We visited the booth of French developer and publisher Arxel Tribe at this year's ECTS and took updated looks at its four upcoming PC games:
Mistmare will be a 3D third-person role-playing game in which players will explore an alternate-history version of Europe. According to Mistmare's story, the Roman Catholic church used witchcraft to banish the Black Plague in medieval Europe, but the same sorcery created a powerful and heavy fog that divided Europe in two so that one of the continent's halves was unable to advance technologically from 1296 to 1996, and that half's inhabitants use magic rather than modern technology in their everyday lives. Mistmare will let players take control of Isador, a young man who was raised by Mistmare's sorcerous monks and who can develop his skills through repeated use. The game will have no ability scores or numbered attributes; instead, players will improve Isador's solar, lunar, and terran skills and abilities by casting magic spells or lifting weights, though excessive practice will consume additional game time and may make completing the game's many quests and optional secondary quests more difficult. If players choose to make Isador a powerful wizard, he'll actually be able to use magic crystals to imprison enemy creatures and then release them to aid him in a later battle. These captured creatures, along with the game's easy-to-use melee weapons and magic spells, can be deployed quickly and easily with hotkeys assigned to the number and function keys. Mistmare is scheduled for release this November.
The Gladiators: The Galactic Circus Games, its colorful and fast-paced real-time strategy game. The updated version of The Gladiators looked considerably better than at E3, as it had much smoother animation and more-detailed terrain. As we were able to see, The Gladiators' 3D terrain will play a great role in the actual gameplay--units gain a height advantage when attacking from a hill or tower, can take cover from enemy fire in forests, and can hide in thick brush to stage ambushes. We also saw several of the game's new interface features, or lack of them. Arxel Tribe is attempting to streamline the game so that it has little or no micromanagement--your special "gladiator" unit (essentially an exceptionally powerful "hero" unit that gains experience points) will automatically use healing items if injured, and setting up an ambush is as easy as sending out a lone unit, since the rest of your troops will open fire on enemies as soon as they get to a certain range. The Gladiators is scheduled for release later this year.