If I said the words Ashes of the Singularity, some of you might be aware that it's an upcoming RTS from the stables of Oxide Games and Stardock Entertainment. Others might not know what I'm referring to at all. And some might not care just because it's a strategy.
There is a very good reason why every PC gamer should have at least one eye on Ashes. It's a game that quickly became the go-to benchmark for DirectX 12, even in primitive builds. And as of it's finally entered beta, with a string of crucial features.
Given the direction the RTS genre has taken over the last few years, the presence of any traditional, old-school strategy games will always be a welcome sight for diehards. (I'm still grinning that I'm wrong in how faithful Deserts of Kharak was to the original Homeworld games, despite my insistence that the developers would take a tack with more mass appeal.)
But Ashes of the Singularity is now starting to properly take shape as an actual game, instead of a view into our DirectX 12 future. To mark the launch of today's beta, the Substrate faction has been added as a playable race, two more maps have been introduced and ranked multiplayer has been implemented.
There's a new progression system as well and orbital abilities, but the interesting element is Ashes move beyond a benchmark and start to take shape as a fully fledged RTS experience. As it stands, the game already has over 20 maps, two factions, 7 difficulty settings and custom lobbies.
There's a long way to go, and the single-player campaign could still end up like Grey Goo. But in a year and environment where the prospects for new RTS games are increasingly thin on the ground -- largely thanks to the rise of MOBA, and the change in the market -- Ashes is standing out.