Newsroom News Breaking Comics Tags RSS
News video games 25 May 2023, 16:55

author: Jacob Blazewicz

Tactical RPG Wartales Conquered Steam and Sucked Players in For Hours

Wartales attracted players for hours (not just Battle Brothers fans), but the title was originally intended to look a little different.

Wartales is undoubtedly another independent hit of Steam. After more than a month, the game has been reviewed by more than 16,500 players, the vast majority of whom praise Shiro Games for creating an addictive old-style tactical game. The reasons for the success of Wartales were investigated by GameDiscoverCo.

The editors first tried to obtain useful data from the developers. However, when it turned out that Shiro Games could not help much, GameDiscoverCo took matters into its own hands. By the way the website decided to test a new type of analysis of game popularity.

Northgard 2.0

Although the developer did not help journalist Simon Carless with the data, conversations with studio representatives were not fruitless. The journalist learned that Wartales was initially supposed to be more similar to Shiro Games' previous game - Northgard. The game would put more emphasis on management than it does now. What's more, at the very beginning the title was to include card game elements.

However, the developers realized that combining the concept of "wandering mercenary group" and "settling" is unlikely to pass the test. Therefore, the studio opted for gameplay closer to Battle Brothers, limiting management to "unique camp" mechanics.

Tactical RPG Wartales Conquered Steam and Sucked Players in For Hours - picture #1
Wartales was supposed to follow in the footsteps of Northgard, but this idea was quickly abandoned. Source: Shiro Games.

Wartales captivated players with its freedom

As for popularity of Wartales:

  1. according to GameDiscoverCo, about 35% of players who reviewed the title spent a minimum of 100 hours in the game, and another 26.4% spent from 50 to 100 hours in Wartales. On top of that, only less than 10% of "reviewers" played for less than 10 hours;
  2. this shows that Shiro Games has managed to create a highly addictive gameplay that does not get boring even after many sessions.
Tactical RPG Wartales Conquered Steam and Sucked Players in For Hours - picture #2

Most of the evaluators spent long hours in Wartales.Source: GameDiscoverCo.

According to Carless, this is due to the "hardly constant storyline." Quentin Lapeyre, the game's director, described Wartales as "a title that enable the players to create their own experience" and gives a lot of freedom in this regard:

"It [Wartales - ed. note] is a game that allows players to create their own unique experiences. With the freedom to play by your own rules, the game's narrative system acts as a backdrop that provides a framework, knowledge and identity, leaving the story writing to the players themselves."

GameDiscoverCo also points to great communication with the community. This is essential for a title originally released in early access.

Nevertheless, even now the developer remains active on Steam.

  1. Barely yesterday Wartales received a major update that, among other things, improved optimization.
  2. In addition, the developer sent a "post-release satisfaction" survey asking for player opinions on the game's development (via Steam).

Not only Battle Brothers

We mentioned Battle Brothers earlier. This is probably the most frequently mentioned game in the context of Wartales - whether in reviews or user feedback. The similarities between the two titles can be seen at a glance.

Nonetheless, GameDiscoverCo decided to see if players of Battle Brothers are really that interested in Wartalesas one might assume. To this end editors measured what they refer to as Affinity.

  1. In a nutshell: the method is based on acquiring data from public Steam accounts, then "pre-randomizing" them and seeing what the chance is that Wartales owners check out certain games compared to a "median user." In this way, a affinity multiplier.
  2. As it turns out, Battle Brothers is not at all the most "related" game to Wartales on Steam. More often, players can reach for Expeditions: Rome and King Arthur: Knight's Tale.
Tactical RPG Wartales Conquered Steam and Sucked Players in For Hours - picture #3

Wartales linkage multiplier.Source: GameDiscoverCo.

The service notes that all these games have been relatively successful success on Steam. It can be noted that only Battle Brothers has done as well as Wartales (which, by the way, may explain the higher "affinity multiplier"). Nevertheless, GameDiscoverCo's editors believe that this type of team-based tactical RPG is a "prolific, albeit underappreciated subgenre."

Jacob Blazewicz

Jacob Blazewicz

Passionate about video (and other) games for years, he completed an Mba in linguistics, defending a thesis about games. He began his adventure with Gamepressure in 2015, writing in the newsroom, later also covering film and – oh, horror! – technology (also contributor to the gaming encyclopedia). He started with platformers, which he still dearly loves (including metroidvania), but he's also interested in card games (including 'analog'), brawlers, soulslike games and basically every other type of game. Don't ask about the graphics – after a few hours of exposition, he can be delighted with pixelated characters from games that remember the days of the Game Boy age (if not older).




See/Add Comments