It’s been ten years since I last heard of Spellforce, and during last week’s gamescom I got a friendly reminder that there are still RTS developers out there who try new things and mix genres up. The original Spellforce was a unique mash-up of RTS and RPG elements in a way nobody has tried. Not only did you have to manage heroes, much like in Baldur’s Gate, you also have to manage troops and buildings as well as resources. It was a pleasant surprise being able to see the early stages of Spellforce 3 first-hand, and have a chat with the developers.
Much like the last two games, Spellforce 3 focuses on that unique mix of genres while trying to give it more depth. In terms of heroes there will be more characters, options, and more importantly decisions which influence the story in non-linear ways. The devs also overhauled the equipment for heroes and nailed the RPG feeling, what reminded me of classics like Diablo or Sacred, and looked well-executed. Damage based on weapon types like swords or maces play a bigger role since every enemy will now have different resistances, so having a small arsenal with you will be necessary at all times.
The RTS part of the game also has some interesting mechanics and while still in alpha, you can see the direction the developers want to take. Workers are the backbone of your base, like everywhere else. However, Spellcorce 3’s workers management will make or break the player’s efforts. Buildings can only hold so many workers and will also work as fast or slow according to the number of workers assigned.
As a RTS enthusiast, I really liked the demo they have shown and can’t wait to play the full game for myself. Especially the co-op multiplayer is a part I really look forward to. Fans of either strategy or role-play should keep an eye out for Spellforce 3 when it launches next year.