Just Like: Clockwork Empires Coming To Early Access


John got to play Clockwork Empires during GDC, and he became instantly and irrevocably reviled by the rest of the RPS Hivemind. We might have evolved beyond such base pursuits as love, non-telepathic word-o-mancy, and ever doing anything other than playing games and furiously scribbling about them long ago, but boy do we do jealousy well. I daresay we do jealousy at a 14 millionth grade level. So John will continue to wilt under the minimal pressure of our passive-aggressive ire, because goodness gracious does Clockwork Empires’ fusion of simulation, oddball steampunk antics, and peerless AI sound magnificent. Good-ish news, though: John Q Public Nathan Q Me will be able to play it this summer. It’s so close, yet so far away.

Dungeons of Dredmor developer Gaslamp made the announcement/slight delay official in a blog post:

“We have spent an intense few weeks considering our plans for the next few months, and as a result, we’ve decided to push back early access of Clockwork Empires to the summer. It’s a short delay from our original release window for early access, but a delay nonetheless.”

“Almost everyone who has played the current version of Clockwork Empires can see the promise of what we want the game to be when it’s done. The message that we keep hearing is ‘don’t force this game out the door until it’s ready, because it will be really special when it is,’ and we want it to be there when you play it.  In the spirit of transparency, starting early access this spring would not allow us to give you that – close, but not quite hitting the mark yet.”

Understandable. I didn’t actually know it was coming to Early Access at all (though I sort of suspected), so this still counts as good news in my book.

This is definitely one to watch, as it contains AIs that procedurally share memories and – as you would expect – use them to form cults that bend knee only to the oozing-est of Eldritch horrors. And also soldiers who will learn, organically – not because they’re programmed to do it – to drink their pains away. And heaps of possible personality traits. And fish people! Promise abounds. I really, really, really hope Clockwork Empires manages to tick all of those boxes instead of ticking people off. For now, however, we wait. Tick-tock, tick-tock.


  1. GallonOfAlan says:

    Clever Boomtown Rats reference, cheers

  2. Mags says:

    we have sworn not to mention the unmentionable grain

  3. Lobotomist says:

    Hey. Great game!
    Great respect to their art lead !

  4. DantronLesotho says:

    I’m really glad they are delaying this. The love that was put into Dungeons of Dredmor is something that is admirable. I can only imagine how wonderful this game is going to work out and although I want it out ASAP, I definitely want them to have their time perfecting it.

  5. Tams80 says:

    I hope this game winds up well.

  6. Smashbox says:

    I want to play this so bad! And now ALL OF YOU know it.

  7. SillyWizard says:

    I hope this game sucks!

    No, srs. This sounds like it’s going to devour my life once it comes out, unless it’s awful. Please be awful.

  8. The Random One says:

    This is the only game I’m really looking forward to, and even then I’m not the least bit interested in Early Access. I’m invincible! (Or at least unflappable.)

    • P.Funk says:

      I am very very interested in this, perhaps its the only thing on the horizon that’s catching my eye, other than Ultimate General. I however am perfectly susceptible to early access. Gimme gimme.

      How many people are missing out on Kerbal Space Program out of some silly strict aversion to early access?

  9. The Sombrero Kid says:

    It’s rare for me, but i expect i will pay for this as soon as I’m able.

  10. zeekthegeek says:

    I’ve already played a little bit at their office and it is indeed intriguing. It’s not all there yet but the potential is great.

  11. LordDamien says:

    This game definitely looks like one of those games where losing is fun, alike Dwarf Fortress, and that’s really something difficult to achieve.
    More games should make you want to lose and see how all your nice civilization perishes onto the deep horrors from beyond.

  12. Josh W says:

    I’m looking forward to this, and I’ve also noticed something weird about it:

    You know how when minecraft came out, a lot of people noticed it reminded them of dwarf fortress?

    Looking back now it’s hard to picture it, but at the time just the idea of going underground in a procedural world and hunting around for good things to mine, while avoiding the dangerous things that live in the surprise caverns, all of that was a dwarf fortressy thing, something that is possible to get much more immediately in minecraft, to the extent that without thinking back about it I didn’t really associate it with dwarf fortress at all. But that idea of mining and building and exploring an underground world used to be one of the particular things it did.

    And I think clockwork empires is going to do something similar to mental state based quirky social AI. To those who know, that’s a dwarf fortress thing, finding out what your dwarfs do and how they interact with each other, reading their customised life histories and seeing what art they produce. But clockwork empires could easily develop it in their own way to create an entirely different form of expressive system, directly focused on that kind of thing, and take that little bit of the game as it’s own.

    My first reaction is actually to feel sorry for the dwarf fortress guys on being scooped, and wonder if they’ll move on into something else, but on the other hand, people creating a really gameable and weird bitty object-based social model is awesome. The last thing I want is for people to stop being inspired to make games I like because they want to let the older developers finish their endless game!