RTS and console. Yep, I hear some of you groaning through my monitor. Some genres don’t translate well to consoles. Real-time strategy (RTS) games used to be one of them. But Microsoft’s Halo Wars helped change that. The RTS spin on the Halo franchise won’t be spoken in the same breath as Age of Empires or Starcraft, but it’s not because its controls held it back.
Even popular city-builder Cities: Skylines hit consoles with better than expected controls. Both are two examples of developers tackling the biggest obstacle holding these games back from consoles.
A new RTS is on the horizon and is looking to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (along with PC) to expand its potential audience. It’s called Iron Harvest and takes place in an alternate post World War I world. Where games like Battlefield 1 aimed for authenticity, Iron Harvest pictures a Europe split into three factions. With enormous mechs taking the place of traditional tanks. Check out the gameplay trailer below.
This isn’t about massive unit counts like the Total War series. It looks more like Company of Heroes, Men of War, or Dawn of War. And developer King Art cited Company of Heroes and Men of War as inspiration for the gameplay style they are aiming for. It shows in the trailer.
Plus, it’s a smart design choice for a game coming to consoles. I love old-school RTS games like Sudden Strike and Blitzkrieg. But the sheer amount of units would make it a struggle to control those games on console. Although, Sudden Strike 4 did just hit PS4. I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know if the unit counts are similar to the older games or how it controls.
How Iron Harvest controls on consoles will make or break the game on those platforms. But the presentation is already doing a great job selling me on the game.
I love how the mechs aren’t just about raining hell from a distance. At 0:30 we see one mech bayonet charge another through a brick wall.
King Art promises a whole lot of destruction in Iron Harvest. In a behind-the-scenes Facebook post in June, the devs said “almost everything in the game can be destroyed – if you have the right weapon.” A video then shows a house getting demolished by one of the smaller mechs.
A dynamic destruction system on this scale translates directly to gameplay. But the “right weapon” is an important caveat. Dynamic destruction is a great feature until a map turns into a wasteland with no cover. Then? Not so much.
I can’t wait for King Art to dive more into the gameplay mechanics of Iron Harvest.
Is it more like Company of Heroes? Or, does each unit have its own health bar and loadout like Men of War? Having a massive mech with a set amount of ammo would make the decision to use that dynamic destruction system an interesting one. Do you tear down a building to destroy whatever lies behind, or do you flank?
This week’s small tease of Iron Harvest is an early one. The game isn’t expected to release until 2019. If you want to learn more about Iron Harvest, check out their Facebook page. The devs provide regular behind-the-scenes updates over there.