Chunky mech wargame Iron Harvest enters open beta, reveals new trailer

A woman in a Polish-style military outfit stands next to a bear. She holds a finger to her lips, imploring silence.

Grim alternative 1920s-but-with-mechs wargame Iron Harvest will kick off its open beta today. Developers KING Art also released a new cinematic trailer, showing off a woodland clash and a terrified child. You probably can’t play as the child.

It’s their first go at real-time strategy, but it’s certainly got a hook. Our Nate already expressed his excitement at Iron Harvest, choosing its demo as one of his favourites from last month’s Steam Festival. It’s “an absolute belter of an RTS”, he said. I am less invested, but willing to be convinced.

I do like that this video really goes in on the contrast of the peaceful farm and landscape, and the hulking mantanks tearing them up. It’s both awe-inspiring and horrific, as such machines should be. An earlier trailer showed actual gameplay, which reminded me of Men Of War, but from this new one I get a hint of Mortal Engines, with the hapless farmers stuck between fanatical armies and monstrous war machines that tear up the land.

Skeptical of “cinematic” trailers as I am, I am hesitant to assume that such a video proves anything about the game itself. But it hints at a few things. It’s good to see the mech designs up close, and in a more ground level context than the RTS perspective allows. There’s a clear distinction between the hefty German ones, emphasising armour, and the comparatively spindly, agile Polish counter-attacker (implied to be the goodies). I enjoy the way the artillery mechs crouch and lean to fire overhead, instead of just shooting from their limbs. That feels more practical, utilising the weight of the machine.

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We also see regular troops mixed in with the armour, including one with a sniper rifle, which I hope means a unit that can take out mech pilots like Jarmen Kell from C&C Generals. And of course, the bear. It’s not clear if the massive war bear will be a one-off reference to Corporal Wojtek for story use only, or whether we’ll get to train bear armies. But hey, a bear fights a mech. That’s surely worth a few minutes of your time.

Iron Harvest’s open beta begins “sooooon” today (with Kickstarter backers having already had access to a closed beta for a small while), and its full release is expected on the 1st of September. It’s available to pre-order via Steam, the Epic Games Store and GOG for £47/$50/€50.

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