For a while, it looked like Microsoft had forgotten that it had announced it would be publishing the historical grand strategy game Ara: History Untold from developer Oxide Games back in June 2022. However, the game finally got a big spotlight a few weeks ago at Gamescom 2023 and Oxide started up a series of video dev diaries as well.
Those dev diaries have continued to be posted on the game’s official YouTube channel every Friday after Gamescom. A week ago, the second dev diary video had Oxide Games’ Design Director, Michelle Menard, being interviewed by host Steven Bell.
After discussing how she got into the game industry and how she got hired by Oxide, Menard talked about the use of true simultaneous turns in Ara: History Untold. She stated that players will make their turns and decisions at the same time, rather than wait for a player or an AI to make their turn so the next player takes their turn:
There is no difference between single-player and multiplayer. It plays exactly the same way so everybody, the AI, you, your friend, is taking their turn at the exact same time and then the next turn progresses when everyone has said, “I am done” and then everything resolves during that one segment together.
The most recent video dev diary has Bell interviewing Oxide’s Art Director Dorian Newcomb. This is actually the first of a multi-part video dev diary as Newcomb talks about the living world that the development team is creating for Ara. Players will be able to see visuals that make the gameplay world feel like you are seeing people, animals, and other objects interacting like they might in the real world. Newcomb says:
There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it and a lot of it actually is pretty boring, you know, like you’re in a file, you’re adjusting grayscale values, you know you’re pumping out 20 trees . . . but when you assemble it and someone moves the camera across the landscape and you see their excitement and you see them going, “Wow, I didn’t think it would look this.” it’s super super gratifying.”
Newcomb adds later that Oxide plans for a lot of post-release updates for the game, which will include content based on player feedback.
Ara: History Untold is currently set for a release on the PC sometime in 2024. You can join the Ara Insider Program right now for a chance to play pre-release builds for the game.