by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
From Pendragon to Lionheart
Lionheart: Kings' Crusade is the upcoming new title from Neocore Games, the developers who previously entertained us with King Arthur - The Role-playing Wargame. King Arthur was widely regarded as a breath of fresh air in the RTS genre even though the press seemed a little wary of giving it the ratings that it deserved, perhaps due to the relative newcomer status of the developer. Now, Neocore Games is better known and the gamers are less hesitant to believe in their next title Lionheart: Kings' Crusade, which will be set in the Holy Land in the late 12th century.
A short peek at history...
In 1187, Saladin used the might of combined Egyptian and Syrian forces to reduce the Christian states and to recapture Jerusalem from them. As a result, Henry II of England and Philip II of France ended their hostilities with each other and started planning a new Crusade to the Holy Land. When Henry II died in 1189, Richard Lionheart took command of the English contingent and the Third Crusade – also known as the Kings' Crusade – started.
In real history, the Third Crusade was hardly successful. One of the major setbacks occurred when the massive army of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa drowned at sea before they even reached the Holy Land. Even though Jerusalem was eventually retaken by Richard, the treaty signed in 1192 gave control back to Muslims. The only remaining victory was that unarmed Christian pilgrims would be allowed to visit the city. Richard and his army departed the Holy Land on October 9th.
...before we break it apart
In Lionheart: Kings' Crusade you will step into Richard Lionheart's sweaty boots and try to rewrite history as you assume command of the English forces and head towards Jerusalem. Like King Arthur - The Role-playing Wargame before it, Lionheart: Kings' Crusade will be a cross between real-time strategy and role-playing, with the focus naturally on RTS. The game will include two single-player campaigns; one campaign from the point of view of Richard Lionheart as he tries to take hold of the Holy Land and the other from the point of view of Saladin who attempts to keep the European intruders out from the land of his ancestors.
Richard and Saladin are both known today as excellent military leaders and embodiments of knightly values. When Richard once lost his mount in a battle, Saladin sent him two new mounts as replacements. They battled against each other on numerous occasions, both of them winning and losing on their turn.
To the relief of history buffs, Neocore has stated that they will attempt to stay as close to history as possible. Even though the game is set in alternate history, some of the battles are modeled after actual historical missions. Likewise, the army units on both sides are modeled to exacting degree to make them look as realistic as possible.