This week's feature series discussion is going to focus on the "end game" of Lord of Rigel. The end game is such an important part of any 4x strategy game because it can it can sour the experience of the game if not fulfilling. Early in our discussions about how to design Lord of Rigel we looked to solve this problem.
Games like Master of Orion 2 provided choices on how to end the game but were not enriching the game play experience. In fact it often could feel like "mop up" duty. Even in "impossible" mode the game, after a certain tipping point had been reached, really became a task of simply producing more ships to build large scale fleets to invade or bombard enemy systems to win a military victory. Other victory alternatives were defeating the Antarans which could be used as a way to quicken the large battle of conquering the galaxy after the player knew victory was all but assured. Lastly the player could try to win a victory by becoming leader of the galactic council. But often, given the erratic nature of the Master of Orion 2 AI, this became difficult and ultimately some species that were less like to maintain an alliance with the player "had to go."
With Lord of Rigel we will have multiple victory conditions that involve not only the obvious military victory but some others such as research and diplomacy that should help provide the player with options to on how to end the game. Additionally, players can expect the Cold War factions to provide differing diplomatic climates depending on what style of game they wish to play. Military victory will allow players to either take over the galaxy for themselves or to join up with one of the Elder Races and knock the other one, along with its allies, out. This war won't take place until at least mid to late game, so players can expect that to spice things up. Players can also look to a diplomatic victory and have the other species join up with them to push out the Elder races. Military conquests also won't be without decisions. Players will need to ask themselves are they looking to build an empire or exterminate a species? Is the player willing to deal with the consequences of other species being outraged by the use of planet killing weapons?
Players will have many choices to make about whether they want to pursue a military or diplomatic victory. The other option for players is to try and research ascension technology and make the next evolutionary leap forward. With this victory, players will be able to leave the galaxy and forge their own path beyond the petty bickering of corporeal beings. Players will have to play a game of defense and offense as they to try survive end game wars and grand menaces roaming the galaxy while they try to gather resources to research ascension technology.
Ultimately all of these influences should leave players with lots of questions as they proceed with the end game and provide some different game play styles as they try to achieve various types of victory. We are looking forward to hearing your feedback and look forward to talking with you next week about the ship designer in Lord of Rigel.