Innovation was everywhere at this year’s E3 and no genre seems to be safe from the winds of change. Even the venerable turn based strategy genre could soon be seeing some changes. It was at my meeting with German publisher Daedalic where I was first introduced to Blackguards, a title that looks to shake up the very traditional genre of the turn based strategy.
Blackguards is set in a fantasy world akin to Dungeon and Dragons. The gameplay is split between two different perspectives: the vast overworld, where you can go into towns and shop, and the unexplored regions where you can encounter random enemies. The main part of the game, however, is the battle grid. Here the play area is divided into hexagon tiles and each turn you and your opponent must strategically position your forces to win the day.
Where the innovation comes in is the game’s use of choices to decide how the battle will play out. Scattered throughout you will find objects that you will be able to interact with or characters to converse with that will affect the course of the game.
Visually, Blackguards is a decent looking game with rich environments filled with details both large and minute. The soundtrack is, of course, rather epic and really sets the tone of the dark world rather well. The character dialogue is also poignant and fits the universe perfectly.
In the end I was rather impressed with the demo I witnessed of Blackguards; it seems to be really pushing a stubborn genre into a whole new direction and I will definitely be checking it out once it releases (hopefully) sometime this year for the PC.