2016 has been a good year for strategy games. The long-awaited Civilization VI released recently to much praise, and franchises outside of the genre have been throwing their hats into the ring. Recently, for example, it was announced that the popular MOBA SMITE is soon releasing its own strategy spin-off, called SMITE: Tactics.
For SMITE, this is simply a move that aims to diversify the series' audience by drawing in new fans who may not have been as interested in the original IP -- whether because they weren't MOBA fans or just liked strategy games a lot more. But for me, it's been a chance to reflect on which other games or game franchises could benefit from the same treatment, and which ones would have the most potential to give us great strategy spin-offs.
I've come to the general conclusion that whenever a game has some kind of war in its backstory, it's perfectly possible to create a strategy spin-off that plays right into it. Although there are some other circumstances and settings where a strategy spin-off may work, war is generally either the focus or a main element of games in the genre. So it makes sense that most of the games to come will be focused around that.
That said, here are 6 games that would be perfect candidates for their own strategy spin-offs.
This series is set in a medieval fantasy world where there have been a lot of ongoing and recent wars.
In the case of the Witcher series I think that there could be a spin-off similar in scope and gameplay to grand strategy games like Europa Universalis, or a Smaller one focused on a particular elite unit and more akin in gameplay to Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 2.
Each would complement the background lore in its own way and be an interesting experience.
This pick may seem strange at first, but it actually isn't. After all, in more or less all games since Brotherhood, we've seen a minigame related to making use of the guild's assets to fight the Templars.
Thus, the AC series could make a become strategy game -- possibly one that's turn-based -- which focuses on running the guild and managing its resources, while recruiting and training new assassins or searching for allies in the fight against the Templars. Added lore about how the guild is run and how it operates could be very interesting too.
It doesn't hurt that the Assassin 's Creed brand sells no matter what, so there would be no real risk for Ubisoft in trying it.
The vastness of space, what does it evoke in your gamer mind? Many RTS and TBS games I'm sure.
Star Ocean always had a peculiar setting that mixed sci-fi and fantasy, so imagining a game in the series that's a space exploration grand strategy game doesn't feel all that far-fetched. Bonus points if we get to do diplomacy with the various Aliens already seen in the series...at least with the advanced ones.
Another possible game could smaller in scope and centered around managing a single battleship and exploring fringe worlds -- possibly choosing to avoid underdeveloped ones as per the non-intervention treaties that are part of the game lore. Even fighting pirates in a RTS manner may also work, and it would certainly contribute to the overall appeal of the series.
Hell, it would be far better than what we got as the fifth chapter in the series anyway...
This game has a rich backstory about the war for survival among the ruins of post-apocalyptic Moscow.
Metro 2033 has the perfect premise for a 4X RTS. Perhaps we could see a game where the various stations of the city's subway have become their own communities, and players have to expand and fight brutal wars to control the few resources that are still available.
Between Oblivion and Skyrim there is a 200 year gap, but in between there has been a lot of war.
One of these wars, the Imperial-Aldmeri War, could become the setting of a real-time strategy game where you fight as a unit of Imperial soldiers and try to protect the Imperial city from occupation. (The game could even have cameos from characters who would later go on to become well-known in Skyrim.)
Most importantly, magic and the Voice could play a substantial part, in order to convey the setting as best as possible. Perhaps you could have the choice to create a unit of battlemages or Greybeards and have them fight it out against the Thalmor.
A grand strategy game of Crusader Kings 2's ilk set around the same timeframe may also work, since the start of the 4th era was a period of political turmoil and disorder -- and it was easy for a cunning and ruthless warlord to plot and fight his way to greater power for him and his dynasty.
As previously stated, games that involve a lot of war in their backstories have perfect justifications to get a spin-off strategy title set in and around those wars -- especially if the main series games were not able to get to fully explore them.
A nice idea for this BioWare franchise would be a real-time strategy title similar in gameplay to Total War, where you either control the Tevinter Imperium or Andraste's rebellion and have the goal of defeating your opponent.
Also viable would be a grand strategy game set during one of the blights, where playing as the Grey Wardens means you have to dabble both in diplomacy and military might in order to purge the Darkspawn from existence.
What do you think? Are there other games in need of a strategy spinoff? Do these ones not need it? Let us know in the comments!