Saturday Night Action Movie – Melee: Battlegrounds

I assume the hats are to make distant enemies flee in fear of rampaging wizards.

Oh, I know you’re still awake. You didn’t think old Alice would catch you keen to see blood, guts, and gore in the midnight movie, did you? Don’t worry. Even this old maid was young once. I’ve split a skull or two in my time, I don’t mind telling you. Come on, budge up. Let’s have a look at this killing together. Melee: Battlegrounds is made by folks behind Mount & Blade: Warband‘s cRPG mod, don’t you know? Ayup, they’re turning to Kickstarter to fund their own standalone medieval multiplayer murderfest.

Developers Donkey Crew are calling Melee: Battlegrounds a “spiritual sequel” to their mod, and it’s accordingly all a fair bit like Mount & Blade’s multiplayer. The basics: melee-focused man-murdering, with a few bows and things, with super-dangerous damage and a real need to fight carefully yourself and fight tactically as a team. They’re dreaming of hundreds of players in modes from plain old arena deathmatch to an RTS-ish one where teams gather resources, build up a stronghold, and assault their enemies with siege weaponry.

That there Stronghold mode sounds like something special, so watch this video about it. But here’s the general-purpose Kickstarter pitch video:

Having worked on Melee for almost two years on $45,000 the cRPG community put together, Donkey Crew are looking for $130,000 (£83 large) to stop working remotely, get office space together, and finish development. Pledging $21 (£13.50) would get you a copy of the finished game, which they aim to release in March 2016.

Mount & Blade II is looking pretty swanky all right but TaleWorlds stand pretty much unopposed within the genre, so a little competition might be nice to keep them on their toes.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    Looks interesting – but too many (more than 1) kickstarters have left me with a sour taste so i’m pretty much done with it unfortunately!

    Alice I cannot sleep what tips can you provide.

  2. DarkFenix says:

    I think they’ve missed the boat a bit, maybe a year ago I’d have been more than willing to put down some money. As it stands now something has to look a bit more special to get my backing.

    • smeaa mario says:

      That’s the bad bit about Kickstarter. Too many projects were successfully funded but failed to deliver. Now everyone is sceptical about it all. What happens next is that ambitious and “real” projects like this one here suffer from the consequences.

      This project has to become real. And if it does, it will truly be a game changer. I am hoping, as a medieval combat sim enthusiast, they will hit eventually that goal though.

  3. jnqvist says:

    I haven’t played M&B: W yet. I am about to. Haven’t played the abovementioned mod either. I just wanted to commend you on your writing. I think you really upped it recently. Loved the intro here as well.
    Btw, great Radiohead refference in the Space Hulk headline. So, if the Space Hulk series is Ascending, could you say it’s using a Staircase to do so? :)
    Edit: Whoops, sorry about that. Just saw that Adam did the other article. :) the first part still stands though.

    • Seapony says:

      I just started playing it yesterday myself. It takes a bit to get into I am finding, but it has been fun over all so far, even when I get destroyed.

    • smeaa mario says:

      Warband itself is an unmatched trendsetting game. As for the crpg mod, you wouldn’t believe how much these guys improved the vanilla Warband with it. For about 4 years, they have invested immense amounts of effort in it and the mod is now a lot more enjoyable than the base game.

      Melee: Battlegrounds is going to be their dream of going beyond the many limitations of the Warband engine (which they even enriched with a script enhancing submod called WSE2) and creating a game they will love to play. Not one one they will love to sell per se. The crew members are passionate gamers themselves and they can be comfortably trusted when it comes to delivering.

      • jnqvist says:

        Wow, sounds really great, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I haven’t heard anything about the series until some two weeks ago, but now all I’m hearing is a lot of good stuff about it and hence have to check the vanilla, as well as the mod asap. Thanks for the insight guys!

  4. Stellar Duck says:

    I… am on a Kickstarter break for now. It’s a bit of a shame for these guys but I need to see some of the stuff I backed released before I plunk more cash on stuff.

  5. fuzziest says:

    Bah multiplayer games. I’d be interested in another single player sandbox mode like M&B though

    • kingcole says:

      They mention singleplayer in their stretchgoals, though…

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah exactly, I’m tired of all the multi-player only games recently.

    • Nessaj says:

      We do have a singleplayer stretch goal – else the game will allow for offline play vs bots.

      The reason the singleplayer part is a stretch goal is because we really want to make it properly, which requires a lot of resources, it shouldn’t be something that’s just thrown in there for no one to care about.

  6. pankup says:

    WOW! This looks really awesome! Watched the videos and read the info on the Kickstarter site and I have to say this is amazing, a game I dreamed of. Especially Stronghold and the modability got me. Have instantly pledged and wish them the best of luck.

    • ajkretchmer says:

      Niiccee! Instantly pledged, a big one too. This looks amazing for just being pre-alpha. I’ve played their mod c-rpg for a good amount of time and the Donkey Crew has done amazing job updating and keeping a 2-3 year old mod alive on a 4 year old game. I have no doubt Donkey Crew will finish Melee: Battlegrounds.

      Fuzziest: If they reach 300k, a co-op and single player mode will be added and i’m pretty sure there will be a ton of single player mods created by the community.

    • kingcole says:

      Seconded, this has sparked some ideas for mods in my head already. A Jedi combat mod could be epic in a modern engine specialized on melee fighting, for example :P Could also prove a nice framework for short singleplayer action-adventures in a medieval setting, I’d imagine…

  7. Armentia says:

    It’s definitely hard to keep backing video games when they take so long to deliver sometimes. However, this game looks like it’s made some pretty excellent progress already, and it’s only $4 more for beta access (~5 months early) and $11 more for alpha access (~4 months away)! I’m super excited for stronghold and its siege warfare. A social tavern map sounds fun too; have a brew and start a drunken bar fight! :lol:

  8. Nessaj says:

    hey all, I can understand that kickstarter isn’t what it used to be, so no hard feelings, we’ve all been burnt ;) – maybe you could just follow us around though, see our progress in the future, we feel very confident we can deliver something great.

  9. Haramir says:

    Wow this game look so great! I just pledge to it the stronghold mode seems to be epic!

  10. Spider Jerusalem says:

    Played way too much cRPG in my day. Happy to back this.

  11. norulesjustplay says:

    As a cRPG addict since 2010-2011, I’m here to convince you guys to try out that mod. I am 100% sure that a few guys who can put up such a great mod, are able to gather a team to put up an ever greater game.

    cRPG destroyed my life.

  12. untoreh says:

    I just hope they improved on the net code because the combat in mb is decent but is pretty much playable only on lan.

  13. benkei says:

    Looks awesome and made me check their Kickstarter page… especially the Stronghold mode got me hooked… well and the possibility of drunken fist fights on that Tavern map :D

    Instantly backe! Get it done! :D

  14. Byrdi says:

    Wow this looks great!
    Really love medieval fighting games and this looks very promising.
    Especially all the customization. Really look forward to hearing more about it :D

    Gotta back. Let’s get this thing funded.

  15. Artist says:

    CHAAAADZ! GOGOGO! We shall not fail! =)

  16. MacX85 says:

    That’s going to be sweet :)
    Hopefully they’ll succeed

  17. trooperwally says:

    Anyone else thinking they really do seem like the most genuine people to kickstart? Maybe I’m being naive but I can’t help but believe that they really will make a good game because they want to play that game. They’re credentials are basically just ‘bunch of mates who’ve played and modded together for years’ but I find that pretty compelling. Where’s my wallet…

    Also, question for anyone who’s up on IP law: what’s their risk of getting sued by Taleworlds? Obviously this apple hasn’t fallen very far from the tree in that it looks quite a lot like M&B. Any chance of them being shut down for plagiarism or similar?

    • chadz says:

      I have to say, “most genuine people to kickstart” is probably the nicest compliment I’ve heard for the entire kickstarter so far, feels good :)

      As for the IP stuff, luckily that’s not possible. We based all our 3D models off of historical references. If game design could be protected, we’d all be playing Wolfenstein as the only shooter, and Dune as the only strategy game.

      We are aware that people do get Warband vibes from it; we’re not hiding the fact that Warband was a huge source of inspiration for us, of course, but we just hit the limits with Warbands mod system. There was no other option for us than to create a standalone title if we want to create the gameplay that we want. You just can’t “mod” the netcode, or you can’t mod streamable terrain, etc etc.

  18. g2knee says:

    Yes! This is the game I have been dreaming of. Backed.

  19. Jarlek says:

    Dis gun be gud!

  20. Torben says:

    the donkeys have potential, was hoping they would start something of their own.
    anyways, this project made me join kickstarter.

    happy coding

  21. KingBread says:

    I just registered to this site to say that if there is anyone on KickStarter worth pledging thats M:BG team. They allready spent 4 years improving a game for free so they know what hard work is and im 90% sure they will deliver. Also pls back it up cos i want this game to become reality cos i want to kill people using this 360 combat system.

  22. Abrakadabra says:

    Looks intresting. I’m bored of fps multiplayer games, maybe this type of game could be refreshing.

  23. Hirlok the Hermit says:

    c-rpg has been fun for over 4 years (if my old brain does not trick me.. ) and this will be even better in many ways.

    I bet 80% here are way younger than me – how can it be you are so controlled by habits? If you are “on a kickstarter break” or had your precious butt burned once or twice – so WHAT? Too blind to recognize a gem when it jumps into your face? ;-)

    Even the Kingdom come people have recognized the donkey crew and advertized their kickstarter. So move and get one of the few REALLY promising and different indie games funded! just saying. Now [m]ove, goddamnit!

  24. BornToDie says:

    Looks quite promising, especially this “stronghold” thing.

  25. NightManCometh says:

    I expressed my opinion about this game on their facebook because a friend told me about the game. They called my opinion troll and said that they delete comments like mine but they decided to reply. So if you’re thinking about funding this project you should know that any criticism this game has will be deleted if the developers can control it. When I read about games I want to read the good and the bad. No game should have to hide the issues a possible consumer may question. It peaked my interest, I’m a long time player of Warband, but after watching their trailer and being called a troll I don’t think I will pursue this Mod “game”.

    • kingcole says:

      To be fair, you did come off as rather unfriendly and what you were stating was false…

      I invite everyone to see for themselves before getting the wrong picture: link to