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Bedlam: A Fallouty Roguelike Using Banner Saga's Engine

There are now two games called Bedlam. My guess is that, fairly soon, there will be only one game called Bedlam, given one (an FPS) is currently for sale on Early Access and another has only just begun its Kickstarter dance. I post about the latter now, not because of ‘haha silly them for not using Google’, but because it’s using the engine from the visually magnificent Banner Saga to render its deserts, desert bandits and and desert buses.
Of course, the engine is only part of what made The Banner Saga look so good. Evocative, careful and characterful art was perhaps the major element. Bedlam’s taking more of a mid-90s comic approach, which perhaps isn’t quite as striking, but there is some lovely stuff in the short clips they’ve shared so far.

It’s turn-based, squad-based combat, borrowing DNA from the likes of Fallout and X-COM, but the twist is that Bruce Willis was dead all along it’s set on wheels, in an Oregon Trail sort of way. You and your crew are travelling the wasteland in a Dozer, which looks like a bit like that thing the Jawas keep their kidnapped droids in, and you’ll need to keep them and it in good health during your trek through all sorts of hazards. Permadeath is in, you have finite passengers in your desert deathbus, and the Dozer itself is only able to suffer so much damage, so choose/fight/drive wisely.

The Dozer can be upgraded, with randomly-found and -bought weapons and add-on facilities, in what sounds a little like FTL. It can then help out your guys during the combat. Basically, Bedlam sounds like a cauldron of good ideas from other games, paired with an appealingly cartoonish take on post-apocalyptic style. This is pushing a bunch of my buttons, though as with any crowdfundy, clearly I’m not endorsing it until I’ve been able to play it.

Pitch video, as per tradition:

Skyshine Games, The folk behind it aren’t speculative newbs – we’ve got the former art director from Vigil (the Darksiders dev), a lead programmer who’s worked on a raft of arcade games and the composer from Gears of War. With a Kickstarter target of $130,000, they are going to have to do a whole lot of dancing to pull this off, however. They’re $21k into it at the time of writing, which isn’t bad for a first day’s work.

I do predict a hurried name-change soon, however. It’s just not good business to have two identically-titled games out there. Hopefully any change will be by mutual agreement, rather than anyone pulling a Langdell.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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