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Brian Fargo reveals Battle Chess 3 prototype "fight" video

Battle Chess 3 prototype

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.

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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 covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.