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December 15, 2003 

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Sacrifice Preview
August 09, 2000 - Bob "CalBear" Colayco

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Developer: Shiny
Publisher: Interplay
Sacrifice official page:
More Sacrifice resources
ETA: Fall, 2000


Learning from their mistakes with Messiah, Shiny took the opposite PR approach with their upcoming 3D RTS game, Sacrifice. They kept their mouths shut. Rather than subject the game to hype-induced burnout, Shiny wisely hid Sacrifice away from the limelight until they were ready to show off something impressive. In development for three years now, no one had much of a clue that Shiny was making Sacrifice until this year. Our first glimpse of it was as a technology demonstration at Intel's booth during the Game Developer's Conference five months ago. At that demonstration, we saw an advanced terrain engine with dozens of insect-like beasts flying above the ground. Shiny representatives at the conference showed off a few nifty looking spells as well. Certainly the game had a slick graphics engine, but we hadn't seen or heard enough about the gameplay to make a call as to Sacrifice's full potential.

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Screenshots were 1024...

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...shrunk to 640

Today we have enough information to make that call - a few days ago, Dave Perry from Shiny stopped by the office to show us how far along Sacrifice has come since that GDC demo. We were excited about the demonstration and even more ecstatic that Perry left that beta for us to play around with. Though there are a lot of missing and placeholder sound effects, Sacrifice is an already a polished product at this point, with compelling design, fresh gameplay ideas, and gorgeous graphics.

What is it?

As mentioned already, Sacrifice is a 3D RTS game. You take the role of a wizard dropped into a strange world that's run by five different gods: Persephone, the goddess of life, James, the god of the earth, Stratos, the god of knowledge, Charnel, the god of death, and Pyro, the god of fire. The gods of course, don't get along very well with each other, so they use wizards like you as pawns in their power struggles. As you play the game, the choices you make determine which gods you please, and those which you anger. Do the bidding of Persephone, and she will grant you her creatures to summon and spells tailored to her nature (healing, etc). However, this will distance you from Persephone's nemeses, Pyro and Charnel, who can grant you the ability to summon their own creatures (fire creatures, and demons) and cast their kinds of spells.

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Gorgeous sky

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Standing next to a manalith...

Choices, choices

Over the course of the game, you can change allegiances simply by doing more chores for a different god - the way Sacrifice is structured, Perry promises that no two players' experiences will be quite the same. You can see that the spells, creatures, and abilities endowed to your wizard become very personalized, depending on how you play the game. So in that sense, Sacrifice is a (let's all say it together since we've heard it all before) real-time strategy game that embodies some role-playing game aspects.

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 Random Fact
The god of the earth in Sacrifice is a worm - it bears a striking resemblance to Earthworm Jim´┐Ż

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