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Offworld Trading Company Announced

Stardock announces Offworld Trading Company, an economics-based real-time strategy game set on Mars, where "the marketplace is the battlefield," and "the free market reigns, money is everything, and even the air you breathe is for sale" (Cohaagen!!). Loosely based on M.U.L.E. and its offspring (mule jokes!), this will be the flagship release from Mohawk Games, the new studio from Civilization IV & III designer Soren Johnson. The Offworld Trading Company website is online, and already accepting preorders of a Founder's Edition and a Founder's Elite Edition, with the latter offering the chance to play a prototype this fall even before it's released for Early Access. The Mohawk Games blog also has an update from Johnson introducing the game. Here's part of the announcement:

Offworld Trading Company’s quick and intensely competitive matches pit up to 8 players against each other on randomly generated maps. Players must quickly determine the best path toward building a self-sufficient colony that can extract the abundant Martian resources while maintaining profitability – and surviving the “talents” of shady black-market characters who are all too happy to raid any player’s shipments or smuggle a paralyzing EMP device into any colony for the right price.

Mohawk Games’ studio boss Soren Johnson, best known as the lead designer of Civilization IV, is committed to an early and transparent community-driven design process, “We want to get people in as early as possible. Offworld Trading Company is unlike any other RTS out there, and we’re working to make sure our community feels that it’s fun, memorable and something special. This is the game I’ve always wanted to make.”

Unlike traditional RTS games, there are no military units and what you need to win can change at a moment’s notice because on Mars, there are no rules in the free market. None of the 13 resources is more powerful than any other, and everything is for sale. Players gain cash by selling excess resources like carbon, fuel, and silicon on the open market, and spend it buying the resources they’re short on. Prices fluctuate in real time forcing players to adapt their strategy; dump a bunch of iron on the market and its price will crater, making other players’ stockpiles worth much less in the near term.

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