Posted by Rampant Coyote on February 11, 2011
I have so little time to play these games, but there are still a slew of indie RPGs on the horizon that MAY be released this year – it’s so uncertain with indie games – that I’m really, really looking forward to. Between RPG Watch’s Most Promising RPGs of 2011 list, and doing the write-ups for some of the indie games that won Game Banshee’s Game of the Year Awards, it got me thinking about what an awesome year 2011 is shaping up to be for fans of indie RPGs.
Which would be me, except I’m also a competitor, which makes me feel a little bit squeezed in. I HAD to pick 2011, didn’t I? But nevertheless, I’m still excited. So excited, I’m pointing out my competitors to you right now.
Age of Decadence
This one is late, but while no release date has been made official, I think it’s a probable release for 2011. This is an extremely ambitious title taking place in a world resembling ancient Europe during the time of the collapse of the Roman Empire – a little different from the typical Dark-Age / Medieval period. If there’s a foundational element to this game, it’s the idea of meaningful choices and consequences. From the design comments made during the development process, a huge effort has been made to leave all quests open to a variety of approaches – including double-crossing the quest giver. It also features some pretty kick-butt tactical turn-based combat, which makes it a double win. More info here.
Avadon: The Black Fortress
The first in Spiderweb Software’s new planned series, this should prove to be a departure from the game systems we grew familiar with through the Avernum and Geneforge series, as well as a step up in production values. Most importantly, it’s a refinement of Vogel’s 17 years or so of indie RPG development experience. More info here.
Darklight Dungeon 2 (AKA Darklight Dungeon – Eternity)
While the first one was pretty bare-bones, I still enjoyed playing this old-school first-person dungeon-crawler RPG. The second game, Darklight Dungeon – Eternity, promises to be everything the first game was, and more, and is scheduled for a Q4 2011 release. More info here.
Din’s Curse: Demon War
An expansion already available for pre-order and beta play, this looks to be a pretty sizable expansion to an already awesome game. Besides a new class with three new skill trees, new monsters (demons), and a ton of new quests and world modifiers to give more variety to the game, the biggest enhancement to the game is in the NPCs. The townspeople were already a bit more dynamic than your garden-variety Diablo clone, but now they are given a variety of motivations and emotional states and actions they can take. Including launching plots of their own, and betraying their neighbors in the cities. They are much more active participants in the game world and evolving, dynamic storyline. I haven’t played it yet, but I’m still playing Din’s Curse and looking forward to expanding on the universe. More info here.
What can I say about this game that I haven’t blathered on about for years now? Actually, quite a bit, but I’m saving it for later. Or something. Anyway – for obvious reasons, I’m more excited to see this game go out the door than anybody else. It is a tongue-in-cheek first-person-perspective party-based RPG with turn-based combat that is part parody, part homage to both old-school CRPGs like the Wizardry, Bard’s Tale, and Dungeon Master series, but also to old-school dice-and-paper gaming. It’s the first of a planned trilogy that begins with a group of down-on-their-luck adventurers trying to earn a slot in the Adventurer’s Guild. More info… uh, right here at this blog. Or in this forum. Or watch the soon-to-be-updated-I-promise webpage at www.frayedknights.com for upcoming news.
Okay, while this has been vaporware for years, so was Duke Nukem Forever, and that one’s finally seeing the light of day. Some comments have come out lately that development could actually be drawing to a close on this one, so a 2011 release is distinctly possible. It’s currently scheduled for a Fall 2010 release… oops. Well, maybe Fall 2011? Assuming this one sees the light of day, it looks very promising. Like the ultimate evolution of Wizardy 6 and 7, if they hadn’t gone full 3D for Wizardry 8. More info here.
By the creator of the Cute Knight series, this is a story/sim/rpg about a high school for young wizards. It promises to include tons of replayability, dungeon-delving, creative spellcasting, and all the drama one would expect from a high-school experience. More info here.
A sci-fi RPG that’s nearing final release (and already in pre-release / beta play). It’s (very) heavy on dialog and story, stylistically like a jRPG, and features turn-based combat and multiple endings. More info here.
Telepath RPG: Servants of God
Now available for pre-order / early (beta) play, this game combines some of the story-heavy elements of jRPGs with an unusual steampunk / middle-eastern setting, open-ended western RPG progression, and turn-based tactical combat. With telepaths. More info here.
Bonus Section: Maybe not, but ….
And in the Probably Won’t Make It In 2011 But If They Did It Would Be Cool department, here are some much-anticipated (by me) games that seem unlikely to ship this year, but I won’t rule them out as possibilities:
By veteran mainstream RPG devs Brian and Annie Mitsoda, this is a RPG set after a zombie apocalypse. Yes, I know, it seems that the zombie apocalypse is everywhere these days, but this game promises to treat it with a heck of a lot more thoughtfulness than… well, than anything else. It’s really a role-playing game about leading a tribe of survivors in a hostile, competitive world. It’s designed to be extremely open-ended, and the zombies tend to represent more of an active environmental hazard than enemies. The enemies, it seems, are more likely to be found among your fellow survivors, with competing bands of humans vying for scavenged necessities for survival. This has the potential to be reallyfreakingbig. More info here.
Eschalon: Book 3
The game to wrap up the trilogy. It’s not actually been officially announced yet, but unofficially it sounds like it has been in development for several months (when making updates and free expansions for Eschalon Book 2 were not overwhelming the developer). More info here.
Knights of the Chalice 2
There’s been little news on this front, but I’m a huge fan of the original, and development has been ongoing. Interestingly enough, while it was inspired by The Temple of Elemental Evil, I’ve found I’ve enjoyed this game more. More info here.
Scars of War
Still refusing to be lost in the cloud of vaporware of other forgotten planned indie RPGs, Gareth Fouche’s “low-fantasy” RPG Scars of War continues development. He’s recently had to scale way, way back on scope in order to… well, in order to allow completion within a part-time indie’s budget and time frame. Believe me, I’m well acquainted with the issue. But I’ve still got this one in the “likely to see the light of day” category, and I’m holding out hope for a release in the not-too-distant future. More info here.
Sword & Sorcery – Somethin’
The sequel to Sword & Sorcery: Underworld. After the rapid creation of the first game, heavily inspired by early Might & Magic titles, the developer suffered some major personal setbacks which slowed updates of the original, and development of the sequel. Nevertheless, a sequel is planned, right after the Mac port of Underworld. More info here.
Okay, that’s what I’ve got, but now I’m afraid there’s something really, really major that I’ve totally forgotten about above. We’ll see if you guys jog my memory. And no, I don’t consider Torchlight II to be an indie game. But I am looking forward to it as well. And Dungeons, which I hope to find time to play sometime in the very near future.
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