Mercenary RPG Wartales has sold over 600,000 copies

Wartales, Shiro Games' turn-based tactics RPG in which you lead a mercenary company in a low-fantasy world plagued by banditry, wolves, and, well, plague, is so gritty you could use it to strip paint. The tough early game, in which you'll march down Struggle Street trying to earn enough food to keep your employees alive and enough cash to pay them, might be off-putting to some. That hasn't stopped it from winning fans, with Shiro boasting that it's sold more than 600,000 copies so far and been wishlisted one million times.

Wartales is doing well with players on Steam, who've given it a user rating of 91% positive over more than 13,000 reviews. Our own Rick Lane gave it a score of 83 in his Wartales review, praising its "rich and granular mechanical toybox" as well as its potential for character-driven storytelling.

"As you pootle around in your camp," Rick wrote, "your mercs will occasionally have moments of introspection leading to a minor narrative choice. In one example, Ledric resolved to be more social with the other mercs, presumably to improve his standing with them. His efforts did make him one friend in the camp. Unfortunately, it was the pony."

He also made sure to mention the important fact that, as well as being able to hire more mercenaries and increase the size of your camp as you go on, "You can capture and tame wild animals to fight alongside you, and each animal has its own skill tree." The idea of leading a beast band made of bears and boars, with the minimum number of humans to tame them, seems pretty tempting. Especially since animals don't need to be paid, just fed. It's a practical choice, really. Wartales left early access on April 12, and is available on Steam and GOG

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.