E3 2006: Two Titles From Akella
05.14.06 - 4:07 PM

Though they're a major publisher in Russia, the company Akella is only marginally known here in the US. Nonetheless, they took the time to meet with us at their booth in Kentia Hall, and we were pleased to see two beautiful PC RPGs that they hope to see published in the US.

The first, Disciples III, is the first title in the series to make the transition to 3D. The trailer they showed us demonstrated realtime gameplay, and what we saw looked very impressive. Especially beautiful were the hand-drawn spell cards, which replace the usual "spell icons" found in Turn-Based Strategy RPGs. Also impressive were the designs for the three races (elves, demonic legions, and the human empire).

Developed by .dat (a team of former Akella employees), Disciples III will be released in the US in the fourth quarter of 2006 by the publisher "Strategy First." Be on the look-out for it; if nothing else, you need to expand your horizons beyond US and Japanese games.

The second title they showed to us was an exciting PC RPG based on the bestselling novel by the Strugatsky Brothers. Entitled Hard to be a God, the plot involves the highly developed "Earth" race watching the civilization of Arcanar to see how it develops. Currently in a medieval state, the Kingdom of Arcanar is the main playground for the hero, who is sent in as a spy from Earth to keep tabs on this society.

Played as a traditional PC RPG, the game includes a number of interesting features. Depending upon how you dress, different NPCs will respond to you in different ways. The primary means of travel is horseback. The graphics look simply outstanding.

The title is still in development, and is set for a Q2 2007 release in Russia. No US publisher has been found yet, but Akella hopes to see the title released in America.


Patrick Gann