The cows have been sacrificed. The rituals have concluded. The RPS god-talkers return from their tent and declare that Six Ages: Ride Like The Wind, will finally be released on PC on October 17th. Six Ages is of course the spiritual successor to the legendary King Of Dragon Pass, the 1999 strategy-RPG hybrid about leading an iron age village to prosperity in a dangerous land of monsters, spirits, and complex political, economic, and cultural decisions. It's been out on iOS for a long while, but now it's coming to PC. I am very excited to end this intro and get into the details below.
The release date is exactly five years to the day that my first ever article, a loving retro feature about King Of Dragon Pass was published on RPS. I may have got a bit lairy and told the office slack that "I will literally fight everyone" in order to cover this one. You have to get into the mindset for these things.
KODP was one of the worst casualties of the 90s games industry; a financial bomb utterly shafted by circumstance until the early 2010s, when it was brought back for a mobile port and then a GOG release, which exposed it to the audience it always deserved. Six Ages is cut from the same cloth, tasking the player with organising and leading their tribe in every area.
Like its ancestor, it's a story generator, with individual people and creatures making demands and inquiries of the player. Leadership isn't about getting the biggest numbers, but listening and taking care of your people, both as a group and in their individual problems and arguments. Tradition, justice, and social cohesion are more important than efficiency or min-maxing. It's both grounded and, if the screenshots are any indication, occasionally very weird. "People and consequences," I said of the original. "It ought to be a genre of its own."
This time the player's tribe will be the rivals to the people from the original game, with their own ideas about how the world works. I am dead excited.
A tweet by developers A Sharp shared the news last night, and I recommend their development blog in general for its highly accessible discussion of the thinking behind and challenges faced by the new game.