Skip to main content

Brian Fargo reveals Battle Chess 3 prototype "fight" video

Battle Chess 3 prototype
Audio player loading…

Battle Chess was a very popular game, not because it was a particularly challenging game but for the way the pieces on the board would spring to life and do battle in gloriously animated brawls when they met. This was 1988, remember, and while the immutable rules of chess meant that the outcomes were never in doubt, it was fun to watch and added a little spice to a genre that had long been dominated by staid titles like Chessmaster and Sargon. (Bear in mind that "chess" was a pretty big genre back in the day, too.)

The original, developed by Interplay, was enough of a hit to spawn a sequel in 1991 and a remake that debuted on Steam in 2014, and today Brian Fargo revealed that he'd started work on a second sequel in the late 90s that ultimately never saw the light of day. Fargo co-founded Interplay in the early 80s, and while he's probably best-known as an RPG guy, he was the producer on the original Battle Chess.

See more

The fight in the video is clearly too drawn out to be of practical use in the game (I can't imagine sitting through a full one-minute combat sequence for every piece taken, anyway) but as a prototype I'm assuming that the intent was to demonstrate the principle rather than actual gameplay. The tone is certainly accurate, though: As you can see in this video of Battle Chess death animations, low blows, cheap shots, and goofy humor were par for the course in the original.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.