RTS Console Futility
It may have taken until its twilight years, but this generation of hardware finally buried the notion that consoles are graveyards for the real-time strategy genre, a place its titles would go to rot in gaming H-E-double upside-down analog sticks. Sure, there were hiccups along the way: Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom might have doomed the franchise; the Battlestations series could never bring all hands on deck; and 2008’s Supreme Commander was a showcase of the supreme PC/console quality dissonance.
But we’re only so scrutinizing because the bar has concurrently been rising. Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars assured the C&C franchise’s console foothold with a stellar outing in 2007, all without sacrificing its hardcore RTS appeal. Shortly thereafter games like Tom Clancy’s EndWar and Halo Wars, slightly inferior in quality, successfully brought key elements of the genre to the mainstream and showed that even casual gamers could overcome the gamepad’s functionality challenges.
Gazing towards the future, the console version of Firaxis’ XCOM: Enemy Unknown looks to be every bit the preeminent RTS experience the original 1994 PC game was. And with next gen developers having access to control schema like the Wii U GamePad and Smart Glass, a genre such as the RTS, so predicated on its constant hands-on style, couldn’t have a more promising outlook.