Why must we always be at the front of war? Why can’t we be at the back, 30 miles behind in the bunker with the champagne and the astonishing disregard for human life?
Universum: War Front isn’t willing to incorporate that dramatic a change of perspective, but it has adopted another one unusual to its genre – a dynamic third-person option.
It’s the kind of project you’d expect to see completed as a mod using StarCraft II’s flexible editor – but War Front’s engine looks from a distance every bit as capable of Blizzard’s, and all of it built by one man.
Solo designer, artist and programmer Cyril Megem calls War Front an action real-time strategy game, which abbreviates slightly amusingly to ARTS. Beyond the clear traditional RTS influence, Dota and Battlefield are the two key inspirations in friction here. Missions are familiar fare in the C&C mould, but the player can choose to take control of a unit at any time – whether they be grounded mech, winged ship or amphibious god-knows-what.
Once you’ve taken in the destructible environment, natural disasters and slightly absurd level of unit customisation, the trailer is likely to leave you gawping into your monitor and minus about five minutes:
One major worry springs to mind: it’s not evident how War Front will reconcile the tiny lifespan of the common RTS unit with the superhuman health bar of the average directly-controlled player character.
But Megem deserves to be rewarded for his ambition, and neither his Kickstarter project nor Greenlight page have taken off at the rate they might have. Maybe some of his enthusiasm for intergalactic-yet-intimate RTS has rubbed off on you?