King Arthur: The Genre Ambiguous Wargame

By John Walker on November 26th, 2009 at 11:29 pm.

Eek, I can only control one horse at a time!

I have absolutely no idea what this game is about, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that a decent number will see the pic and the videos and say, “By criminy, I need to be playing this before the day is through.” (Yeah, yeah, Jim’s mentioned it before – Disgruntled Ed) I’m also fairly sure the creators aren’t sure what the game is about either, since they’ve called what is very obviously a battle simulating RTS game, “King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame“. I guess you, well, play a role… But anyway, for those of you with the weird genetic anomaly that allows you to enjoy strategy gaming, this looks like a good effort from a smaller developer. I say that because a) it looks very pretty and b) it frightens me with complicated menus and more than one unit on screen at once.

It’s available only on Steam, and, well, here’s the catch: it costs £35. (£31.49 at its current sale price.) On a day when you can get eighteen THQ games for less than that, this seems a really quite astonishing price for a niche game from a small developer without a publisher.

Their previous game, Crusaders: They Kingdom Come, got reasonable scores, and reasonable reviews – here’s Eurogamer’s. I’d tell you more about the company, Neocore Games, but the Flash dropdown menu for the details page on their site appears halfway across the screen, and I can’t get my mouse there in time to click on it. I’d also link to the teaser trailer, but they’ve uploaded all their videos as WMVs, not embeddable Flash… Guys – this isn’t how to get your game talked about. Fortunately people have put stuff on YouTube, so here’s the three dev diaries for your perusal. It really does look rather impressive.

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66 Comments »

  1. frymaster says:

    you could still link them even if you can’t embed them
    or you could embed wmv videos using WMP (though I haven’t a clue how to)

  2. houseinrlyeh says:

    Ah, and when you are in Germany, you get the dreaded “This item isn’t available in your region”, which isn’t how you get your game bought.

    • unclelou says:

      Yup.

      I guess they’re hoping for a publishing deal in Germany, but it’s almost frighteningly retarded.

  3. Zoe01 says:

    I’m soo proud of my country (Hungary) now. They’ve done a great job with creating such a great game even though they are a smaller, and (yet) unknown developer. RPS, please do a review for this game, it deserves at least that much!

    • Subject 706 says:

      You already gave us Dr. Balthazar, so your pride is justified.

  4. Pidesco says:

    It’s only 26 euros in Portugal. Haha. For once, a Steam version of a game isn’t ridiculously expensive for the Portuguese.

    • sfury says:

      Same price in Bulgaria. Is this some weird “You’re-a-small-EU-country-like-us” discount, or is it so for all EU states except the UK? :)

    • alset says:

      26 euros in Romania as well, only 12% more than the american price!

  5. Skalpadda says:

    There seems to be a lot of good ideas going into the game, Shame about the 40€ price tag, might be worth keeping an eye out for it in Steam sales though.

  6. Magius Paulus says:

    Lol, those spells seem pretty powerful for a RTS. I especially liked the teleport spell. Transport heavy cavalry in all your archers ftw :)

  7. Alastayr says:

    John, that’s the game Jim already posted a lot about. Their Developer Diaries were pretty cool and they’re even here on RPS for our convenient viewing pleasure…

    I was going to leap of faith into it but it’s not “available” here in Germany. The tubes that deliver it don’t route through Germany or something. And it looks like they’ll roll out the game digital first, then try to find a retail pub, Killing Floor style. Also, bugs, apparently.

  8. Psychopomp says:

    Been playing it all day, and it’s pretty good. There’s some issues where units will get stuck in eachother, and theres a few things you can do in a battle that the AI can’t seem to comprehend, but overall it’s a very competent strategy game, that manages to capture the Arthurian vibe rather well.

  9. Dorian Cornelius Jasper says:

    Yes, I just stumbled onto it right when looking at the THQ package deal. Tried looking for info on the game and only found the flash site!

    Thanks John.

  10. autogunner says:

    really interested in this, from what ive heard from people that took the plunge there are some huge ctd bugs very early on. still heres hoping for a patch

  11. shalrath says:

    The guys name is ZOLTAN!?

    Sold.

  12. qrter says:

    Somehow, the idea that RPS has an editor is infinitely humorous to me.. ;)

  13. Nickosha says:

    I’ve read it has some technical problems like crashing, but the game itself looks really cool.

  14. Scoteh says:

    Im sorry, I played this for 4 hours today, and I was incredibly psyched for it. In all the videos and pictures I’d seen it looked like a fantastic, smooth RTS experience….but….well…..it’s not…

    It clunky on my reasonable machine, but turning the settings down too much seems to transform the game far too drastically into being hideous. The controls are fiddly and although there is a tutorial, simple things like “how in gods name do i get my troops to run rather than walk” can be a nightmare. Troops just seem to have an inate desire to not do what theyre told, or if they do what you want, they do it slowly and as disinterestedly as possible. The camera is fidgetty and unpleasant at best, completely useless at worst, and although there is clearly a complex calculation going on in unit combat, it seems completely hidden from the player, so that very occasionally you’ll find that you are just completely outmatched by the enemy. Several times when playing the story I’ve found that some armies will just annihilate you over and over, and if you do win, it will cost you virtually all your troops.

    The turn-based side of the game is fantastic though, absolutely no complaints, the questing portion that makes it role-playing is quite intrigueing and a nice change of pace, and everything smells of a really well executed and more in-depth in places Total War. It does it credit, and frankly I can see myself continuing play thru to completion, but Im going to be auto-battling and hoping that theyve made that sufficient, because the RTS portion of the game really does wreck this game, ironically.

    Wow, that turned into a full rant, only meant to say “Yeah its alright but wait til its cheaper”

  15. getter77 says:

    The devs are posting on the Steam forum for the game and seems to be cobblin’ together for a patchin’ as the details roll in—so thankfully the game isn’t DOA or anything. Still need to build up enough cash for this and Solium Infernum on my end though, so it could be awhile.

    I have a dream though…and that dream is for these folks, Neocore, to partner up with KOEI for some manner of ridiculous, epic, and marginally historically accurate venture.

    • Psychopomp says:

      FUCKING. YES.

    • TCM says:

      Neocore, Creative Assembly, Firaxis, and KOEI. All Together.

      It would be amazing.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Wow, Nobunaga’s Ambition and Genghis Khan are two of my most favorite games ever. Just thinking of how Neocore and KOEI could do this almost gives me chills.

  16. Shalrath says:

    “I have a dream though…and that dream is for these folks, Neocore, to partner up with KOEI for some manner of ridiculous, epic, and marginally historically accurate venture.”

    Oh my God, I just saw a vision of Romance of the Three Kingdoms II done like this… and I think I need new pants now, good sir.

  17. Spacewalk says:

    I was watching Excalibur on DVD just the other day so I’m in the mood for an ‘rthurian playing game and this looks like it’ll do the trick.

  18. mechanoid says:

    The developer wrote to me that Ubisoft owns the rights for the German market and that they won’t sell the english version in Germany until a localized version is released in Feb. They won’t even let us see the game page on Steam…

  19. klumhru says:

    “this seems a really quite astonishing price for a niche game from a small developer without a publisher”

    The price is quite high, agreed, but…
    By this reasoning, they should be depreciate their product, as it doesn’t meet the apparent criteria for a “worthwhile” game? Eh?

    • jalf says:

      No, by this reasoning, they should lower the price so that more people will buy it.

      MW2 gets away with charging more because they’ve already spent approx. 20 bazillions building up a brand, and marketing the game, so that people would buy it *no matter what was in the game, and no matter the price*.

      These people haven’t done that, so they have to actually sell at a price point that people are willing to pay.

    • klumhru says:

      The argument that somehow, by spending bazillions on a game, the right is conferred to charge more than for another game with the same or more entertainment, but a tenth of the cost, is completely invalid in my opinion.

    • qrter says:

      The thing is, it’s not really an argument, that’s just how the market works. People buy what they know (or at least can try). People know the Call of Duty series, people know what Infinity Ward makes, they have some idea what to expect. Having a good track record means you can ask a higher price. It does not, however, work the other way round.

      I mean, you can say this is invalid in your opinion, or unfair, it’s just that your opinion doesn’t really come in to it.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Jesus christ, I’ve brought this game up a lot recently, but http://www.shrapnelgames.com/Illwinter/DOM3/DOM3_page.html

      You know where I stand in this.

  20. TotalBiscuit says:

    The price is only high in the UK, it’s perfectly reasonable on EU and US steam.

    • jalf says:

      €36 is “perfectly reasonable”? It’s about £33, or more than the UK price.

    • Eightyseven says:

      its 36 euro for me thats more then 31.49 pounds

    • Zoe01 says:

      It’s €26.99 in the EU, I think that’s a fair price.

    • Premium User Badge

      skalpadda says:

      That would be in parts of the EU. I’m in Sweden and it’s 39,99€ 35,99€ here.

    • qrter says:

      The Netherlands here, also 35,99 (and that’s with a discount).

  21. -Spooky- says:

    Buy Mount & Blade, install few mods.. done.

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      Might as well argue that instead of buying Burnout, you should buy Gran Turismo. TOTALLY THE SAME GAME RITE?

    • Weylund says:

      No, it’s like arguing that instead of buying Clash of Steel, you should buy The Operational Art of War (you get that reference, yes?). Which is absolutely correct if you enjoy the idea of buying a game and getting several dozen more for free. Buy the open-ended thing. I’d be surprised if there weren’t several well-written Arthurian M&B mods.

    • Psychopomp says:

      M&B Arthurian mod=/=Arthurian Total War/Age of Wonders mash up

    • TotalBiscuit says:

      No, you pretentious nitwit, they aren’t even the same genre of game, you cannot compare them so stop making stupid recommendations.

  22. Finn says:

    Didn’t buy it, mate with a similar rig did and the general experience was:
    - Dowload complete from steam
    - Run game
    - Game crashes to desktop at the King Arthur logo
    - Punch the keyboard and screen
    - Scour the web for possible solutions
    - Some hours late the devs start posting that they are fixing the issues
    - Some more hours later (well, this morning relly) friends calls me up, there’s an update via steam out.
    - Game updated, game started
    - Game crashes at the exact same place

    Now, you could say there’s something wrong with my mate’s PC… problem is that lots of people are having the exact same issue, not to mention countless others reporting random crashes, bugs, etc.

    A shame really, the game, for once, is really cheap on Steam (Portugal) and the general idea I had before was “oh hey!, awesome, a Total War-like game but with magic!” and now… oh well.

  23. cartouche d'encre says:

    It looks interesting game. I also have see a playable version of the game prior to this week. I was especially impressed at first by the color and smoothness of the environments. The battle system has had some minor adjustments. It looks like the option to just move has vanished, but it appeared that the AI behaviour could be customized. A good trade off. Since the enemies were easy slimes, I just had everyone attack, and again, the graphics jumped out at me, this time because of how expressively the sprites animated.

  24. Danny says:

    This game reminds me of Birthright. Now *that* was an awesome game, back in the day.

  25. jti says:

    This game seems to just have too much problems at the moment. I’ll consider it after I read some reviews I can trust.

  26. HexagonalBolts says:

    I’m surprised the title wasn’t: Medieval: Total Ripoff (cringe)

    • Psychopomp says:

      I’m surprised people don’t say that every shooter is ripping off Doom, these days.

  27. Rane2k says:

    Is there a demo version of this?
    Because i´d really like to decimate tiny armored men with fireballs and stuff, but i also really don´t like to blow 30 bucks on a game I barely know anything about.

    …. nevermind, “This item is currently unavailable in your region”, thanks Steam.

  28. Orange says:

    Game looks really promising but that price is far far too high, especially with all the deals on Steam this week. Maybe I’ll pick it up when it’s dropped to £10 and they’ve got some patches out.

  29. Vogon says:

    Bought KA the day it came out. It’s like Total War except it can keep up my interest much better. There’s more variety thanks to the RPG-ness and the text & picture adventures.

    The game still needs some patching, though. I just finished formulating my masterful plan to invade a camp full of giants and wargs when the game crashed and I came here instead.

    But damn, it’s fun. I’m loving the text & picture adventures. They remind me of the King of Dragon Pass.

  30. Ruben van der Leun says:

    So tonight, around 9:00 PM, I restarted my game now that I was sure that the game wouldn’t crash in-between battles. I was preparing myself for about 1-2 hours of entertainment before turning in for the night.

    It’s now 2:45 AM.

    Honestly, it’s weird, but not even Dragon Age managed to keep me up like this, it always gave me a ‘Well, I can continue playing tonight’ feeling. I’ve currently reached the second chronicles where I can’t rely on having all my knights in one battle[spoiler](and you basically face your first war)[/spoiler], and the game is just too addictive. The battles are tremendously fun, I’m making use of all the available spells, and watching my units grow as they level is a great feature. Major props for the quests as well, they break up the pacing a bit and are able to tell a bit of a storyline, with some big choices to make along the way that can change the game. It’s perhaps a simple feature, but it’s implemented well and makes a huge difference.

    I was hoping that this was going to be a good game, but it has surpassed my expectations. Was afraid that it was going to be bug-ridden after my initial experiences, but all my problems were dissolved with the first patch.

    Kudos to Neocore.

  31. Bob says:

    I have the exact same problem as Finn’s mate and the update/patch didn’t fix my game either. Still crashes at the logo.

  32. Vinraith says:

    I’m going to be very interested to hear about the status of this after a patch or two. The AI needs to be stronger, from what I’m hearing, and the glitches obviously need to be worked out, but there’s enormous potential for a great strategy title here. Please do follow up on this, RPS, with either a “Wot I Think” or at least an impressions piece.

  33. Subject 706 says:

    Went out on a limb and bought this. No crash problems so far, liking the game, great job by a small studio. Hope they patch up the problems some people are having and promote this game some more, cos it deserves more attention.

  34. OJ287 says:

    wwwwwhaT? 35 quid? I’d be prepared to pay no more than £25 for a game these days and that’s for a game I know I’m going to like.

  35. Interested says:

    I’ve been checking this game out recently and am interested in checking it out. As someone previously mentioned I also thought it sounded similar to the old Birthright game, which was/is epicly sweet. Does anyone know that game and can say if they think it is similar or not? Thx.

  36. Blurr11 says:

    This looks very very interesting. As a veteran Total War player this is something that has been in the “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” section of my head for a long time.

    I don’t have the money right now but when i do this is definitely getting some attention.

    Visually it looks rather good or is that just form the videos ?

    As for the bugs well i remember when STALKER came out small studios always have this problem i think its more to do with the face that if they don’t get the game out there quick they loose revenue and go under. Hopefully patching will work.

    (are these guys Hungarian i know nothing of the studio?)

  37. mujadaddy says:

    Dear NeoCore,

    Please do the next Warhammer Fantasy Battle game.

    Thanks,

    Everyone

  38. Ragabhava says:

    As a long time TotalWar player I wished for a fantasy setting since long. After playing a few hours I have to say that this game is a real genuine effort on its own and really hasnt much in common with TW, all for the better! They weren’t kidding with the role-playing part: I now understand why they wanted to include it in the name albeit in such a cumbersome manner. Very immersive so far! Kudos to the devs!!

  39. Interested says:

    For those of you who were thinking this sounded Birthright: The Gorgon’s Alliance-esk then you have been deceived. Though it sounds like it would be with the so called “adventures” they go on its more like Heroes of Might and Magic where there is an icon on the map that says come here for a character bonus and once you get there you go through a series of questions much like a choose your own adventure book and once you finish going through the story via answering questions you get your end result.

    What we need to see is another game like the gorgon’s alliance where its a Total War kind of strategy game and you have the option of choosing to run your own battles WITH your character and other higher ups in his empire being able to do 3D dungeon quests here and there for unique artifacts and bonuses to your empire for the strategy aspect. Would be very cool to see that kind of game done again.

  40. UK_John says:

    Well, here it is January, patch 1.03 is already out, and the game is totally stable and playing great on my XP system!

    What’s annoyed me, is whereas big companies always get the ‘benefit of the doubt’ with their games, so that many games that should have got 8.0 got 9.0+ (Empire Total War anybody?!). At the other end though, a company with 1% of the funding can release a game of this quality, and get absolutely no breaks for it! Hence their 8.0 game stays at 8.0 and not a single review points out how good this is considering it’s coming from a small publisher! I think this is how it keeps the small guy down, and supports the status quo and the hold of the big publishers!

    The fact is no large publisher would release a game like this because it’s too sophisticated and PC centric to be converted to console!

    I know the price for this, for us in the UK, is more about STEAM than it is the publisher. But in any event, for a game that is obviously got 50 hours of gameplay and lots of replayability, £35 is a reasonable price!

    After all, at retail, here in the UK HL2 Ep 2, with it’s FIVE HOURS of gameplay had a price point of £24.99!!! I know you could download it for less, but the fact that Valve could have that sort of retail price in ANY market and yet didn’t get talked about at all, shows how even us gamers tend to go after the small guys in a way we don’t go after the big guys!