Games don't have to open with a wild premise, but it doesn't hurt. Spiders, the makers of Greedfall, have just announced Steelrising, an action-RPG set in an alternative version of revolutionary France in which King Louis XVI is a massacre-happy tyrant.
That's enough to catch my interest a little. But they went on to explain that he also has an army of automatons, and I had to pause to laugh with joy. This is the kind of bonkers that games were invented for. They've shared a trailer too, and a few hints about what we can expect.
I'm excited to see a French studio delving into such a rich setting. It's not exactly the sombre and historical approach of We. The Revolution, but that's fine. In that game, former king Louis was distinctly hapless and sad. Making him an actual tyrant and big boss man rather than a personal tragedy cleans up some of the ambiguity that would probably make an army of porcelain-looking robots a bit awkward.
Studio president Jehanne Rosseau told us more in the Nacon Connect presentation, and it seems that they're really trying to draw you into the world. They've recreated architecture like the Grand Châtelet and the Square du Temple, and emphasise a keenness to include lots of climbing and exploration, to uncover more side quests that will build the setting up.
You'll be playing as Aegis, another automaton and bodyguard of Queen Marie Antoinette, who's given you orders to find your creator and put down the king's robot army. You can upgrade her as you go along, for more damage output, protection, or speed, and gather weapons to complement her integrated arm blades. Those include heavy weapons "to flatten your enemies", and "alchemical rifles" for your ranged business.
No firm word yet on when will Steelrising launch. It's being published by Nacon.
Astrid appreciated the guns and fighting in last year's Greedfall, but had an overall middling time with it, and ultimately noted that "this is a step in the right direction for Spiders, but they still have a lot of work to do" in her Greedfall review. They were previously known for the much wobblier The Technomancer, so they're clearly on an upwards trajectory. It's obviously far too early to tell how Steelrising will turn out, but I'm kinda hoping this will be their big hit.
Whatever you call it, hit our E3 2020 tag for more from this summer's blast of gaming announcements, trailers, and miscellaneous marketing. Check out the PC games at the PlayStation 5 show, everything at the PC Gaming Show, and all the trailers from the Xbox showcase, for starters.