German indie developer King Art Games has announced a new title expected for release in 2018: Iron Harvest. After a successful kickstarter campaign helped to get their fantasy RPG “The Dwarves” into production (set to be released in less than a month), the team at King Art Games has wasted no time in announcing their next effort.
Iron Harvest is described as a real-time strategy title similar to Company of Heroes, but taking place in an alternate timeline called 1920+, developed by Polish artist Jakub Rozalski, where mankind has invented powerful walking machines. There are few specific details known about the title thus far, which is unsurprising given its very early development stage. However, multiple factions exist in the realm and players will have the opportunity to take control of hero characters, mechs, and soldiers in battles that make use of cover mechanics and destructible environments.
The setting and aesthetic of Iron Harvest are certainly appealing at first glance, but what seems to make the game unique is that it will be released for Xbox One and PS4, in addition to PC through Steam (the typical platform for RTS titles).
Conventional RTS titles tend to avoid consoles for obvious reasons. Making quick tactical adjustments generally proves difficult with the imprecision of controllers. The use of hotkeys and other advantageous features of keyboard and mouse are difficult, if not impossible, to replicate on consoles. Nevertheless, Iron Harvest will be released on Xbox One and PS4, which raises a variety of questions about its interface. The obvious solution would be that King Art Games essentially produces two separate titles that successfully utilize the vastly different input systems.
I remember first being exposed to Command & Conquer on PlayStation in 1995. It was fun, challenging and my first RTS experience. However, it goes without saying that the PC experience was vastly superior. The game was far more primitive than most modern RTS titles, but a similar differentiation between the console and PC versions will be essential for Iron Harvest to be considered a success. Perhaps most important is that King Art Games doesn’t cut corners or simplify the game to make it work on console, as it may turn away a significant portion of its consumer base: PC RTS gamers.
With limited information, the scope and scale of the title still remains in question. Players are able to control heroes, mechs and soldiers in a variety of environments, so the game may not place a focus on macromanagement, but rather focus on small squad engagements. This would certainly make working around consoles’ controller limitations more manageable. Given the stated influences of Company of Heroes and Men of War on this title as opposed to Starcraft or other similar base-building focused titles, smaller scaled engagements are the likely direction for Iron Harvest.
Nevertheless, a mech-focused alternate history steampunk-esque RTS is certainly something to pay attention to. Keep your eyes open for more news regarding Iron Harvest.