A Magical Knight: King Arthur Diaries

By Jim Rossignol on October 9th, 2009 at 8:15 am.


Knights Of The Round Table get their magic on in the new trailers for role-playing strategy, King Arthur. Hungarian developers Neocore look to be surpassing themselves with this game, which seems to be a kind of magical Total War, with a touch of King’s Bounty RPGing via dynamic role-playing and diplomatic manipulation of allied knights. It’s going to blend fantasy adventuring with resource management at the campaign level, and produce real-time battle in which swords and sorcery mix. There’s even a morality system which defines what powers knights have access to, in a “turning to the dark-side” way. I’m going to be regularly flagging this up for everyone’s attention, because if it achieves the ambitions it sets out in these videos, then it could be one of the most interesting games of the coming year.

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40 Comments »

  1. Vinraith says:

    This looks extremely promising, and I’d never heard of it before this post. Thanks for the information, Jim. If this thing accomplishes what they want it to accomplish it’ll be a day one purchase for me.

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    Grey Cap says:

    Looks fun enough even to overcome my ‘meh’ attitude towards high fantasy. I might even find myself enjoying the spiky armor in spite of myself!

  3. jRides says:

    I think I might have been slightly off put by the ubiquitous use of magic, it appeared from the video that all the leader units have magic of some sort, it worries me that it might become a spam-est of magic spells, and armies are reduced to a mopping up role.

    Not that I don’t like the idea of magic in there – it just seemed everyone+dog was packing some sort of spell. Sweet effects though, shiny (and indeed in some cases – shadowy!).

  4. Inanimotioon says:

    This looks like a LOT of fun so far.
    The weather and daycycle effects look great as well.

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    JB says:

    Sounds chock full of potential – definitely one to watch.

    Fingers crossed they pull it off.

  6. Subject 706 says:

    Ooooh, looks mighty interesting. Eastern european developers seem to have really good art directors, when it comes to making dark fantasy. Between this and Disciples 3, I’m hoping for some great strategy gaming this winter.

  7. Ian says:

    Very much in the “Really Hope They Pull It Off” category.

  8. Jockie says:

    It looks incredibly similar to Total War in some ways. I’m pretty sure the little red stamp thingy on the bottom right of the popup windows on the campaign map was in one of the total wars.

  9. Javier-de-Ass says:

    their other game crusaders thy kingdom come just went up on steam btw.

  10. klumhru says:

    It’s pleasant to see Middle and Eastern European developers holding up the flag of ambition against the mediocrity that is Western game design philosophy.

    This game looks very good.

  11. Psychopomp says:

    Despite the meh premise, holy shit I’m friggin’ excited.

  12. klumhru says:

    By the by, does anyone have any thoughts on their other game, Crusaders: Thy kingdom come? As stated earlier it just appeared on Steam, and it would be nice to have some unbiased opinions about it. At $20 it looks tempting as it is.

  13. Jim Rossignol says:

    Crusaders got pretty poor reviews. I might take a look at it over the weekend.

    • klumhru says:

      The EG review was pretty positive considering it’s in the – usually pretty devastating – Roundup section. It only lists some niggles with the AI and zone triggers. That’s a fairly short review though, so there might be other issues not mentioned. Tactical realism and good interface – always a surprise in E-EU games – get mentioned as positives.

      Intriguing.

  14. MacBeth says:

    Now that looks intriguing. My long-faded interest in fantasy battles has perked up considerably.

    Also I love that the developers’ names sound like they could be characters from the game itself…

  15. SanguineAngel says:

    Thanks Jim I’ll keep an eye on this.

    I just remember how awsome and meaty the Warhammer looked. Fantasy game crossed with total war style battle gameplay. The videos were promising, the idea lovely, the potential awsome, the game below average.

    I share jRides’ concern regarding the magic. If it’s too powerful and the gameplay too focused on the special characters then i may be disappointed. I always thought special characters are a really good idea. They’d be ideal for turning the tide in a skirmish. But if the magic is too powerful, the armies will be rendered unimportnant and any tacticts might as well go out the window really.

    However, this is a little ray of hope.

    Also, I’d be interested in hearing what people think on this Crusaders game too!

    • Subject 706 says:

      You’re referring to Warhammer : Mark Of Chaos, aren’t you? Boy, was that game a disappointment. I was hoping for an updated Dark Omen, but what you got was a game with quite good art direction, but crap mechanics and no oomph to the actual combat.

  16. jRides says:

    I remember reading or hearing somewhere that while it was very pretty it was hopelessly outclassed by total war on the battlefield.
    EDIT: I'm Talking about Crusader here. But then at the end of the day, what strategy game is going to manage to stand toe to toe with the behemoth that is Total War?

  17. Unlucky Irish says:

    Might just be me but does a game about a renowned English national hero subjugating the rest of the British isles a bit “un-P.C”? Actually, the developers previous game raises just as many eye-brows in my opinion…

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      Okami says:

      The Arthur myth is a pre-christian celtic tale, it’s first written version is in the Mabinogon, a collection of welsh legends. And he didn’t subjugate anyone either. So no, I don’t think it’s “un-PC”.

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      Okami says:

      I mixed things up a bit. The tale of Arthur isn’t pre christian, but that of the holy grail is. The two legends just got combined into one. And the Mabinogion’s version is not the first written version of the tale, since the Mabinogion itself was compiled in the 19th century. It does contain old welsh legends though and the version of the Arthur myth it features is indeed one of the oldest ones..

    • Dante says:

      As I recall he is said to have ‘united’ Britain.

      How much of that uniting relied on hitting people with big sticks is left shrouded in myth.

    • Unlucky Irish says:

      Despite the content of the original myths the game is still about “uniting” Britain. Of course in game terms, and historical terms, “uniting” generally means war, genocide, exploitation and deceit. Granted this is the premise of many of a game, and I doubt it will put me of buying it, but the fact you can only play one “English” faction is a bit suspect. It’s like if a game based in the Balkans was released and you could only play as the Serbs.

    • TeeJay says:

      Why do describe Arthur as “English”? If he (or anyone similar) ever actually existed they fought *against* the invading Saxons. If you really need to put some kind of [ahistorical modern-day] label on him then “Welsh”, “Celtic”, “Romano-British” or “Brythonic” would be far more accurate, definitely not “English”.

      Also ‘uniting’ didn’t mean genocide: typically it meant turning a bunch of squabbling petty kingdoms into a unified force against a common enemy (eg invaders). A ‘good’ king also had the reputation of establishing the rule of law and justice in the place of lawless bandits or oppressive warlords.

    • TeeJay says:

      Also there is no mention anywhere of “English” or “England” on their website. They reference ‘Celtic mythology’ and mention ‘Saxons’ as one of the enemies Arthur faces.

      The map of provinces to conquer only includes the modern-day area of England/Wales/Scotland and doesn’t cover the island of Ireland at all.

    • Unlucky Irish says:

      You still keep on returning to the original myths for your arguments, I’m not arguing about the original myths but rather their modern interpretation. Despite who or what he was Arthur is still seen as an English national hero, destined to rise again and save “Albion” form a great threat.. Now what I’m arguing that having a modern interpretation, of an English national hero subjugating the rest of the region through force (as this is a war game) with out the choice to play any other faction is a little bit suspect. Even if the game map doesn’t include Ireland it still features Wales and Scotland; countries which historically (and even till today some would argue) were brutally by the English. This is most defiantly not anything as juvenile as a rant against the English, I’m just saying that perhaps the developers could have handled the issue with a little more balance

    • TeeJay says:

      “Arthur is still seen as an English national hero destined to rise again and save “Albion” form a great threat.”

      No he isn’t English, was never seen as English and isn’t regarded as English by anyone except, it seems, you. Albion (Alba in Scotland) doesn’t correspond to England either, neither does ‘Brittaniia’: they simply indicate the largest island and at the time they were 100% “celtic” / “romano-celtic” – “England” didn’t even exist back then.

      It just doesn’t make any sense to pretend that a 600AD setting involving magic etc and based on a mythological Welsh/Celtic hero-king who fought *against* the Anglo-Saxon invasions is somehow a symbol of English (Anglo-Saxon) nationalism.

      Your scenario of ‘conquest’ is of one Celtic king conquering other Celtic provinces and fighting against Germanic (Saxon) invaders.

      Just to emphasise: England, Scotland and Wales didn’t exist at that point. King Arthur isn’ regarded as an “English” national hero. You are projecting your own modern politics and nationalism back onto a game that you haven’t even played or seen yet. You demand for “balance” doesn’t make any sense.

  18. Ashbery76 says:

    I am really looking foward to this.The Crusaders thy kingdom come game must have helped them in developing experience for King Arthur.

  19. Tei says:

    Medieval War meets Starcraft Protos ?

  20. TRJP says:

    King(‘s Bounty)Arthur’sDom Dynasty Under Fire Warriors? :)

    She said swwwword as well so I’m buying it :)

  21. fuggles says:

    Your heroes get more power through experience in nightly adventures?

    Sounds a bit The Witcher.

  22. Zyrxil says:

    Ugh, a giant flash app as a webpage.

  23. Heliosicle says:

    Medieval 2 but with magic + more awesome? I’m liking the look of this.

  24. Hulk Hogan says:

    YEAH KING ARTHUR

    GO ARTHUR THOSE KINGS

  25. kafka7 says:

    At last! A game that is historically accurate.

  26. Jack says:

    This looks incredible, if it lives up to its promise. For some reason, I trust them.

    Keep us posted, Jim. You’ve got the eye!

  27. Dante says:

    Anyway, this does look very interesting, and the abundance of Knights (plus the mention of Sir Kay) suggest they're keeping close to the myths. It’ll be nice to see some of the more obscure knights given a showcase, for instance, did you know there was a mixed race knight? (Sir Morien, son of Sir Algovire and a Moorish princess) And not one, but two Saracen knights (Sir Safir and Sir Palamedes, the latter of which figures in many stories, and probably has a fair chance of making the cut).
    Arthur was clearly an equal opportunities employer.

  28. lePooch says:

    God I’m hoping this is as good as it looks. I’m glad there are tool tips when you roll over almost anything there, so that you don’t spend half your time guessing what each button does. Some keyboard shortcuts might help too.
    And to anyone who complains about spell spamfests, remember that you only get twelve of these guys, and stacking them together would be a waste, much like stacking generals in Total War was: it is great to have that much power in one stack, but it comes at the cost of less stacks of units to subjugate the far reaches of your empire. I’m guessing that having half a dozen heroes was the best way to demonstrate the spells for the video.
    Also, the demos had them switching heroes a lot to cast spells, which signals to me that the spells will probably be on a pretty long cooldown, which would also mitigate any spell spamming.

    And fuggles, that’s “knightly” adventures. As in heroic and chivalrous, not as in “general by day, hero by night”. Though both ideas kind of make sense from a gaming perspective now that I think about it…

  29. getter77 says:

    Release date now set for the 12th of November on some manner of digital distro sites, time to update everybody again RPS!

  30. getter77 says:

    Right, make that November 24th with support confirmed for Steam at the very least amid the other big DD outfits. They also still plan to do a retail release some months later and there are some fresh Stronghold screenshots on the mainsite.