Sega and The Creative Assembly announce Stormrise

I like real-time strategy games. I like videogame consoles. Do I like playing real-time strategy games on my videogame consoles? HELL NO! Despite several attempts over the years to give them a fair try, without fail, the clumsy controls always end up pissing me off within a few minutes of play. This is one genre that I just can’t see transitioning well to consoles anytime soon; unless someone comes up with a really innovative control scheme, anyway.

Still, my ears perked up when I first caught wind of Sega’s announcement for their new RTS Stormrise that, while still appearing on PCs, has consoles as its primary platform. What was it, then, that grabbed my attention despite the previously stated aversion to RTS games on consoles? The fact that it’s being developed by The Creative Assembly, a studio that I give high props to for their awesome Total War line of strategy games, could have something to do with it.

Although, while The Creative Assembly certainly knows strategy games, they don’t have that much experience working with consoles: the only recent titles being Viking: Battle for Asgard and Spartan: Total Warrior (a game that will forever be reviled by Jim Sterling for its terrible escort missions). The generic sci-fi backdrop — two races battling it out over the charred remains of a devastated Earth — doesn’t help my skepticism either. Strategy games rarely rely on strong storylines to hold players’ attention, though — so long as the gameplay is good, then it’s all good.

I’ll give The Creative Assembly the benefit of the doubt for now, thanks to their (mostly) positive track record, but I’m not exactly holding out hope that the console version will turn out to be a masterpiece. Oh well, at least there’s a good chance that the PC version won’t suck.

SAN FRANCISCO & LONDON  (July 10, 2008) – SEGA® of America, Inc. and SEGA Europe Ltd. today announced the development of Stormrise™, an innovative real time strategy console title built specifically for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system and will also be available for Windows based PC. Stormrise marks The Creative Assembly’s first foray into developing a purpose-built RTS title for console and is slated to ship in 2009.

Stormrise offers fans of the classic RTS genre an immersive and dramatic twist while challenging the conscience of the gamer.  Experience the heat of the battlefield by leading your troops from the front line, instead of the traditional way of controlling the units from a detached view point.  Stormrise also allows units to be commanded in the air, across rooftops, on the earth’s surface and even underground, this unique idea of “verticality” introduces multiple layers of gameplay that must be mastered for strategic advantage. The experience is heightened by a simple yet effective control system tailored specifically for consoles, which allows easy unit selection, rapid navigation and precise deployment.  

“With Stormrise and its long line of high caliber RTS titles, our developers at The Creative Assembly are poised to revolutionize the console RTS arena,” said Sean Ratcliffe, Vice President of Marketing at SEGA of America Inc. “Using a science fiction-based backdrop for their first foray into the console RTS genre, The Creative Assembly has a limitless palate from which to create their next award winning RTS game.”

Set on a bleak and barren earth, devastated by a catastrophic event centuries ago, Stormrise sees the Echelon and the Sai battling to survive in a hostile and uninhabitable wasteland.  Remnants of a superior technological people the Echelon survived the event through self-educed hibernation, while the Sai, a more tribal faction, still exist having learned to adapt to their surroundings and the new environment. Having evolved in vastly different ways, the differences between the two factions have spurred much animosity and hatred between the two races and the future of the planet is now hanging by a thread…

Stormrise is in development at The Creative Assembly’s Australia studio and is priming its forces for release in 2009. For more information please visit https://www.stormrisegame.com or https://segapr.segaamerica.com

Justin Villasenor