We Are The Knight: Legends Of Eisenwald

By Adam Smith on May 18th, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

At its best, King’s Bounty took Heroes of Might and Magic on in its own castle courtyard, stormed the battlements, kicked the po-faced paste out of the venerable old king who sat there wheezing through his life, and then married a zombie and rode off on a spider-steed with the vocal inflections of a country gentleman. Overworld exploration and basic strategic army building, turn-based combat, levelling and loot – it had all those things, but at its best it also had all the bonkers stuff. Legends of Eisenwald aims to be a similar game but takes its theme and atmosphere from a different place, dropping the fantasy cliches of smug elf and bearded dwarf, and aiming instead for a truly gothic late medieval experience.

There’s recently been a Kickstarter project for the game and it has reached its initial funding target, although there are further incentives if money continues to be digitally delivered over the next three days. It’s also one of those projects that was already a good way into development when it joined Kickstarter, the platform being used to spread awareness, finish more quickly and efficiently, and presumably to buy food and pay rent. This means anyone pledging $25 or more should have access to the closed beta by June rather than waiting years to get their grubby paws on anything playable.

The pitch video follows the development team dressed up like a gang of LARPers in what could be excruciating fashion, but it’s actually one of the best I’ve seen. It’s informative, contains plenty of footage of the actual game and everyone involved seems to be just about uncomfortable enough for me to believe they were forced into this by their CEO, who has an actual sword and therefore must be respected. If you were to pledge $9,555 you’d have a sword as well because Aterdux Entertainment will send you one.

Enough about the rewards and the pitch though, what about the game. There’s a combat video from the alpha but if there’s anything more boring to the eye than a HOMM type battle being played out slowly and with commentary I don’t know what it is. I’ll put it here anyway but please don’t watch the first 30 seconds and throw your monitor out of the window. Read about the combat here instead, that’s more helpful.

The important thing about the combat is that every unit will have something to do on every turn, rather than simply trotting around a tiny grid. If you’re engaged with enemies, you fight them until one of you is incapacitated, if you’re not, then you choose who to engage with. Ranged units seem to be handled like artillery, based in a fixed location and firing from there, requiring protection.

These kind of tactical grids have always had a high degree of abstraction, whether it’s in the representation of hundreds of units as a single figure taking up a single space, or the non-existent overview of a hero or commander. Eisenwald seems to embrace that abstract nature and utilise it for a very specific sort of tactical conflict. I like.

I also like these words on the world map, the strategy side of each scenario. Look at these upgrade branches and tell me they’re not far more more pleasing than a tiny goblin turning into a meaty orc that then inexplicably levels up into a dragon.

Well, bow me down

There’s plenty more about how that side of things works here.

It all looks mightily impressive and I’ll be taking a look at the beta as soon as it’s available.

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46 Comments »

  1. Spider Jerusalem says:

    i’m so glad this finally got some coverage.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      yea, I was surprised by the lack of it given how meaty their pitch was on actual detail.

      It’s nice to see that it has passed their base funding goal. I was pessimistically thinking it would be one of those that failed, even though they do everything right, but simply lack the PR coverage.

      • Colonel J says:

        I backed this having first found about it in the forum thread that Spider Jerusalem started. I wasn’t going to throw money at another Kickstarter this month, already backed Wasteland 2, Starlight Inception and Grim Dawn in the last few weeks, but I really like the look of this and of all of those, this is the one I’m most looking forward to playing. And it may actually arrive before the end of this year which is nice.

        • Darklord says:

          Yeah some of the best things about this is we get their previous game in a few weeks as a reward for backing them, then within another month or so we get to start beta testing! (if you go for $25 or greater) That means we’ll be playing this much earlier than Double Fine Adventure, Wasteland 2 or any of the others! :-D

    • Bhazor says:

      Well the weekly alotment of Kickstarter articles were all taken up by Grayson trying to flog that port of an iPhone game.

    • Squirrelfanatic says:

      Hehe, yes, I am also glad this got finally mentioned on the frontpage. If you check back through the last articles about kickstarter project, you’ll find people in the comments pleading for just that.

      Great success!

  2. jrodman says:

    My main reaction: They’re going to do all this on this pittance of a kickstarter budget?

    • mickygor says:

      I think they’re planning on doing 10% of all of this on that pittance of a kickstarter budget. They’ve done 90% already.

    • Maldomel says:

      They already did much of the job. As said in the article, the kickstarter is to draw attention (and get some more funding).

    • malkav11 says:

      Also, they’re based in Belarus, where I suspect USD go a fair bit further than they do in some other parts of the world.

      Edit: For reference, their current total of just shy of $65,000 USD is 529,799,510 Belarusian rubles. Yes, that’s almost 530 million rubles. Probably not as impressive in terms of purchasing power as it might look, but still.

      • pseudoanon says:

        That’s nothing. It’s 1.3 billion Vietnamese đồng.

        More relevantly, in terms Purchasing Power Parity, one dollar in Belarus gets you about 3.2 times as much as in the US, and 2.4 times as much as the UK, provided I understood how PPP works correctly.

  3. tizio says:

    Looking very promising. Realy good musik and art.

  4. Maldomel says:

    Looks good. Very good. And it feels like they really put some thoughts about their combat system, to change a bit from HoMM and KB.

    As for goblins, they take hormones. Everybody knows that.

  5. mckertis says:

    It was okay with fantasy stuff in King’s Bounty & HoMM, but with semi-realistic setting combat at these distances looks incredibly clunky and weird.

    Also, i wonder how much does it cost to recruit a USian stand-in flunky to get on Kickstarter.

    • wodin says:

      I agree, I have serious doubts about the combat and how engaging ti will be and also how much depth it will have.

      For that reason…I’m out.

  6. Orija says:

    Who would not want to be the godly British longbowman?!

  7. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    I was just looking at this kickstarter a second ago. The problem I have is that it just looks very bland- lacking any of the personality of say King’s Bounty. I wish someone would take the concept and put it in a completely different setting.

    That said, I’ll keep an eye on it and probably add my tuppence it if it reaches the Mac stretch goal.

    As an aside, I think people coming in the comments thread and doing some extreme plugging for other kickstarter projects is really not a good idea. From an backer’s perspective it can actually be a good thing if a project doesn’t get funded because not enough people are interested in it.

    • Miles says:

      It’s already planned on Mac and Linux, the stretch goal is only for simultaneous release with Windows.

      As for the art style, it’s true King’s Bounty use a style appealing to more people, but growing a bit tired of that art style being overused in games I’m looking forward to something less generic. That, and there’s enough elves/hobbits already, so the direction they’re going towards is a nice change for the HOMM genre.

  8. MythArcana says:

    And the catch is…browser-based? ICR? Subscriptions? Micro? Steam-exclusive? What? I know at least one of those will be coming.

  9. Darklord says:

    I have to say this game looks great, I was watching the timelapse video and the music is so hauntingly beautiful.

  10. S Jay says:

    not my cup of tea.

  11. nonadventurer says:

    Looks pretty great. Backing away.

  12. JackDandy says:

    Thanks for covering this.

  13. Brass_cankles says:

    A developer describing the Codex as “extremely friendly” doesn’t come along very often. Anyway, their interview over there is interesting, and Aterdux are faring well in the forum thread (link: http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index.php?threads/rpg-codex-interview-legends-of-eisenwald-turn-based-strategy-rpg.71603/). Overall, Legends of Eisenwald seems to be a solid product made by some genuinely nice guys.

  14. Lambchops says:

    This is on my select group of backed Kickstarter projects. I thought the style of combat/upgrades etc would make for some compulsive play and the setting/art.music all look rather excellent. Glad this one made its target.

    It’s also not a type of game I’ve actuall played particularly often, which has me wondering if I should have a shot of some King’s Bounty too.

    • Darklord says:

      King’s Bounty the Legend and it’s sequel’s rank as some of the best games I’ve played in recent years.

    • cosmicolor says:

      There are demos of KB: The Legend and its sequel Armoured Princess (along with its xpac Crossworlds) around so give those a shot. I have both and would recommend starting with The Legend, since it has a slightly nicer start, whereas Armoured Princess/Crossworlds is a fair bit harder. They are both hard though, hard enough for me to succumb to giving myself a hand with console codes once or twice.

  15. El_Emmental says:

    Having watched the video and some posts, I think the game is worth the $15 (or $25 for the beta, or $35 for all the future DLCs including the map editor), and the devs really deserve it.

    I’m still on the fence regarding how much I want to pledge, especially since I haven’t played through the early Homm and the King’s Bounty waiting in my backlog.

  16. MrEvilGuy says:

    “please don’t watch the first 30 seconds and throw your monitor out of the window”

    Too late.

  17. Davie says:

    On a tangentially related note, what ever happened to the RTS? Relic and TCA seem to be the only ones making them anymore. There seem to be surprising quantity of turn-based and grand strategy games coming out these days, but it’s a shame to see so little innovation with real-time stuff.

    • malkav11 says:

      There’s also been Ruse and Wargame, Achron, Sword of the Stars II (for the same definition of RTS as the Total War games, anyway), several Men of War titles, Hegemony, Naval War: Arctic Circle, Age of Empires Online, a few Paradox grand strategy games (again, for a loose definition of RTS), King Arthur, King Arthur II, The King’s Crusade, a couple of Real Warfare titles, and various other things. Not much in a AAA vein, I grant you, but RTS is a genre that historically has only worked on PC and AAA development is increasingly insistent on at minimum a multiplatform release. If you’re asking about Kickstarters, well… I dunno. The RTS genre’s hardly been as neglected as turn-based strategy (/ RPGs with turn-based combat), adventure games, etc, and is also probably more expensive to meet expectations.

  18. Alextended says:

    Turn based Mount&Blade. Neat.

    • Tony M says:

      Yes I love the fact they are going for a Darklands / Mount and Blade style medieval feel, rather than elves and orcs.

    • ichigo2862 says:

      I agree.

  19. Towercap says:

    I saw ladyarmour without embossed boobs and pledged.

  20. soulblur says:

    I should think that the final upgrade helmets on the archers/crossbowmen above would make aiming considerably more difficult.

  21. bill says:

    Can’t watch the video, but my main issue with combat in King’s Bounty was it just got so grindy.

    I really wish engaging obviously weaker forces, or starting to win a battle in a highly convincing way, just caused all the enemy troops to rout off the field (and not come back!). It’d make the grindy battles a lot shorter, without affecting the important close ones. It’d also reward good tactics at the start.

    That and not keeping all the tactical options locked away in a upgrade tree. (positioning your own units needs to be unlocked??? )

  22. djim says:

    Looks like an interesting game definately on my watch list now.

    I have to say that “Look at these upgrade branches and tell me they’re not far more more pleasing than a tiny goblin turning into a meaty orc that then inexplicably levels up into a dragon” is just wrong.

  23. mageta says:

    Hopefully one day, there will be a game as good as heroes3.