Overlord Sputters Back Into Life, Cryptically

Overlord 3: Now Where Did I Leave My Hat?

There’s some fondness for old man Overlord ’round these parts, isn’t there? I mean, no-one’s filing it alongside Deus Ex or anything, but it was a jolly enough time, as I recall. Herding malevolent imps around, wanton cruelty for comic effect, being disparaging about humanity, that sort of thing. The hitherto two-game series is about to make some manner of comeback, depending on how much you want to read into cryptic teasing. Though it’s about as overt as cryptic can be.

Publisher Codemasters just resurrected the official Twitter account for Overlord character Gnarl, whose updates are positively dripping with vaguely pithy portentousness. “Evil always finds a way,” “This won’t be the last you hear from us meat sacks”, that sort of thing.

Whether it’s a full-on Overlord 3, a mobile port or a remastering remains to be seen. Publisher Codemasters is not, apparently, in the rudest of health, so something easier/cheaper than a full sequel wouldn’t be terribly surprising, but fingers crossed, eh? It’s been six years since Overlord 2, after all, and it’s not like anything else has successfully cornered the Dungeon Keeperish Being Evil Is Funny Haha market in that time.

As well as little things like, oh I don’t know, its name and anything at all about what it is, there’s no word on whether Overlord 1&2 writer Rhianna Pratchett – also of Mirror’s Edge and Tomb Raider – will be involved. That’s because there’s no word on anything, other than that something is probably happening, or at the very least some Codies intern got bored and started a Twitter account.

There’s a picture too, but you already saw that when you clicked on this post, right?

35 Comments

  1. Author X says:

    I’m excited, it would be fantastic to have an Overlord game that’s actually, you know, good!

    I mean, properly good, rather than, “the story and writing are quite entertaining if you can put up with the controls” and, “there’s quite a few good bits once you get past the frustrating bits”

    • Pazguato says:

      The first one was pretty good in the opinion of many, myself included. It’s important to stress it’s a game by dutch Triumph Studios, of Age of Wonders fame, published, yes, by Codemasters.

      The second one was a bit disappointing but not bad. I was expecting they take further what was already in the first one but it was essentially the same and more bland. They need to make it more strategic and varied. And hire again Rhianna Pratchett, of course.

      • Xocrates says:

        I’m of the opposite opinion. I really liked the second one, in particular for being less bland, with more interesting levels and characters. The first one was incredibly repetitive and never deviated much of a very standard fantasy pastiche.

        Granted, gameplay wise 2 didn’t deviate much from the first, but it essentially improved on the first on nearly every way.

    • Bugamn says:

      For me playing with a gamepad helped a lot.

  2. Unclepauly says:

    Evil Pikmin 3!@

    • ulix says:

      Always wondering why nobody else picked up on another ingenious Miyamoto idea. Are Pikmin and Overlord really the only games in this weird and amazing little Genre?

      • DasBilligeAlien says:

        Sacrifice and Nekro spring to mind. But both are more RTS rhan puzzler. Sacrifice is available on GoG and Nekro is on Steam. But i have not plaed Nekro so far.

        Sacrifice has very steange feeling.to it. Wich I love. Awesome Shiny design (MDK, Messiah)

        • Bugamn says:

          Sacrifice was older than Pikmin and played quite differently, it was really more of an RTS. Although that could be seen as a consequence of the controls.

  3. Snowyflaker says:

    Considering that Rhianna Pratchett retweeted the “announcement”, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see her return as head writer for the next Overlord title.

  4. commentingaccount says:

    I thought Codemasters had said “Fuck it, only our racing games sell anything so we’re changing our name to Codemasters Racing”?

  5. mcnostril says:

    The main reason to play the Overlord games was to have an army of goblins wearing pumpkins for helmets, and desperately trying to keep them alive as long as humanly possible.

    Hopefully this new game focuses on the more important pumpkin-based side of things.

    • WJonathan says:

      That was my main problem with the game: it wasn’t particularly evil. Yes, the minions were very funny (for a while) and it was all quite pretty to look at, but the level design was restrictive and the missions became quite dull and eventually stock-standard. The Overlord was just actually doing random help-quests for people; even the “evil” choices were relatively good. It was around that halfway point that I realized it was a basic adventuring game with no real exploration (a lot like Fable). In fairness, it’s probably impossible to make an entire game based on doing the opposite of what you’d normally do in an adventure. The whole gameworld would collapse.

      • malkav11 says:

        You went around killing fantasy adventure protagonists so supposedly you were evil. That’s pretty much the long and short of it. Except they were all clearly villainous inversions of the usual tropes so you weren’t evil in the slightest.

      • aepervius says:

        “In fairness, it’s probably impossible to make an entire game based on doing the opposite of what you’d normally do in an adventure. The whole gameworld would collapse.”

        The whole gameworld collapse was the goal with DK, DK2. I would argue that also the throne of baal managed, as you become the god of murder and many quest had an evil side.

  6. Bansh says:

    I want to be excited about this. Cynicism is winning though, Dungeon Keeper style mobile ‘Free2Play’ expected.

  7. Premium User Badge

    tigerfort says:

    There was a puzzle-solving DS spinoff a few years ago, too. No idea whether that was any good. But I’d certainly be interested in a third proper Overlord game with RP writing and lots of silly hats for my goblins to get slaughtered in.

    • frogulox says:

      It wasn’t terrible, but the shift in focus was enough to sqush the feels a little.

      Mostly there was a critical bug in the something levek that madenit impossible to complete the level. And you didnt know if you had triggered the bug until you couldnt proceed. And it was a long complex level. Lame.

  8. Koozer says:

    Watching the imps run off to rummage through junk, emerging with hodgepodge armour and buckets on their heads was great fun. I hope they make the Overlord actually evil this time though.

  9. Crafter says:

    I loved the first one but found the second opus profoundly unfunny (but that’s very subjective).
    I would love to see a third opus though :)

  10. tomimt says:

    This reminds me that I should really play the old ones through. I got them from Steam sale as a bundle I reckon, and while I did give the first one a spin, I ended up dropping it from some reason. I do recall it being relatively fun though.

  11. Zenicetus says:

    I thought the first one was a lot of fun in the early stages. But it got increasingly frustrating as each encounter started relying more on linear scripting to solve puzzles, with only one solution in the order and types of minions used. I guess I wanted more of an RPG and less of a puzzle game, which isn’t entirely the game’s fault, but I didn’t manage to finish it. I tried the demo for the second one, and it just wasn’t enough to pull me back in.

    It’s probably hoping too much, given the likely budget for a 3rd one, but I wish it was a little more focused on role-playing and a more open world feel. And yes, as someone else here said, find a way to retain the humor, but make the Overlord more obviously Evil. Aside from a few bits in the early villages, the player avatar often felt like just your average adventurer with some minions to control.

  12. EhexT says:

    Oh boy I knew the RPS love for the consistently pointless Pratchett would be in this article the moment I saw it was Overlord. Let’s give her positive credit for writing Mirrors Edge and Tomb Raider, two games in which the story is incredibly bad and utterly contradictory with what the game actually does? Oh but wait here comes the “developers and publishers just don’t listen to her” excuse….

    • Person of Interest says:

      Well that was totally mean-spirited and unnecessary.

      • EhexT says:

        I find it deeply annoying when someone who has done nothing to justify it is held up as the great example of her craft because of nepotism or gender. Her supposed great stories for games that she writes don’t matter when the consumer never gets to see them because she can’t hold her own against the people making story and content decisions, resulting in those supposedly great stories never actually ending up in those games.

        She gets praise for writing that ends up in the bin and the same games she gets her writing that doesn’t actually exist praised for are often criticized for their poor stories by the same people that praised her. It’s proper Python mad.

        • Person of Interest says:

          I sympathize with your annoyance that someone or something can get praise that you think is unwarranted. And down at the bottom of this pool of venom you’ve poured into the comments section, I might even be able to see a sensible argument. But mostly, my eyes burn.

      • EhexT says:

        Basically whenever RPS brings up Pratchett they act like it’s some seal-of-proof-of-good-story, when in actual fact (which can be easily confirmed by going over her past record) it’s a sign that the game will have a Ludo-narrative disconnect bigger than the Grand Canyon.

        • Frank says:

          This post mentioned her and nothing more. No praise. No nothing.

          It’s clear that you were waiting for an opportunity to rag on her, so, um, … lucky you?

          Maybe people think it’s a good sign when a developer hires a dedicated writer (compared to winging it with their own even worse writing), but that doesn’t mean that the writer gets to determine the narrative. I think it’s very rare for devs to work with writers/storytellers from the beginning of development.

          Anyway, I know nothing of Pratchett, so if you’re worried about her getting a higher profile, maybe you ought to stfu, since your rant has alerted me to her existence … and also to the existence of a (seemingly misogynistic) backlash against her working in the industry.

        • Kempston Wiggler says:

          I love when people are not just dicks but return in follow-up comments to righteously justify WHY they’re being dicks.

          Take a step back from the keyboard and go for a walk or something, dude. The drop dead last thing the Internet needs is MORE of people being a dick to people they’ve never met. You want to huff and puff in the hopes someone “gets” you and validates your pissy anger-strop? Don’t be such a goddam child.

          And considering the woman just lost her father you’re not just being a dick but an EPIC dick. Seriously, man. NOT COOL.

        • Kempston Wiggler says:

          And I don’t care if RPS delete this. This needed said.

  13. Tyrric says:

    methinks it be an iOS port:

    link to twitter.com

    “This glow slate has notified me it requires lightning but there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Curse this useless trinket. “