Preview

War of the Roses Preview (PC)

It’s rather amusing that a Swedish-developer’s ‘Dream’ game is one about the English Civil War. Saying that, it’s probably less about the subject matter than about what War of the Roses really is – a manifestation of Paradox’s desire to go ‘big’. If you’re looking for the cliff not notes, Roses is a third-person medieval action game with a focus on multiplayer – like Battlefield just set in the Middle Ages. Delve a little deeper however, and you’ll find out why it’s one of this year’s ‘one to watch’ games for us.

First announced last year at GamesCom, there was nothing really to see apart from a little bit of footage and some render screens. The most surprising thing though was not how good they looked back then, but how good the game looks in real-time. Seriously, War of the Roses is probably the best looking game you’ll ever see, and that’s including contenders like The Witcher 2, and Battlefield 3 cranked up to ‘high’. It comes back to Paradox’s desire to go ‘big’ – Roses is going to be their biggest title, with the biggest budget, and all the support they can throw behind it and it shows. Everything looks so well done, we actually worry what the PC requirements are going to be, or how well the game will scale.

This is one of the first shots that were release. Look at the detail…

If you’re going to go big though, you need the best. Now, Fatshark may not be that well known – they only started in 2010 and whilst they’ve done a couple of games, the only one they’re likely to be known for is Lead & Gold – a multiplier-only shooter set in the wild west. Perhaps not the strongest resume on paper, but considering they’ve got former DICE members on their team, and that the company itself has consulted with DICE, you know something special must be going on here. Not to mention they’ve picked up some expertise from the Mount & Blade franchise, whose online multiplayer proved to be surprisingly fun, engaging and challenging.

The official word is that there will be both an offline and an online component to the game, but because they haven’t really talked about it, we’re going to skip it for now and just talk about what we do know. Any multiplayer-focused game, especially one by DICE peeps, is going to be about the player – customisation, progression, modification, advancement… it’s all here. Current staples of online modern shooters have been adapted and sent back in time to serve as the core of the War of the Roses experience. There’s going to be over 60 weapons at launch, spread across 15 types. You’ll be able to modify these weapons; you’ll be able to modify the armour, and any one of the ten helmet types. They’ll be a persistent level system, with unlockable perks like the ‘officer’ perk…

Classes as you might understand them don’t really exist – you customise your own loadouts and play as the class you want to be (although we imagine they’ll be some limitations when it comes to mixing traditional sets together). And what online experience would be complete without maps? No official word on what the count is at the moment, or what they hope it to be at launch, but various settings were mentioned like Village, Town, Castle, Forest etc… whilst we weren’t shown a lot, we were shown a working combat practice demo as well. There will be four different types of damage: Pierce, Cutting or slashing, Blunt and chopping, which are connected to angle of attack and what weapon type.

… and see how it hasn’t diminished when we get to gameplay

PC gaming veterans will be pleased to know that there will be dedicated servers for this game as well – not that Fatshark is using this as gimmick, they simply want to get the message out here to those who care. It’s also just a matter of being sensible – considering how much data they claim this game is going to need to transfer back and forth, using individual player machines as hosts just doesn’t make sense. No word on what the player limits are, but unofficially the guys in the office have apparently been play testing with around 40 people, so who knows.

Of course, we didn’t see any actual gameplay, it was little more than a tech-demo – we know how easy it is to get swept away at this stage. Still, it’s clear to see that a lot of passion has and is being poured into this project, and that they truly want to make it a Medieval Battlefield or whatever other comparison you want to use. There’s a reason Fatshark has done consultancy for DICE, so for the moment we’re going to recommend you keep an eye on this game, and we can’t wait to get some hands-on time with it. War of the Roses is due out sometime this summer on PC. “Initially”.

Most Anticipated Feature: The whole game screams quality at the moment, so it’s too soon to point at any one thing yet.

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Comments

By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
SirRoderick
I'm really hoping this thing will blow my socks off.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
nocutius
Same here, the game seems very promising.
By SiyaenSokol (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
SiyaenSokol
I agree, it does look great, and also The War of the Roses is something new for a change.
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
nocutius
Lets just hope there won't be any "Crusades" expansions, i had enough of the Middle East for a few years :).
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
SirRoderick
If anything, go ahead in time a bit to the renaissance. No one ever really does that era.
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jan 24, 2012
herodotus
As a stalwart fan of "Mount & Blade" I thought this would rock your boat, Roderick. Me, I'd have preferred a good Strategy title based on the war-torn period.
"Off with their heads, off with their heads" and all that will no doubt fill the chat waves, if the chat waves are indeed filled. Bit of a niche crowd of TPS gamers PI are going after.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
SirRoderick
Hey if it were a strategy title I'd be all over it as well. But RPG/TPS will do just fine :)
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Jan 24, 2012
herodotus
....and he took the bait:)
I am looking forward to what they come up with, as this is a pretty sadly neglected period in History, and not just British history. Too busy focusing on, as nocutius rightly suggested The Crusades.
Will you be Lancaster or York? Me, I'll go for the alternate time line and dominate with York. Then the Tudors will never have ruled:)
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Jan 24, 2012
SirRoderick
...hmmm, good question.

Stark or Lannist...I mean, York or Lancaster....

:P
By SiyaenSokol (SI Elite) on Jan 25, 2012
SiyaenSokol
Interesting question which side to choose... I also think that it would be interesting to turn the face of history, and let the White Rose win.