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Atari Founder Returns to Development

The "founding father of video games" is coming out of "retirement" and returning to development with the upcoming free-to-play RTS/FPS hybrid Battleswarm: Field of Honor. Atari (and Chuck E. Cheese) founder and Pong creator Nolan Bushnell, 66, left the business over thirty years ago, however the inspiration driving his new project stems from gaming with his five sons.

"Battleswarm is really about me being able to play against my sons," he told USA Today's Game Hunters in an interview. "I've got five sons, age 16 through 30. They're all avid gamers and like first-person shooters. The problem is, as you get older, you lose some reaction time, and as a result, I'm getting slaughtered by them.  A real-time strategy [RTS] game, however, is more my [preference], a good resource game is what I love. Battleswarm is both an RTS and a shooter, a mash-up between StarCraft and Starship Troopers, if you will. You can switch sides, too, if you feel like an RTS instead of a shooter, or vice-versa."

The concept of Battleswarm is rather interesting: the first-person shooter mode enables team players to attack enemy bugs while the RTS mode provides a commanding view giving one player control of the team's offensive bugs that attack the other team. Bushnell said that the game doesn't offer much in resource mining, but upgrading is available in microtransaction form, an area Bushnell believes is the future of gaming.

"I'm opposed to games where you're stuck spending $15 a month, where you can get in but can't get out," he said. "In some games, they keep charging your card -- on one occasion I had to cancel my credit card. In our game, we want you to play and not worry about recurring costs."

Despite having launched the console that "started it all," Bushnell said that he's a big believer in cloud computing where gamers can play titles stored elsewhere.