Taking The Black: Deponia Dev’s Turn-Based Blackguards

By Nathan Grayson on March 22nd, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

Decorated general Bitey R. Wolfington's tactics quickly became renowned for their predictable nature, but were no less effective as a result.

Hey, so, Deponia, right? It’s pretty OK. The first lushly drawn adventure was worth a few laughs (at least, between all the thinly veiled sexism and crudeness), and the second one, er, significantly less so. Still though, Daedalic is by no means untalented, so its new project, a dark fantasy turn-based strategy called Blackguards, definitely inspires curiosity. For better or worse, humor appears to be taking a backseat this time around, especially given that you’ll be stepping into the sullied shoes of a convicted murderer. It’s a premise that certainly could wind its way down some fascinatingly gray trails, but there’s always the danger of venturing into grimdark-for-grimdark’s-sake territory.

Of course, at the heart of it all, we’re still dealing with a turn-based strategy here, and without rock-solid fundamentals, those tend to crumble quite quickly. Fortunately, Daedalic’s at least proven itself highly capable of emulating one classic game genre with near-obsessive precision, so this genre jump might not be as unprovoked as it seems.

Unfortunately, at this point, all we really know for sure is that Blackguards will be really, really, really big. According to Daedalic, the finished product will scramble brains and feast on the succulent smartflesh within to the tune of “over 180 individually crafted battle maps full of interactive objects and strategically complex situations.” The plot, apparently, will also be quite involved:

“The player takes on the role of a convicted murderer who must use the help of a team of more than questionable characters to save the world from a dark menace. Through this wild chase throughout the South of Aventuria, the world of The Dark Eye, there is more to fight than vicious creatures. Chapter by chapter you’ll encounter a story full of intrigue and surprising twists. Time and time again, the moral compass of the player will be tested.”

Wait, is that specific portion of South Aventuria called The Dark Eye? If so, is its dark menace even darker than regular dark menaces, seeing as the baseline concept of “dark” is probably just normal around there? Also, how much dark could a darkchuck chuck if a darkchuck could dark dark Darkwing Duck?

Blackguards is going to be dark, I think, is what they’re trying to say.

That said, the on-paper description does sound like a laundry list of Things Everybody Wants from this sort of game. Here’s hoping Daedalic adopts a measured, game-specific approach, and not one rooted in obligation. Also, I hope its wolves and dead people aren’t always staring at me like that because it’s making me feel really uncomfortable.

, , , .

64 Comments »

  1. CaspianRoach says:

    Wait. Is that wolf… copulating with that woman?

  2. Premium User Badge

    Wurzel says:

    “Wait, is that specific portion of South Aventuria called The Dark Eye?”

    Pretty sure they’re referring to the tabletop RPG, The Dark Eye (or Das Schwarze Auge), meaning that this is set in the same world as Drakensang.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      Aventuria is the main continent where just about all of The Dark Eye stuff takes place. It’s basically what Faerun is to Forgotten Realms.

    • dE says:

      Nerd moment!
      Aventuria is one of the continents on Dere. Dere would be the world of “The Dark Eye”, although given that Aventuria is where most novels and official P&P Adventures take place, its probably fair to call it the world. Folks in Aventuria certainly seem to think of it as the center of the world.

      • Niko says:

        How is it related to Realms of Arkania?

        • Premium User Badge

          Anthile says:

          Same continent, but on the other end of it. I think Realms of Arkania is canon, too, so there could be references. No idea about the time frame.

        • Premium User Badge

          RedViv says:

          “Arkania” is the old translation of the continent now called “Aventuria” in English versions of The Dark Eye.

    • ulix says:

      I for one am very happy that the story will take place in the south of Aventuria, because we didn’t have that region yet in any of the computergames.

      Realms of Arkania is known in Germany as the Nordland Trilogie, so you’ve gussed right: all three installments are set in the north of Aventuria (Thorwal/Orkland, Svelltscher Städtebund and Riva).

      Both Drakensangs take place in the “Middle-European, late middle ages” center of Aventuria (Kosch).

      And the adventures Chains of Satinav 1 & 2 are set in Andergast, Svelltland, Orkland & Thorwal, so it’s the same again.

      I’m hoping for Rennaissance mages, desert nomads, arabian merchants, carribean pirates, lizard-people from the jungle, and of course Al’Anfa, the second biggest city of the continent, either called “Pearl of the South” or “Pestilence of the South”, depending on who you ask, with all its glory, its slums, slaves, arena, and of course the Silverhill with its 13 huge Villas, where incredibly decadent aristorcrats lokk down on the city and people below them.

  3. whexican says:

    So that’s where werewolfs come from. Good to know!

  4. bhagan says:

    Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

    err… wait a moment…

  5. Solidstate89 says:

    So, Nathan, you can’t wait for the Season Premiere of The Game of Thrones either, eh?

  6. Prime says:

    Helpless female being assaulted by ravenous male? (assuming that is a male wolf)

    The only way to avoid another tedious debate about the poor message this is sending is to show the next picture where the woman hoofs the wolf in the nadgers and bites his nose off.

  7. CutieKnucklePie says:

    Judging by the picture, the sexism is back too.

    • Uthred says:

      Because women being killed by wolves is super sexist? Wolves being natures dicks after all. Its just so clear

      • Prime says:

        First, does that look like killing or is it, as some have commented above, suggestive of something else?

        Second, these words wot Nathan wrote (emphasis added) about the first game:

        The first lushly drawn adventure was worth a few laughs (at least, between all the thinly veiled sexism and crudeness)

        Lastly, type “Dick Wolves Penny Arcade” into your search engine of choice and read about the furore they caused.

        After all that you’d could be forgiven for thinking that uncomfortable gender stereotypes are involved in this image somewhere.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          At this point, why are we putting any stock in what Grayson has to say about sexism? The man could find “thinly veiled sexism” in a goddamned bowl of pudding.

          More on point with the article, I think anybody who immediately jumps to the conclusion that the wolf is humping that poor woman has a psychosexual problem or two.

          • JFS says:

            I am a psychologist and I approve of this assumption. There *is* a wrong answer on the Rorschach test.

          • Nick says:

            you are confusing Nathan with John Walker. Possibly.

          • The Random One says:

            Judging by the first thread, a good amount of RPS’ readership has psychosexual problems then.

            Rock Paper Shotgun: Psychosexual

    • wodin says:

      knock it off…is it now fashionable to try and find some sort of sexist message in things these days.

      • Prime says:

        Have you not heard? The Gender Wars have started! Enlist today!

  8. kud13 says:

    I’m assuming the woman’s meant to be dead. Hence the paleness.

    It’s interesting how indie devs are moving from platformers, to point n’ click adventures to TBS’s (yesterday’s Battle Isle Kickstarter news, anyone?).

    I wonder what genre will be next? I’m hoping for RTS. I want Empire Earth 1 in a new engine.

    • Burning Man says:

      “I’m assuming the woman’s meant to be dead.”

      Well, some wolves like that kinda thing.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        And then we’re back at Twilight.

        • Premium User Badge

          JiminyJickers says:

          I spill my drink!

          • Premium User Badge

            RedViv says:

            Although, to be fair, I think the little girl is only half-undead or something.
            I just put “to be fair” in context with a grown-ass half-alpaca falling for a baby.
            THESE BOOKS TWIST MIND AND SPACE

    • InternetBatman says:

      It’s like they’re inventing videogames again, just more quickly this time.

  9. Tei says:

    humm…

  10. Quickpull says:

    There’s no doubting the wolf’s pose is very reminiscent of the eternal pushup

  11. aliksy says:

    Would the image work if it was a dude instead? If no, why not?

    Gender & culture are things that exist.

  12. Sordarias says:

    So long as it lets me create-a-character, male or female, I do not give a shit what the image shown is about. Otherwise, I’ll probably not bother.

    Either you have a pre-set character as in Geralt, or you let me pick not just from classes, by characters’ gender and name. That’s my personal view anyways, and if it doesn’t have that, I’ll end up ignoring it entirely.

  13. zal says:

    I’m suddenly a little disappointed in RPS.
    There was a game in this setting out within the last 4 years, and the realms are arkania games are absolute classics… I’m an American, but I prefer this blog because it’s almost always able to give a perspective on existing games in relation to a much broader spectrum, including both older games, and less played ones as well. I can get “hey! new game, here’s who made it, here’s what they made last year” anywhere on the internet… at least take a sec and google the setting since they specifically name dropped it.

  14. pipman3000 says:

    Mommy what’s that wolf doing to that lady?

  15. Nortros says:

    Why are you referring to the game as a turn-based strategy game? The news on their page says turn-based RPG. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a HoMM/KB-like game in the TDE setting, but it seems to be a RPG.

    By the way, it is not like Daedalic is known for the Deponia games which are not really great. Their best games are probably the two Edna/Harvey games, the Whispered World, and Chains of Satinav even though the latter is rather easy.