“You need to play as the Goo”.
Mike Dunn was pretty insistent when he found out that I had an interview to check out the mega-collaboration, Grey Goo. The game is the collaboration between 6ft (Mike’s old company), Greybox, and Petroglyph, with a dash of help from Axis for animation, and Weta Workshop for creature design. If you know anything about these companies, you know what they all do extremely well – real time strategy. They’ve pooled their resources to try to bring back the old-school RTS with carefully balanced base building, economics, and combat.
Grey Goo has three factions that serve the most common play styles. The Beta are a beast race, favoring quick strikes and maximized mobility in their units. If you are the type of player that rushes bases with a mass of cheaper units, the Beta are your faction. Humans focus on air power, heavy armored units, and powerful base defenses. Those who turtle are likely going to play as Humans. But Mike said I need to play as the Goo, so that’s what I did.
The Goo is the most unique faction I’ve used in any RTS to date. Amorphous blobs, they build no bases, they build no defenses, and they are extremely dangerous. Choosing this race I was surprised to see that my one and only starting unit was a massive reflective goo that looked like it was made of mercury, but still shimmering with some sort of chitinous armor. Moving the “Mother Goo” over to a gas vent to gather “Catalyst” – the unified resource all three factions crave. The other two races can tap these veins at any point in the gas vein, but the Goo build no structures – they have to travel to a vent. Gathering the precious resource, I was soon able to split a smaller blob off the Mother Goo. At this point I had to make a choice to create one of several subcreatures. Fast attack crawlers, artillery, tank-like creatures, and even being able to create over a dozen duplicate Mother Goos creates an army that is completely unpredictable.
After getting a quick overview from Petroglyph RTS Grandmaster Ted Morris I began to spawn units. It’s when I started to move them across the landscape that the light bulb went off over my head. The map we were playing on was a wooded area that would impede any unit; any unit but the Goo. The blob ignored any and all terrain, squishing its way through and between all of the trees. Better than that, I was able to stop the massive Mother Goo in such a way as to completely hide her in the trees. Imagine having these creatures surrounding your base, undetected, waiting to strike. I didn’t want to imagine, so that’s exactly what I did.
I pushed my units directly against the main force of the Human enemy while I used my mothers and smaller blobs to move around the forest the foolish homo sapiens were using as a natural barrier. Bursting through the trees, I rolled over the human forces, drowning them in my silver wake and consuming them wholesale. Ted advised that when you see the Goo, you kill it and quick, and it was very easy to see why.
My time with Grey Goo was a brief and violent introduction of this vicious namesake faction. It’s clear that the team is focusing on bringing back the macro and micro portions of RTS that us dirt farmers have been missing for a long time. The game is heading into Beta soon, and is slated for release this fall. With the incredible talent pool working on this title, I have very high hopes.