Could Microsoft be making a foray into console real-time strategy (RTS) games again? A recent job posting by the company suggests that an RTS is currently in development for the Xbox One and PC. But what is it? Speculation has already started that it could be a new entry in Halo Wars or Age of Empires. Or, could it be something else?
The job listing is for a Senior Software Engineer with Microsoft’s Decisive Games studio.
The listing states, “The Decisive Games team is focused on world class strategy game development, and is building a studio that will bring the next installment in a beloved strategy game franchise to the next generation of gamers around the world.”
The job also requires “[f]amiliarity with DirectX 11 or Xbox 360 / Xbox One rendering APIs.” This strongly suggests a console and PC release for the RTS game.
Meanwhile, a second job listing for a Senior Software Engineer indicates that the unannounced RTS title will feature online multiplayer.
“As a senior client-server network engineer you will be expected to contribute to solving a range of engineering problems, but your focus will be on leading the networking and multiplayer aspects of gameplay, including both the real-time gameplay networking solution as well as supporting out-of-band systems such as matchmaking and grouping,” the listing states.
The listing also asks for experience with Xbox Live, another sign that the game will hit the Xbox One.
Now the question is what Microsoft means by a “beloved strategy game franchise?” Halo Wars did not light up sales for the Xbox 360, but still has a strong following to this day calling for a sequel. Meanwhile, the Age of Empires and Age of Mythology franchises were both published by Microsoft for the PC and are considered to have produced some of the greatest RTS games by critics.
Another factor to consider is that only a couple of real-time strategy games were ever published for the Xbox 360 – Halo Wars and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, Command & Conquer 3: Kane’s Wrath, and R.U.S.E. Console controllers are not considered ideal for the genre, though progress was definitely made the previous generation.
Xbox Head Phil Spencer has expressed a desire to bring the RTS genre back to Microsoft’s portfolio of games, since he took the position over last year. When asked about what genres he’d like to see a resurgence of on the console, he said the following on Twitter.
@Jahlvardravito RTS on console.
— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) May 18, 2014
Spencer has specifically talked Halo Wars as well. He told IGN last October that it is something he is “very interested in.”
The executive will also be at a Windows 10 event on January 21, where he is expected to talk about gaming on the new operating system. This should include talk about Xbox integration as well since that’s already been touted by Microsoft.
[Images via Halo Wars, Age of Empires]