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Interview: Iron Harvest dieselpunk strategy

Published: 10:54, 01 October 2019
Updated: 13:04, 01 October 2019
King Art Games
Iron Harvest screenchot of mechs fighting with infantry collateral
Iron Harvest - Just don't get caught between the boilers and you'll be fine Private

AltChar managed to grab some time with Tobias Stolz-Zwilling, Iron Harvest's public voice and community individual. The tactics-heavy dieselpunk RTS seems to be coming along nicely with close to a year left until the 2020 release date.

Iron Harvest is a crowdfunded dieselpunk real-time strategy title coming 1 September 2020 to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The alternate history release is now orbiting a beta testing phase and we have taken the opportunity to get in touch with Tobias Stolz-Zwilling, the game's chief spokesperson, with a few questions.

King Art Games Iron Harvest screenshot of units behind cover ambushing oncoming infantry Iron Harvest - Fish in a barrel

Why should I play Iron Harvest?

Simply because it’s a great game. Iron Harvest brings to the table what Strategy players love and eventually even strive for - an RTS full of tactics and developed with and for a strong community.

Which specific gaming itches does Iron Harvest scratch?

Strategy and Tactics are written with capital letters. In squad-based combat, the strongest weapon won't necessarily win the fight, but the units with the best cover and positioning. Iron Harvest is definitely something for real tacticians. 

One should also not forget that we are working on a strong single-player campaign.

King Art Games Iron Harvest screenshot of mechs strolling through structures next to infantry Iron Harvest - They said head STRAIGHT for the enemy

What part of Iron Harvest can you point at and say "this has never been done before"?

Iron Harvest takes a large part of its inspiration from amazing titles like Company of Heroes and Dawn of War. 

One big difference, for example, is the setting Iron Harvest takes place in. We are talking about the 1920+ universe, an alternate World War 1 scenario created by Jakub Rozalski. In this fictive world Saxony, Polania and Rusviet are fighting with gigantic dieselpunk Mechs for dominance. 

What is really unique is that infantry units drop their weapons after death. This gives Iron Harvest a new and important tactical aspect as you are able to pick those weapons up on the fly and so change your unit classes in the middle of the fight. Let’s say you have an Engineer Unit that is meant to build fortifications - let them pick up hand-canons and get powerful anti-tank units. Full flexibility and synergy between units on the battlefield is definitely an important and unique feature.

Given an infinite budget, which feature would you start implementing today?

We would start working on the next 20 or so factions ;-) There is a lot more stuff to explore in the world of 1920+ and coming up with new heroes and mechs is always fun.

King Art Games Iron Harvest screenshot showing infantry enduring an artilery barrage in the trenches Iron Harvest - War is hell

If you could paddle back on a single Kickstarter promise - no strings attached, which one would it be and why?

You mean, except for the release date? Mmm… I don’t know. I think we actually have everything in the game we promised and then some. 

Overall, making an RTS is much harder than most people think, but we still love it and don’t want to cut anything that works and is fun. So cutting stuff is not on the table at this point. Quite frankly, we are very happy with how everything developed so far. 

We are perfectly on time, the game plays great already and is available for the alpha backers. Furthermore, we are finishing our backer beta soon. I really can’t see a single thing we’d want to scratch.

Which part of the development process would you say is the most taxing on the team?

It is the overall complexity of the game and the genre in general. Nothing is ever easy. We'd start a "short meeting about bunkers or fog of war" with a handful of questions and three hours later there are 30 unanswered questions. Everything. Is. Hard. In. RTS. Development.

King Art Games Iron Harvest screenshot showing mechs fighting in smoke surrounded by infantry Iron Harvest

What will post-launch content delivery look like?

I’d rather do one step after the other. Let us first get everything we have and promised and let’s then continue with great additions. However, we would like to feed Iron Harvest with exciting new stuff, even after its release.

Can we expect more factions and/or units in the future?

Well, I would rather not spoil too much, but yes. There is more in the oven.

King Art Games Iron Harvest screenshot of spider-mech staring at a burned wreck Iron Harvest - You were saying? I can't hear you over the fire crackling

What level of unit/faction customisation can players expect?

There are two major ways planed for unit customisation. One is the already mentioned changing of entire unit classes to adapt to the situation on the battlefield. 

The other one we are introducing is a system. The more experience your units gather in combat the higher their stats get. Some even learn new moves which every unit precious. Retreat and save your units, rather than building new ones. Not only are you wasting resources, but you also miss benefits from higher-level units.

How different will the PC and console versions be?

Other than the need for adapting from mouse and keyboard controls, we are trying to minimise the differences between the different platforms. But this is a question for closer to release. Once we are there, we’ll know.

King Art Games Iron Harvest screenshot of infantry charging over a hil into an ambush Iron Harvest - Just like we practiced for execution detail lads, except FIRE AT WILL!

Iron Harvest units, concept art and more

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Iron Harvest units, concept art...

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