Gongbi battles: Autumn Dynasty

Autumn Air

The jackdaw perches and starts anew.

I despise hyperbolic game previews as much as the next guy, but what I’ve seen of this title has shattered my restraint. Forgive me. Autumn Dynasty is the most beautiful strategy game I’ve seen this year.

The real-time battlefield tactics game from Touch Dimensions is a Chinese painting come alive – your orders to your units are rendered as brushstrokes on a canvas. This is kin to the sort of traditional Japanese-inflected art direction that was attempted by Sega’s insomnia remedy Total War Battles: Shogun, but executed in a way that rises above thematic frippery and integrates it with the gameplay.

Autumn Dynasty started life as a student project by a group from the National University of Singapore and was a finalist in the 2009 IGF China Student Competition. (Which it apparently didn’t win, by the way – I can only suppose that the game that defeated Autumn Dynasty cures cancer and causes swimwear models to fall rapturously in love with you.)

If Autumn Dynasty’s gameplay is as pleasing as its aesthetic, then I’ll personally start the Kickstarter to get Koei to hand the keys to Romance of the Three Kingdoms over to Touch Dimensions. There’s no hard release date yet for this, but this iPad-only title seems to be on track to release soon as it’s well into beta testing. (UPDATE 22 May: Autumn Dynasty is out this Thursday.)

I’ve got the brand-new trailer here after the jump and I must insist that you watch it. The screenshot I’ve posted is perfectly lovely but you won’t really be able to appreciate just how good this game looks until you’ve seen it in motion.