Version 5.052 begins the public beta for Ancient Shadows, our newest expansion to AI War.
We waited longer than usual to start the preorders and public beta for Ancient Shadows because we wanted to get the anchor feature to a playable state, and it's pretty complex under-the-hood.
So, what's the anchor feature? Champions!
With the Ancient Shadows expansion, you can now set a player to the "Champion" role and instead of a home command station and all the usual stuff a player starts with they get a single modular ship. But what a ship. At the beginning it's basically a super-starship that's pretty powerful but nothing world-shattering. But it can gain experience, and with experience it can upgrade modules.
More importantly, the champions can travel to new parts of the galaxy that no normal ship can get to, and interact with the splinter factions of Humans, Zenith, Neinzul, and Spire that are found there. Successfully helping a splinter faction can (among other rewards) unlock whole new lines of modules and even new and bigger hulls that your champion can switch to. For the lore-inclined among you, these "offroad" scenarios also reveal more of the backstory through journal entries.
There's still quite a lot more variety planned for the champions (more module lines, more champion hulls, more splinter factions, etc), and plenty more in other expansion features:
* Modular fortresses! (the Human-tech variant is added in this update; Zenith, Neinzul, and Spire variants to come, probably via reward from an offroad scenario)
- 9 new bonus ship classes (coming soon, not implemented yet).
- 3 core AI guard posts and one new minor faction (coming soon, not implemented yet).
- New AI types (coming soon, not implemented yet).
- New Map types (coming soon, not implemented yet).
- A large amount of new music (to be released when the expansion fully launches, you'll need to download the final installer to get the music, it won't be delivered via update).
All that's still in the works, of course, but we wanted to get the public beta going so interested players could start experimenting with the new toys.
Once updated to the latest version of AI War, players can use the Ancient Shadows installer from here and demo it in trial mode or go ahead and pick up a license key here. More info, along with a preview of the new soundtrack, and a smattering of screenshots can be found on the expansion's page on our site.
The expansion is priced at $4.99, but those who purchase prior to its official release in October can pick it up for $3.99 (20% off).
About Arcen Games
Arcen Games entered the PC indie scene in 2009 with their cult classic AI War: Fleet Command, which was named the 40th best-reviewed PC game of the year by MetaCritic. Their second year was a busy one, seeing the release of The Zenith Remnant, the first full expansion for AI War; Tidalis, an innovative block-based puzzle with casual appeal and hardcore depth; and Children of Neinzul, a micro-expansion for AI War with all profits benefiting the Child's Play charity, of which Arcen is a platinum sponsor.
AI War's third and largest expansion Light of the Spire marked Arcen's first release of 2011, with the rest of the company's focus being devoted to their most massive project yet: A Valley Without Wind, which released in 2012. The remainder of 2012 is a another busy time for the team, as they ready AI War's fourth expansion Ancient Shadows, an complete rework to the art of A Valley Without Wind, and their recently announced top-down survival game Shattered Haven for release prior to the end of the year. Originally a one-man shop, Arcen Games has grown to have half a dozen part-time or fulltime contributors to its various titles. For all the latest news, media coverage, and some of our other musings, follow us on our developer and individual game pages on Reddit, Google+, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, Pinterest, or on Twitter: @ArcenGames; as well as Arcen lead Chris Park's Games By Design blog.