Call the genre “dead”, call it “dormant”, call it whatever the fuck you want, spitting out a Wargame or a Planetary Annihilation every couple of years is NOT a healthy genre. It has been a full goddamn decade since the genre hit its highwater mark with Supreme Commander, and it has been fifteen years since the genre was one of the very coolest things going, a cultural and creative force that people wanted to be a part of. And now, they don’t.
But look at what videogaming has to show for it! Defense of the Ancients and its inbred cousins have become a billion-dollar genre. The hero concept laid out by Warcraft III has become the central backdrop for online multiplayer across multiple genres. “Games” like Mobile Strike and Clash of Clans are some of the most consistently popular videogames across the mobile phones and they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The influence of RTS is a very real thing, all across videogames, and yet, the genre proper is so fucking dead that the only games which earn a dime are remasters and remakes, catering to an audience old enough to get it on with their mid-life crisis? What the fuck happened?
Something or another, who cares about this quote?
If the hardcore RTS players have their way, they’ll tell you how everyone is TOO CASUAL to experience the masterclass in videogame athletics, because they don’t recognize the irony in telling others to “GIT GUD” while wondering why nobody wants anything to do with their genre. Understanding that they are part of the problem is one piece of the puzzle. 1 But it is the professional opinion of this amateur shitlord with a blog, to borrow from an old man named Murray, that RTS games committed suicide.
Lucky for you guys that the courts tell me I have to say something nice about videogames every once in a while. So you know what? This genre CAN be saved, and not only can it be saved, it can be something that people will ACTUALLY look forward to, instead of the current cycle, where we pray that Grey Goo or Act of Aggression or Dawn of War 3 will be worth anyone’s time and finding that it’s not. I will tell you how RTS shot itself in the face, I’m going to tell you how it can be brought back to life, but in order to do this, it will require companies to make some hard, serious decisions about what their genre should be.
And in order to make RTS popular again, we must understand a simple thing: RTS was never popular.