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Interview: Rise & Fall: Civilizations at war

RTS legend Rick Goodman gives us the lowdown on Stainless Steel Studios' RTS to conquer them all

Stainless Steel Studios is one of the world's most renowned PC RTS developers. Founded by Age of Empires and Ensemble Studios' veteran Rick Goodman back in 1997, it brought a whole new and award winning approach to the genre with acclaimed strategy outing Empire Earth, soon following it up with the equally immense Empires: Dawn of the Modern World.

Now with a new publisher in Midway, Stainless Steel Studios has another epic RTS in the works, the eagerly awaited Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War, which should see a release before the end of this very year. We caught up with Rick Goodman, Stainless Steel's founder and RTS design legend, to hear the very latest on the game.

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Here's what we discovered.

First off, can we get a quick overview of Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War?

Rick Goodman Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War represents the true next generation of RTS games. It's a historical strategy game, covering the ancient world and is being designed to encompass large-scale combat; epic sieges; realistic, genre-defining naval combat; and Hero Command - a revolutionary feature that places you directly in the heart of the battle.

Large-scale Combat: Our combat system offers you unprecedented control over large battlefield formations. Use the unit-formation system to quickly and easily group your units, and the intelligent and reactive AI ensures that your formations attack and defend realistically.. Unleash ancient super weapons, like the Fire Razor, and decimate enemy troops.

Epic Sieges: Your swordsmen scale enemy walls, while your catapults bombard the city's defenses from both land and sea. On the other side, the Archimedes Claw, a defensive super weapon, pulverizes your siege equipment. No other RTS game has ever offered sieges of this scale and scope.

Naval Combat: For the first time ever in an RTS game, naval combat is an integral and vital part of the combat experience. Unleash the Ramming super weapon and use your ships as battering rams to rip an enemy vessel in two. Outfit your ships with swordsmen and board enemy vessels, or build mighty Onagers and exterminate the enemy from afar.

Hero Command: For the first time ever in an RTS, you will experience the ancient world's greatest battles from the ground level as you head down onto the battlefield and take personal control of a legendary general like Alexander the Great, Achilles, or Ramses the Great, and lead your troops into the heart of combat. There are a total of 8 heroes for you to control, two for each civilization, and each offers unique benefits and styles of combat.

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In addition, all of the features that our millions of fans have come to expect from a Stainless Steel Studios' game, such as an unparalleled multiplayer experience, an epic and engaging single-player campaign, and massive, earth-shattering battles, will of course be included as well. Rise & Fall will have something for everyone.

People might forgiven for looking at Rise & Fall: Civilizations at War and thinking, "Hang on, we've seen all this before". Would they be wrong?

Rick Goodman First and foremost, Rise & Fall is not a series of set piece battles. Rise & Fall is an epic RTS in which you control every facet of your civilization's growth and advancement. You build every building and wall in your city and train every unit in your army. Everything happens in real-time - the construction of your units, the exploration of the map, and the fast-paced, epic battles. And the single-player campaigns are story-driven adventures that take you all over the ancient world.

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