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

Polish'd steel

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.

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