Kickstabber: Chivalry Seeks Final Funding Push

I couldn't resist the urge to cut the arms and legs off fallen opponents, even when the laughter of the development team became uncomfortable

A rare post, this, as I write about a Kickstarter project for a game that I’ve already played. Chivalry was at Gamescom and I chivalled the heck out of it. A multiplayer medieval combat game, with arenas, sieges, burning villages and brutal yet Pythonesque decapitation and dismemberment, it’s quite spectacular. With its origins in a Source mod, the game is almost ready for release but Kickstarter is being used as a way to implement pre-orders and early access, as well as helping the development team to pay off the debts that have accrued over the years. I’ll have a full preview soon (short version: the most fun I’ve ever had with a poleaxe) but for now, watch the video then the devblog below, and read about my two favourite chivalric experiences.

$50,000 is the goal and with $13,200 in the bank awaiting entrance to the bank and 25 days to go, it’s a promising start. The version I played is actually quite polished and, despite some shonky bot AI, I’d have been quite happy to take it home with me and chop off limbs the whole night long. The most impressive aspect is the way that weapons react to scenery, with longer blades and poles impossible to use in narrow spaces as they clash against walls and pillars. This allows for tactics and knives in the throat.

So, in lieu of the full writeup coming soon, here’s my two favourite moments:

1) I loaded my crossbow and shot a knight in the back as he charged toward a peasant, ready to lop him in twain. The knight had placed his shield on his back so as to wield his sword two-handed, to ensure the twaining was complete. My bolt thudded into the shield, strapped there, and he didn’t even notice. What does this tell us? Everything is modelled in the exact place that it currently occupies, from the angle of a shield to the exact swing of a blade. Collision detection is king. Yes.

2) Wearing leather armour and carrying a short sword and shield, I leapt about an arena stabbing and slicing at a single opponent controlled by one of the developers. Ha ha ha, I said, twirling my moustache like a less handsome and well-endowed Errol Flynn, ha ha ha, you are cumbersome with your plate mail and your giant hammer. Ha ha ha. He was dying the death of a thousand cuts and not for the first time. We had danced this dance several times and I was always the victor. Of course, he was probably holding back. I darted in for another strike and the hammer rose. One blow to the temple. The first-person view (third-person is an option) followed my head as it bounced into a corner of the arena, rolling and spurting. I saw my body slump to the floor, some distance away and then the hammer-bastard was standing over me, attempting to play croquet with what remained of my face.

Take a look at the pledge tiers and if you want to know more before deciding if this is the game for you, check back later in the week for a full report.

Oh, and Chivalry can happily co-exist with War of the Roses. They have their differences, and I am now launching a ‘less guns and more swords’ campaign.


  1. CKScientist says:

    Titles are so 20th century.

    • RedFaust says:

      Its a “dark messiah of Might and Magic” wannabe for me.

  2. Aethelwulf says:

    Some rather nice cam footage over on Gametrailers, and I must say after playing a different certain medieval alpha lately and finding it utter pants, Chiv is the one to put your money on.–one-on-one-dueling-walkthrough–cam-–medieval-warfare-gc-2012–village-raid-walkthrough–cam-

  3. f1x says:

    it definitely looks awesome,
    I applaud this new era where we will be able to actually play different games, not only corridor shooters

  4. Snids says:

    Looks lovely. Can’t wait for peasant beheading challenges and lightsaber mods.

  5. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    ‘They have their differences’? Like?

    No, really, I’d like to know.

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      More detail when I write about both in…more detail, but here’s a couple of bits and pieces. Even with lots of combatants, Chivalry feels more like a game about each individual cut and thrust, with such detailed mechanics to the fighting.

      War of the Roses has HORSES and a bigger scale. They’re not as similar as many multiplayer gun games.

    • Aethelwulf says:

      Can I also chip in and say that WoTR combat is quite frankly a mess and many veteran M&B players are not best pleased with it. Not to mention the fact it’s a TDM grind fest coupled with a perk system that doesn’t make any sense in a medieval combat game only goes to create an atmosphere that seems to stifle teamplay.

      I may be breaking the NDA but I would happily do so to help promote a game that I feel does the job better than one which is getting more limelight.

      Oh and the Chiv team will be releasing an SDK, so expect some bloody good mods.

      • Unaco says:

        That’s actually encouraging news for me, if it’s nothing like M&B. It’s a great game, but the combat definitely has some… issues, especially in the multiplayer.

      • Reapy says:

        Harsh bash on the first iteration of the wotr perk system. It is the reason they had you sign an NDA so you don’t publicly bash development efforts before they are finished, oh well.

        But on topic if I was comparing the two, wotr is following in m&b’s vein with directional blocking. Chivalry has 3 swings only but instead focuses more heavily on footwork and timing and drops a reliance on you having to teach yourself to block, instead you have to rely on good timing and range control.

        Chiv plays nicely because it is built with UDK and that comes with a lot of prebuilt polish, but the devs have added plenty too in addition to some really clever ideas for some of their game modes and play.

        The best complement I can give to it is that getting into the alpha on an empty server the first time a few weeks ago, I immediately was having fun with the game. Also, heads coming flying off on landing a shot are pretty awesome…you really can’t go wrong with this one for 25 bucks if you like swinging swords at one another.

        Was surprised that it didn’t shoot up to its 50k, I guess it really does need a lot more publicity… I think it’s worth it, both of these upcoming games should be a lot of fun and have pretty distinct feels imho.

        • Aethelwulf says:

          But the perk based system to me in a historical/combat environment is silly. I shouldn’t need to unlock the ability to shield bash or score instakills, that should be derived from a skill based system. In real life, I have a shield ergo I can hit you with said shield. I don’t mind the access to better weapons as long as they are side grades but with the current combat system the later weapons/equipment are king and I grant them that yes it’s beta but it feels an awful long way off working and release is bloody close.

          I can’t help but feel both Chiv and WoTR have got muggled up somewhere. Chivalry is based in a more arcade setting but it’s combat feels more akin to actual combat as you say reliant on footwork etc and the game modes are set around objectives, some with a one life policy. Yet WoTR is grounded in reality and focusses on TDM style combat with rather badly thought out spawns, no class limits and design decisions I can’t quite fathom. They do many things right (archery is lovely, armour values and much more) but then they go and spoil all it all by aiming at the COD market (which from a name like Chivalry: Medieval Warfare you would of thought Torn Banner were aiming at) and losing an awful lot of depth in combat and teamwork.

          • Reapy says:

            Weapon balance, time to unlock, order of progression etc are all things that are just a change in a text file or number change in the code somewhere, so fixing something like that just takes trial and error rather than dev time, a lot can change quickly.

            I can see what you are saying about skill selection, but I think it’s interesting from a gameplay perspective to pick tradeoffs in your loadouts. I see though how it can be harder to swallow when it extends to skills.

            Also I agree that both are straddling the same lines in different ways, both want to nod to realism in different ways. Honestly I’m glad they both feel a bit different so I have a good reason to enjoy both, though i can see to be any good at them I’ll have to pick one in the end.

      • noelkd says:

        so the combats not like m&b? if so how does it differ was going to put some money on this but all i want is mount&blade combat, some basic stat control/leveling system: str, agi, weapon skill etc Essentially check out a mod for mount and blade called cRPG is what i want but shinier.. also i really can’t believe its not been looked at by rps been begging for a feature for ages, but it ticks along with a welcoming hard core group of players

        • noelkd says:

          in reply to myself after doing some research, 32 player limit isn’t no medieval combat. To quote the kickstarter:
          We’ve drawn our inspiration from the intensity and epicness of swordfighting movies such as 300″
          online battles besieging castles, raiding medieval villages and fighting for glory in the arena with up to 32 players. :(:(:(:(:(</3

          wont be funding as crpg/m&b has this game beat already hands down happy to be proved wrong later and play then tho, now i need to stop playing dayz and go slash some dudes up…

    • Shooop says:

      This game looks much, much more fluid and faster-paced than War of the Roses. WotR combat to me looks clumsy and based more on who can get lucky because every strike is a two-part process. This is fast and vicious. And you can dump boiling oil on people.

  6. Souva says:

    “Shut up and take my money!!!”

  7. BubuIIC says:

    This sounds very interesting. I love games with melee combat! Two games I remembered while watching the videos were Rune and Dark Messiah. The combat in Rune was perhaps better modeled and more skill based, but beheading people in Dark Messiah was also pretty satisfying.

    So definitely looking forward to this!

    Edit: Oh and a question, can you throw things at your enemy, like knives and axes?

    • Aethelwulf says:

      If you look at the videos I posted further up you can indeed see throwing weapons in action. There also seems to be a mode you can toggle which will follow your thrown weapon bullet cam style. You can then watch as they grasp for said projectile poking out of their neck as they slowly bleed to death. It’s not a pretty sight but by god this is war.

  8. derbefrier says:

    This game is looking awesome. I may actually have to support this one.

  9. Danny says:

    Backed. It’s been years since I’ve enjoyed a good MP Melee game. Only Rune comes to mind, which was totally awesome.

  10. UncleLou says:

    Looks great. I am just sad that this seems to be mp only, and War of the Roses is mp-focused as well (even though I think there will be single player).

    I guess what I really want is a new Mount & Blade.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Same here, would love to see something like this for single-players.

      I keep on hoping for more Mount & Blade 2 news, but the only news seems to be “it’s in development”.

  11. mattratcliffe says:

    Wasn’t it these guys that made the age of chivalry mod? I played the hell out of that so these guys get my cash.

  12. Stromko says:

    Projectiles striking the shield on the back of characters is also in Mount & Blade: Warband, and … it’s quite dumb. Shields are necessarily fairly thin so that you can lift them with your arm, while bolts and arrows are weapons designed to, and very capable of, penetrating all sorts of materials.

    This is usually fine when it’s on your arm, because when the bolt or arrow head blasts out the back of the shield it’s still very far from your vital organs and at least in the case of arrows the shaft will usually get stuck. That’s why it’s perfectly alright for shields to be unable to entirely stop an arrow. When the same thing happens to a shield on your back, however, you now have a blunted arrow punching you straight through the heart and lungs, along with some shards of wood from your shield.

    I could see a shield on your back providing a little protection, after all it is more material between you and the attack, but 100% protection each and every time (which is how it works in Warband, anyway) is just silly. I remember in the multiplayer beta (the last time I played it multiplayer), the best loadout always involved two shields.

    As a game mechanic and as a realism mechanic, it’s just silly as implemented in both these games. That they’d slavishly steal a feature that doesn’t even make sense .. well I guess they can call Chivalry an homage.

    • Oneah says:

      The thing is.. you can’t have balance in these games. Medieval combat was not designed to be fair. Some weapons are obviously better than others. Spears were the most common weapon on battlefield due to its low cost but also because it was the best weapon used as a group. You can’t compete vs it with a sword or a mace. Now of course in solo combat the spear is going to lose in almost all aspects.
      Swords were pretty nonexistent on the battlefield. It was more a weapon for dueling and such than open combat.

      So when your doing a game like this you have to decide if your gonna do it realistically or not. You can’t go in between. I’ve played so many sword fighting games and they all felt horrible. They just don’t give you the tools to properly use those weapons.

      Here is your typical situation in these kinds of games. You have a shield and weapon, dude comes near you and starts hacking at your shield endlessly, “I’ll keep hacking until he lowers his shield”, and stupidly this works. Why? The games doesn’t allow you to slam the shield against his face or hands making him drop his sword or hit himself with it in the head. It doesn’t allow you to go for the legs. It doesn’t allow you to use your weapon while your shield is up. Like.. all these things that would severally punish doing dumb slashing and hacking don’t exist and makes the games extremely frustrating.
      Also, a lot of these games give you the idea that you need to charge power into your attacks to make the effecting. Like lifting a sword in the air and holding it is gonna make your attack more powerful. This is dumb, you never wan’t to commit excessive force in to your blows while doing combat. That is going to be used against you by any experienced soldier and it makes your extremely vulnerable. But what do these games do? Reward this. Most of these games go for the stereotypical movie combat scenario that is completely retarded.

      This game doesn’t seem to be going any different.

      • noelkd says:

        all you need to be able to do is swing after they’ve swang to force them into a block-hit block-hit routine then you can have good shield based combat as far as my play exp goes. in m&b if you swing as soon as you’ve blocked the attack if they don’t block you’ll score a hit.

      • derps says:

        You can shield bash in Chivalry and there’s a stamina bar to prevent endless attacking…

  13. tomeoftom says:

    Man, I *loved* Age of Chivalry.

  14. Shooop says:

    Make this succeed guys. First-person medieval combat perhaps the most woefully neglected genre of all.

    Combat here looks much more fluid and fast-faced than War of the Roses and that’s more my thing.

  15. Wedge says:

    This isn’t the same mod that was released when Valve tried putting mods up on Steam directly is it? Because that thing was awful and this looks maybe not awful. PVKII was totally amazing though.

  16. Spider Jerusalem says:

    i’m interested. after being bitterly disappointed by wotr, i’m still in the market for swording and armoring.

  17. Muad'Dib says:

    But… Did the the twaining occur?

  18. MultiVaC says:

    I had a ton of fun with the mod, and this looks pretty great. The only thing that worries me will be its ability to sustain a player base. Outside of free-to-play games I have seen very few small developers’ multiplayer-only games succeed in the long term. A lot of games in this space end up being ghost towns, which is a real shame because there are some really interesting games that have suffered this fate. I hope this does well because it looks great and their mod, despite its flaws, was insanely fun at times.