Overhype Studios, a German development studio based out of Hamburg, consists of four people who have started on a very ambitious project called Battle Brothers; with it, they want to create a turn-based tactics and strategy game along the lines of X-COM or Jagged Alliance, but set in a swords and sorcery sort of setting. They’ve started development with the procedural and combat systems, but intend to add RPG elements as they go. There are a lot of things they’re promising which they have yet to show, but the combat is already pretty solid. They’ve made a demo available, and although it’s Windows-only, the final game is slated for release on Mac and Linux as well.
Battle Brothers will put players in the role of the leader of a band of mercenaries and adventurers who find their quest for fame and fortune interrupted by an invasion and eventually become everyone’s last hope. The developers are keeping the story mostly under wraps, but the fact that the combat demo pits you against the undead implies that players will be up against non-human foes for the most part.
Although the story is being kept hidden from view, the combat demo is quite robust. The final game is to feature an overworld strategic layer, but the squad-based tactics are really what’s on show here. There’s no tutorial, so players will have to learn in the school of hard knocks that it doesn’t pay to overextend. Line of sight, the cover of brushes, and the like all make a big difference in survivability.
Another thing the combat demo shows off is the work going into the graphics for units. The units all have an interesting portrait style aesthetic, rather than showing the full body. A cool look isn’t the only thing going on, though; the more beat up a unit gets, the more beat up it looks. Things like helmets and shields can be broken, and if broken they are no longer shown on the unit. The art is functional.
If you want to try the combat demo for yourself (for Windows only, at the moment), you can download the installer here. It has multiple scenarios of varying difficulty.