I loved the French dev scene of the 90s, primarily due to Cryo, Infogrames, Delphine and Adeline. Cryo, mostly. While it’d be an unpopular view, they’d be my favourite adventure game developer. First Cryo game I ever played…nay…experienced (that nebulous notion) was their 1992 debut masterpiece Dune. Oh, how it shaped me as a young fellow, as a gamer, as a scribbler. A formative piece of entertainment, that much I can assure.
And Eugen are French; those le Dressay brothers just doing their strategic thing and me loving them for it.
@bowlisimo Keep it on your radar, I say. It’ll go on sale for some ludicrously low price over the holidays, I’m sure. Oh, here’s something you might get a kick out of…a mod for the original Real Warfare was used in creating a fan trailer for the Russian release of M&B: With Fire and Sword.
@redswir1 I think the one thing that’ll always ensure we get our Eastern Bloc fix is that a lot of the studios specialise in catering to hardcore niches, stuff that would never fly with mainstream slack-jaws. Tank simulators like T-72: Balkans on Fire and the soon-to-be-released Steel Armor: Blaze of War, heavy-duty operational wargames like Achtung Panzer, the strange Icepick Lodge titles. Actually, my first taste of pure Russian madness came in the form of VANGERS: One for the Road…bizarre, but I digress.
Have a look at Gaijin Entertainment…prominent Russki dev that did try and make the jump to console with IL2 Birds of Prey and Apache Air Assault. Both terrific and unique offerings for the console space, but nobody gave a rat’s ringus. Apache Air Assault was far too hard in the control department for your average Battlefield Blackhawk jockey, and Birds of Prey wasn’t flashy enough. I think the STALKER and Metro sequels on console will be slightly more popular, but they won’t have that widespread appeal that the big American shooters have garnered and kept.
Me? Steel Armor: Blaze of War would be chosen over any wingnut backslap fuel any day of the week. It might not be as polished, but it’s a damn sight more interesting, far more technical and offers up environments and situations that focus on intricacy and hardware without…I dunno…turning it into something thematically cheap. I’ll take the battlegrounds of lesser-known conflicts like armour clashes in Angola in 1987 than yet another rejigging of the Middle East, and that’s where the Eastern Bloc studios’ strengths lie – being able to pursue these ultra-niche creations to the delight of fervent and supportive fans – fans smaller in number than those of the usual suspects, but it’s a global community and with development costs a fraction of what they are in the West-west, they seem to be sustainable.
I never want to see the end of these glorious studios and their glorious projects, because it’ll spell dilution towards the same old shit.
EDIT: I don’t want to come off sounding like a snobby, crotchety old dickhead…I love Battlefield and its combined role concept really brings multiplayer to a new level, but more often than not, these curious little projects out of the Ukraine are invigorating morsels of wonder – especially when set against their contemporaries in the medium.