I am begging you to watch more than 23 seconds of the trailer for my most-anticipated strategy game of the year

(Image credit: Redemption Road Games)

I'm a deep admirer of the cult strategy game series Mount & Blade, in which you build and control an army across the plains of Europe. Kingmakers, announced earlier today, looks like it'll scratch that particular itch pretty successfully, but I need you to watch the trailer before I tell you anything else about it. 

As you can see, things start out much as you might expect, that grizzled voice speaking out over armored foot-soldiers doing battle on muddy fields. 'Nice', you're probably thinking. 'This looks pretty Mount & Blade-y.' There's even a slight city-building/RTS-style deal where you shape the village that your soldiers have come from, offering an extra bit of depth to proceedings.

And then you hit the 23-second mark, and a blue-camo pickup truck comes speeding through post-apocalyptic streets, before a series of Back to the Future-esque sparks catapult the vehicle from that fallen future city straight into the ranks of unsuspecting foot soldiers. It's like something out of Lord of the Rings, except instead of the Rohirrim charging into the flanks of the orc armies at Helm's Deep or Pelennor Fields.

From there, it only gets more wild, as your mysterious protagonist's shotgun smashes through shields and suits of armor. At one point, a horse gets it in the neck, but that's small fry compared to the frag grenade that nestles in among a group of unfortunate soldiers a few moments later.

What really intrigues me is the fact that this isn't some simple power fantasy simulator, even if there is a moment when an attack helicopter sweeps over the battlefield. Around the 70-second mark, the action zooms off the battlefield to show a system that allows you to control your troops, directing them in classic strategy game fashion. I'm also somewhat thrown by the narrative, which I initially thought would matter very little, but eventually reveals itself to be digging into some kind of butterfly-effect commentary - at the end of the trailer, we're transports back to the future, where suddenly we're in a technological utopia populated by shiny robot cat blimps. I couldn't tell you how exactly this is linked to your activity in medieval Europe, but I'd guess some despot or another has to die by your hand in order for this future to come about.

There's no firm release date for Kingmakers just yet, but it's set to release via Steam Early Access some time this year. I will be there on day one.

In the meantime, we'd better be making some room on our list of the best strategy games.

Ali Jones
News Editor

I'm GamesRadar's news editor, working with the team to deliver breaking news from across the industry. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.