Crate News! Grim Dawn Reveals Combat

This really is the best screenshot they have. Come along guys.

I think Titan Quest is one of the most underrated action RPGs (as we all now so politely call Diablo clones), so it’s with a happy face that I see new news of the team’s new game, Grim Dawn. From Crate Entertainment – the company formed by many of the former Iron Lore gang – comes some pre-alpha footage, as spotted by PCG. You can watch it below.

This is the Soldier class in an area called the Burrwitch Slums. It’s just outside Devil’s Crossing – you know the place. It looks… well, it looks like an action RPG. But that’s pretty much what you want from an action RPG. Lots and lots of compelling two-hit deaths and loot hoovering, along with multiplayer play with buddies. Sold. And it looks really gorgeous too, not needlessly wavering from the fixed camera and hand-painted ground.

Crate aren’t in the same position as Iron Lore – a studio propped up by THQ and Brian Sullivan’s wallet. While they managed to secure the rights to the technology behind Titan Quest for their future projects, as well as continuing two unannounced projects that they’d begun work on at the previous studio, they’re a small indie with a pre-made reputation. We’re very much looking forward to seeing Grim Dawn in more detail.


  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    Looking forward to this.

    • Alphabet says:

      This is my number #1 anticipated game, even ahead of the new Deus Ex and Fallout:NV which I’m waiting on a new PC to play. Titan Quest was great, and the idea of this setting for a game like that excites me beyond measure.

    • Mac says:

      Definately looking forward to this – Titan Quest was fantastic …

      I played Titan Quest more than i did D1 and D2 put together … so many builds to try out …

    • Stylosa says:

      I absolutely loved Titan Quest, I cannot wait to get my grubby little hands on this.

    • luckystriker says:

      How apropos. I just reinstalled it last week and playing it with some of the new mods. Loving it (and not in a McDonald’s kind of way).

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      I recommend Underlord. Pure modding awesomeness.

  2. Kdansky says:

    There is some needless wavering of the possibly handheld camera though.

    • Sidorovich says:

      That’ll be the crit hit camera shake. Probably disableable from the menu. If you’re a wuss.

    • Kdansky says:

      Indie games frequently forget to include such options, sadly. Which is an instant non-buy for me in all cases, as that makes me sea-sick.

    • lafinass says:

      Titan Quest was polished as polished can be. I’d be surprised, even stunned, if they didn’t have this option in the menu.

    • troutable says:

      It’s in there as an option, alright.

  3. Navagon says:

    Looking good. It’s looking like it could be better than Diablo 3 at least. Given Titan Quest’s pedigree I don’t see any reason to doubt that will turn out to be the case (even if Diablo 3 will be exponentially more popular).

  4. Freud says:

    Looking good. Hoping they stick to the pseudo-Victorian vibe I got from some of the screenshots.

    • The Dark One says:

      I want more chesterfields in my action RPGs from now on.

  5. Jinnigan says:

    Those are some meaty-sounding hit effects. In a good, chunky way, I mean.

  6. Mungrul says:

    Oooooo, purteeee.
    Really glad to see this engine being used again. I adored the level of detail in Titan Quest, and the physics made everything feel so solid.

  7. Kaira- says:

    Hopefully it will be better than TQ. I thought TQ without mods was as boring as… well, something really boring. It just felt so slow and unresponsive. When we threw in a mod that tripled the amount of enemies it got much better, but vanilla was so… meh.

    • StewStew says:

      Agree completely. I wanted to like TQ, but it was just so… slow.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      “Vanilla” is exactly the right word. I thought the skills were fairly uninteresting and generic as well.

      It’s something that’s really, really difficult to get right. To give bits of your game personality. Look at the tech tree in MOO2 compared to other 4X games, or the loot in Diablo 2 compared to Torchlight. I don’t care to read pages and pages of “lore”, but when you’ve really put some thought and effort and love into worldbuilding, it shows.

    • mcnostril says:

      I really wanted to like Titan Quest as well.
      Everyone seemed to agree that it was an underrated diablo clone, and when I finally got to play it didn’t surprise that most people decided to give it a pass.

      It felt slow, the setting -even though it was a refreshing change from the usual fantasy- didn’t really grab me, and, what is probably the most important issue for me, the combat didn’t have any punch to it. The ragdoll deaths were completely unsatisfying (and downright ridiculous when monsters fly off in that garrysmod way after you smack them), the combat sounds didn’t have that “oomph” to them, and the lack of effects or feedback during combat made it feel very bland. Watching the animation loop until the monster died, instead of really having that visceral feel to it that diablo 2 managed so well with their custom death animations and horrible gurgling sounds (all of this despite the fact that you would see the same deaths over and over, and yet they remained satisfying).
      I don’t think I even made it past act I.

      They seem to have improved the feel of the combat in this video at least, but I’m still not a fan of those ragdolls. There’s something about them that just lacks that really satisfying crunch.

    • Sic says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I have absolutely no idea why people though TQ was anything special.

      I mean, the maps were OK. That’s about it. The game itself was an immense bore. Playing through Diablo 2 for the umpteenth time is a lot (a lot!) more fun. The ladder was reset yesterday, by the way.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Oh, it wasn’t perfect by any means. The best in its genre, yes. Flawless, no.

  8. Danarchist says:

    Titan quest immor(t)al throne is still one of my favorite break time games. It had everything I wanted and a bunch of stuff i never knew I wanted till I had it. Still installed on my steam actually, which says allot of its entertainment value.

    If nothing else go visit their site and give em some hits so they can use it to leverage some funding :)

  9. Sidorovich says:

    I thought this was going to be a post-apocalyptic diablo clone? Mace ‘n’ shield don’t seem very post-apocalyptic to me. Where’s all the flamethrowers and chainsaws at?

    Seeing as Blizzard are taking a ‘it’ll be ready, when it’s ready approach’ with Diablo 3, there may still be room for this. Hope there’s a disc-based release for this though.

    • rargphlam says:

      Post-post-apocalypse. Everyone ran out of ammo and was reduced to restarting society that is a simulacrum of high medieval life.

      Or something.

    • Zealuu says:

      There has been an apocalypse of sorts, which accounts for the dawn being grim, but the apocalypse didn’t have the courtesy to wait for the invention of flamethrowers or automatic weapons – the setting is “Victorian era-inspired”.

      So there may be flamethrowers, but if that’s the case they’ll probably be steam-powered. Not sure how that would work, but there’s always magic.

    • Severian says:

      I agree that to be successful, Grim Dawn is going to have to break away from fantasy trope as much as it can afford to. Titan Quest achieved that, in a sense, by focusing on 3 mythological traditions rather than blatant D&D/Tolkein-spawn. I *loved* TQ, but I’m worried that if they don’t really push the setting in an interesting direction, Grim Dawn is going to be a yawner.

  10. VelociraptorBill says:

    Preordered it months ago and I can’t wait to get into the beta. Titan’s Quest was fantastic and its a shame it was a slow burner instead of selling right out the gate because that’s what it deserved. I hope this game does a lot better.

  11. Ragnar says:

    I’m glad they’re doing well, but I hope they pick up the pace from Titan’s Quest. That game just seemed to drag for me: maps were too big, too many enemies, too much time between leveling up, too many level ups required to gain new skills.

    I played through Act 1 twice with two different characters, to decide who I wanted to continue playing with, and by the time I finished Act 1 with the 2nd character I was tired of the game. I feel like I could have played half way through Diablo 2 in the time it took to finish Act 1 in TQ. In Diablo 2, there was something new every 10-15 minutes: a new mob, a new tileset / zone look, a new level or skill. Titan’s Quest just seemed to drag by comparison.

    • drewski says:

      I’d probably agree with those criticisms.

    • Jubacat says:

      I think that the pacing of the game is tough in the beginning. You need to power through Act 1 and Act 2 while being pretty slow at killing things before things start to kick into gear. Mods helped this out later in the game’s life but I absolutely understand what you’re saying.

      With that being said. Once the game gets rolling it becomes quite challenging and exciting. Well challenging if you’re not playing a class combo that uses the Dream tree that is.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I do have friends who have put around a dozen characters through the game the requisite three times each, but personally I’d agree it could have been much tighter and more concentrated. With 81 different classes to play, how long does a game really need to be?

  12. Fatbubba says:

    Damn you for making me want to install Titan Quest again….as if I don’t have a big enough back catalog I still need to go through :/

  13. ScubaMonster says:

    So this is definitely single player? That’s kind of a shame. I like having multiplayer for these types of games. That was my number one complaint about Torchlight. Which thankfully they are addressing with Torchlight 2.

    • John Walker says:

      Nope – that was my mistake. It features multiplayer like Titan Quest.

    • Navagon says:

      But are the crates better than those in Titan Quest? Discerning minds wish to know!

    • Oneironaut says:

      I guess this wouldn’t do very well in the Crate Review System if you see the Crate before the game is even released.

  14. well says:

    Ooh, nice to see they are still working on this, i pre-ordered it ages ago and had forgotten all about it.

  15. Blaq says:

    On the top of my wishlist for any future action RPGs are fully costumisable keybindings. I love the genre but my mouse and my clicking finger suffer greatly, since almost no games of that genre allow rebinding of the smack key. :(
    Pretty please!

    • Nick says:

      Try requesting on their forums or emailing them, you never know..

  16. agentgray says:

    Wait. Is this Titan Quest with zombies?

    (Still excited.)

  17. Nick says:

    Looking good, glad I gave them “more money than the game will cost” back when you annouced such a thing was possible.

  18. alphasmart says:

    It looks…interesting, at least. Kind of like a gritty reboot to TQ, really – as if the devs thought, “y’know, TQ was good, but I wish it looked more like Diablo”. Which is a bit of a shame, as one of the things I liked about TQ was to comparative lushness and variety of the scenery. I hear a lot of sounds recycled from TQ, and I can’t be the only one who thinks the music takes some inspiration from the Tristram theme from Diablo. The combat too looks rather bleh, as it tended to do in TQ. Honestly, I don’t really feel too excited by what I see right now, but hopefully I’ll be pleasantly surprised later. Diablo III looks better really.

    • Grot_Punter says:

      Your complaints, they seem silly to me. What you have to keep in mind is that this game is still very much in its alpha stages, so I personally am going to chock up any rehashed sounds and what not from previous games to simply be filler for the purpose of testing.

    • Rhis says:

      The video did not contain anything recycled from TQ. All our game assets (models/textures/sounds/etc) are original to Grim Dawn.

  19. AiglosCelt says:

    Nobody else will say it so I will; Titan Quest was a better game than Diablo 2

    • Kaira- says:

      And I’ll probably be hated for this, but whatever.
      Torchlight was better than TQ or Diablo 2. I’ve never finished those two because they bore me to mindlesness. Diablo 1 however, is better than Torchlight in my opinion.

    • drewski says:

      I’d say it has a more varied skills system, but everything else is inferior.

    • Vinraith says:

      Yup, the sheer, mammoth diversity of TQ’s skill system trumps the hell out of every other action RPG I’ve played. The art is beautiful, the enemies varied, the loot interesting, and the environments genuinely diverse. IMO, it beats out both Diablos as well as Torchlight (which was fun but too samey, with a terribly shallow character progression system and almost no class diversity).

    • Archonsod says:

      I’d have to agree. Although I’d say Sacred was the best, with Diablo one of the worst.

    • Nick says:

      Torchlight bored me to death, I enjoyed Diablo, enjoyed Diablo 2, loved TQ. I didn’t like the skills in Sacred which made leveling rather boring to me.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I can’t seem to finish Torchlight, not sure why – though I had no issue with TQ or Diablo2. I think it’s just getting a bit too repetitive, which was TQ’s issue as well, but somehow the questing made up for it.

    • drewski says:

      I think I finished Torchlight 9 times. Hmmm.

      One thing I liked about it is that even though it’s pretty same-y all the way through, at least it’s fairly short. You can whip through even a Hard playthrough in about 8-10 hours.

    • Thants says:

      I though Torchlight was very polished and made some smart improvements to the interface, but it was shallow as a wading pool compared to Diablo 2.

    • Sic says:

      Not even remotely close.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Clearly. One would have to be a foolish fool to disagree. It was also much better than Torchlight – I liked Torchlight, but it was very lightweight and browser-gamey, not much of an improvement on its elder sibling Fate, and neither of those was as satisfying as the Diablos. Which in turn were better than the very bland and fluffy Dungeon Sieges, which were better than than the awkward and gawky Hellgate, which was better than the awkward, gawky, bland, fluffy, badly lumpy and undercooked Sacreds..

    • Navagon says:

      Titan Quest is better than Diablo 2. When you think about it, it was only Lord of Destruction that was any good. The core game was kind of meh.

      I’ll go one better and say this has a good chance of being better than Diablo 3. Judging by how bad the videos for Diablo 3 have been, I think it’s in with a good chance.

  20. Whelp says:

    Iron Lore? The guys who made the terrible Soulstorm expandalone for Dawn of War?

  21. DrGonzo says:

    But.. It… It looks exactly the same as the disappointing TQ. I don’t understand.

  22. Zyrxil says:

    Eh. Titan Quest was as low rated as it deserved. Yes it was very pretty, but it had non-randomized maps and really really bad skills. The only interesting bit was how you paired two classes together.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Wait, the skill system of TQ is superior to the one in D2 in every aspect. And one thing you learn to hate when you play a game more than a few times: randomized maps. God, nobody wants to run around for ages just to find that damn portal.

  23. skyturnedred says:

    Hmm. I kinda liked Titan Quest because it was very colourful, though I didn’t finish the game because this isn’t exactly my favourite genre. This seems too grim for me. I like happy games.

  24. yourgrandma says:

    Never could finish Diablo 2. TQ has enough variety for me to stick with it but its taking me a few years to get through it… Im not a huge fan of these type of games but this looks great. Definitely buy it when i finish TQ.

  25. drewski says:

    Coincidentally, I’m playing Titan Quest right now, as a sort of withdrawing-from-Torchlight methadone, and whilst the skill system is different and interesting, the rest of it feels largely phoned in. Although I was enjoying Greece and it’s only since I’ve got to Egypt that I’ve got bored. Plus even in fully patched mode it’s full of bugs, shoddy code, memory leaks and terrible optimisation. I’m playing it on the lowest possible settings, with everything turned off – on an admittedly old computer, but Torchlight ran fine – and it’s still prone to big frame drops, screen tear and rubber banding.

    It had potential, but it just didn’t quite make it. I’d say it’s fairly accurate rated.

  26. suibhne says:

    It’s funny to me that TQ gets such varying reactions. All I can guess is that the “market” for “action RPGs” is more like two markets (or the market is a lot less unified than people usually assume). I preferred TQ to any other Diablo-like because of the quality of the setting – not the narrative, but the actual gameworld. I enjoyed the hand-crafted feel of the game, especially in the first and last thirds of the game. On the other hand, I can certainly imagine it failing to connect with people who prefer Diablo 2’s fast, efficient, well-balanced action. Personally, I found Diablo 2 quite dull after the first half or so (despite really enjoying the original Diablo) because there was too much emphasis on gameplay over exploration.

    That said, Soldier was probably the least interesting class Crate could’ve demo’d at first. The Soldier in Grim Dawn looks minimally mobile, pretty much just park ‘n’ bark – unlike D2’s Barbarian or the ranged classes in any of these games. Yawn.

  27. caprisundad says:

    Played the crap out of TQ. Had a godly Harbinger (Warfare + Dream) dual-wielding twin Sapros the Corrupters (ok so sue me if I hacked the drop rate a bit for the last 10 hrs I played).

    With this, TL2, Path of Exile, and D3 coming out this year, I’m not going to be leaving my room for a long, long time.

    BTW, RPS should really be paying more attention to PoE. Everyone always says that these smaller ARPGs should worry about D3 stealing their player base but, with the way PoE is looking, maybe Blizzard should start worrying. PoE’s recently unveiled flask system is brilliant, a major innovation for the genre, and far better than D3’s health system.

  28. DeepSleeper says:

    Lookin’ okay all around. Not going to get excited yet, but for pre-alpha it looks pretty solid.
    I’m pleased.

  29. Trelow says:

    Buying games while they are in production has turned out well for me so far; Mount & Blade, Din’s Curse, Minecraft. Ironlore will end up with some cash from me before too long I’m sure.

  30. Tunips says:

    I think that counts as a negative time-to-crate.

  31. VampireCactus says:

    I just hope there’s controller support (or at least a control option that will work with something like Xpadder). I’m sick of these “action” RPGs being nothing but clickfests. It’s one of those weird relics of the way beginning of the genre that no one ever changed. The fact the Magicka has controller support is one of the main reasons I bought it. It makes the game sooooo much more fun.