A sequel to the 2007 strategy title that was both available for the PC and the Xbox 360, Supreme Commander 2 is poised to build on what made the first game successful as well as improve on some of the weaker points. From the creators of what many consider one of the best RTS games out there, Total Annihilation, Supreme Commander was a well received title that I, in addition to many others, have unfortunately overlooked. Thankfully due to its studio’s reputation, it has gained a niche following for its refreshing take on RTS games. With the sequel promising some interesting changes and improvements on not only the first game, but the genre in general, the sequel has a better chance than before of becoming the breakout title for the series.
The story will be taking place 25 years after the events of the first game and, naturally, focuses in on a fragile peace exploding into total war. Supreme Commander 2 promises to have a rich, engaging story unlike what most other strategy titles offer, thanks in part with their new partnership with Square-Enix, the series' new publisher. This story campaign will span over 18 missions, and will go in-depth into the reasons behind the new war, its factions, and those personally involved in the war, giving a unique, character-driven experience.
The first game was known for its fast paced combat with a unique interface in its overworld view where you could see the entire battlefield from a top down perspective, and also changed the entire genre by allowing the game to be playable on multiple computer screens. In the sequel, on top of new set piece battlefields and units, features new gameplay mechanics and some interesting tweaks. Instead of the standard method of RTS games where you upgrade to a certain level before gaining access to that level's complete set, it now employs a “skill tree” system. This allows for quick, focused upgrades to specific units or abilities instead of a long buildup to unlock all the abilities in the same tech level, which is a welcome departure from the norm, and further drives the fast-paced feel of the game.
The other major turn is the addition of attachment upgrades to many of the units of the game. Instead of normally investing in completely different units in situations, players can put add-ons on their units, allowing players to use their same forces throughout the entirety of the game. For example, equipping a ground specialized tank with an anti-air missile battery counteracts its previous weakness to air units. Players can literally watch their units change from the amount of upgrades they attach to it. Pre-alpha footage shows that the graphics are coming along, with noticeable improvements to lighting and shadows as well as intricacies on the different units. Finally, their User Interface has been improved to match the stronger focus on its large scale conflicts. This, along with its Tactical View will provide players better user feedback.
It may seem like developed Gas Powered Games may be promising too much, but that seems not to be the case. While not much else has been revealed, what was revealed, despite being pre-alpha footage, seems to be going in a great direction. It is unknown how the single player campaign will be structured, or how they will be handling the Xbox 360 version of the game, but it seems safe to say that Supreme Commander 2 will be offering players a different RTS experience than the norm, and that alone may be worth enough to keep following the game. The game will be released on March 16, 2010 for the PC and Xbox 360. Stay tuned on MyGamer.com for more information on the series as it becomes available.