Black Powder Red Earth is a turn-based tactics game published and developed by Echelon Software and released on PC and mobile phones in 2021.
As we can read on Steam, the story takes place in the near present, where you step into the event horizon of a failed state in the Middle East, as Private Military Contractor – Cold Harbor, hunting jihadist terrorists in war-torn sprawls as a lethal surrogate for the host nation. The license is also available in tabletop wargames and graphic novels.
But before being released in this form, Black Powder Red Earth took a much different approach. The game was announced in June 2007 by its developers as a multiplayer First-Person Shooter, powered by the Unreal Engine 3 and taking place in the distant future as announced by FiringSquad:
“Rather than build an elaborate 3D world space, Black Powder Red Earth uses the same framework commonly found on the Web for social networking. Players are already used to creating and managing online identities on sites like Myspace and Orkut. They are also buying and selling real and virtual products on sites like Ebay, iTunes and Amazon. By using these familiar tools, Black Powder Red Earth keeps the learning curve as flat as possible,” says Jon Chang, president of Echelon. “Best of all, unbinding these activities from the game executable gives players access to the world of Black Powder Red Earth either from inside the game or from the outside via any Web-enabled device. Persistence is the real world, anytime the players want it.”
Set on Mars in 2043, Players act as mercenary soldiers executing contracts for warring corporations in a variety of urban/industrial sprawls, using bleeding edge weapons in hi-tech team based battles for virtual currency that can be used to purchase new weapons, upgrade existing weapons, buy armor and tactical enhancements to fine tune their in-game experience. As players rank up, they will also be able to open their own mercenary franchises. These franchises provide a base for recruiting other players into a clan, offer in- game advantages for members and allow the owners to open their own storefronts that compete against the game MSRPs and can generate “cash” from new players of the game.
- Multiplayer-only, allowing up to 16 players to battle online together
- Next-generation graphics powered by Unreal Engine 3
- 8 contract campaign plays out in a detailed near-future 3D environments
- Earn “virt cash” to collect more than 100 parts and accessories
- Customize weapons, browse for new items, and build a career in a familiar Web interface in- game or from any Web browser at any time!
- Build a franchise private military company (PMC) with other players or create a competing store front to sell arms and gear to other players
- Association with former PMC operatives ensures realistic game play
During the same period, a short trailer was also unveiled, but after that, the game fell completely into limbo before resurfacing in 2011, then 2014, in the form of a graphic novel, the background completely modified but using the same war-based themes.
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