In new open world game Lost Legions you are a Roman “rebuilding the empire” behind enemy lines

By admin Apr26,2024

The announcement trailer for Lost Legions opens with a Roman Emperor bellowing “GIVE ME BACK MY LEGIONS” like a kid who’s just had his pudding taken away. I’d just had a big swig of coffee before watching, and was instantly swept off by visions of an apoplectic Roman bigwig rampaging through the forests of darkest Germania, gluing abducted legionnaires together into a sort of Octavian katamari… and then they revealed that it’s another open world survival game, with no less than two trailer beats dedicated to the act of hacking down a tree.

I mean no disrespect to developers Tarock Interactive – they’re not to blame for my addled imagination – but there are many open world survival games and as a weary Ed Thorn recently noted, the majority are heavily frontloaded with wilderness carpentry. I don’t think survival games should emphasise wood-chopping in their announcement footage. It’s like doing a Call of Duty montage of people getting shot three seconds from spawn. Still, if there’s no katamari mechanic, the idea of raising a small army of mostly AI-controlled Roman soldiers behind enemy lines has a certain charm. Without further ado, here’s the trailer.

Watch on YouTube

Lost Legions is set in a world inspired by the Teutoburg Forest in Germany, and takes place following what is known as the Varian Disaster, in which an alliance of tribes cornered and butchered three Roman legions using Roman military tactics – a humiliating end to a period of expansion under the Emperor Augustus, who is the guy yelling in the trailer.

You play one of the scattered legionnaires. Base construction and gear crafting aside, your objective is to recover each legion’s banner to restore Rome’s honour, but between you and that goal stand barbarian tribes, ferocious beasts and hints of supernatural activity. Is this actual supernature, though, or just the usual thing where it turns out to be dudes in paint wearing skull hats?

The game supports 1-4 person multiplayer, which doesn’t seem consistent with the press release’s promise to let you “rebuild an empire”. I’m fuzzy on the exact numerical definition of a legion, but I’m pretty sure a group of four is a squad, correct? Help me, historians. However, you can also find and recruit other computer-controlled legionnaires, training them up at your base camp. So perhaps there’s the possibility of forming a phalanx, at least. I dare to dream.

A Roman soldier with a helmet and bow looking out over a forested landscape with mountains behind

A Roman soldier standing over a campfire in Lost Legions

A Roman soldier in armour in the snow in Lost Legions

A Roman soldier walking through a player-built camp in Lost Legions

Image credit: Tarock Interactive

“From the four playable characters to the soldiers working for you and the barbarians you encounter, everyone has a story for you to uncover,” the Steam page adds. “As you interact with them you’ll begin to see the patterns behind this world where everything is not as it seems.” The overarching plot “touches on the topics of colonialism and imperialism”, which is certainly a lot to touch upon – interested to see how that squares, or doesn’t square, with the promised empire-rebuilding above.

Lost Legions is down for release in the first half of 2025. Any shop? I did enjoy The Eagle Of The Ninth movie, and this appears to be conjuring the same atmosphere of gathering ice and darkness. There was less tree-felling in The Eagle Of The Ninth, mind you. I’m pretty sure we never see Channing Tatum craft a leather jerkin, either.

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