When people think of 3D hardware and its benefits, they usually think of first person shooters and RPGs. But ever since Galactic Civilizations, Supreme Commander and Sins of a Solar Empire started popularizing strategic zoom the possibilities have really opened up that 3D acceleration, now mainstream, let us do a lot of amazing things.
In Black & White, players could zoom out to see the world or zoom in to see individual villagers living their lives. It gave us a taste of what could come.
One of our biggest goals for Elemental is that we want players to feel like they are affecting the world. It’s a pure strategy game that happens to have elements from RPGs and adventure games in it simply because it enhances the strategic depth of the game.
When you start the game, you have no army. No city. Nothing. It’s literally just you.
And by you, I mean, literally a single man (or woman) wandering the world. When you’re looking at the map in its normal mode, you’re not seeing an icon representing you. It’s more akin to what you would expect to see in a third person RPG or action game. When you found a city, the people don’t just appear out of thin air. They come from the countryside to live in your town.
A major element of the strategy is getting people to come to your villages, towns, and cities. It’s not merely about cranking out enough food (though that is obviously a very important factor – people need to eat). It’s about making your civilization more attractive to those who are scraping by in the wastelands.
The founders of each faction are channelers. They have the ability to channel magic from the elemental shards of the world. One of the first moves of the game is to use that magic to bring life back to the world which in turn will quickly attract enough people to build up your first keep which in turn will let you start to build farms, housing, barracks, black smiths, mines, libraries, universities, pubs, stores, and so forth.
Pretty soon, you have a bustling cities researching new technologies, researching new spells, producing things for your kingdom that you will need, raising armies, farming lands, and so on. And while players can choose to look at this in the abstract, we’re going to do our best to make sure that players can also zoom in and enjoy the fruits of their labors in as much detail as we can muster.