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MECH IT HAPPEN

Scythe lead designer Jamey Stegmaier recalls the origins of the strategy game’s alternate-history setting, working with artist Jakub Różalski and taking the ‘extermination’ out of 4X

It’s the 1920s. You’re wandering through an Eastern-European countryside, crops growing at angles in the still-fresh craters from the Great War. You stop to pat a lowing cow when, suddenly, the ground shakes with the thump of a massive footstep. Your nostrils prickle with the unmistakable smell of fuel. From behind a row of trees a towering mechanical beast crashes forward, its machine gun still warm from the heat of battle. You return to your harvest.

Such is the world of Scythe, the 4X (‘explore, expand, exploit and exterminate’) strategy game from Viticulture, Tuscany and Euphoria designer Jamey Stegmaier and his publisher Stonemaier Games. (The ‘Stone’ is fellow co-founder Alan Stone.)

Scythe takes place in… Oh, you know what? We’ll leave it to Stegmaier to explain why there are mechs stomping around post-World War I cornfields.

“In an alternate-history 1920s Eastern Europe, adventurers from five nations converge upon an area of land surrounding a mysterious factory to exploit the plentiful resources, build their empire, endear themselves in the eyes of the people, encounter unpredictable situations, enhance their economy and conquer and control territory,” he summarises.

That’s right: as well as giving rise to tank and aerial warfare, in Scythe’s universe the First World War also sparked the creation of gigantic killer robots by a mysterious and powerful city-state known as ‘The Factory’.

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