What is Master of Orion, and why does the revival of this beloved series matter so much?
Originally revealed and released in 1993, Master of Orion is a 4X science-fiction computer strategy game. This original title spawned an additional two sequels, with the final game releasing in 2003. Now, after over 10 years in the vault, Wargaming picked up the rights, and is ready to revive the series for old and new fans alike. So why is this new release such a big deal? Well, not only is Wargaming looking to revive one of the most treasured strategy game series of all time, they’re also looking to revive the very game that coined the 4X moniker of explore, expand, exploit, exterminate.
This in and of itself is a difficult task to undertake. Not only do the developers have to work hard to appease fans of the old games, they also have to offer up enough new content to bring in new fans as well. That makes Wargaming’s job twice as difficult. Not only has a lot changed since the last Master of Orion hit store shelves, but a lot of other 4X games have introduced a complexity that pushes new fans of the genre out, forcing them to learn overly complex systems just to enjoy the first few hours of the game. This is where Master of Orion looks to differentiate itself from the pack.
Instead of taking the usual route that 4X lovers have come to expect, Wargaming chose to ride the delicate line between appeasing old fans, and drawing in new ones. It’s a delicate balancing act that caused a bit of tension of the ranks. However, it also opened the door for Master of Orion to be the first step that many users take into this genre, thereby widening its chance of success quite effectively. While the new game still holds on to some of the things that made people love Master of Orion and Master of Orion 2, the new game takes things in a much different direction, offering up a simple and streamlined interface that life-long fans can easily dive beneath to find more complexity and depth.
Reboots and remasters have become a pretty common thing in our day and age. That said, Master of Orion is no simple reboot, and it surely isn’t just a pretty reskin with some high-profile voice actors thrown in. Wargaming devoted a lot of time, sweat, and heart into this project, and it shows with every turn we’ve spent in the game. This is a complete revival of the series, offering up new and old features for fans of both categories. It is a bridge that has been built to close a gap between what fans have come to expect and what fans know and love about this genre of games.
Master of Orion is a shining light in the dark fog that surrounds those who are new to the strategy game genre. It is a simple, yet complex experience that begs for players to dive deeper into what it is, while also allowing them to slide along the surface, inhibited by overly complex systems. It’s the perfect entry point for those are looking to get into the genre, yet it offers enough content and complexity to draw in those who have spent countless hours exploring, expanding, exploiting, and exterminating.
With a strong after-release plan, which we covered in our previous article about the game, Master of Orion is set to be a perfect example of how the genre has evolved since its birth in the early years of PC gaming, as well as how it will keep evolving in the years to come.