Paradox Announces A Game Of Dwarves

Yup, that's a dwarf alright.

In a one-two punch of Paradox news, our man in the field, Jim Rossignol, has sent a telegram from Sweden reporting that the publishers have announced A Game Of Dwarves. STOP. It’s a strategy-cum-management game, by Zeal Game Studios, in which you must control a dwarven settlement. It has a Theme Hospital meets Dungeon Keeper vibe about it, with a sprinkling of Settlers, and of course a lot of Dwarf Fortress, as you manage your crew of dwarves to dig, build and defend themselves. It’s going to be randomly generated, meaning each time you start a new game it’ll be a completely unique dungeon, requiring new strategies. We’ll have more information just as soon as Jim can find the internet. The game is supposed to be coming out at some point during 2012. You can see a collection of screenshots below.


  1. CMaster says:

    Well, I’m surprised it took so long for somebody to announce a commercial attempt to recreate Dwarf Fortress (although there are a bunch of “inspired by” games out there). It will be interesting to see if this is actually any good.

    • RaveTurned says:

      Indeed. First reaction was “Wait, did DF just get signed?”.

      If it has half the depth (no pun intended) of DF’s fortress mode coupled with a more user-friendly UI, I’m practically sold.

    • Mirqy says:

      Wait, are people allowed to say ‘no pun intended’ on RPS? Doesn’t that cause an iron gate deep in the bowels of castle shotgun to be opened, the hellspawned mutanthounds within to be released and the hunt to begin? Or am I thinking of something else?

    • Sarigs says:

      Yeah I suffer from the same thing, everytime I see a game based around dwarfs, mining or exploring or settlement based I immediately think someone’s copying DF, kinda a leg jerk reaction!

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Well it could be a bit more like Delve Deeper or Dwarfs!?, both of which are dwarf-management sims that have basically nothing to do with DF other than the themes of dwarves and tunnels.

      But considering that DF was one of the main influences for Minecraft, and how different MC is from DF, it seems there’s plenty of elbow room in the Inspired By Dwarf Fortress genre.

    • Derppy says:

      I’m willing to bet it doesn’t reach even half the depth of Dwarf Fortress, but it might still be an awesome game.

      DF has so much detail and complexity, that creating it in 3D would be insane. Modelling, texturing, rigging and animating alone for all the races, items and variations of them would take forever. Even high-end processors struggle with Dwarf Fortress on ASCII graphics when stuff gets intense, so when you throw in 3D graphics it just kills the computer.

      Also, I think the complexity and Dwarf Fortress’s description of FUN limits the audience so much, that bigger studios don’t want to do it.

      I guess it would be possible if you left much of the little detail to be only text-based and had very simple models and animations to give the basic idea of what’s happening.

      By the way, I recommend reading this awesome Dwarf Fortress story if you have even slightest interest in the game. Should give you an idea how complex the dwarves in the game are.

    • pakoito says:

      You cannot recreate DF mathematical model in such a few development time, no matter how many people working on it.

      This will be a strat/sim good or not, and that’s it.

    • povu says:

      For those not aware, a new large Dwarf Fortress update is expected to arrive some time between now and mid-February.

    • Smashbox says:

      “You cannot recreate DF mathematical model in such a few development time, no matter how many people working on it.”

      They put a man on the moon in less than a decade.

    • pakoito says:

      >They put a man on the moon in less than a decade.

      Unaccurate. German scientists had been working on rocket technologies for more than 20 years before the landing.

    • bard says:

      They put a man on the moon in less than a decade.

      Bet they didn’t survive the HFS down in hell though.

    • Lev Astov says:

      >>They put a man on the moon in less than a decade.

      >Unaccurate. German scientists had been working on rocket technologies for more than 20 years before the landing.

      Human mathematicians had been working on mathematical models for more than 20 centuries before the development time. What now, Pakoito?

      In all seriousness, though, I desperately want a prettied up, more usable version of DF. Please let this be it, Paradox! (not holding my breath)

    • Mctittles says:

      Well, Notch did try this already. I think it’s impossible. Any attempt to recreate Dwarf Fortress in a 3d environment will invariably become a game like Minecraft.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      EXCEPT – Dwarf fortress is an absolute mess of coding. I love dwarf fortress more than any other game ever created. But the thing’s a complete and utter mess and the creator will randomly spend whole years piddling away on the most ridiculous obscuritys – it’s been months since an update because he wants to add in more realistic roads and slightly more complicated zombies which will only mostly affect adventure mode players who probably make up less than 10% of Dwarf Fortress players. If somebody got a design team who were properly trained in and experienced with programming (Toady is primarily a mathematician) then by god, they could work wonders with some of those ideas.

    • MCM says:

      Exactly. Dwarf Fortress has been in decline since 40d – the game is actively getting worse because Toady has no idea how to manage a project, is a horrible coder, and has no clear design direction – just a random assortment of goals.

      The game is actually less playable now than it was 3 years ago, and all signs point to it getting worse. Serious bugs linger for months or years and the playerbase is too stupid to do anything other than spam their own forums with the same 4 jokes (Urist, !!SCIENCE!!/magma, “elves”, and “happy fun stuff”). It’s one of the most depressing examples of indie development out there, even if it does give us a few good design ideas.

    • ZephyrSB says:

      DF pretty much went from ‘game’ to ‘simulation’ when the 3rd dimension got added. Space is no longer a premium, and all sense of structure or goals was lost. I’d kill for a return to the 2d version with some of the better recent features (ie constructions) added. Hell, I even miss mucking about with channels and floodgates and seasonal flooding.

      DF is still an amazing acheivement – it’s just now an acheivement in the realm world simulators rather than games.

  2. kukouri says:

    All I could think to myself when I saw this was “Interesting”
    I’m a sucker for dwarves.

  3. Jajusha says:

    If it’s 50% of what Dwarf fortress is, but with graphics, i’ll be a buyer.

    • Prime says:

      Dwarf Fortress with graphics/non-tortuous UI is one of those ideas that is so obviously a phenomenon waiting to happen it’s beyond frustrating to realise it still hasn’t. You’re right – if Paradox can deliver even half of that game then they’re onto a winner.

  4. SandmanXC says:

    Sounds interesting. Need moar infoes.

  5. endintears says:

    Paradox really are ticking all of the right boxes with their upcoming catalogue as far as I’m concerned

  6. JackDandy says:

    Man, it’s nice to see Dwarf Fortress inspiring so many games.

    I’ll check it out, but I doubt it’ll be as deep / unintentionally hilarious as DF.

  7. ChainsawHands says:

    I’m worried this game may be a bit short.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      But the depth of the gameplay will dwarf anything that has come before it.

    • westyfield says:

      If the game’s fun I don’t mined how short it is.

    • Heavenfall says:

      I’m stumped about this.

    • The Tupper says:

      Never played it but am interested more than a little, people.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Looks like shovelware to me.

    • Swanny says:

      I doubt anyone will give a toss if it’s DF with a better UI.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Hopefully they are mining DF for ideas, because that game always seems really interesting in theory, but then ASCII…

    • iniudan says:

      The Dwarves dug too greedily and too deep. You know what they awoke in the darkness of Castle Shotgun… pun.

    • Skabooga says:

      Man, you guys sure know how to pickaxe every little detail.

    • thegooseking says:

      I’d rather wait to hear the full low down on this game before giving it short shrift.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      I look down on people who make puns this bad.

    • Lambchops says:

      In the words of Status Quo:

      I want all the world to see
      To see you’re laughing
      And you’re laughing at me
      I can take it all from you
      Again again again again again again again
      Deeper and down
      Down down deeper and down
      Down down deeper and down
      Down down deeper and down
      Get down deeper and down

    • Smashbox says:

      C’mon Paradox, show Moria screenshots.

    • Bugamn says:

      I think we have reached a new low with those comments.

    • Scandalon says:

      But can it measure up to our expectations?

  8. Belsameth says:

    Dwarfy Dungeon Keeper.
    Please hurry up so I can give you money!

    (Yes, right away. Even though I know I’ll have to wait 2 months worth of patches before I can actually play it…)

  9. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Oh man, I just finished sending an email to RPS pointing to this.

    Anyway, ever excellent Dan Griliopoulos called it a comercially viable Dwarf Fortress. I think it’s more of a Dwarf Fortress for thickies. Normies. Whatchamacallits. Not looking bad, though I’m not sure about the “dwarf meets Rayman” aesthethic.

  10. TheCze says:

    I hope they’ll send some money to ToadyOne

    • JackDandy says:

      Dunno ’bout them, but I know I will. Gotta preserve the Toad somehow…

    • Kdansky says:

      Why should they? Copyright may be utterly broken, but it at least does not cover future work of other people. Yet.

    • Swanny says:

      I’m planning on sending a large sum his when the UI gets overhauled. Even a small overhaul.
      Which will probably be never.

  11. Khemm says:

    Sounds promising, but the visual side needs some… style. It looks very rudimentary at this point.

    Speaking of things somewhat dwarvish and digging… Does anyone remember a very fun game called “Wiggles”/ “Diggles”?

  12. povu says:

    Will we be able to chop off the arms of our enemies and slap them in the face with it?

  13. sinister agent says:

    It has a Theme Hospital


    meets Dungeon Keeper vibe about it,


    with a sprinkling of Settlers


    and of course a lot of Dwarf Fortress

    (“Hello? Hello? Sinister?” – Anchor)

  14. Bodminzer says:

    Heh, cum-management. Isn’t that your mums job?

  15. pipman3000 says:

    I hope my dwarves won’t end up as A Feast For Crows when I send them out to Dance With Dragons

  16. Drake Sigar says:

    I’ve always badly wanted to play Dwarf Fortress but am unable to digest the graphics and command keys. A Game of Dwarves seems like a perfect compromise.

  17. alseT says:

    I just hope to Heimdall this isn’t another “Dungeons”. Blech. The Dungeon Keeper aesthetic was such a bait and switch when all we wanted was for it to build on the original formula.

    • John Connor says:

      Yeah, I think I’ll need to hear more before I’m sold. I want a game like dungeon keeper or evil genius, not a frigging lame tower defence game masquerading as one.

  18. tehfish says:

    I think i’m already sold on this :D

    To quote fry from futurama: “Shut up and take my money!”

    • DarkWeeble says:

      As long as it’s not too simplified for the masses, I’m totally sold.

    • TheApologist says:

      This sounds like the game I’ve been waiting for all my life.

      It’s basically fighting it out for top spot with the proper King’s Bounty sequel I’m assuming is happening.

    • vecordae says:


      If you look at the second-to-last picture, you’ll notice that there’s an option to make dwarfs smarter. I’m sure you can just hit that option as many times as you want until the game is sufficiently intelligent. That’s how “beedo games” work, right?

  19. Jorum says:

    It won’t match the staggering complexity of Dwarf Fortress because Paradox don’t have Toady’s peculiar form of madness.
    I don’t think it would be commercially viable to, for example, have someone and sit down and model tissue and skin layers and axes severing nerves to fingers.

    However, it can well be argued that the core fun of DF isn’t really reliant on any of these intricate bits. It could be mechanically stripped back quite a way and still be fun, just not in the same ways.

    • bard says:

      Well that’s your opinion, but I sure want to know if Urist McFisherdwarf sprained an ankle stumbling over a rock after getting attacked by a carp.

    • Jorum says:

      Yeah didn’t explain that well – for DF I definitely want all that stuff as the whole simulation/toy world thing is it’s appeal (the actual gamey aspects have kind of faded away since 2D I feel).

      But a lot of the core fun stuff is free-form building, crafting, stockpiles and logistics, managing dwarfs and fighting.
      Most of this could be replicated in another game using significantly less complex mechanics (or at least less convoluted and baggage-laden) and would still be tremendously fun.

  20. rustybroomhandle says:

    Ahhh, Paradox… Like my favourite shoes.

  21. MellowKrogoth says:

    If they take inspiration from the “game” part of Dwarf Fortress and improve it, paint me interested. These days I feel DF is becoming less and less of a game and more of a world simulator.

  22. hjd_uk says:

    But will there be Candy, Clowns and Fun? If not Bagers or Carp, There had better be !!Booze!!.

  23. utharda says:

    The real question is, will it be *Fun*.

    My kids think carp will eat them. Which makes trips to the Japanese gardens incredibly funny.

  24. MythArcana says:

    Does *every* new game need to be cartoon shaded or looking like something out of WoW? Holy mackerel, when will it end.

    The next game to pull off the atmosphere in Diablo 2 with torn up bloody bodies and heads on sticks will be the next purchase; no matter how bad the game is. So tired of this art style…

  25. Lemming says:


    Stole my bloody idea except replace Dwarf with Goblin! :(

    I guess it’s not that similar actually, I wanted to go outdoors with mine.

    • sneetch says:

      That’s exactly what I thought when I saw Dwarf Fortress first :/

  26. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    So. Can a dwarf kill a demon with his own severed hand? If not, why not?

    • Kaira- says:

      I think more important question is: can you kill a wild lion by throwing another wild lion through the first one’s ribcage?

    • chargen says:

      If an enormous, skinless, flying zebra shows up, will your dwarves tenaciously bite it’s hooves, refusing to let go?

  27. Gazanator101 says:

    Simon from the Yogscast will be happy to hear this…

  28. cptgone says:

    Theme Hospital vibe? me want so bad!

    also, i’m sure Dwarf Fortress is a great game, but the ASCII look and the talk of bad GUI has kept me from trying it. so i’ve been waiting for a good DF-like to arrive…

    • Jorum says:

      You’re missing out on something unique and crazy and special.

      ASCII graphics:
      simple – get a graphics pack, there are quite a few good ones with choice of styles.
      Personally I use maydays packs as simple to use and character and tiles easy to recognise.

      yes it is fiddly and some things are needlessly slow and cumbersome.
      BUT, after an couple of hours you’ll start to not notice so much and then a bit later you’ll not even think about it.
      In a way I’ve grown to kinda like all the key combinations and sub-sub menus. It’s almost a part of the feel and fun of it. Weird.

  29. Biscuitry says:

    Yes, yes, YES.

  30. Joof says:

    I love Paradox. I love them so much, I want to take them behind the middle school and get ’em pregnant.