Remembering Chromehounds

chromehounds2

In five years, people will hopefully remember Chromehounds. Chromehounds was the Xbox Live experience in 2006. It required teamwork, friendship, and strategy.

Chromehounds was far from mainstream, a depressingly likely reason why servers became barren. You did not start a match, mindlessly run forward, get shot, and restart. Developer From Software’s intricate, beautiful, and complex mech shooter was an impeccable blending of PC-styled planning and console gaming shooter.

It is undoubtedly the PC side that scared many away, lost in a sea of complexity that required dense time commitment to comprehend. Thousands of available parts could be purchased, configured within set parameters, and taken onto battlefields. You were not a faceless, nameless soldier in Chromehounds. You were your own person, each shot a success of virtual work. Tinkering to find a precision blend of killing machine and defensive powerhouse was as enjoyable as entering the battlefield.

chromehounds3Fighting served a purpose, waged against the backdrop of the Neroimus War. While you were part of a squad, you were also part of a cause, fighting for control. You felt like a member of fictional nations Tarakia, Sal Kar, or Morskoj.

Each squad member had a job, critical as Chromehounds was about more than selfish leveling. Mech combat was plodding, forcing players to gain access to communication towers needed for vocalizing strategic placement. Knowing how your Hound moved, weapon range, and if any kickback occurred forced you to think about each shot. Nothing in Chromehounds was luck.

Unfortunately, Chromehounds is gone. Sega has taken servers offline, Chromehounds now a single player game, nothing more than a training ground for the fight that will never happen. Consider it a shell of a once enormous online giant.

What the game leaves behind is a small legacy for those whom dedicated countless hours of their lives defending virtual homelands. Undoubtedly, like myself, you met a diverse range of Xbox Live friends during the early days of Chromehounds, one of few games that forced you to work together as a true squad to win.

When was the last time someone could say that for Halo or Call of Duty?

I am not saddened by the loss of my own personal statistics or inventory now that the plug has been pulled. The 100+ hours of my life devoted to this mech-based shooter were not wasted. I’m saddened though as memories begin to fade, the potential for new ones vaporized, and the inferiority of other games to provide unlimited potential with friends, both real life and online.

chromehoundsMy final memories of Chromehounds were in Free Battle. There, my squad fought a mech designed as a Domino’s Pizza delivery man, more or less because the engine allowed for it. How effective or absurd that particular mech was remains irrelevant. What mattered was the fun of it all, making the most of dwindling final hours and the possibilities From Software’s engine provided.

Those were possibilities few people truly understood.

  • Chud

    I finally broke down and bought a gold membership for my xbox live account today thinking the first thing I was gonna try out was this game I bought a while ago and never had the chance to explore the multiplayer feature. But upon starting up the xbox live feature was saddened to see that the servers were down.. now I find this post saying I missed out on this really neat looking game. Being a big mechwarrior fan i was hoping for something to waste countless hours on until the next mechwarrior came out at least.. guess it's my lose .. So sad :(

  • http://www.marketing.fm EricFriedman

    Find anything similar to replace it?

  • gamereviewgod

    There is nothing else. That was the issue with Chromehounds dying. Nothing to this day ever came close to its depth of customization and full world war. Short of a sequel, nothing ever will.

  • http://www.marketing.fm EricFriedman

    I have a feeling someone will come up with something to rival Chromehounds -
    if there is enough interest, some game studio will fill the void.

  • gamereviewgod

    Enough interest is the problem though. Chromehounds had around 30 people online (total) before it was over. Once Call of Duty and Halo were out there, no one came back. Now with Modern Warfare 2 and Halo Reach, trying to get another community going just won't work.

  • Chud

    I finally broke down and bought a gold membership for my xbox live account today thinking the first thing I was gonna try out was this game I bought a while ago and never had the chance to explore the multiplayer feature. But upon starting up the xbox live feature was saddened to see that the servers were down.. now I find this post saying I missed out on this really neat looking game. Being a big mechwarrior fan i was hoping for something to waste countless hours on until the next mechwarrior came out at least.. guess it's my lose .. So sad :(

  • http://www.marketing.fm EricFriedman

    Find anything similar to replace it?

  • gamereviewgod

    There is nothing else. That was the issue with Chromehounds dying. Nothing to this day ever came close to its depth of customization and full world war. Short of a sequel, nothing ever will.

  • http://www.marketing.fm EricFriedman

    I have a feeling someone will come up with something to rival Chromehounds -
    if there is enough interest, some game studio will fill the void.

  • gamereviewgod

    Enough interest is the problem though. Chromehounds had around 30 people online (total) before it was over. Once Call of Duty and Halo were out there, no one came back. Now with Modern Warfare 2 and Halo Reach, trying to get another community going just won't work.

  • Arlioz Hecatonchires

    It was fun, but people who had no patience to understand this game missed out, and ultimaltely killed it.

  • Attilaori

    Attila Tha Killa
    Hey there old friends, I have invested years into this game, i enjoyed every shot fired and recieved. I miss my saber Sniper. No game will ever come close to CHROMEHOUNDS.

    R . I. P

  • http://twitter.com/PalabinLee Yoobin Lee

    You know, From Software is moving up its more popular Armored Core franchise, from which the Chromehouds game was based. Part customizability and all. Although I'll admit Chromehounds was a lot grittier and realistic.
    It's unfortunate, as you say, that people just aren't into investing time and energy (most importantly, skill) into designing their perfect machines and going out to fight.

    But when you want to join us over in the Armored Core universe, we'll welcome you with open arms. =)

  • http://twitter.com/PalabinLee Yoobin Lee

    You know, From Software is moving up its more popular Armored Core franchise, from which the Chromehouds game was based. Part customizability and all. Although I'll admit Chromehounds was a lot grittier and realistic.
    It's unfortunate, as you say, that people just aren't into investing time and energy (most importantly, skill) into designing their perfect machines and going out to fight.

    But when you want to join us over in the Armored Core universe, we'll welcome you with open arms. =)

  • mrvincent

    Great post Matt!

    This game wasn’t perfect, but it was darn close.

    I never used a mic so much in a video game.

    The game started to go downhill after that first major patch and it never recovered.

    But I prefer to remember the good times. I played the war, but loved Free Battle even more. Yeah, building a rig was just as fun as playing.

    Rdy up!!!!

    “sorry, im still building”

  • Constructlife19

    do you think someone could get the lisence to convert this to PC and have players host servers.
    the game “world of tanks” is fun and has some nice idea, but chromehound was just all around better online.
    if someone could get chromehound, change it into PC form, apply software for different controlers, add more weapons and part. this could create an amazing game.
    idk
    im just trying to think of ways to get this game back up and running.

  • Anonymous

    I would assume if Sega even cared they could have let players host servers on the 360 if they so choose, assuming of course there are no restrictions set forth by Microsoft.

    To put it on the PC would simply be an insurmountable task.

    I also recommend Trenched on XBLA which sort of captures the spirit, and certainly the customizable aspects, if not the versus multiplayer of Chromehounds.

  • Keal 5

    Man, I miss the days… Sitting in one corner of the map as a commander and telling the team where anything is… I swear if Sega brings this game back it would make my life, I feel like it was still just a week when it went down.

  • yenkah

    it kills me. in my opinion there has never been a comparable mech game for consoles. It leaves a hole that desperately needs to be filled and it doesnt seem like anyone is even coming close

  • Cyberdogs7

    Maybe you should check out M.A.V. I am making this game to try and fill the void left by Chrome Hounds being shut down. http://www.bombdogstudios.com/index.php/mav/