by microsoft). CA has a lot of experience on past history (just look at all of her chapters at what age they set, except for warhammer. By the way: have they chosen Relic because of the abundance of world warfare settings?) And do not forget that the total war series is only half a strategic turn, because there is a gameplay centered exclusively on the battlefield, where all units move simultaneously and for multyplayers it is very well that the rooms are full of players playing in this mode (jumping the part of the shift strategy). Probably the CA is full of work: warhammer, arena total war, support from halo wars 2 and the development of a spin off specific on a historical period. Go Relic !!!

@“Andy P” said:

@Sweeper said:

Regardless I’m sure Microsoft did some extensive research and went with who they thought was the best possible option.

Here’s the answer.

Thats why they let the incompetents at skybox ruin some of the other games.
But ■■■■ we can be happy those arent involved, still I remain extremely sceptical which is rather sad for a series I love so much.> @“Andy P” said:

MS has successfully hired third party firms like Relic, Robot, Gas Powered Games, and Smoking Gun Interactive to develop its games for years. I’m not privy to those discussions, but I believe the idea is that it is easier to manage a project by subcontracting much of the work out. Making a game requires a huge influx of labor for a relatively short period of time. It’s expensive to hire tons of employees and disruptive to then lay them off or otherwise reorganize them. An existing studio with their own projects is often able to devote its labor force to the AoE project and then simply reassign the talent to other projects as necessary.

This isn’t a super contentious area for us to ponder. It’s just business.

And looking at the MS games team, they probably do not have the knowledge for these kind of pc games.

The fact that they chose Relic as a study of development, makes me think that they have ideas of modern setting. They would also have been able to choose CA, as they knew the previous development company of halo wars 2 (I remember everyone, it’s a PC game-adapted xbox game! That’s why the game was declared dead on PC). In fact, CA has a lot of experience on past history. It is true, it does turn strategy games, but who has bought a total war, it is very well that in the multyplayer there are many players in the “open field” mode where all units move simultaneously, RTS style !!