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PAX 2009: Elemental: War of Magic impressions

Developer/publisher Stardock's next major game is Elemental: War of Magic, their fantasy-themed title that combines RPG with the turn-based strategy game that you might expect in a Civilization game. At PAX 2009 this weekend. One of the big things Stardock CEO Brad Wardell mentioned at one of his presentations is that they are designing Elemental to run on close to any PC you can think of. "When the game comes out you will be able to play it on a netbook," he said at one point, "And I don't mean a good netbook. I mean a crappy netbook."

Wardell was trying to be a little funny with those remarks but in truth the game's design lends itself to running on a PC with low system requirements. One of the reasons is that you can switch from a full 3D map to a flat 2D overhead map and still play the game. Another reason is the game's illustrative art style that doesn't have to rely on high polygon counts for its characters and environments.

Check out more from the game after the jump:
Your character is basically a very powerful magic user who wants to rule the land. There are several ways he can do this. One is by keeping his power inside him and having that power grow so he can use more and more powerful spells. We got an example of that in our demo where the character walked over to a town filled with people and military units. However since he horded his magical power all he had to do was create a powerful spell to wipe them all out. In this case he created a volcano that swallowed the entire town, people and all. Ouch.

Of course you don't have to expend your magical powers in this way. You can also use your power to create your own town and armies. You can actually go down and customize your own units your way in the game. Ultimately your goal is to go up against other magic users like yourself and take them down via spells, armies or a combo of both. There's even a complex system of families in Elemental that will allow you to link them via marriage in order to gain new alliances, special abilities and more.

The game will have lots of editor and mod support out of the box and we suspect there will be lots of Lord of the Rings adaptationsmade for Elemental. The truth, however, is that the game is looking like it will have a vast and deep storyline on its own (indeed Wardell is hinting that a novel based on the game's storyline could be released around the time the game comes out). The game is slated to go into its first beta test soon and its full release is due out in spring 2010.

Big Download's Penny Arcade Expo 2009 coverage is sponsored by:

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