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DOWII: Retribution first in series to use Steamworks exclusively

Wednesday, 15th September 2010 18:44 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

dow2retribution

Relic has announced a beta for Dawn of War II: Retribution will hit sometime in “the new year”, and also revealed the game will forgo the use of GFWL like previous titles in the series by using Steamworks only.

A new back end, guest passes, free multiplayer weekends

Retribution will use Steamworks for the “all new matchmaking and ranking set up” in the game, and will allow for other added benefits.

“This new back end will allow players to invite friends into matches from their Steam friends lists, and take advantage of the full set of Steam community features including groups, achievements, and Steam overlay chat channels. We are also going to include an all new matchmaking and ranking set up, built specifically for Dawn of War II – Retribution,” said Relic in a statement.

“The move to Steamworks will also allow us to provide features like guest passes, free multiplayer weekends, pre-loading and the ability to provide fast turn-around on future patches and updates.

“To accomplish this transition, Dawn of War II – Retribution will be a completely stand alone title in the series and will provide multiple campaigns to play, as well as all six multiplayer races, with new units for each of the existing five races and one new unannounced one. In a change from our previous strategies with expansion packs, we will not be patching this content back into Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising.

“Owners of Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising will get the chance to try out the full set of Retribution’s Steam features in a multiplayer beta that will take place in the new year. More details on the beta will be announced at a later date.

“Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising will continue to operate on Games for Windows Live, in order to preserve the owners of those titles ability to earn Live achievements as well as their established friends lists.”

Dual support of GFWL and Steam added “a lot of extra complexity”

Retribution’s producer, Jeff Lydell, told PC Gamer one of the main reasons for the switch to Steamworks was Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising players having to log into both systems to play.

The team felt this was “cumbersome”, and dual support of both systems added complexity to updates.

“Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising are hybrids of Steamworks and Games for Windows Live, and require the owners of those games to log in to both to play” said Lydell. “We’ve always thought this was cumbersome, and only implemented it because back in Dawn of War II’s development, we needed digital distribution and matchmaking features from both platforms.

“Since then both Microsoft and Valve have worked to catch up with each other, and on Dawn of War II – Retribution, we’ve decided to utilize the Steamworks SDK for networking and matchmaking.

“We couldn’t do the switch on Chaos Rising because of the method we used to link campaign progress by importing save games. When we started work on Retribution we had a different plan for the campaign content. Rather than continuing with the exact same characters and progression, we’ve added new campaigns for different races and new stories. This meant we were free to change up that aspect of the game.

“Dual support of GFWL and Steam did add a lot of extra complexity and testing time, across the team here at Relic, the QA team and with Microsoft’s certification team.”

However, despite the extra work involved which tended to slow updates to both games, Lyndell said the slower progress had more to do with “scheduling multiple fixes for a certification appointment”.

“We’ve been able to update Dawn of War II and Chaos Rising many times since we launched. We’ve done more updates to DOW II already than we did for the entire DOW I series across all four products, and it is more dependent on our commitment to responding to our community than it is on the networking provider.

“The biggest drawback is it’s rarely possible to release an update to fix a single issue, since we were usually scheduling multiple fixes for a certification appointment. That can snowball and slow down our development and testing time.

“I’m most excited that we are going to be able to take full advantage of Steam’s features like free weekend trials and cloud saving. We are also working with Valve on some new exciting features to be announced later.”

Relic said in its statement there’s “more exciting announcements in the coming weeks” regarding Retribution, so everyone needs to “stay tuned”.

We’ve mailed THQ to find out if Steamworks will be it’s exclusive partner on this in the future.

Dawn of War II: Retribution is slated for Q1 2011.

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7 Comments

  1. DSB

    Cumbersome?! Games for Windows Live?! Get outta town!!!

    They pretty much should’ve seen that a long time ago.

    Hopefully all other publishers with half a brain will withdraw their support as well.

    @Steph According to Gamesindustry.biz (News! thread) it’s actually THQ withdrawing support for GFWL. I don’t know whether that’s accurate.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Stephany Nunneley

    @1 According to Eurogamer, THQ’s Danny Bilson said: “Microsoft is a fantastic partner of ours. For us to make a decision to go to Steamworks over them required a real deep dive on the part of some of our team.”

    I never read anywhere where Relic came right out and said “No more GFWL ever” or “GFWL can suck it” :D – so I didn’t say it was exclusively going Steamworks from here on out. However, I did email THQ to find out whether this was true or not. Hopefully someone will get back with me soon.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. DSB

    Oh I wasn’t saying it was a definite break, I’m just on a major high of schadenfreude about it.

    I wouldn’t think it was up to Relic, although obviously they might persuade THQ to let them go that way.

    I just generally tune out the patronizing PR nonsense. “Mommy and daddy aren’t spltting up, we’re just spending some time apart” is basically what that Bilson quote is trying to say. No matter what courteous nonsense they wrap it in, they don’t want GFWL in their next big launches.

    Whether that’s a temporary thing or a genuinely intelligent decision to dump GFWL back into the gaping cunt of stupid from whence it came, time will tell :P

    Fingers crossed! Sic semper tyrannis!

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Stephany Nunneley

    “Mommy and daddy aren’t splitting up, we’re just spending some time apart”… I wish all quotes were that cut and dry, and as amusing :D

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Grimrita

    Steam despite some good points has MANY flaws. Its where the natural born losers/rage quitters are allowed to thrive and go unpunished.

    It needs addressing because otherwise these LOSERS will continue to be just that and spoil the game play for those wanting to actually play

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    @5 You want to blame Steam for peoples behaviour?

    That has nothing to do with the client. Either the game you’re playing gives you an incentive to keep playing or it doesn’t. The only thing you can be sure of when you punish a losing player for quitting, is that they’re more likely to stay away.

    I think it’s a lot more constructive to try and keep them playing and accepting that loss, instead.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. NeoSquall

    Finally, FINALLY THQ is dropping the damned GfWL!

    #7 4 years ago

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