Wonderbaarlijk: Age Of Wonders III First Footage

By Alec Meer on March 27th, 2013 at 9:22 am.

In one tab I had the Battlefield 4 video, all ratatatat and shouting mens. In the other I had the Age of Wonders III video, all synthy music and dreamlike cloud formations. “A new era in entertainment” versus a sequel to a turn-based strategy/RPG hybrid? It was no contest at all.

This looks HOT. And that’s something I usually only say about cups of coffee or Caribbean islands. I want this on my PC, and I want it right now.

As you may or may not know, Minecraft’s Notch has helped to fund Triumph Studios’ game here, which may one contributing factor to why it looks so wonderfully snazzy.

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71 Comments »

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  1. Quatlo says:

    That minimap! It looks glorious!

    • zul says:

      Screw the minimap – look at the full-zoom map at 1:32! Everything else looks great too. The polish is outstanding! I don’t know how this flew under my radar but I’m keeping a close eye on it now.

  2. Sam says:

    What a wonderfully soothing voice. He should have done the Battlefield 4 video too.

  3. Ysellian says:

    Wunderbar is German not Dutch! We use wonderbaarlijk!

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Could have gone with leuk too but there’s no pun in that.

      • Ysellian says:

        OMG RPS actually changed it. <3 you guys!

        • ThePresent says:

          That is hilarious

          • SaVi says:

            You can’t hide the truth! the URL tells me everything!
            Also I wish they’ll keep those sounds. It’s just not AoW for me otherwise.

    • phelix says:

      I had to blink and check on the auto-translate setting in Chrome when I saw that headline.

    • Golwar says:

      As a German I must express my love for the dutch word “verschrikkelijk”.
      Considering it’s meaning it sounds far too cute!

      • Suits says:

        The sharp ‘g’ always throws people off.

      • sabasNL says:

        It may be your pronounciation- I’m Dutch, and I personally find that “verschrikkelijk” sounds pretty evil. Pretty much like alot of German words, like “Bundesrepublik” or “Volkswagen”.

        • Bhazor says:

          There are so many syllables in an average Deutsch word that you just know German haiku’s must be an absolute bitch to come up with.

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        Joshua says:

        And as a dutch person, I find it hilarious that you germans managed to give one of the cutest creatures on this planet a word which sounds like it is used to insult others. Du Schmetterling!

  4. Tilaton says:

    Looking damn good. Can’t wait.

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    Fatbubba says:

    Hehe, “hupsakee! the blight has been gone from the immediate area”. Never thought I’d hear that Dutch word used in English. Their studio is actually quite near to where I live.

  6. GeminiathXL says:

    Dat map! DAT MAP!

    • Bhazor says:

      I’m assuming the graphical fidelity is a sign of Notch’s money. I can imagine Notch’s pocket change being more than the original budget.

    • bongosabbath says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who got REALLY excited about the map. He zoomed out and it got LEGIT.

  7. luukdeman111 says:

    This looks ridiculously awesome! And the fact that it is a Dutch studio creating it is another reason to buy it. Apparently the Dutch rps community is fairly large actually…

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    Anthile says:

    I read on their forums dire penguins will return once again! Day one purchase confirmed.

  9. scorpion_wins says:

    Speaking as a massive AoW fan this looks promising, they seem to have kept fairly faithful to the winning formula.

    Interesting I guess that they moved from single units to stacks of units, at least for the smaller units. I guess this is a graphical thing only, it just kind of reminds me of HoMM (which for me isn’t a good thing). I hope the castle battles etc will be faithful to the original AoWs, the obstacles etc are what set it apart from the other hex-turn games.

    • Gnarf says:

      Can’t check out the video right now, but.

      My impression was that the single units to stacks of units thing was more a Master of Magic-like thing than a HoMM-like thing.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Units are still individualized during combat. The stack is only for the main map. A convenience, I’d say. Does make the game look a lot like HOMM.

      • bfandreas says:

        I ended up playing HoMM1 searching for a MoM replacement. I ended up playing AoW searching for a HoMM replacement. I ended up playing Warlock: Master of the Arcane looking for an AoW replacement.

        Funny thing is while those games have something in common they were also distinctly different

      • Reapy says:

        Right, my thought it was mom like also, which is good. In mom, while the single unit had 6 guys, it did factor into their damage output, as they take damage they lose guys and therefore part of there damage output, hope that is similar here.

        Already an interesting theme of units, aow was my holdover for mom and also great games in its own right.

        This looks glorious, am very excited for it!

    • Grey Poupon says:

      I’ve played a lot of AoW1 and Shadow Magic and I didn’t find the stacks disturbing at all, as it’s just a graphical thing. But the fact that the dragon wasn’t flying was a bit worrying. Have they gimped flying units? I always really liked having to really counter units. How dragons could just flame breath your puny swordsmen to death if there were no ranged units with them. Not to mention flying heroes with cannons or just the dwarven airships. Oh god, I hope you can’t poke an airship with a sword.

  10. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Attacking a dragon from behind isn’t exactly wise. Hope they fix that.

    Would be great if they introduced zones of control to the tactical combat. It’s unclear from the battle video if this is the case. But if units can just move freely between enemies, combat looses some interesting tactical choices.

    Conversion seems awfully powerful if the unit being converted is allowed to move on the very same turn.

    It’s a WIP, I know. But just some thoughts. Looks incredible in any case. I’ll be all over it when it launches.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      Can you really call it introducing a feature when such a thing was in every AoW game to date? If you mean that you can’t just run away from a hex that’s next to an enemy without any consequences. I’d say it’s just not in the game yet.

  11. SkittleDiddler says:

    Hopefully this will be the Age of Wonders that Fallen Enchantress wasn’t.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Oh c’mon, that’s unfair! Fallen Enchantress never tried to be Age of Wonders.

      • BTAxis says:

        Perhaps that’s where it went wrong then.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Fallen Enchantress wasn’t trying to be AoW, but FE and its predecessor War of Magic both borrowed heavily enough from the AoW series to give them a very similar feel.

        To be honest, though, the Elemental series borrowed heavily from every game in the genre.

    • killias2 says:

      Honestly, I don’t get the hate for FE. It’s quite good, even if its disparate parts don’t quite merge together in the right way. It’s not as tightly designed as, say, Warlock, but it’s also a lot meatier and more ambitious. It has more room to grow, while Warlock feels more like a quick snack. Good tasting but neither filling nor nutritious.

      As a sidenote, the beta for the first FE expand/alone is out. I bought it (20 bucks if you own FE, 40 standalone), and I think it really deals with some of the games major issues. With swarming and a few other changes, battles are more interesting, and they’ve combined the hero and the town mechanics in a much more coherent package. Overall, it just feels a lot closer to where people would want it to be.

      It’s still in beta, but it’s already getting rave reviews from Stardock’s fans. For anyone who was curious about FE, I highly suggest looking at FE:Legendary Heroes.

      Also – AGE OF WONDERS, WHOOO HOOOO!!!!

      • Phendron says:

        Good to hear, I’ve been playing quite a bit of FE lately and was considering the early access.

      • Arkh says:

        You forgot to say it’s Steam-only.

        So much for gaming bill of rights.

        4) Gamers shall have the right to demand that download managers and updaters not force themselves to run or be forced to load in order to play a game.

        9) Gamers shall have the right to demand that a single-player game not force them to be connected to the Internet every time they wish to play.

        • Brun says:

          Steam requires neither of those things.

          • Arkh says:

            If Steam needs an update, you can’t play any of your games until you update it. You can’t go into offline mode without going online first, and that defeats the purpose of offline mode.

            So yes, it haves both.

          • tormos says:

            Most steam games can be run without steam. Also I play steam offline without switching to offline mode all the time anyway.
            EDIT:
            removed brainfart

          • Arkh says:

            You are correct, Tomos, but it still requires Steam. And to get into offline mode, you need to be online at least once, and it defeats the purpose of the mode.
            And Steam is a form of DRM. Let me give you an example.
            I live in the dorms of my university and, being a shitty country I live in, there is no internet in the dorms. My desktop PC therefore has no internet access. While I can download a game from GoG using the labs or university computers or go with my laptop to one of the wifi spots that are strategically located outside the dorms, and install and play the game in my desktop, and while I could download FE, download a key from Stardock and also play it on my desktop, I can’t do this with Steam. Basically, Steam is renting games, and I dislike that concept. It’s a form of DRM, and I’m also contrary to that idea. It’s a service, and I’d like to think games are more akin to books and music than an a service. While owning the game via GoG or directly from Stardock allows me to own the game, to download it anywhere and install it anywhere.

            Exclusivity in release platforms always hurt the costumers. Stardock were great because they were consumer friendly, but they are not anymore. Brad Gaming Bill of Rights was about that, and the hypocrisy of it made a lot of fans mad.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Hey, I like FE, but I don’t like the bugs. It’s buggy to the point of being unplayable at times.

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    Clavus says:

    Hard to believe games like this are being developed in my city. Just checked where Triumph Studios’ offices are actually located, and it seems I cycle right past it almost weekly.

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      Makariel says:

      I even had my bass guitar lessons in the same building they have their offices in. First time I saw the logo there I was a bit confused. Needed to google to confirm that it’s actually the game developer and not some random company with the same name ;)

    • trjp says:

      Most people will have local games developers – we’re all over the place!

      It’s one of the few industries which is properly geographically diverse both worldwide and right down to your downstep.

      Big names local to me are Reflections (Shadow of the Beast and Driver) and a branch of CCP (Eve – they were working on Dust 514 last I heard and things are QUIET around that?) We used to have a division of Midway (they did LA Rush and Wheelman) but that was closed-down

      We also have Eutechnyx, still knocking out slightly ropey racers and quite a few other developers – also quite a lot of App Developers (if the job ads are anything to go by!)

      A little further afield we used to have the studios of the Falcus Brothers who remain the only people I’ve ever applied for a job with and the only people mad enough to offer me one (which I had to decline in the end due to a family issue) – Mobygames seems to have lost track of them when their last studio closed tho, wonder what they’re upto?

      Game developers are everywhere – find out who’s local to you and support them eh? :)

      p.s. Dutchies could do worse than follow Vincent “Cyhwuhx” Leeuw on Google+ – he works in and is a keen follower of the Dutch gaming development scene and most of his posts are in English for people who can’t pronounce his name too – nice guy :)

  13. pakoito says:

    Between this, Dragon Commander and Eador:MotBW it’s going to be a sweeeet year.

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      RedViv says:

      Truly it is a wonderful year now that PC Gaming Is Dying.

      • BTAxis says:

        I thought that was last year?

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          RedViv says:

          And that before. And the one before that. Don’t get me started on the one yet further back. And the year that preceded it. Oh boy!

      • Grey Poupon says:

        It’s already dead. I mean, haven’t you noticed the amount of zombies running around in every damn game nowadays? All that’s left is just rotting corpses that moan more than they should.

  14. Hoaxfish says:

    The little squads in combat seem to walk at the speed of Benny Hill.

  15. Incanus says:

    Seems insanely good. Instant buy when it comes out, please just take my money and let’s forget about crappy Fallen Enchantress and consorts…

  16. Loque says:

    How is this (cool) game different from Heroes of Might & Magic?

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      RedViv says:

      More politics.

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      Anthile says:

      It draws a lot from HoMM, obviously. Even some units are basically the same. AoW is more complex all around and has a bit of a 4X vibe to it. On top of that, you always control a super powerful wizard as an avatar who can cast spells which can even alter the environment (as seen in the video).

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      cpt_freakout says:

      City management plays more like Civ than HoMM, and while sometimes it gets to the point where all your cities are the same, there are a couple mods out there for AoW 2 that allow you to customize your cities a bit, so that you have your “magic-user producing city” and your “big-ass unit producing city” more clearly defined than in the original. So the management aspect is completely different than HoMM in the sense that you’re creating a race-wide effort of war, while in HoMM it’s more about supporting the actions of your heroes. These are relatively rare and can die easily, which if I remember correctly was not the case in HoMM, so the battles become quite more tactical.

    • Bhazor says:

      Its much more of a 4x game than HOMM ever was. I also think there is a lot less fiddly stuff like you don’t have to manually collect resources.

    • b0rsuk says:

      - units have upkeep costs, as opposed to HOMM where stack grow forever. This makes it easier to balance. Spell Power and Knowledge in HOMM are notoriously bad stats.
      – combat is a lot more interesting, for example obstacles obstruct line of fire, you can move and shoot on the same turn, units from adjacent hexes join combat, the attacker can casually retreat from battle by moving units back to retreat zone (think about sieges), individual units get experience in form of medals (none, silver, gold)
      – unit production is based on choice. Most dwellings in AoW: SM offer 2 types of units and you can recruit one at a time
      – you can build roads. I’m not sure if these features will be still in the game, but last AoW game allowed to build cities and watch them grow, raze cities and adventure map structures (can be rebuilt),
      – units that fly on adventure map, including over water, mountains. Humans have Flying Ship transport as a superunit.
      – much less exploration and resource collection, questing
      – you can pre-enchant units before battle, it costs mana in upkeep. Summoned creatures are similar to normal creatures but they eat mana. More interesting adventure map spells, including attack spells.
      – there is research instead of building guilds
      – you can modify terrain, including digging tunnels in underground
      – spells cast in battle use global mana resource and casting skill (points capped per turn). This shuts down suicide bomber spellcaster heroes
      – heroes are much less common, they show up from time to time. Units can move on their own. They are also generally not as powerful, they are similar to normal units. No global bonuses that make your troops deal several times more damage or mass enchantments that last basically the whole battle.
      – troops and buildings take X turn to build
      – cities have morale, good morale sometimes makes production finish faster

      It has many similarities to Heroes IV, except it doesn’t suck as a strategy game and there are no last minute mechanics like potions of invulnerability that broke the game.

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    oWn4g3 says:

    I loved AoW 2 and Shadow Magic and to be honest I always disliked the idea of producing it as a 3D game. The fidelity and the really iconic look of the 2D sprites and enviroment assets from the previous titles could not be recreated in 3D I thought.

    I’m glad this trailer proves me wrong. This will be an instant buy and I hope the multiplayer functionality will be as strong as it was in Shadow Magic (2 player armies vs 1 AI army battles for example).

  18. karry says:

    Dude, where did my colours go ? What is up with this muted palette ? Well, at least its not brown-grey mess.

  19. guygodbois00 says:

    This is excellent news. As few people above stated, I believe this one and the next will be simply glorious years for playing games on PC.

  20. sonson says:

    Just need to make the AI a bit more rational and offer a better single player campaign, anything else, including the sumptuous presentation, is a bonus. AOW is still an excellent game.

    Although I hope they improve on the sound of men dying, which according to the above has currently been assigned the value of “the noise of mild irritation at being shoved”.

  21. wodin says:

    Looks good. Keep my eye on it. Love all this turn based tactical combat coming back into games. Though maybe some games should start looking into WEGO combat. Both plot moves then watch what happens.

    • Phendron says:

      Age of Wonders 2 had the option for either mode, set at the start of the game.

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    PoulWrist says:

    I want this :D

  23. squareking says:

    I don’t say this often, but: Day one purchase. \o/

  24. Ateius says:

    Oh man, I remember these games. I always found they got kind of grindy in the endgame, but they were still fun. This new version looks fantastically pretty – I’m looking forward to it!

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      It’s the kind of grind I don’t mind. Ah, the memories of playing all-night local versus matches on custom maps. Those were the days back then in the past.

  25. Nokterian says:

    Very fun to see the title i am dutch and this is great for our little country to shine with a lot of great games.

  26. Judas says:

    When can I play this? I hope it is compelling and a quality game at retail.