Civilisation meets Crusader Kings in Ara: History Untold

Announced at today's Xbox & Bethesda Game showcase, Ara: History Untold is a new turn-based historical grand strategy game in development from Oxide Games. This studio was founded in 2013 by Firaxis Games and EA veterans, and previously was behind the extremely decent Ashes of the Singularity.

In Ara players to build and lead a nation through history, though unfortunately the reveal was a CG trailer rather than a glimpse at the nuts-and-bolts. Going by the way it's described, this is Civ-meets-Crusader Kings, with your duties including exploration, social development, diplomacy and, of course, conflict.

The trailer runs us through many different locations and time periods of history, showcasing cultures including the Ancient Greeks, locations like the Himalayas, and characters trying out the kite experiment. There is a sense of grand scale here, the implication clearly being that you'll take your chosen culture from its earliest origins through ages of technological change and into the future.

A still from the announce trailer of Ara: History Untold.

(Image credit: Oxide Games)

The PR promises Ara will deliver a "dynamic, living world", though we'll have to wait and see exactly what that means, in which your decision shape the future. Oxide Games reckons it can deliver a "truly groundbreaking evolution in the turn-based strategy genre", and has launched an insider program for players to follow development: the first chance to play it will apparently arrive later this year for those who sign up. The website is not live at the time of writing, but one assumes it'll be up quick sharp.

We gave Ashes of the Singularity 75% in a mostly enthusiastic review, saying it "delivers thoughtful real-time strategy with tons of units in play", and there's no doubting Oxide Games has a bunch of top strategy talent. Whether this can be the grand move forward for the strategy genre it promises... well, history will be the judge. Ara will be available on Xbox Game Pass when it releases.

Rich Stanton

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."