There aren’t enough strategy games on consoles. It’s one of the few popular video game genres that has never really crossed the divide with longevity, which is perhaps understandable given the natural limitations that a controller versus keyboard brings. Understandable, but not insurmountable. At least that’s what Blackbird Interactive wants to prove with Minecraft Legends when it starts on April 18, 2023.
Led by Microsoft Gaming, Mojang has gradually pushed the boundaries of Minecraft beyond the sandbox. We’ve had narrative adventures in collaboration with Telltale and Diablo style action RPGs in the brilliant Minecraft Dungeons, so an accessible strategy game is perhaps the most obvious area the franchise should venture into next. Intuitive controls designed to help you easily build armies and send them into battle against invading Piglin forces; boundless depth, shaped by Blackbird’s long history and expertise in the genre; and a beautifully blocky, procedurally generated overworld that not only ensures that every game is different, but also reminds each and every one of us that Legends embodies the playful spirit that underlies all that bears the Minecraft name.
Answer the call
That’s all well and good, but it’s the Minecraft Legends PvP experience that caught my attention. Mojang creative director Magnus Nedford had sold me with “two teams of up to four players each working to destroy the opposing team’s base” and me “the game will support cross-platform play and online matchmaking.” On the other hand, I’m an easy target in this area. I’m desperate for a strategy game that I can play on my couch and that’s accessible enough for my friends from the console and PC frontier to get together without reproach cheat about macro commands and deep enough that we’ll be arguing about wins, losses, and team compositions for months to come.
let me explain. In my younger years, myself and three buddies attracted the strategic excellence of Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth 2 on Xbox 360. Gradually eroding defenses and resources to a final chaotic climax. I’m not exaggerating there either hours meaning hours – we had rules: a 60-minute truce to gather resources, a hero could wade into enemy territory in the second hour, in the third you started rallying battalions on the edge of defense lines, and in the fourth we would pour in the battle because it was almost dinnertime and, no, mom, there’s no way to pause the game.
What does this tale of wasted youth have to do with Minecraft Legends? Well, for one thing, it exudes a similarly good vibe. While it’s certainly a different breed of strategy game than something like Battle of Middle-Earth 2, with Legends putting you in control of a hero and requiring you to dictate the tenor of combat from their realm, this seems to be of a similar vein of having breadth and variance in his game. I’m a big fan of blurring the lines between cooperative and competitive play, and procedurally generated game spaces that constantly flip established strategies on their head.
Working in a team of four and sharing an overall pool of resources and units encourages collaboration and a natural division of responsibilities, with the crew coming together when it comes time to destroy bases. Our first look at the Minecraft PvP mode is promising and I’m expecting great things. I’m also expecting me and my Battle for Middle-Earth buddies to kick your ass at Minecraft Legends this coming April. You knowwhen we can settle into a comfortable rhythm between collecting, building, fighting and strategizing, when our game plan inevitably goes haywire.
Minecraft Legend is one of the most anticipated New games for 2023. It will be released on April 18th for PC, PS5, PS4, Switch, Xbox Series X, Xbox One and Game Pass