The Tone Rebellion
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The Logic Factory Swept Onto The PC scene last year with the quite brilliant Ascendancy. Although the game was generally well-received, they feel that they've learnt a great deal from their first foray into the PC market and are now looking to produce a completely original and absorbing real-time strategy game that's totally unlike anything you've seen before. "We wanted to make a game that we really wanted to play, a game that was completely original and looked like nothing you've ever seen before," maintains Todd Templeman, producer and co-founder of The Logic Factory. "And at the same time we wanted to make the game look so good, you just had to sit down and play it once you saw it We've spent ages getting the detail in there and making it look just beautiful. We think it's one of the best looking games we've ever seen."
Graphically, The Tone Rebellion is exquisite. The Logic Factory have opted for crisp hi-res graphics and have really gone to town with the detailing. Objects and characters are all being independently animated to give the impression of constant movement, while the backdrops wouldn't look out of place framed above your mantelpiece. As Todd boots up the intro sequence and the haunting soundtrack kicks in through the speakers, it's obvious they have at least one very capable musician in their ranks as well as a team of extremely competent graphic artists. "We got a lot of feedback from people who played Ascendancy" asserts Todd, "and one of the things people really loved was the music, so we've just gone out there and tried to outdo ourselves again and make it even better. We think it's good to create the right kind of atmosphere and draw the player into the game."
Of course, as everyone knows, flash presentation and humsoime tunes do not make a good game. You need a compelling storyline, a competent Al, a variety of scenarios and the option to go 'mano a mano' with a chum or two.
Todd at least is convinced that Tone won't disappoint. "We've worked hard on the storyline and the artificial intelligence and we've included a strong multi-player element in an effort to keep everyone happy." However, unlike most multi-player games, the players must sometimes cooperate to win the game. "If players spend too much time fighting each other, they will lose," maintains Todd. "The Leviathan the ali-seeing CPU-controlled master force is stronger than all the players, and is always on the offensive,"
Unlike every other strategy game, Torre is side-scrolling only and there are no blood and guts. Instead, the player must plan ahead for a multitude of real-time battles and indulge in some pretty complex resource management that involves training floaters (the main game characters) and even buildings to make them more efficient. In case you're thinking that it sounds too complicated, all objects and creatures in the game will be covered with blanket orders so the player won't have to spend ages micro-managing everything under their control. "We want the player to spend their time developing and expanding their forces and developing a strategy, not constantly checking that a certain character has enough food," Todd explains.
If Ascendancy can be criticised for anything, it was that it seemed to give the player too much too soon. Todd and the rest of The Logic Factory team are adamant this will not happen again. "There are 15 island worlds that the player will need to discover and explore and each world contains specific mysteries that must be solved in order to bridge the gap to new islands. As the player discovers new islands, they'll be able to get their hands on new powers that get more complex as they progress through the game. It's going to be huge, and the more the player gets into it, the more they'll find. We want the player to be constantly surprised."
It's always difficult to judge exactly whether a game like Tone will deliver and, as with all strategy games, the proof will be in the playing. A quick guided tour of some of the levels that are currently in place, a gander at all the art and the obvious enthusiasm and attention to detail that The Logic Factory have for their next game should be enough to convince even the most sceptical gamer that The Tone Rebellion could bring an interesting new slant to what is now a very over-crowded genre.