On March Death Crown will arrive on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One to give a new twist to such a beloved and veteran genre as real-time strategy. CO5MONAUT and Stan Pisarev have taken the rules of the genre to simplify and accelerate them to the maximum, in a dizzying RTS in which battles are decided in minutes and a few seconds can decide between victory and defeat. In Death Crown we can embody Death itself in its campaign for revenge against the kingdom of humans, or we can choose to lead humanity in a struggle for survival against the hosts of the Grim Reaper himself. And it also introduces a third faction, the kingdom of demons, determined to expand their demons beyond the boundaries of Hell.

The mechanics of Death Crown could not be simpler or more frenetic. Throughout the successive levels the player, or players because the game also includes PVP and cooperative modes, must conquer the battlefield, building barracks with which to generate troops, mines to gain resources (gold) and towers with which to protect themselves from the incursions of the rival side. All in a matter of seconds.

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This frenetic factor, together with a surprising minimalist aesthetic, inspired by Apple II classics and medieval iconography, make Death Crown an experience as dazzling as it is unique. An RTS capable of making both real-time strategy lovers and novice users fall in love with the genre, thanks to its simple rules. Death Crown is easy to learn but difficult to master, since even the direction of the battle can change in a matter of seconds, turning what seemed like an easy conquest into an agonizing struggle for survival.

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After succeeding on Steam, Death Crown will arrive in the digital stores of PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One on March the 3rd, from Badland Publishing. A debut on consoles that will incorporate the two DLCs released so far: Era of Human and Demonic Menace.  Choose your side, manage your troops and resources and launch yourself into the most dizzying conquest ever seen in the history of video games.

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Death Crown is the latest exponent of a genre, real-time strategy, which was born in the 80s and experienced its greatest explosion in the mid-90s. The imprint of Dune II and Command & Conquer is still present in many current releases, not to mention phenomena such as Warcraft and StarCraft, the game that started the eSports fever. To what extent have the classic RTS influenced the conception of Death Crown? This is what CO5MONAUT told us about it: “To be honest, I’m not a straight RTS fan, but I used to play a lot of Warcraft II & III. Some of the cutscenes are inspired by the cutscenes from there. I played a lot of Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War and loved LOTR: Battle for Middle-Earth. There I borrowed the idea of key points on the map, which turned into Black Crystals in Death Crown. Some ideas, like land mechanics, I got from Civilization, which I very love. Also, when creating the visual style, I was inspired by the aesthetic of Disciples II”.

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Let’s revisit the roots of the genre and how those pioneers laid the foundation for the RTS genre as we know it today.

HERZOG ZWEI (1989 / TechnoSoft)

The roots of RTS go back to the early 80’s, in titles that introduced elements that would shape the genre as we know it. Games like Utopia (1981), Stonkers (1983) or TechnoSoft’s Herzog (1988), the predecessor of Herzog Zwei, considered by many as the first RTS. Its creators reached their greatest popularity with the Thunder Force saga, but it is worth recovering this classic for Genesis/Mega Drive, underrated at the time, but currently enjoying a cult status, as evidenced by its recent re-release for Nintendo Switch, within the Sega Ages label. Two-player split-screen action and strategy, in which we control a mecha while creating resources and troops.

DUNE II (1992 / Westwood Studios)

A true bestseller, it opened up the RTS genre to the general public. Its predecessor, the adventure game Dune by Cryo Interactive, already incorporated elements of strategy, but Dune II opted to leave the adventure behind to focus on real-time strategy, taking TechnoSoft’s Herzog Zwei as an inspiration, as its creators acknowledged years later. As the leader of one of the three houses (Atreides, Ordos or Harkonnen), disputing for the control of the planet Dune, we must extract the precious Spice and process it to obtain funds with which to create troops and facilities with which to protect ourselves from our rivals and conquer more land, always keeping an eye out for the appearance of the fearsome giant sandworms.

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans (1994 / Blizzard)

The World of Warcraft phenomena had its origin in this 1994 RTS, which transferred the most characteristic elements of real-time strategy to a rich fantasy world that would end up making Blizzard Entertainment the giant we know today. Warcraft: Orcs & Humans incorporated missions of a diverse nature, in addition to the classic mechanics of building and managing resources and troops in order to defeat rivals. One of the aspects that most excited the players of the time were the duels between two players through local networks and even via modem.

Command & Conquer (1995 / Westwood Studios)

The makers of Dune II were responsible for turning RTS, until then a niche genre, into a worldwide phenomenon thanks to Command & Conquer, a masterpiece that would give rise to a franchise that is still active today, under the control of EA Redwood Studios. Two factions, GDI (Global Defense Initiative) and the Brotherhood of Nod fought for control of the Tiberium, a resource with which to raise funds to build troops, vehicles, refineries and scientific and military facilities. Of course, the main attraction of the game was the multiplayer for up to four users, but Command & Conquer also offered two single-player campaigns focused on each side.

StarCraft (1998 / Blizzard)

Blizzard took the formula that had worked so well for them with Warcraft into the depths of Space, with three factions (Terrans, Zerg and Protoss) each with their own strengths, weaknesses and technology. Up to eight players could compete in exciting battles that would eventually spawn the foundations of what we know today as eSports. With 11 million copies sold of the first game alone, StarCraft won the hearts of gamers around the world, especially in South Korea, where the game and its sequel is almost a religion.