Ignoring that not one of A Year Of Rain's screenshots contains a drop of precipitation, Daedalic Entertainment's upcoming co-op RTS is shaping up quite nicely. They don't make 'em like this anymore, I'll tell you that. Warcraft 4 might not be happening anytime soon, but A Year Of Rain looks awfully like a long-lost fourth game from a world where Blizzard's MMO explosion never happened.
There's not too long to wait to charge onto the battlefield, either. Daedalic are saddling up for an early access release on Steam this November. But come on - you couldn't find room for one teeny tiny puddle?
A Year Of Rain is remarkable similar to Blizzard's vintage, mind. Put side-by-side with the upcoming Warcraft 3 Reforged, it's hard to spot the difference.
Daedalic's co-op RTS has all the hallmarks of a 'Craft - three asymmetrical armies of soldiers, horsemen and mythical beasts, built around towns that expand by stripping the land of resources. Leading the charge are unique heroes that level up in power and unlock new abilities as they take heads on the battlefield.
Those twenty years since Warcraft 3 have given the game an edge in streamlining for competitive play, however. Esports boffin Jay got her hands on A Year Of Rain with the developers earlier this year, and she reckoned there's potential here to create a more accessible RTS.
As a co-op game, A Year Of Rain is set on team-based scrums. None of StarCraft's lone-wolf APM races here, please, you'll have to pair up to win across 2v2 skirmishes. Ideally, I imagine an interesting dynamic comes with pitting different pairs of factions together - compensating for each other's weaknesses in one way, while never having the full three armies to fill out their toolbox.
Alternatively, one team can ditch the footmen entirely. Against All Odds sees one team go toe-to-toe against two armies with just their own, super-powered hero units. While the other teams will gradually tier up through bigger and badder units, the plucky pair will likewise grow in power by levelling up and gaining new abilities.
Playing against real people is hard, though. Thankfully, A Year Of Rain is offering a full campaign with the promise of more sold later down the line. Let's just hope they've moved on from Deponia's grossness in the story department.