The studio has "big plans" for the series but "focus right now" is solely on the expansion Rebellion and their fantasy RTS. Sins of a Solar Empire doesn't really need a campaign.
In fact Ironclad's pursuit of getting a single player campaign into Sins of a Solar Empire lead to the development of micro expansions Entrenchment, Diplomacy and now Rebellion.
"Solar Empire is definitely not forgotten," studio co-founder Blair Fraser told us in .
"We have big plans for it, but the focus right now is on Rebellion and Dark Age." Rebellion is offered as a full standalone expansion to Sins but one that encompasses all the features of the previous releases. Thankfully the genre it occupies isn't something that's really died out but has been quiet for a while.
"We spent quite a bit trying to figure out how to do a campaign for Solar Empire but in the end we just didn’t come up with something we were happy with so it was put back on the shelf," explained Fraser.
"However, we don’t feel the time was wasted because many of the ideas that came up during that period made their way into Diplomacy and Rebellion and the rest will likely emerge at a later date."
Ironclad designed SOASE first and foremost to be a single player sandbox style RTS but added multiplayer because they knew some would want to butt heads. It's still a single player experience to the studio.
"The funny thing is we don’t consider Sins of a Solar Empire to be a multi-player focused game. It was designed primarily as a single-player sand box (ala the classic 4x titles like Master of Orion, Civilization, etc). Also, our data strongly suggests that the majority of hours spent playing Sins of a Solar Empire has been single-player time."
"The only reason there is multiplayer at all actually is because a few us at Ironclad wanted to be able to fight each other and run comp-stomps. At the time, we predicted the return on investment for multiplayer would be small (and it was as only a very small fraction of Solar Empire players play multiplayer) but we did it anyway, because it was fun for us."
"As for offline-story campaigns, we ultimately just decided it wasn’t appropriate for this kind of game and we felt the sand box experience was very rich and fulfilling," he said. Fraser's favourite types of strategy game don't even have single player campaigns, as sometimes they just aren't needed to have fun.
When Sins of a Solar Empire released back in 2008 it wasn't up against any stiff competition, but don't think Ironclad skipped doing their homework and just got lucky: "I don’t believe it was luck that allowed us to win wide-spread critical acclaim, sell over 2 million units and capture players who would never have tried a space game let alone a real-time strategy/4X, semi hardcore sandbox space game. I don’t believe you get that kind of response just because you filled a gap in a relatively small niche that no one else was filling." There's plenty more room for Sins in space.
"Space 4x is one of my all-time favourite genres and despite appearing to be a very small niche, it remains remarkably resilient and successful," declared Fraser. "As our pre-orders of Rebellion are showing, there is still very much a demand for it and we will continue to make games in that space as long as possible."
"Long live the space opera and long live the pew pew!"
Check out ourwith Brian Fraser who discusses Ironclad's past, present and future Sins. You can play the beta of Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion right now if you pre-order.
Sins of a Solar Empire "definitely not forgotten," Ironclad have "big plans"
25 May 2012 | By Simon Priest