Emotional Baggage Handler: Darkest Dungeon

*cat squeal*

Darkest Dungeon launched on Kickstarter and was immediately funded, which says a lot about how good its pitch is (it was also helped by a $15 price and a low funding target): it’s a handsome looking dungeon crawler, a roguelike in which the player must manage a team of dungeon delver’s psychological stress levels alongside their hit points. The darker it gets, the deeper you delve, the more likely the pressure is going to affect your team.

The Affliction System’s the hook, here: instead of pushing through piles of dead bodies and shrugging off the corpses as just another day in the dungeon, there’s also the chance it’ll affect each member of the party differently. According to the devs, in that scenario “Coming across a rotting corpse may unnerve the Highwayman, or may fuel the Crusader’s determination”, which means you’ll have to figure out how to deal with the stress and phobias that arise from that. Big events and little moments will give the party an edge: a skeleton breaking through a character’s defense might give them a fear of the undead.

Management also plays a part in combat: the cramped corridors (represented by the side-on view) means you have to place your team in a good order in both the fights and general adventuring: “Put your Grave Robber in front to help disarm traps? Or keep your meat shield Crusader up there in case of ambush? As always, your choices matter.”

As long as there’s no toilet imperative. That’s what puts me off The Sims.


  1. Loque says:

    How did they get that money in one day. I mean Kickstarter is a crowfunding platform but you still ened to reach the audience (viral marketing, friends, etc). How did they do that… so fast?

    • Teovald says:

      I remember seeing that pitch video some time ago (a couple of months maybe ?) so I guess they started communicating about the game way before their campaign.
      It is a smart thing to do too. You need to build an audience if you want your kicstarter to succeed.

    • Tony M says:

      The credit goes to that video. Its one of the strongest pitch videos (or game trailers in general) that I’ve seen in ages. The music and narration are spot on and the pacing builds up brilliantly. Watch it again, its better the second time.

      • razgon says:

        It really is an amazing video. The whole thing oozes atmosphere and the voicework is just brilliant.

        “We are not the flame. We are moths!”.

    • RedViv says:

      The game was announced quite a while ago, and the devs consistently trickled out information. Good way to do things so that people still remember the game once it is on Kickstarter, where it also got a really great pitch. Really nothing surprising here at all.

      • Snidesworth says:

        Exactly this. I signed up to their newsletter when the game first surfaced, have been fed information since and, as soon as the Kickstarted launched, was emailed about it. By the time I actually clicked the link it was already 90% funded. I’m guessing most of those backers were in the same boat as me.

        • nindustrial says:

          Me too. They really built a following with the newsletter and I was ready to pounce.

  2. Low Life says:

    I don’t like their off-by-one backing tiers. Seriously, $74? That’s one of the dumbest numbers I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of numbers.

    • Tony M says:

      Its a perfectly good number. I’m tired of the propaganda of you anti-septarians.

    • SillyWizard says:

      You’re also allowed to bump up your contribution by a buck if it really eases your mind that much.

  3. Lobotomist says:

    The game was marketed long before kickstarter. At least half year ago when I first saw it (maybe even here ?)

    Anyway. Great art direction. Looking forward to seeing it.

  4. OpT1mUs says:

    Great video

  5. NailBombed says:

    Liking the look of that teasing video – roguelikes seem to be my weakness at the moment… need more, more I say.

  6. Gap Gen says:

    Ooh, you can play as a duck.

  7. Discosauce says:

    Love the Lovecraftian theme going here. They had me at “Their screams will echo amidst the pitiless cyclopean stones…”. Can’t go wrong with Cyclopean!

    • Gwyddelig says:

      It’s the most Lovecraftian word in the English language. Although he made liberal use of “cosmic” as well IIRC

      • SillyWizard says:

        Antediluvian — which confused me in this trailer. Is the game taking place in our world? But with goblins? Or did there just happen to be a God-flood in this other fantasy world?

      • finbik says:

        Cyclopean always seemed as much Howard as Lovecraft to me.

  8. Ross Angus says:

    If there’s no toilet imperative, how are your characters supposed to invent new words?

  9. Winged Nazgul says:

    The Toilet Imperative sounds like a pretty good name for a RPG IMO.

    • Grey Cap says:

      I think it sounds like a spy thriller. A lone CIA agent fights a conspiracy of disgruntled plumbers and rogue proctologists. The video game adaptation is TOM CLANCY’S The Toilet Imperative: Origins.

  10. Loque says:

    I didn’t find any screenshot, how’s the game, visually speaking?

    • Memphis-Ahn says:

      Would you believe me if I said incredible?

    • jarowdowsky says:

      Was wondering the same thing until I checked out the Kickstarter page. There are some gifs of the actual game and planned mechanics there. Paid my money the second I saw them

  11. Frank says:

    Hmm, never noticed my comment being deleted/moderated before. I said something like “looks like it’s on rails” in reply to someone saying “oh well, I thought it wasn’t a roguelike at first” (also deleted). Is the “meh, not for me” sentiment no longer welcome on RPS?

    • razgon says:

      No – the “meh” comment is frowned upon at RPS, since it offers little to the discussion.

      • SillyWizard says:

        Don’t bother with random “boobies” comments, either. These bastards are ruthless!

    • Jeremy says:

      Yes, well thought out discussion points (even contrarian points) are much better than pithy one off statements.

  12. lautalocos says:

    is the person that made the art the same as the one who makes flash games in godlimation? the style looks almost the same as those games

  13. Turkey says:

    Man, the art looks like Avon Oeming doing Mike Mignola.

    • puppybeard says:

      Well now I’m going to spend half an hour looking into Avon Oeming, because I really like both Mike Mignola, and the art style being used in this project.

      • Turkey says:

        Yeah, it’s a good look. Check out Duncan Fegredo as well while you’re at it.

    • nindustrial says:

      Mignola for sure, I love it!

    • damoqles says:

      That sounds dirty yet eerily intriguing.

  14. Calculon says:

    Does anyone know if this will be isometric or not? From the video’s it appears to be a side scrolling view, which, imo would be a shame given how great this game sounds.

    • jaronimoe says:

      it is side scrolling with a top-down map for navigation (you can see it better in the youtube trailer that is featured on the kickstarter page)

      • Calculon says:

        That’s a shame. I feel like the side scrolling is quite limiting strategically/gameplay wise.

        • SillyWizard says:

          That’s why they’re designing the strategery specifically around a side-scrolling set-up. Think of it this way: you’re in a dark (possibly the darkest) dungeon, so you’re forced to be nut-to-butt with your fellow adventurers.

          Monsters attack!

          Now, Tom and Jerry in the front might be able to reach the first couple of goblins, but for the most part, you can either look very menacingly at the bits that T & J are chopping up or you can chuck something really hard at the bastards and try to be helpful.


          • Memphis-Ahn says:

            Yeah, Tyler gave an interview where he mentions that the mechanics naturally evolved from the theme. The fighting in claustrophobic corridors as a centipede probably came from that.

          • SillyWizard says:

            Ah, mechanics inspired by theme. What a concept!

            Can’t wait to get me grubby hands on it!

    • jonahcutter says:

      I’m having a similar reaction. Everything about the game seems so well-imagined, designed and put together. And I love the idea of the psychological factors. But the actual 2d combat gameplay is leaving me a bit cold.

  15. XhomeB says:

    Man, we need a new episode of Kickstarter Catchup – so many interesting ones showed up – Darkest Dungeon, StarCrawlers, Book of Unwritten Tales 2…

  16. LennyLeonardo says:

    Anyone else seeing a bit of Mike Mignola in the (lovely) art?

  17. HylianTg says:

    Backed both Darkest Dungeon and Starcrawlers. Its going to be a good year for indie games!

  18. DrManhatten says:

    I am sure that was their second campaign as I could swear I had seen it before on Kickstarter or somewhere else