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Gated Community: At The Gates' Painterly New Art Style

At The Gates somehow feels like a lifetime ago, and I’ve never even played it. It’s the turn-based strategy game that Civilization V lead Jon Shafer turned his hand to after parting ways with Firaxis, and it turned up at the tail-end of the Great Kickstarter Gold Rush of 2012-13. I’m quietly relieved that his Conifer Games are taking their sweet time over it. That suggests care and craft, which is what a turn-based game needs.

Also suggesting care and craft is a switch to a new, watercolour-like art style, as demonstrated in the full hour of narrated footage below.

That is rather pretty. And a rare hint of what strategy games working outside the traditional commercial sensibilities reservation can do.

Must admit I’m not wild about the menus and their fonts however – they do look a bit late-90s. Still, this is very much an alpha build, so all is subject to change.

I can’t totally get a sense of how this is going to feel to play, and what’s going to matter most to me minute-to-minute, despite getting a full hour of footage above, I guess because my mind’s too much in ‘analyse the features!’ mode, but I’m glad to see that it’s very much not just Civ with a new skin. Fresh takes is what any genre always needs.

At The Gates is due for public release late next year, but ‘pre-ordering’ now gets instant access to alpha builds.

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Alec Meer


Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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