The Best War Games of 201902 Jan 2020 22
The year of our lord 2019 has passed, and now we can start looking ahead to what 2020 has in store. Before that though, let's have one last turn at the the table. This article was originally designed to track what computer war game projects we could look forward to in 2019.
Now that the year has passed, we're going to give it one last update so we can recao what our favourite games were, as well as what games missed out on released this year.
What Are The Best War Games for PC 2019?
- Blocks! Julius Caesar
- Strategic Command: World War I
- Unity of Command 2
- Command: Modern Operations
- Radio Commander
- Block! Richard III
- Fantasy General 2
- Field of Glory: Empires
- Steel Division 2
- Rule the Waves 2
- Japan '45
Missing War Games for PC 2019
Not everything that gets announced actually releases, and in terms of war games specifically release windows quite often slip. This is a niche within a niche, with many games being developed by small indie teams who also may or may not have real jobs. Just look at how long it took Unity of Command 2 to get out the door. Here's a final look at the project we thought might ship in 2019, but didn't...
You may/may not remember us mentioning Invasion Machine before. This is a real-time tactical war game in the same vein as Men of War, except it's set in modern times during a fictional conflict reminiscent of the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq. It seems to mainly involve small-unit tactics against insurgent-style enemies. I'm still not convinced by the theme of the game, but I also am very impressed by the tech that seems to be powering it as well. Visuals look nice, and there seems to be some really interesting tactical options available.
It will be launching into Early Access at some point, although if you join the developer's Discord you can get access to a free alpha build to try it out right now. This build won't be updated when the Early Access launches, but it'll let you try it out at least if you're curious. The EA launch date keeps getting delayed so we're not sure when in 2020 this will be coming out.
Ultimate Admiral: Age of Sail
The studio behind Ultimate General is known to be working on two new games, one covering Dreadnought-era warfare and another covering land & naval warfare during the Napoleonic-era. Age of Sail is now taking pre-orders direct on their website, and backers of a certain tier can get access to an early Alpha with some simple naval engagements. The build is set to develop from there and we're now expecting the general Early Access release on Steam to be in 'early' 2020.
Gates of Hell
The one franchise I've always wished would be given a second (or third? fourth?) shot was Men of War. 1C tried their best, but they took the series in odd directions and then just kind of gave up after Assault Squad 2. 1C are not the creators of the engine that powers Men of War, or even the concept of Men of War however. That honour belongs to Best Way Soft, and despite being largely silent this past decade they've now decided to make a return.
Gates of Hell represents a spiritual successor to all of Men of War, and a rallying cry for the community. It promises gritty realism, the best of WW2 real-time tactical gameplay, as well as a decent learning curve and approachable interfaces. The graphics look gorgeous, and it's going to have singleplay and multiplayer. In short, they're promising the world to a community that very much wants something like this to exist, and has been largely neglected recently. We're interested in seeing how it pans out.
We thought this would release in 2019 but now the Steam page just says 'To be Announced', so god knows when it will happen.
Valor & Victory
Yobowargames are essentially a one man team like Digitalgameworks, so their projects can be a bit hit and miss at times. They recently released Battle for Korsun & Invaders From Dimension X!, and as far as we know they're working on an adaptation of Barry Doyle's squad-level WW2 tactics game of the same name. It's going to be hitting Early Access first when it releases later this year, and will feature 12 scenarios and AI opponents. And Tanks, we can't forget those. Hit up the Steam page to find out more.
While we're not sure if this will effect Valor & Victory specifically, it was recently announced that Yobo have now partnered with Matrix and Slitherine, who are publishing the developer's first two games. The Steam Page just says 'Coming Soon', so we're not sure when the EA release will show up.
Surprisingly enough, there's another game similar to Radio Commander also in the works, only this one covers WW2. Radio General has only recently put its Steam page live, but it sports much the same kind of concepts that Commander does. The single-player campaign follows the 1st Canadian Army, which rarely gets much love from WW2 entertainment. There will also me multiplayer and a map editor.
No word on when the game will launch - doesn't look like it's going into Early Access, but the Steam page just says 'Coming Soon'.
Burden of Command
Green Tree Games announced late last year that their leadership role-playing game, Burden of Command, was going to take a bit longer to finish than they’d initially estimated. They haven’t committed to a new date yet, instead promising that Burden of Command will be done - “When it’s done right.”
While it’s of course disappointing that we won’t be able to see this new vision of military leadership in games for a while yet, a delay was likely the correct move. Burden of Command is doing something genuinely novel: it wants to convey the emotional, physical, and spiritual toll that wartime leadership exacts on the people who take on a captain’s bars and lead soldiers into what Vietnam War veteran Karl Marlantes called “The Temple of Mars” in his memoir, What It Is Like To Go To War.
The dev team have been silent as far as a release window is concerned for a while now. While 2020 is still possible, we won't hold our breath until the team start talking about this more definitively.
General Staff Wargaming System
Dr. Ezra Sidran has been working on this suite of software for the past several years, and he’s bringing to it a lot of academic heft - he’s a computer scientist who has devoted his career to wargaming and artificial intelligence, and his previous work in military simulations has been supported by the likes of DARPA.
Over the course of 2018, he released several pieces and beta builds of his powerful suite of wargame design software, map editing software, and army editor, and we’re looking forward to seeing the finished project, hopefully sometime this year. At the base level, there’s General Staff, the Game of Military Tactics (the “beer and skittles” Kriegsspeil mode), and then there’s the Wargaming System, which allows armchair designers to put together their very own rulesets and scenarios, or even more complex simulations.
Sidran’s work will likely have impact well beyond the usual scope for consumer wargames - we’re looking forward to the research published based on this as well. Last we heard Dr. Sidran was finishing up work on the AI so he could then launch the game on Steam, which could be early this year.
Other War Games for PC
Order of Battle WW2 Console - the series is supposed to be coming to console sometime this year as a premium package with the base game bundled with the U.S Pacific expansions. The rest of the DLCs are to be made available as separate purchases on launch day as well. We haven't heard anything about this project all year though.
Campaign Series: Vietnam - The new game from CS Legion, who previously did Campaign Series: Middle East under Matrix. We were expecting it last year, but it never showed up and hasn't emerged this year either - 2020 release, for sure.
Seen any computer war game projects you’re excited about? Let us know in the comments!