Grey Goo Preview: The Return to RTS Glory

by Marcus Jones on April 23, 2014

Grey Goo is the upcoming title from Petroglyph Games, developers of previous titles like Star Wars: Empire at War and Universe at War: Earth Assault. No strangers to the real-time strategy genre, the company is comprised heavily of former Westwood Studios employees, famous for the Command & Conquer series. Grey Goo is their upcoming title and their return to core gameplay of the RTS genre.

Playing the game at PAX East felt like a return to the classic elements of an RTS; I didn’t deal with micromanaging, I didn’t fret over resources, and all I worried about was kicking my opponent’s ass (in this case, Kevin).

My chosen race, the Betas, act like an analogue to the Terran of StarCraft for those familiar with that series. They are a combination of ferocity and mobility, able to extend their reach to anywhere on the map. Expanding the base requires players to drop hub points (small, medium, or large) that allow additional buildings, like factories and hangers. Add-ons, though, can also be technological buildings. These provide that hanger or factory access to more powerful units as long as they both remain attached to the same hub. This means a player can drop a large hub, adding both a factory and hanger, and then attach the four additional tech buildings to gain access to everything at once.

Base building and resource gathering were a cinch as well. There were no pesky builder units to worry about; the game auto builds all structures over a short period of time once played on the map. Gathering resources becomes fully automated as well; a dropped refinery gave access to a gathering point, which pulls resources from veins underground (seen on the map via an overlay). Once a gathering point is finished, an automated set of collector units spawn and begin going to and fro collecting resources in the humdrum of their lives.

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