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Threes dev wants to make strategy games less sadomasochistic

Close Castles, the next game from Threes! creator Asher Vollmer, will attempt to fix the problems of real-time strategy games when it launches in 2015, the developer wrote on the PlayStation Blog.

RTS games, Vollmer explains, have some shortcomings. More specifically, they're "miserable pain engines designed to give players the worst possible experience."

"They're kind of fun (though deeply stressful) right up until the first interaction with another player and then it's all downhill for the next forty-or-so minutes," Vollmer wrote. "You play until someone gives up. They are lonely exercises in sadomasochism."

Close Castles will feature quick games, averaging around three minute each, that rely on simple controls; players navigate the field with a cursor and build structures with a button press. The goal is to build up your kingdom while tearing down the enemy's.

"The game is built for local multiplayer, so there's no hidden information," Vollmer wrote. "This means that the game feels a lot more like a fighting game at higher levels. It becomes about reading your opponent and turning the tiny cracks in their strategy into a crumbling pile of failure / rubble. This game is all about destroying buildings, so there's a lot of rubble in it."

Close Castles will be playable at PlayStation Experience taking place in Las Vegas this month. The game "will be coming to consoles," including the PlayStation 4.

"I made Threes because I love small, minimalist games," Vollmer wrote. "Close Castles is no different."