Planescape Producer’s Deathfire: Ruins Of Nethermore

By John Walker on November 11th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

Guido Henkel may not be one of the most immediately familiar names, but there’s a good chance you’ve played a game he’s worked on. As well as being co-creator of the German RPG series Realms Of Arkania, he also just happened to produce a game called Planescape: Torment, and had a hand in Fallout 2. Oh, and he’s the guy from the front cover of Planescape! And now he’s after some of that sweet, sweet Kickstarter cash to fund a new fantasy roleplayer in the Grimrock mould. And it couldn’t have a more RPG name: Deathfire: Ruins Of Nethermore.

Here’s the pitch:

So he’s promising a much more involved game than the splendid Grimrock, and indeed with more story stuff happening than the 80s and 90s games that inspired it. They’re asking for a hefty $390,000, which is at once both an awful lot, and not very much. However, they state this is the figure they need to pay the team to complete the game. Hopefully by Christmas next year. And it’s a PC/Mac/Linux exclusive – they promise this isn’t going to be a thinned-down-for-tablets affair. And they play nicely to the crowd in their FAQ:

Will the game be DRM-free?


Of course. Isn’t it a shame this question even has to come up?

A copy of the finished game is procured at the $20 level until those run out, and then at $25. That also includes beta access. Or you could give $5,000 and get your face alone on the game’s cover.

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52 Comments »

  1. HansSatori says:

    Looks legit.

  2. ruaidhri.k says:

    Isn’t this where that wizardry bloke is meant to pitch up and explain to us why this isn’t an RPG?

    (and before anyone has a sense of humour bypass, I’m just joshing)

    • BooleanBob says:

      I’m not saying he couldn’t manage it, but from what I can gather this looks like a textbook example of what Wizardry would define as an RPG/an RPG as/RPG aslan (it’s back from the dead!).

      The bit about ‘deep characters and solid storytelling’ would probably provoke a furrow or two. I have my own suspicions on that front. For example: how can the Nethermancer be ‘near’, given that he transcends dimensions, death and time? What does that even mean? Is he stood over my shoulder, even as I type this, only stood sort of at right-angles to my dimensional space? Has he been here long? … Oh god, he wasn’t here yesterday evening, was he? I… I watch – there are things that I watch in the evenings.

      • Haplo says:

        Depends on whether you’re posting from the Netherlands or not, I s’pose.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I seem to remember he got banned for his inability to not insult people in literally every post.

      • WrenBoy says:

        They banned him? He was the best.

      • ruaidhri.k says:

        banned ! thats terrible news. he filled a special place in my heart. every forum needs that one bloke everyone knows about … I still smile every time i think of chthon from the PC gamer forums a decade ago who WROTE IN ALL CAPS and was on there 20 hours a day posting in every damn thread.

      • jrodman says:

        That’s a shame. I found him prickly and standoffish, but I didn’t encounter any outright hostility. Maybe I’m unobservant.

        I found his singleminded focus quite interesting.

  3. Casimir's Blake says:

    This is a first person dungeon crawler. Therefore I will be buying it.

    But why why why persist with the grid-based movement? Haven’t the devs ever played Ultima Underworld??

    • Keyrock says:

      I’m certainly not against freedom of 360 degree movement, but I kind of dig grid movement for a turn-based game. I’m one of the wacky chaps who bought the Might & Magic X: Legacy early access (alpha at the moment essentially) and I completely love the grid-based movement in that game. It adds some nice nuances to combat, letting you (or your enemies) use the environment to your advantage and/or manipulating the system chess style to get missile/spell using enemies into melee range while letting them get as few shots at range on you as possible or lining up melee using enemies to get some free shots on them before they close to melee range. Hopefully Guido and Co. do something to take advantage of grid-based movement in that manner for this game.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        Might and Magic returning to grid based ways is a joyous thing indeed, they lost me with 6 – although I tried so, so hard to like it, it sucked all the charm and atmosphere out of the game and injected so much more tedium and awkwardness.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Before you speculate on what the devs are or aren’t familiar with why don’t you watch a video of Realms of Arkania 3. It does the same kind of 3D but it doesn’t delude itself that that view can be used at all for realtime party based RPG combat. The combat is isometric.

      I loved the Ultima series, particularly Ultima 6 but when I played UU I found the controls awful compared to grid based RPGs and I stopped playing it. Almost all of the RPGs with 360 movement from the 90s were terrible. The ones that were good, played better in grid mode or played well because although they facilitated 360 degree movement they were still based upon grids – Elder Scrolls games are the exception. Furthermore the old pseudo 3D RPG games have dated horribly. Picking up Dungeon Master today is a far more pleasing experience than trying to get to grips with the controls of Ultima Underworld or Might and Magic 6. Not only are the controls awful but they get the sense of space and scale all wrong, making things seem simultaneously too large and strangely claustrophobic, in a bad way… Again, Daggerfall is the exception.

      You can go two ways with RPGs, either leave something to the imagination or go for total realism. Grid based games help you get away with less realism, which means less work/time/expense on art and minute detail and a movement mechanic that makes both logic puzzles and time based puzzles that much more fun to play and design. Unless you have a budget the size of Skyrim’s or The Witcher’s you’re not going to be able to deliver the same experience.

      Lastly, the more realistic you go with the rules of the world, the harder it becomes to suspend disbelief, and the more it starts to feel wrong that you’re controlling an entire party of 4 or more adventurers from a 1st person perspective (who are fixed in a grid formation!)

  4. The Dark One says:

    “Deathfire: Ruins Of Nethermore?”

    Wasn’t that one of the joke names Obsidian collected on their whiteboard?

    • BooleanBob says:

      I’ll have you know that the NounNoun: Nouns of NounNoun formula is one of fantasy’s Prideglory Traditions of Strengthbrilliance.

    • Turkey says:

      I don’t really get the Deathfire bit. Is the universe called Deathfire or is it a long forgotten artifact?

      Also, who quoths Nethermore?

      • Arglebargle says:

        The craven….??

      • Haplo says:

        It’s clearly both, just like DeathFire Emblem.

      • Keyrock says:

        The name is ridiculous, but at least they didn’t go with Legend(s) of X.

        • Haplo says:

          Chronicles of Deathfire: Legends of Ruined Nethermore: Origins.

          • Keyrock says:

            Hopefully we get an expansion called Chronicles of Deathfire: Legends of Ruined Nethermore: Origins: Awakening.

          • Haplo says:

            Followed up by the remastered collector’s version, Chronicles of Deathfire: Legends of Ruined Nethermore: Origins: Awakening: Prepare to Deathfire Edition.

            … Actually, Prepare to Deathfire sounds pretty metal.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      It’s definitely a Germanic thing, just look at the language!

  5. SnowCrash says:

    I was sold at
    “co-creator of the German RPG series Realms Of Arkania…”

    • WrenBoy says:

      I’ve never actually played it. Is it that good?

      Luckily for him he’s the head in the Planescape poster or I probably wouldn’t pay this much attention.

      • Keyrock says:

        It was a trilogy many many years ago. Very old school, very unforgiving, and very good.

        • Niko says:

          I remember it being the only RPG which made me care about my characters who could get sick from sleeping without a blanket, or near-mortally wounded by a crossbow bolt fired by some elfophobe. It really felt like they are much more than just a bunch of sword-wielders.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            I really hope some of that makes it into this new game. By comparison to the RoA (or the Schwarze Auge – if you like) Fallout was a cakewalk. Star Trail was my favourite, so many obscure dungeons and locations where you needed to be paying attention to figure out what you were supposed to be doing and so many ways you could screw everything up for yourself.

            Also the RoA games were the ones I used to teach myself how to edit savegame files :) I don’t think I ever got very far without giving myself some extra equipment/money when I really needed it!

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            Oh man, that was the most work I ever put into playing a game. Repeatedly saving and reloading to see what effect changing the bytes in my inventory data would have.

            EDIT: No, I spent more time editing my players in the early Championship Manager games – back in the days when your stats could exceed 20

          • Niko says:

            Same here, I didn’t tinker with hex editor often, but in case of Star Trail had to do it. Also because there was no way to buy it legally where I lived at the time, so I had this pirated disk and tried to find those words from the manual in the hex files.

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            And you try telling kids today what we had to go through just to get our games to run :)

          • WrenBoy says:

            You guys have sold me.

          • SnowCrash says:

            HA yes i remember at one point one of the company ripping his boots on a rock while traveling, and we had to go back because he was occasionally taking damage on the rocky trail. I always carried a spare pare of boots after that.

            I also had a notepad with all the herb effects, what would heal what illness ectr.

  6. golem09 says:

    Split-titles: We need them

  7. AngoraFish says:

    Only last week I swore I’d backed my last Kickstarter… then this comes along. :-/

    Now up to 71 backed. My name is AngoraFish, and I am an addict.

    • Keyrock says:

      When I first heard about this and saw the pitch I thought this looked and sounded awfully generic. However, after reading an update on the personality system and how it can lead to squabbling within the party, I’m thoroughly interested. I love for my party members to have their own say in things and potentially argue and butt heads rather than just “yes, we will follow you no matter what all mighty leader”. Games have had party members argue before, but usually it;s scripted rather than dynamic, and the vast majority of the time there is no real consequence to it. There was a game in the past that had this sort of thing where party members would argue and potentially even try to kill other party members or mutiny against you a long time ago, but the name escapes me.

      Anyway, I’ll most likely be backing this.

    • malkav11 says:

      You’re at a bit under half my projects backed. How much of an addict can you possibly be. ;)

  8. Maxheadroom says:

    I’m oddly on the fence about this one. It’s the sort of thing i’d normally be all over but Legend of Grimrock scratched my Dungeon Master itch.

  9. TehK says:

    Quite interested to see where the Kickstarter is going.

    This isn’t Guido’s first attempt at crowdfunding. His first Kickstarter project “Thorvalla” was cancelled after only getting 50k of the target one million.

    • Humppakummitus says:

      I thought you were kidding, but no, that’s what he chose to call it. That guy needs a custodian appointed to do his game naming for him. He obviously can’t be trusted to do it safely himself.

      • Moorkh says:

        Actually, obviously unsure about the name, Guido asked the community on his blog about their feelings on the name and some – viable, mind – alternatives. In the end, they apparently overwhelmingly rooted for Deathfire: Ruins of Nethermore…

  10. Hopethisfailsaokugzme@grr.la says:

    I hope this game fails big time. For the sole reason of this: NETHERMANCER EDITION—Previous tier reward, plus the ability to play a NETHERMANCER CLASS IN THE GAME! This class is available only to Kickstarter backers at this level and higher. Kickstarter is a great thing but exclusive bullshit like this should stay away from kickstarter and it doesnt help they changed it that everyone can play the nethermancer for some time in their game. You dont do bullshit like this. Hope it fails.

    • karthink says:

      It’s removed from all tiers now. The feedback convinced them to.

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        That was the one thing that almost put me off of backing this. I still did though, even assuming it was a class. It would have annoyed me more, being locked out of some of the content, if I still had enough free time to be a completionist.

  11. Thorun says:

    The NETHERMANCER Tier was removed by Guido after a the complains of some backers. Was intended as Fun-item only, not full playable class, but it turned out that most People got it wrong. Like you. Right now nobody can pledge anymore for it. So ,relax, same chances for everybody.

    The Name was first only a working titel until G3 had a Focus Group checking out alternative names. When Deathfire was explained to them, they liked it the most.

    Deathfire is an ancient spell which rips out the souls of its victims and binds their undead bodies to the will of the nethermancer but that obviously only half of the truth, as BooleanBob already noticed when he talked about dimensions. ;-)

    • malkav11 says:

      I’d still be pretty leery of putting even amusement-only content at a tier that high. That’s the sort of price you pay to have vanity custom content that goes into everyone’s copy of the game or a jillion copies of the game or something. Actual KS exclusive content should be at much, much more accessible tiers if done at all. (Ideally, imho, something everyone that backs for the game gets, but as long as it’s <$100, I'd say most people in a position to blow disposable income on Kickstarter at all (it not exactly being immediate return on investment) should be able to evaluate if that's worthwhile to them. $500 is straight out of my price range and I'd think the same would go even more so for people with cars, mortgages, spouses and children, unless they're really bringing in the dough.

      Now when you combine that with it just being presented as a whole new class exclusive to that tier and up and not actually mentioned anywhere that it's not for serious play sessions, and I think the reaction is understandable. I know I had it until I read updates and found it'd been removed.

  12. Darklord says:

    Looks good to me, hope it gets some decent support. :)

    Daniel.