Ara: History Untold Looks to Evolve the 4X Genre


Ara History Untold

By: Jason Siu


2 min read

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Ara: History Untold is looking to evolve the genre of historical grand strategy

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The developers at Oxide Games provided an in-depth look at their upcoming grand strategy game, Ara: History Untold. With the aim of evolving the historical grand strategy genre, Ara: History Untold’s development began by pinpointing key aspects of the genre that the team found frustrating and areas they believed could be improved. One aspect the team settled on is optimal strategy: “Something that plagues the genre space is that once you’ve kind of figured out how to win or how the game works, you’ve mastered it,” explained Oxide Games Design Director Michelle Menard. “You stop playing because you solved the problem; it was a binary problem because one of the key drivers of something like a tech tree is a static, solvable problem.”

With this in mind, Ara: History Untold is being designed to add more unpredictability into the genre, encouraging players to truly test their adaptability and reconsider their strategies. The result is Ara’s unique technology system that includes some elements of randomness by considering a player’s current circumstances. Many of the members of Oxide Games had previously worked together on Civilization games and other titles, so they’re bringing a lot of experience to the genre.

Another area of innovation for Ara is in how it values a player’s time. We all know grand strategy games tend to be quite lengthy, so Ara is using what it calls an Act system to provide players with a natural stopping point. These Acts are broken into three phases, and only the players who have achieved enough Prestige by a set determined turn are allowed to advance to the next Act. Remaining players, potentially including you, are then cast off the board. “It sucks so hard to play a 20-hour game to realize that, by the end of it, you lost at hour two,” said Menard. “So, it’s a kindness to players. Let them build, lose early, and then let them restart anyway. So: fail often, fail early, learn from that, and then play further because you know you need to learn from your failure to play these games. Nothing wrong with that, but let the player know they already lost and let them actually lose.”

You can learn more about Ara: History Untold in this comprehensive blog post. The game is slated to launch in fall for Windows PC and will be available day one with PC Game Pass.

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With over 20 years of online publishing experience, Jason Siu is currently the Content Director at VerticalScope and used to spend most of his time writing about cars. His work can be seen on websites such as AutoGuide, EV Pulse, FlatSixes, Tire Authority, and more. As the former co-founder of and West Coast Editor of Modified Magazine, he has also authored two books for CarTech Books. In his spare time, he founded FullCleared to indulge in his passion for writing about games. Although Jason is a variety gamer, he generally prefers RPGs.

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