RTS is a “dying market”: Ironclad director talks genre decline

Friday, 1st February 2013 12:59 GMT By Dave Cook

Sins of a Solar Empire developer Ironclad Games believes that the RTS genre has become niche and is now dying out. That’s the sentiment of studio co-owner and director Blair Fraser.

In an interview with RPS, Fraser stated, “RTSes, to my mind, are very niche now. And that’s unfortunate, because that’s what I love, and that’s what I grew up playing, and that’s what I make. Or made, anyway. I just think the demographics have changed. Company of Heroes may be profitable, and StarCraft II is an anomaly. But most of them aren’t gonna get big numbers. It’s a dying market.”

On the subject of the studio’s own RTS, Sins of a Solar Empire, Fraser admits that while it’s still “thriving”, it has now “kind of diverged from classic RTS, so it still has a place. It still has a very specific community that wants more. There are games like Total War as well, but they broke away from classic base-building, because that’s done. It’s sad for me to say, but that’s done.”

Fraser’s statement comes as EA is gearing up its Command & Conquer project, a game that looks to capture all of the base-building and resource management of class RTS titles. What do you think about its chances at market? Let us know below.



  1. absolutezero

    RTS is a “dying market”:

    Apart from this one, and that one is an fluke and that ones not an RTS because I say so and that one or that one.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. GrimRita

    Well given that the recent crop of RTS games have been nothing short of generic – is it any wonder gamers are tired of the same old stuff?

    Developers need to stop looking at their games as a single player – RTS games should be online – just look how popular the original Dawn of War was.

    Only Universe at War was brave enough to have 3 different factions that all played differently. I haven’t seen anything like that since. C&C will need to be special if it is to breathe life back into the series and genre.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. harmundo

    Total War: Rome II, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Company of Heroes 2, Civilization VI (?), Tropico 5 (?), Europa Universalis IV, Crusader Kings II: The Republic, Command & Conquer, Planetary Annihilation… and so on :-).

    I dont think that the genre is dying. Maybe just the classic RTS, you know, the click/second based. I dont care about that. I will play Company of Heroes 2 until CoH3 :-).

    #3 2 years ago
  4. OwnedWhenStoned

    Bring back Battlezone II – FPS and RTS. Amazes me it hasn’t been rebooted.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. friendlydave

    Bring back a true Command and Conquer sequel. I want to build a base with power plants and barracks and..yeah just no mobile bases!

    @3 Civ, Crusader Kings and Total War are not RTS games… [Total war battle scenarios maybe.]

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Samoan Spider

    Zerg rush or bust!

    Also, a C&C game with cheesy FMV’s and no mobile bases gets my vote, but there are plenty of games keeping the genre alive so not sure where he’s going with this. Maybe he should do something fresh in the genre and keep it alive.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. alterecho

    Am playing SupCom 1 and having a blast

    #7 2 years ago
  8. UuBuU

    I really don’t think the RTS genre has been exhausted ~ The main thing thats killing it is 3D. Go back to detailed 2D and improve upon the classics from the late 90s ~ early 00s

    @5 ~ Correct. Civ is turn-based, Crusader Kings is grand strategy (technically RTS, but pausable and completely different to your typical RTS game), and Total War is turn-based with RTT battles (real-time tactics, not strategy).

    I don’t understand why so many people have such a hard time with strategy game genres and just lump everything under “RTS” incorrectly

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Joe_Gamer

    They don’t put stories in RTS games anymore, it’s all just procedural maps or multiplayer only, give me an RTS with a campaign I can sink my teeth into and I’ll buy it any day.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    Adventure games were declared dead as well, but really they just weren’t very good for too long.

    Not that they’re as big today as they were, but the guys making quality stuff are also making a living.

    @9 Spot on, it’s amazing how Warcraft 3 came and went, and nobody seemed to want to do anything similar.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. CyberMarco

    I really miss the Ago of Empires games… :(

    #11 2 years ago
  12. GwynbleiddiuM

    @9 StarCraft: Heart of the Swarm :D but I totally feel ya. RTS storytelling days died after WC3, and now only Blizzard brings it back every once in a long while.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DSB

    I totally forgot about World in Conflict. One of my favourite games of all time.

    It wasn’t WC3, but I thought it did an amazing job of making war awesome and sad at the same time.

    One minute you’re calling in literally tonnes of explosives, the next you see one of the soldiers trying to call his stepdad to clear things up before it’s too late.

    It was mostly cutscenes, and that’s a shortcut, but it definitely got to me. Rest in peace Massive.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Joe_Gamer

    @12 Aye, I’ve enjoyed the Starcraft/Warcraft series, buy they game, play the campaign, spend dozens of hours in multiplayer. I love the custom quirky community made maps, the straight up competitive RTS maps are and probably always will be, too brutal for my lazy ass. Funny how My favorite games in every genre have almost always involved user created maps/mods/content, we need moar of that.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. blackdreamhunk

    Nope rts are not dying still waiting for sins of the solar empire land, air sea battles. Just need to find an inspiring rts game.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Christopher Jack

    I disagree, I just think that people are trying to innovate in the area but at the same time forgetting what made the prequels popular. With C&C getting a reboot I’d like to see a reboot of Tiberium Wars next after that abortion that was Tiberium Twilight.

    I’ve just wanted a new Dawn of War for a very long time, back to basics such as base building. DoW2 was fine, but it was more or less Company of Heroes with W40K slapped onto it. CoH is fine, but not my kind of game, I preferred the more traditional Age of Empires like approach.

    #16 2 years ago

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