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On June 11, 2023, Giant Studios’ President and Game Director Tim Campbell appeared on PC Gaming’s showcase to reveal a first look at the gameplay Esports Illustrated also had a chance to check out earlier this month. The in-game footage focused on a 1v1 mirror match featuring the Human Resistance.

While there are other factions, including the Infernal Host (warmongering demons), and upcoming co-op modes, this footage gave us an in-depth look at the intricacies of how Stormgate will look and how the gameplay plays out.

Stormgate — First Impressions

Using Unreal Engine 5, Stormgate’s graphics are a big upgrade from earlier RTS games. All of the factions look strikingly different from each other so you can easily tell them apart — even during the most intense of battles. The units within each faction are also very distinguishable, both in their behavior and their appearance.

The art style itself is a bit more cartoonish than past real-time strategy games. Some fans of the genre won’t like this less serious look but the music — composed by Alex Brandon — makes up for it. It has a very intense feel, allowing you to feel the tension as the match continues. The nostalgic and classic sound of the music is also a nice touch.

Stormgate is also a lot better-paced than StarCraft 2 and Warcraft III. You won’t lose fights super quickly — a whole squad won’t be wiped out in a matter of seconds by a single attack like in StarCraft. You’ll have time to micro and strategize. But this also doesn’t mean fights are lasting forever — you’ll still feel a sense of urgency.

“The pace of the game is not quite as intense with a slower time-to-kill, giving players time to react, dodge abilities, and protect their units,” explained Stormgate reps in a press release. “We also have quick macro commands that make it much easier to build structures and units without having to micromanage every step of the process.”

Big RTS players like former SC pro Aleksandar “Beastly” Krstić have spent time playing the pre-alpha. He had this to say about the gameplay: “After seeing gameplay, this is not SC3. If you are expecting SC3, that is not happening. That’s something people really need to understand. Stormgate will be, in my opinion, a unique RTS. It will be a mix of all RTS games. I think people should be more open to the possibility that this will not be SC3. It’s a new game. People should give it a chance.”

Stormgate — What We Learned From Gameplay

Developers provided some interesting gameplay footage for Esports Illustrated to watch ahead of the PC Gaming showcase and what we saw looked like a big upgrade for real-time strategy games when it comes to visuals and smooth gameplay. SnowPlay tech has allowed a large number of units to appear in battle while maintaining solid performance.

The footage shows a 1v1 battle between two Human Resistance squads. We had a better look at the resources, units, and structures at play.

What are the Resources in Stormgate?

The two resources are Luminite and Therium. Luminite is the primary resource and it pays for basically everything. B.O.B. workers are the units that will mine the stuff. Therium is a secondary resource that pays for advanced units, structures, and upgrades. It gradually spreads and enriches when unmined.

What are the Human Units in Stormgate?

Hinterlands map in Stormgate

These are the Human units:

  • B.O.B. — This is a “smiley” robot worker that harvests resources to build structures and repair mechanical units. Multiple B.O.B. units can work together to build a structure.
  • S.C.O.U.T. — This robot dog, which has frickin’ laser eyes, has heightened senses to better identify enemies. They let out a warning howl to temporarily scan the area and alert you of enemies.
  • Lancer — This soldier rushes into the frontlines with a blade. You can upgrade them with a Lancer Shield to shrug off damaging blows.
  • Exo — This versatile soldier is armed with a reliable rifle. Upgrade them with Double Time to temporarily increase their movement speed.
  • The Atlas — An artillery mech that rains down area of effect damage.
  • Medtech — This supportive unit heals and repairs allies. The Adept Training upgrade unleashes a swarm of nanobots that can heal nearby allies or even attack enemies.
  • Evac Transport — Transport ships that can pick up and drop off allied units to get a better positioning or avoid danger.
  • Vulcan — This unit has a spinning gatling gun to deal increased damage. There’s an upgrade that allows it to reposition during combat, stunning enemies in its ways. Vulcans can also clear trees.

What are the Human Structures in Stormgate?

Human Installation in Stormgate

In the footage, you can also see Human structures. They are:

  • Command Post — This is the Human HQ that produces B.O.B. units. You can upgrade it to a Central Command to create Tier 2 units. Tier 3 units are coming soon.
  • Habitat — This structure must be built to expand your army since it increases supply.
  • Barracks — You can produce Tier 1 units like the S.C.O.U.T., Lancer, Exo, or Medtech with this structure.
  • Mech Bay — A production facility for Valcans, Atlas, and more.
  • Therium Refinery — Remember, this is the secondary resource! This structure lets you do research for passive upgrades.
  • Machine Lab — A research lab that upgrades mechanical and air units. It features a conveyor belt.
  • Sentry Turret — This structure deals damage to enemies targeted in the ground and air.

Keep in mind that what was shown in the footage is still in pre-alpha. The designs, graphics, and gameplay can still change at this stage. Still, the micro gameplay, incredible music, and distinct fractions has left us and RTS fans hungry for more.

It may not be StarCraft, but that’s honestly for the best. So far, it seems as though Stormgate has taken the best from StarCraft and other RTS games and used them in innovative new ways. The changes have kept Stormgate feeling and looking fresh, especially when it comes to speed and new mechanics (like destroying light forest areas or neutral creep camps that inspire players to leave the base).

For now, RTS fans are excited to see what else Stormgate has in store.