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Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/2/2009 5:09:31 PM   
SlickWilhelm


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Any thoughts on this? I took a quick look at cdv's gaming catalog, but I didn't see any turn-based strategy games(Except for Ageod's ACW). Are they pretty much an RTS publishing shop?

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/2/2009 6:25:20 PM   
Hertston


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They have a rather broader catalogue than that, but I'm not sure quite which titles they expect to sell via Matrix. Most of the likely candidates have been around years anyway, and are already bargain-bucket jobs at Amazon and such. There doesn't seem anything recent or forthcoming hat seems of much interest.

Maybe Matrix are just trying to diversify in the same way Stardock have; start with your own stuff and then peddle everybody else's as well.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/3/2009 2:34:55 AM   
rhondabrwn


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Maybe they have something new in development that is more consistent with the Matrix product line? Something more cerebral than RTS games, perhaps. Matrix would be an excellent entrypoint for such diversification in their product line.

It doesn't cost to wait and see.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/3/2009 3:22:42 AM   
killroyishere

 

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CDV has used starforce copy protection in the past just fyi.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/3/2009 9:18:51 AM   
Joshuatree

 

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This: http://www.cdvusa.com/pages/publishing shows some of their business partners, including NIval Group (Russian) http://www.nival.com/eng/index.shtml
They made Blitzkrieg and Herous of Might and Magic. Now Blitzkrieg is a RTS, but it had a few nice add ons like "Kursk", where the RTS aspect of the game almost turned into a turn based game. Heavy Tanks had a huge firing range and Artillery really was dangerous, the moment you used your own Artillery the AI zeroed in on your unit with his own Artillery.
So a mixed bag, not bad I think. Oh yeah, CDV got Lula too.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/3/2009 1:38:43 PM   
gunny

 

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To their credit, they have featured the partnership of the Combat Mission anthology. Theatre of war. and various Silent Storm engine based Strategy RPG's. Not everyone's cup of tea but I've enjoyed playing them. Maybe the influence could go both ways and some new graphically enhanced turn based strategy wargames might appear out of this.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/3/2009 5:02:20 PM   
V22 Osprey


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I really liked their American Conquest, Blitzkrieg, and Cossacks II series.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/3/2009 5:15:05 PM   
Phatguy

 

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An updated Silent Storm would be amazing...Or use of that engine in something

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/4/2009 2:35:42 AM   
killroyishere

 

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Wasn't Silent Storm though the one that went from WW2 play and turned into some Sci-Fi game with rediculous weaponry from the future?

Also if that is the one then I'd like to see it turn into a huge campaign game like X-Com as X-Com is still my favorite tactical squad game. Defense & Terror are the best ever.

< Message edited by killroyishere -- 10/4/2009 2:36:41 AM >

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/4/2009 2:46:30 AM   
E

 

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I've never bought a CDV product, but always had the impression that they were similiar to Matrix in that they publish smaller house's games.

Does this mean CDV will be selling Matrix products?  Or that Matrix will be selling CDV products? Or both?  And in either case, what would the difference be?

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/4/2009 3:54:43 PM   
gunny

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: killroyishere

Wasn't Silent Storm though the one that went from WW2 play and turned into some Sci-Fi game with rediculous weaponry from the future?
Also if that is the one then I'd like to see it turn into a huge campaign game like X-Com as X-Com is still my favorite tactical squad game. Defense & Terror are the best ever.


Yes, great engine and good game .... up to that point. You are not the first to say it could have been a contender for an X-Com game. Would have brought it back to life and still capture the original ambiance if done right.


quote:

ORIGINAL: E

I've never bought a CDV product, but always had the impression that they were similiar to Matrix in that they publish smaller house's games.
Does this mean CDV will be selling Matrix products? Or that Matrix will be selling CDV products? Or both? And in either case, what would the difference be?


Good Question

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/4/2009 4:52:45 PM   
Hertston


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The announcement just says

quote:

bring multiple acclaimed cdv Software Entertainment titles to the Matrix Games community


Which seems pretty one-way. cdv publish box titles in Europe, so it would have been good to see Matrix games on the shelves but, to be honest, in the UK PC game shelf space is disappearing so fast in favour of consoles you might as well forget it unless you are on of the real big-boys.

I'm still struggling to see what the 'multiple acclaimed' titles of interest to the usual punters here might be. Some of their RTS games were half-decent but most if not all are already 'bargain bucket' elsewhere and, frankly, have been superseded by superior games such as Men of War. Silent Storm was fun, but surely most likley to be interested have already bought it?

< Message edited by Hertston -- 10/4/2009 4:53:45 PM >

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/5/2009 6:29:51 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: E

I've never bought a CDV product, but always had the impression that they were similiar to Matrix in that they publish smaller house's games.


CDV, a German publisher, started out as publishing house in 1989, so they initially published print titles (like "lexicon of world history" etc), maybe with one or another digital title (rather applications, like tax software or similar IIRC). They then published the very first Doom title in 1993 for the German market, and slowly turned into a game publisher.

Most notably, they used to either task small (unknown) developers with the development of games or stumbled over their projects and contracted them to be their exclusive publisher.
So the initial idea was to have low labour costs or to acquire licenses for few bucks, and publish them in the EMEA zone, i guess, pretty much like the company Topware (Earth 2140) - working with Polish devs, which had a similar concept.

Some of the CDV games were pretty successfull:
Sudden Strike (Cyprus) - 1.7 million copies sold
Panzers (Hungary),
Blitzkrieg (Russia),
Cossacks Series (Ukraine) - 6.5 million copies
American Conquest (Ukraine)

They also had a PC games development division (folded now, afaik) which did the programming on Games like Lula, Lula 3D, Wet - The Sexy Empire etc.), a rather useless/low quality collection of games.
Some of the CDV games, even until now, remind me of strange parts of the (Vivendi)Sierra-Dynamix portfilio, where Dynamix had titles like "Bass fishing" and "Deer Hunter", which in fact resulted in Vivendi's decision to fold Dynamix, as they didn't have any useful major title in their pipes after they had released "Tribes 3".

CDV also seems to either distribute or even program Nintendo DS Games now.

All of their games' price tags used to range between low budget and full price games of other companies, means they were notably cheaper than the games of the competition, maybe except for some of the Blitzkrieg series and Men of War (they distribute the version for the German market).
Back in the day, say a major title cost 49 German Marks, a game like Sudden Strike cost 29 - 35 Marks only. Quality-wise, Panzers was the first game that incorporated up-to-date fx/sfx technology and visuals into a CDV game, but i can hardly spot other games. In Europe, CDV rather had a reputation of being a distributor of cheap games, which can be fun, but which don't contain any eye-candy or ground-breaking (new) features.

Although most of their games were pretty stable, Panzers Phase One used to annoy customers as it was flawed and as it carried the StarForce copy-protection - their forums were full of people complaing about bugs in the game, bad pathfinding, and about StarForce, where either SF or the bugs wouldn't even let some users start the game on their systems (reasons: faulty CD-rom query and way too aggressive copy-protection), therefor Panzers Two wasn't a success.

CDV had a deficit of around 22 million Euros in 2008, due to delay of developments that were projected to be released in 2008. After the 2 founders had sold their shares in 2005, CDV had their first deficit around 2005/06 already, because a number of developments had been canceled.
After starting their consolidation in 2007, they announced to focus on distribution exclusively around 2008, and one of ATARI's heads, Christian Gloe, joined them around hmm the same year i think, so this decision may have been made by Gloe already, as ATARI does pretty much the same (on a higher level, tho).

quote:

Does this mean CDV will be selling Matrix products?  Or that Matrix will be selling CDV products? Or both?  And in either case, what would the difference be?


CDV has access to 2500 retail sellers in Germany (this includes chains) and an additional number in Europe. Since Fireglow (Sudden Strike) still maintains the SS series, I could only imagine that either the Panzers engine or the Blitzkrieg engine is supposed to be used by Matrix, in what I would call a secondary or "tertiary exploitation".

This would mean that Matrix could reuse one of these engines (or other older engines formerly tied to CDV), as the original Devs are working on new titles.

Or Matrix tries to get some more exposure to German/European customers, via a German publisher's distribution channels, that's something I proposed like 2 years ago already, though. Maybe Erik heard me, finally .

Their online shop lists quite some sore/old titles in their "new" category, like Handball, Jack Keane adventure for 20 Euros, and the strategy game Crusaders (2008????) for 40 Euros (52.8 US $ ).

They feature Serious Sam HD, Men of War, Cryostasis and Necrovision on their Homepage, well only Men of War (German version) has potential for (national) serious sales, imho, well maybe the die-hard Serious Sam fans will hit their title, too.

Being a pure distributor now, it seems like CDV desperately tries to broaden the product portfolio, though, they really need more titles asap, imho.
I rather think Matrix tries to use their sales channels, though, since they just turned into a "full service" distributor/agency for game developers. So in theory, if CDV manages to come up with enough content (games), they will stick to compete with bigger publishers.

To get back to E's first quote above, see CDV as a Matrix style company, just 10 times bigger - but with proper retail sales channels. They also have subsidiaries in the UK and in the US.
CDV used to have ~150 employees, but they had to fire around 50 in 2003, and another 30 until 2008.

Although some of their staff were really dedicated (like the Project Manager who took care of Panzers, poor bub - he had to deal with the shytty PR/support of the company that provided the SF copy protection, resulting in him linking to the forum of Codemasters - so ppl could get a patch for their Panzers StarForce, just because he could not encourage the SF-company to create a customized patch for Panzers .... embarrassing ), their support has a rather bad rep. During their early years, support was almost non-existant, and ppl knew that if they'd run into troubles, there was no proper support. So if a game wouldn't run on their machines, they used to trash the CDs or wait for a patch to be released on a game mag's CD, as retailers used to refuse to take back games/cases with a broken seal (against the law, but they still try/do that here).

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 10/5/2009 7:54:05 AM >


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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/5/2009 4:07:50 PM   
Greybriar


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Thanks for taking the time to write all that, GoodGuy. Very informative.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/8/2009 8:10:36 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Greybriar

Thanks for taking the time to write all that, GoodGuy. Very informative.


You're welcome.
I'm glad my little essay had been read once, at least.

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/8/2009 9:07:37 PM   
noxious


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You're wrong on many points. Tribes 3 was in no way a Dynamic/Sierra effort, it was done on Unreal engine tech by the folks who did the Freedom Force super hero games, Irrational Games. The only Dynamix link is the game title, period. No one who worked on Tribes, Starsiege or Tribes 2 was involved in Tribes 3.
Dynamix was already folded as a studio when Tribes 3 (actually called Tribes : Vengeance) started its development.

The decision to fold Dynamix had nothing to do with the Bass titles (and friends), since they sold like hotcakes in the US, being some of the all time best sellers for Dynamix. Matter of fact, the fishing/hunting sales allowed Tribes 2 to exist, the last Tribes title worked on by core Dynamix folks, who then went on to found Garage Games.
Having worked with Jeff Tunnell (Dynamix founder) and Garage Games quite a bit, I'll trust my info :)

Cheers !



< Message edited by noxious -- 10/8/2009 9:08:18 PM >


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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/8/2009 11:38:11 PM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: noxious

... Tribes 3 was in no way a Dynamic/Sierra effort, it was done on Unreal engine tech by the folks who did the Freedom Force super hero games, Irrational Games.


I meant to say "Tribes 2" and Sierra (instead of Vivendi), simply 2 typos, which may happen if you type an essay of that length.

quote:

Matter of fact, the fishing/hunting sales allowed Tribes 2 to exist, the last Tribes title worked on by core Dynamix folks, who then went on to found Garage Games.


1) I still stand to my original statement. I just shortened the little anecdote, since my essay was already long enough !

The full version: Dynamix got folded by Sierra in 2001, after the release of the bug-ridden Tribes 2, and one of the reasons was surely that games like bass fishing etc. could not finance expensive productions like Tribes 2, which targeted the US and the EMEA market, especially if these productions were not as successful as desired. Tribes 2 required running and maintenance of a master server and community mail servers (there was an ingame mail feature). Right after the release the ingame forum was the first feature that got disabled, because hundreds of people were complaining about the bugs and incompatibility with their voodoo 3 cards (the market leader back then).
After Dynamix got folded, maintenance wasn't applied for a long time, until Sierra had freed resources, and downtimes increased.
For them, the rather low amount of players conflicted with the expenses for maintenance and master/mail server and further patching, I guess the Dynamix folks were a tick too optimistic there, when they calculated the costs.

Tribes 1 and 2 required an online connection, as they didn't feature single player missions, another obstacle - especially in Southern Europe and Eastern Europe, France, with a general lack of broadband and even ISDN connections at the time. Only Scandinavia (especially Finland and Sweden) was way ahead, back then. Germany, the 2nd biggest software market worldwide (at least 'til 2 yrs ago, dunno actual numbers), didn't push ADSL/broadband before 2001/2002, so most people had to use either ISDN or 56k modems, cable was just available in parts of major cities and pretty expensive.

Bass fishing, deer hunter and other games weren't even released in Europe, just a few stores imported them and sold them for 70-90 USD over here - same with Starsiege:Tribes.
They may have delivered sufficient revenue to finance rather small (but progressive) productions like Starsiege:Tribes (Tribes 1), but they were not successful outside the US, just like quite some Dynamix titles, and they could not cover expensive productions.

2) Tribes:Vengeance (or Tribes 3) was a Sierra effort, Irrational Games rather did a contract job, just like with SWAT 4, another Sierra franchise, even though - officially - Irrational licensed both franchises. One of the main producers, a guy from the Tribes community who got hired and put in the producer team, was part of the feeble rest sitting in the Sierra offices. He directed the game design...

Both parties - Irrational Games and the rest of Sierra (payed by Vivendi) - pretty much killed both franchises, Swat and Tribes, with their sore efforts. The Tribes physics couldn't be satisfactorily recreated with the Unreal engine, Swat 4 - using the same engine - was also bug-ridden, played sluggish and the MP was prone to cheating.
Hence the community rejected the multiplayer in both games, while each game's Single Player may have created one or another sales (i doubt that the sales did more than cover the costs, if at all).
Vivendi refused to publish a first patch for Tribes 3, and also refused to publish an expansion pack for SWAT 4, although both were completed by Irrational Games. Irrational Games changed its name by the way, one tends to think that they try to put those big failures under the carpet.

3) Vivendi then closed down the last Sierra offices, as Sierra basically had just held a few programmers since 1999/2000, most had been fired, the main work force consisted of producers and office clerks. Literally, the Tribes producer and PR guy (Mahnken/Rodberg) were pretty much the last guys who turned off the lights at Sierra Bellevue in 2004 (the last Sierra office where 100 ppl lost their jobs), maybe except for a few paper pushers.

I talked to Chris Mahnken and Alex Rodberg back then, as I was involved in the Tribes community, so I do trust my info.


quote:

The only Dynamix link is the game title, period. No one who worked on Tribes, Starsiege or Tribes 2 was involved in Tribes 3.


Did I say that? But it was still a Sierra effort. T3 wouldn't have materialized without Sierra's and especially Mahnken's efforts.

quote:

The decision to fold Dynamix had nothing to do with the Bass titles (and friends), since they sold like hotcakes in the US, being some of the all time best sellers for Dynamix.


Basically, they got fired.
Sierra had laid off 15% of Dynamix' programmers in 1999 already (Tribes 1 had been released in December 1998), you usually don't do that to a subsidiary if it has a strong line-up (of games) and if successful titles keep flowing. Games like Tribes 1 were way ahead of their time, but widely unsuccessful.
Also, not surprising, other Sierra companies remained in business until 2004.

The closure of Dynamix in 2001 happened due to Sierra's cost-cutting policy, so if Dynamix would have featured sufficient profitability, Sierra wouldn't have closed that sub-division. As a matter of fact, Sierra underwent the very same measures in 2004 - performed by Vivendi, as Sierra had turned into an unprofitable company.

The Dynamix core didn't went off to found Garage Games because they just wanted to leave Sierra/Dynamix, but because they needed new jobs.

So... what's Jeff Tunnell's take on this?

quote:

You're wrong on many points.


Ok, so what are the other "errors" besides me typing T3 instead of T2 and trying to avoid another essay?

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 10/9/2009 12:47:30 AM >


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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/9/2009 12:46:00 AM   
noxious


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I was just talking about the Vivendi/Sierra/Dynamic bit, the rest of your "essay" is indeed very interesting, knowledgeable and all that.
Sorry if that wasn't clearer.
Also, Change many for few, so sorry, hehe

Errors : so the typo is one, the bit about the hunting/fishing games being the demise of Dynamix, with the (perceived) implication they were unprofitable titles is the major one. 

Unpalatable to the hardcore or typical gamer, yes.
Unprofitable, absolutely not : cheap titles tend to make money a lot more easily (and much faster to reach the profitability point) than AAA titles.
Mix that with hunting and fishing in the North Am market, and you have a winner.

If they really closed Dynamix because of lack luster titles that were making a profit, then the mistake is theirs.
To make money in games, you can't bank on making the next "big global thing" : you concentrate on niche and local markets, casual gaming and smaller, cheaper titles. If you're putting all your eggs in the AAA market, you're gambling, and we know the house always wins :)

How much money PopCap was making while Sierra was floundering ?

The poor shipping quality of Tribes II (before the GG patches) was mostly a Sierra management issue, who imposed unrealistic deadlines on the whole project, something still too common in the industry.

In closing, Sierra kept a lot of skeleton crews till 2004, not really a good bar : Vivendi made a huge mistake in buying a company that didn't even have full control of Half Life 2 :)

Cheers !



< Message edited by noxious -- 10/9/2009 1:36:12 AM >


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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/9/2009 1:11:13 AM   
GoodGuy

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: noxious

....the bit about the hunting/fishing games being the demise of Dynamix, with the (perceived) implication they were unprofitable titles is the major one. 


Maybe a question of how to interprete the word unprofitable.
In my books, such titles (and the low number of these Dynamix titles) don't finance 2-3 years development for an AAA title.

The output from 1998 to 2001

1998:

3-D Ultra NASCAR Pinball
Starsiege
Starsiege: Tribes
Cyberstorm 2: Corporate Wars
Pro Pilot '99
Red Baron 3-D
Field & Stream: Trophy Bass 3D

1999:
Curse You! Red Baron
RC Racers II

2000:
3D Ultra Lionel Traintown Deluxe

2001:
Tribes 2
The Incredible Machine: Even More Contraptions (Puzzle)
......


Starsiege didn't have a chance against the MechWarrior series. Cyberstorm was a failure with an average rating of 55% in game mags. Dunno 'bout RedBaron 3D (it was loved by the RedBaron community), but probably another niche product. I wouldn't be surprised if Traintown and Pinball created some sales, but the only game sticking out is TrophyBass 3D, which probably created good sales in the US. Outpost 2 got an average of 62% only, some mags gave it a rating of less than 50.
Is that a portfolio with substance?

quote:

If they really closed Dynamix because of lack of lack luster titles that were making a profit, then the mistake is theirs.

I tend to think that in 2001 Dynamix was way past its period with successful titles.

quote:

To make money in games, you can't bank on making the next "big global thing" : you concentrate on niche and local markets, casual gaming and smaller, cheaper titles. If you're putting all your eggs in the AAA market, you're gambling, and we know the house always wins :)

I rather think they had turned to focus on unusual and progressive (eg. Tribes) yet commercially unsuccessful concepts. They would have needed a parent company with visions (and proper war chest).

quote:

The poor shipping quality of Tribes II (before the GG patches) was mostly a Sierra management issue, who imposed unrealistic deadlines on the whole project, something still too common in the industry.


I agree that publishers tend to be pushy. On the other hand, I could understand their POV if they wanna see results after 2.5 years development time for a title that doesn't even feature a single player.
Tribes 1 wasn't rushed out, but it still contained major bugs, and it took a few patches to get it straight. The devs of Tribes 2, in turn, ignored the fact that the majority of ppl were still using Voodoo cards, they still didn't support those cards. I was Beta tester back then and could hardly play it with my voodoo card, just like the other voodoo owners, so the devs had to rely on feedback from testers using the first GeForce cards. I wouldn't solely blame Sierra for the state of the game.

Of course, I imagine that your take may resemble Tunnell's take on the story.

Did you ever play Tribes? You sound like you could have played it. :D

< Message edited by GoodGuy -- 10/9/2009 2:12:40 AM >


_____________________________

"Aw Nuts"
General Anthony McAuliffe
December 22nd, 1944
Bastogne

---
"I've always felt that the AA (Alied Assault engine) had the potential to be [....] big."
Tim Stone
8th of August, 2006

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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/9/2009 2:53:25 AM   
V22 Osprey


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I would *really* like to see the next game in the American Conquest series.It was sad Divided Nation didn't get the attention it deserved, as that was a really good game.Massive battles, I never felt the battles were too small or too short. [cough]Empire Total War[/cough]

Maybe a new expansion to Divided Nation covering the Mexican American War, and a new a game about the US' expansion westward after the Civil War using something similar to the Cossacks II engine.

EDIT:Woohoo! Over 1,000 posts! 5 stars!

< Message edited by V22 Osprey -- 10/9/2009 2:54:51 AM >


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RE: Matrix Games partners cdv - 10/9/2009 5:32:09 AM   
sabre1


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Kids these days...

Congrats Osprey

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