Bringing a real-time strategy franchise to console is, veterans of the genre would tirelessly argue, much like taking a Challenger 2 tank, swapping the L30A1 120mm rifled gun for a champagne cooler, repainting the whole thing cream and using it as a golf kart. Unless, that is, you’re poor old now-defunct Ensemble Studios, creator of the mighty Halo Wars. Or, apparently, Eugen Systems, the outfit behind the deceptively swish and fuss-free R.U.S.E.
Speaking to VideoGamesDaily in an interview this week, Producer Mathieu Girard has insisted that R.U.S.E. is none the worse for its multiplatform credentials. In fact, he reckons the R.U.S.E. team have ‘basically solved the remaining issue in console strategy gaming’.
‘I think that console games have tried to find solutions to the issue of having the right controls,’ Girard commented, ‘but it’s more like binding controls to a specific situation, or changing the plan of what strategies you can do in-game, so that it fits on a console game pad, while we really wanted with R.U.S.E. to preserve the strategic vision aspect and the kind of decisions you will have with that.
‘So we worked on streamlining the types of decisions and how it could be adapted to a game pad, with a streaming engine, these kinds of decisions – and actually we did not sacrifice the depth of the game.’
In fairness, some of the success with which the game ‘maps’ to a control pad can be attributed to the decision to focus on the strategic overview, rather than fiddly tactical details like exact squad distribution – said Girard, ‘we avoided micro controls and micro-management because for us that’s more tactics than strategy’ – but the claim is an impressive one nonetheless.
He’s particularly proud of the game’s dynamic zoom, elsewhere glimpsed in the likes of Sins of a Solar Empire. ‘We basically solved the remaining issue in console strategy gaming, which is the translation of getting from the battlefield back to the base to build some units, because in most games you have to scroll, and sometimes you have some shortcuts to open some buildings, but in R.U.S.E. you can actually move there very quickly from point A to point B, by zooming in and zooming out.’
Ultimately, though, the game’s performance on console is a question of several factors working together. ‘The combination of all these systems make it more immersive and useful, so there’s no secret recipe,’ Girard concluded. ‘We actually put in all the props to make it very simple to use.’
R.U.S.E. is slated for a 17th November release on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Read the full interview here.