Introducing Desert Ashes, a new turn-based strategy game for PS Vita

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Full details on Luc Bernard’s forthcoming free-to-play project

Hey, fellow PS Vita and future PlayStation TV owners. Luc Bernard here again, you may remember me close to E3 when I announced Reaper.

Now I’m here to announce a new title, which will be coming out this autumn. The game is called Desert Ashes. It’s a free-to-play, turn-based strategy game with local and online multiplayer for PlayStation TV and PS Vita.


Let’s first go through what will be available at launch:

  • 3 single player campaigns
  • Online PvP multiplayer
  • Local PvP multiplayer on PS TV

Now a bit of information on the online multiplayer (the local is pretty straightforward – sit on the couch with your friend and play on your PlayStation TV). Once you’ve taken your turn you don’t have to wait for your opponent to make his move if you’re too busy doing other things. For example, there are different timers you can set before you can declare victory on your opponent if they take too long. There will be 5 minutes, 20 minutes, 8 hours, and 24 hours. Also with the online multiplayer you can play on your Vita while you’re out and then continue your match exactly where you left off at home.

Another exciting aspect are the perks available to customize your army. For example, the Fort Toughness perk will add 20% DEF to all allied units at a structure, the Vampire perk will convert 20% attack damage to HP between 10pm and 5am. And the list goes on.


Now that I just mentioned times: in Desert Ashes each time you take a turn an hour will pass in the game. For example, at night because of the low temperature all the water will start to freeze and that will entirely change the battlefield.

I really want the community to be vocal about what they want in this game. There aren’t that many turn-based strategies out on PS Vita, and we want you guys to tell us what you want. That means level designs, ideas, and even skins for your army.

Be vocal, and we’ll be listening — that’s what we want to do with this title, is give you guys lots of updates once it’s out based on what you want!


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  • Looks good hope the F2P is not pay to win, but will certainly be checking this out, nice to see people talking about vita TV and adapting their games for it. Keep up the good work and the more games on Vita the better. Thanks

  • 2 questions.

    1. My reading comprehension is crap at this time. We can play online MP without Playstation TV, right ?
    2. Free to play ? How can we actually suport this ? How will you earn money ? I’m asking because i myself thing that there are way to many TBS on ps vita. I’d love to support this if it’s cool and the monetisation is done right.

  • You lost me at Free to Play, I’m afraid. There’s two key phrases that really turn me off games before I’ve even heard what they’re about – one is “episodic” and the other is “free to play”.

    Much as I love turn based strategy, I’ve been disappointed far too many times by the microtransaction model leading to games that are designed around the monetisation strategy rather than around the story and gameplay. I’d rather pay a chunk of cash up front and have a gaming experience rather than a constant soft-sell through addiction triggers, built-in delays that can be magically microtransactioned away and pay to win characters and equipment.

    Sorry, much as I love my Vita and my strategy games, I think I’ll give this one a miss.

    • Hey, I thought I was alone when it came to disliking episodic games! Glad to see I’ve got some company now :)
      By the way, “season pass” is another term that also puts me off… These days it’s all about in-app purchases, microtransactions, episodes, DLC… Ugh! Games are either not actually finished when you buy them, or you end up not really owning what you paid for.
      When I buy a game I want to own it as a whole, from the minute I purchase it.

    • I came to write similar but DJOates, you nailed it! I’ll say what I was going to say though:

      You had me at “turn-based strategy”!
      Then lost me at “free-to-play”.

      I also would rather pay a one-off fee and have a good time gaming without worrying about what I’m missing, or having to buy extra DLC, etc etc.

      Whoever came up with the term and concept of “microtransactions” should be hanged by the privates for soiling the last generation of gaming – and this one, and probably the next.

      So, sorry, “free-to-play” has turned me right off.

  • Game looks good but F2P… not on my vita! This kind of thing belongs on mobiles, not on a supposedly proper portable games console. Sony shouldn’t let this kind of thing on the Vita, it just shows how little they care for it.

    • The vita has some great free to play games have 754 hours playtime on Destiny of Spirits and not once felt like i needed to play (and haven’t paided a penny to date), the treasure games too are good and not paid a penny, and ecolibrium did pay but only a few pounds and was not needed, actually think i might have to put some money into DoS 754 hours kind of guilty if i don’t give something back. You should give any free (inc PS+ seriously people Velocity 2X is likely to be the highest rated PS4 game to date if the 1st one is anything to go by, it was an amazing game and this just looks even better) game a go if the F2P is Pay to Win or you don’t like it you have lost nothing but could end up with a game you really love, better than dropping £40-60 quid on a triple A game that you then hate.

    • It’s a straight up advance wars clone from the looks of it. I loved advance wars but I can’t see it working with f2p. I don’t care if the game might be good, if a developer resorts to f2p that tells me everything I need to know about their priorities. There may be some exceptions but I don’t trust f2p and they don’t belong on real games machines.

      It may seem bull headed but better this than encouraging f2p practices in games. This is not a trend I want in my gaming future.

  • My heart leapt at the sight of “turn based strategy” and “Vita” in the same sentence, but then I saw the dreaded “free to play”.

    It looks fantastic and I’ve read that there are decent FTP games, but unless I can pay a lump sum and get a full game experience, I probably won’t play this.

    It obviously works as a business model, but I feel it does so by exploiting gamers. I’m not saying you’re doing this, you’ve not said anything about pricing, I’m just venting.

    Give me the option to buy a full game and I’ll happily do so.

  • Love that someone is developing for ps tv :)

  • Well, if you want a frame of reference, Metal Slug Defense is a generous F2P game. You can complete the game without paying a single cent. I wouldn’t mind paying for extra units, but I have no way of paying on the Google Play Store. If those stubborn mules sold prepaid cards at retail, then it wouldn’t be a problem at all…

    The game has two payment systems: points and medals. Medals are very, very rare. Points are standard cash earned after battles. The majority of soldiers/machines that you buy are only with medals, and you upgrade everything with points: machines, soldiers, your home base and all the hoopla that goes with it etc. etc.

    There’s also an energy bar; everytime you want to play a stage, you pay up some of your energy. Early stages have 5 points (1 point per minute, do the math) and some extra, hair-pulling hard stages have 40 points even. You definitely need to pay real money to get some uber-machines if you want to buy them. The standard characters that the game gives you won’t do.

    There are incentives to make people play the game by having daily/weekly logins and being able to earn points/medals/items etc. by participating in Wi-Fi battles. I have no first hand experience because I haven’t properly set up my Google Play Store account yet.

    The makers of the game are lucky that they have a ton of eye-appealing sprite content from at least 5 arcade games, and they are still sitting on a lot of unused stages/characters/bosses etc. They constantly release extra stages, items, units and challenges to keep players interested.


    But, not all games are created to be equal, nor are they created under the same circumstances. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t be afraid to color edit your content and release it for free afterwards to keep things fresh.

    If you want to charge for things, then go for cosmetic stuff. Functionally the same, but make them look cooler so that people will buy it. And yeah, I think it’s best to just sell money, rather than bits and pieces of DLC that will clog up your download list because Sony doesn’t feel like fixing it.

  • I would absolutely love a turn-based strategy game but I cant help agreeing with my fellow gamers that In-game purcahse is the best thing you could do to ruin the whole experience. I would also prefer paying everything upfront than bit-by-bit. So, either keep it absolutely free or not at all.
    Also, it would be nice to have decent trophy collection attached to it, like a platinum trophy, if the game has long missions as finishin the long game seem more fruitful if the final trophy is platinum.
    I really do not care about the graphics if the game is engaging enough and the gameplay is moderately difficult.
    I would definitely give it a try as I m a big fan of #psvita. And I wish ur game came out to be better than Destiny of Spirits. I had so much expectations with DoS but it failed to keep me engaged long enuf to beat the game. Wish u luck…

  • You lost me at Free-to-Play. I’d rather pay 1 price for the whole game. Take your game back to the studio and take out the stupid greedy microtransactions and think of a FULL game price.

  • I’m gonna be all over this :)

  • Those flying things in the second PIC are certainly excited about being on vita ;)

  • I´d rather pay for the full game. :(

  • I’d be interested to see how the FTP elements work, but if it somehow limits your progress ( i.e. A limited number of moves in a given time period) then I’d like the option to fully remove this limitation like in No Heroes Allowed:No Puzzles Either. So that a single purchase and turn the game from a limited FTP title into a fully unlocked one.

  • What it need is deep strategy, height needs to give benefits, attack direction, (like attacking enemy unit from behind), bonuses from having multiple meleunits attacking same unit (pincer move, sorounding, etc).

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