Watching the recent DF Brad Muir Kickstarter streams about his MASSIVE CHALICE, made me think of Chad Dawson, who is on that team, and was working on such titles like the first EMPIRE EARTH and later on Stainless Steels neck breaking title "RISE AND FALL, CIVILIZATIONS AT WAR".
It has many elements, I associate with the trailers and gameplay videos I have seen for Creative Assembly's ROME II.
Yes, before Rise and Fall, there already was TW Rome and before that the original Shogun (I was there).
Yet, the challenge is to make a turn-based strategy game appealing to non-TBS gamers (basically, to sell it, beyond a couple 10.000 copies). Many studios have to figure out how to make these games more sexy to the masses.
While Creative Assembly managed to turn their games into hybrids from the beginning (Real Time Strategy during battles, Turn Based Strategy on the map game), they now advertise the "unit view" (although, not playable, afaik), to enhance the cinematic effect of the gorgeous massive battles.
In "Rise and Fall", you had a different kind of hybrid. You had your Warcraft/Starcraft, AoE (former devs from Age of Empires created "Stainless Steel Studios) or C&C type of base building and resource collecting, but you also had your "hero" unit. A single hero, you had to take care of ... and JUMP into him or her, and control him/her (Cleopatra!!), giving out commands to your units, using your bow or drawing your sword, plowing through the masses of enemies, leaving a bloody path behind you.
All historically correct, of course!
While the game was in trouble during development (I myself, don't know the details, you can find something about it, I suppose on the web), it was released by Midway eventually and received mixed reviews. While it was considered a solid, good, game, many reviewers, complained about the lack of 'real' strategy in the game. Too much emphasis on the hero units. Another bad thing: the game came with the Starforce Rootkit DRM "driver". At the same time it sold well, was a bestseller in the UK and also received the prestigious BAFTA Award in 2006(?) for "Best Strategy Game".
The game had some great, fresh ideas. Hero Units, Naval Warfare! It still is fun to play to this day! It has long campaigns and working multiplayer, letting you play 4 factions: Persia, Greece, Rome, Egypt, and it is ... free. Also, no more Starforce. You can find a free demo version to just check it out on Gamershell.com, and there, you can get the Full Version of the game. There is a version out there you can pay for at Gamefly, I think.
Now to the odd part. If you play in hero-mode - like I did today - you might also be reminded of a certain Double Fine Prototype Brad Muir was working on? He was trying to sell his 'game', pitching it to everyone for a year, as we now know, but nobody wanted it. "Rise and Fall" in 3rd Person perspective, has this BRAZEN vibe, like 'totally' dude, for real. Wouldn't you agree?
Wikipedia Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rise_and_Fall:_Civilizations_at_War
Gamespot Review by Jason Ocampo: http://www.gamespot.com/rise-and-fall-civilizations-at-war/platform/pc/
HeavenGames Article: http://raf.heavengames.com/raf/exclusives/gamers%20day/page9
I was running the game today on a Windows 8, 64-bit machine, without problems. You do have to overcome one hurdle.
Even though you install the game as Administrator on Win 7/8, the game executable (ask Will Smith for proper pronounciation) needs a pointer to the data files.
You can do this by creating a shortcut to the desktop and adding the following parameters, as seen here:
"C:\Rise and Fall\RiseAndFall.exe" -datapath "data\" -redistpath "redist\" -nodump
This should be all you need to do.
"Games Radar admired them, having said "Rise & Fall is about pretty units killing each other in a beautifully drawn environment..."
"poorly rendered, incomprehensible cutscenes filled with bad dialogue and characters that seemed to swagger like they were walking down Main Street in a Western-movie gunfight" by GameSpy - which is a Vinny & Ryan Davis QL 5-Stars?
It also has "... appropriately pompous Gladiator-style music."
I'm done, selling.
Now back to playing, before Rome 2 hits the harddrive.
Still need to finish this Company of Heroes 2 campaign.
Strategy games - they are "a thing", Giantbomb strategy-staffless staff. I miss Dave & Mike Quick Looks.