Strategy boss: Listening to hardcore audience has killed RTS sales

Monday, 27th October 2008 11:17 GMT By Patrick Garratt


Listening to feedback from hardcore RTS fans has driven complexity up and sales days in the genre.

That’s according to Ubi Shanghai boss Michael de Plater, dev lead on Tom Clancy’s EndWar.

“Strategy games have almost suffered by listening too much to their hardcore audience,” the exec told VG247.

“Every iteration, from Command & Conquer onwards, added stuff and added stuff and added stuff, which has just upped the complexity. If you watch the sales, they just go down and down and down.

“They’re just selling to [an increasingly] narrower audience.”

EndWar has offed the shackles of dozens of shortcuts and resource management by aiming for a stripped-down take on strategy with a console focus and voice commands.

The approach will bring RTS to a wider audience, de Plater added.

“We would very much hope and like this to be consistent in its success with the other ‘big three’ Tom Clancy franchises like Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell,” he said.

“It’s important for us to reach a wider audience with it as well.”

EndWar release on November 7 for PS3 and 360.



  1. patlike

    I’m playing through Dawn of War at the moment. Take a bit of getting used to, but it is awesome. I’m looking forward to EndWar. I had to be shown what to do with it, but once I got used to the commands I loved it.

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Quiiick

    Just tell us when “Ghost Recon: AW3″ is coming, Ubisoft!

    #2 6 years ago

    “Listening to feedback from hardcore RTS fans has driven complexity up and sales days in the genre.”

    Complexity up, sales down.

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Gekidami

    Well as far i as know EndWar had no beta with player feed-back, so his words will be put to the test when RA3 comes out, that game was practically rebuilt on player recommendations while the beta was on.

    #4 6 years ago
  5. AlbenoEpiX

    Crikey moses what a misguided twit.

    Last I checked, Starcraft was far ahead of the Command and Conquer franchise in terms of complexity and it doesn’t have a particularly narrow audience.

    #5 6 years ago
  6. Shatner

    Hmm. Not sure how much genuine concern is expressed in this as opposed to “Oh, my game is out any day and I need to grab PR and column space by making incendiary claims”. I’m likely to go with the latter.

    In respect of C&C and, in particular, the forthcoming Red Alert 3 there’s a good interview with the game’s producers over at GameSetWatch. Some of it covers the evolution of the gameplay of the series. A good read.

    Interesting to see that ex-Gamespot Editor Greg Kasavin is one of the game’s producers.

    #6 6 years ago
  7. patlike

    When I did my StarCraft II interview at Games Convention, the the guy with Frank Pearce was ex-Gamespot as well.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Shatner

    Yeah, but Kasavin was about the best thing at Gamespot :) . Bungie have some ex-games journo as their writer/pressmonkey these days too.

    Either way, I see these comments more as a PR move for an impending game release than anything else. These guys always start getting chatty just when their game needs to hit the PR zeitgeist.

    Oh, and let’s not forget that Ubisoft is seen by many as the ‘answer’ to Electronic Arts – a position that I don’t quite agree on but, were I Ubisoft, I’d exploit the hell out of.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Whizzo

    Weird, C&C3 is just as simple as its ever been and it’s the reason why I didn’t think much of it as RTSs have moved on while it hasn’t. It didn’t stop the PC version shipping more than a million copies though and Red Alert is bound to do very well too.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. patlike

    Frank O’Connor’s an ex-journo. He was at Bungie for ages as the “mouthpiece”. He’s on the Halo team at Microsoft now. I shared a room with him at my first E3, in 1999. Funny fucker.

    You’re right about the EA/Ubi thing, and I don’t think it’s come to a head yet. Everyone seems more concerned about Acti-EA, but I think EA has far more parallels with Ubisoft.

    The problem with the PR point there is that it’s only really in the build up to release that journalists are given “open” access to developers at events. And that’s when all the best quotes come out.

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Truk

    Complex?! He should try playing an SSG strategy game.

    #11 6 years ago
  12. patlike


    #12 6 years ago
  13. Freek

    First you slam the genre, then you say “Yes but our game is different”. People still buy into that?

    #13 6 years ago
  14. Tonka

    Anyone else remember that Genre Theory from about 2 years ago?

    #14 6 years ago
  15. cachucha

    what a tard, make good games and dont blame the “harcore” testers

    #15 6 years ago

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