Rogue Planet Preview

In Rogue Planet, machines have taken it upon themselves to destroy all humans, and it’s up to Commander Geoffrey Parker to do something about it. Agharta Studio’s turn-based strategy game, coming November 24, pits men and robots against each other in a challenge that might be as deep and engaging as Nintendo’s famous Advance Wars series for the Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS.

Rogue Planet promises both a campaign and Quick Play mode, with 19 and 15 missions to clear respectively. We emailed Agharta Studio CEO Aurélien Kerbeci regarding some of the features in Rogue Planet, and he advises strategy fans to clear their schedules and prepare for the long haul. ‘The 19 missions in the campaign should take players between 25 and 30 hours to complete,’ he says. ‘To finish the campaign plus the 15 additional missions in Quick Game mode and unlock all medals, it should take over 100 hours.’

Players should also expect a complex story that will be unveiled through various cutscenes between missions. Commanders reveal their personalities on the battlefield, where their specialized attacks speak for them’” loudly. ‘Each commander has a specific power that they can unleash during missions when certain criteria, like damage inflicted and received, are met,’ Kerbeci says. ‘These characters can be unlocked during the campaign.’

Indeed, Rogue Planet’s story presents questions worth pursuing. When Commander Geoffrey Parker returns to Earth after goofing around with space tech for 30 long years, he finds that the planet has been colonized by machines. Where did they come from? What do they want? Parker organizes a war against the metal beings after he sensibly determines that his answers lie at the bottom of a pile of robot corpses.

But don’t judge the robots too harshly. Rogue Planet offers multiplayer matches through local wi-fi, and players can side with the fleshlings or the metallics. Both pack some pretty impressive firepower, including tanks and other delightful machines of mass destruction. Both sides are well-matched in multiplayer mode, though, so everyone has a fair shot at eliminating the other race. ‘It’s important not to penalize players for choosing their side,’ Kerbeci says. ‘That’s why the units are balanced and feature the same characteristics on both sides.’

But that doesn’t mean everyone will resort to the same brand of boring old gun. ‘The design and graphics [between the two sides] are very different. Throughout the missions in Story mode, enemies can use other means of attack, like bombers and unexpected unit landings.’

Moreover, Rogue Planet’s multiplayer mode will receive a little more ‘oomph’ with the first major update, expected in spring 2010. ‘[The update] will contain a multiplayer mode similar to local mode,’ Kerbeci explains. ‘The difference is that players can exit the game at the end of a round. The data collected that round is then sent to opponents through an Internet connection. The opponents are then notified and see the animations of the orders that were given to units. Opponents can then order their own units.

‘A match can thus be played in real time as well as in delayed time, depending on player preferences and availabilities. For us, this offers the best gaming experience on this platform.’

With all its gameplay features, in addition to its 3D sci-fi visuals, sound, and raging split-screen battles, Rogue Planet looks like it may keep strategy game fanatics warm through the early winter months.