Fear And Gloaming: Darkest Dungeon

By Adam Smith on October 8th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Dungeons are horrible places and yet adventurers are usually happy to traipse through them in search of a magical doohickey or demon’s lair. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable spending time with the kind of person who can descend through dark corridors, dripping with the remains of previous visitors, without being at least slightly shaken by the experience. After spending days in the dark, slaughtering horrific creatures, and seeing allies poisoned, impaled on spikes and hacked into pieces, even the most stalwart of barbarians is likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress. Darkest Dungeon seems like an ordinary dungeon crawl but in tracing the mental and emotional scars on its characters, it becomes a far more intriguing proposition. Trailer and details below.

The game should be finished by Autumn 2014 but a crowd-funding campaign may well occur to assist with production. I’m already sold, on the concept at least.

The concept behind Darkest Dungeon is to put the dungeon back in “dungeon crawler.” The environment itself is an antagonist – a scary, haunted place where your chances of survival are slim, hordes of terrifying monsters notwithstanding.

Each and every adventurer you recruit will develop a unique combination of predispositions, proclivities, flaws and strengths – factors that must be carefully considered when forming a party and leading it through horrific environs. Furthermore, how you perfom in the dungeon will have lasting and impactful consequences on their continued development. You are put smack-dab in the role of a squad leader or sports team manager, doing your best to keep the human factors from fracturing your team or destroying their effectiveness.

On top of the Affliction system, which tracks each hero’s stress levels and monitors their psychological status and relationships with one another, the game features perma-death and turn-based tactical combat. Tasty.

In short, we want to create the kind of team interaction and tension that arises in the most desperate situations. We want Hudson’s panic from ‘Aliens’, MacReady’s booze-battling from ‘The Thing’, James’s detached sadism from ‘The Hurt Locker’. We want you to manage a party of human heroes faced with almost insurmountable odds. If you can lead them to victory, you’ll have earned it.

Via Indie Statik.

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26 Comments »

  1. DarkFarmer says:

    *plug alert* heh this sounds exactly like a “heavy” version of a game I am currently developing for mobile platforms. I’ll actually be announcing it on Friday at 7PM Pacific via livestream at my Twitch (martianarctic) or you can just follow me on twitter. out of deference to RPS not being about mobile, I will not post either of those things although you can get to them through my avatar.

    release follows in about 2 weeks.

    *ducks incoming deluge of pretzels*

  2. Alien426 says:

    The art style reminds me of Mike Mignola. Lots of black and some brown and red.

    • MrThingy says:

      Yes absolutely! That thought instantly crossed my mind when the jump screenshot appeared in my news reader.

      And a very good thing it is too. :)

      • Umbert says:

        Absolutely intriguing! The header image drew me in with the impressions it had something to do with the simplistic style of my favourite comic artist. And this looks very promising. The mythos, I can almost touch it.

    • frightlever says:

      The whole style somewhat reminded me of “Noggin the Nog” and I was going to complain that it was never released on DVd but… they only went and released a DVD at last.

      Anyway:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bKAYH3Sl8s

  3. RedViv says:

    Close to what I love most about setting up dungeons, lovely art style (and a tiny depressed Souls-esque knight on the page), folks whose earlier games I like, music by the bloke who composed for the Prince of Persia games…

    I’ll have my minions prepare the money-pults.

  4. aliksy says:

    Looks interesting. +1 for (probably?) avoiding the “stoic moron law” rpg cliche.
    Stoic Moron Law. Unless they fail a fear check (if the game even has fear checks) and the gamemaster specifically tells them they’re afraid, most players will assume their characters are fearless and have absolutely no problem doing things like running through a tunnel full of tarantulas or sticking a piece of lit dynamite into a towering, screaming monster made of decaying flesh, twisted metal, and half-consumed victims.

    edit: On thinking about it, this isn’t really avoiding the cliche, since the game is telling you about the state of the characters. Oh well. It’s a funny cliche anyway.

    • jrodman says:

      When I played a character with a sensible grasp of risk and reward and refused to dive into pools of blood of unknown depth etc, my party mates acted like I didn’t understand what role playing was.

  5. differenceengine says:

    Sold. With all good storytelling, the following holds true: “Don’t shut up and take my money”

  6. dirtrobot says:

    I can only pray there’s a cannibalism trait.

  7. KicktheCAN says:

    So fantasy XCOM then?

  8. Lobotomist says:

    Great art. Looks like ripoff of Mignola (Devil Boy) , but done real good.
    And Victorian era Fantasy (not steampunk), is real untapped direction.

    Shame the idea sounds very similar to the game I started and stopped making some time ago :(
    But I guess it was inevitable …

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      While I’d be very surprised if Mignola (of Hellboy fame) wasn’t an influence, I think it’s unfair to call the art a ripoff. There’s far less abstraction than what you generally get from Mignola and, judging by the tentacular monster at the end of the trailer, there’s probably more small details in the larger designs.

      • Lobotomist says:

        Lets just say its very strongly inspired by Mignola. But that is a compliment.

        Its real high quality work and it looks great.

  9. razgon says:

    Love the “We are not the flame, we are moths” lines! Very cool storytelling. Here’s to hoping that the game can follow that!

    Unlike so many others here though, I did not almost make this game myself sometime ago.

  10. Notebooked says:

    Oooh, yes.

    • squareking says:

      Very oooh yes, I must say. The whole personality as a mechanic thing is missing from so many games, sadly. It was a big reason why I backed Expeditions: Conquistador.

  11. JimmyG says:

    Oh man, when the cleric was like, “Don’t worry guys, we got this!” and then SQUIPCH — with the spear? — and everybody starts freaking out? — that was awesome. Hopefully I get to treat this like I treated Faster Than Light, with lots of little stories like how all of my crewmembers were really uncomfortable around my murderous Rockman/Mantis boarding party and didn’t like to be in the same room as them. That kind of stuff will make for awesome mechanics, I hope (not just a second HP bar with voice bubbles). I’m ready to get my emergent play on.

  12. Shadowcat says:

    Well that video was five kinds of awesome. If the game itself can provoke similar reactions, then it’s going to be a guaranteed sale. I can’t see myself backing a Kickstarter unless there’s a demo, or otherwise convincing evidence that the mechanics and atmosphere really are there, but I suspect this just might have enough style to succeed regardless. Good luck in any case! (’cause I want this to turn out well :)

  13. dethtoll says:

    Sold on the basis of the plague doctor in the header image.

    • Nenjin says:

      Ditto. I mean, I was interested before. But something about medieval physician’s masks signals to me their heads are in the right place.

  14. Goncyn says:

    That video was really good. Nice voice acting.

  15. dissentience says:

    It looks like monsters den meets below (with a bit of zafehouse diaries?).
    The affliction system seems cool. I like that things like the loss of light/dimming of torch will cause actual repercussions on how characters perform during game-play, it really humanizes the terror of dungeon crawling.
    Hopefully they get it right :) High hopes for this one.

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