Tuesday 23 February 2021

CARRIER COMMAND 2 is surprisingly a thing happening soon

In surprising news - moreso because I completely missed it when it broke in December - a direct sequel to the classic 1988 strategy game Carrier Command is in development by the reconstituted MicroProse for a surprisingly imminent release date.

The original Carrier Command was hugely ahead of its time. An open-world 3D strategy game set in the 22nd Century in a vast archipelago of newly-formed islands, the game saw two robotic carriers dispatched into the archipelago to set up resource-gathering operations and scientific exploration. Unfortunately, one of the two carriers was taken over by a terrorist organisation planning to use the resources for their own ends. The player had to take command of the other carrier, gather resources and conduct combat operations against the enemy. The game was an early example of the real-time strategy genre but also incorporated elements of air and land warfare simulation (the carrier could deploy both aircraft and amphibious tanks), as well as economic simulation. By 1988's standards the game was hugely advanced and it won critical acclaim. It originated on the Amiga and Atari ST platforms (and was something of a selling point for the 16-bit generation of home computers) before being ported to PC, Amstrad, Spectrum, Commodore 64 and the Apple Mac.

The game inspired the 2001 cult classic, Hostile Waters (aka Antaeus Rising in the USA), although that was a linear, mission-based game rather than being set in an open world. In 2012 the game had a remake by Bohemia Interactive, named Carrier Command: Gaea Mission, which relocated the action to an alien planet. The game had a fairly mediocre reception, with criticism of the story, AI and pathfinding.

Carrier Command 2 features much of the same gameplay and structure of the 1988 original game, with somewhat retro-stylised graphics. The game will be controlled by an interface set on the bridge of the carrier, from which the player can access information ranging from satellite maps to logistics and supply chains, vehicle manufacture and weapons loadout. They can also plot the course of the carrier and fire weapons such as howitzers and cruiser missiles.

MicroProse, founded by Bill Stealey and Sid Meier, is a name from the golden age of strategy games in the 1980s and 1990s, during which time it publisher games including Civilization and Civilization II from Sid Meier; F-15 Strike Eagle, Geoff Crammond's four Formula One Grand Prix games, Master of Orion, Midwinter, Railraod Tycoon and UFO: Enemy Unknown (better-known these days under its alternate title, X-COM: UFO Defense). The MicroProse name was retired in 2002 by new owners Infogrames. Some of the old MicroProse team followed Meier when he left in the late 1990s to found Firaxis Games, who have since published the Civilization and XCOM revival series.

In 2019, the MicroProse name was revived by former Bohemia Interactive developer David Lagettie (Bill Stealey is on board as an advisor), who is planning to use the name to bring back a number of older IPs as well as new games with a military simulation bent. Other games in development by the publisher include Sea Power, Task Force AdmiralSecond Front, Regiments and Highfleet. Carrier Command 2 is being developed by Geometa Studios and appears to be their first game.

Carrier Command 2 is currently scheduled for release in Q2 2021 (April-June) and Geometa are currently giving in-depth updates on the game's Steam page.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I only threw the oversized box from the Atari ST version away recently. Great game back in the day. Looking forward to this :)