Here’s a brief post about an interesting moment in a level of the real-time-tactical game Myth 2: Soulblighter. The level is called “Into the Breach” and it involves you trying to get your troops to infiltrate the motte-and-bailey castle of a traitorous baron who is creating an army of Thrall (essentially zombies with axes).
In what amounts to the mission briefing, the narrator mentions how in the night he and his comrades saw an army of 1,000 thrall leave the castle and march off towards a friendly village.
This bit of narrative is reflected and reiterated in a moment in the level itself.
Most games change their difficulty by making the enemies more numerous or more powerful. But, I always like it when games designers do something unique and off the beaten path. Which brings me to something that happens in at least one level in Myth 2: Soulblighter, developed by Chicago Bungie. (I know System Shock 2 did some really cool things with custom difficulty settings, but I never got to play it and I certainly can’t play it on the computer I have now.)
Myth 1 & 2 are some of the best games of their kind, of all time. No exaggeration. They were real time tactical games (no base building, no resource gathering, just armies) that were ahead of their time with 3D terrain, real physics, and weather effects. In my opinion, they were far superior to their RTS counterparts Warcraft, Total Annihiliation, and Command & Conquer due to Myth’s heavy reliance on quick thinking under extreme pressure. Friendly fire was “on” for all units and you couldn’t get new units, which forced you to be very tactical and intelligent in how you played the game.
(Gaming history sidenote: All Bungie products have acronyms on them that stand for actual phrases; fans figured them out and Bungie confirmed them. On Myth the WACCSMD stands for Warcraft and Command & Conquer, Suck My Dick; and on Myth 2 the TATRTSTS stands for Total Annihilation True Real Time Strategy Totally Sucks. HA HA! Game developers had real spirit back then. Can you imagine modern Washington Bungie doing something like that? No way, it wouldn’t be PR friendly.)
ANYWAY, let’s get back to talking about game difficulty.
What most people don’t realize, because Bungie has been very tight lipped about this, is that the Hive take a great deal of inspiration from a little known 1999 real time strategy/city building game called “Alien Nations”, by German Developer JoWooD Productions.
In Alien Nations you could select to play one of three alien species: the blue Pimmons, the large breasted and scantily clad Amazons (WTF???), and the insectoid Sajkhi.
It is the last of these that was the direct inspiration for Destiny’s Hive. Not only are the Sajkhi insects, like the Hive, but the Sajkhi also farm maggots which are their primary food source. It was the maggot farming that was the direct inspiration for the Hive’s worm narrative in Destiny:
The Sajkhi also had a “Hall of Orgies” (WTF???) as their recreation building, so expect that to definitely be a Raid in the next Destiny expansion.
Dear Readers! Post in the comments if you’d like to join me in starting a kickstarter campaign for the world’s first Hall of Orgies! Wouldn’t all our lives be a little better if there was a Hall of Orgies in every city? Well, this kickstarter campaign is how we make that dream a reality. Post in the comments!
People seem to be pretty disappointed with the recent Aliens: Colonial Marines game. That reminds me, I’ve been pretty disappointed with every Aliens vs. Predator game that’s come out. In my opinion they aren’t really AvP games at all and a true AvP game does not exist… yet!
The original Starcraft is the perfect example of the three faction archetype. The Terrans are down to earth humans, the Zerg are a mindless swarm of destruction, and the Protoss are ancient beings with immense spiritual and technological power. The factions are balanced in terms of gameplay and narrative. Each race has its own unique qualities, style, and atmosphere which distinguishes it from the other races.
However, that is changing in the Starcraft 2 series. Both the Zerg and the Protoss are having their most powerful qualities erased and the worst offense is done to the Protoss who in Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty have become weaklings making half hearted attempts at being relevant.
Recently I wrote a post about how I played a different demo of Starcraft than anyone else. To verify a few memories I played the Starcraft demo once again. During replay I noticed a storytelling device that was brilliant. It was so subtly wonderful that I decided to save its discussion for a later post. This is that post.