I’m getting whiffs of Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander from Etherium’s teaser trailer. It’s a game chock full of the chunky tanks, robust mechs, and space ships that have been modelled on the same design principle as a Toblerone.
While clearly a modern RTS there’s something about it that seems a decided throwback to the 90s and early 00s.
The developers are definitely shooting for a Dune vibe, which I can totally support. Dune 2 kicked off the whole RTS genre and if anything can tap into the mayhem that was the Battle for Arakis then it should be made and sold for many monies.
Etherium follows a familiar formula, there are three warring factions - The Consortium, Council, and Galaad (Harkonnen, Atreides, and Ordos, respectively, I’d guess) - fighting over seven planets for the resource of the game’s title.
Where the game begins to differ is in its non-linear campaign. You can select your missions at will, deciding where you attack and on which planet. In the press release sent to VG247 there’s much made, too, of the game’s dynamic weather system. Sandstorms, freezing blizzards, and hot days all have different effects on your army and your map. They can hide an advance; freeze a lake, opening a new route for your army; and block a pass for your enemy.
They’re ideas we’ve seen before but if they’re implemented well then Etherium could become a worthwhile afternoon’s entertainment. Done badly and we’ll call it names while licking a calippo in the kitchen.
(Why a calippo in this cold winter weather? Etherium’s due out in June 2014.)