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War of the Roses preview

War of the Roses

Gamescom 2011: When Mount & Blade met Call of Duty



That’s The One


Every year at Gamescom we find ourselves on the hunt for a game that completely surprises us. We avidly search for a game that charges us full of the excitement that got us playing games in the first place. With the abundance of sequels being paraded before us this year we knew that the game had to be something original, something we had not contrived in our feeble minds before.

Luckily, Paradox was proud to announce the Fatshark developed War of the Roses in Cologne. We knew instantly that this was the game we were looking for. We were told to imagine a medieval Britain, full of knights, battlegrounds and castles and to then combine this with potentially large-scale multiplayer battles, complete with a Call of Duty-esque ranking system and stats feedback. We lapped up as much information about the game that Fatshark was willing to feed us and found that we were still left ravenous for more after tasting their delectable comestible.

This Has To Feel Right


Staying true to history, War of the Roses is set in 15th century England at a time when the throne was being fought over by the houses of Lancaster and York. The game focuses on capturing a modern-feeling, medieval battle experience from a third person perspective. Halberds, crossbows and pikes, as well as the rest of the typical medieval roster will be the choice of weapons for players to try out and later specialise in when they discover their favourites. When asked about how the melee combat system compares to the similarly Paradox published Mount & Blade series, Fatshark said that they are offering their own spin on the physics-based blade swinging action, determined by the movement and speed of the mouse. This is fantastic news considering how satisfying and immersive that combat system is.

Matching the style of the combat system, Fatshark is aiming for a realistic but highly enjoyable feel to War of the Roses. The weight of armour and weaponry will determine the speed of the player’s character – essentially meaning players will have to be careful balancing out their equipment to match their style of play. A further consideration will be the parry effectiveness of the player’s load-out, survival may be more certain with a shield and sword, but this means the length of a two-handed weapon is sacrificed (actually, two-handed weapons, such as swords and axes, often have shorter reach than one-handed weapons, but there are exceptions, of course -Ed).

Fatshark also placed an emphasis on immersing the player into the game with the camera, something they awkwardly coined “dynamic third person”. It is an attempt to capture the movement and feel of a first person game, through a third person perspective. The idea is still being worked out but it seems that the character and camera will feel connected. The end result should draw the player in to each movement that their character makes, and contribute towards a more intense experience overall. Fatshark also want to make the battlefield feel alive and so to expand the mass activity happening at the fore between the players, there will plenty of kinetic movement in the background. This will also contribute to the sense of scale that the developers are also placing as an important target, and to achieve this they are using a new engine. Teased so far are photorealistic graphics supplemented by some healthy-looking draw distances for those who judge a game at face value alone. Fortunately, we should not have a repeat of the mass whinging from players about Mount & Blade’s sub-par visuals, so let’s just hope the gameplay does not offer a reason to moan about War of the Roses. A mature rating is also planned so feel free to anticipate the sight of gore-filled battlegrounds, strewn with punctured corpses and bloody mires.

Game Screenshots