E3 2001 Preshow ReportBattle Realms

We've got E3 details and new screenshots of Liquid's upcoming real-time strategy game, Battle Realms.

Liquid Entertainment's upcoming Battle Realms will be the company's freshman entry into PC gaming, but the game has already generated a significant following among fans of real-time strategy games... and for good reason. The team at Liquid is composed primarily of ex-Westwood designers whose previous projects include such genre classics as Command & Conquer and C&C Red Alert. Battle Realms takes place in a land reminiscent of feudal Japan, and it's heavily influenced by both Chinese and Japanese kung fu movies and anime. You assume the role of a banished warrior who, after seven years of self-exile, must return to his people and reunite them and battle against several warring factions.

Battle Realms incorporates several unique twists on traditional real-time strategy gameplay mechanics, such as how units in the game are trained instead of produced. The game will also feature a dynamic environment that is affected by almost anything you do. Four factions--the Lotus, Dragon, Serpent, and Wolf clans--are all competing for control of the island where the game takes place, and in the game's single-player campaign, you'll be tasked with ensuring that either the Serpent or Dragon clans become the dominant side. Battle Realms' multiplayer component will let you play as any of the four clans, however.

Liquid and its publisher, Crave, plan on putting the spotlight on Battle Realms this year--the game was shown strictly behind closed doors at last year's E3. According to Liquid, Crave will have six stations displaying Battle Realms at its booth, and each station will have a Liquid designer on hand to demonstrate the game and answer any questions players might have. The designers' demonstration will consist of three components: a multiplayer battle with another Liquid staffer for the crowd to watch; a custom-made level that's designed to quickly introduce the major features of the game to players; and a standard skirmish against the computer. Additionally, Liquid president Ed Del Castillo will also be showing certain members of the press the latest version of the game in a private booth on a wall-mounted 45-inch plasma television. We understand that this demo will involve as-of-yet-unrevealed aspects of Battle Realms: ninjas and monks.

We'll have more details on Battle Realms from the E3 show floor. In the meantime, be sure to check out the new screenshots. And don't forget to read our 256847previous and exclusive coverage on this promising game.

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