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Minecraft Legends looks like a different breed of RTS

The ‘action strategy’ game will launch in Spring next year

After initially announcing its Minecraft RTS last year, Microsoft and Mojang finally gave players a real look at Minecraft Legends on Saturday at Minecraft Live 2022. A group of developers sat down to chat about what exactly the game is and even offered an in-depth gameplay demo for fans. During the showcase, Microsoft also revealed that players will be able to check out Minecraft Legends themselves in spring 2023.

The showcase started with a developer interview, which got into the narrative and overall idea behind Minecraft Legends. Microsoft and Mojang call this an action-strategy game, which appears to be a less intimidating twist on the real-time strategy genre. In Minecraft Legends, you’re going to summon enemies, lead them into battle, point them at enemies, and watch as the two armies rip each other to shreds, just as you would in something like StarCraft.

However, the gameplay demo during the showcase showed off some of the more Minecraft-flavored aspects to the game, which will help differentiate it and — hopefully — make it a bit more accessible.

In Minecraft Legends, you’ll gather resources, build structures, and gather armies, but the way you do those things is like playing Minecraft on a large scale, rather than a more traditional RTS. In Legends, you ride around on a beast and can command some workers to either gather or build for you in a specific area. The demo showed the player riding up to a group of trees, summoning some minions into the world, and then riding away as the workers gathered the resources. Later, the player used those resources to build a wooden bridge to help them cross a cavern.

Instead of using a cursor, all of this is clearly designed with a controller in mind. The workers gathered in an area around the player avatar, and the bridge came down immediately in front of the player. The battle interface takes a similar approach. After summoning their allies from spawners, the player rode into battle and used a rudimentary cursory interface to point their army toward the baddies in a way that looked more like Pikmin, than Age of Empires.

A top down perspective of a player leading an army against a nether portal in Minecraft Legends Image: Mojang Studios/Microsoft Studios

During battle, it seems like the player doesn’t have any real combat tools — you can’t ride in there with a sword and hack-and-slash with your friends, it seems. So instead, the player hung back and used more of the resources they gathered to build giant arrow towers to help their allies.

All of this seems enhanced by the game’s co-op mode. In the demo, multiple players sent their individual armies against a Nether portal and the enemy army surrounding it. But once the portal was clear, another allied player rolled in with a single, giant unit to help take down the base and claim victory for everyone.

Minecraft Legends looks like it should be pretty familiar to RTS veterans. However, it’s got the friendlier look of a Minecraft game that should help it land better with younger kids and those that don’t want to worry about their APM. As for how complex Minecraft Legends can get, players will need to wait until the game officially launches early next year.

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