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[Background Information] [The Battle that obliterated a million worlds] [Related Websites]
Total Annihilation is an RTS (Real Time Strategy) created by Cavedog Entertainment. Released in September of 1997, it was what one would call a "sleeper hit," a game that was very popular but not mass-advertised as well as other games. It outperformed one of its RTS competitors, Dark Siege, in sales and popularity, but a game by the name of StarCraft, with clever marketing by its maker Blizzard Entertainment, outsold TA, even though TA was in nearly every way superior to StarCraft. TA has such features as true-to-life physics, calculated weapon paths, full-3D units with full motion on the x, y, and z axes, a large number of unit commands, a very intuitive interface, and extraordinary gameplay.
Shortly after, Cavedog released two expansions for TA, The Core Contingency and Battle Tactics. TA:CC was the real deal; it added 75 units, 50 multiplayer maps, 2 campaigns of 12 missions for each side (plus a bonus mission for the Arm), and 6 all-new terrains to wage war on. TA:CC is required to play with many units, unitpacks, and modifications for TA. Battle Tactics added around 100 missions to your game, plus some new units and maps for TA, but the units were later released in the version 3.1 patch.
Cavedog's second game, TA:Kingdoms, was a medievil RTS based on TA's revolutionary engine. While being superior in graphics and engine capabilities to TA, TA:K never really picked up popularity because of a lack of gameplay that TA had so well. TA:K has an official expansion, called the Iron Plague, which adds an entire race to the game (making a total of five races to choose from).
Cavedog started several other games, including a FPS (First Person Shooter) called Amen: The Awakening. Shortly after Cavedog's parent company, Humongous Entertainment, was bought by GT Interactive (a subsidiary of Infogrames, Inc.), Cavedog started asking for more money to fund its various projects. GTI went along for a while, but when little progress showed up for the amount of money they had put into Cavedog, they pulled the plug and closed the group.
The staff disbanded, and went to work at various places. One staff member, Frank Rogan, worked here at GameSpy up until recently when he left. Chris Taylor, TA's father, left Cavedog before it was shut down and created his own company called Gas Powered Games, who recently released the RPG Dungeon Siege.
Recently, however, Infogrames has been a bit more revealing of its plans. The company updated the Cavedog website and created a TA forum at their message board, claiming it was "routine site clean-up" and "a new place for the apparently-large community to communicate." We learned shortly after, however, that Infogrames had agreed with a Korean company called Phantagram Interactive to make a sequel to Total Annihilation. While details are still thin, it is known that IG will distribute TA2 in the West, while Phantagram distributes in the East. TA2 is expected in the fourth quarter of 2004.
The Battle that obliterated a million worlds (source: PlanetAnnihilation)
Long ago the galaxy had known peace. Paradise was ruled with the hand of science, and the hand was that of the galactic governing body known as the Core.
Paradoxically it was the ultimate victory, the victory over death itself, which brought about the downfall of their Paradise and started the war that would decimate a million worlds. The process, called "patterning", involved the electronic duplication of brain matrices and allowed the transfer of consciousness into durable machines. Effectively it meant immortality, and the Core decreed the process mandatory for all citizens in order to ensure their safety.
There were many who were unwilling to toss aside their bodies so casually, many indeed who regarded patterning as an atrocity. They fled to the outer edges of the galaxy where they banded together to form a resistance which became known as the Arm. War began, though it was never officially declared by either side. The Arm developed high-powered combat suits for its armies, while the Core transferred the minds of its soldiers directly into similarly deadly machines. The Core duplicated its finest warriors thousands of times over. The Arm countered using cloning. The war raged on for over four thousand years, consuming the resources of an entire galaxy and leaving it a scorched wasteland.
Both sides lay in ruins. Their civilizations had long since vanished; their once vast military complexes were smashed. Their armies were reduced to a few scattered remnants which continued to battle on ravaged worlds. Their hatred fueled by millennia of conflict, they would fight to the death. For each, the only acceptable outcome was the complete and utter annihilation of the other.