We are pleased to confirm that Stronghold Crusader 2 will feature achievements, voice chat, cloud saving, Steam Workshop support, game invites and gameplay stats. However in order to include all these features in the game, either at launch or through post-release updates, it will need to be run through Steam. Read on to find out more.
As an independent developer our resources are limited. For the majority of the Crusader 2 project we have had two full-time programmers and two artists working on the game, with other team members pitching in to help out when not working on Stronghold Kingdoms. That said we still want Crusader 2 to have all the cool and convenient features players expect from a modern RTS and a true sequel to the original Stronghold Crusader. We can handle much of the game just fine on our own, so the game’s skirmish mode, AI, single-player campaigns and other core gameplay systems such as co-op have been tailor made by Firefly. However secondary features like achievements, game invites and gameplay stats will be powered through Steam, where the majority of our players come from.
Our primary reason for making Crusader 2 exclusive to Steam is fairly simple then. The time required to create our own bespoke tools and systems for such features could end up delaying the game for the wrong reasons, which nobody wants, without necessarily providing better functionality. It sounds clichéd but this is win-win, we get to include the features fans of the genre expect without delaying the game or taking our focus away from core gameplay features.
To sum things up here’s a quick run down of the benefits Steam exclusivity for both players and developers:
Release Date – By distributing Stronghold Crusader 2 through Steam we will still be able to release the game in 2014.
Extra Features – Achievements, voice chat, cloud saving, Steam Workshop support, game invites, gameplay stats and other feaures like trading cards can be added to Crusader 2 at launch or through post-release updates.
Stable Experience – By distributing Crusader 2 through a single platform you will know exactly where to go to get the latest version. We can focus all our resources on maintaining and testing this single build of the game, resulting in a more stable experience for all players.
Physical Box – Although Crusader 2 will be run through Steam this does not mean the game will be a digital-only release. We are still planning to release a physical boxed game at launch, alongside our digital version.
Focus – By using Steam to power the above features we can focus on the game, which is by far the most important thing.
Piracy – By making Crusader 2 exclusive to Steam we can ensure, as much as possible, that each player has legally bought their copy of the game. We have a great relationship with retailers like GOG, who specialise in DRM-free versions of our games, but in order to ship Crusader 2 on-time we have made the decision to release it on Steam.
Please Note: It will still be possible to run the Steam client in offline mode and play Crusader 2 without being connected to the internet. I mean, who would force players to be online when playing a strategy sim? That would be crazy!
It’s Steam! – We have a fantastic relationship with Steam, which means that releasing the game, patches, updates and both free and paid for DLC is a smooth and transparent process. A lack of any headaches in this department means less delays, bugs and irksome tech issues.
Hopefully this clears up any questions you might have about Steam exclusivity and what that means for Stronghold Crusader 2. If there’s anything we’ve missed we are as always available on Twitter, Facebook and in the forums.