Switzerland’s Taitale Studios is launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for its massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game, Novus AEterno.
The Zug, Switzerland and San Francisco company aims to raise $200,000 to accelerate the addition of new expansions. The PC sci-fi game is nearing completion after seven years in development. The title will be a persistent online world for the PC.
It was publicly shown at PAX Prime 2012 in Seattle, where it won Best RTS and Best Innovation. It’s now fully playable and in closed beta testing. The title has been accepted on Valve’s Steam digital distribution platform, and it will be available within the next six months.
“We looked into more traditional partners to take us to market but found smaller publishers focusing on the free-to-play and mobile trends, while the bigger companies are risk-adverse, unwilling to back anything unproven. As there hasn’t yet been an a real MMORTS for the PC, there are no metrics to demonstrate an audience for this type of game,” said Nick Nieuwoudt, the 23-year-old CEO of Taitale Studios.
“The early reaction to Novus from the forums and the press tells us there is a pent-up audience and that this is the game lots of developers have wanted to make and lots of gamers have wanted to play,” Nieuwoudt added. “That’s why we are excited to make the supportive gamer community part of the process and part of our success.”
Nieuwoudt started the game in 2007 (at the age of 16) after he couldn’t find the type of game he really wanted to play. An avid competitive gamer, he was tired of being limited to 30-minute play sessions of StarCraft against his globally dispersed friends. He wanted a game he could play continuously for weeks, months, or even years. And he wanted the game to have a massive scale where strategic decisions had real consequences. He had no prior game development experience and began reading game forums to learn it. He eventually rallied a 25-person team to build the game.
Novus Aeterno is based on sandbox style play, with no preset missions or linear storylines. It employs the D.I.M.E. (Diplomacy, Intelligence, Military and Economics) military strategy or empire management philosophy. Players can choose how to play by developing alliances and focusing on their strengths. Retired U.S. Air Force Major General James P. Hunt serves as an adviser to the Taitale team.
Novus Aeterno will have five races: humans plus four alien species. Each has their own lore, fleets and technologies. The ships are fully customizable. The title has hours of orchestral music by Denny Schneidemesser. And the game has high-definition graphics built on the Havok Visions engine. It has been optimized to tolerate low-bandwidth connections. The company built the title with $3 million in loans to date.
“It’s been a long journey since we were first inspired to create Novus AEterno, with many challenges along the way,” said Nieuwoudt. “We’ve learned a tremendous amount, and the support of the gaming community has kept us going. We look forward to delivering a game worthy of that support and watching the community enjoy playing it as much as we do.”
“Novus AEterno is an example of a game that defies the odds, they should not have been able to create the game, they have been told they will not succeed, and yet they are on the verge of something great. Led by Nick Nieuwoudt, Taitale Games is creating a game that few large developers could manage to deliver,” said Kelly Zmack, the CEO of publishing at Infinite Games.