Developer:Introversion Platform:PC, Mac, Xbox Live Arcade Release Date: September 2008
Sigh. You know, I love Introversion - like really, really love them. The guys there are smart, helpful and good at what they do. Also, they sent me a little toy Darwinian as a present, which was very nice of them.
But, I have to admit, I sometimes hate writing articles about them. Not in a malicious haha-I-put-tabasco-sauce-all-over-the-only-loo-roll-in-the-flat type way, of course. It’s just that I can never pin down where Introversion falls exactly on the scale of things.
Is Introversion a small indie developer? Yes. Does the company have a huge advertising budget and links to major publishers? No. Has the company yet released a massive, AAA billion-pound game? No. So, for all intents and purposes the larger audience probably shouldn’t know about the company or what games it has made.
And yet, at the same time, Introversion has somehow climbed to a position of power and respect within the industry. This little indie developer is the first and foremost champion of Valve’s Steam platform, standing as a testament to the power of digital distribution and the money that is still undeniably caught up in the PC audience and is just waiting to be tapped.
And that clash makes writing an introduction very difficult sometimes – do I blather on and give the history of the company, right back to before the time when they first exploded out of the indie scene with Uplink? Or do I assume you have that knowledge already and just plunge straight into the gameplay discussion?
Honestly, I don’t know. Instead, how about you tell me which you prefer in the forums? In the meantime I’ll let this introduction stand as it is and get on with things. (Fantastic cop-out, Joe - Ed).
Right then, now that the rant/introduction is even more done with than the discarded wrapper of a stale muffin, we can move on to other things.
The only snag here though is that Multiwinia is essentially a follow-up to one of Introversion’s earlier games and so I’m going to have to do a minor recap anyway – oh, the irony is so sharp it’s like eating a razorblade muffin. A stale one with no wrapper.
Multiwinia is, at the most basic level, a multi-platform and multi-player sequel to Introversion’s second game, Darwinia. Where the original game was just a singleplayer RTS game – albeit one with a surreal presentation heavily inspired by films like TRON, or possibly a game of Lemmings played while under the effect of LSD.
The original Darwinia was highly praised for it’s gameplay, proving successful enough for the staff of Introversion to get off of Government benefits and back into game development – though that’s another story.
Now, Multiwinia does away with a lot of what the hardcore multiplayer-only strategy gamers would view as ‘the chaff’, but what the more sensible singleplayer-focused AI-whuppers would call ‘the beautiful story’.
In it’s stead, Multiwinia adds in a multiplayer-focused and slightly more creepy version of the original’s gameplay. It’s still the same fast-paced RTS game style, albeit with a more action-packed and arguably casual twist, and it’s still just as good as it’s always been - it's just now that the game is available for more players and on more platforms. Sounds good, right?
Multiwinia is currently scheduled for release sometime later this year - September is what we're hearing at the moment from Introversion's PR team - but in the mean time we've managed to grab ourselves a copy of the very latest preview build of the game featuring a sample of some of the completed game modes and maps. Here's what our thoughts are...