Scaling The Heights: Dragon Early Access

Magic Carpet, but a dragon. That’s Dragon, an Early Access game that was the first thing to spring from my inbox this morning. It’s an open world monster simulator, in which you’ll be able to team up with scaly chums in multiplayer while propelling your bulk around the world, chomping villagers and scorching villages. The aim is to make a game in which you can do all the things a dragon tends to do, including lair construction, gold hoarding and terrorising the locals. There’s mention of late-game politics, with elder dragons imposing their might on the world politically and economically, but that’s a long way off. For now, you can fly and you can frazzle.

Like a sneaky little salamander you might meet in a bar one night, Dragon: The Game is talking the talk but it doesn’t have the walk or the hoard to back up the words just yet. Sure, it might eventually have the kind of wingspan that’ll make you swoon and enough gold for the inaugural Scrooge McDuck synchronised swimming gala, but right now it’s more of a Bic lighter than a volcano. According to the Early Access page, this is how the final version will differ from what’s available now:

The full version of Dragon will expand on the core game-play of Early Access. Better character models and art, new bodyparts and weapons. Mid to late game will also be expanded with ways to economically and politically impact the world around you. Your dragon will also age and grow becoming potentially much larger as you carve your legacy into the world.

Right now, it’s a proof of concept. There are dragons and you can control one – if the servers are behaving, friends and strangers can control others – flying around the world, finding settlements to raze and…that’s about it. There’s every chance that Dragon will fail to achieve its potential but I like the idea of an open world fantasy game from a different perspective. And I like dragons.

Is it worth a tenner? At the moment, a brief flap around the environments suggests not, unless you’re happy to drop the cash to support development, knowing the whole plan might never come to fruition. It’s about as bare-bones as this chap.

Right now, your dragon needs might be better sated in Choice of the Dragon. If your first decision isn’t to knock the knight off his horse with a slap of your tail, you will never be the best of dragons.

30 Comments

  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Thanatos reborn!

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    Harlander says:

    I’m always interested in games where you’re a dragon going around and making a giant, fire-breathing nuisance of yourself. I shall keep an eye on this appropriately!

  3. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    “FIRE! FIRE!” – Shut up Beaves! Hehe..

  4. MrLoque says:

    Cool concept but …. it looks like a game from 10 years ago :|

    • SomeDuder says:

      Funny you should say that, I was immediately reminded of Drakan, not just in terms of the setting, but also the graphical style and even quality.

      On that note, check out the Drakan games, for a fully immersive dragon-riding experience, that doesn’t depend on silly multiplayer to get your yucks. It even has something magical called a “single player mode”, where you can follow a story and explore the game’s world!

      Boy, videogames sure have grown up in the right direction.

      • int says:

        The dragons in the game need a half-naked lady ontop.

        • SomeDuder says:

          Well, it did say it’s gonna be a “community-driven” thing, and unless it’s constrained to “Give us your money and you’ll get some kind of software thing”, you could suggest this on their dumb forum. Careful though, their forum might be:

          – Run by manchildren who get to wield authority for the first time in their lives
          – Inhabited by furries (or whatever the type is called that wants to have sex with lizards)
          – Non-existent, which is really the best outcome

          Oh well, a fun afternoon guaranteed!

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          Harlander says:

          Frank Frazetta’s Dragon, eh?

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        JiminyJickers says:

        I wish I can get hold of a copy or Drakan these days. Only ever played the, rather large, demo and loved it. Could never find a copy on sale.

  5. Cinek says:

    This looks… like a great idea with totally, utterly, horrible implementation.

    • MrLoque says:

      I agree. I can’t see myself playing it even for free. It just looks ugly.

      • Yglorba says:

        The fire looks horrifically ugly (which is a major warning sign to me, since I’d expect it to sort of be the most important part in a dragon game), but the rest didn’t look that bad.

        • Baines says:

          The whole game looks much worse if you watch Jim Sterling’s video of it.

          The official trailer doesn’t show things like how the choice of ground textures make the dragon look like it is around the size of a small bird.

  6. Uglycat says:

    You had me at Magic Carpet.

  7. SanguineAngel says:

    Great idea but very little to go on at the moment. I presume the iffy graphics are place holders for the proof of concept but actually, I’d rather see more of the gameplay features in place and working well before anything. If they were able to implement the game as they describe (although I am not sure how important the MP stuff would be to me), with natty writing too, then I’d be less concerned about the dated looks. I’ll keep my eye on it.

    However, Choice of the Dragon is utterly utterly wonderful

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      Harlander says:

      I can look past (ha) dated visuals as long as they hang together well enough. It’s when the elements clash and produce a migraine-inducing mess that it’s a problem.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        It gives a poor first impression – whilst they can claim visuals will be updated (and they may well actually produce a glorious looking game in the future, given the chance) we’ve only this as a basis for information on the visual style they’re a) aiming for and b) capable of

  8. razgon says:

    Reminds me a bit about Dragons Breath to the Amiga (Where my username is from incidentially).

    I’ll not be purchasing into it yet, but it does look kinda interesting.

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    Hodge says:

    I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned Dragon Strike yet. Great game, though sadly now dated to the point of being unplayable.

    • jrodman says:

      IMO, it was only marginally playable at the time. Pretty fascinating though even so.

  10. MadTinkerer says:

    The more like Hoard it is, the better. At least, for me.

  11. Hologue says:

    If you want to go play a better version of this game that is out right now, go play “The I Of the Dragon”

    It’s from 2004 but it’s a really good game. Full RPG dragon characters of different classes, levels, towns to build and defend and level up, and a good amount of old fun.

    The I of the Dragon will probably be a better game than this game will ever be, and it’s been out for almost 11 years. Also, it has better graphics LOL

  12. Demon Beaver says:

    The movement seemed a bit off to me. The flapping of the wings didn’t lift the dragon into the air and a lot of times it looked like it was hovering while doing random wing movements…

  13. NotToBeLiked says:

    They should inquire with Larian to licence Dragon Commanders combat engine. The flying in there was pretty good. The rest of that game was disappointingly undragonly.
    I do hope they make it into a really fun power fantasy game, and it doesn’t turn out that you are actually a nice dragon, helping the poor innocent humans against the evil monsters. Overlord had the same disappointing ‘evil, but not really’ thing going.
    You should start out the game as a Dragon whelp, quietly snatching away household pets. Then slowly learn to fly, start grabbing bigger livestock and the occasional human. Grow up to a badass dragon, destroying ever larger towns, cities and armies, increasing your reputation. For the endgame, amass a fortune and become a huge monstrosity, sleeping in huge piles of gold, fending of valiant heroes.

    • rooppa says:

      As I read this, my inner monologue got more and more evil and menacing as went through it. This really needed a MAUARHARHAAAA at the end.

      But do completely agree, from a truly “I want to be evil in a game” point of view, It would be very refreshing.