Petroglyph Games, a team of veterans behind old-school RTS pioneer Command & Conquer, has been hard at work on a modern version of its RTS formula, called Grey Goo. And if you've been following the project (and gaming news in recent years) you would have been expecting a Kickstarter or Early Access campaign right about now. That won't happen.
Grey Goo is an attempt to bring RTS back to more of a retro formula — albeit one that has learned from the game design lessons of recent years. It aims to be an RTS with less focus on micromanagement, and more on strategy.
Petroglyph recently announced it was skipping the beta phase altogether, and aiming for full release on the very close date of January 23rd on Steam.
It's a move that signals confidence in the studio's ability to polish the game, and achieve balance among its three wildly asymmetrical factions, but it also shows a bit of wariness for the prescribed indie path at the moment. Kickstarter and Early Access have become so common, it's almost expected for indies now — especially for developers like Mike Legg and Ted Morris, seen in the below video. The pedigree of those two, combined with the nostalgic product they want to make, pretty much equals predetermined crowd-sourcing success. Why pass it up?
Even if funding is already sorted, many developers would love to have that extra funding. But you only get one shot at a first impression. And unless you're Minecraft, or Star Citizen, you're likely only going to get one run in the press. So perhaps Petroglyph wanted to save their PR peak for when it really matters.
Speculation aside, it's done a good job to get the game ready this early, looking as good as it is, and the January 23rd release is encouraging, both in relation to the game's quality and Petroglyph's ability to actually release it on that date.
PC Gamer has a good preview up for those interested.