Hard West Kickstarter Offers Turn-Based Cowboy Tactics

“In a nutshell, Hard West is a turn-based squad tactical with adventurous world exploration. Think X-Com combat with Heroes of Might and Magic world map.”

The idea of an elevator pitch is that it explains the concept of something in the time it takes to ride an elevator. Hard West’s Kickstarter pitch does it in the time it takes to travel between a single floor, and the rest of the page only cements my interest: it’s made by some of the same people who worked on Call of Juarez, it’s going for a “weird west” atmosphere, and the pitch video contains little snippets of existing game footage.

Is a wild west XCOM something you want? Watch the embed below.

Developers Creative Forge are aiming to make a game in which combat is quick and dirty – a single bullet is enough to fell friend or foe, and so your focus becomes about positioning. Tipping tables to make cover in bar fights, or ricocheting bullets off scenery to take out enemies around corners.

Whether they’ll succeed or not is anyone’s guess, but I like the gritty detail present under ‘Production Plan’ on the Kickstarter page. They’re being clear about what they’ve built so far – three prototyped scenarios of a planned six, for example – and it doesn’t sound too unbound in scope. Also one of the features is that “Survived wounds are forged into permanent perks,” which sounds exciting.

The game is already $18k towards its $70k target, with 26 days to go. If you want to posse up, $15CAD nets you a Steam key upon release.


  1. Philopoemen says:

    Backed it on the first day, but I am glad they cleared up the whole “PlayWay” vs “CFG” thing.

    I do hope they don’t go too overboard on the occult stuff though.

    • Colonel J says:

      I agree, hope they don’t go over the top on the occult thing (and please please don’t turn the late game into a zombie apocalypse with devil bosses). Hoping it’s more of the Blood Meridian vibe which I get from the pitch.

      I haven’t backed anything on Kickstarter in over a year (I have too many games, too many betas, too little time and money) but this I will definitely back. Terrific pitch video.

      • melnificent says:

        Same here, just got a refund on one that has basically passed it’s release window by a year…. Surprised they even responded, but the money is now in my account. So I’m willing to put it into this (and hope for better).

      • Kacper Szymczak says:

        No worries, no zombie apocalypse. We’re extra careful about that.

    • Palindrome says:

      I would like a fairly heavy supernatural element, something along the lines of Deadlands would suit me fine. The Zombies can be left at home though.

      I have backed it on the off chance that it will be good as it sounds interesting.

      • Kacper Szymczak says:

        There won’t be any brain-eating zombies. I HATE zombies. HATE.
        We’re most likely implement Harrowed, though. I was sceptical about them at first, but apparently it’s a completely different thing. A ‘harrowed’ is fresh and sane. It’s like a normal hatin’, bank-robbin’ nasty ol’ gunslinger, only a bit rotten, undead and kind of invincible :-)

  2. gabrielonuris says:

    Hey… I liked the setting! Wild west theme mixed with horror and dark ones, it might actually works! I don’t know, maybe I back this. The only project I backed so far was Carmageddon Reincarnation, the only project I really believed would see the light of day, and I don’t regret about my choice.

  3. Mittens89 says:

    Looks good. The horror theme could work really well.

  4. Durgendorf says:

    “We’re no longer okay with mediocre,” is actually a really bold public statement from a developer whose publisher is sitting on their finished RTS. I’m inclined to back these guys more off that than the game footage.

    • Kacper Szymczak says:

      Hey, thanks! ;) But it’s more about the fact that we want our games more ‘ballsy’.

      Funny thing is, people seem to love that :-)

  5. Frank says:

    I wish the interiors were less drab and that backers could buy into this Early Access that they seem certain to do (since it figures into both their best and worst-case funding scenarios: link to kickstarter.com).

    Also, I love HOMM, but its overworld map doesn’t make much sense for the West. I’d need to see aggressive Fog of War and a lot of points of interest that are not mapped until stumbled upon and might not stay in the same place (caravans camped out, ranchers, oases, native American villages)

    Anyway, still backing it.

    • Kacper Szymczak says:

      Interiors will be far less drab.

      The Homm world map totally works! But the focus point here is this: the world map is explored, as in: there are locations, encounters, adventures. Definitely more of that than grabbing them wood piles and capturing quarries.

  6. XhomeB says:

    That looks simply awesome in a lot of ways – after (re)playing Desperados, I hunger for more games set in the Wild West.
    Oh, and they’ve confirmed a DRM free version, too. Very nice, will back.

  7. JFS says:

    Everything is X-COM these days.

    • Polifemo says:

      If anything, thats a good thing after the drought of such games.

      • JFS says:

        The problem is, though, that they either copy nu-XCOMs system or only pay lip service to the original. They don’t get it right, and I’m tired of every new (indie Kickstarter) game being announced as either X-COM, Baldur’s Gate or Dwarf Fortress. Or one of those old space opera games. Or a roguelike. Or puzzle platformer. From these six basic ingredients, half the dev world seems to knit their games.

        • Frank says:

          Um, so what? The labels may not fit as snugly as you like, but they are invariably useful touchstones.

          And, personally, I’d rather see these new games than anything else, including true heirs to X-COM, BG, et al. (which is what I think Polifemo meant as well).

        • Kacper Szymczak says:

          We recall these titles because the public rarely gives enough of a shit (and rightly so) to read through the second sentence, so the first must be short and do the job. For a game as complex as ours, it’s easiest to relate to things people know.

    • disconnect says:


  8. mtomto says:

    The last guy basicly said that their latest, unrevealed, game is mediocre…. Angry publisher incoming… lol

    • ItalianPodge says:

      I think he was having a dig at the publishers he has worked with in the past as this kickstarter was designed to prove interest in the game to their current “small” publisher.

      • Kacper Szymczak says:

        Nah, it was only about the fact that we want to be more focused and bold. And yes, it’s also a safeguard for future publishment deals ;) Some publishers will simply stay away seeing that, and that’s the point – my name’s at stake :-)

  9. fiddlesticks82 says:

    I wanted a turn based tactical RPG set in the Wild West so badly that I started making one myself:

    link to forums.tigsource.com

    So seeing this kinda momentarily broke my heart, but at least it looks cool.

    • caff says:

      Don’t give up on your dream :) There is space for more than 1 (or 10) wild west tactical games.

    • ensor says:

      It looks really, really cool. If you finish it, I will play the hell out of it. Excellent work so far, I already can’t wait to get my hands on it. Best of luck!

    • Kacper Szymczak says:

      looks cool! you should totally push for it

  10. Morph says:

    Yesss. I love the Deadlands table top RPG, and there are surprisingly few “weird west” computer games, so this sounds great.

  11. khomotso says:

    There are good reasons to be cautious about kickstarting, but as long as the ideas floated by kickstarting developers continue to resonate better with me than what the rest of the industry is trying to promote, funneling money that direction continues to feel like the more rational choice.

  12. Jimbo says:

    Looks fantastic, but I don’t back projects where the aim is to convince a third party to release funding. Too easy to just say ‘oh well, the publisher changed their mind’ once the $70k is raised. If a contract already exists guaranteeing the release of adequate funds then this needs to be made clear in the pitch (and Kickstarter should probably insist on such a contract anyway imo).

    • khomotso says:

      That’s the level of guarantee I would also insist on if I were investing or contributing a large sum. I’m however also fairly comfortable with the concept of a ‘bridging grant,’ which is common in the industry I work in, and how they seem to have framed their need.

      If it was purely fan-funded (and more consciously fan-accountable), I would have contributed more, it’s true. I’m also less enthused about kickstarter campaigns that publishers use as a kind of market research. But in order for me to contribute just the price of a good lunch, my bar is lower.

    • malkav11 says:

      I’m less worried about the potential for running off with the money (nothing about this says scam to me) and more with the very real likelihood that nobody will take them the rest of the way. A $15 investment in the possibility that someone else might pay for the game to actually be made properly with nothing much to show for it if they don’t isn’t that appealing to me.

      Where do they say that it’s for a proof of concept for soliciting further funding, though? Is it in the video? (I never watch the videos, and that sort of thing should totally be in the text part of the page.) If that’s the case then at least they don’t think they can make a game like this on $70k, which was my big concern until now.

      Edit: Apparently it’s in the video and an update post, and it’s “we need money to keep afloat while we wait for money from the last job we did to come in” more than “we need a third party investor”, although they say they’ve had some possible interest from the latter. I’m willing to do that, I think.

      • Kacper Szymczak says:

        You totally should, especially if you’re worried about any third party involvement. The better we come out of the kickstarter, the better position we’ll have negotiating publishing deals. So, assuming you trust us more than you trust publishers in regard to the true character of the game, it’s a direct investment in quality :-)

        • Jimbo says:

          It’s relying on a third party for the majority of funding which concerns me. Funding which may or may not be forthcoming once the Kickstarter is over.

          With this model, even a successful kickstarter campaign doesn’t put you in a position where you can personally / collectively guarantee and take responsibility for the creation of this game. You aren’t asking me to trust you, you’re asking me to trust some unnamed publisher.

          Do you have a contract in place which guarantees the required funding if the Kickstarter is successful? If you do, I think you should make that clear as part of your pitch.

          • Kacper Szymczak says:

            The funding we expect is guaranteed by the completion of our first project. What’s in question is the additional amount of funds. So you’re either buing into something that’s sure to happen and worth it, or a total steal if we manage to get a surge of cashflow.

  13. rickenbacker says:

    “Is a wild west XCOM something you want?”

    Do you even have to ask? YES!

  14. Premium User Badge

    FhnuZoag says:

    Seems interesting, but stuff like Midway and Omerta shows that making a good game like XCOM is a lot harder than it looks. Things like the richochet shot stuff look kinda gimmicky, and not really likely to fit in well with a tactical game.

    There’s a lot about premise and tone, but I’m not really seeing much to do with the core mechanics. The shots they show of people standing in open ground shooting at each other look heavily staged.

    • Kacper Szymczak says:

      Please note that Omerta fails in terms of tactical combat because it’s reinventing the wheel – poorly.

      We chose a more reasonable approach (although some seem to have a problem with that) – we stand on the shoulders of giants, and build from there. For this sole reason it must work. And it does ;)

  15. DrManhatten says:

    So what’s next Cowboy vs Aliens ?

  16. Scissors says:


  17. rexx.sabotage says:

    John Romero approves

    link to twitter.com

  18. John Connor says:

    I’ve always wanted one like this but in the Mount and Blade mold. Ride around the West, build a posse, rob banks (or capture bounties.)

    Maybe this will do.

  19. Shadrach says:

    Wow, this really needs to happen – I played the old Gunslinger boardgame as a kid, it this seems like it could be something similar. As long as they don’t go overboard on the ‘weird’ bit. I’d much rather have tactics with depth than lots of fanciful weapons, and please no magic.

    Gunslinger had a lot of depth, and a turn was just a few seconds. The system was complicated and card-based so having a similar thing as a game would be awesome.
    link to boardgamegeek.com

  20. cpt_freakout says:

    “Is a wild west XCOM something you want?”

    I didn’t know I did, but now I do, so thanks!