- Genre: MMORTS.
- PvE: Yes.
- PvP: Yes.
- Business Model: Free-to-play.
- Development Stage: In Development.
- Release Date: N/A.
- Platforms: PC and mobile.
Real-time strategy, now that’s a genre that doesn’t get the MMO treatment too often. Apart from a few titles, the MMORTS selection is, to say the least, lacking. The good people at NCSoft have decided to tap into this corner of the massively multiplayer universe. Among the several MMO games in-development at the Korean studio, one is one of the RTS variety.
What Is Project G All About
Project G’s debut trailer presents the world from Sebastian’s perspective. We learn that he is our butler and we are newly-arrived commanders on Pangaea. He quickly brings us up to speed. Our duties are clear: develop the kingdom, amass an army, and go to war. It’s business as usual for someone who – we find out towards the end of the trailer – is the legitimate ruler of Pangaea.
The video shows “actual gameplay footage”. It gives off StarCraft and Age of Empire vibes with a medieval fantasy flavor. It’s a mix, for sure. The story seems quite generic for this brand-new IP. The graphics are easy on the eyes. The combat, however, catches the attention. Fortunately, we know a bit more about this part of the gameplay.
Project G Implements Real-Time Combat
Project G attempts to be the best of the SLG and RTS worlds in an MMO universe. SLG, a term mostly associated with mobile strategy titles, stands for simulation game. It is definitely something we don’t want to hear, but hold on, there’s more.
According to the Lead Designer, Cho Kyuhyung, Project G has SLG gameplay with RTS combat mechanics. What this means is that battles are not simulated. That’s definitely something we want to hear. This type of combat is a staple of the RTS genre. Players actively take control over individual units. They issue commands such as instructing the units to move to a certain location, defend an area, engage in combat, and so on.
In SLGs, players command their armies to go to war but have no control over what happens during combat. Battles are usually a numbers game, as the spoils go to the player with the most units. Project G does away with this kind of combat and we couldn’t be happier about it.
Commanders will select their units and order them to move or attack. This mechanic puts the winning odds in the players’ hands. It’s not just a simple matter of comparing numbers. It’s a matter of planning and reacting based on the situation at hand. It’s what made RTS games great.
We’re not getting ahead of ourselves here, but, if done right, Project G could bring something new to the table.
Project G Features Four Races with Unique Units
The official trailer shows an amalgam of races and units. The dragon, of course, steals the show, but more questions remain. What other races and units are available? Will we join a faction?
The unexpected news is that we won’t choose a race and get locked out of the other races. Kang Seongpil from the animation team promises some interesting races and a generous selection of units. Project G will feature four groups, races, or factions. While three of them are nothing to write home about, the fourth is insanely cute. A leader represents each race.
Aerial and terrestrial units are available for each faction. We build our armies using units from all four races. Each race has special units. Circling back to the dragon, that’s the special unit of the Caleon race.
Each special unit will be countered by a special unit pertaining to a distrinct race. In this particular case, dragons are susceptible to magic weapons. A system of strengths and weaknesses is in place to maintain balance between units of different races.
Buildings have a strategic use in battle. In RTS games, different types of buildings spawn units, unlock technologies, and have defensive capabilities. The buildings’ tactical function in Project G is unclear, but they will play a part on the battlefield.
Project G Gameplay
NCSoft conceived Project G with the “MMO experience” in mind. Base building and upgrades are solo activities ultimately converging towards multiplayer encounters.
When you are not tending to your kingdom, you are taking part in large-scale wars for territory. The game is made with grouping in mind.
Players form alliances against each other. In the grand scheme of war, allegiances may change on the spot. Your ally can quickly turn into your enemy. Other than large-scale PvP conflicts – that may as well be guild wars – we have no info on other game modes. We know, however, that PvE is not missing.
The developers weren’t ready to disclose more about the races, gameplay, and other things of interest, but they did let us in on one neat feature: a beam that we can project onto the map with some writing or message. In the demo, the luminous letters said NC.
We don’t know how many words, letters, or symbols we can fit into the message. What we know is that, no matter the limitations, players will come up with clever ways to spell something they shouldn’t.
Project G Release Date and Business Model
The team is not ready to talk about the release date yet. They say that Project G will arrive soon. Does that mean we will be able to play the game by the end of 2023? And how much do we have to pay for it? While NCSoft didn’t specifically say “free to play”, this is one bet we won’t lose.
What we are most curious about are the premium items. After seeing the powerful dragon, players were wondering if that would be one of the premium units. The official response was worthy of a politician working their way around an uncomfortable question.
The lead designer wants us not to worry. He assures us that we can acquire everything we need to stay relevant without visiting the cash shop. What would have put our minds at ease was to hear that the cash shop sells only cosmetics. Instead, we received a generic answer. However, it is too early to judge.
Impressions and Concerns
In all honesty, it’s the whole mobile stuff that puts us off. In addition to the pay-to-win apprehensions, we are wondering if NCSoft is going down the same path with Project G as with Blade and Souls 2.
BnS2 is a mobile game that can be played on PC through Purple, NCSoft’s PC emulator. Is Project G really developed for both PC and mobile or is it a mobile port?
The fact that NCSoft is not exactly known for its strategy titles is something we can live with. After all, Blizzard Entertainment wasn’t in the MMO market and their first MMORPG did pretty well for itself.
NCSoft is confident that by bringing together a niche genre (RTS) and a somewhat still popular genre (MMO), they will give new incentives to players wanting to enjoy this underrepresented genre (MMORTS).
The question remains: given the decline in popularity of the RTS games, is the player base open to the idea of an MMORTS? Scoff all you want millennials and Gen X, but the era of your beloved childhood games has long passed.
A veteran company such as NCSoft is acting on more than whims and beliefs. They must have based the decision to make an MMORTS on something solid, such as a market research showing interest for these games. We wholeheartedly hope they didn’t consider the cash-grabbing potential of SLGs only and went for a quick buck. Ultimately, there is only one way to find out and that is by playing the game.