Iron Harvest puts an alt-history spin on Company of Heroes

Iron Harvest

If you’re the kind of history buff who also likes big stompy warbots, you’ve probably seen the art of Jakub Różalski around. His most famous work depicts an alternate 1920s where a technological boom after the first world war led to the early development of gas-guzzling mechs, often depicted standing incongruously amidst otherwise-idyllic farmer’s fields.

The 1920+ setting (as it’s officially known) has already been used in the board game Scythe, but King Art Games (Battle Worlds: Kronos, The Dwarves) have loftier goals for the concept. With Iron Harvest, they seek to adapt these artworks into a single-player, campaign-focused RTS in the vein of Company of Heroes. They just need some extra money to do it, and (ideally) implement multiplayer.

It’s impressive stuff, even in this early state. King Art have been teasing the game for some time, and gameplay footage thusfar reminded me more than anything of the excellent Men of War series. It’s a little bit of a surprise to see the final direction of the game more in line with Company of Heroes, base-building and all, but given that it’s been almost five years since the release of Relic’s enduring and excellent strategy game, it’s perhaps time for another to seize the crown.

Among the crew working on Iron Harvest is the mech-loving artist himself, the lead designer of Scythe (which also saw a digital adaptation on PC), the lead composer from The Witcher series, and the ESL Company of Heroes 2 champion, the latter presumably being there to ensure an interestingly balanced game even before they hit the funding goal required for multiplayer.

It seems safe to assume that Iron Harvest will at least hit its basic funding goal of $450,000, as the Kickstarter launched only this morning and has already raised half that total. Still, King Art have a vast list of stretch goals worked out, starting with a basic New Game Plus mode at $500k, adding full multiplayer at $1m and plans to offer a free post-release DLC campaign for all if they manage to raise $1.5m.

Still, those are very low target figures for a game like this to be developed on, especially if they’re aiming for a full three story-driven campaigns plus cutscenes. King Art have been working on Iron Harvest some time now out of their own war-chest and have got the bones of the game already in place, including a working (internal) demo version. The purpose of this Kickstarter seems to be testing the waters, more than anything.

The Kickstarter has just begun and will be running for a full month from today. Putting down $45 now will get you the game plus early access to closed beta versions, assuming all goes well, with the final version expected to roll out sometime around December 2019. There are (of course) the usual slew of higher tier backer options and rewards, up to and including some silly-expensive mech figurines, hardcover art and design books and more.


  1. megazver says:

    > basic funding goal of $350,000

    It’s 450k.

  2. Michael Fogg says:

    They’re really pushing the phony Eastern European folksiness.

    • EvilMonkeyPL says:

      Is that a bad thing tho?

      • Michael Fogg says:

        It’s a completely outdated notion that many popular games like Witcher or KCD like to rely on.

        • Eightball says:

          Wow, a game set in an alternative 1920s looks outdated? Thanks for the earth-shattering insight!

        • Someoldguy says:

          You’re right, we should have more games based on a false notion of Merrie Olde Englande or America’s Wild West and mobsters. We haven’t had enough of those in the last 40 years.

        • guidom says:

          so by your logic, if an Australian developer made a game set in Australia, that would also be phoney and outdated.

        • wislander says:

          The Witcher is folksy? We’re talking about the fantasy game with lynched and eviscerated bodies laying about the country, tyrants petty and grand everywhere, and with murderous superstition and greed a common occurrence? I enjoyed that game specifically because it didn’t romanticize either the place or the time period.

        • Paj says:

          I thought that was one of the great strengths of W3 – a setting and mythology that had been unexplored in gaming, which is what made it seem like a breath of fresh air. Rescind your comment, good sir!

      • EvilMonkeyPL says:

        You are right, there are way too many games drawing inspiration from romanticised eastern european folklore.

        I mean I kinda get the argument against KCD, with the devs claiming historical accuracy, but I’m no historian. With Witcher and this? Who cares, it’s a fantasy setting and one that hasn’t been done to death yet.

    • NosUkgo says:

      I think it’s a good thing, videogames really need to explore different settings. If everybody plays it safe we get ww2, space soldiers vs [insert generic alien here] and Tolkien inspired fantasy ad nauseam

    • JTheysen says:

      Well, Jakub, the artist who invented the world, literally lives on a mountain somewhere in the woods of southern Poland. So I guess he just looks out of the window to get this “European folksiness”.

    • megazver says:

      If only the artist had you there to explain how to portray his own culture.

  3. Codenamexxiii says:

    My opinion is that they set a low target to be more attractive. If the people see a low number they think that is easy to achieve the first goal and when the initial goal is complited most KS get a fast coz people see that is already funded so they trust more they invest

    • JTheysen says:

      That’s exactly right. You see a lot of Kickstarters these days (especially board game Kickstarters) with a super low funding goal because it’s all about getting 20, 30 stretch goals.

    • emotionengine says:

      Makes sense. They actually address this themselves though in the “budget” section of their KS page:

      “The total development costs will be over $5,2 million. We already invested over $1 million up to this point. We hope to make enough money with this Kickstarter to be able to find publishing- and distribution partners on our terms and conditions. Or – in the best case – to crowdfund the whole project.”

  4. Monggerel says:

    I’d rather they made a CoH based on Beksiński’s work.

    A strategy game about the hideous flesh – so eager to surrender – and the ineluctable gray attrition of the soul would certainly be quite the novelty.

    And no, XCOM 2 doesn’t count.

  5. Xyviel says:

    As a huge fan of the Scythe boardgame, I’m intrigued, but not sure about the developer. I’ll wait for reviews.

  6. DarkFenix says:

    $45 is extremely steep for Kickstarter, Google tells me that’s about £32. If that’s what they’re calling a discount, I dread to think how much they plan on charging upon release.

    They’re free to charge whatever they like of course, but that’s above what I consider to be the value of an indie game at full price, never mind with Kickstarter discount.

  7. emotionengine says:

    Among the crew working on Iron Harvest is the mech-loving artist himself, the lead designer of Scythe (which also saw a digital adaptation on PC), the lead composer from The Witcher series, and the ESL Company of Heroes 2 champion […]

    This caught me by surprise as a backer of the Scythe boardgame who is still subscribed to the latter’s KS updates, I just read about this yesterday (link to

    Stonemaier Games has absolutely no connection to Iron Harvest (other than the personal connection that we support Jakub).

    It would seem you interpreted the portraits and pull quotes on the Iron Harvest KS as being from people actually working on the game, although in Scythe designer Jamey Stegmaier’s case that is not accurate. (To be fair, their KS page doesn’t really make it clear). Makes me wonder if the ESL champion for CoH2 is also really a part of the team working on the game, as suggested or if they just added his face into the mix for a cool sounding quote.

    I’ve been following the game for a bit now and it does look cool, though. I was hoping it would see a 2018 release, so that’s a bit of shame it got pushed out to 2019 (or later).

  8. LennyLeonardo says:

    Wasn’t COH released in 2006 (well over five years ago, unless my quantum maths is too linear)?

    • fleet hassle says:

      They must be referring to the sequel, which was released in June ’13.

    • merbert says:

      SO with you here Big Dunc.

      The sequel was a god awful mess that I kept trying to find the good in and KEPT bouncing back off it every time I did.

      Among other things, I primarily blame SEGA and their involvement…everything (IMO) they touch turns to shit, so much so, that if I see they have an involvement in a game now, I won’t touch it.

      The original Relic / THQ CoH is still the masterpiece of RTS’s to my mind. I still play it regularly, and LOVE it every time….and that’s 12 YEARS on from it’s release…?!…how many games, 12 years on from their release do people still play…and acknowledge that they STILL look good and have excellent A.I.?

      Such a shame, that with a bench mark established way back in 2006, no one in the intervening years has come anyway close to matching this games excellence.

      I’m off for a game right now!

      (Oh my GOD, MY EYES!!!)

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