Because we’re lazy! Nope - not quite. This is a great question, but before I answer it’s important to mention that the Total Domination that you see bares very little resemblance to the Total Domination that we first launched. We’ve added, rebalanced, and altered it so much that it’s effectively a different game… but we’ll get back to that in a second.
The primary reason has to do with our development model and our recurring commitments to a game once it’s gone live. When we develop games for social, it’s not a piece of software, or a product that we can work on for six months or so, put in a box, and then ship and forget about. It’s an ongoing project with an open-ended lifetime, which we constantly tweak and tinker with; add new content to, run new promotions, and so on. So when we launch a game, we know we’re signing on to that project basically forever while still supporting our previous games.
We launched Total Domination three years and have no intention of shutting it down in the foreseeable future, but since then we’ve also launched Pirates: Tides of Fortune, Stormfall: Age of War, Sparta: War of Empires, and Soldiers Inc. As Total Domination has evolved and changed, we’ve been able to apply that evolution across the other titles as well. As we continue to work on updates and improvements to one game, having the same base engine allows us to make sure everyone gets to take advantage of a new feature or set of content, instead of “only TD players get to play with this” and “only Stormfall players get this.”.
In addition to that, keep in mind that all of these games require customer support, weekly development, new features, audio content, storylines, artwork, global missions, new units, etc. – and they all need these in seven different languages. Having compatibility leaves a smaller margin for error.
Other practical limitations are risk and turnaround time – creating an entirely new engine involves a lot of trial and error, while when doing a new theme we know that code will work upon launch, and we can do more with it in a much, much shorter period of time. This lets us devote more time to artwork, creative content, world building, etc.
There are also a few more differences than just the lack of elite units when you get under the hood of each game. The games have significantly different resource balance and internal mechanics. Credits play a much bigger role in Sparta and Soldiers Inc. We also have map building slotting, engineers, different ways of building the Sector map, different trade limits, speeds, Clan features, etc. The music and audio in some games is also streamed at higher quality than in TD. (Although we’re in the process of fixing that – I think you’ll dig it.)
Whatever direction we end up taking in the future, Total Domination is still our first love, and we promise to keep working on it for as long as you keep playing it.