GDC 2011 Eyes-On: Supreme Ruler Cold War - Preview

By Karl Koebke, March 4, 2011
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There are a lot of strategy games out there, but few can boast the scale and attention to detail of the Supreme Ruler series.  Thanks in part to fan demand the Supreme Ruler series is visiting the cold war era in the aptly named Supreme Ruler Cold War.  Paradox was nice enough to give me some time with the game.

I’ll admit that before going to GDC this year I had never touched a Supreme Ruler game, but I came away very impressed with the scale if nothing else.  This is the third game in the series and the main campaign puts you in control of either the USA or the USSR in an attempt to rule the world through a balance of resource management, military might, and diplomatic subterfuge.  There are layers upon layers of things to worry about if you want to micro manage but there are also AI assistants that you can assign tasks to while you worry about the big picture.  If you micro-manage to the infinite expect each game to take significantly longer. 

Like any Real Time Strategy game the real meat of the game isn’t actually in the campaign, and Supreme Ruler is no different.  After you get tired of choosing between communists or capitalists, you can play around in a Sand Box Mode which allows you to take control of any of the 180 countries in existence at the time of the cold war.  Sure you probably can’t take over the world with Chile, but you can set your own victory conditions in Sand Box Mode so maybe you just want to take control of the local region or amass a certain amount of wealth.  The game will ship with about a dozen missions designed by the developers in Sand Box Mode to give players without the creative itch something to try out, and the developers intend to further that with patches after release.

Improvements from previous games in the series were mostly focused around breaking down the massive amount of information needed to play the game in a better format for the player.  Hopefully this makes this interesting series more accessible for new players so there will be enough people for the up to 16 participant multiplayer in the game. Supreme Ruler Cold War is scheduled for around a June or July release solely on PC.  If you ever wanted to prove that you could take over the world with Ireland or show just how much of a wuss the entire country of Bolivia is then keep this game in mind.  If it turns out to be your thing it looks like you’ll be playing it for months and months to come.

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