For those fans of Searching for Bobby Fischer out there, or gamers who have been wishing that their beloved game of chess would get some love from next-gen gaming (probably the same group) your dreams have come true. Amidst a modern gaming world rich in fantasy and magic, Battle vs Chess, the upcoming title from Southpeak Games is doing its best to infuse the game of kings with some much-needed mysticism for the gaming masses. They’re certainly no strangers to fantasy, so  the choice seems to be a logical one.

Think chess is just a game for old dudes in the park? Check out the trailer:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceCuq_U4APc

This obviously isn’t the chess we’ve grown up with, and the developers are promising a brand new take on the centuries-old classic. Southpeak is bringing the wisdom gained by other tactical/strategic titles into the mix, and drastically changing the way a simple game of chess can be experienced.

“Battle vs. Chess creates a fusion between professional chess software and upbeat, combat oriented game mechanics, complete with richly animated game pieces and a diverse set of new gameplay twists to the classic strategy game. In addition to twisting up the experience of chess itself, the game adds vibrant fantasy touches, including eight stunningly rendered game environments and re-imagined, fully animated game pieces such as hulking stone golems and beastly horsemen.”

There’s no question that the animations look impressive, and far exceed the level of detail or fidelity that I expect from a chess game. Some of the features that Battle vs Chess will be adding beyond the look and feel are definitely redefining the range of experience the game can provide:

  • A Challenge for Chess Players of all Levels: Uses the famous Fritz11! chess software, with 10 distinct levels of difficulty and leaderboard rankings which rate players using the same system as real- world official chess rankings.
  • An Action Twist to a Classic Board Game: The innovative fusion of professional chess software and the deathmatch Battle Modes result in a strategic action experience unlike anything before.
  • Primed for Multiplayer Competition: Engage friends and foes via local head-to-head matches or online (select platforms only).
  • Unique and Challenging Chess Puzzles: Various modes with set scenarios challenge players to complete games using limited turns, limited pieces and even replicate some of the most famous chess conundrums of real, historical matches.
  • Non-traditional Game Options: Piece placement options on top of the standard system, like random placements in “Madness” mode or choose-your-own placements in “Tactic” mode allow players to engage in chess with just enough of a twist to add a new level of challenge to the traditional rules of the game.

Ever since I first saw Star Wars: A New Hope, and every repeat viewing since, I look at the animated chess being played between C-3PO and Chewie I think to myself: “Man, that would be way better than regular chess. Why hasn’t someone made that yet?” Well now we have the real thing (practically) with an upgraded version of the ancient game for modern consoles. I’ve never been much of a chess player, but with every strategically complex RTS or puzzler being referred to as a “game of chess” it only seems right for Southpeak to step up and show us just why that is.

The idea of a battle mode, where I have the opportunity to fight back against an opponent trying to take my piece is an awesome modern twist, and I for one am looking forward to seeing more of this game as it gets closer to release.

The board will be set Sept. 28th when Battle vs Chess is released for $39.99 on the PS3 and Xbox 360, and $19.99 on PC and Mac. The game will also be available on the Wii, DS, and PSP in the new year.

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