Powered by the new in-house Echo graphics engine from NaturalMotion, along with the animation and AI middleware suite that helped put the studio on the map so many years ago, Dawn of Titans has launched exclusively for mobile devices.
Published by Zynga and developed by NaturalMotion, the game is a mostly focused on being a multiplayer PvP real-time strategy and kingdom management game where players will gather resources, build their armies and head into battle with a giant titan leading their armies.
The hook for Dawn of Titans is that players will be able to burn through enemy forces using giant titans to clobber, smash, stomp and completely obliterate the enemies littered across the battlefield.
Strewn bodies lying in a wake of your destruction requires some skill, though. You’ll first need to direct troops around and target them during combat. This is all done with simple one-touch swipes with both real-time combat and the ability to pause the action and direct the controlled chaos from the bird’s eye view.
Typically RTS games have matches that can last anywhere between 10 minutes to a full hour. In Dawn of Titans the matches are made to be a lot quicker to accommodate the portable play experience people expect from a mobile game. This was demonstrated firsthand during a live presentation of Dawn of Titans played on a mobile device from NaturalMotion CEO Torsten Reil. In one match he quickly directed his titan and all his troops to completely clobber the opposition within the span of a minute.
In the press release, Reil explains that it’s all about giving gamers the intensity of a large-scale RTS game but condensed down for portable play on powerful new mobile devices, saying…
“We pride ourselves on creating emotional realism in our games and inventing immersive worlds for players to explore and get lost in. With Dawn of Titans, consumers get true strategy and depth of game play, combined with the short play sessions and fast social connectivity that are made for mobile gaming. I am proud of the work our team did to develop something unique and special for players and truly innovative for Action Strategy category fans.”
They’ve fine-tuned the Echo graphics engine to take exclusive advantage of mobile devices, enabling for ambient occlusion, real-time dynamic shadows, soft-shadow filters, post-processing effects such as god-rays and directional lighting, as well as physical based rendering for real-time light casting and reflections based on positional lighting.
It’s everything you would expect from an AAA engine, except it’s designed for mobile devices. You can get a look at how the game will run and play on Apple and Android devices with the official launch trailer below.
Aspects of the game are similar to Total War: Warhammer, such as using the pre-battle positioning for various troops, and allowing the AI to take command after giving them basic battle instructions.
According to Reil, your troops will automatically move to the next target and strategically take out the opposition even if you don’t manually tell them what to do every step of the way.
This is all part of the modified version of Morpheme to help bring the AI and the characters to life on-screen through NaturalMotion’s suite of technology.
It’s not all about the rendering, though. The game will also feature a lot of social and multiplayer connectivity as well. Players can join one of five factions, grow their resources and stronghold, and then attack another player by purchasing troops and sending them into battle. A pre-battle compass gives you an idea of where your army stacks up against the competition, and players can shift and move their units around to gain the best possible advantage.
Even if players do fail to take out a designated foe, it’s also possible to designate that foe as a target to fellow clansmen. Dawn of Titans has an easy to use marker feature where you can select an opponent’s stronghold and tag it for the rest of your guild members to see and potentially raze on your behalf.
There are various tiers to advance through in the multiplayer mode, with the more wins you rack up the more opportunities you gain to advance in rank, unlock new titans and battle higher level players. The ranking system is similar to games like Overwatch and the Competitive Mode.
One thing worth noting, however, is that at the launch Dawn of Titans will feature asynchronous multiplayer. According to Reil, later on they may introduce synchronized multiplayer.
If online PvP isn’t really your thing, there’s also a story-oriented single-player mode to battle your way through, as you build a kingdom during a fantasy-medieval era and establish your armies through decisive victories.
NaturalMotion designed the game with scalability in mind, so if you have an older phone you can still enjoy the game, but all the visual accouterments provided by today’s high-end graphics technology will work best on the newer and more powerful phones.