'Wargroove' Wants to be the 'Stardew Valley' of Strategy Games

“Stardew Valley doesn’t distance itself from Harvest Moon, it directly confronts it.'

Grid-based tactics with an army building focus, combat stretched into both the sky and ocean, and charming 2D art of a battlefield filled with pixels. That’s an accurate description for both Advanced Wars and the upcoming spiritual successor that’s trying to capture the magic of classic strategy, Wargroove.

Wargroove, one of the most anticipated indie releases of 2018, doesn’t shy away from the fact that it’s an extension of the formula that Advanced Wars established. “Wargroove has the makeup of Advanced Wars, it’s all about building an army,” said Chucklefish product manager Tom Katkus at the ID@Xbox event at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. “As the game grows, the player learns the ins and outs of the mechanics and things get far more complicated.”

But Katkus emphasised that they wanted to be more than just another Advance Wars, they want to make the formula even better. “Stardew Valley doesn’t distance itself from Harvest Moon, it directly confronts it,” Katkus added. “The guy that made that loved it so much that he decided to do one himself, that was our thought process.

That love has motivated the team at Chucklefish to go the extra mile, to try and differentiate themselves from the teams at Nintendo that helped popularize the genre. While Wargroove still emphasizes hero units, characters with special abilities that oversee combat in Advanced Wars, they’ve gone a step further and actually put the specialized heroes into play on the battlefield.

“Advanced Wars had commander units with special powers but they weren’t actually units on the game board.” Katkus said. “But here, it’s a unit on the board and if it dies then the game ends. It’s your most powerful unit so you want to use it but you don’t want to expose it.”

Chucklefish is also working on tools to let the players become the designer. The full game is going to include a the ability to create and use your own creations for maps, multiplayer, and even the campaign. “We created front facing tools before we built the maps or the scenarios,” Katkus said. “We made those with the intention to ship those with the game and give people the option to continue creating.”

Just like Stardew Valley, the creators of Wargroove want to keep the features that made Advanced Wars so great. But they don’t want to just stop there, they want to explore the things that fans of the genre have always wanted. “There hasn’t been an Advanced Wars for a long time,” Katkus said. “We decided that if they aren’t going to do it, we might as well step up to the plate.

Wargroove is scheduled to release sometime in the second half of 2018 for Steam, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.