In the interest of honesty, I should preface by saying that RTS is probably my least-favourite genre in all of gaming. The sensation of spinning plates they cause sends me straight back to a dark place in my memory reserved for my years in food service, watching the line of impatient customers stretch out the door while we run out of lettuce, the counter needs cleaning and something somewhere starts to burn well past unrecognizable. It stresses me out, is what I’m saying here.
Yet when poking at the demo of ambitious FPS/RTS hybrid Abatron, I find myself intrigued. Sure, there are still all the buildings to construct and units to manage and resources to collect and so on that tend to overwhelm me in games like Starcraft, but now I have options. If I don’t want to worry about the home base, I can tap a button to leap into the body of one of the units on screen to control him directly rather than leave it up to the AI as in other examples of the genre.
While this sounds like an intriguing concept that would make for an interesting evolution of multiplayer metagame, we might not ever find out. As it stands, Abatron is currently sitting very far from its funding goal with only a week left. Unless over $100,000 somehow comes in by the end of the month, the project will fail to meet its goal.
Keeping Hope Alive
Thankfully, the developer has stated in public comments the intent to continue work on the project if funding fails, at a slower rate. What surprises is just how low the funding is in the first place. Though I went on about my distaste for one of the genres it hybridizes, isn’t this the sort of thing that backers eat right up? The campaign even provides a playable demo that (while incomplete) gives a pretty good taste of what the full game might be like.
In completed form, Abatron could very well make for some impressive teamwork scenarios as players group together to manage buildings and control individual units. There is even a cooperative players vs. AI mode for those not interested in competitive play. The graphics are impressive enough, and though the interface felt a bit awkward to me, the game is much more developed than others of its type that promise to blend two disparate genres.
It pays to be wary of ambitious multiplayer projects, especially if they might rely on a large player base in order to function properly. With its potential for cooperation and competition on a very large scale, Abatron definitely does. Setting its funding goals high and only giving 30 days to reach them might have also been a pitfall that gives the appearance of failure. Plus, though I couldn’t say for sure, I’m just not sure how much crossover there might be between the camps of FPS and RTS players, two genres that tend to attract a hardcore, devoted crowd.
If you’re interested, funding is still ongoing until September 29th, and you can find the playable demo on Steam.