Trying to pull off something as ambitious as Ara: History Untold – and evolving the strategy space – is a significant challenge. From writing a full new engine, to the detailed level of art, to crafting the living world, to recording hours upon hours of live music; Ara: History Untold’s sheer scale could probably not have been achieved without the right backing.
“Microsoft has been a ginormous partner. A lot of times in games – even if you know they’re super fun, they’ve got huge communities – they don’t always have the most resources put towards them. Or you have the biggest budget, but sometimes a very short production schedule. Microsoft has been amazing to work with in that regard. ‘What do you want to do in the genre space and we will help you achieve those things…’ whereas at other companies, we would have never had this kind of leeway or support.”
Ara: History Untold will be released in Fall 2024 for Windows PC and Steam, and will be available day one with PC Game Pass. I asked Menard what she thinks about that — being able to have such a ripe community available to dive in and start playing from the day of launch:
“It’s actually a great, great thing. Oftentimes these kind of grand strategy games can be intimidating to get into. While some newer players express interest, you also must convince them to buy it — and that can be a step too far. To have the opportunity with something like Game Pass, they can keep playing right there on day one. We’ve always wanted to expand the grand strategy market with this title to new players who would never tried it before, and I think that’s truly only possible because it is going to be on Game Pass.”
I also asked Menard what her vision looks like for the game, say five years from now, where she hopes Ara: History Untold sits within the sphere of so many other grand strategy games.
“I certainly hope in five years we’ll still be doing different expansions, more DLC, and start to branch it out in even further crazy directions,” she says. “We have so many ideas for different, even more out there, leaders and other kinds of crazy triumphs — just bring players even more diverse experiences that you just wouldn’t get in the traditional strategy space.”