Iron Harvest taps into two of my favorite things about reading: history and the alternative worlds. Here we are dealing with another Earth known as 1920+. You may have heard of it – it’s the basis of False, a popular strategy board game.
It is also part of the works of the Polish artist Jakub Różalski. In 1920+, his First World War involved similar but different empires from our history. And they had mechs, machines influenced by steampunk that wreaked havoc across the continent.
King Art Games hosted a Kickstarter for Iron Harvest, raising $ 1,298,726 in 2018 for this intriguing real-time strategy game. Deep Silver publishes for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 1. I played with a demo built a few weeks ago and I did an interview with Tobias Stolz-Zwilling from Deep Silver. But first, let’s dive into the setting of the fascinating world of 1920+.
What is 1920+?
In 1920+, the Great War ended more in a dead end than in a victory for the Allies. Iron Harvest examines the states of three central and eastern European nations – Polania, Rusviet and Saxony – and the conflict that erupted after the tensions that followed the fragile peace.
“Polania is slowly rebuilding itself after the war while facing occupation by Rusviet forces as part of the truce to which the three nations have agreed,” said Stolz-Zwilling by email. “Saxony and Rusviet are grappling with their own internal conflicts. In Saxony, the aristocracy is scandalized by the – in their opinion – unfavorable peace treaty signed by the kaiser. In Rusviet, the revolutionary forces plan to overthrow the tsar. “
One of the most pressing questions of the First World War is “Why are they fighting?” The tangle of alliances has wreaked havoc around the world, and these three nations in 1920+ are still grappling with this issue after their massive conflict.
“” Why are we fighting? “Is the big question each of our nine heroes is trying to answer for themselves during the campaign,” he said. “The distinction between a“ good ”or“ bad ”faction is often confused and not always clear. Shades of gray exist on all sides.
“The Polish resistance fighters are fighting to liberate their country from the Rusviet occupation at all costs, while their government sees their actions as a threat to the fragile peace treaty.
“In Rusviet, the loyalists and the revolutionaries clash as the anti-monarchy sentiment grows and the unknown forces known only as” Fenris “further fuel the conflict.
“The Saxon monarchy has struggled to remain relevant as it was criticized in the aftermath of the Great War, with many parties disagreeing on how the empire should be restored to its former glory.”
In our world, the great European powers were too exhausted to fight another major conflict. This was not the case in 1920+.
“In our world, the Great War did not end with a decisive victory for one of the factions. Instead, the leaders of the various factions secretly accepted a peace agreement that abruptly ended the war, “said Stolz-Zwilling. “Why and how they did it, if that peace can be maintained, and who or what forces are working to destabilize, these are the three campaigns in the game.”
Once the context has been established, let us dive into the interview. This is an edited transcript:
In the middle of everything
GamesBeat: Why does 1920+ seem concentrated in Central and Eastern Europe?
Tobias Stolz-Zwilling: This probably comes from the pen of Jakub Rozalski. He created this work of art. He started these works and this universe. Then the guys from the board game came over and said, well, this is cool, let’s make it a game. Then we came over and started transforming it into RTS. Why Jakub Rozalski created this universe is something I cannot answer. However, he is Polish. He paints most of the pictures with this rural Polish touch. If you look at the photos, you see what is supposed to be Polish farmland in a way, and probably these are just the things he grew up with. I remember telling him once that he – not that he likes war, but that he likes that kind of machine and that setting. He is interested, very interested, in history. He likes to think about what would happen if they had giant mechs instead of tanks.
GamesBeat: At the end of our First World War, it is a great moment in certain respects for Central Europe, because with the fall of Austria-Hungary, all these new nations are created: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary. Romania is growing. Here, at the end of The Great Wars, how was the world?
Stolz-Zwilling: In this world, several nations exist. We have the kingdom of Saxony, Rusviet, the northern tribes, the Japanese are in there. However, the universe is larger than what is depicted in this game. For the game, unfortunately, the only important or necessary part is Polania herself, because this is where the fighting takes place. Currently, in the game, we have the kingdom of Saxony which fights against the Rusviet in the country of Polania, which in this universe, in this game, resembles the repressed popular army. What the world looks like is unfortunately beyond my knowledge. I can’t tell you more than what’s in the game.
GamesBeat: How did Polania, Saxony and Rusviet survive the first war?
Stolz-Zwilling: Unfortunately, I cannot tell you about all of this.
The mechanic counts
GamesBeat: In Iron Harvest, are there any naval units, or is everything on land?
Stolz-Zwilling: No, there are no naval units. The only fight we have is the infantry and the giant mechs. But they come in different sizes. We have small, medium and very large. They will pass through each building you see on the map. There are also no air units. However, there could be something like air strikes or ranged artillery strikes. Special weapons you could use. However, these are still under construction. They will not appear at all in the beta version. This is something where we have to see if it ends up in the final game.
GameBeat: I love the trailer. How did you come to put these mechs in these old images, old visions of the great war?
Stolz-Zwilling: How cool is that? The idea was, because it is an alternative universe and there is no material on this universe, but there is still stuff on the First World War, we authorized these old materials. Most of these pieces come from Poland or Germany, or even from certain French borders. We authorized them and then we adjusted them slightly. We put our video guys in there and they tried to incorporate the mechs and all that to make it look like an alternative universe that could have existed.