Yesterday I reviewed the Steam Early Access game Meridian: New World, an indie RTS made on the most part by a single developer. Here’s an interview with the game’s developer Ede Tarsoly where we discuss his thoughts on RTS as a genre in the game industry today, his experience with Early Access and his ambitions for the future.
Sky: What have been your favorite RTS games and what do you think about the decline of RTS games over the years? Also curious if you played Command and Conquer 4? It’s removal of base building put a lot of CnC fans off. What did you think of that fundamental change?
Ede Tarsoly: My favorite RTS games include StarCraft, earlier C&C games, as well as Earth 2150. The decline in the RTS genre can be mostly attributed to the emergence of MOBA games, which are basically simplified RTS titles.
I’ve played C&C4, and like many others, I was disappointed that it no longer has the base building component.
Sky: I see a lot of comments on the ambitions of a “one man RTS”, many thought it impossible. Did you ever feel this way during development?
Ede Tarsoly: To be honest, I already had experience designing strategy games, so I knew I could do this, the only question was how much time it would take. It already takes longer than I anticipated.
Sky: Between missions you’re given almost Mass Effect style conversations with the crew and the ability to explore the ship. How important was it that this content made the Steam Early Access release and why?
Ede Tarsoly: I consider storytelling one of the most important aspects of any game and these little sequences between missions allowed me to be able to tell Meridian’s story in an interactive and fun way (while still keeping most of it optional). The reason why I included this in the Early Access phase is that I wanted to see how people would react and like this aspect, as well as the fact that story-related choices can be made with real effects on actual RTS gameplay.
Sky: How has Steam Early Access been for you so far? Were you tempted to delay until the game was finished or did you know this was the release method you had in mind?
Ede Tarsoly: It was the publisher’s idea to release Meridian as an Early Access title. I was reluctant at first, because I knew about the bad reputation that Early Access titles have. I treated Early Access like final release, I made the game as bug-free as possible and hoped for the best. I have to say, it actually paid off in the end. I got a lot of feedback about certain features that could not have been altered after final release, but I can work on them now.
Sky: The 3rd mission ‘Frozen Plains’ featured a segment where you’re restricted to building to turrets and the occasional non-controllable chimera. This essentially transformed the game into a tower defense, one I thought was really fun to play! Are there any plans to add more tower defense segments and have you considered creating a pure tower defence game? I think there’s great potential here!
Ede Tarsoly: My main game-design principle is to never include the same game mechanic twice in a campaign, so it definitely won’t happen again in the campaign. However, it would be possible to create a tower defence game with the game’s editor and scripting tool, so who knows? Maybe one day someone makes one, or I make an official one.
Sky: What are your plans for the future? Obviously there’s further content to release for Meridian: New World (next set of missions soon right?), what would you ideally like to be doing afterwards?
Ede Tarsoly: Yes, Meridian still has a lot of unreleased missions. As for what comes after that… well, there are two things I’d really like to do, one is a single player expansion explaining the origins of Squad 22 mentioned during the campaign, the other would be a multiplayer expansion. This is all very uncertain at the moment though, nothing is set in stone. I might end up working on an entirely unrelated project.
Thanks to Ede for his time discussing his game. I really enjoyed my time playing the missions so far and will definitely be keeping an eye on the game as it releases new content, you can check out my review here.
Meridian: New World can be found on Steam http://store.steampowered.com/app/265120/