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Is ROME vaporware?

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Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on May 27, 2013 at 11:47 pm

Does this game exist? Is Longbow in financial trouble? These are the thoughts that come to my mind as I've seen literally no news whatsoever besides a DEV post stating they aren't allowed to say anything. This doesn't make any sense to me. I'm sorry for being pessimistic, but usually when things are this quiet, something bad is happening. Is there any actual news on release? Are we still aiming for 2013? Or are you way more behind than anticipated and are back at the drawing board?

Level 21 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on May 28, 2013 at 11:41 am

I apologize for the cryptic responses to questions and concerns, and will try to provide you with a satisfactory explanation.

Yes, Hegemony Rome does exist!

You can expect to see incremental improvements in the core features that wargamers found refreshing in the gameplay of Philip and Gold.... i.e. wide open, free flowing warfare, with an emphasis on logistics, reconnaissance in force, pursuit after combat to capture slaves; all playing out on one giant continuous map, plus new features, such as a revamped unit upgrade system that Rob has described in another thread and a newly added reactive AI to lessen the player's need to micromanage every scouting party or picket. The new game mechanic also lets the player build camps. Yes, Roman style camps that can be fortified and function like temporary cities for protection and strategic staging/stockpiling, etc. Bridges can also be built and function like a camp/bridge combo, connecting to your supply/trade network, via land and/or river links. And oh yes, you will be able to burn cities to the ground and rebuild them if you like.

Hegemony Rome will have a more scripted set of sequential military campaigns that we hope will draw the player into the history of Caesar's conquest of Gaul. The campaigns are an expansion of the style that you played through in the Peloponnesian War campaigns in Gold, with more elaborate, scripted event triggers. Campaigns will also serve as tutorials for new players, incrementally introducing and explaining gameplay features, while maintaining the fully open style that players expect from Hegemony.

The sandbox mode in Hegemony Rome, will be a wide open, start with a small area, from whence you expand to conquer all, Hegemony style of game, allowing the player to conquer Gaul starting with any of the factions. It will be like the Philip campaign in Gold, with branching objectives, adding direction to strategic decisions for each faction.

And no, Longbow isn't in financial trouble!

The awkward silence is that we've signed with a publisher and as such have to wait until our publisher decides to announce Hegemony Rome. A version of the game is done (It was a milestone.), but it's not the version of the game that we or our publisher are willing or planning to release.

I'm confident that this publishing partnership will be good for Hegemony Rome and good for Longbow. We're still independent, but kinda small to get much attention. What can I say. The fact that Metacritic is still waiting for a fourth review of Hegemony Gold from a site, large enough to meet "their requirements", pretty much says it all....

And working to milestones is new for us. Our dev style is to keep game features mostly broken until we pull them together and given that pulling the game together for testing, takes time away from development, we try not to do it too often. I'm sure that our publisher is somewhat perplexed by our unusual development style of, it's a broken mess, a broken mess, a broken mess, DING, it's done. And perplexed is a nice way of saying unsure. And given the amount of PR, marketing and booking that a publisher has to coordinate for a game release, "unsure" for a publisher, usually means, hold back until they're confident that the game will be finished and polished for its planned release date. At the end of the day, I can't fault them for being cautious.

Thus, I must leave it to our publishing partner to announce Hegemony Rome at their discretion and in keeping with their plans.

What I can say is that we're confident that Hegemony Rome will be a better game than Hegemony Gold. How much better? Well, I'm sure you'll tell us, shortly after release. :)

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on May 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

A publisher.

Hmm.

Well I can understand that sometimes you have to dance with the devil to get anywhere. For me though, this just went from pre-order to wait for demo.

Nothing against you Longbow folks, just been gaming long enough to know publishers only give a damn about their interests, not yours or ours.

Will keep fingers crossed and hope for the best though.

Level 21 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Yes, we're dancing, but I've made sure that we're on solid enough financial ground that if they pulled out, we'd still be standing.

We've also retained the right to Indie publish on our own site, but out of respect for their expected marketing investment, will not put it up until they have released. There's nothing to stop us from doing pre-orders, but it's a bit premature as setting it up would also take time away from development.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Good to know they haven't screwed you out of your own game, that restores a fair bit of hope.

Are you allowed to say which publisher it is?

Level 21 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Location: Toronto
Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I'll let them make the announcement when they're ready.

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on May 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Well I can understand that sometimes you have to dance with the devil to get anywhere. For me though, this just went from pre-order to wait for demo.

Nothing against you Longbow folks, just been gaming long enough to know publishers only give a damn about their interests, not yours or ours.


Just to follow up on what Jim says, while publishers get a lot of flack in this industry (both deserved and undeserved), the arrangement we made for Rome was driven solely by a desire to make a better game and help it reach as many players as possible. While there are a lot of great things about being small and indie, there are also some downsides that come with having limited resources and influence. Thanks to the deal we've made for Rome, we'll be able to get the game into more languages and more distribution channels from the start and, more importantly, it allows us to keep focused on development rather than waste time on marketing and distribution (which can be surprisingly time consuming). In general, the arrangement isn't much different than those we've made in the past to distribute localized or hardcopy versions of Hegemony into the UK, Germany, Russia or Poland. The biggest difference is that we decided to stick with a single distributor this time and settle things before the game is finished rather than 6 or 12 months after release.

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Location: German-speaking part of Europe
Posted on May 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

Is this publisher also willing to patch the localized versions of the game or will it be like in Gold with patches only being available through downloading the English files?

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on May 29, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Is this publisher also willing to patch the localized versions of the game or will it be like in Gold with patches only being available through downloading the English files?

That is our plan. Unlike with previous versions we will be completing the major localized versions simultaneously with the english version which will allow them to be released, distributed and updated more equitably. This should have the biggest impact on digital platforms like Steam where we will now be able to consolidate the different languages into a single release.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on May 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm

So is this a distribution deal only? Rome will remain exactly how you folks want it to be without changes coming down from the suits? That is the part I am worried about.

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on May 29, 2013 at 6:52 pm

So is this a distribution deal only? Rome will remain exactly how you folks want it to be without changes coming down from the suits? That is the part I am worried about.

We appreciate your concern, and that was our top priority as well. I can assure you that Longbow is still in complete control of the game and we have final say on anything that goes into the game. That said, we're always happy to take feedback from our partners the same as we do from the community. But frankly, we've had a very strong vision for Rome since we started it right after Gold and nothing significant has changed in the design since then. We're still hoping to get outside help to playtest and balance the features but we're quite confident in the design and don't expect to make major changes at this point.

And as I mentioned before, the upsides to this partnership is that we can now access distribution, marketing, testing and production resources that just weren't feasible for a team of 6 and we're confident that the game will be better because of it.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful
Posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Thanks for the info, knowing that settles my concerns.

It was all to easy to imagine Rome being forced to change into some first/third person hack n slash a la Skyrim to "broaden the appeal"

Level 8 Human Evil Overlord
Alignment: Chaotic evil
Posted on May 30, 2013 at 10:55 pm

I really hope it's Paradox Interactive!

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Australia!
Posted on May 31, 2013 at 11:04 am

If it's paradox, there can be nothing but good coming out of the deal.

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on May 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I can say it isn't Paradox. We've got a number of big Paradox fans in the office and I've met with Fred (their CEO) and a few of their producers in the past and they seem like a nice group of people. While they obviously have a strong record with strategy games, these arrangements are quite complicated and there are a lot of factors to consider when finding a good partner.

Fortunately, it looks like we might have some new info to release possibly as early as next week so hopefully this will all be cleared up shortly.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Good
Posted on June 1, 2013 at 4:33 am

I bet it's BitComposer, they do a lot of this kind of publisher-lite stuff. Not really financing the game but handling localizations, marketing and distribution allowing you to stay semi-indie but still get some help with things not directly related to development. They've been picking up a lot of these medium indie projects lately.

Level 7 Human gamer
Alignment: Chaotic good
Location: Australia!
Posted on June 2, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Regardless, if its an indie focussed publisher, that's good comprimise for longbow (more money, better game/future games)

Level 6 Human gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on June 2, 2013 at 4:29 pm

A publisher??? This is very disturbing news. Over my 20+ years of gaming experience, I can honestly say that I can count ON ONE HAND the publishers I feel do right by both the developing studios and the customers. I just hope that your publisher isn't on my "black list".

Did someone mention Paradox?? Uugghhhhh...NOT! Ohh, I still play Paradox games, but I no longer purchase them.

Let's just hope that Longbow didn't sell too much of their 'soul' to get this deal with whoever this mystery publisher is. I like the fact that I can order directly from the Longbow website, download the game and start playing without all of the DRM crap that is so pervasive in today's gaming world. So, what I am trying to say to Longbow with that comment is...as long as I can still buy directly from your site, download it and play it, without DRM, I won't mind who your publisher is. BUT...if that should change, well...you'll have one less customer opening his wallet to you.

Level 16 Extraplanar gamer
Alignment: True neutral
Posted on June 3, 2013 at 3:25 am

A publisher??? This is very disturbing news. ...

We appreciate your concerns about publishers and, like with every other aspect of game dev, we realize we're not going to be able to please absolutely everyone with our distribution plans. But we will still be selling it through our site and we hope that for anybody that is inconvenienced by the arrangement we'll have made it easier for quite a few more by releasing in more languages and through more channels immediately rather than waiting six months to get it onto Steam or rely on fan translations like we did with Gold.

We think we've found a partner that has the best interests of the game in mind and we're still confident that Rome is the game we always wanted it to be. Actually, the main reason for the lengthy delay is that we decided not to cut corners and rush it out unfinished.

Anyways, I spent a few days last week grabbing new screenshots for the publisher so I'm hoping we should have some more official news and some new media for you guys shortly.

Level 8 Human gamer
Alignment: Lawful good
Posted on June 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

A publisher??? This is very disturbing news. Over my 20+ years of gaming experience, I can honestly say that I can count ON ONE HAND the publishers I feel do right by both the developing studios and the customers. I just hope that your publisher isn't on my "black list".

Did someone mention Paradox?? Uugghhhhh...NOT! Ohh, I still play Paradox games, but I no longer purchase them.


So, on a game developer's board you feel it's wise to admit to software piracy? :)

Regardless, I do indeed hope it's Paradox or alternately Matrix. I've got good experiences with both of them, and the game is a kinda good fit for Pdx.

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