Tactical Frost Giants And Explosive Goblins: Deadhold

Of the many RTS splinter-genres, one of the most interesting is the tactical half-way houses between strategy and RPG. No base-building or resource-gathering, but still controlling multiple units and attempting to conquer a map. Adam fondly reminisced about classic Myth and “dwarves showering an entire hillside with the pieces of ‘sploded enemies” when he saw Deadhold this morning. The dev team were “inspired” by that series and have gone Norse with their theme and objective-based competitive multiplayer with their focus. It’s at a very early stage of development–hence the somewhat terrifying placeholder models above–but the devs have already put out several videos of what they’ve made so far.

I’m not sure why they’ve chosen to use “action RTS” to describe their game and refer to MOBAs, as I don’t see much of that in here yet. While Deadhold is being made to be viable as a competitive multiplayer game, that seems to be the only real similarity to Dota or LoL. Perhaps there’s more to be announced along those lines, given how often they reference it in their descriptions of the game.

That confusion aside, it’s an underserved area of gaming. You’ll be tinkering with formations and positioning your forces, but one of the main aims is to keep it easy to learn. They’re doing this through a simple point-and-click interface. The complexity will come from options of which units to field or how to use your special abilities as the commander of the army.

They’ve also shown off the Frost Giant in combat and how the Unreal engine is helping them prettify it up. The announcement post also links to a thread on the TeamLiquid forums about the next evolution of RTS, not written by the dev team but thinking along similar lines. As someone with a soft spot for RTSs it was interesting reading, particularly on the social factors of teamplay vs. the 1v1 nature of StarCraft.

Release is obviously a long way off, but it seems like Deadhold would be perfectly suited to either a nostalgia-fueled Kickstarter or Early Access’ brand of crowdfunding. Keep an eye out.

20 Comments

  1. Gap Gen says:

    Header image: link to youtube.com

  2. Dominic White says:

    That looks very, VERY much like Myth 2, but with polygons.

    Fun fact: Myth 2 got a series of amazing fan-patches, including support for a polished-up port of Myth 1.
    link to projectmagma.net

    Both games are still *very* much worth playing, especially now they released ‘HD’ map textures, which makes everything look just a little bit nicer.

    • Quiffle says:

      Wow, a very much appreciated heads up. Now all we need is for GOG to get their hands on the titles for those of us whose copies have been lost to the attics of no return.

      As for Deadhold, it definitely ooze a bit of those old Myth feelings from an initial glance, I’m just worried that the “objective-based” gameplay will simply result in the collecting of various flags, resulting in a dancing metagame that will undermine the joy of simply bashing two opposing groups of fantasy archtypes together. But fug that – I’m just feeling fuzzies just seeing The Fallen Lords mentioned in general.

      • Dominic White says:

        Almost no chance of the game getting any kind of digital release, sadly, but you can get it for about $2-4 in the US, used. Or given that it’s been out of print and lost in legal limbo for over a decade, I don’t think anyone would really judge you for acquiring it through other means.

  3. Volcanu says:

    Ah Myth! Those grenade lobbing, cantankerous dwarves were great fun. It was pretty damn challenging too if I recall correctly…although possibly that was because I was a wee whippersnapper.

    But there’s been far too few Myth/ Ground Control type RTS’ in recent years, that’s for sure…

  4. Veldzhes says:

    MYTH!!!
    Myth the fallen lords was one of the Games That Made Me.
    Even the music starting from 0:50 in the video sounds reminiscent of M:TFL’ main theme.
    And blood. And guts on the ground. And dwarf-who-become-goblin (“make up your mind”, “make a hole”, “hehehe”)
    Not sure i’m looking forward to this one yet, but the mere fact of Myth being not forgotten makes me happy. So many fond memories.
    P.s. Myth 3 was a disaster IMO=(.

  5. Premium User Badge

    BlueTemplar says:

    Spring engine games have been trying to push the RTS genre in various directions for years now, with the most notable ones being probably Kernel Panic and Zero-K (which has been Greenlighted a few months ago : link to steamcommunity.com , they’re “going to wait for some singleplayer content and an easy to use self contained launcher” to release the game on Steam, but for Total Annihilation / Supreme Commander / hardcore RTS fans the game has been enjoyable for years now)

    But for a reason I do not understand, I’ve never seen a game journalist (or even a popular blogger/youtuber) cover them, RPS included.

    I sometimes wonder if it’s because they’re noncommercial projects. (I have had discussions with people that couldn’t even understand the concept of noncommercial and/or free/libre software, especially when applied to games.) But since RPS already covered Dwarf Fortress and Aurora, that must not be it…

  6. Uglycat says:

    Myth had the best narration ever.

  7. Oozo says:

    Has anyone here played Demonworld (that is, the adaption for the PC)?

    I adored this game when I was younger and, I guess mastered it (the only game I could say that about). Strangely, though, I never heard anybody talk much about it, and I did not actively try to seek out “games like it” back in the day. It’s probably a bit off-topic, it being turn-based and all, but since there also was a strong focus on the tactical use of armies that came fully formed to the battle field, I dare asking: for people here who played and liked Demonworld — which other games in that vein could you recommend?

    (And sorry again for hijacking the comments of a game that seems worth it on its own.)

  8. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Whenever a trailer or press release says something like ‘by the developers of (insert famous title here)’ I always wonder how many developers from those teams they actually have. I mean, shouldn’t it at least be ‘our team includes some developers of…’ or something?

  9. meilers says:

    Ok, two DEAD giveaways here: 1) They have a reaction quote from DOUG ZARTMAN, someone that only absolutely die-hard Bungie fans or actual Bungie staffers (i.e. from the Marathon and Myth years, he was not there for Halo) would remember and know to talk to. 2) BOUNCING GIBS – that was always the silliest part of Myth TFL and Myth II, the slow-mo bouncing of limbs, guts and heads that accompanied a finisher or a dwarven cocktail… Also, the demo level of the original Myth was a snow level, to show off the awesome particle effects.

  10. No Excuse says:

    I literally registered on the website to express my utter utter joy that anything is being made which in any way aspires to Myth. Myth II was what got me really into gaming and the first game I played online. Tell you what though, its a shiter that they aren’t thinking about giving Deadhold a glorious story-driven single player though. Booo!

    • mjayg says:

      Actually single-player and co-op are planned for release after multiplayer.

      Here is the full press release – link to t.co

  11. Varanas says:

    I don’t think anything could live up to Myth TFL in my mind, due to the nostalgia I have invested in it, but this has me cautiously optimistic. Certainly anything being made in the genre would be a nice change.

    In addition to the Project Magma updates for Myth II (and Myth TFL port) mentioned above, I would also point fans of the original towards the book series The Black Company by Glen Cook. Myth was partly inspired by that series, and it’s where a lot of the narrative style and themes come from, although the plot is very different (I’m currently reading through his Garrett P.I. books, which are awesome in a completely different way).

  12. Traipse says:

    Myth: The Fallen Lords was an absolutely majestic game. Beautiful rock-paper-scissors unit balance (except for those damn trow), a fantastic community, and ridiculously fun short multiplayer games. No hour-long base building, no defenses to build, no economy or production queues — just short, sharp battles with an infinitude of tactics and outcomes. If these guys do a Kickstarter, I will be on that like the proverbial white on rice.

    Now that I think about it, between the playing and the admin stuff, I probably spent more time on Myth than I’ve spent on any other single game in my life.

  13. Borsook says:

    I was so happy after reading the beginning and so disappointed almost immediately after…. Myth was a great single-player experience with a compelling story, saying it’s based on Myth and Multi-player focused is just heresy…