Baith Snell An’ Keen: Of Orcs And Men

By John Walker on May 3rd, 2011 at 11:30 am.

He sure is an orc. Um.

Mostly I’m impressed with the tenacity of the title, Of Orcs And Men. That, and my discovery that the green-skinned RPG is developed by spiders. I mean, we’ve played games made by bears, and a couple of flops from raccoons, but spiders! I’ve been waiting so long to see what those industrious beasties could do. And it seems their first high-profile project is… wait, sorry, someone’s talking in my ear… Oh. Spiders. Well, good.

In fact, the audaciously named RPG is confusingly credited to two developers. For “Concept and Production” it’s Cyanide Studios, they behind Blood Bowl (and, I’ve just noticed, A Song Of Ice And Fire – will investigate), and for “Realization and Development” it’s Spiders. Their name just thrown into the press release without explanation or a link, leading to my oh-so easily made mistake. I want to like Spiders just because of their name, but that competes with their website having a tab titled “Solutions”. They previously worked on Faery: Legends Of Avalon, which came out a couple of weeks back, but isn’t available online until Friday.

This is genuinely the only other screenshot worth putting up.

So, Orcs. Along with Goblins they’re being oppressed. We’re told it’s,

“a brutal world at war, where the Empire of Men’s oppressive threat looms over the territories of the Orcs and the Goblins. Goblins are systematically persecuted and slaughtered, while Orcs not killed in battle are captured and enslaved.”

Pleasingly you play an Orc, with Man as your enemy. You’re charged with killing the Emperor in a major effort to win the ongoing war. You’re also joined by a Goblin, and the two will apparently have starkly different skill trees. The Orc a tank, the Goblin an assassin.

It’s currently set for a Spring 2012 release, published by Focus.

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46 Comments »

  1. Sami H says:

    Obligatory WAAAGH!!!

  2. Inigo says:

    Tell me about the kobolds again, George.

  3. sasayan says:

    Playing as an orc? Humans as the bad guys? I’m green with interest.

    • Anthile says:

      Wouldn’t that be like in Warcraft? Kind-of sorta-ish?

    • Ian says:

      Well, in Warcraft they’re just both sort of bastardy. I kind of hope they don’t cop out and just make orcs the good bastards in this. It’d be nice for the humans to be the ones you can point at and say “Yes, they’re the worst ones.”

  4. JackShandy says:

    They torc the torc, but can they worc the worc?

  5. DuckSauce says:

    I’m currently reading a book that’s written from the viewpoint of two orcs, now there’s a game from the viewpoint of an orc. How interesting :D

    • Tretiak says:

      What book?

    • Temple to Tei says:

      Stan Nicholls and Mary Gentle both did them I think.

      Mary had great promise but execution fell down in writing -still i remember the ‘heroic forces’ of light always winning despite having stupid plans, which was mildly amusing.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grunts!

      Stan is actually an ongoing series, again did not like his writing much, so did not keep up after the first.

      Any more that people know? I presume there must a be a few Warcraft tie-ins and such like, but looking for something more substantive. A believable world would be great.

      The ecology of orcs always seems a tricky one:
      1) Invade
      2) Destroy Everything
      3) ?????
      4) Profit!

    • bill says:

      I vaguely remember reading Grunts a long long time back and being disappointed.. something about it just didn’t click… but then i was a lot younger then.

      I have a very vague memory of a disturbing sex scene….

    • MrHairyLives says:

      @Bill

      That’s the only thing I can really remember too. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget the line: “Pass me another elf, Sarge, this one’s split”!

    • DuckSauce says:

      The book I’m reading is called “The return of the orcs”, directly translated from Dutch, but it’s a book translated from German apparently, so something might have got lost in translation, but it’s a simple title, so perhaps not.

      The author is Michael Peinkoffer.

      It’s not really all that typical of a world really, I mean it takes the whole humans/orcs/gnomes/elfs thing but it’s … different.

      The orcs in this got clobbered by some gnomes, but left alone because of some evil wizard scheme, when they return to their village without the head of their leader they have to go and retrieve it so it can be shrinked.

      They then basically end up on going on a sort of typical hero quest, except it’s to steal something, but they fight the usual monsters, some barbarians, etc. So it’s a hero quest from the non hero side so far.

      Overall it’s not amazing, but it’s a good read. I recommend it if you can get a copy of it at the library or something, but not really more than that.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Ooh, I’ve been looking for some decent original German fantasy. I’ll have to check out Michael Peinkofer.

    • Fumarole says:

      I read Orcs by Stan Nicholls but didn’t like it enough to pick up the sequel.

    • bill says:

      MrHairyLives says:

      That’s the only thing I can really remember too. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget the line: “Pass me another elf, Sarge, this one’s split”!

      Hmmm yes. That was it. That was a weird scene and is also the only memory i have of that book.

    • BigJonno says:

      The Warcraft book “Rise of the Horde” is worth a read. The way the orcs are manipulated into wiping out the Draenei and then invading Azeroth is well done.

    • President Weasel says:

      I liked Grunts!, although I’ll admit that the posters above may have a point about the writing falling down in places. I thought Mary Gentle wrote much better orc characters than Stan Nicholls, and I particularly enjoyed the sheer unremitting bastardry of her halfling characters.
      Haven’t read any of the Warcraft novels, but to be fair the Dranei are annoying and clearly deserved everything they got.

    • Felixader says:

      Yeah i have that book, and i really wanted to like it but that rape scene where the antihero rapes an elfchild until it “breaks apart” and then demands a new one is simply overshadowing everything.

      It fucking stupid scene wich kills every attempt to make the character likeable.
      I mean there is all this amazingly funny stuff going on inlcuding figths and violence but every time you get to like him there is this scene coming back to the memory.

  6. BooleanBob says:

    I love the smell of inverted dichotomy in the morning.

  7. baby snot says:

    That’s one handsome orc.

  8. bigtoeohno says:

    This is worth watching, providing its fundamentally a good rpg. Being an orc fighting the damneded oppressive human is a big selling point for me, somehow i could see myself more immersed I don’t know more believable I guess

  9. jealouspirate says:

    Could potentially be pretty good, but I don’t think “Oppressed Orc” vs “Racist Man” is as original or compelling as they seem to want to us believe.

    Also, I’d like to play the Goblin!

  10. DeepSleeper says:

    Everyone who works at Spiders is named Spider.
    We should send them GIFTs.

    Also, this RPG completely sells me on its premise. I am excited to be a big grunty orc.

  11. smokingkipper says:

    Warcraft 3

  12. Teddy Leach says:

    That title conjures terrible images in my mind.

  13. stahlwerk says:

    … is a toy for green boys oh joy to see and hear this woven by arachnid brethren…

  14. Telke says:

    Oh, man. playing a goblin assassin, or a big brute of an orc? I’m keen to see how this goes. love playing small, sneaky, morally dubious characters.

  15. bill says:

    Sounds pretty cool. I’m interested…

  16. Fumarole says:

    For those interested in non orc-centered fantasy with the bad guys as protagonists check out Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward. Here’s a summary:

    Villains by Necessity is a fantasy that takes place in a world in which good finally triumphs over evil. However, in this fantasy world where a complete purge of evil is achieved and darkness is almost unheard of, a druid discovers that this could be considered too much of a good thing. With the contrast of good and evil gone, the world has become unbalanced and dangerously unstable. In order to prevent reality from literally falling apart the druid must find a way to bring back the darkness, which the old heroes have locked away. To bring back the darkness the druid must gather a team of the few left alive willing to do so; a team of villains. Together these villains must step out of their comfort zone and work together to save the world from itself.

  17. Thunderkor says:

    This looks pretty cool. Makes me miss the epic bedtime stories I used to tell my son at night. The hero was the last orc, raised in a human monastery by kung fu monks, accompanied by his friends, a roguish human girl and a goblin wizard’s apprentice who was outcast by his kind for the heinous crime of *GASP* – knowing how to read!

    Dang I miss those stories.

    Anyway, hooray for non-human protagonists!

  18. zergrush says:

    This makes me think about how cool would a game based on Orc Stain be.

  19. Carra says:

    An of Ice and Fire game? Please tell more!

    • Werthead says:

      Cyanide are developing two SONG OF ICE AND FIRE computer games (they’re emphasising that it’s not based on GAME OF THRONES, the TV version, since they only have the rights to base things on the books). The first, A GAME OF THRONES: GENESIS is an RTS. It doesn’t look very good, but you never know. It’s due out before the end of this year.

      The second, A GAME OF THRONES: THE RPG (working title, presumably), is an RPG (quelle surprise) which is due in 2012. It casts the player as two separate PCs, one on the Wall and one fighting in the civil war in the south, and alternates between them a bit like the structure of the books (except with only 2 POV characters, not 17). More info on Cyanide’s website.

  20. Gvaz says:

    Do want.

  21. DeepSleeper says:

    Making video games gets so much easier once you get that pesky “ambition” out of your system.

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