Traditional strategy games have always followed a similar premise that is centered on building up your economy, building your base, expanding, and eliminating your enemies. Extinction follows a different premise that makes it seem less like a real time strategy game, and more like a role-playing game.
The storyline for extinction is fairly simple and makes for an interesting story. An alien race has assaulted earth and destroyed everything on the surface, making it temporarily uninhabitable. Only the humans that managed to make it into bomb shelters were able to survive the alien onslaught, and everybody else stuck outside were mutated into ugly and disgusting beings of different sizes and proportions. This simple background creates the setting for three different races in the game such as Humans, Mutants, and Aliens. All three of these races have yet to be given unique and creative representative names.
Extinction does not have the typical campaign mode, but the basic objective for the entire planet is to gain control of as much territory as possible. The earth is divided into a variety of maps and each of them features a variety of locales and historic monuments that have been overgrown with vegetation. Each map contains special items, which are referred to as artifacts. These artifacts are what make this game so unique because each artifact discovered, develops your tech tree. Essentially what this means is that as you find and secure artifacts, you will grow your tech trees. This advancement mechanism will upgrade your current units and buildings. There are apparently over 1000 artifacts to be found scattered over the planet, and the goal for each race is to control the planet by controlling these artifacts. Hence, each map is not a battle against an enemy, but is more about the player against the environment in the search for the artifacts. On various maps the player will encounter either of the other two races or both at the same time, and create some interesting skirmishes for control of the artifacts.
One of the advantages of developing this style of personal tech tree is the option to save it for use when playing multiplayer games. Currently, multiplayer supports up to six players on a map while they play against the environment. Each player will have heroes who help lead your troops. Troops are limited, but your numbers regenerate over time while you play the game.
One of the selling points of Extinction is the quality of the graphics engine. All of the models are rendered in 3D, including the buildings and foliage. Shadows in the game are placed for units, buildings and even the environment, and makes for a very in-depth gaming experience. Even the water effects are quite impressive, and a look at the water surface fools the player into thinking it is a part of a real lake. The engine takes the depth of the water into account as well, and that effect is especially noticeable around the edges of a lake or sea. Unit detail is also impressive, especially when you zoom the camera all the way in for a close up of your units.
Black Sea Studios' Extinction is shaping up to be an impressive PC title. While it does not yet have a publisher, it is currently slated for a Q4 2007 release date.