Bohemia Interactive has announced Silica - an intriguing combination of RTS and shooter. This is another title from the Czech developer (besides the new installments of the Arma series), which is being developed on the team's propriety Enfusion Engine.
The title will be available "soon" as part of Steam Early Access, in which it will remain for 9-12 months. During this time the game will cost 19.99 euros, and after leaving Early Access the price will rise to 24.99 euros. The trailer for the project has been posted below.
The story of Silica supposedly began back in... 2008 in the form of one man's idea. The idea for the game was born in the head of Martin "Dram" Melichárek almost a decade before Bohemia Interactive released the first project created under his supervision - the simulator Take on Mars.
It was not until the establishment of Bohemia Incubator division (dedicated to experimental games) made it possible to realize this unusual idea.
Battle for resources in FPS or RTS formats.
The action of Silica takes place in the future (more than 300 years from now), on a planet thousands of light years from Earth. It is here that Balterium was discovered - an extremely energy-efficient resource that could become the key to further space conquest. Only that the surface of planet Balterus hid another (extremely unfriendly) secret. On top of that, the previous unity of humanity is shattered when it comes to the division of Balterium depotits.
This story is to be the backdrop for the gameplay, which will consist of 3 game modes - each enabling you to play in strategy or FPS mode as either humans or insectoid aliens. In Silica we will find more than 20 units, and we will be able to command all of them as in a typical RTS, or control them personally (usually from a first-person perspective, but some units will use a TPP view).
The developers also decided to abandon the "detached" technology tree - in RTS mode, the units available are linked to what we have on the map. So if the enemy destroys a building linked to the upgrade to heavy infantry, we will lose access to it in the barracks until the structure in question is rebuilt.
This applies to both playable sides, although they also share many differences. Not only are the units different, but also the buildings (smaller and easier to hide for aliens, more resistant in humans) and the resources used.
As mentioned, Silica offers three gameplay modes: Strategy, Prospector and Arena. The former is the flagship hybrid variant, enabling the players to join the conflict of up to three sides (the aliens and two human factions) as an RTS commander or a foot soldier straight out of an FPS (or TPS in the case of some units).
The other two modes are strictly shooter-based. Prospector focuses on human cooperation, while Arena is a ruthless and - we quote - "unbalanced" battle royale, in which you choose any of more than 20 units and demolish the other players (or at least try to).
The idea of combining strategy with a shooter is not completely new. Already the old-school Dungeon Keeper (and, though to a lesser extent, the first SpellForce) allowed for a glimpse of the map from the perspective of minions, and the concept of a multiplayer mix of RTS and FPS was realized in, among others, Natural Selection 2 and in the even older Savage: The Battle for Newerth (including in the fan-made Savage XR).
How Bohemia Interactive will deal with this task, will be revealed "soon". April 20 will also see the first gameplay presentation from Silica.