A genre nearly as old as PC gaming itself, real-time strategy games are like a nice warm blanket on a cold day. They let you feel like you are home. The genre has had its peaks and dips in popularity and the team over at KING Art Games hold a few mid-2000s RTS classics in such high reverence that they are working on recreating some of the magic with a whole new game and universe. Iron Harvest 1920+ takes players to an alternate dieselpunk history just after The Great War where fans of games like Company of Heroes or Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 2 will feel right at home.
The dieselpunk past
Iron Harvest 1920+ draws heavy inspiration from the Polish artist Jakub Różalski. Różalski is best known as the mind behind the art of the board game Scythe and a series of illustrations known as 1920+. They depict an alternate history during the Polish-Soviet war where dieselpunk airships and giant mechs are a part of everyday life.
The team at KING Art Games hopes to bring some of the intriguing and ominous vibes of that art into the RTS realm. Genre fans will quickly find themselves comfortable with the gameplay mechanics on display, especially the cover system for footsoldier units. Much like the previously mentioned Relic Entertainment-developed classics, moment-to-moment gameplay is heavily influenced by the cover system and ensuring the units under your control max best use of said cover is the key to victory.
Something for everyone
Single-player RTS buffs will be happy to find that Iron Harvest 1920+ will be offering an extensive set of campaigns that are planned to span the course of more than 20 missions. These campaigns will place a heavy focus on a set of hero units that will battle across the European countryside. KING Art has said that these campaigns will be co-op compatible so you can hunt for scrap and take cover with a friend. Naturally, a full-fledged multiplayer component will be included once the game launches. Ranked competition will be available for players and there are plans for leagues and ladders.
As a project that began its life as a Kickstarter project, Iron Harvest 1920+ already has a dedicated pack of fans who have directly contributed to the project and those folks will be gaining access to an exclusive Backer-Beta session. It was originally scheduled to arrive around this week, but due to COVID-19 concerns around the world, KING Art had to temporarily delay the event. As per the official developer’s blog, the team is working hard to make the Backer-Beta as soon as humanly possible.
The future (of alternate history combat) is bright
I was lucky enough to sit in a session with some of the team from King Art and get a guided tour of the game, including looks at concept art, various units, terrains, and more. I was also able to play some of the game for myself thanks to the generosity of the team and can happily report that Iron Harvest 1920+ has crawled into my most anticipated games of 2020. I’ve been playing RTS games on and off for as long as I can remember and confided in the team that I was a sucker for Company of Heroes. I could feel over the conference call (thanks, coronavirus) that the team was excited for me to see what they had cooked up and they had good reason to feel that way.
Getting situated with the controls felt like getting back on a bicycle after an extended period away. Within minutes, I was whipping around the map, digging up hunks of iron from the war-torn landscape and producing units. These fallen iron husks work as a resource in Iron Harvest 1920+ and provide what you need to pump out ground units or mechs of your own. There are buildings across the map I played that ended up in piles of rubble as a part of the impressive destruction system. The wonderful mechs also elicited memories of the dreadnaughts from Dawn of War II. I was happy that the game leans towards rewarding solid tactical decisions rather than the person who is faster on a mouse. Make no mistake, I love games like Starcraft, but I’ll never be a clicks-per-minute man.
This is an experience I knew I liked but had not realized how much I’ve missed. The team hopes to have the game ready for the masses later this year. It will be available on both Steam and GOG, with the store page offering a tentative September 2020 release date. Be sure to add it to your wishlist and follow the development blog if you have been missing that sweet, cover-based tactical RTS life.
Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Iron Harvest 1920+ preview: Classic RTS style (and giant mechs!)
I'm really craving an rts game, September is too far