Iron Harvest is an upcoming RTS (real-time strategy) game being developed by King Art Games and published by Deep Silver. The game is set in an alternate history aftermath of World War 1, where technology has turned to allow the rise of gigantic war machines. Aiding the mortar emplacements and infantry or engineers in trenches are cannon-wielding bipeds, spider-like walkers with machine guns and giant, near-unstoppable troop transports.

Iron Harvest is actually a rather clever title for this game, as the term usually is used referring to an annual “harvest” period where French and Belgian farmers find undetonated explosives, mines, gas canisters and shrapnel still not recovered from World War 1.

When I first accepted the invitation to play a build of the game at E3 2019, all I knew was the name and a piece of concept art I’d seen that looked really neat. Now, I’m happy to say this game is actively on my radar. Here’s my preview from what I played.

E3 2019 Iron Harvest Preview

Immediately, what stood out to me is the way the art style looks. It’s like the concept art I’d been seeing was directly translated onto the screen. Really, it looks quite good and captures well the idea of a war-torn Europe. With scattered cottages and farms amidst the chaos and destruction, the world feels authentic and well-realized.

On top of that, the mech designs are simply awesome. Watching these lumbering behemoths make their way across the battlefield, only stopped by equally powerful opposing units, is just really cool. The controls feel good and infantry pathfinding didn’t seem to have any issues, as they weave their way between buildings and through trenches.

That doesn’t mean you’ll win just by throwing mechs at a problem though. Every unit has a specific role to play and if you aren’t careful with how build your army, you’ll quickly find yourself overwhelmed.

There are three factions: Polonia, Saxony Empire and Rusviet. Each of them quite subtly corresponds to a nation or group of nations in an alternate history perspective. Each faction also has unique leaders and units that give them different advantages to press on the battlefield. Leaders aren’t unstoppable though; they are designed to give unique abilities and options. All three factions are playable in the campaign and in multiplayer.

In addition to the mechs, there are weapon systems like mortars or heavy machine guns. While these can easily defend a chokepoint, they have to be crewed by infantry and are extremely vulnerable while on the move, meaning you have to consider their investment carefully.

The music is being composed by Music Imaginary, who have also recorded music for The Witcher series. The soundtrack that I heard while playing is absolutely awesome and fit the action perfectly.

While I was playing, I did notice a fair bit of screen tearing and some framerate problems but the game isn’t done yet. In fact, I was told the build I was playing was just three days old. So I’m sure technical issues like that can be taken care of. Slightly more concerning was the low population count my army was saddled with. It was only enough to build a few infantry squads and a handful of heavy mechs. Hopefully this limit was just for the purposes of what I played and it can go higher in the full game.

Summary

I have to say that I utterly love this premise. I’m a big fan of RTS games and the idea of an alternate history war with early 20th century technology aided by giant, lumbering mechs is awesome.

I’m definitely keeping an eye on Iron Harvest from here on out and I’d recommend anyone interested in RTS games do the same.

If you’d like to read my other E3 2019 coverage, you can check out the links below: