Ex-Blizzard Devs Launch Stormgate, A Cool New Diablo Starcraft Hybrid Free-To-Play Game

stormgate screenshot 1
The Electronics Entertainment Expo, better known as E3, was canceled yet again this year. In its place, serving a similar role, we have Summer Game Fest. It's still going on this weekend, but the biggest announcements came from the opening stream on Thursday. Among gameplay demos of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and TMNT: Shredder's Revenge, as well as interesting trailers for a number of upcoming titles, there were also some new game announcements.

One of the more interesting of these announcements came in the form of a cinematic trailer for the game Stormgate. Initially confusing due to the lack of any gameplay in the trailer, Stormgate turns out to be an RTS game with both sci-fi and fantasy elements as well as influence from MOBA games and evolutions in game design since the RTS was king of the hill back in the early 2000s.

The trailer showcases two of the races in the game: humans, which are technologically advanced far beyond the modern day in this setting, and "Infernals", which are aliens but also apparently demons in some fashion. Stormgate's developer says that the human faction's technology is intended to feel grounded in reality, while the Infernals "walk the line between sci-fi and fantasy." There will be additional factions besides these two, as well.

Arguably much of the hype behind Stormgate, which is still early in its development, comes from the pedigree of its developers. Frost Giant Studios is a new company founded by industry veterans primarily from Blizzard Software. The big names (relatively speaking) are Tim Campbell, who was a campaign lead on Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, and Tim Morten, formerly a producer at Blizzard. However, there are a bunch of other ex-Blizzard staff on-board.

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Notably, Stormgate will be free-to-play. Frost Giant hasn't elaborated on exactly what the monetization model will be, but they have stated emphatically that it will "never" be "pay to win." After the debacle surrounding Diablo Immortal, many players are likely leery of a free-to-play title involving former Blizzard devs, but the folks at Frost Giant seem to primarily have been artists and developers, not the business arm of Blizzard.

One of the things that made Blizzard's past titles so popular, particularly Warcraft and Starcraft, was the inclusion of a powerful editor that allowed players to create their own scenarios. Frost Giant assures players that it will include an editor for Stormgate as well. Hopefully it will be at least as powerful as the one in Warcraft 3—after all, Warcraft 3 mods spawned an entire genre.

stormgate concept art

Perhaps the best news about Stormgate for a certain segment of players is that it will have a full campaign and robust cooperative multi-player features. While it will cater to the eSports market as well, of course, the co-op potential of RTS games usually goes ignored. WIRED got an exclusive look at the game in its early state, and says that the game will include a "comp stomp" mode that "pits teams of 3 players against increasingly nasty AI foes."

If you're getting hyped about Stormgate, well, don't—yet. It may well be a great game on release, but we've got a good, long while to wait before we even get to try it. Stormgate will be entering Steam Early Access sometime next year.

Images: Frost Giant