This bizarro action game is all about bringing guns to the swordfights of medieval Europe, and I've never been more down for anything in my entire life

(Image credit: tinyBuild)

What you need to know

  • Developer Redemption Road Games and publisher tinyBuild have announced Kingmakers, a game about a modern soldier who time travels back to the Middle Ages to alter history and prevent an apocalypse.
  • The game blends real-time strategy with third-person shooter action, allowing you to seamlessly switch between commanding your armies and fighting alongside them with modern firearms and vehicles.
  • Notably, the game will feature "next-gen multi-threaded AI" for the thousands of soldiers on its battlefields, as well as "a unique procedural animation system" and support for 3-player co-op.
  • The developers plan to release Kingmakers in Steam Early Access later this year, and has plans to "open our gates to the community" with playtests and demos.

Every once in a while, you come across an upcoming game with a premise that's so bizarre and goofy that you can't help but be incredibly excited to eventually get your hands on it and see just how wacky it'll be. That's exactly how I feel about Kingmakers, a action-strategy sandbox game coming later this year in which you'll play as a modern soldier who time travels back 500 years to the Middle Ages to alter the course of history and save the world.

Announced this morning, Kingmakers looks to fuse the army micromanagement of real-time strategy with over-the-shoulder third-person shooter mechanics. In one moment, you'll be fighting alongside your bannermen with an array of modern firearms and vehicles. But with the press of a button, you can seamlessly transition into a top-down mode to command legions of cavalry, archers, swordsmen, and more, ordering them to charge into the fray, assault enemy fortifications, or defend your own.

Developer Redemption Road Games says it was inspired by fan-favorite franchises like the "Mount and Blade series, Deeprock Galactic, Kingdom Come Deliverance, Chivalry, Stronghold series, World War Z, and so many more," though more than anything else, I'm reminded of the Battalion Wars games Kuju London made for Nintendo's GameCube and Wii (you're a real one if you played those).

In its post officially introducing Kingmakers, the studio noted it's "a passionate 20-person dev team that has dedicated over four years to crafting this immersive experience." The game is built on Unreal Engine, and Redemption Road is confident that it'll offer a unique gameplay experience.

"From rendering and animations to sophisticated AI and cutting-edge online multiplayer code, we're confident that Kingmakers will stand out in the Unreal Engine landscape," wrote the devs. According to Kingmakers' Steam page, you can look forward to real-time battle simulations involving thousands of soldiers and a "next-gen multi-threaded AI" that controls their actions and loyalty, as well as "a unique procedural animation system." Oh, and there will be co-op for up to three players, too, which I'm very happy to see as someone who's always looking for something fun to play with friends.

You can watch the official announcement trailer via the embed above, which pretty much sold me on the concept the second I saw a pickup truck running over dozens of armored knights. The sheer absurdity of seeing a man running around with an AK-47 and shooting ranks of cavalry charging at him in the middle of a medieval battlefield is enough to make me chuckle every time I rewatch it, and I'm sure it'll make you crack a smile, too.

Full plate protects against quite a bit, but my money is on the guy with a rifle. (Image credit: tinyBuild)

Honestly, I'm surprised a game like this hasn't been made sooner. Isn't this something we've all thought about while thinking up those "who would win?" scenarios while we're bored? Monkeycowman2 — bless their soul — in the comments section of the trailer said it best: "Someone got into my 10 year old imagination...and now I want to play it."

Redemption Road and publisher tinyBuild plan to release Kingmakers on PC through Steam Early Access in 2024, and also plans to "open our gates to the community" with playtests and demos (you can Wishlist it right now if you're interested in checking it out). Notably, there's an official Discord server you can join, as well as Kingmakers pages to follow on X (Twitter) and other social media sites.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

  • fjtorres5591
    If the premise of early 21st century weaponry and tech arriving in Rennaiscence Europe intrigues you, take a look at Eric Flint's 1632, 1633, and several dozen shared world novels and anthologies in the RING OF FIRE/GRANTVILLE SAGA from BAEN books. The first edition of 1632 is free in their ebook library.

    Not a mindless shoot'em up but a fun look at an altered history (aliens at play) that brings new roles to historical figures like Richelieu, Cromwell, and the various other rulers.
    Highly recommended. (Just watch out for the Barbie Consortium. Those pre-teen girls are sharks.) 😁
    The new game goes straight to my watch list.