"The worry I have with this game is that even if it is great, that it will die away because the rts/fps format seems to have such a limited audience."
I think the primary problem behind the majority of RTS/FPS games' market failures are that the games are just not that fun to play, as they are often marred by some screwy "unique, interesting, fresh" idea that's "never been done before." RTS/FPS hybrid people seem obsessed with breaking new ground.... they do break new ground, while breaking the game.
In Natural Selection, the Marine experience is one of the least exciting FPS experiences you can find in the FPS industry. Seriously, sit back and compare it to every other FPS game you've played. You find more in common with a "on rails shooter", like a slow plodding tank, more than any typical FPS shooter. Then there's the MASSIVE reliance on good commanders, which effectively makes sure the game is totally unenjoyable 90% of the time, for 50% of the server's players (all marines), unless in some sort of hardcore clan match.
In Allegiance, a freakish reliance on human players to fill the ranks of the game seriously limits this game's "24/7" playability. When i was beta testing Allegiance years ago, I could see that there'd be no chance in hell it'd succeed as a pay-to-play model. It failed beyond my predictions. The physics model is just great if you're trying to bring people a new experience. But guess what, not a single space sim that has used that kind of physics model has succeeded, market-wise, yet. I-War 1 and 2, anyone? Not exactly household names. But of course, critically praised... Should've gone the standard X-wing/Freespace route.
Then there's the pod respawn system. Oh brother. Shoulda gone the Airwarrior route and forced respawning players to spawn at the next sector over, or risk taking off in a low-quality ship.
Other things Allegiance should NOT have followed from Airwarrior/Warbirds.... forcing people to man turrets. Should have been AI controlled. Hell, all bombers should be AI-controlled, human optional, gunners at any time. AI should be everywhere in Allegiance, controlling dozens of weak mini ships, bringing about truly big battles regardless of player count. There should be at least 2-6 capital ships throughout the game at all times. Bombers flying all over the place.
Allegiance didn't deserve to succeed. (check it out for free at www.freeallegiance.org)
Battlezone 1, never played. Battlezone 2, great game, made the BattleStrat MOD for it. Too bad BZ2's boxed gameplay was EXTREMELY slow and small-scale (still fun, albeit in small quantities). More like a TACTICAL game than a strategy game. The graphical effects were far too modest. The "break new ground" idea of a resource model was a joke (where # of resource income towers only determines MAXIMUM resource count, not SPEED of income). 70% of the units had no utility whatsoever. Human players had an immense ability to butcher entire squads of AI units. It's too bad Activision didn't support this game with patches and fixes up the wazoo, could've made it into a timeless classic.... especially since it was so moddable. Still, boxed BZ2 deserved to fail.. selling for $5 a month after a retail (part of a 6 game CD value package!)
I'm in the Savage Beta too, and it's fun. I don't think it'll become a smash hit, as there isn't much emphasis on guns, and the hand-to-hand combat isn't RPG-ish enough to tap into that crowd. But from what i can tell, it deserves to do better than every other FPS/RTS hybrid to date.