Apologies With A Capital EA: Dungeon Keeper Free On GOG

I can squish so many people's heads right now.

There’s a mobile version of Dungeon Keeper now. Excited about the prospect of playing Bullfrog’s legendary evildoing opus anywhere you please? Well, don’t be! It’s a terrible, slow-churning “social” experience that subsists on grimy mouthfuls of your time and money. Even Peter Molyneux himself thinks it’s “ridiculous.” By and large, EA’s defended its dubious decisions in a fashion that should not be at all surprising to anyone who’s followed the industry for more than four seconds, but now it appears to have sort of turned a corner on the matter. As mentioned in the Bargain Bucket, this weekend, the original Dungeon Keeper is free on GOG while Dungeon Keeper 2 is only $1.49. That all comes courtesy of EA, so maybe it’s their way of saying sorry? Kinda? But hey, even if you tear EA’s apology bouquet to pieces, light the pieces on fire, and sue said pieces for your self-inflicted burn wounds, GOG is having a full Valentine’s sale of its own.

The Dungeon Keeper deal is an official EA/GOG team-up, per this conveniently bundled pack of words:

“Today of all days, a good part of the world celebrates love in all shapes, sizes, and flavors. For us at GOG.com, there is no greater love than the love of classic PC games. We love them, you love them, and you know what? We love you as well! So we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day by partnering up with our friends at Electronic Arts to offer you an exclusive Dungeon Keeper promotion.”

So there is that. But if you don’t want Dungeon Keeper, you’ve still got options. Crazy options. All Dungeons & Dragons games – including Planescape Torment, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and Baldur’s Gate 2 – are 80 percent off, and multiplayer games ranging from Trine to System Shock 2 (which does, in fact, have multiplayer) can be up to 90 percent off if you purchase every last one. Spend the weekend playing games as old as that one terribly irritating habit your significant other refuses to break. It’ll be great fun!

GOG’s sale – both in EA and non-EA flavors – wraps up Sunday, February 16, at 10:59AM GMT. Well, except for the DnD part. That goes until Tuesday for reasons that GOG only knows. So then, who’s partaking? Personally, I don’t forgive EA for its shady Dungeon-Keeper-related shenanigans in the slightest, but that won’t stop me from snagging a free (and DRM-free) copy of the original to have and to hold, to love and to cherish until the end of time. Yes, that’s right: free copy of Dungeon Keeper and I are getting married. And then we’re running far, far away, to a place where its parents will never be able to find us.


  1. MadTinkerer says:

    The thing about any large company is that there are stupid, self-absorbed, ignorant, evil people who make clumsy, ham-fisted bungledy-chump decisions which actively harm and/or insult their customers, but there are also smart/decent folks who feel bad about all the bullshit and occasionally get to do something about it. That’s why EA and Activision occasionally do the right thing sometimes.

    • LevelHeaded says:

      Thanks, QualifierBot!

      • beekay says:

        If we could get a bot to remind people of this sort of thing at the start of every single comments section on the internet, they’d probably be as awful as they are now, but I’d still be slightly soothed.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Giving away a 20 year old game for 48 hours is not “doing the right thing”. It’s simply PR balance, people feel less angry about the fact they ruined a beloved franchise with some money gouging abortion of a mobile game so they continue to give them money. This is counterbalancing PR, a calculated decision to improve their net worth at the end of it all. Very little to do with “doing the right thing”.

      • misterT0AST says:

        I’d still argue that this is not a wrong thing, and that they did it.

        Also not every single one of their moves is part of a big evil masterplan. They’re a huge Behemoth made of incompetence and shareholders, I bet among the thousands of idiotic decisions they make, one good slips out every once and again.

        Then some PR drone puts a stamp on it and approves it because it’s good for their image. But I think that placing this idea in the same grand plan as the new Dungeon Keeper is giving EA too much credit. They’re a dumb clusterfuck of a company rather than evil geniuses.

        • Smoky_the_Bear says:

          They are a massive company, calling them a dumb clusterfuck when they manage to operate on the scale that they do is silly. However pretty much every decision made by a company like EA, while maybe not part of the “masterplan”, is undoubtedly based around profit. Positive image gained from something like giving away Dungeon Keeper is only useful to them if it has a financial benefit and is likely the motivation for doing this.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            Death to capitalism.

          • mr.black says:

            “They are a massive company, calling them a dumb clusterfuck when they manage to operate on the scale that they do is silly.”
            Silly and tautological.They want money. Badly. That’s it.

          • sPOONz says:


            I fully agree. I’d also like to point out that a sale is designed to make more money. Whilst an individual gets the price cheaper, the big pictures sees a spike in sales and in-turn more profit. So, its naive for anyone to think a reduced price for DK at this time was anything but a sales target.

      • Frank says:

        Yes, this. The interesting point (to me) is not whether EA in particular is good or evil, but that this… dare I say it… entitlement stuff is really getting out of hand. Now it’s morally right to trade on terms more favorable to your customers? Buh.

        • malkav11 says:

          Surely it’s more morally right than screwing your customers.

          • tormos says:

            I think you’ll find that a basic tenant of capitalism is that it’s morally neutral.

          • Premium User Badge

            Harlander says:

            The basic tenants of capitalism don’t get electricity and heating paid for. You’ve got to be a premium tenant for that.

      • Everyone says:

        I reckon it’s not even that … I think it’s a cynical attempt to get people to try the new version by giving the original away.

        • AngoraFish says:


        • Turkey says:

          How would that work? If you’re savvy enough to even know about the GOG offer, chances are you wouldn’t touch a casual game with a ten foot pole.

          • AngoraFish says:

            If users of the original game weren’t going to be interested, why the hysteria on this and other PC-oriented websites regarding how crap the FTP model of the mobile game is?

            Clearly a great many fans were are both savvy enough to be reading websites such as RPS, at which the GOG deal is being covered, and also sufficiently interested in the mobile title to be filling up the forums of the same websites bitching about how bad the mobile version is.

            Regardless, even if only 1% of the potentially interested players end up throwing money at the mobile version, EA will be doing quite a bit better financially than simply skimming a few bucks from the occasional nostalgic GOG user.

            In fact, a great many of the better mobile games are simply ports of 1990s era titles.

          • barney says:

            « Wow, this Dungeon Keeper thing is actually brilliant. Shame it won’t run on iOS. But wait — whatever this…?! »

      • Bull0 says:

        You’re fun.

      • Hahaha says:

        The fact real gamers are even giving these shitty mobile games a look is disturbing the fact they are so socially broken they can’t get the fact across to people who are buying these shitty mobile games that they are getting mugged off is amusing doubley so when the person trying to get the thing across is supposed to be a writer.

        An example a lot of these shitty mobile games are spend 1 hour building these or buy this to speed it up, if people want to play this style of games instead of letting them get ripped off by shitty mobile devs why not point them towards cookie clicker or candy box.

        All these “game writers” harp on about the decaying state of gaming but they keep going on about it to gamers not the people who are making the change happen.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        This new version, no matter how cynical and shit it might be, hasn’t “ruined” the franchise. The Dungeon Keeper franchise has been dead for well over a decade, you can’t really hurt a corpse.

        This turd of a new release is simply trying to manipulate peoples nostalgia to turn a quick buck.

    • FataMorganaPseudonym says:

      Hanlon’s razor most definitely applies to EA. (See also Activision and Ubisoft and any other company that has gained a bad reputation over the years.)

      EA is not capital E Evil, despite how much it may amuse many of us to think so. They’re just incredibly myopic as well as clueless/uncaring about what gamers want out of them, as long as they get theirs in the short term. The long term can go screw itself as far as they’re concerned, or at least that’s the impression one gets from observing their actions over the past couple decades or so (since if it were otherwise, they wouldn’t do even half of the “evil” things they do).

      The “good” things they do fall into this category just as much as all the “evil” things, since this free Dungeon Keeper on GOG thing is incredibly short term and won’t amount to a hill of beans in a month when they do the inevitable next “evil” thing. But then, the next “evil” thing they do won’t matter as much either when they throw gamers another bone like giving away another free game.

      Then again, they also know that they can get away with so many of these “evil” things they do, because they know that far, far too many gamers out there will just suck it down anyway, regardless of how “evil” it may be and regardless of how much some may complain about it. That’s the only reason they’re even still in business at all. They’re able to continue doing all the “evil” stuff because gamers as a whole let them do it, with little more than the occasional verbal slap on the wrist via sites like this one, which is then soon forgotten anyway.

      Huh… now that I go back and read what I just wrote, I realize that maybe I’m wrong about EA. Maybe it’s not that they themselves are myopic and have no real long term plans… maybe it’s that their long term plans simply are to continue to shrewdly exploit the myopia of gamers as a whole. Well, it seems to be working out pretty well for them so far, anyway, to the detriment of the rest of us. Because gamers, generally speaking, let them do it, and they rarely feel any real consequences for their “evil” actions. Good on the few of us, myself included, who boycott EA out of a matter of principle, but just be aware that we are definitely in the tiny minority of gamers.

      • Sharlie Shaplin says:

        Yes, I have developed a strong dislike of EA and their decisions over the years. So much so that I actively avoid buying their products, but I would not extend hatred towards it’s employees on some notion that they are all evil. They are just doing their jobs.

        • bjohndooh says:

          I’m ashamed to admit I bought SimCity.
          I haven’t touched an EA game since and I don’t imagine that changing easily.

          • Sharlie Shaplin says:

            I did buy Kingdoms of Amalur on Steam, and was horrified when the EA logo appeared! I didn’t think they released any games on Steam anymore. I always double check now.

          • Mokinokaro says:

            You can probably rest easy: I doubt much money from that sale went to EA. It mostly went to Rhode Island.

      • derbefrier says:

        i still think its funny how people are so bent out of shape about a silly mobile games. . attributing this behavior to some greater faceless “evil” is a very balck and white way to look at it and is really just a way convince yourself theres nothing redeemable about the company or the people who work there. Its easier to explain away EA’s actions by saying their “evil” than by thinking about human nature and how most likely given the chance, we would all probably make similar decisions they would if faced with them. People like to separate themselves into good vs evil mentality. It gives a clear enemy to fight, hate, or just badmouth on the internet to give yourself a sense of moral superiority but those who resign to such juvenile thinking are really only part of the problem not the solution you dont bring people together and you dont achieve understanding by giving those you disagree with such a label as “evil” or in this case :stupidity” even. This implies there is no chance for redemption or understanding between the two parties and it will only server to further separate the two rather them bring us to a mutual understanding. is EA just a victim of black and white thinking? are they really so despicable they deserve the hatred they are constantly subject too? I don’t think so. I think they are people like everyone else and make mistakes like everyone else.

        “Your an archetype they can pin to the wall when you cling to your convictions like a farm animal in its stall, never thinking of the bigger world outside as they take you for a ride”

        • denthor says:

          The reason i get a little “bent out of shape” is that the mobile platform is quite telling of the direction they’d love to take gaming. Nickle and dime the fuck outa everything – very low development costs with opportunity for absolutely massive profits.

          If we ignored mobile gaming there is a very good chance that this style would slowly be introduced into mainstream.

  2. Horg says:

    ”You’ll get your game soon! Minion, due to high demand, we will tell you when your free copy of Dungeon Keeper is ready via email in a little bit.”

    I assume this is to be read in the DK2 narrators voice. Now if you could all quit breaking GoG so I can get my copy, that would be great.

  3. hantheman says:

    Love the original DK. It is better than DK2, but DK even when made to work on modern computers is slow and horrible to look at. DK2, less so.

  4. amateurviking says:

    Free2play done right

  5. TWChristine says:

    Part of me feels kind of bad that the only time I go to GoG much is when there’s a free game I’ll probably never play to add to my stock. But then my lack of monies reminds me there’s other reasons as well.

  6. LTK says:

    This post should definitely include a link to the KeeperFX mod that makes the game a lot more pleasing to the eye, and includes additional campaigns! It’ll work on the GOG version as well, just tell the mod to get the files from the main game folder and it’ll work fine.

    Even though it’s still more clunky and annoying to actually play than DK2 – I vividly remember being abolutely blown away when I first started up DK2 – I played it until 3am last night regardless. War for the Overworld can’t come soon enough.

  7. satan says:

    Great fun, great atmosphere, I wish there were more games like it (role reversal/lets you be the bad guy).

  8. J Arcane says:

    In related news, EA is also axing Evony clone ‘Lord of Ultima’: link to lordofultima.com

  9. Turkey says:

    I kinda doubt this will do anything in terms of hardcore gamers easing up on giving the new Dungeon Keeper 1 star reviews, but ok.

  10. HadToLogin says:

    If you want to play DK1, you might want to get link to keeper.lubiki.pl . For one, it doesn’t require dosbox to run on windows 7.

  11. Citizen says:

    All Dungeons & Dragons games – including Planescape Torment, Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate, and Baldur’s Gate 2 – are 80 percent off, and multiplayer games ranging from Trine to System Shock 2 (which does, in fact, have multiplayer) can be up to 90 percent off if you purchase every last one.

    It’s the other way round. The D&D games get cheaper if you buy more of them, the multiplayer ones have a set discount.

  12. Tom De Roeck says:

    how does DK2 work on modern systems? does it still randomly crash to desktop?

    • cpt_freakout says:

      I don’t know if this version has GOG’s own usual tweaks for modern systems, but I found it pretty stable. Played for a couple hours some time ago and it held up just fine.

  13. waltC says:

    Some games I won’t install, even if they’re free….;)

  14. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Call me jaded, but this seems like a simply way to leverage the massive (negative) publicity to make more people interested in trying the mobile version. It costs them next to nothing to give away the old game, but surely it will drive some people to the shiny new one.

  15. MrNash says:

    Looking forward to my copy. Doesn’t do anything to improve my low opinion of EA, but a free game is a free game. I’m actually more pleased with the sales on GOG this weekend. Finally got off my but and grabbed Neverwinter Nights 2. =D

  16. Simbosan says:

    EA are fully buying into the worst of voracious in app purchase techniques. Check out the Simpsons game, you will need to spend over £140 to complete that game.

  17. Werthead says:

    What’s pretty impressive about DUNGEON KEEPER is how well the gameplay holds up. It’s probably a bit tough and unforgiving by today’s standards, but it’s very fast-paced and has tremendous character, not to mention lots of gameplay systems that work together, and you have to find the best balance of how to do things (i.e. how long should the warlocks be in the library compared to the training room?).

    The worst part of the game is that a lot of maps only work through a try-and-reload approach. So you can quite easily wander into the wrong part of the map, meet a horde of high-level enemies and quickly die before you have anything to counter them. OTOH, the game’s frugal approach to gold (on most levels) demands rapid early expansion. The relative fast pace of the game means it’s not too disastrous to reload, but it’d be nicer if there was some other way of handling the issue.

    I think I must be alone in generally preferring DK2 to 1. The game just felt a little more tighter with some amusing new additions: the fighting pit is pretty cool and the game telling you what each creature is doing is a bit more useful. Also the UI is much better, being able to drag-select to build rooms was so much easier than filling each tile manually. Beyond that and the better graphics and better animations, they’re pretty much identical.

    • LTK says:

      Nah, I vastly preferred DK2 to DK1 as well. I still do, having played DK2 again some time ago, but I never really bothered with DK1 before I got it for free yesterday. Combat in DK1 feels like much more of a chaotic mess, it’s incredibly hard to target creatures for lightning-ing or healing, they fight at such a speed that it’s impossible to keep track of who’s attacking who, and the announcer’s constant reminders of who’s winning is just a massive pain in the ass. DK2 does all of those things better, as well as the dungeon building and management, creature moods, abilities and requirements… I don’t know if I just haven’t discovered DK1’s depth after not having played it for seventeen years, but DK2 just seems like more fun to play in almost every respect.

  18. Vesuvius says:

    Why presume it’s an apology Grayson- couldn’t it just as easily be a cynical PR move of “we give away the old game so that everyone gets excited for the new one… after all, that’s where we’re making the REAL money now with our exorbitant in-app purchases”?

    • Werthead says:

      One issue with that is that if you’ve got DK1 or 2 for free on your laptop or computer, you’re not going to be playing the new one. But then I suppose EA’s argument would be that they are focused on phone and tablet, and there (presumably) isn’t an easy way of playing DK1 or 2 on a tablet without streaming it from a PC elsewhere (i.e. not possible whilst out and about).

      I also suspect if you told EA that people would prefer playing a 15 and 17-year-old game to their new shiny one, they’d pass out from sheer mental disbelief.

  19. edwardh says:

    FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!! Missed it by TWO hours!!
    Oh well, I got the boxed games of both DKs anyway, just would’ve been a convenient backup and demonstration of interest in the original game instead of that recent crap. (and I have to say, I already wasn’t too much of a fan of the toned down DK2)

    • Werthead says:

      Can someone explain why was ‘toned down’ about DK2? I hear this a lot, but never any specifics.

      • RedViv says:

        Fewer creatures and heroes leading to fewer (and by default less extreme) interactions, plus a not quite as diverse look with the removal of most of the non-humanoid characters. A general balancing problem resulting from the inclusion of ease-of-access features while also dialling down the difficulty, making much of the singleplayer rather boring, which is only slightly improved by the specific map setups – which are in themselves a problem, as you are forced to take the one or two approaches the level designer had in mind. Heck, I had a playthrough of DK2 in December and I did only build traps and doors in two or three maps. That doesn’t feel all that Dungeon Keeper to me.
        Oh, and lastly, the atmosphere, the darkness and evilosity settings, were switched from Dark Metal Lord to Morning Cartoon Villain.

        It’s not a bad game, but… it feels like the heart of DK was lost somewhere. Its shiny crystal filled with pure evil taken, replaced with a pulsing pit of evil maybe organic lava but really who can tell.

      • edwardh says:

        Contrary to RedViv’s explanation, mine is a lot simpler: Less gore.

        I appreciated that Dungeon Keeper was very dark, macabre and violent. DK2 was somewhat light-hearted in comparison.