Visit Not-Japan Today: Kenshi

Vague Ico box-art flashback. Pleasing.

Kenshi’s alpha version launches today, which is excellent news because when I first wrote about it I’m sure lots of people thought, “This open-world, unscripted RPG sounds brilliant but I’d wager it’ll never exist in any playable form, so thanks for getting my hopes up, you swine.” Turns out I’m not a swine. The alpha is far from complete, as explained with detailed honesty here, but payment of $10 will give you immediate access to this and every future version of the game. If you are leery about paying without trying, fear not, there is a free trial from which the paid version unlocks. It’ll be at the main website and on Desura. Trailer buried in the sands below.

Once I’ve spent some time with the full alpha, I’ll share some thoughts, but since plenty of people have expressed an interest I thought it best to keep you up to date. The release is due later today, so bookmark here and prepare to go a-roaming.


  1. JagRoss says:

    Remind anyone of Mount & Blade?

    • Innovacious says:

      Ha, thats exactly what sprung to my mind.

    • One Million Monkeys says:

      May be the setting, but I felt Overgrowth.

    • AchronTimeless says:

      Yeah, definitely has an Overgrowth vibe to it. Although, you can see the different priorities of each team. Overgrowth is getting character interactions nailed down and polished before really building the worlds to show off, while this seems to be getting the world sketched out and refining interactions later. Both are valid strategies, of course, and I’m excited to see what both teams end up making.

    • siegarettes says:

      First part kept me thinking Mount and Blade, when the larger combat came in I got the Overgrowth feeling.

    • povu says:

      Mount & Blade without a world map, maybe? :)

  2. Drake Sigar says:

    Oink oink.

  3. Vexing Vision says:

    That trailer is still horrible, but the game still sounds very interesting. I can’t wait for more information!

  4. VileThings says:

    Looks promising, but you are not getting my 10 $ just yet. Maybe once there is a little more to do in the game.

  5. Stevostin says:

    “squad based”

    That’s where my interest dropped entirely. Squad based = wait, don’t play and “play a video game, don’t live a experience”. Not for me.

    • mondomau says:

      Sorry, you completely lost me in the second half – what do you mean?

    • JuJuCam says:

      Sounds like he’s conflating “squad based” with “turn based”. Also that he hated X-COM and Jagged Alliance and the original two Fallouts.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      and experiences?

    • Stevostin says:

      Squad based = you need other players connected on a friendlist. Nothing against turn based when it’s challenging (ie not the first two fallouts, that’s right, because at the same time we had Heroes III of Jagged Alliance or XCom which were actually good turn based game) (not that Fallout I&II weren’t good, just not the turn base part IMHO).

      My point is that I am interested in any MMO where other people are here to bring opposition or to animate the landscape, and even – why not – a bit of team play… but I know for sure a game design with guild / squad / teamplay in mind first means that most of the game, no matter what the game designers do, will end up being about finding a decent team and wait to regroup. Which I find ultimately boring.

      Moreover, teamplay means chat box so every immersion illusion is doomed to be broken constantly by the invasive presence of real gamers on your screen speaking about gear porn, TV porn or porn.

      Sorry if I was confusing.

      PS : and my two parents were national chess champions so I’ve got nothing against chess. I think it’s quite the opposite : turn based isn’t a magical game design recipe to convince me it’s worth my time. It actually has to be challenging and good. Like Chess. But it takes ages to create chess. OTOH most turn based games can’t avoid more or less balance abuse to remain in the release. And a turn based game with a combo that is always the best to choose is no interest at all.

    • history_denier says:

      Well that is all fine except this is a single-player rpg and not an MMO…

    • Deviija says:

      Eh? Your allies are NPCs/Henchmen/Packmules like party/squad-based Bethesda/Obsidian/BioWare games. As stated above, and on the Kenshi website, this is solely a single-player game.

    • Arglebargle says:

      OP opinion reasonable on the strategic level, but massive tactical intel failure.

      And Yay! Chess. I once won a game against a ranked master, and he was only playing six or eight games simultaneously. Afterwards, I was puffed up like a toad….

  6. John Connor says:

    Mount and Brade?

  7. Pnikosis says:

    More like Mount and Blade mixed with some Overgrowth. Sounds interesting, but still looks it needs a lot of work. I’m tempted to jump on the alpha testing though.

  8. Frapple says:

    Where do I actually give my money to these people? Can’t seem to find a link anywhere!

    • Premium User Badge

      Adam Smith says:

      Both the demo and the full alpha are due for release later today. The link isn’t there yet, hence why I command bookmarking. I only issue commands when it’s entirely necessary.

  9. Timmeister says:

    I’m sure you guys won’t be interested now that you will be able to play the alpha yourself (In demo or full form)

    But I did a quick 5 minute preview of kenshi a few days ago.

    Heres the link if interested! link to

  10. Bhazor says:

    In similar “pre alpha squad based rpg demo” news.

  11. pakoito says:

    It reminds me of Vagabond manga about Musashi and all his stuff, with a hint of Afro Samurai.

  12. groghog says:

    “There is no sound
    There is no blood
    There’s only a couple of basic factions.”

    Very poetic.

    • Arglebargle says:

      No sound but music
      Just a few basic factions
      There is no blood here

      Run through the Haikuizer!

      edited for music accuracy…..

  13. celozzip says:

    oh goody, another ‘pay us upfront’ game… but how long till their flat gets robbed and they lose all their code?

    • Matzerath says:

      Unfortunately for Project Zomboid, they have been designated by the indie development gods as ‘They Who Will Have Everything Possible Go Wrong’, so as to spare the rest of us from such mishaps. Everyone else backs up their daily code religiously now, with massive redundancy, and have imposed team rules to not check their respective message boards after drinking whiskey.

  14. wodin says:

    Looked good. I’ve always wnated to bash people in with a gaint sized cricket bat. The building stuff looks interesting. Animations put AAA games to shame.

  15. misterT0AST says:

    Ugh I don’t mind mediocre graphics but they should really add some shadows. Those black shapes on the bright dunes make my eyes hurt.
    Maybe they could simply put a black blot under their feet like in old 3d games, or make the ambient light dimmer, as it is it’s painful to look at.

    • Inigo says:

      Earlier screenshots did have shadows, but they’ve been taken out for the time being.

    • Okami says:

      This is an alpha version. Be glad it’s not just grey blocks moving across the landscape.

  16. FortySe7en says:

    I have a strange feeling this game will be in the 3rd bundle from indieroyale, the ‘difficult alpha bundle’ :)

    • psyk says:

      1st = “The launch bundle”
      2nd = “The difficult 2nd bundle”
      3rd = “The really big bundle”
      4th = “The alpha fund bundle”

  17. HexagonalBolts says:

    Is this music in the game? It’s just fantastic. To be honest this strikes me as much more interesting than Mount and Blade, there seems to be much more opportunity for different situations in this.

  18. Ezhar says:

    This educational game teaches you not to wear a hat. If you do wear a hat, lots of people without hats will chase after you and beat you up. Or maybe I just skipped through the video and got that impression?

  19. Qwibbles says:

    I will be watching this with great interest.

  20. Wizardry says:

    Despite being an RPG, combat is action-game-grade and fast paced. No longer do characters stand there like idiots taking turns to hit each other. There are no “dice rolls”, game mechanics are not based on archaic board game rules.

    Now indie developers are jumping on the anti-turn-based bandwagon. Won’t get a penny from me.

  21. squareking says:

    Im! Pact! Impact!

    The Official Font of RPS. And Kenshi!

  22. hairrorist says:

    Do you suppose its possible for SteveOstin to be any more confused?

  23. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Excellent music.

  24. ColdSpiral says:

    The alpha demo is out, apparently waiting on Desura to authourise the paid version.

  25. Davie says:

    Well, this is the alpha-est alpha I’ve ever played. You can tell it could never pass for a full game in its current state. However, what I see here is absolutely brilliant. A wonderfully huge world, clever art design, combat that is a bit scrubby now but will obviously be amazing eventually, a Dwarf-Fortress-like health system…really, what’s not to like?

  26. BeamSplashX says:

    I know they’re selling it as being squad-based from the outset, but the thought of playing a game like this with a solo character is far more appealing. I’ll probably try that when I play, anyhow.