Fall From Heaven Standalone Falls

This is a sad one. We reported that the minds behind the Civ ultramod Fall From Heaven were working on a standalone commercial game in the same universe. Well, no longer. Kael reports that the game – “Fall From Heaven Tactics” – is being put on ice due to the funding falling through. I’ve republished the short Q&A below…

What was the game?

It was a Fall from Heaven Tactics game set in the time after the events in the FfH2 scenarios. You recruited characters, fought tactical level battles, gained levels, got treasure, etc. The setting and story were very specific and detailed and covered the return of Laroth, sailing off to investigate the missing Aifon’s, follow up in the Deadlands and the Fane of Lessers after the defeat of the Sheaim and the Infernals, etc.

Will this game ever be made?

Maybe, I still think it’s a great game and I would like to see it made (not to mention I have a 210 page design doc and tons of my time invested in it). But right now it has been shelved.

Who were you working with?

The full story is more convoluted than this brief description, I’m not going to go into all the details. There are some side projects and other proposals that play into it, but I don’t want to start naming names. The FfH team members (especially SeZereth, Nikis-Knight and Loki) have been involved throughout as well as games industry people from various companies. They were all great people to interact and work with.

The project didn’t fail for lack of talented people helping out.

Why did it fail?

Lack of financing (isn’t this always the reason).

There were 2 ways this project could have been financed, both fell through. We developed up until the point where it was clear exactly what the investment would need to be to complete the game, at that point a business decision had to be made. Was the risk and investment worth the potential reward? The folks providing the budget decided that it wasn’t. There was no animosity and no ill will. Simply a business call.

Was it a waste of time?

Maybe. I was paid as a lead designer so I made some money on the deal and came out of it with a big design that I own. I enjoyed the experience and got to work with some very cool people so I’m happy I got to do it, but sorry that I don’t have a game to show for it.

Would you do it again?

Yes, in a heartbeat. These are amazing opportunities. They don’t always work out, But you have to try just on the chance that it does work. I would do it again, I hope to do it again.

Have you considered ?

Yes we have. We considered everything, community financing, preorder funding, community development, etc. I’m not saying we won’t follow up on any of them. Just that for now this particular project is dead.

What’s next for Fall from Heaven?

I don’t know, the team and I are talking. Right now I need a little time to decompress, I’m going to be a modder for a little while. There will be more FfH projects.

Is there any good news?

Yeap, Civ5 comes out next week! This means I have plenty of time to play, mod and dink around with Civ5. I’m excited to see what can be done and how to do it.

Well, at least we’ll be seeing more modding from Kael. Still – this is a real shame. You’d have hoped that one of the PC strategy publishers would have seem the merit in funding this. And I’m very aware that several them read this site. C’mon, guys. Give Kael that cheque.


  1. sonofsanta says:

    I’m surprised Firaxis themselves haven’t made a pass, seeing as their chief design bod for Civ V was a modder on Civ IV as well. Come on Jon, you know you want to ;)

    • riadsala says:

      Ditto. Although, I’m guessing it’s something we might see in a expansion… it would be nice to see a full blown commercial mod/total conversion, developed by Kael in partnership with Firaxis.. They’re already included a FfH scenario in an offical expansion, so it’s not such a huge leap of faith…

      That, or Frogboy could hire Kael to fix Elemental. That would be nice too. Assuming Elemental is fixable.

    • Kurt Lennon says:

      According to this thread on the Elemental forum, Kael requested to write the lore for Elemental but Frogboy turned him down. That has to go up there with Decca turning down the Beatles.

      link to forums.elementalgame.com

      Also, for laugh value, check out this guy “GaelicVigil” on page two of that thread explaining how FFH2 “sucks”, is “inferior to Elemental” and how Kael is a “thief”.

      Chuckles abound!

  2. abhishek says:

    Unfortunate news.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    As you have already had your day ruined: the Lovecraftian RPG Cyclopean has been cancelled.

  4. Hippo says:

    Sad to hear, but TBH this wasn’t what I had hoped for when I heard they were making a game. I was hoping for a standalone version of the mod, basically, with professional graphics and further improvement.

  5. Reliant39 says:

    The cynic in me wonders whether Elemental’s poor reception has anything to do with this project being shelved. Folks with money are always eager to jump on a bandwagon, and double as fast to jump off again if they think it (a genre, a type of game, etc.) is going south.

  6. Senethro says:

    Its implied that Kael was working with Stardock so when Elemental nosedived and their second development team got laid off, this game was presumably part of the collateral damage.

    So much lost to hubris!

    • Reliant39 says:


      I thought the association was with Firaxis, rather than Stardock? There was nothing public, as far as I am aware, though I haven’t followed the developments with FFH very religiously.

  7. Bossman says:

    I think most Fall from Heaven players wanted a grand strategy game and not a tactical RPG, so this is kind of good news. The design for Fall from Heaven 2 was good, so he should just use that and create a better version for Civ 5.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah, at times like this I’m reminded why I’m glad I never went into development.


    • MadTinkerer says:

      “I think most Fall from Heaven players wanted a grand strategy game and not a tactical RPG, so this is kind of good news.”

      Right, because there’s NO ONE who absolutely love turn-based tactical fantasy RPGs on Sonyboxes who would nevertheless rather play them on their PCs instead. Because there’s just so many tactical RPGs being made every year for the PC.

      (although the Spiderweb Software games aren’t bad… but yeah)

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Huh, it actually tried to interpret my “sarcasm” tags as actual tags and hid them. Anyway, imagine there are tags that say “sarcasm” “/sarcasm” in the above post.

  8. apricotsoup says:

    FfH was the only civ I played after a while and kept at it as well as converting a few work/flat mates.

    I do hope with the promised extra modability in civ 5 we see more sexy things like this.

  9. rocketman71 says:

    Terrible news :(

  10. kenoxite says:

    Oh, well. Good luck next time, Kael.

    But, as much as I love FFH2, I don’t think I’d have enjoyed a tactical RPG based on that universe. Not even the scenarios are interesting for me. Having such a restricted world and single goals kills what makes FFH2 great for me, which is the freedom and all those unique tons of civilizations waiting to send me to oblivion because I usually forget to boost my military.

    Anyway, for the looks of it that seemed to be like a King’s Bounty look-a-like. Kind of meh. That concept is fun, but just up to a point. Then it’s pure grinding.

  11. sexyresults says:

    Shame, but he sounds resilient.

  12. Tei says:

    Absolutelly terrible news.

    Much worse than everybody may think.

    Civ V has ben made to please the multiplayer civ players.
    Elementals is a disaster, a train wreck of a game.

    And now the standalone Fall From Heavens die?

    Well.. where a man has to go to get a decent Civ-like game with fantasy and flavour.

    I am not asking for balanced multiplayer games, theres already Civ V for that, if you are into that thing. I want a bit of Master of Magic and a bit of Morrowind. Give me RPG, give me weird worlds, give me flavour. You can have all your Civ V games of the world, and all the Elementals of the world.

  13. goodgimp says:

    Where do you get that idea? Civ5 multiplayer is terrible. You can’t even enable animations or manually save the game, for crying out loud. And with ranged attacks and bombers the animations become more than eye candy, you can’t see what is killing you without them.

  14. Scoopsy says:

    Have you played through the FfH2 scenarios? After playing them, I think it’s very hard to say that Kael & the fans were ever interested in . They were all varied and creative, which makes this event all the more depressing.

  15. protobob says:

    Sad. Would love to see FFH3 on Civ V, though. I think I played more FFH2 than vanilla Civ IV. Great mod.

  16. Kurt Lennon says:

    This is definitely a bummer. Maybe Kael will remake FFH for Civ V.

    Random, only slightly related thought: Civ V’s framework is perfect for a Battle of Wesnoth mod. I wonder if those guys have any plans to do anything with it.

    Also, no animations in multiplayer is utterly ridiculous. Hope they change that somewhere down the line.

  17. Sabin says:

    Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo… Why are the fates so cruel!? I foolishly pre-ordered Elemental looking for a Fall from Heaven type of variety, strategy, and fun and that is far from being close. Burned very badly by that decision. The systems are so in flux modders have no idea what to expect. I just don’t expect much from that investment for several months, and even then I’m not sure it will ever live up to their original vision that was presented close to a couple weeks from launch. The whole thing just saddens and frustrates…

    And now, sadly the Fall from Heaven Stand Alone may not see daylight. This announcement I think just bummed me out more than any other announcement in the last year.

    The thought of this being indeed tied to Stardock’s second development team being canned because of their horrible Elemental launch (as was implied above) really, really doesn’t make me that happy with Stardock’s management. I see lots of faith that they’ll redeem themselves, but I’m not getting hopeful like I was before. We’ll see what they can deliver despite an official Stardock forum culture that supports and promotes a sycophantic attitude throughout the forums. The bashing of constructive criticism and suggestions I took in stride before the game was released, but after seeing what it really was and having it go on I couldn’t believe it. It was intoned that they were trying to turn that around, but by that point I didn’t want to bother reading them anymore.

    Woo… sorry…

    • Sabin says:

      Apparently the universe thought my rant tags needed to emphasize that point rather than warn future readers.

    • kenoxite says:

      But that’s just your theory, right? There’s no confirmation that Kael was in that second development team, nor that FfH Tactics was the game beign developed. Even if I myself also reached that conclusion.

      It’s funny how Kael seems to be pretty hesitant to talk about this, though:

      Who were you working with?
      The full story is more convoluted than this brief description, I’m not going to go into all the details. There are some side projects and other proposals that play into it, but I don’t want to start naming names

      Maybe he’s trying not to be another reason why to hate Elemental (or Brad)?

    • Sabin says:

      Yeah, I doubt there will ever be a definitive statement. Stardock won’t say won’t say what the second team was going to work on, and Kael probably won’t say. I imagine most of that is due to binding Non Disclosure Agreements affecting both parties.

      But yeah, just a theory. Someone suggested it in the comments above (see Senethro’s). Seems plausible though.

  18. a says:

    That’s too bad. Where is Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox when you need him?

  19. pipman3000 says:

    lol they sure “fell from heaven” am i right?

  20. pipman3000 says:

    oh shit i get it now brad put out a hit on this game so it wouldn’t steal players from elemental.

    give me a video game reporting scholarship and i’ll crack this case wide open!

  21. Jimmy McJim says:

    In the deep wilds of PC Gaming, terrible things run amok. Brilliant game ideas are canceled due to blinkered studio executives, evil corporations ruin their games with oppressive DRM, making the masses endure these incredible indignities in the name of profit. The unwashed masses of gamers cry out for a hero, one who will liberate them from these vile overlords and allow the beauty of the PC to shine through.

    And yet, no-one has appeared. Until now. Out of the depths of god-forsaken Sweden, a beacon of justice flares, and Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox, steps out from the shadows, willing and able to fight the evil powers that stop PC gaming from achieving its true greatness! With witty blog posts, perfectly orchestrated rants, intelligent business strategies and, if worst comes to worst, his own two fists, he will become the protector of all great things on this magnificent platform! Fred Wester, away!

    • Jimmy McJim says:

      Blast, that was meant to be a reply to a’s post two above.

  22. Bob's Lawn Service says:

    I was under the impression Firaxis hired him. This is sad news though – Kael is an incredibly talented designer.

  23. Moorkh says:

    Damn! Kael just got hired by Stardock to fix Elemental. So, no FfH3 for us after all :(

    Good news for Elemental, though, which I didn’t touch once since CiV has been out.