The turn-based tactics genre is a sparsely populated one, with few high profile names coming to mind, such as Jagged Alliance and XCOM. Thankfully, fans have reason to rejoice, as indie developer CreativeForge is bringing forth Hard West, a turn-based tactical game set in a Weird West world.
Gameplay in Hard West takes place on two levels: a tactical level similar to XCOM, with small squads engaging in turn-based combat, and a world map similar to Heroes of Might and Magic in which players can travel between locales.
Combat is described as fast and brutal, and players have access to a variety of interesting weapons, such as a half-a-pound bullet rifle and four-barreled shotgun:
The whole combat encounter takes no more than 5-10 minutes. It’s short, bloody, and decisive. All it takes is one well laid shot. It’s just not that easy to put yourself in the proper position.
No peeling off HPs. HPs represent the ability to withstand a shot or two, alternatively to sustain a powerful blow.
There’s little randomization: you either make good predictions and good decisions to land a kill, or you die. There’s no victory without risk, but it’s a well calculated risk.
One interesting feature of Hard West is the way it factors in the sun as a gameplay changer. Depending on how high in the sky it is, characters will cast shadows of varying length that can give away their positions, others will use environmental shadows for subterfuge, and others still can be blinded by it should they find themselves in tactically unsound positions.
Of course, this is a game set in the Weird West and not the Wild West, and as such the environment in Hard West can take on surreal, even hellish qualities. The developers haven’t been very specific about this, but what little they have revealed is enticing.
The developers have turned to Kickstarter to fund their project, and with 14 days to go, Hard West has already surpassed its $70,000 funding goal. Should the game reach $80,000 in funding, an additional two hours worth of campaign content will be added. The game currently has six scenarios planned with at least an hour of gameplay in each one.
Hard West has gotten compliments from gaming legends such as Brian Fargo, Chris Avellone and John Romero, and with a team that includes members who worked on Call of Juarez, Shadow Warrior and Dead Island, CreativeForge look to have a real winner on their hands.
Hard West is being developed for the PC and will be released on Steam.