Matrix Games to Publish Holistic Design's Noble Armada!?!

Scott Udell was good enough to clue us into this in the cgonline forums as it seems he got the word from someone at Matrix or Holistic.

While the demo I played three years ago was exciting, incorporating all kinds or roleplaying and strategy elements, I was sure it was dead and gone after all the troubles Holistic went through with Ripcord the former publisher.

Why so much excitement about this game? Well, the idea just hasn’t ever really been done before and it’s also obvious as hell: make a game about being a starship captain and focus on RPG elements, crewmen, diplomacy, and trade in a strategy setting rather than an action one. There are dynamic relationships, random encounters and scripted missions mixed together in an upredictable stew. New systems and trade routes, artifacts and opportunities, victims and predators, wait through every jumpgate. The demo alone was awesome gameplay if the graphics were dated for three years ago.

Still, with a facelift this could be quite a hit for Matrix and it could redeem Holistic for sins past.

Speaking of sins past, David Heath of Matrix showed up in the cgonline forums after Marcus Manuela suggested that he’d rather see a fixed up and updated Emperor of The Fading Suns as “that game, if any, is one of the games in history with most unfullfilled potential”. Heath responded, "Lets just say keep watching you never know what you will get <g>. "

If they pull off EFS II in addition to Noble Armada, I may take you up on that multiplayer game offer, Tom. :)

Heath responded, "Lets just say keep watching you never know what you will get <g>.

Egad, you made my heart skip a beat! I suspect Matrix had to secure some kind of licensing deal with the EFS PnP folks, so Heath’s just letting teasers dangle about what they could theoretically do in the future.

However, I’m tickled with them doing anything at all with the Fading Suns universe. I’d love a completed EFS somewhere down the line, but in the meantime, I’m content seeing whatever Holistic does with Armada. So long as they quite churning out unforgiveably godawful crap like Merchant Prince II and Mall Tycoon.

Yes, we have Holistic to thank for Mall Tycoon.

 -Tom

Isn’t Holistic the maker of the pen and paper stuff? I thought they were one and the same.

Please, please , please let EFS 2 happen. And please make sure that whoever the person who did the previous AI is let nowhere near the project.
The Fading Suns universe is one the richest backstories I’ve ever seen for a game. Here’s hoping that something is done.

Empire of the Fading Suns… was that a political intrigue sort of game? Sort of a Machiavelli in space deal? It was just a bit before I got into gaming professionally and I remember reading a review or two. Maybe even handling the box before picking up something else.

Yeah, Mark, they’re the same folks. They design both the RPG franchise and dabble in all sorts of other things like miniatures and computer games. Sometimes the dabbling is better than others.

It’s worth noting that Greenberg and the Bridges brothers got their start developing settings for White Wolf - hence the polish in Fading Suns - sort of a Dunelike cosmos blended with a dab of high fantasy and a dash of World of Darkness (in the spaaaace…). Nice guys, actually, I’ve run into them at a couple conventions. :)

Emperor of the Fading Suns, I suppose is a bit like Machiavelli (in spaaace…) but I haven’t played that one yet so I can’t judge. I just liked the mix of politics and strategy. It did a number of remarkable things in some remarkable ways. There were problems and fans came out with all sorts of mods to fix the problems. Holistic themselves released a final official patch two or three years after the game was out. Tom probably knows more about this than I do.

Holistic has to make up a lot of ground for Mall Tycoon. My wife’s a big fan of those games, and of malls, and even she hated it.

“I suppose is a bit like Machiavelli (in spaaace…) but I haven’t played that one yet so I can’t judge”

I meant the real Machiavelli. I’d quite forgotten there was a game of the same name. Heh.

Sorry, but even though I like the original EFS game (although it was really broken once you got involved in it… balance.) I think anything further from that universe is toast.

And yeah, I remember the Machiavelli the Prince II came out around the same time frame as the first game. It pretty much was Machiavelli - Emperor of Dune.

And that’s a bad thing…how? Sounds like a cool game to me. :)

Oh, I didn’t say the game was bad or the universe was bad - although a little unoriginal - but the NAME is not going to carry it. It’s not like Traveller or Dune or anything. I’m just saying it has “sleeper curse” no matter how good.

My kingdom for an original setting in a computer game. Aside from adventure games (Zzzzz…) it’s pretty hard to find anything that fits this description. I don’t think EFS is so bad and they actually managed to get the setting to express itself in the gameplay (Inquisition hunting proscribed tech, weird tech & lost artifacts, politics with not only other similiar noble-player factions but radically different ones (Church & guild, etc.), and Kingmaker like Imperial politics focusing on rank and station). The only beat they really missed was making nobles non-generic. Imagine how much cooler EFS would have been if nobles and other major characters had some identity, uniqueness and missions they could undertake- the one cool thing about Rebellion (which borrowed that in turn from Avalon Hill’s Freedom In The Galaxy strategy boardgame).

There were so many nice touches from the gothic music to the illuminated manuscript style of the help and encyclopedia files. Folks are ragging on Holistic’s art but when they care about a game they seem to do a really good job with the aesthetics. The AI and the coding seems to be the real problem with EFS.

I really liked EFS. I did seem kind of odd to me that it had such a great score, such neat help modules and such great development, but then the game map was so primitive. Also, I was never able to really finish a game, since it had a tendency to crash after a certain number of turns for some reason. It was great fun, tho.

One thing about Noble Armada that I didn’t care for was the ship design. The designs in the EFS intro were really good. Turretted battleships and stealthy warbirds blasting each other. The ships in Noble Armada didn’t seem to have anything in common with this feel.