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Stardock has always been an interesting developer and publisher, as a studio that has been willing to push conventional wisdom and technology in many ways. You hear the shouts of RTS is dying, but Stardock keeps releasing them. These titles range from Galactic Civilization 3 to their newest release earlier this year, Ashes of the Singularity

One of the things that stood out about Ashes of the Singularity was that it was designed to push technological limits. While it is playable on lower mid-end gaming rigs, it really wants a higher mid-end or better one with Windows 10 and DirectX 12 to showcase its power as the first game designed from the ground up to make use of the new technologies. It generally garnered good, but not standout reviews on release and is owned by about 80 000 people on Steam who have given it mostly positive reviews

However, Real-Time Strategy games are rarely done at launch, as expansions are a tried and true part of the genre. These often flesh out new ideas and fix old problems, and Stardock has announced a stand-alone expansion that is designed to include the full base game as well as try new ideas and take community feedback. One of the big things is a renewed focus on singleplayer content that many users felt was a bit lacking at launch as there are two new story-driven campaigns entitled Memories and Escalation.


Gameplay-wise the biggest change is a change in focus in regards to size. Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation will double the size of the largest maps in the game and allow up to 16 players to play on them. This has also been complemented by an addition of a strategic zoom to better manage world-sized battles, as they listened to feedback from players.

A lot of it comes down to where the RTS market is. Ashes is our first terrestrial RTS and it’s interesting to how that market is split up. The original release of Ashes straddled in-between a more tactical RTS like StarCraft and Company of Heroes and a large scale RTS like Supreme Commander, but players are really looking for one or the other. If you try to blend the two you end up with some compromises that limit where you want to take the game. So Escalation, we decided to expand in the area that no other RTS can match it and that’s scale. —Brad Wardell
Beyond size, new units are another big addition for almost any RTS expansion. We were fortunate enough to have Brad Wardell send us some exclusive information here about the upcoming Escalation expansion, in particular on the new air units. In Escalation, you will be able to upgrade buildings and in particular one thing that is new is the Advanced Sky Factory, which unlocks a set of all new advanced air craft units in the game.
In this we can see the new advanced Sky Factory, a couple of turrets, and some of the new flying units that will be possible to recruit in the game. With the increased map size, the ability to move quicker will become even more prized then it was before.
Some of the other new units that Stardock has mentioned are the heavily armored Hera unity for the PRHC and the defense boosting Caregiver unit for the Substrate. New turrets will also be in the game and perhaps are among some in the screenshot above, maybe even the all new anti-air cannon.
There will be new worlds available in the game with Crystal and Lava worlds being added to Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, meaning you’ll be able to battle across crystal formations or volcanic pits once it is released. New orbital abilities are also available for players to use as they can spend quanta to help reinforce at critical moments of battle.
AotSE Volcano
One final thing is that they want to make the game available to users on more hardware configurations. By working with Oxide’s Nitrous engine further, Brad Wardell is saying that anyone on Windows 7 or later with a decent hardware set up is a potential player, while the game should still provide high caliber graphics.
Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation will be available this Fall for existing players as an update for $19.99. New players will be able to get the new content and previously existing content for $39.99. Additionally, right now, Star Dock is running their annual Steam Publisher sale, with all their games on sale, including Ashes of the Singularity at 66% off.

Don Parsons

News Editor

I've been a gamer for years of various types starting with the Sega Genesis and Shining Force when I was young. If I'm not playing video games, I'm often roleplaying, reading, writing, or pondering things brought up by speculative fiction.