Playing For Keeps: Dungeon Defenders

By Adam Smith on September 21st, 2011 at 10:40 am.

Are dungeons more worthy of defending than towers?

Diablo 3 wasn’t quite as shiny and pony-strewn as some people were expecting, so it’s making this place seem a little grim and gothic at the moment. Time for something incredibly colourful and chaotic. So here are two developer diaries for upcoming 4 player co-op tower defence action RPG Dungeon Defenders. Not my description, but the description of developers Trendy Entertainment. There’s a LOT going on in these videos, the first one in particular, and I’m not sure I caught everything first time through. I did get a Torchlight meets Magicka vibe, although without the sadistic unfortunate friendly fire of Magicka and with an added build phase. Take a look.

Not only is there a lot happening on screen, there’s a lot happening behind the hacking and slashing as well. Levelling up, distinct classes, pets, crafting and loot are all there, and there’s a fully formed build phase as well, which is handily covered by this second developer diary.

Dungeon Defenders was announced back in August of last year but is nearly ready for release and is confirmed for PC, XBLA and PSN. Guess which one might be getting it late? That’s right. PSN. It’ll be on Steam and XBLA on October 19th, but not only will it arrive at a reasonable hour on your PC-machine, it also promises full and proper support for the capabilities locked within. Hopefully this includes all the control and graphical options you’d expect but, beyond that, it means mod support robust enough to allow total conversions, either at launch or soon after.

The game will also have its own online matchmaking system (DRM-free) to help players find sessions compatible with any mods they are running.

Adding a full scale looting and levelling layer to a tower defence game seems eminently sensible to me. But then I am a big fan of both looting and levelling. It could add an extra layer of involvement and make me stick with the thing. That plus mod support is reason enough to plant this firmly on my radar.

There are more PC exclusive features to be revealed, say Trendy, and I’ll be finding out what those are before release. Also worth a quick mention is the price – the game will be on Steam but is already up for preorder at Gamersgate for £6.29. Lovely.

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31 Comments »

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  1. WMain00 says:

    “Action RPG fun”

    :D

    “Tower Defense”

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • Kaira- says:

      Pretty much my sentiments. Like with Steam’s indie strategy pack.
      “Oh cool, let’s see…”
      [five tower defence games]
      “Ah, nope.”

  2. Belsameth says:

    I preordered this almost a year ago when the release was still set for november last year. After that they kept pushing it back. I found this a rather unfair way to gather funds so I canceled again and won’t be picking it up.

    Shame, because it does look rather interesting…

    • Premium User Badge

      Corpekata says:

      Well, it wasn’t an attempt to gather funds. Their Publisher went bankript and they had to get a new one. Once they did they had to certify for XBLA which took them close to 700 years to do. The game itself has been ready for months, they’ve just had a lot of bad luck, and have probably not made some of the best choices punlishing wise. The PC release has been in limbo in order to release on Xbox Live, as Microsoft is not very keen on taking titles if they’ve been released on other platforms first (some small exceptions).

    • Archonsod says:

      Apparently the delays were due to Microsoft refusing to certify it for the XBox. But they wouldn’t release the PC version because piracy.

      Quite frankly if I could’ve cancelled my pre-order I’d have done it for that attitude alone.

    • Belsameth says:

      Oh, I read all the official reasons why there was a delay. After about 8 or 9 months waiting they stop mattering, however. It’s not like they had a “When it’s done/when we manage to release it” at the time of pre-order. They had a fixed date. (and a couple of new fixed dates after that…)
      At some point the slips change from “It happens” to “They’re downright lying”.

      It would’ve been fine if they came out and said “Sorry, there’s been some serious mishaps. We will release at some point, we just have no idea when”.

    • pmasher@trendyent says:

      Sorry, the whole thing was a mess on our end too. At certain points in times there were certain things we couldn’t say due to the publisher issues and it lead to a whole debacle of misinformation (both for us and when we were told the game would be coming out and, of course, for everyone waiting for the game). If you only knew how many times I was on the phone being told the game was coming out the following month “for certain” you would cringe.

      We NEVER delayed the PC version due to piracy. It was delayed because both Microsoft and Sony has rules about “porting” titles, etc. If we had released on PC our XBLA version, which we had contractual obligations to release and furthermore wanted to release, would not have been able to release. Thus we had to wait.

      At one point in time our previous publisher (who is no longer our publisher) requested we delay the PC version two weeks post-release to combat piracy. As you can see with our simultaneous PC/XBLA release right now this is not our opinion :). If we could do PC first we would!

      (Btw, full disclosure, I’m a dev at Trendyent)

    • Belsameth says:

      Thank you for taking the time to reply (what seems to be) honestly here.
      It means a lot when a dev actually goes out of his way.

      Much like Gnoupi said, I too have renewed interest. Not enough to preorder anymore tho. I first want to see it actually released ;)

  3. Vexing Vision says:

    Oooh, someone get me a Friendly Fire mod.

    This looks lovely.

  4. futage says:

    I say, this looks like fun.

    I do hope it comes with always-online DRM and/or a real-money store as I love me some of that shit.

    (one of these statements is true, the other is false)

  5. duel says:

    Just to clarify;

    Action, RPG, tower defense, hack and slash, 4 player co-operative, cross platform, looting, leveling, character customization, Playstation Move, 3D, Steam.

  6. MuscleHorse says:

    Looks like another title has added itself to the watch list.

    Congratulations on the headline Adam.

  7. LuNatic says:

    I was getting quite interested until he said Gamespy. Really Gamespy? Even GFWL is less of a hassle than Gamespy :(

    • Plivesey says:

      Exactly the same here. “Gamespy”. Who knew one single word could ruin my day?

    • tstapp1026 says:

      I may be mistaken, but I believe he said Gamespy was being used for cross-platform support. Is this so terrible after all? Mind you I normally develop what feels like IBS at the mention of Gamespy, but I think the attempt at unifying platforms is a step in the right direction.

    • pmasher@trendyent says:

      There will be a DRM free version which supports GameSpy. Here GameSpy can/will eventually be used to play cross-platform between PC, PS3, and mobile. There will also be a Steam version. This will support Steam-matchmaking, etc for ranked play in addition to GameSpy for eventual cross-platform play. We are trying to set it up so anyone who buys a DRM-free version will also get a Steam code, so they can play on the moderated servers too if they like!

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      @pmasher
      So am I interpreting correctly that the Steam version of the game will use steamworks matching for co-op play with other Steam users INSTEAD of Gamespy? Or will it require the use of both?

      I applaud the push into cross-platform play and understand if Gamespy was really the only viable option, however personally given I’m likely only to play with friends having the game on Steam am keen to not have to deal with Gamespy. BTW 4 pack (for price of 3) of Steam would be nice (hint hint).

  8. Premium User Badge

    Sinomatic says:

    The gameplay sounds like it might be interesting, but every time I saw a snippet of the combat phase in action it looked like several rainbows were vomiting all over the screen. Bit too much for my tastes.

  9. BooleanBob says:

    I didn’t realise it was as good as it was until you made me go back and think about it. Clever bloke, that Adam.

    edit: @ MuscleHorse, obv. Forgot to KG my reply.

  10. MiniMatt says:

    I believe it’s the evolution from their freebie / tech demo Dungeon Defense – http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/02/05/unreally-free-dungeon-defense/

  11. Premium User Badge

    Malcolm says:

    I tried it on my phone and as with most touch screen controlled action games I got utterly frustrated with the controls after about 10 minutes and uninstalled it. Maybe the PC version would be more engaging but it didn’t seem a particularly deep experience.

  12. portchd says:

    i pre orderered this one off of gamersgate a while back, not realising it was a pre-order…really wanna play it…

  13. Gnoupi says:

    Yes, this game was announced a year ago, and supposed to hit PC market at the beginning of the year (or even before). But they had some opportunities to be in the first row for android tablets, and xperia play, and they took it. Then they ported to iOS as well. Then to consoles.

    As such, the PC version was put on hold. For quite a long time, obviously.

    Because every possible other version is getting released before (edit: apparently, not true for console, I read badly).

    I was quite excited for this game, a year ago. But somehow seeing the PC is just “the last thing to care about”, lowered that expectation to close to nothing. Tired of the “so we sucked up all what we could from the other platforms (and really ALL of them), so maybe we’ll release finally the game for you”.

    A year ago, it was fresh, new. Now I’m expecting “Orcs must die”.

  14. johnpeat says:

    I lost interest in this when they shunned the PC and made a fast cash grab by releasing it onto smartphones where it simply does not work at all.

    The problems with smartphone users had were roundly ignored – updates were forever in coming and generally I think no-one cares about it who’s been through that experience.

    It might be a great game but the original demo was awful – bordering on unplayable – and the smartphone game was a classic example of trying to draw a picture with your feet…

    It has some selling to do – esp as “Orcs Must Die” will precede it…

    • pmasher@trendyent says:

      That wasn’t our choice actually! We lost our XBLA publisher and no longer had rights to the XBLA version of the game. We couldn’t release on PC before XBLA as per Microsoft’s rules so everything was kept in limbo. Being an indie-developer, we don’t have an unlimited source of funds so we tried to do a quick and dirty mobile port to stay-alive while we waited to resolve our publisher issue. Now that everything’s back in motion again we have a revamped (and much better, yet obviously not fully suited for mobile) mobile version on it’s way and a much-improved PC/Console version (we had almost an entire year to polish it!).

      (Btw, full disclosure, I’m a dev at Trendyent)

  15. bluebogle says:

    This was supposed to release last year about this time. Glad to see it’s finally coming around. I’d started giving up hope!

  16. Premium User Badge

    shoptroll says:

    I think I have this on my iPhone but never really sunk the time into it. Always seemed more like a traditional game than most of that fare anyways. Curious to see how their promise of cross-platform play pans out.

  17. pmasher@trendyent says:

    Our development process went:

    PC, XBLA, PSN at the same time –> Publisher runs out of money, can’t release any of these –> make a quick-and-dirty mobile port to try and stay alive while waiting to be allowed to release the versions we originally wanted to release

    Luckily the PC/Console versions are much better for it, as we’ve heavily improved/polished them over the last year! We also have a much-improved mobile version on it’s way too.

    (Btw, full disclosure, I’m a dev at Trendyent)

  18. Abundant_Suede says:

    Now I’m expecting “Orcs must die”.

    I’m afraid my enthusiasm for OMD took a hit when I found out it has no Co-Op. I just don’t think there’s enough there to hold my interest as a single player game. Not every game needs it, but that concept was really made for multiplayer.

    I’m cautiously optimistic about DD. It could be really fun. It could be a lot of things.

  19. Gnoupi says:

    @pmasher – thanks for the information. I understand the issue indeed.

    But without knowing this fact, it looked simply for most people (including me) like suddenly priorities changed, without really knowing why. Release date for PC was being pushed, and suddenly I was getting news of Android and iOS releases.

    Apologies for the rude comment, then. Consider my interest in the game renewed ;)

  20. Glycerine says:

    As soon as there’s a mod released to allow 8+ way co-op (on expanded maps, i’d imagine), colour me very interested! This’d be ace to LAN up for a few hours!