Clippings: Upcoming releases; Dune: Spice Wars early access impressions; Around the World in 80 Days


Hi, everyone. While reviewing upcoming games that interest me, I realised that the next few months are surprisingly bare, before the calendar picks up again towards the end of the year:

  • Two Point Campus is due out in a few weeks (August 2022).
  • Rule the Waves 3 (previously announced as an expansion pack for Rule the Waves 2; since promoted to a standalone release) is due out this October.
  • Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope is also due out in October.
  • Beyond that, Slime Rancher 2, the Switch remake of Front Mission, and Terra Invicta are set for indeterminate windows — (northern) summer 2022 for Front Mission, northern autumn 2022 for Slime Rancher, and “2022” for Terra Invicta.

I’m pretty confident in the sequels — I think it would be hard to mess them up! Terra Invicta will come down to execution — it is an extremely ambitious, unique design. At the same time, I have always wanted a game built around that concept, and I do have a soft spot for ambitious indie strategy games.

I have tried the early access version of Dune: Spice Wars, which seems pretty decent for this stage of its development. It feels very distinct to “traditional” RTS games. Instead, it has a much greater emphasis on economic management, building out settlements, and juggling resource flows. It shares that economic emphasis with Northgard, but the details are very different (for instance, there’s no worker placement in Spice Wars) — this is no reskin. Based on my first skirmish match, its overall flow and pacing remind me a little of Sins of a Solar Empire. So far, the rough edges (units walking through dangerous areas, having to manually deploy and re-deploy spice harvesters) are the things I’d expect to be smoothed out during early access. And while it feels slightly bare-bones for now, the roadmap looks promising. Worth watching as it heads towards release.

Storming the Harkonnen capital in Dune: Spice Wars. Playing on easy, the Harkonnen AI managed to get into a death spiral so bad that NPC soldiers (dark grey, bottom left) would spawn every few minutes to attack them.

Meanwhile, fans of Amplitude (Humankind, Endless Space, Endless Legend) might be interested in this interview with the studio’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Romain de Waubert. There’s an interesting discussion of his history as a modder, his attitude to mods, and his pre-Amplitude games — I never realised that he’d worked on the Battlefield and Might and Magic series.

In television news, I’ve started watching the new version of Around the World in 80 Days. It has strong raw material — acting, visuals, music. The issue is that, so far, it takes itself too seriously. It’s much better when it remembers to be a fun adventure story!

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