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Tooth and Tail, an RTS from Monaco devs, out in September

Once called Lead to Fire, it’s a novel controller-focused strategy game

Tooth and Tail, the real-time strategy game from the developers of Monaco, finally has a release date. The “one button” RTS will launch on September 12 on PlayStation 4 and Windows PC.

The small team at Pocketwatch Games has been working on the title for quite some time. In 2014 we interviewed lead developer Andy Schatz when it was still in the conceptual phase. At the time it was called Armada, but the design goals were clear even then: port the RTS experience over to a controller, while keeping the intellectual and emotional impact of a game with a much more complex control scheme.

"You can't take the RTS design formula and just translate the controls. It simply doesn't work," Schatz told Polygon. "Unit selection on an analog controller is bad. Orders are bad. Scrolling around a map is bad. The analog controller is built for vector movement about a central point — a player-character."

Which is how this controller-based RTS will work. You’ll be in charge of a Champion, just like League of Legends, who is surrounded by AI-controlled units. Your character can build structures, fight directly with the enemy, scout the map and lead your forces.

"We're rebuilding the RTS formula to avoid the problem areas and emphasize the things the analog controller does well," Schatz said. "Adding a MOBA-like champion to the world, but allowing the player to craft their defenses, build armies of mixed types, and allowing for a more open-world map like SC2 gives Armada the best of both worlds."


Later that year, Pocketwatch applied a lavish art style to the game, which it renamed Lead to Fire. In the lore, Pocketwatch posited an alternate future without humans where the animal world is undergoing their version of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution at the same time. The technology in the game is set between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with a mix of traditional melee and modern gunpowder weapons. Meanwhile, the world is undergoing a fundamental shift in the way creatures choose to feed themselves.

Eating meat has suddenly become fashionable. The people — er, animals — have risen up to overthrow the religious oligarchy. Now they are at war to determine which side will eat the other.

"I liked the idea that what happens when these animals modernize," Schatz said. "What does that actually mean to animals when the state of nature is interrupted, and how does the predator and prey power structure change when you start having social dynamics that are no longer compatible with the state of nature? When you have to start erecting laws about who gets to be the predator and who gets to be the prey, and then how do those laws start to break down over time?"

Now renamed Tooth and Tail, Pocketwatch will release the game simultaneously on two platforms. PC players will have the option of purchasing it through Steam or GoG. Pre-orders are open now and offer a 10 percent discount to qualified buyers.

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