A Wizardry Did It: Deathfire – Ruins Of Nethermore

It’s hard to believe that there hasn’t already been a game called Deathfire. In fact, it’s downright unacceptable. I’ve played enough games to know that death and fire are the key ingredients in 90% of interactive entertainment so the lack of an actual Deathfire game strongly suggests that we have endured decades of false advertising. At least Gunman Chronicles was honest. As for Deathfire, I can’t show you a video of a zombie flame or a lich in a furnace because the game is too early in development for fancy trailers. Instead, there are screenshots and very fine they are too. Following in the tile-encompassing footsteps of Legend of Grimrock, Deathfire is first-person role-playing so old-fashioned that it reeks of beeswax and boot polish.

Due to be released in 2014, Deathfire is described thusly:

Feeling somewhat unhappy with the current state of the computer role-playing game industry where open worlds and quest hunts dominate the genre, we felt it was time to take a step back and re-examine what made Golden Era role-playing games such as the “Realms of Arkania” series, the “Wizardry” games or the “Might & Magic” games such memorable and lasting experiences. As a result we came up with a game concept that hearkens back at these classic titles but approaches it with renewed vigor and modern day technology. Doesn’t that sound like a game you would want to play?

The development team are led by designer/producer Guido Henkel, whose previous credits include Planescape: Torment, the Realms of Arkania Trilogy and Fallout II.

Deathfire sounds almost exactly like what I’d expect from the description above. It includes four people to a party, lots of classes, races and attributes to choose from, indoor/outdoor environments, and an intelligent dialogue system. Wait, what? Intelligent dialogue? I don’t remember talking to the Beholders.

The remaining screenshots do not reveal any details of the dialogue system but if you’ve ever wanted to see a statue from two different angles, this is your lucky day.


  1. daphne says:

    I feel I can’t really let Deathfire get a free pass on a site where Warface has reached running gag status.

    Also, that promotional snippet (check the site) is cringeworthy. Sorry, guys.

    • Harlander says:

      O, ye who would promote a game
      remember that poetry be hard

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Daltrey, Townshend, Moon and Entwhistle would indeed promote a game if you paid them enough and they were still all alive

    • Tams80 says:


    • Volcanu says:

      The T-Rex enemy is also pretty comical. It looks like something from the D&D Monster Manual when the authors were running out of ideas

      • blunderx says:

        Halt! Who says they ran out of ideas? Maybe it was you who expectantly ran out of sugar in your brain causing a sudden plunge of imaginative ability?! So when playing AD&D back in the days maybe you, instead of seeing a horrible prehistoric MONSTER, just saw a fellow teenage GM with spots describing a T-Rex with +5 claws carrying a Bag of Holding containing an infinite amount of OWLBEAR(tm) eggs. All these property of SSI Inc (may those damn nerds rest in peace).

        Come to think of it, I’m actually more curious about who took the idea of OWLBEARS(tm) into World of Warcraft?!? That’s just INSANE!

        • Sheng-ji says:

          At least they didn’t put the duckbunny in, yet…

          link to dl.dropboxusercontent.com

          or the Giff, The Giff are a race of hippopotamus people. In Space.

          And if a werewolf is a person who turns into a wolf, what could you call a person who turns into a donkey…. that’s right, the “Asswere”. What would you call a 2 headed cyclops, obviously the Biclops. Then there was the man eating topary, the snail with a flail for a head obviously called the flail snail, A tree stump with a rabbit sat on top and the dirty laundry monster, that seizes control of you if you wear it!

          Thinking about it, make that rabbit a ferret and tell Neal from Rollplay…

          • The Random One says:

            Don’t diss the flail snail, yo.

          • Arglebargle says:

            The D&D guys were pretty ridiculous appropriators of any sort of mythological minutiae, with little sense of balance or ecology.

          • dE says:

            In retrospective, I wonder how many of those silly yet magnificient creatures were the result of their by now long canceled satelite program. The one that got them gems like the Eromancers that had summonable interdimensional Brothel Spells and Death by Orgasm – well Death Magic.

            At times, I was sure there was a source for everything. Someone wanted a chaotic evil half-ling paladin who could wield ogre weaponry and fly before level 3? Yeah, sure somewhere. Also I reckon the very, well I’ve got a nice day, let’s call them creative, hybrids of online play had to come from somwhere.
            “My character is half fox, half dragon, 1/8th Dark Elf and 3/8 Tiefling. What do you mean that doesn’t add up?”

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Ach, powergamers….

            I remember I ran a campaign once, I filtered the players by limiting starting funds to a copper or two (the players started off in an impoverished area) and I gave all potential players the information that they would likely have, at most a silver piece by the end of the first story arc, and maybe after the first play session have 1/10th of the xp to get to level 2. Also, entire story arcs would go by with no combat, unless they were feeling suicida and magic was strictly forbidden in the world, and they would be hunted down for using it freely – they would even have to be cautious about using it in front of other party members.

            Of the 20 ish players in my group, only 4 were interested, 10 sessions in, every other member wanted in because they realised just how poor quality fun power gaming was. They did meta the spell casting which really pissed me off – the injured player who needed healing would conveniently go to sleep, room sharing with the cleric while the others would conveniently go elsewhere so the cleric could heal without triggering the lawful fighter who should kill the cleric if he knew, but you have to let that stuff slide sometimes…

          • mouton says:

            You are wrong. “Asswere” is a donkey – who was born donkey – that turns into a man. What you are looking for is an “Wereass”, a human turning into a donkey.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Hehehe, I was doing it from memory – though that is even funnier!

        • Volcanu says:

          Oh yes, the all mighty OWLBEAR. The very mention of these silly hybrids brought a smile to my face. Still not as ridiculous as the fearsome Roving Mauler of course…

          • Malk_Content says:

            My favourite DnD hybrid monster is the Sealion, because the person who made that one up can’t not of realised that an animal by that name already exists because the hybrid itself was half Sealion and half Lion.

          • Barts says:


            So it’s a recursive Sealion, really.

    • Foosnark says:


  2. XhomeB says:

    I think we should all be grateful to Almost Human for single-handedly resurrecting the first person, party-based RPG genre (yes, I know, Dungeon Master and Wizardry differed a lot, but you get the point). Releasing Legend of Grimrock was a big risk, but it paid off in spades and paved the way for similar games to follow.

    • slerbal says:

      Agreed! I’m really happy to see their return :)

    • blunderx says:

      Couldn’t agree more. They gave rebirth to my favorite genre and did it really well. Going on my 37th year of living and thanks to Almost Human i can still spend half the nights by my self playing dungeon crawlers. Might sound like a bad thing but it’s actually great.

    • RiffRaff says:

      Erm, no they didn’t. Its a nice little myth that’s built up around the grimrock devs though, and they certainly raised the profile of the dungeon crawly genre on the PC so they deserve a lot credit for that. I know its probably been quite a while since there was an entry with action instead of turn based combat, but “single-handedly resurrecting” an entire genre, no, that is a thing they did not do. Heck just a year before there was frayed knights, and anyone with a ps2 or DS will know that Japanese developers never stopped making these kinds of games.

      • Urthman says:

        I’d say that any genre where you have to point to PS2-era Japanese games to prove it’s alive is in need of resurrection.

        • RiffRaff says:

          I was using the ps2 as an example of how the genre never really went away, for more recent examples see the nintendo DS/3ds and games like the dark spire, strange journey, etrian odyssey series etc. and on pc a year before grimrock was released we got frayed knights, I believe there were even a few on the psp and ps3. to say they resurrected the genre would mean that this kind of game hasn’t been available anywhere for a very long time, and thats simply not true.

  3. TheDreamlord says:

    Off topic… that is some BF4 ad extravaganza all over the site……. makes my eyes hurt.

    • slerbal says:

      I clawed my eyes out in horror.

      Kinda regret doing that now… might have been an overreaction… ah well….

      I’m never a fan of moving adverts, but RPS do have to feed the screaming maws of the hivemind and it’s either that or they start abducting the odd games dev during an interview…

      Oh dear where is my mind taking me today? I now have a concept for a Sweeny Todd themed RPS musical.

  4. Firkragg says:

    I do remember that one Beholder from BG2.

    “Oh captain, my captain”.

    I cried tears of laughter at each encounter.

    • Zekiel says:

      “Protect the chest”, he said. “Actually he may have been talking about his chest, since it was being run through by a spear at the time…”

  5. Snargelfargen says:

    Hold up, Vlambeer are publishing other studio’s games now? And their first release is an old school rpg with nary a chiptune or pixel art in sight?


  6. Maxheadroom says:

    Almost completely off topic but does anyone remember a kickstarter a while ago for a game (more like an engine really) that was an isometric RPG?

    There was a guy with a sword wandering around a village and some ogre outside a cave bashing him about to show off the rag doll physics.
    Then there was a bit in a dungeon with skeletons and furnature being blown up with fireballs to show off the lighting.

    Keep wondering what happned to it but cant remember what it was called.
    Any ideas?

  7. bill says:

    “Feeling somewhat unhappy with the current state f the games industry we decided to remake an old game with better graphics”.

    Not sure I like this trend, though I do understand the appeal of nostalgia.
    I don’t really remember the titles mentioned doing anything that special.. weren’t they essentially just 90% combat? They evolved into the open world Might and Magic games, which evolved into Skyrim. Not sure how going back and artificially putting in limits that were imposed by hardware at the time will be a big step forward.

    Then again, it’s all in the execution and Grimrock seemed very well received.

    • Urthman says:

      Nah, Skyrim is descended from Ultima Underworld and (believe it or not) Ultima 9.

      • HunterZ says:

        Actually, The Elder Scrolls: Arena predates U9 but was definitely influenced by Ultima Underworld.

  8. aliksy says:

    Intelligent dialog? Time to break out one of my pet peeves.

    Does this mean we’ll finally get a game with dynamic diplomacy? I mean where you can use skills like diplomacy, intimidate, and bluff at any point during any fight, and not just at pre-scripted events? I’ve seen this done once, in a roguelike, and it was amazing. Any group of sapiant hostiles you could basically go “Hey.. how about we don’t fight?” And if you passed your check, they’d go neutral and you’d get xp. Then you could trade items/services with them, or sometimes enlist them into your party.

    It compared the apparent strength of your party to the other guy’s sense of their strength to determine modifiers to the skill check. I think it also had (or planned to have) modifiers for things like “Did you just kill one of them with a huge crit? They’re more likely to surrender, now.”

    I’d like to see something like that instead of the usual “You have 0 persuasion? This line of dialog is greyed out. You have 5 persuasion? This line is green and does something special.”

    • slerbal says:

      Everything you just said sounds great. I’d love to see more of that.

    • SillyWizard says:

      What’s this? You’ve seen it once…where?

  9. Casimir's Blake says:

    While I’m excited for any first-person RPG such as this, I do wish people wouldn’t fixate on the completely unnecessary 90-degree grid-movement “thing” which was a throwback to underpowered CPUs not allowing for free movement.

    The “modern” Ultima Underworld equivalent is way, way overdue… Skyrim does NOT count.

    • Turkey says:

      Yeah, If they made one of these with city hubs and factions it could be kinda interesting.

    • Keyrock says:

      It depends on how the game works. If it’s going to be real-time, then I agree that grid-based is a no no. If it’s turn-based I’m all for grid-based movement. I pulled the trigger on Might & Magic X Early Access, I don’t regret it one bit, by the way, and it can be surprising how much grid-based movement adds tactically.

    • guygodbois00 says:

      I concur with Mr Blake. I have 50 euros saved just for that sort of thing.

  10. RProxyOnly says:

    That looks really lovely, I do, however, hope that it’s more than just a leveling combat dungeon grind…… A bit more of the ‘rpg’ in rpg’s please.

    Edit… Fuck.. it’s Henkel. At least it has a pedigree.

  11. Keyrock says:

    Came to see a statue from 3 different angles. Left disappointed.

    On a more serious note, good luck to Henkel & Co. I just hope the game doesn’t wind up too grind heavy. The “intelligent dialogue” part gives me some hope.

  12. Lemming says:

    ” I don’t remember talking to the Beholders.”

    But they remember talking to you, Adam!

  13. Infinitron says:

    link to twitter.com

    “Hahaha, who the heck is “Vlambeer?” Never heard of the company and they certainly ain’t publish my game…
    LOL Total disinformation out there.”

    What the hell, RPS, what the hell.