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Iron Harvest is a new diesel punk RTS based on alternate history WWI (updated)

Uses the same 1920+ world as the hit boardgame Scythe

Jakub Rozalski/King Art Games

Iron Harvest: 1920+ is a newly announced title from King Art Games. The real-time strategy game will be based on the alternate history world created by Polish artist Jakub Rozalski.

In an announcement on Facebook today, King Art unveiled the project, being built for PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One. Details are scant, but King Art has said the game will feature a dynamic storyline and open, sandbox-style levels. It will also feature cover mechanics and dynamic destruction pitting infantry units against towering mechs. Inspirations include the Company of Heroes and Men at War series.

On his own Facebook page, Rozalski said the intention was for the game to also have "a hint of XCOM."

The 1920+ world that Rozalski is known for has captured people’s attention since it was unveiled on Facebook a few years ago. It’s been expressed almost exclusively by Rozalski through dramatic paintings juxtaposing high-tech fighting mechs with rural European scenes.

One of the first pieces introducing the world of 1920+, posted to Facebook in 2014.
Jakub Rozalski

The artist says that the basis for the fictional world is the Battle of Warsaw in 1920, as well as the Polish-Soviet War fought from February 1919 to March 1921.

"This battle is considered by many historians," he writes in his canonical description, "as one of the most important in the world’s history, since it changed the fate of Europe and stopped the Red Revolution. After the first world war, the atmosphere in Europe was filled with revolutionary thoughts. Bolsheviks decided to take advantage of this situation and started to move forward to the west with a huge army.

"Poland was the first country to really be able to show them resistance. Our independence had only been restored for two years. Even that, Polish army has defeated the Bolsheviks and pushed away the specter of the communism from the Western Europe. Anyone hardly knows about this and it is a very interesting historical period."

King Art Games

A Polania Republic mech in an early animation from Iron Harvest: 1920+.

Three of the factions from the 1920+ world are highlighted in the marketing materials for Iron Harvest:

The Saxony Empire is one of the most influential countries in Europe, with powerful industry, developed cities, modern factories and a strong military tradition. After the unfavorable conditions of surrender in the Great War, the current mood in the Empire is bad, and proud elites and humiliated aristocrats secretly oppose the Emperor’s appeasement policies.

The Polania Republic is a large agricultural country with a long history. It is trying to maintain its status and territory, struggling with its aggressive neighbors: The Saxony Empire in the west and Rusviet in the east. Polania initiated a program to modernize its army while a large part of the country is still occupied by Rusviet forces.

Rusviet is huge, powerful, and has unmatched industrial and population potential. However, the country is tired and worn out by the long war. People are frustrated, and the power of Tsar Nikolaj weakens. Mysterious Grigori Rasputin has become an extraordinarily powerful man and revolution is in the air.

a photo of miniatures from the board game Scythe
The main factions from Scythe, by Stonemaier Games. Miniatures representing the Saxony Empire (black), the Polania Republic (white) and the Rusviets (red). The 1920+ themed boardgame also features the Nordic Kingdom (blue) and the Crimean Khanate (yellow).
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

All three of these factions are also featured in another recent application of the 1920+ theme, the critically acclaimed strategy board game called Scythe from Stonemaier Games. For more on that game, see our coverage from this year’s Gen Con in Indianapolis.

We’ve reached out to King Art Games, Rozalski and Stonemaier Games for more information.

Update: We heard back from the team at King Art Games and Stonemaier Games and yes, Iron Harvest and Scythe exist in the same fictional timeline and the same setting. The only difference is the scale and the kinds of stories being told.

"Both games play in the same world," wrote King Art's Jan Theysen. "We’re Scythe [crowdfunding] backers and we are in contact with Jamey [Stegmaier] from Stonemaier Games. But the two games have very little in common apart from the setting. Scythe focusses on production, resources and research, Iron Harvest focusses on characters & combat. So more 'tactics' than 'strategy,' more 'battlefield' than "world map.'"

"I'm really excited about Iron Harvest," Stegmaier told Polygon. "I'm not involved in that project, but I like that Jakub continues to expand his 1920+ world. I'm not sure about the exact storylines that Iron Harvest uses (or, from what little I do know, I'm not sure what I'm allowed to say, as I really have no connection to it), but I think it's fair for me to say that it delves deeper into upon the lore of Scythe while also expanding the 1920+ world."

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