ByKen McDonnell, writer at
Now Loading's sentimental Irishman. I can't stop playing Overwatch, please send help.
Ken McDonnell

A few months ago, the United Kingdom was ransacked with two things that don't seem to have abated following their decision to leave the European Union: uncertainty and instability. Overnight the UK's economy suffered massive losses, cases of racist abuse quadrupled, and countries and cities on two islands became more politically divided than they've been in decades. Northern Ireland was one them.

Like Scotland, they voted to remain securely within the EU and were devastated by the outcome. It paints an image of a place where disillusionment runs rampant as the prospect of a difficult and painful future lies ahead. But amongst all this chaos, economic uncertainty and anti-EU and anti-foreigner discourse, there's a little house with an inspiring vision where unity reigns supreme.

More Gamescom coverage, dear reader:

14 Developers & Their Exciting Vision For Kings of Men

At Gamescom, I had the opportunity to speak with 4 developers of a little game called Of Kings of Men. They represented a small portion of their 14-person-strong team based in Northern Ireland, a team called Donkey Crew. But before I introduce you to them and their accomplishments, I'll try to show you what they showed me: an ambitious video game with a lot of heart.

Of Kings and Men is a persistent Medieval war game set in the 13th Century, which launches in early access this week. It'll allow you to experience huge player-driven battles in a truly unique way and boasts massive combat scenarios, competitive matches and a new form of melee combat. But perhaps the most astounding fact about KaM is the player count: battles of up to 200 players at a time will be possible in real-time combat scenarios.

From there, the team hope to expand upon the game's promises throughout its time in Early Access. Much like Total War, but with its own interesting twist on diplomacy, players will be able to conquer and control the land by political, economic or military means. You can watch your reinforcements, lands, wealth and strongholds multiply as you protect your cities and invade enemy territories.

Lead your troops into decisive orchestrated sieges against player-built fortifications that are fought with hundreds of friends and foes simultaneously. Every victory or defeat shapes history forever.

Key features in Of Kings and Men at Early Access launch:

  • 200 players can battle it out in large, skirmish regions.
  • With large factions, players can team up and wage war on enemy kingdoms.
  • Develop skills for your own character and practice them in arenas or on your foes.
  • A dynamic progression system, complete with swords, spears, bows, polearms, crossbows and other authentic 13th Century weapons and armor types.
  • A unique form of combat with an in-house developed system based on the experience of Historical European Marital Arts (HEMA) fighters and medieval manuscripts.
  • Donkey Crew's own custom engine, which they developed for over four years, will offer a uniquely beautiful experience for players.

All of this is remarkably impressive. The game is a lot of fun to play and is surprisingly beautiful, but the real reason why I wanted to highlight the achievement of this game is due to the talent, inspiration and passion of the developers I met in a little booth in Gamescom's underground indie floor.

Meet The Team!

Florian “chadz” Hofreither (Austria)

Head of the team, chadz is one of Donkey's coders who focuses on creating intuitive and fun gameplay features for Of Kings of Men. He has overseen the creation of the team and his vision for an inspirational, massive and well-researched Medieval game was an inspiring one to witness first hand.

Thomas “Thomek” Fossgard (Norway)

Occasionally modeling 3D assets for the game, Thomek is more of a promoter for Of Kings and Men. He has used his filmic skills to create gameplay videos, devblogs and demonstrate what the team hopes to achieve. The team find him to be a tremendous motivator in the workplace and a man with great insights on how the game should look and feel.

Siniša “Zimke” Vučković (Serbia)

Historical expert and superb beard-grower, zimke is one of the game's character designers. With a wealth of historical knowledge, he has helped consult the game's artists in order to create the most realistic character equipment, models and textures as possible. He has created huge varieties of modular and customizable equipment from different cultural influences for players to choose from.

Rachel “Tolonar” Johnson (United Kingdom)

The only UK resident of the team, Tolonar is one of Donkey's two interns. She's a 3D generalist who works on creating features for character customization, clothes and armor in Of Kings and Men. She has also been known to design elements for the UI and manages devblog updates from time to time!

These four talented people were present at Gamescom to demonstrate their game to me and anyone else who would take the time. But they're only a glimpse of those working on the project.

Of Kings and Men is an incredibly impressive video game, that much was clear from its trailer. But having the opportunity to speak with these people and share in their vision for a few brief moments was inspiring. They have a remarkable product that's worthy of their effort and dedication. And I love their story.

In a little house in Northern Ireland, a very uncertain place at this moment in history, 13 foreign nationals and 1 UK resident have come together to create an exciting video game for the world to play. Are they not a symbol for what the UK could be: a wonderfully diverse, welcoming and inspiring place to live? I believe so, and I wish them all the best with their game.

What do you make of Of Kings and Men?

Get your own copy of Of Kings and Men on Steam!


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