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    Real-time strategy has been an overloaded genre in the gaming industry, and it is not about to get any smaller. The flow of attempts to beat games like Total Annihilation, Command & Conquer, and Starcraft is constant, but none have yet been exceptionally successful. The release date for Psygnosis' and Zono's upcoming real-time strategy is around the time which Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun is scheduled for release (but who knows?), therefore, the anticipation of Westwood Studios' sequel to one of the best real-time strategy games will overshadow a game that definitely should not be forgotten. Metal Fatigue is a 3D-accelerated real-time strategy game that mends the themes of Japanese animation stories into a full fledged war between three different factions far into the future. Using the same ingredients which Blizzard Entertainment and Westwood Studios integrated in their smash-hits, Metal Fatigue also puts a twist to the name "real-time strategy."

    Having a great passion, or even a dream, to make a game has been something lacked in the gaming industry lately. I have not seen a game where someone has nearly fallen deeply in love with the characters in any game. Jason Hough, the game designer of Metal Fatigue, was asked several questions by Avault concerning their upcoming real-time strategy's design innovation.

    Q: What originally stimulated you to begin developing Metal Fatigue? How have the development ideas for it changed over time? Looking, is there anything in the design process you would have done differently had you known what you know now?

    A: We thought the industry needed a fresh approach to the RTS genre. The original concept for Metal Fatigue was based solely around the idea of robots that could re-configure themselves with various things they'd find in the game. This was also a good fit with an advanced animation system we developed on the last project. Eventually our love of real-time strategy games blended in with the idea of robots reconfiguring themselves and created what we have now.

    If we'd known when we started the project that 3D acceleration would become so common, I think we would have started with the idea of a full 3D world. Originally the Robots, or Combots as well call them, were the only 3D object in the game. As development went on, and Psygnosis agreed to require a 3D accelerator, we were able to make the entire game 3D.

    The story of Metal Fatigue takes place in the future where tanks are unheard of. Enormous death-machines sixty-feet tall battle each other with their overpowering technology. Three factions fight for territory, money, and power while betrayal, deceit, and bravery pave the way to victory. However, the history of how these faction met is crucial to drive the player into Metal Fatigue.

    During the 23rd century man has discovered faster-than-light travel and finally reached the stars. Intergalactic exploration has only confirmed man's two worst fears.

    First, an alien warlike race with vastly superior technology does exist. On planet after planet, a survey fleet of Earth ships discovered the ruins of sentient cultures which all appear to have been annihilated eons ago. Analysis of these worlds and the vast remains of decaying war machines suggested that a single race, dubbed "Hedoth," had systematically swept through the galaxy and eliminated every sentient civilization in its path.

    As the Earth ships traced the path of destruction back towards its source, paranoia mounted and Earth's CorpoNations began frantically upgrading their military forces. After decades of intermittent infighting, the CorpoNations called a general truce in expectation of one day encountering the Hedoth. Technological insights gleaned from the wreckage of ancient Hedoth war machines proved invaluable and the military might of CorpoNations escalated at an astounding rate.

    Most CorpoNations advocated pulling back and hoped they would never cross paths with the Hedoth. Instead, the largest three CorpoNations (Rimtech, Mil-Agro, Neuropa) relentlessly advanced their combined fleet. They had achieved their dominant position through a ruthless Darwinian struggle and refused to leave the opportunity for even greater technological plunder to another CorpoNation. Besides, the foundation of their socio-business strategy was to always eliminate the biggest competitive threats - and that now meant the Hedoth.

    As survey ships finally reached the Hedoth system, the three CorpoNations massed their war fleets nearby and prepared for the ultimate conflict. When the scout ships reported their findings, man's second worst fear was realized: we are alone. The Hedoth home worlds were vacant.

    The Hedoth left no clue of where they went: scattered installations and miscellaneous guard drones were all they left behind. This discovery set off a frenzied "gold rush" among the three CorpoNations, only better. Being the first to plunder pristine and operational Hedoth technology meant more than currency, it meant power.

    When I first read this backstory, I thought it was a game that actually does have a point to play. A rich history behind the game will always push the game forward. Instead of just jumping right into the single player, or the multiplayer nowadays, there will be something added into Metal Fatigue to attract the player. More will be revealed in this epic story when they complete missions. I believe this is way to go for any real-time strategy. Many real-time strategy games I have played have been incredibly weak in the single player section mainly because there was no history behind it. Metal Fatigue has done the opposite and strived to create an entire realm to base one awesome single-player game on.

    Type:
    Real Time Strategy

    Developer:
    Zono Incorporated

    Publisher:
    Psygnosis

    Requirements:
    Pentium 200
    16MB RAM
    16-bit Soundcard
    4x CD-ROM
    3D-Accelerated

    Expected Release:
    Fall 1999

    Multiplayer:
    Yes

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