Skip to main content

Stormgate is the StarCraft 3 you’ve been waiting for

Celestial units in Stormgate.
Frost Giant Studios
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

Starcraft was once the king of the real-time strategy (RTS) genre, but as Activision Blizzard has made a move away from that genre and Starcraft as a whole, a massive vacuum has been left if you don’t enjoy multiplayer online battle arenas like League of Legends. That’s where Stormgate comes in.

Made by former Blizzard developers at Frost Giant Studios, Stormgate is going for the RTS throne by delivering a worthy successor to Starcraft 2 and an RTS that isn’t afraid to experiment with new ideas and be much more accessible to novice players. After getting a look at the most recent playtest build of Stormgate and getting a guided demo from its developers and professional RTS players, I think Stormgate has a good chance of becoming a hit.

A true RTS

If you’re even a little bit familiar with RTS games, the core gameplay loop of Stormgate will be instantly recognizable to you: gather enough resources to create buildings and units so you can ultimately create the better army and defeat your opponent. Players will be able to do that across single-player campaigns that evolve over time, a co-op mode, and multiplayer matches. When demoing the game, I played a 1v1 multiplayer match to get a feel for what makes Stormgate stand out.

As someone who occasionally dabbles in RTS games like Starcraft 2, Age of Empires 2, and Pikmin, but isn’t into it hardcore, I found Stormgate to be approachable and really fun. Frost Giant recognizes that the core gameplay loop of RTS games, where you watch your army and power grow over time, is really satisfying, so it didn’t mess with it that much.

The Vanguard fight in Stormgate.
Frost Giant Studios

Instead, its focus clearly was on ensuring Stormgate was approachable and that the playable factions were all interesting in unique ways. Rather than staying strictly sci-fi like Starcraft, only the Vanguard faction fits that look exactly. The aggressive Infernals faction feels right out of Diablo, while the newly revealed Celestials look and play differently than any faction I’ve seen in an RTS before. Celestials essentially have the ability to move their buildings around like they are units, which can open up some clever strategic opportunities for smart players.

These factions will even feature Hero units with special abilities in certain game modes. For RTS purists who don’t like the idea of that, Stormgate’s 1v1 mode won’t feature them. I’ll likely need to spend a lot more time with the game before I find which faction suits my playstyle the best, but they all felt intuitive and gratifying to play, which is a good sign.

Not simplified, but more intuitive

If you’re well-versed in RTS games, everything I’ve discussed so far is probably more than enough to let you make an informed decision about whether or not you want to play Stormgate. For those less familiar with the genre, the prospects of getting into a new RTS might seem extremely daunting. Thankfully, my playtime with Stormgate indicates that it will be very approachable. It doesn’t do this by removing features or shortening game length; instead, it accomplishes this through user interface improvements and an optional BuddyBot gameplay system.

There are keyboard shortcuts to activate every single thing during a match, and that’s all clearly laid out in Stormgate’s UI. Whether I was building a unit or purchasing an upgrade, it was always extremely clear what I was doing within the game’s menus. For players who find learning those shortcuts to be all-consuming initially, a BuddyBot system is here to help. The BuddyBot has a lot of settings that can be toggled and can do things like build units and buildings for players automatically.

Gameplay from Stormgate.
The UI of Stormgate, which you can see in this screenshot, is more readable than most RTS games. Frost Giant Studios

Personally, I am someone who tends to play more aggressively and wants to follow the action more than worry about constantly checking on my bases to ensure things are flowing smoothly. In a match I played with BuddyBot, I was able to just focus on that without having to worry about falling behind in my resource-gathering and base-building. These steppingstones to approachability are ultimately what I think will be key to Stormgate’s success. Frost Giant hasn’t dumbed the RTS genre down for players — it just made Stormgate more intuitive to play.

It’s a full-fledged RTS, but one that’s also designed so new players can learn the ropes with training wheels before they memorize the best strategies to success. Based on the opinions of the professional RTS players I tried Stormgate with, more hardcore RTS players seem to be enjoying the core gameplay and creative factions, too. It’s still unclear which game will take the crown as spiritual Starcraft successor in lieu of a Starcraft 3 in the RTS space right now, but if I was a betting man, I’d put my money on Stormgate.

Editors' Recommendations

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
Tales of the Shire is very serious about second breakfast
A hobbit chops food in Tales of the Shire.

There have been plenty of Lord of the Rings video games created over the past two decades. Many of those focus on epic fantasy action, retelling the story of the original trilogy or at least playing around in its surrounding events (with mixed results). While that makes for a fun literary fantasy come to life, the franchise has always left a market untapped. Fighting is fun, but what about players who simply want to live out a quiet hobbit life?

Tales of the Shire: A The Lord of the Rings Game is set to deliver that fantasy. Rather than focusing on bloody battles against orcs, it's a cozy life sim that lets players enjoy a leisurely life in a hobbit hole. It’s a dream come true in its own right. I got to see a bit of how that works at Summer Game Fest, where I tried out a sunny, 30-minute demo. While it didn’t give me a full sense of its life simulator elements, I at least learned one important thing: Tales of the Shire is as serious about cooking as its hobbits are.

Read more
Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom: release date, trailers, gameplay, and more
Key art for The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom.

Every new Zelda game feels like an event, and yet Nintendo managed to keep a new mainline entry hidden almost all the way up until release. The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom is not on the size and scale as the 3D entries like Breath of the Wild or Tears of the Kingdom -- it's actually the long-awaited continuation of Zelda's 2D titles. The last game we got in this style was 2019's Link's Awakening, which was a remake of the 1993 Game Boy title.

The Legend of Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom caught the attention of everyone at the June Nintendo Direct where it was announced for many reasons, chief among them being Zelda taking on the starring role instead of Link. The perspective and style might look familiar, but there's a lot to learn about Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom before you jump back into Hyrule.
Release date
Zelda: Echoes of Wisdom will be released on September 26, 2024.

Read more
These are the 10 best gaming monitors of 2024
Alienware ultrawide OLED on a desk.

A good monitor is essential for gaming due to its significant impact on the overall experience. There are a ton of options if you are on the hunt for one of the best gaming monitors, but for us, Alienware's 34 QD-OLED still takes the cake in 2024. It's not the display for everyone, though, and after reviewing dozens of the top gaming monitors, we've settled on a list of displays that offer great gaming performance for any budget or purpose.

We're focused specifically on gaming monitors here, which come with higher refresh rates and adaptive sync features like G-Sync and FreeSync. If you're looking for an all-around display, make sure to browse our list of the best monitors.

Read more