Stardock to Open Second Games Studio

By Shamus
on Feb 9, 2009
Filed under:
Video Games

While everyone else is laying off developers, Stardock is opening a second games studio and hiring a bunch of new people. In Michigan. To develop an RPG.

I am really, really curious about the RPG part. In the past the company has developed strategy games and left the pirate-attracting action and RPG market to others. I wonder what brought about the change.? Is it Impulse, their new content delivery platform? Is someone looking at the existing collection of RPG titles and seeing a market segment that’s not being adequately filled?

Sadly, we’re probably ages away from finding out more. The press release is short on details and so it’s obviously an effort to build up buzz. They just need to attract some unwitting dupes who will begin speculating and clamoring for more news.

Ah crap.

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20727 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.

From the Archives:

  1. Mephane says:

    They just need to attract some unwitting dupes who will begin speculating and clamoring for more news.

    Ah crap.

    You, Sir, officially made my day. :)

  2. Matt P says:

    I second that. A well constructed punchline. And it has to be said, I’m so excited you should class me as a “witting dupe”. Sign me up for being duped if it means an RPG from these fellas.

  3. Benjamin O says:

    Um….

    Sign me up plz. Both as a dupe and a consumer. Maybe I can get myself hired by these guys.

    hmmm…

  4. Saint Rising says:

    Ohsnap.

    I did not see this coming.

    and your punchline was genius.

  5. Varil says:

    Mmmm. <3 Stardock. Second only to Kerberos for strategy goodness. Let’s see if they can do RPG too.

  6. Narkis says:

    I remember Stardock’s CEO saying in some old interview that he loved the old-school isometric RPGs, and would like to make one some day. There was also an old customer survey with one question being “what game you’d like Stardock to make next”. Turn-based Isometric RPG was surprisingly close to the top, if I recall correctly. So it’s not completely out of the blue.

    That said, I want this game. Is it realistic to hope for a summer 09 release? :)

  7. Shinjin says:

    Hm. I *was* planning to move to WI, maybe I’ll have to alter that plan to MI…

  8. DaveMc says:

    That “Impulse” thing is disturbingly well-named: I keep making impulse purchases off of it. In my defence, they keep having these weekend sales with games priced at $3.99! At a price point of $3.99, I lose all self-control and think “Well, I *might* play that one day, right?” They’ve suckered me into such purchases several weekends in a row. This past weekend they had Defender of the Crown (which I remember fondly as a board game), and Titan Quest (which I’ve wondered about since it seems to be a well-regarded Diablo clone) at that price point, and I’m only human . . .

  9. Factoid says:

    I hope its something in the sci-fi genre. I was sad when they started talking about wanting to do something with a fantasy setting. There are more than enough RPGs in that space. There’s more than enough of EVERYTHING in that space.

    I also hope they’re hiring writers. As much as I loved the GalCiv series, the story was NOT one of its strong points. The flavor text was great, but the plot was pretty minimal.

  10. Xpovos says:

    DaveMc:

    I bought Titan Quest on Impulse this weekend myself. Just because. I already own two copies of it (one for me, one for my wife) but in the move, the serial code for my copy has gone missing. I’m sure it’s in a box, but paying $3.99 was just -simpler-.

    The game itself is kind of a Diablo clone, but in a lot of ways more streamlined. The atmosphere is gone, and the production doesn’t feel Blizzard quality (which is good and bad) but it’s well worth sinking a large number of hours into. And the best part is, at this point, most of the glitches are gone!

  11. LintMan says:

    There’s so many things to like about Stardock. I hope the new studio works out well for them.

    I just hope they include a writer in the budget for their RPG game. Their publishing trend seems to indicate they don’t have a lot of focus on story: Stardock’s CEO wrote the story for the GalCiv games, and while it’s not bad, it seems mostly obligatory and generic to me. Then Sins Of A Solar Empire had no story at all beyond a thin backstory, and I suspect Demigod won’t have much of a campaign story, either.

    @DaveMC: TitanQuest (and it’s expansion – I recommend getting both at the same time) is a very good Diablo clone that improves upon/rises above Diablo II in some ways. I definitely recommend it, especially if you can get it for cheap. It’s a real shame the devloper folded.

    Edit:
    @Factoid: LOL – you beat me to it! I started writing my post before yours was there, then got pulled away for a while. Funny we had the same thought.

  12. Brad Wardell has said more than once that he thinks about what sort of games he wants to play, tries to find them on the market, and– when he can’t– he develops them.

    So it seems weird that he’s putting a Diablo Clone against Diablo 3. Those guys are getting… ballsy…

  13. naa says:

    I was listening at baldur’s gate music this afternoon and got nostalgic. What a great score for a great game!

  14. Turgid Bolk says:

    @Punning Pundit (12): Who said it was going to be a Diablo clone? Even if it is isometric (it may not be), I should hope they make something fairly different, perhaps even “innovative” and “fresh.” As you point out, to do otherwise wouldn’t be very smart of them.

    Also, as you say, he makes games when he can’t find them on the market already, which would indicate he hasn’t found a game like the one he wants to make. “RPG” can mean a whole lot of different things, not just isometric third-person looter.

  15. Corsair says:

    An RPG? Interesting. They don’t have much experience with plot-heavy games, so I must attempt to restrain my excitement.

    Restraint has already failed.

  16. LintMan says:

    @Punning Pundit: If Stardock is indeed doing an “isometric RPG”, I’m thinking/hoping it’d be more along the lines of, say, the Ultima or Baldur’s Gate (!) series, rather than a Diablo clickfest. (Which would imply more/deeper dialog, a more elaborate story, more tactical/slower paced combat.)

    Like you said, Stardock wants to target underserved markets, and D3 is on its way, so it’s hardly underserved.

    Hmmm. Since Stardock’s already working on a fantasy turn-based strategy game with new IP, I wonder if they’re thinking to use the same IP for the RPG? (ie: as with the connection between “Might and Magic” and “Heroes of Might and Magic”.)

    Also: Repeating from my #11 post if they really do attempt to do an Ultima or Baldur’s Gate-style game, I really, really hope they get some good writers in on the team!

  17. Magnus says:

    Here’s hoping they can distance themselves from other RPGs that are about at the moment, and do something really individual.

    It’s always good to hear the RPG getting a bit of a boost, perhaps the next few years could be very good indeed.

  18. elias says:

    Brad Wardell did an interview with Gamasutra last year:

    “We’d like to do a roleplaying game,” he said at the time, mentioning BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate II and Knights of the Old Republic, saying a Stardock game might well feature “the same style of isometric gameplay — not first-person — where I have a party that I’m interacting with. I think there are a lot of people who want that.”

    Link.

  19. Jabor says:

    <3 Stardock.

    Already setting aside money to pre-order.

    Very witting dupe here.

  20. Arndt says:

    I read about this because all supposed economic development in my state is of interest to me.

    Of course, the fact that a gaming company is planting feet doesn’t help me. My only creative talent is writing. I hate it when my effing stinkhead Governess brags about bringing tech firms to Michigan. I’m not qualified to be hired at a tech firm except as janitor. This is of no use to me.

    So yeah, when I first read about it I never head of Stardock and assumed it was a minor league company that a politician made up.

    I hate politicians. Nearly all of them.

  21. potemkin.hr says:

    If stardock isn’t going to add an epic plot, they might instead make a sandbox game, it doesn’t need a major plot…

  22. R4byde says:

    Stardock is making an RPG!?! Sign me for the first copy!

    So how have they made enough money to expand, when all those filthy pirates MUST be stealing all their potential profits right out if their pockets? ;) The only thing that could make this news better would be if EA decided to suddenly go belly up.

  23. Veylon says:

    I hope they aren’t getting overly ambitious, the way Cavedog did before they went down.

  24. Cuthalion says:

    So how have they made enough money to expand, when all those filthy pirates MUST be stealing all their potential profits right out if their pockets?

    Stardock, as far as I know, doesn’t whine about piracy.

  25. Lost Chauncy says:

    I would love to see a new RPG in the style of Baldur’s Gate with, and I emphasize, 2D graphics.

    …just please don’t soil it with M-rated content

  26. Rollory says:

    Starting a new business venture with the financial system in the state it’s in is equivalent to playing Russian roulette with an ever-increasing number of bullets, and that will remain the case until either all the trillions of $ of bad debt is forcibly defaulted and the bankers compelled to admit insolvency, or we hit the reset button on the whole economy.

    But, hey. I’ve tried most of Stardock’s games because they have such a great rep and ended up just not liking any of them. So when they go bust, I won’t mind vOv

  27. R4byde says:

    So how have they made enough money to expand, when all those filthy pirates MUST be stealing all their potential profits right out if their pockets?

    Stardock, as far as I know, doesn’t whine about piracy.

    Aye, twas what I meant, though I keep forgetting how difficult it is to communicate sarcasm without the usual vocal inflections.

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