British publisher Exacalibur has announced plans to bring the new top-down role playing game, King’s Bounty: Dark Side, to players in the United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Australia, and South Africa. Dark Side is the seventh game in the King’s Bounty series, which began in 1990 with the launch of King’s Bounty for the Commodore 64, Amiga, and DOS, and the sixth title to be developed by Moscow based studio 1C Company since the Russian developer acquired the rights to the series in 2007 after seventeen years of dormancy.
The King’s Bounty series consists of fantasy RPGs which utilize a turn-based combat system in which player-controlled units position themselves on an isometric grid similar to a traditional strategy board game. Dark Side adds companion characters to the mix, each of whom functions differently both in and out combat based on the role the player chooses. In addition to choosing a class, Dark Side is also the first game in the King’s Bounty franchise to allow players to create characters of different fantasy races, including orcs, demons, and vampires.
Players then take their character on a journey through the “dark side” of the world of Teana, following the story of the races normally considered enemies in King’s Bounty games. The story centers around the path each of the three races takes towards an ultimate meeting at an ancient shrine where they must attempt to release a long-imprisoned evil entity in order to unite their armies and fight for survival against the encroaching humans and elves.
King’s Bounty: Dark Side is currently available as an early access purchase on Steam for $24.99 and plans to release fully on August 14, 2014. The digital version will be followed with the launch of a physical, boxed premium edition on August 17, which was previously not expected to be released outside of Russia until the publishing deal struck with Excalibur. The premium edition includes bonus DLC, a “clot of darkness” that provides the player with additional money and experience, two new zones with additional quests and other content, as well as an extra type of unit to use in combat. While the only true “premium edition” of the game is the boxed version, players in other parts of the world will still be able to purchase the premium content as a separate DLC package following the release of the game.