Ara: History Untold

Among potentially, Civilization VII, Ara, and Millenia we are either going to be swimming in wondrous new 4X games or depressed by games that are only 'almost good enogh'.
I hope the number of competitors will lead to more complete starting versions of those games again and not to delay core concepts like per example railroads, that should be crucial for a civ game, to later expansion sets.
If Millenia is early alpha I doubt we'll even see it next year.

Too bad, it has potential but I'm tired of waiting years and years for games.
Just play Old World instead *plug plug* :D
early access is at this time an established method for companies to get money , everyone will use that , paradox loves its DLC focused continued support and expansion of game model so Millenia will most likely make use of that too. at least paradox gives a lot of the update as free too like firaxis in that regard.

Today, the developers of Ara: History Untold have released a dev diary about "cities & nations".
They talk about the AI of the animals, how to keep your citizens happy, and how the cities improve over time.
Check out the video!


Today, the developers of Ara: History Untold have released a dev diary about Q&A testing a 4X game.
In this video they talk about what aspects to prioritize for testing, how the interconnection of mechanics make testing complex, how leaders and nations are balanced, the issue of land sharks, and more.


Today, the developers of Ara: History Untold have released a dev diary about improvements and triumphs.
They talk about the improvements you need to harvest resources for your empire, how you make production chains, how they contribute to your victory, and more.
And for halloween they guys have also dressed up!

And we are now at the 10th dev diary for Ara: History Untold.
In this episode the devs talk about the AI behind Ara, and they talk about software engineering, that the AI in 4X games is among the hardest, how randomization, e.g. the availability of resources play into how the AI behaves, and way more details.
Check it out!
These semi-random tech choices in Old World and Ara seem like a band aid. With a sufficiently well-designed game you'd go for different choices of tech anyway depending on the situation.

In Old World you also got the opportunity to take one of those resource cards over a tech which is admittedly interesting.
I was skeptical about this at first in Old World, but now I really like it. Why? Because it still gives you choice, but is more organic. In Civ3, I can zerg rush Cavalry in the Middle Ages and dominate militarily, every game. In Civ4, I can zerg rush a religion and found it first. You can probably do similar things in V and VI, but I've found V's mechanics and VI's art style sufficiently off-putting to not play them much.

In Old World, I still have player agency, but I can't easily game it and be way advanced in one area while entirely ignoring others.

Some prefer the Alpha Centauri model where you can set it so you don't get to choose the next tech researched. I think the semi-random choices is a good compromise between that and the traditional Civ model.

Art style, I agree on stick with realistic if you are going realistic. The leaders shown here are not as bad as in Civ VI. But the faces are way too round - show some wrinkles, especially on the older leaders - and there is hardly any texture to the overcoat that the man with a wig is wearing - not so much of a problem for the suit of armor than Joan of Arc is wearing due to the nature of the garment. I'm less picky about the maps, though I'm curious how they plan to keep it from being too busy, or "all buildings, no forests".

But if it isn't even coming out for another year, I'm mostly on the "too early to care that much" side of the fence. Maybe this game will be a great one, maybe Millenia will be, maybe Firaxis will redeem themselves with Civ VII, or maybe we'll all be playing Old World next year as well.
RockPaperShotgun has released a new article called "Strategy games are no longer limited by the "stigma" of being "Smart Man's Games", says Ara developer." In this news article the author talked to the devs of Ara: History Untold about the history of 4X. They comment that in the earlier 2000s the strategy genre was more of a niche and nerd genre, with not many big titles being released. Afterwards they talk about how the situation is currently very different, with many new strategy games with many different flavours being released, and that the pandemic together with board games might have had an impact on this (among other things).
For the full article please check here.
I watched just one of the YouTube developer diaries (about cities and nations); it was overwhelming. The talk was banal, and we were shown nothing that we don't see in every other 4X game. It doesn't bode well for your game if the presentation around its systems goes like this:
INTERVIEWER: What if I don't give my citizens food? What would happen?

DEVELOPER: They'll starve and die.

INTERVIEWER: What, no way!
Top Bottom