Painter's Art Turns into Video Game with Dieselpunk Robots
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After inventing an alternative history 1920s world where diesel-powered war robots are part and parcel of the interwar period, Jakub Różalski became an internationally-recognised graphic artist and co-created one of the hottest board games of the past year. Now Różalski is working on an exciting new project called Iron Harvest, a video game that builds yet another rich layer upon the 1920+ world he has created.
19th century paintings
Digging up the military past
The phrase ‘iron harvest’ has been used for decades when referring to the unearthing of World War I relics. Dating back to the time following the conflict, farmers would discover an abundance of barbed wire, casings and other forgotten military equipment in their fields. Even today, iron harvests still occur – the Great War left behind so much junk that tonnes of munitions from it are still being found annually in its former battlefields.
Now, the phrase is also the title of a new video game currently in production, set in the alternate 1920s world invented by Polish graphic artist Jakub Różalski. Iron Harvest, a real-time strategy, will let you lead forces into battle in the 1920+ universe, a place evocative of Interwar Central and Eastern Europe, where so-called dieselpunk mechs are as common (nearly) as diesel cars are in ours. The game’s unique setting originates from Rózalski’s paintings and digital graphics where he presents rustic landscapes with enormous mechs in them. These works, reminiscent of the style of classic Polish painters like Chełmoński or Brandt, drew millions of visitors to the artist’s online gallery and made him internationally recognisable. Now the world shown in Różalski’s art is turning into a digital battleground.
Currently details about the game include that it allows you to control one of three factions: the highly developed, but war-defeated Saxony Empire; Rusviet, a vast and industrialised state on the brink of revolution; and the Polania Republic, a farming country aiming to modernise its army. Also in play will be the Unknown Enemy, a mysterious force scheming to take over the world, and not by the most peaceful of methods...
The gameplay will focus on combat rather than on developing infrastructure or acquiring resources, in a format that should be familiar to fans of titles such as Company of Heroes and Men at War. In Iron Harvest you’ll find dynamic storylines unfolding in sandbox-style levels where taking cover and demolishing buildings strongly affects the outcome of battles. The various units at your disposal will include infantry, enormous mechs and special characters. Some tasty-looking screenshots have already been released of a Polania recon mech equipped with a sizable bayonet.
Wojtek the bear in a video game
Also among the special characters will be Polandia Republic’s Anna, a sniper who’s always accompanied by her lethal bear companion Wojtek (a nod to the real-life Wojtek the bear who fought in General Anders’ army). You may recognise Anna from Scythe, the board game released last year by the Saint-Louis based company Stonemaier Games in collaboration with Różalski. This warmly-received title, which also uses the 1920+ world, was one of 2016’s most anticipated board games. Despite the two titles sharing a setting, they have little else in common. In Scythe, you manage things on a state level, looking at the big picture, whereas Iron Harvest will bring you close to the battlefield, letting you engage with single characters with immediate tactical instincts.
Różalski vs King Kong
Iron Harvest is being developed by King Art Games, an indie studio from Germany responsible for games such as the strategic Battle Worlds: Kronos and crime adventure The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief. It’s scheduled for release next year and will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. Różalski will put his remarkable talents to use creating the artwork of the future title, but if you’re already hungry for some new projects featuring the Pole’s involvement there’s something coming up soon that might just help with the wait. This March will see the premiere of Kong: Skull Island, a big-budget Hollywood movie for which Różalski created concept art and illustrations. We’ll just have to wait until March 2017 to see if the famous ape will be confronted by an equally-massive mech…
Author: Marek Kępa, Jan 2017