Eyes-On: Gettysburg: Armored Warfare

Paradox might have a reputation for being the purveyors of grand and quite serious historically-anchored games, but they are fast becoming the publisher of far less historically fastidious titles. Gettysburg: Armored Warfare‘s premise is for the American Civil War being refought with weapons from the future. The result is a chaotic-looking multiplayer RTS with battlefields that appear futuristic and 19th-century at the same time. We’re talking Civil War gentlemen with large moustaches and mini-guns.

The key developer of Gettysburg, Radioactive Software’s Danny Green, might have outsourced some elements of the game, such as the creation of his outlandish ahistorical units, but the game is very much his creation, with him as design lead and sole programmer. That he’s got 64-player RTS in which players can seamlessly jump between control of hundreds of units working is remarkable enough, but the game will also ship with a fully-featured map editor and Steam Cloud support.

Purely multiplayer (although with offline bot practice) the game sees players take to four different famed battlefields of the Civil War, refighting the Union vs Confederacy bust ups with a deranged ensemble of tanks, APCs, steamships and Zeppelins. At the start of a match players are able to select armies that include these fantasy units alongside traditional Civil War units such as riflemen, cavalry, and cannons. Realism goes out the window a bit to make these effective against futuristic mobile artillery and submachinegun-wielding troopers, but this is not a game that takes itself particularly seriously. Historical units are also much cheaper to field than their time-travelled counterparts, so there’s a limit to how much high-tech you can throw at the skirmishes of the past.

Once in-game, players face one of two game modes: a 64-player mode where the AI-controlled units pour onto the field and anyone on the two teams can take direct control of any soldier, tank, ship or airship out of a possible 1024 on the field, in a vast deathmatch, or a 4-player “Army Skirmish”, in which players control a smaller number of units in direct RTS fashion. Both modes, however, allow you to take direct control, which is a little more like a traditional TPS sort of experience than, say, Men Of War.

The game then becomes one of attrition over control points across the 9km2 maps, with tickets counting down until one player’s resources are depleted. The units meanwhile are shared by players and will respawn in a starting area where players can further customise the specifics of the units they want to control by defining equipment and so forth.

Mr Green seems impressively dedicated to make all this stuff accessible to player-fiddling, and the core of that comes from his map editor, which will ship with the game. It features controls for pretty much the entire environment, including heightmaps, water-levels, time of day, foliage, and the placement of buildings. He says he hopes this will unleash player creativity in making interesting places to refight the American war, and aims to support a website on which user maps can be shared, previewed, and even rated.

All in all it seems like a brave and focused project. Green certainly knows what PC gaming needs – making sure the game has dedicated servers and an independent master server system (rather than a Steam-dependent one) for players to matchmake and find games.

What remains to be seem is how the game plays and whether it can support a popular playerbase. With the beta incoming, and an official launch in March, we won’t have to wait long to find out. The game is planned to launch at ten dollars with a few “cheap” DLCs to follow, a model which Green explains will be close to the one Paradox has found so successful for Magicka.


  1. Tuco says:

    Speaking about warfare, any chance to see a preview about War of the Roses any time soon?

    • frenz0rz says:

      Seconded. I’ve seen virtually nothing in terms of previews on that game, yet it still seems to hold my interest. Better be a good ‘un or I’ll be somewhat disappointed.

  2. skyturnedred says:

    Seems like this game has just the proper amount of awesome in it. Looking forward to more details.

  3. SuperNashwanPower says:

    “Whats so civil about war anyway?”
    Axl Rose. Master of Irony

  4. iARDAs says:

    Will we have customizable mustaches?

    btw 4th.

  5. LuNatic says:

    I’m struggling to look past that awful colour palette :/

  6. frenz0rz says:

    I first heard about this on the Three Moves Ahead podcast, and was pretty dumbstruck. What a brilliant concept! If they can pull this off well, I’d love to see them attempt the same with different time periods or conflicts. The Battle of Waterloo with giant mechanical robots please.

  7. Kaira- says:

    This sounds so crazy it just might work.

    • Commisar says:

      all I can say is: THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!!!! Also, they have my money ;)

  8. Andy_Panthro says:

    I like the look of this, even though I’m not a big RTS fan.

    I am impressed with the range of games Paradox is publishing for this/next year. There are already a few that I’m keen to buy.

    • Bobby Oxygen says:

      Same story here. I burned out on RTS’s during the post-WC2 cash-in race, when a new RTS came out every week. But for 10$ I’m willing to give this a shot :)

  9. Redcoat-Mic says:

    That should be 19th Century. :””””'(

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Look, I have to work Saturdays. ;)

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Somebody get John a biscuit.

      Not one of the fancy ones from the tin Aunt Flo gave us for Christmas, but you can open a new packet of chocolate Hob Nobs if there isn’t one already open.

  10. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    I mean Jim. Of course. John can’t have one unless he gets out of that bed before the biscuits go back in the cupboard.

  11. Bobtree says:

    Needs color.

  12. Arglebargle says:

    Someone read The Guns of the South a few too many times.

  13. HeavyHarris says:

    the gaming gods have answered my prayers! I was craving something just like this game for weeks now. First day buy for me.

  14. dsi1 says:

    “That he’s got 64-player RTS”

    Huh? Am I reading that right?