Strategy game development has always been among the most popular game genres. Who hasn’t heard of Civilization, Heroes of Might and Magic, or League of Legends? While these games may not be everyone’s favorite, they have the most loyal audiences. So, if you are thinking about creating a strategy game, you are already moving in the right direction. We just need to ensure that you know the steps.
Before we get to the topic, let’s start from the basics. What is a strategy game development exactly?
The answer is simple: a strategy game is one where players’ choices shape the gaming process and the outcome. These games require tactical thinking and strong decision making skills from the player.
Generally speaking, the definition is wide enough to include many games, even chess and checkers. But we are going to focus on the more traditional understanding of strategy video games.
Pros and Cons of Game Strategy Development
As we mentioned before, strategies are one of the most popular video game genres. They are also one of the most challenging ones, but the risk can pay off. Here are some of the reasons to develop a strategy game of your own:
- Strategy gamers are a very devoted audience. Those who play these games play them for years and years.
- Strategy games are relatively easy to develop in terms of design. It’s quite possible to create a good strategy game without HD graphics, even a 2D one.
- Since the outcome of a strategy game fully depends on the player’s choices, you don’t need to keep adding new content for your audience to explore. They should have enough fun playing with the different directions the game can take from the start.
There are, however, some pitfalls to be aware of. The main one is that, understandably, strategy games are all about world-building. You may be tempted to add some complex mechanics to your game, but unless you can make them fun for the player, they won’t help. Many people find strategies to be on the boring side as it is, so keep that in mind when designing the game possibilities. Any game should be fun first and foremost.
Game Strategy Development Process
The process of strategy game development is very similar to developing a game in other genres. The basic steps are the same.
This includes the idea of the game, its setting, the characters you want to use, the plot, and anything related to world-building. You could create your concept fully based on your own tastes or on the most popular trends. This is also the stage when you need to decide which platform (iOS, Android, PC, etc.) to focus on, and who constitutes your target audience.
This is a “light” version of the game created to test the core mechanics before you set to working on the final product. The purpose of the prototype stage is to reveal possible bugs, evaluate your target audience’s reaction, and in general make sure that serious issues do not emerge later on. Don’t try to skip this step by going straight to the full version: in the long run, it is more profitable to test early.
When you are creating a game, you need to have a target audience in mind. Now you are going to see its reaction. We have a detailed guide on testing your game prototype here – check it out.
After all the necessary corrections have been made, the final product is developed and can be released to the public on the platform of your choice.
Read also: Role of Game Testing in Game Development
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Strategy Game?
Giving a straight answer to this question is harder than it may seem. There are many factors that decide how much game development will cost in each particular case. Everything from the platform to the geographical location of your game development company plays a role. Obviously, the simpler your game design, the faster and cheaper it will be to produce. A big advantage of strategy games is that they don’t need to rely heavily upon high quality graphics. That will save you some budget.
A way to save even more is to outsource your game development to a game dev studio. Not only is it cheaper than hiring in-staff developers: a team that already knows how to work together will also save you a lot of time and effort. Eastern European game development companies generally have the best ratio of cost to quality.
Most Expected Strategy Games of 2020
If you are thinking of developing a strategy game of your own, you need to know who you’ll be competing with. Let’s take a look at some of the most promising strategy games yet to be released in 2019.
Age of Wonders: Planetfall
This game by strategy masters Paradox Interactive is a continuation of the Age of Wonders series. This time, instead of high fantasy, the game will be taking place in a sci-fi setting of the future. Arriving to PC and consoles in August, Age of Wonders: Planetfall is going to give hardcore gamers something to talk about for quite a while.
Warcraft III: Reforged
The series that needs no introduction is getting a reboot in 2019. The original Warcraft 3: Reign of Chaos, released in 2002, was a game changer for the industry. Now the game is being rebuilt to fit the highest quality of graphics. The gameplay remains completely the same, so it’s sure to please nostalgic gamers. As to those who are not familiar with the original, they may want to opt for something completely new. Too many trends have changed since 2002.
Iron Harvest: 1920+
There are quite a few games based during World War II, but this strategy chose to focus on earlier times. It is set after the end of World War I, in an alternate reality with big mechs and heavy industrial aesthetics. The premise already sounds fascinating. As to the gameplay, it’s going to be a standard real time strategy game.
This one proves that you don’t need HD or even 3D graphics to make a good strategy game – we are instantly sold on the description. A post-apocalyptic road trip across the US? Keeping quiet to escape scary creatures? Rescuing dogs? All components of a good game, if you ask us. Overland will be available on Steam in Fall 2019.
Game strategy development is of the niches most beloved by hardcore gamers. There are a number of advantages to them, including audience loyalty and relatively easy production. If you want to get into game strategy development, don’t hesitate to reach out to Melior Games for a free quote.