Not Too Distant Target: Sword Of Fargoal 2 Kickstarter

Roguelikes strike you down TWICE

I wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye (not sure I ever was to be honest) when Jeff McCord started work on Gammaquest II, the game that would become one of the first roguelikes, Sword of Fargoal. Flash forward from the non-twinkling eyes of my parents to the dark hollows around my own ocular cavities. I am tired, I am drifting above the ocean in a metal tube, I should be sleeping but instead my eyes are glued to a tiny screen. I tap it, it shrugs and my avatar dies again. It is 2012, I am flying to London from Vancouver, and I am playing Sword of Fargoal on a phone. It occupies me for the entire journey. Now there’s a Kickstarter for a much-expanded sequel on Mac, Windows and Linux as well as iOS.

The pitch video shows that Jeff not only registers in a similar section of the Uncle Spectrum as Charles Cecil, but also somehow manages to look less haggard and wearied of life than me, despite making an entire game before I had even decided to be born. Here he is.

$15 is the minimum pledge for the desktop version of the sequel, which will have new…everything. Animations, spells, monsters, traps, graphics, music, animation, classes, quests, area types and a completely new dungeon-generation system. I can see Fargoal sitting in a very desirable middle ground between the accessibility of Dungeons of Dredmor and the likes of ADOM and Stone Soup, which often ascii a little too much of those new to roguelikes.

The details on the talent on board are all at the Kickstarter page, including programmers, animator and composer, and the good news is that the game is apparently around 80% complete. The Kickstarter is one of those Kickfinisher’s we’re seeing more and more of, aiming to raise $50,000, of which $15,000 is already secured.

I’d quite happily replace most of the food in my fridge with roguelikes, just reaching in and cracking one open whenever I’m hungry, and considering the age of the original game, there’s no real nostalgia here for me. Fargoal was only a name, and something I still don’t feel entirely comfortable pronouncing, until that flight back from Vancouver earlier this year. As a sort of teaser, anyone with an iThing can grab the port of the original for free at the moment.

Jeff also mentions a “secret stretch goal”, which he simply calls “Project X”. Although I can be sceptical about stretch goals, I do like a mystery: “…there have been several other Kickstarter campaigns built solely around a reward like we’re planning — but ours will be in addition to our video game”. Hopefully I’ll be speaking to Jeff in the coming days to find out about what he’s been doing since working on the original game, how he feels about the changes the industry has gone through and why roguelikes are the best. I’ll also keep saying “what’s Project X all about then?” when it’s least expected because I’m canny like that.


  1. Teovald says:

    I have conflicted feelings for this Kickstarter campaign : without an Android version my interest is significantly reduced and it is only a stretch goal for them.

  2. Wizardry says:

    It’s almost impossible to get excited about this, which is unfortunate. The game was pretty good back in 1982 when the only competition was other simple dungeon crawlers, but many roguelikes are huge complex beasts these days so I can’t see this game appealing to anyone other than people new to the genre, who likely don’t even know what Sword of Fargoal even is.

    • Caiman says:

      I think it appeals to people like me who love roguelikes but get turned off by the aforementioned “huge complex beasts” that a lot of modern roguelikes have turned into. It’s like watching a 9 hour film over a 2 hour film. I don’t want simplicity, but there’s a sweet spot for me that many roguelikes miss.

      SoF on iOS is great fun because it gets the atmosphere of being lost in a deep, dark dungeon just right. But it was a little lacking in depth despite this. Fargoal 2 sounds like it might hit that sweet spot, so I’ll get my wallet.

  3. Arvind says:

    Maybe they could get Brian Fargo to write item descriptions as a stretch goal, thus making the title even more appropriate?

    I’ll get my coat.

  4. Dare_Wreck says:

    They’re trying for $50,000? That might be a far goal to meet.

  5. FullMetalMonkey says:

    I’m abit confused as to why they are kickstarting Fargoal 2. Fargoal was as far as I’m aware very successful on iOS and surely they have enough in their coffers to fund developing the sequel out of their own pocket.

    • Quarex says:

      Yeah, as someone who backed this before realizing there was a second, modern “Sword of Fargoal,” I am also confused. I assumed this was just the oldest “resurrect a beloved ancient game” Kickstarter so far, not “hey remember when I brought this back a few years ago, let’s do it again!”

      I am not going to cancel my pledge or anything, but it is a little weird.

      Edit: Oh, the author came to address these issues since I loaded this page! Hooray for feedback!

  6. Madgarden says:

    Hey, I’m the developer for Fargoal 1 and 2. Glad to answer any questions, either here or on Twitter (@madgarden).

    Wizardry, 1982 Fargoal is 1982 Fargoal. Don’t think it hasn’t evolved since then. Fargoal 2 is massive and stands up with modern roguelikes.

    Dare_Wreck, *badamtishhh*

    FullMetalMonkey, the game received great accolades, but has not made enough to fund development of Fargoal 2. We’re not Angry Birds up in here, heh.

    Anyway, fire away… I’m here all week. Try the veal.

  7. Felixader says:

    Please get closer to his face so i can see his nostril hairs. X-P

  8. Amakir says:

    “I can see Fargoal sitting in a very desirable middle ground between the accessibility of Dungeons of Dredmor and the likes of ADOM and Stone Soup, which often ascii a little too much of those new to roguelikes.”

    If I could get into the genre with Nethack then so can those gosh darned kids too.

  9. mr_zen256 says:

    No android even for the original? Pfft..

  10. Dances to Podcasts says:

    An interesting high stretch goal might be something akin to a total conversion. Same engine, different art/mechanics. Too different to be counted as just a new game mode, but still in many ways much like the original, if you know what I mean.