Feature Article

They Are Billions Picks Up Where Starcraft 2 Left Off

False security.

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

In December, Spanish studio Numantian Games released They Are Billions in early access. It took the PC world by surprise, providing fantastic real-time strategy elements and a nuanced take on the seemingly endless horde of zombie games. By all accounts, we can't wait for its full release.

But it also got us thinking: what is the state of the real-time strategy genre? Is it really dying, as many might claim? Or has it been burgeoning under our noses, with excellent entries rounding out one of the most renowned genres in the PC space?

In the video above, Mike Mahardy takes a deep dive into the inner workings of They Are Billions, and how it continues the legacy of stellar RTS games such as Starcraft 2, Command & Conquer, and Age of Empires.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: They Are Billions Picks Up Where Starcraft 2 Left Off

Mike Mahardy on Google+
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

mmahardy

Mike Mahardy

Writer and Host. New Yorker. Enthusiast of gin, cilantro, and rock and roll.
They Are Billions

They Are Billions

Follow
Back To Top
48 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for deactivated-5abc14ca5e8cc
deactivated-5abc14ca5e8cc

881

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 79

User Lists: 0

I was going to watch this, and then Mike Mahardy happened.

4 • 
Avatar image for DLuf
DLuf

121

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 56

User Lists: 0

Edited By DLuf

Spent a minute trying to make sense of the article title on the main page, reading it in different ways, and was like, "how does this grammar work?" Then I found out it's the name of the game.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5c73522a03d81
deactivated-5c73522a03d81

54

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Thank you Mike for putting this game into the spotlight and understanding its novelty!

2 • 
Avatar image for megawavez
megawavez

60

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 20

User Lists: 0

It's a hell of a lot of fun !

2 • 
Avatar image for mrbojangles25
mrbojangles25

45040

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 0

If you guys like the aesthetic and steampunk nature of this game, I highly recommend the city-builder Lethis: Path of Progress; not a zombie survival builder (quite the opposite, it's a relaxing city builder) but it should scratch a similar itch.

2 • 
Avatar image for mmahardy
mmahardy

279

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By mmahardy  Staff

@mrbojangles25: Thanks for the rec! I'll try to check it out.

2 • 
Avatar image for mrbojangles25
mrbojangles25

45040

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 11

User Lists: 0

Edited By mrbojangles25

Amazing game, super challenging but you can tailor it down to something very inviting to new players, then scale it up with a variety of things.

They Are Billions, Factorio, Into the Breach, Brigador, Elite: Dangerous, Halcyon 6...go independent developers!

3 • 
Avatar image for rekonym
Rekonym

153

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Bought it recently and I confirm, it's very good.

If you're reading this, wondering if it's worth it and you happen to love RTS games; especially ones that do require your brain and good tactics, placement and planning (and obviously micro management) then They Are Billions is definitely good. It's still a bit early on, it does show (in lack of units variety, lack of structures variety and types of zombies you encounter for example) but generally-speaking considering it's still in development it's pretty darn good.

3 • 
Avatar image for whatsazerg
whatsazerg

1151

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

I'll pick this up on sale at some point.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

Edited By Pyrosa

@whatsazerg: It's cheap now - like $30 - for a solid 70-100hrs of play. When the campaign's done mid-year, that becomes "free icing" on a stellar cake.

2 • 
Avatar image for sixsixtrample
SixSixTrample

98

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By SixSixTrample

This is a really well done video. I would love to see more content like this where its a detailed look at what is great about a game, and ties it into other games in the genre.

I haven't played TAB yet, but I'm recently trying to get into SC2...your passion for RTS games comes through and definitely makes picking up TAB seem worth it.

2 • 
Avatar image for mmahardy
mmahardy

279

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

mmahardy  Staff

@sixsixtrample: Thanks for watching!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

FINALLY, a GS article on this amazing game!

The one Survival mode of the game in its Early Access stage was not only worth the ~$30, but also well over 100hrs of my time. I haven't stayed up too late for a game like this in a long time.

It starts off so very simply: Use Warcraft-style RTS controls to build and defend a base.

Then you stumble into 3-4 areas of idle zombies -- hundreds deep.

Then you start making too much noise...

Then you panic as one corner of your base was ignored for too long, a tent exploding into 4 new zombies, cascading into a death-spiral...

Then you start again, on a new randomly-generated map, from one of the four map types/rulesets, and you play smarter & faster.

2 • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@Pyrosa: Hey GS, can you cross-link this to the /news feed? Many folks direct-link there to skip the non-gaming stuff.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for deactivated-5c9cbf62c19be
deactivated-5c9cbf62c19be

274

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 18

User Lists: 5

rock and ro!!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for santinegrete
santinegrete

3993

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 43

User Lists: 0

I hope the reference applies to SP strategy games. Regardless MP strategy being my cup of tea or not, Starcraft 2 went f2p for a reason.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@santinegrete: This is a SP game. Worth every dime and every minute.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dysonlu
dysonlu

224

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Really? Starcraft? What is the author smoking? Nice click-bait, j***!

3 • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@dysonlu: The only thing in common is very typical RTS controls (which is a good thing).

Upvote • 
Avatar image for merwanor
Merwanor

626

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 2

User Lists: 0

Edited By Merwanor

I like the concept of this game, but I don't like the execution. Everything has to be about challenge and freaking Dark Souls mentality these days. I just want to relax when I play games as I get more than enough challenge from real life.

The RTS genre is stagnating with very few new ideas or any real evolution of the genre. Most devs try to join the E-sports crap instead of trying to innovate or do something new. So in that regard I do commend the devs for at least trying something different, but it is just not for me.

A dream strategy game for me would be an immersive medieval city builder on a huge scope, where the map is large and more than one city can be built on it. And it has a combat aspect to it like Total War where you can send large armies to siege opposing factions cities. And none of that huge units and tiny buildings crap, I really hate that. It has to be truly immersive with real sized buildings and citizens going about their lives. I guess it would be kinda like a combination of Total War, Skylines, Stronghold and many more games. But it is just a dream, a game that I am sure will never happen.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@merwanor: Unity is calling to you... Go make that game! I'd be happy to try/test it.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for kresa3333
kresa3333

310

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

Edited By kresa3333

@merwanor: I would call SC2 co op mode something new. I spent ALOT of hours on it.

I only wished they would put more money into that mode, to add more content, more features faster.

2 • 
Avatar image for with_teeth26
with_teeth26

9761

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 43

User Lists: 1

I believe this is my most played game of 2018. its very addicting, and also very punishing

3 • 
Avatar image for autumnvarela
AutumnVarela

193

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Edited By AutumnVarela

Next successor to SC2 will have to be Warcraft 4. No other developers seem to make deep, lasting RTS games.

2 • 
Avatar image for Abberon
Abberon

347

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

Edited By Abberon

@autumnvarela:

Only thing that's stood on its own for any length of time aside from SC2 has been CoH. Even then it's a distant second. Nobody else has offered anything compelling :(

2 • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@Abberon: Try this game. Very, very compelling...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Abberon
Abberon

347

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 41

User Lists: 0

Edited By Abberon

@Pyrosa:

I own the game. I love the game. It's new, it's unique, it's suspenseful and it works!

2 • 
Avatar image for al89lan
al89lan

102

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Edited By al89lan

This headline is very misleading. It's a tower defence game, mixed with in with Starcraft/Command & Conquer style base building. Don't buy this game expecting Starcraft II whatsoever.

There are no races to choose. It's just you vs the computer, and it's just protecting your base for as long as you can.

That being said, I adore this game. It's incredibly difficult, and every time you die, you just need to try it again. Hours upon hours melt by when you're playing this game. Hope they add some new units, and defence towers to the game.

6 • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@al89lan: I actually lost weight the first weekend I had it... Other than getting the family to&from their activities, this is all I did. Seriously addictive!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for al89lan
al89lan

102

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

Edited By al89lan

@Pyrosa: Did you find after beating the 1st two stages the game it got a little stale? It was all I could do for the first 40 hours, and now, I feel like it's lost it's luster - maybe due to a lack of options now.

They give you everything at the beginning, and leave nothing to unlock for later on (minus new stage maps)

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@al89lan: The 4th map changes everything. Clear the 3rd map, then smash your brain against the 4th. Wide open spaces, all progression based on ability to plan for food, and EXTREME noise sensitivity. You even have to keep your Hunters a thumb's width apart else they can trigger a wide range of Fresh Infected even during the first wave.

So the answer is, "I spent the first ~40 on the first 3 maps, and the back ~60 on map 4."

Last night I started again on map 1, going for Brutal.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for al89lan
al89lan

102

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 5

@Pyrosa: Good to know, thanks for that. I'll keep going til the 4th.

Good luck on brutal!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for howlingwinds011
howlingwinds011

2

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

This game is absolutely amazing! I haven't played an RTS since Starcraft first came out and this one has sucked me right back into the genre. That said, the game is punishingly difficult and has one heck of a learning curve.

There is a dude on youtube: "Misa Perfect - Second Nature Gaming" that does some amazing tutorial videos for They are Billions. I highly recommend you check them out before you play the game.

4 • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

Edited By Pyrosa

@howlingwinds011: ****** DO NOT WATCH TUTORIAL VIDEOS!!!!****

Seriously, this utterly destroys any joy of discovery in this game. Might as well just throw $30 in the toilet.

The whole POINT of the game is to learn how to get better.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for howlingwinds011
howlingwinds011

2

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

Edited By howlingwinds011

@Pyrosa: Normally I would agree with this statement as many tutorials tell you how to the play game. Misa Perfect's tutorials just outline the different units and buildings, zero direction as to how to actually go about winning. Just information.

With this game having zero tutorial or explanation as to the numbers associated to different buildings I would say that tutorials are more than acceptable.

Each to their own :)

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

Edited By Pyrosa

@howlingwinds011: Fair enough. Most of the vids are like "500% Brutal No Pause Micro!!!"

...which should take most players dozens of hours to reach.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dorian_wizard
Dorian_Wizard

1

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 5

@howlingwinds011: https://youtu.be/4UFPRNwhHps

Here is your sauce! Misa Perfect has lots of videos from basic tutorials to advanced ones and one of my favourite segments “Just the Tips”

Upvote • 
Avatar image for JohnnyGT1
JohnnyGT1

147

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

This seems interesting I probably give a shot later.

3 • 
Avatar image for kappamerc
kappamerc

182

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

What video? Is the video link broken?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for mmahardy
mmahardy

279

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

mmahardy  Staff

@kappamerc: Should be there now!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for mr_indiff
mr_indiff

99

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

How about Dark Reign?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

@mr_indiff: Loved Dark Reign. It was challenging for its time!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

8739

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

I wish they would bring back Dune The Battle for Arrakis

5 • 
Avatar image for Pyrosa
Pyrosa

7390

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 44

User Lists: 0

Edited By Pyrosa

@girlusocrazy: Ah, Dune -- the first true RTS. Runs great via DOSbox, even on mobile.

2 • 
Avatar image for girlusocrazy
GirlUSoCrazy

8739

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

Edited By GirlUSoCrazy

@Pyrosa: http://dunelegacy.sourceforge.net/website/

This is what I use :D

I would still want a more modern sequel

Upvote •