Dungeon Keeper World: Hmm

By Alec Meer on May 31st, 2010 at 5:43 pm.

It is a rare month that I don’t fondly wish for a resurrection of Dungeon Keeper. It is a rarer month still that I hear of a resurrection of Dungeon Keeper and then kinda wish I hadn’t. Details are squeaking out about EA’s mysterious (and possibly China-only) Dungeon Keeper MMO and, well, you’re not going to like them. That said, there are a few glimmers of promise, and enough that I’m fighting the fanboy urge to scream, hiss and make tastelessly overblown statements about what EA have done to my childhood.

One Tristran Taylor kindly alerted me to MMO Culture’s fact-barrage about the game, having thought “Can I use this to horrify/inform a writer I like?” Yes, yes you can.

If the site’s info is correct, ‘Dungeon Keeper World’ will be half traditional beast-bashing, dungeon-crawling MMO and half some form of base-building management game.

The character designs in the apparent concept art do little to reassure fans of the grimy trad. monsterism of the original Dungeon Keeper, but the base-building element sounds appealing. Most especially because the creatures you house and train in your base can be summoned to your side in the overworld adventuring.

Now that is a lovely idea. You raise an army in your downtime, and that army is at your beck and call when you’re out monster-bashing and player-harrassing. The leaked info also claims you’ll be able to invade other player’s bases.

Now, I’m not going to pretend this is the Dungeon Keeper sequel remake we want, or that it deserves the Dungeon Keeper name. I’m also not going to pretend I honestly have a good feeling about this game: as we’ve seen with Lords of Ultima, there’s definitely a lack of reverence for EA’s PC classics somewhere high-up in the publisher’s ranks.

But I do like that army concept.

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51 Comments »

  1. Vinraith says:

    Like X-Com, Dungeon Keeper is one of those classics where the game play, not the setting or lore, are what’s important. Consequently, a worthy heir to the series needn’t have the name “Dungeon Keeper” in the title, nor does it require one of those lovely horned demons. All of this is good, of course, because from the looks of things the name and the franchise aren’t going anywhere we’d want them to.

    • DrugCrazed says:

      Like Bioshock is System Shock’s successor?

      I agree fully. Let’s call the new X-COM Alien Comminicator or similar. That’s bloody awful actually.

    • ChampionHyena says:

      I’m gonna play the Dwarf Fortress card here and slink out quietly.

    • bill says:

      The problem slightly being that Dungeon Keeper, like X-com, had started to outgrow its basic mechanics. There’s only so many times you can remake the exact same game.

      I loved DK1 and especially 2, but it was clear from the video at the end of DK2 that even then the developers realised they’d have to take the gameplay somewhere else to make it fresh.

      I have no reason to think this game will be good, and I have no interest in MMOs (darn you KotoR3!), but I think the sound of a dungeon keeper MMO is a lot more interesting than most games.

      Building persistent online dungeons, recruiting and attracting minions, and then sending them on raids into other people’s dungeons to collect resources… sounds pretty cool to me.
      Not that i’d pay a monthly fee for it, so i’m mostly irrelevant.

    • Nosredna says:

      At least they didn’t make Xcom a MMO.

    • TeeJay says:

      I really want to play DK 2 but while my disk version installs and plays for about 2 minutes, it keeps crashing due to not getting on with Vista and/or my graphics card – I’ve tried all the workarounds and tricks short of re-installing an older OS (I might try DK1 next to see if I have more luck).

      Definitely a candidate for a Steam or GOG digital re-release – I’m sure people would be all over it.

  2. bleeters says:

    Bet it won’t be full of pies, either.

  3. Bas says:

    This is only getting a Chinese release. If it was any good, it would get a western release as well. Prepare for it to be shit!

  4. Spoon says:

    It sounds like a pretty standard Chinese MMO with more-complicated-than-average player housing, honestly. If you want to control multiple summoned creatures at once in an mmo setting, Mytheon seems like a more promising candidate.

  5. Cooper says:

    Is there a rule whereby you have to use a liscence / IP within a certain period or you lose the copyright? Because I can’t see eny other reason this exists.

    It’s not like they’re using the IP to allow for cheaper and quicker content-design by copying original work, because there’s none of it there…

    • Starky says:

      Copyright no, that is automatic and lasts for many, many years.

      Trademarks though, maybe, trademarks do not last as long if abandoned, but can last much longer if still actively used and defended.

      For example, old Disney works may become public domain, but “mickey mouse” will still be a trademarked name.
      Unless of course the duration gets extended again, as it seems to every time some old yet valuable property is on the verge of becoming PD – Expect a HARD push for a IP extension when Elvis/Beatles music is about to become PD for example (which is not far from now actually).
      They’re trying to push it to 95 years (like the Americans use) I believe, which is sheer insanity – but the EU will probably fold to industry demands and make it 70-75 years, allowing record companies to reap another 25 years profit on old works that should have been public domain 20 years ago – In my opinion that is, copyright duration needs basically halved across the board.

    • bob_d says:

      @Starky:
      “For example, old Disney works may become public domain…”
      Don’t count on it, in the U.S. at least. Every time the copyright is about to expire on Disney’s first (sound) motion picture, and ol’ Mickey is set to enter the public domain, a new law is passed to extend the duration of copyright in the U.S. This has happened often enough that it’s clear that the U.S. government is willing to change copyright indefinitely in order to keep Disney happy; the term of copyright will always be as long as Mickey is old. Since the U.S. is exerting great pressure to influence the terms of copyright in other countries as well, this term-creep bleeds over into everyone else’s copyright laws, too.

      The big question in this case is why a Chinese company felt it necessary to license the name when the game is different enough that they clearly didn’t have to. I’d guess it’s because Western games have some cachet in China and Korea that they’re hoping to take advantage of, even though it’s a completely Chinese game.

    • PHeMoX says:

      “Copyright no, that is automatic and lasts for many, many years.”

      Uhm, no there’s NOTHING automatic about copyrights. Better remember that if you got one. In a certain sense you need to be the ‘first’ to register your copyright. And there’s a few more things to think about.

      When it comes to IP licenses, well .. it’s usually a pure business and administration thing. Apparently this Chinese company owns the Dungeon Keeper license, which pretty much is a disaster as far as a potential Dungeon Keeper 3. Or they are doing it the old-fashion way, and just ‘borrowed’ it.

      How much of a proven company is that anyway? I think the game won’t be more of a success at all because of this name, because it’s not a Dungeon Keeper game. Period. :-p

    • Taillefer says:

      I’m pretty sure Automatic Copyright Protection is automatic. It doesn’t cover everything, but you don’t need to register or pay or whatever. There’s also Formal Copyright Protection, for which you do.

      Some countries may vary.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      PHeMoX – copyright automatically vests in any created work. You don’t need to register anything.

  6. lhzr says:

    Scream and hiss, Alec? Come on..

    I totally get why people are upset, but once again it’s worth waiting for a few more details before you decide the new Dungeon Keeper is the end of all that is sacred. Maybe it will be, maybe it won’t, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little honest hope.

    Let’s wait and see where they take it, at least.

    • PHeMoX says:

      Did you miss the board game-style screenshot? Do you know what Chinese MMO’s usually look like when they’re trying to do ‘another Ultima Online’ game??

      I’m sorry, but honest hope for a good game from that company is more or less equal to just fooling yourself bigtime as if they haven’t made anything yet.

      I’m not judging the game itself, but I am judging what I’ve seen so far of it. :-)

  7. Mithrandir0x says:

    Let the korean-gritty-chicken-slap begin!

  8. Charlie says:

    That concept looks very much like the WoW concepts usually do.

  9. James G says:

    Aww, the dungeon/surface raid concept would have been one which would have been fun to use in DK3. Makes an interesting change to your usual MMO structure I suppose, but isn’t something that hugely interests me.

    Did love Dungeon Keeper though. I’d also dispute Vinraith’s claim that it was mainly gameplay that was important when it came to Dungeon Keeper. I thing atmosphere and personality also played a huge part.

  10. Tei says:

    Is like a horror movie, where your parents are abduced by a ufo, and returned to you in a totally wrong way. Only this is more scary.

  11. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Another great opportunity to do a Dungeon Keeper first-person shooter was gone to waste. They are destroying the IP.

    • stahlwerk says:

      Huh, I just remembered that in Dungeon Keeper (1, at least, didn’t play the other) you could possess a spellcaster and play it as a first person shooter. Neat. That Molyneux guy is quite the inventive type.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      You could possess any creature and see the game that way, if memory serves me right.

    • Taillefer says:

      I raced through a few levels this way. Dug straight to the enemy keeper then possessed a level 10 vampire which was transferred and laid waste to all his minions and finally his heart. They were tough those vamps.

    • TeeJay says:

      Dungeon Keepy-Uppey (World Cup Edition) – the world’s first dungeon-based soccer trick-shot game.

  12. Kirian says:

    You misspelled my name+! ‘ZOUNDS!
    Like Alec says, all we know about this is what this chappy has been told by, presumably, the Chinese company making this. As it’s being made in conjunction with EA, I would expect a Western release.
    +He says, as if it is a rare occurence. [There's only one 'r' in Tristan. Kirian's easier to spell]
    This is for Alec: http://dk.91.com/
    WEBSITE! IN CHINESE! What mysteries ho!

  13. Tupimus says:

    Possessing added a whole new world to the gameplay indeed.

    Nothing like breaking down a magic door with a level 10 Dragon and then getting it squished by a rock trap.

  14. Jacques says:

    Thanks for ruining my childhood. Bastards.

  15. Snook says:

    Does anyone else think that character looks an awful lot like the ghost pirate LeChuck?

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      I thought looked a fair bit like Davey Jones in PotC myself

  16. Bassism says:

    That blue dwarf thing looks way more like WoW than anything I remember from DK.

    • bob_d says:

      The rest of the concept art looks like WoW, too, except the stuff that just looks like a bad WoW clone… it appears the only part of “Dungeon Keeper” that they’re, um, keeping, is the name.

  17. Pijama says:

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

  18. Finn says:

    My dreams, all destroyed.
    Come on, can’t some company do it right and release a proper DK3? Please?

  19. PHeMoX says:

    Nah, that’s not Dungeon Keeper….

    I’d wish they had not canceled dungeon keeper 3 though, didn’t they have some teaser animations (FMV) already at some point?

    • Jacques says:

      There was a teaser included with DK2.

    • Ybfelix says:

      I always find it strange: who would include a trailer of next proper sequel in the installment just came out? A bit too soon, no?

  20. Froibo says:

    Make it stop :(

  21. Malagate says:

    This visitor to China can also confirm that DK is well known there.

    I’ve been to many internet cafés from as far apart as Guiyang to Shanghai and there’s been a few constants, one of which is the original Dungeon Keeper.

    It was always a pleasant surprise to find it there too, considering it’s a bullfrog game from the mists of time.

  22. Cooper says:

    Nya ha ha ha !

    Just loaded up the original DK.

    I can now wave goodbye to a day’s worth of work. Damn you.

  23. Ahnteis says:

    Evil Genius, while flawed, was a good foray back into Dungeon Keeper gameplay.

  24. Gutter says:

    I’m surprised that no one mentioned this : The company who acquired the right also have secured a Might And Magic and Kingdom Heart license to be done in the form of a MMO as well.

    M&M:O is in Beta as we speak, and Kingdom Heart, that they call Fantasy Disney, is being worked on, but there is screens and videos out.

    Both game are the same : Open map with turn based combat, they look like glorified versions of Dofus. The trailers look good, but only because they have no gameplay clip in them… Their gameplay clip is bland and uninteresting, and nothing that we didn’t see dozens of times.

    I suspect that their business plan is just to reskin the same game over and over again.

    So no, this game will not be seen on Western shores, and no, this game will not be “fun”.

  25. Chris says:

    I see someone already mentioned Evil Genius as a successor to DK. Alternatively, if you’re more fond of the ‘possess a critter’ action element of it, and don’t mind a bit of Pikmin, there’s the Overlord games. I still kinda miss my Dark Mistresses, though.

  26. Terry says:

    Just play number Dungeon Keeper 2 again… http://digiex.net/downloads/download-center-2-0/games/159-dungeon-keeper-2-full-version-1-7-a.html

    Enjoy…

    TIP for running in Vista or Win7
    1.Create a shortcut of the DKII.exe file to the desktop.

    2.Right-click on the shortcut and select properties.

    3. Under the “Shortcut” tab find “target”

    4.Change “D:\Program Files\Bullfrog\Dungeon Keeper 2\DKII.exe” (quotes included) to:

    “D:\Program Files\Bullfrog\Dungeon Keeper 2\DKII.exe” -32biteverything (just add -32bit everything, leave a space after the end quote).

    (I’m assuming D:\Program Files\Bullfrog\Dungeon Keeper 2is the folder that you’ve installed the game to it’s most likely:

    C:\Program Files\Bullfrog\Dungeon Keeper 2\DKII.exe)

    right click on DK2 shortcut, properties then compatibility leave as run in vista service pack 2…
    check disable visual themes
    check disable desktop composition
    check run as administrator
    game should open, go to options
    uncheck hardware acceleration…

  27. Bongs says:

    While not much is revealed, the game will be in full 3D. Players will assume the role of an evil lord aimed at building their own underground dungeon empire. While on the surface, players can continue playing the game just like any other 3D MMO. Players will also encounter instances, level up, wear equipments and summon their minions (those you keep in your dungeon) for battles. Players can also launch attacks on others’ dungeons.