As part of the 2022 Realms Deep digital event, developers Slipgate Ironworks and 2B Games have announced their collaborative project, Warpaws (opens in new tab)—a cartoony RTS about a theoretical 20th century conflict between humankind’s beloved companions, cats and dogs. It presents itself as a tactics-first, more streamlined RTS with a “focus on unit management, with no resources or complicated base building.”
That last claim immediately piqued my interest, as my neanderthal brain can barely process the demands of most RTSes and my actions per minute (APM) leaves a lot to be desired. Instead of hoarding resources, unlocking new units is tied to capturing objectives on the game map.
In addition to PvP, Warpaws will also have a “comprehensive” single player campaign and co-op. I definitely find myself wondering if there will be separate cat/dog campaigns a la the different races in Starcraft, or if it will focus on one side or even alternating factions. The reveal trailer certainly has a problematic dog-centric bias, in contravention of PC Gamer Executive Editor Tyler Wilde’s treatise on cat superiority in videogames (opens in new tab).
Warpaws definitely has a fun thing going with its art style, with very Pixar-y character design and exaggerated WWII kit on the critters. One screenshot has a canine aerial unit who looks like he’s piloting a pedal-powered whirligig of some sort. Overall, I’m most reminded of the fantastic Advance Wars games over on the GBA.
All that fun and color belies the true horror of this cat/dog industrialized warfare. Why can’t the feline and the pooch live together in harmony? Was war something they learned from humans, or, more troublingly, is conflict of this nature somehow inherent to sentience? I look forward to Warpaws’ thoughtful answers to the philosophical conundrums it raises when it releases sometime in 2023.
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