Rack ‘Em Up: Inquisitor RPG Enters Closed Beta

By John Walker on August 2nd, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Crikey, it’s been a while since we mentioned Inquisitor. In 2009, Kieron questioned whether it could be a contender for The Witcher, the old-school RPG certainly pressing on similar buttons. Ten years in development then, and three years in translation since, they’re now in an English language closed beta. It seems like time to remind ourselves this exists.

The game describes itself thusly:

“The game brings you, a medieval inquisitor, to a gloomy world full of heresy, betrayal and devilish plots. You will hunt for perpetrators of the most atrocious crimes and you will meet a lot of cunning enemies. You will find yourself in the midst of a powerful conspiracy striving to destroy even the foundations of the thousand-year old Empire. As one of the three main characters you will explore all the mysteries of this depressing world and gain reputation of a fearless inquisitor and a witch hunter. Carry out dozens of secondary quests and develop your potential in order to face the more powerful and dangerous enemies and challenges. And remember—everything you do depends just on your own choice!”

Oh, and on top of that, you torture people. You have access to a rack, a strappado, a pillory and an iron maiden for your inquiries. They also boast 1.2 million square metres of environment over 34 locations, and the threat of 100km of corridors.

The Czech release received some high praise, one site calling it a “masterpiece”, saying it lasts 150 hours, but then giving it 79%. Tough markers.

Currently the team are looking for digital distributors, before they resume offering pre-orders – something they were doing three years back. It does seem at the moment that the beta is only open to those who did that then, but they tell us there may be plans to let more people in soon. Here’s the three year-old trailer:

Could this be an epic?

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95 Comments »

  1. InternetBatman says:

    I’ll definitely play it when it comes out, but it looks a little dark for my tastes.

  2. aliksy says:

    Uh. Playing a witch hunter who tortures people is a pretty big turn off. Do I get to kick puppies, too?

    • Kollega says:

      Don’t forget twirling your moustache evily and cackling. And sadly enough, many people seem to think this is “awesome” or somesuch.

      At least the advertising is honest about the tone of the game, though.

      • D3xter says:

        Probably why they didn’t give Walker access to the Beta: http://inquisitor-rpg.com/?page=forum
        By now they probably know all he’d be doing is complaining about the unchastity of the women and the horrible gratuitous violence and real world moral dilemmas thereof!

      • ArcaneSaint says:

        Well, considering this is something you’ll most likely never get to do in real life (unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong of course), and one of the great advantages of gaming is that you can do things you’ll never (be able to) do in real life, yeah, this is quite awesome.

        • aliksy says:

          There are plenty of things I’ll never get to do that I would never want to do. Because they are awful. Like torturing people.

          Games that let me explore otherwordly vistas and cast fantastic spells? Cool. Torture? Not so much.

          • Vinraith says:

            And that’s the beauty of indie games, they don’t have to appeal to everyone. They don’t have to appeal to the mainstream at all, in fact.

            For my part, I applaud the developers for doing something different. The industry is overrun with bland, comic-book-good-guy heroes.

          • phlebas says:

            I’d have said the industry was overrun with bland, gritty, amoral barely-heroes. And also that you’re probably reading the wrong comic books.

          • RegisteredUser says:

            I’m with Vinraith and ArcaneSaint.

          • wodin says:

            What cast fantastic spells…..like burning people to death…then you moan about torture in games…you make no sense.

          • Beelzebud says:

            Well it’s a good thing you have the choice to play it or not then, isn’t it?

            All games don’t have to be all things to all people.

          • JiminyJickers says:

            I have no problem with a game allowing pretend torturing while role playing as an inquisitor. Cant remember if that Lionheart game allowed it, I never played that one as an inquisitor. May have to fire it up to get me in the mood when this game finally releases.

            Looking forward to it.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            Genocide (space marine)
            Megalomania (civilization)
            Slaughter innocent bystanders (GTA)
            Kill for money (hitman)
            Exploit natural resources (terraria)
            Steal (thief)
            Trespass (mirror’s edge)
            Defile sacred ground (tomb raider)
            Bring about armageddon (ultima)
            Vandalism (red faction)

      • SanguineAngel says:

        Gosh, imagine that – many people thinking that it is awesome to have a genuinely interesting character (an anti-hero even!) & story in an industry dominated by chliched heroes facing cliched evils. Of course it may not be done very well, we don’t know but it is just darned refreshing that they’re attempting it.

        • pipman3000 says:

          where are these cliched gooder-then-thou boy-scout heroes everyone keeps talking about? most games i’ve seen these days are about generically grim anti-heroes making hard choices about which big breasted elf to sleep with or military fps protagonists who could only be considered heroes if you watch lots of fox news.

          • Bhazor says:

            The only RPGss I can actually think of which have incorruptible protagonists is the Dragon Quest series.

            We are definitely still stuck in the 90′s Comic book territory with Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld.

          • Dreforian says:

            @Bhazor, that right there is a disconnect for some. When I think of cliche stereotype (etc.) comicbook heroes I think of the 50s era comics wherein authors were…encouraged to produce stand-up straight-laced heroes. If they didn’t, their comics didn’t get some seal of approval, which meant some establishments wouldn’t sell their work iirc. That’s how we got things like Adam West’s take on Batman.
            90s comics are probably a whole different pile of cliches and trends in the most recent decade of gaming are yet another bin o’ tropes.

          • NathanH says:

            Haha, I am sort of bored of the whole gritty-shades-of-grey stuff now, it was fun when it was something a bit different and it’s not like I think it’s bad, but the combination of loads of people doing it, people thinking it’s somehow objectively superior and more “realistic”, and people pretending it’s still edgy and unusual, are fast turning me off it all!

      • Arglebargle says:

        Obligatory reference to Gene Wolfe’s ‘Shadow of the Torturer’, first novel in the Book of the New Sun series, which has the best and most interesting depiction of an executioner and torturer that I’ve ever read. Severian, a very well done, and very sympathetic character. Set incaculably far in the future, if that matters.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      Well, if witches are real, and evil, in that world, witch-hunters would be slightly more heroic than in real life.

    • Snidesworth says:

      Will kicking puppies grant me the information I need to locate a satanic cult intent on opening a portal to hell? If so then I’ll be strapping on my Canine Clubbing Cleats.

    • Saul says:

      Geez people, it’s like none of you have read Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy! Get on that. You won’t be able to think of any character you’d more like to play than a torturer-inquisitor after that. Except maybe the Dogman.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Abercrombie

  3. Lacessit says:

    Baldur’s Ninth Gate?

  4. Yosharian says:

    Wow. This looks amazing. It will be interesting to see how torturing enemies works out.

    • ArcaneSaint says:

      Also: will it be possible to take any random person in for questioning? And what effects will this have on the people you interact with?

      I can imagine people being a bit reluctant to mention any names at all if you have a reputation of “torture first, ask questions later”, especially when you are inquiring about someone in the village or even a friend of theirs. That doesn’t necessarily have to be your target either, it could be like a situation where the “witch” you’re hunting slept in an inn one day, and you’re looking for the innkeep to ask him some questions. But the innkeep is missing, and no one in the village wants to help you find him, after they heard you had people flogged for looking at you wrong.

      And/or the other way around, never torturing anyone which means an inquisitors main weapon, fear (apart from surprise, a most ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the pope and nice red uniforms) is useless. So yeah, I’m very interested to see how they’re gonna do this.

    • The Godzilla Hunter says:

      It would be awesome if, in the game, you tortured someone, and got false information, as that person was actually ignorant and just wanted the pain to stop.

      In real life torture is only useful if you want someone to confess something, true or not, or if you have the ability to independently verify the facts.

    • Urthman says:

      That would be fantastic if the game lets you torture anyone and then just gives you random, useless-or-worse, mostly-false information and just leaves it up to you to figure out that torture doesn’t work.

      Like if every time you torture someone, the game adds another quest to your log with all the details wrong and the locations in the wrong place on your map, and maybe sometimes just leading you into deadly danger that’s way beyond your character’s ability to defeat.

    • pipman3000 says:

      Maybe they’ll be something like a magic bomb set up in the middle of Inquisitor City and if you have to torture a dwarf or something before it goes off in 24 hours.

    • Arglebargle says:

      In the old Chinese judicial system, judges could torture the suspect: However, if the suspect did not confess, the judge was in very hot water. An interesting bit of counter balancing.

  5. Vinraith says:

    This looks absolutely outstanding. It’s nice to see someone making an old-school RPG, but it’s even nicer to see someone going to such dark and interesting places with it.

    • DrunkDog says:

      Yes, this is definitely lifting my gaming skirt. The old school hallmarks are all there. From that screenshot, I’m already sizing up the doorways to see how best to take a defensive position from which to fight from. Looking back, I’ve spent alot of my RPG gaming career with an eye on a good doorway.

  6. golem09 says:

    1.2 million m²?

    So with otherwords 1.2 km²? That doesn’t sound much.

    • f1x says:

      Shouldnt it be 1200 km2?
      as 1km = 1000m

      • Vinraith says:

        1 km = 1000 m, therefore 1.2 km^2 = 1.2*1000*1000 m^2 = 1,200,000 m^2

        So yeah, chances are good they screwed up the conversion.

        • Mist says:

          1 square kilometer is 1 kilometer wide (for example). At an average walking speed, that takes 15 minutes. Now heroes in rpg tend to run so say 7.5 minutes, but still. 7.5 minutes to get from one end of the world to the other is tiny for a game like Skyrim, but if you would paste together all maps in Baldur’s Gate 2, 7.5 minutes is at least the right order of magnitude. An RPG can stick a lot of gameplay in a small area that you can run through in a few seconds (if the maps weren’t mazelike)

          • FCA says:

            7.5 minutes?
            “You must gather your party before venturing forth”

      • Bhazor says:

        1 kilometer of rope is a 1000 meters long but a piece of land measuring 1 kilometer squared is a square 1000 meters long on each side. It took me way too long to figure that out. It took till the second year of university in fact.

        Biologists: We are shit at maths and basic reasoning.

      • f1x says:

        got it,
        anyway, even if its a typo from developers regarding size, its hard to messure videogame maps like that,
        I mean, even if it was 1.2 billion m2 I still wouldnt really get the idea of how big it is when it comes down to playing

      • golem09 says:

        And one more time:

        The world is 1.100m wide and 1.100m high. To get the m² from this you calculate 1.100 x 1.100.
        = 1.210.000
        Or inversed, you have to get the square root of 1.2 millionen meter.
        And those 1.100m are 1.1km.
        Now you have to recalculate this to get the km².
        1.1 x 1.1 = 1,21
        1.21km²

      • f1x says:

        Ok guys, I suck at math thats why ;)

        But I’m glad we sorted this out all to meter

    • ithenos says:

      Ok, here is a little bit maths for all of you:

      1.2mil m^2 = 1,200,000m^2
      1km = 1000m

      1,200,000 / 1000 = 1,200

      Therefore the are is 1,200km^2

      Seriously guys, if 1km is 1000m, how would 1.2km (1km and 200m) be 1,200,000 m? That’s 1,200m…

  7. caddyB says:

    Is this still a thing? Wow.

  8. JiminyJickers says:

    I’ve been keeping and eye on this on and off and it is looking pretty good. Can’t wait for it to come out in English.

  9. Eclipse says:

    WOW! Inquisitor lives!
    I love Cinemax games (Daemonica and Numen where both great games), they started to do crappy stuff for ios and DSiware recently so it’s good to see they’re still working on big projects as well…

    Now for that Daemonica sequel that was in the works….

    • frightlever says:

      They did Daemonica? Curious little game that. Kinda shades of this Inquisitor game as well, but more of an adventure.

      • Eclipse says:

        yes! an Numen was an interesting rpg, a bit like Titan Quest but with a way better story and some nice puzzles, it was a bit rough and clunky in some gameplay aspects, but a pleasant surprise I got for two euro from a steam daily offer

  10. NathanH says:

    The movement looks a bit slow and the action a bit too real-time, but it’s not like there are millions of games like this so I’ll keep it in mind.

  11. SirDimos says:

    It looks like it has a lot of potential.

    I like the color palette they’re using, but I hope they aren’t set on those character and spell animations. I realize beta is beta, but the characters seemed a little stiff to me, and the spell animations bled into the background a bit too much for my liking.

    • alexheretic says:

      It sounded to me like the game is finished, released even, and they’re now turning all that Czech stuff into sexy English. I suppose it’s good that they’re taking their time, as a lacklustre translation would break a game like this.

      But that does mean it’s unlikely it’ll get any prettier.

  12. Bhazor says:

    Not enough graphics.

    The graphics are at least three years behind the graphics.

  13. kibble-n-bullets says:

    I’m finding it a little bit difficult to see what’s going on. But otherwise I’m interested.

  14. Unaco says:

    “Could this be an epic?”

    I don’t know. Mr Wentworth just told me to click on the article and give it a read, that’s all. I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition…

  15. Flint says:

    Well it looks interesting enough but sadly my bugbear of combined real-time combat and group management rears its head again which is an automatic big minus. Have to see what happens once the game comes out for a wider audience and more opinions start appearing.

  16. abandonhope says:

    This looks pretty boss. Steam group, joined.

  17. Revisor says:

    I played the Czech version. Except the real-time Sacred/Diablo/Beyond Divinity combat it’s as old school and hardcore as it gets.

    It has a pretty deep world lore and lots, and I mean LOTS of text. Think Planescape lots. Not as emotionally engaging and we’ll see how much will be lost in translation. But there is definitely a lot of work behind it, in terms of historical accuracy and a complicated plot.

    The inquisitor (called Priest) is only one of three playable classes, or better characters. There is the Priest – member of the Inquisition, Paladin and a fallen noble – Thief.
    Every character has a different background and different NPC reactions.

    I haven’t played much and there was definitely a gameplay problem at the beginning (simplistic first quests (killing bats in the forest) and unforgiving combat) but the world was interesting enough.

    Probably the most accurate depiction of the Central European Middle Ages in any game so far (plus magic), if you’re into this thing.

    Edit: But bear in mind there is no voiceover whatsoever and the game was originally released in 2009.

    The quality of this game will be strongly connected to the quality of the translation.

  18. bill says:

    Oh good. 150 hrs of gameplay and a billion miles of land. That’ll be a good game then.

    Glad to see Rpgs are still measuring their quality by the size off their padding.

    • Vinraith says:

      Let’s not even start this crap again, please?

      If an RPG is good, it’s a point in its favor to have a large world to explore. If an RPG is bad, it doesn’t matter how long it is, since you won’t play much of it regardless. Consequently, size is a positive bullet point. That doesn’t mean it’s the only positive bullet point, that doesn’t mean it’s the most important bullet point, but it’s a perfectly valid thing to bring up in support of your game.

  19. Strand says:

    This reminds me a bit of Heretic Kingdoms: Inquisition, both in the presentation and subject-matter. I’m also detecting shades of Divine Divinity, though without the Ultima VII-esque item detail. I had a chest for nearly everything in that game that could be carried, useful or not. (Usually not.)

    They need game-stash intervention team equivalents similar to the those on the television series Hoarders for people like me.

    • pakoito says:

      Too bad a 10 year old game like Divine Divinity doesn’t work on my netbook. I’ll play Awesomenauts instead.

      Also, Ultima VII looks fine, but I cannot stand the jerkiness of the movement.

  20. Herzog says:

    Omg. Cant wait to knock down doors and greet people with: Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General!

  21. Drake Sigar says:

    Sounds up my alley. Torturing the elderly in the Brotherhood dungeons was fun in Skyrim.

  22. pakoito says:

    You can actually be evil? My kind of game…FINALLY. Temple of Elemental Evil, Fable and other “I’m an emo douche” simulators were not cutting it.

  23. Physicaque says:

    I played the original Czech version of the game.
    It is very “old school” and has its flaws, but very fun to play nonetheless. It is not comparable to the Witcher, think more about Diablo hack and slash without too much grinding – monsters usually do not respawn (only a few of them). They are not the main focus, the quests by NPCs and storyline is what makes you explore the world around. Quests are the standard RPG stuff (“bring me this, kill that”), but there are a few very funny ones (finding the shephard’s sheep while playing the priest provokes a funny quote). There is a lot of dialogue (text only, zero voice acting) for every quest explaining the situation and backstory.
    The best part of the game are ofcourse investigations of crimes and hereses. You collect evidence, talk with people and when you have enough evidence, you can talk to a specific person and request warrant. Then you arrest the suspect and “inquire” it.
    As for the gameplay itself. There are three main characters: a priest, paladin and thief. They obviously have different skills but not only that, NPCs react differently according to your profession. There are also some gameplay elements specific to every profession- as a priest, you can pass examinations and become the person giving warrants and later on even lead the trial against the suspect. Paladins have access to a special building of their order in each town. Thiefs can “rank up” and eventually hire more companions.
    Technically, as I said, it is very oldschool. Graphics are simple, enviroments sometimes feel barren. Animations are ok, not great. Spell effects are not very spectacular. Inventory management is a violation of Geneva conventions. Learning spells is unnecessarily complicated – you have to first acquire a book of the certain magic school (or spend a point in character creation), I believe there are six of these schools. Then you have to have enough skill points allocated to the magic school in your skill tree so you can find/buy a scroll with the spell you want to learn… oh, come on. Some gameplay elements are not very user friendly- buffs by spells last only a certain amount of time and then you have to recast them. When you use 3 buffs at any given time and have to reactivate them every 2 minutes, it gets in your way. It would be better if they were permanent and slowed your mana regen or something. Game was unbalanced, magic was overpowered. Allegedly it was better using only light armor on paladin, heavy armor is slowing down the character too much. Ending was unsatisfactory… and so on.
    Despite all of that, I played it through with my RPG addiction and had fun.

  24. krisanto says:

    Cool. Probably the closest thing to a “First Law Trilogy” RPG. Glokta, the crippled inquisitor is one of my favorite fantasy book character ever.

  25. ResonanceCascade says:

    Not even a year ago I was lamenting that no one was tapping into the largely intact market for late 90′s-style RPGs. Then lo and behold, we suddenly have a whole stack of them.

  26. Lemming says:

    @1:49 Papal smackdown.

  27. Unaco says:

    Damn it… Just watched the trailer, and this was so, so close to having money thrown at it. And then the real time, diablo-like combat showed up. I’ll be hoping to try a demo now, before investing in this.

  28. Bart Stewart says:

    So, REALLY Darklands, then?

    If they capture some of the great feel of that game (from the glory days of MicroProse), they’ll have done well.

  29. TQBatman says:

    I recently bought Divine Divinity from Steam for £4. ‘Nuff said, I think.

  30. kovi_cz says:

    Hi guys, just a short reaction to some of your questions:

    about torture: According to Codex Inquisitorium (that will come with the game in PDF), to arrest a person you have to present at least one convincing piece of evidence to the local inquisitorial prosecutor (the exact number of pieces of evidence depends on the social standing of the person you want to charge). Which means that you can’t put to jail and send to the torture chamber anyone you meet, there are rules you have to follow. Once a person is in the jail, you can send him or her to the torture chamber and interrogate him/her using the law of torture – but if it turns out that the person is innocent in fact, your reputation will suffer a lot. But you also have to be prepared for people lying to you (even when faced with torture instruments) and making false accusations trying to fasten the blame on someone else. And don’t worry, according to the inquisitorial law you can’t torture children or pregnant women. Those times are dark but there is still a big difference between being an inquisitor and being a beast.

    about character animations: Many years ago, the developers decided that characters in the game will reflect every change in the equipment. Since you have hundreds of items in the game that the characters can equip, the developers had to render all combinations possible for all three characters which resulted in almost a million sprite files having hundreds and hundreds of megabytes in size even at this level of animations. To make the animations smoother would mean unimaginable amounts of data that were unacceptable that time. And now, when gigabyte is not a problem, there is nothing we can do about this.

    about demo: Unfortunately, there won’t be any. It would require some programming to do and there are no programmers of Inquisitor at hand anymore.

  31. RegisteredUser says:

    Inquisitor is now out.

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