I’ve been thinking about Planitia lately. And every time I do, the theme music to Sacrifice starts playing in my head.
Sacrifice was a game released by Shiny back in 2000. It was notable for several things.
First off, it was gorgeous. See?
When I first saw screenshots of World of Warcraft my first thought was, “Wow, that almost looks as good as Sacrifice.”
Second, it had fantastic voice acting. Shiny was a company that understood that good voice acting is cheap compared to how much better it makes your game.
And finally, it was notable for being completely unplayable, which is why it failed in the marketplace.
Okay, I’m being slightly unfair with that last one. But Sacrifice had a thoroughly odd design; it was effectively a real-time strategy game and a third-person shooter game at the same time, with an interface that wasn’t suited for either genre. Imagine playing Warcraft III while having to look over the shoulder of your hero at all times and you’ll get a feeling for what playing Sacrifice was like. The clumsy interface combined with a rather steep difficulty curve (the last level is famously difficult) and you get a game that entices players in, but can’t keep them. I came damn close to buying Sacrifice based on the demo but was saved when a friend of mine picked it up, got frustrated with it and then let me borrow it. Which prevented me from buying it.
But the ideas behind Sacrifice were fascinating, and I certainly have never forgotten the game. Those ideas include:
* A world made of islands floating in an etherial void
* A bickering, petty pantheon of gods
* Very obvious display of the power of the gods – there are no atheists in the world of Sacrifice
* A set of standard unit types – scout, brawler, archer, flyer, etc – of which each god has their own unique type
If I were going to try to “fix” Sacrifice, I’d probably pull it back into a more normal real-time strategy mode. I might still have hero characters, but I certainly would not force players to control the game through that one character. Not sure yet if I’d require buildings and resource management, or if I’d keep the game simpler and more free-form.
This will require more thought, but at least I’m back to thinking about it.
“Very obvious display of the power of the gods – there are no atheists in the world of Sacrifice”
..but would that make it a religion? There’s no serious “Church of Gravity” on Earth that I know of (apart from this joke http://www.churchofgravity.org/), yet it’s a force that we all pretty much believe in, even though people still seem to be arguing about what it exactly is.. =)
Hmmm…it’s never made clear if the gods of Sacrifice require the worship of their followers to sustain them. Though I kind of doubt it. Of course, the gods were no longer able to enter Diallia because there was no one there who believed in the gods any more, so there is definitely some sort of relationship.
“Religion” in sacrifice doesn’t mean BELIEVING in the gods, but rather choosing one to devote yourself to.
I am a devotee of Gravity (oooohm) My way of showing that devotion is to eat pizza, as it increases my mass … ok, I thought that I could make a joke in there but it didn’t quite work out as funny as it seemed in my head 🙂
I’d stay away from resource management, but that’s probably because I hate it. I don’t like an economy in my battle games, at least, I don’t like the idea of harvesting and maintaining a supply line when all I really want is to march armies on my enemies.
But I like where you’re going with this. It sounds kind of like Heroes of Might and Magic.
[…] And then there’s the fact that Populous: The Beginning isn’t a Populous game. Not by a long shot. In Populous you play a god. In P:TB you play a shaman who wishes to become a god and can only do so by destroying all the other shaman god-candidates that stand in her way. P:TB’s gameplay is much closer to a traditional real-time strategy game than to a Populous game. In fact, the game it most closely resembles is not Populous, but Sacrifice. […]
Many years later many are still playing Sacrifice!
I think the UI is fine but some thing I would like is for it to zoom in as first person.
sometime I dont like the angle of view but just a minor problem
I’ve played through the entirety of Sacrifice 2 times and I just love the 3rd person perspective. It was so fantastic actually being immersed into the world and having to run to the aid of some node when it was attacked.
I had my entire army with me most of the time, which I think was the way the game intended it to be like.
Making it an overhead view game would have completely destroyed this gem for me =)
Ah, memories. There was this dragon lady in one of the first maps (depending which gods you chose) that, if you chose the right answers, followed you until the end of the game (if she didn’t die). Amongst all my permanent followers, it was my chosen goal to never let her die (because I just love dragons!) and I managed to do it on both play-throughs. It really was a fun game for me!
Interesting; I follow Planitia (and your blog in general) — and was wondering if you had played Sacrifice… I guess you have 🙂
I personally found it a pleasure to play (I played it through with each God, etc)… I found the resource management (or lack thereof) to be a great — I think the thing that ruined Black & White for me was the constant micro-management — I’m a God, why should I build your village for you… I think this is part what is so appealing about about Populous/Planitia (I would say PowerMonger, but I missed the original, and although I bought it a few months back I haven’t been able to get into it).
There was a really interesting strategic element in that it was zero sum (souls/manaliths)… hasting Sac Doctor’s helped too 🙂
Oh, and, wow… I had no idea about the Fungus/Conway thing!