We said in 2021 that the '90s are back, baby, because someone was making an RTS based on Stargate SG-1. Today they're really back, because that game, formally known as Stargate: Timekeepers, is now live—and for those of you who aren't sure whether real-time Stargate strategy is going to be your bag, a demo is available too.
Stargate: Timekeepers is in fact a "real-time tactics game," a minor but meaningful distinction. Instead of harvesting resources, building bases, churning out armies, and grinding your enemies to dust, you'll lead a new team of SG-1 specialists behind enemy lines, where you'll "use your characters’ unique skills, craft the perfect plan, and defeat the Goa’uld threat."
Somewhat unusually, Stargate: Timekeepers is launching in two parts: Season 1 part 1 is live now, while part 2 is slated to follow later this year. It will feature a total of 14 "narrative-rich missions" picking up the story from the end of season 7 of the television show, beginning with the battle of Antarctica and then moving into fights against the Goa'uld oppressors alongside the Jaffa Resistance, a strike against Moloc, and eventually an alliance with the Unas. Yeah, they're covering a lot of bases here.
Stealth features prominently in the game, and that's led to a mixed reaction on Steam. Reviewers who dig stealth-based gameplay seem to like it, but some who were hoping for a more straight-up fight are disappointed. "Don't come into this expecting it to be a tactical game or a strategy game like you'd expect," one negative reviewer wrote. "Yes it does have some inkling of strategy and tactics. But the whole point of this game is stealth. You are severely punished for trying to fight your way through as you are always at a massive disadvantage and are punished for even attempting to actually fight."
I'd say that's in tune with the SG-1 television show, which to be clear I was a big fan of back in the day: A small gang of free-wheeling soldiers and scientists half-assing their way across the galaxy, trying to avoid being squashed by overwhelming enemy forces.
(Let us not forget that it's also the show that provided the breakthrough for God of War actor and Game Awards favorite Christopher Judge.)
Whether that's enough to carry the game to any degree of success is another matter entirely. SG-1 ran for 10 seasons and spawned a couple of spinoffs that were quite good in their own right, which is no mean feat, but it's not exactly the most in-demand license ever. But that might be one of the reasons we've got a new Stargate game to play in the first place: It's accessible.
Developer Slitherine has gone a bit hog-wild with licenses like this in recent years: Alongside Stargate: Timekeepers, it's also got the real-time tactics game Terminator: Dark Fate – Defiance coming in February, and it had a hit with Starship Troopers: Terran Command, another RTS that came out in 2022. But it's a strategy that can pay off: If there's one Robocop: Rogue City proved, it's that there's still space for mid-tier licensed games to find success amidst all the Star Wars and Harry Potters out there.