Fancy Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain Revamp

Tin Man Games are running a Kickstarter to fund the final steps of development on their “re-imagining” of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [official site], the first in Jackson and Livingstone’s long-running and much-loved gamebook series. The developers have prior in this area, having adapted several FF books already, as well as writing and releasing their own digital choose your own advenure series. This new take on Firetop is different though – it looks like a cross between a gamebook and HeroQuest. Already funded, it may be of interest to fans of dungeons, dice and dustjackets.

My initial reaction to this wasn’t very positive at all. I immediately felt the need to compare it to Inkle’s elegant Sorcery! series of Steve Jackson gamebook adaptations, which are coming to PC soon. Where Inkle’s games are still heavily focused on the text itself, feeding it onto the screen in the same fashion used in 80 Days, Tin Man’s Firetop Mountain has opted for the look of a physical tabletop game. Instead of Sorcery’s map, which looks like an illustration plucked from the opening pages of a fantasy novel, Firetop Mountain has solid, chunky, gray slabs of dungeon.

The video made sense of some of those things though and I can see how the whole thing makes sense now. Having creature and character designs based on actual miniatures (sourced from Otherworld) is a smashing idea and while I’m not keen on the idea of realtime combat, the addition of various characters with their own routes and choices could be neat.

“You are no longer simply ‘The Hero’, but many potential heroes or even the inhabitants of Firetop Mountain themselves. Take a miniature into the dungeons and catacombs, each with their own motivations. This allows for many different adventures that will access hidden locations and give you new ways to interact with characters and creatures you meet.”

The Kickstarter has already surpassed its target and there’s enough extra cash for the first (and only announced) stretch goal.

“Russ Nicholson, the original illustrator of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, has kindly agreed to create new original art for us! If we reach $20,000 we will be able to add six new black and white full page interior illustrations into the game.”

Localisation into various languages is planned but that’ll depend on the final total. The game is already near the end of pre-production and the crowdfunds will mostly be spent on the creation and integration of art, sound and music. Release is expected around April and if the project is successful, what comes next might be worth waiting for:

“Following the release of Warlock, we plan on expanding our reach in Allansia and will be adapting a number of classic Fighting Fantasy titles such as Deathtrap Dungeon, the trap-filled and monster-infested labyrinth of Fang where many heroes compete in the Trial of Champions, followed by Citadel of Chaos and City of Thieves.”

I bloody well love Deathtrap Dungeon.

18 Comments

  1. BlazeHedgehog says:

    There was an adaptation of Warlock of Firetop Mountain for the Nintendo DS that was actually very impressive, but it was horrendously, unfairly difficult.

    This looks kind of cool, too.

  2. Kefren says:

    There’s also a boardgame of Warlock of Firetop Mountain. I played a game of it recently.

  3. Themadcow says:

    “I bloody well love Deathtrap Dungeon.”

    This… although I also have a soft spot for House of Hell, Appointment with F.E.A.R, and Robot Commando as well. Mainly because they did slightly different things with the mechanics (like the superpowers in F.E.A.R or different robot types you could use in Commando).

    • LaurieCheers says:

      Creature of Havoc, anyone?

      • jodi says:

        Creature of Havoc was fantastic, probably the most unique FF book. It’s the one that would be especially difficult to translate to a different medium.

  4. Muzman says:

    Kickstarter: One way to give Australia a games industry.

    • Jackablade says:

      Judging by size of the indie pavilion at PAXAus this year, we’re not doing too badly. A journalist friend of mine playtested 82 games for future review and I think that wasn’t all that was on display.

      We can certainly get a lot bigger and stronger but things certainly aren’t as dire as they looked a few years back.

  5. GrilledCheezz says:

    They’ve made a tremendous effort to replicate the look of table top gaming, but the movement kills the immersion for me. When I play table top mini games, I don’t move my pieces as though they are trolloping through the dungeon on pogo sticks and trampolines. I hope they tone down the bouncy castle effects prior to launch.

  6. RuySan says:

    It looks gorgeous. I just hope they don’t skip any of the original artwork, like what they did on Starship Traveller.

    BTW, is Inkle ever going to port the Sorcery! games to PC?

  7. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    Not sure about this, but I loved Sorcery! at the time, and the Inkle adaptations have a lot more content than the books looking at Yogscast. May have to give them a go.

    FEAR was pretty amazing, Caverns of the Snow Witch wasn’t bad, either.

  8. int says:

    O my god, I still have that book! I loved those fighting fantasy books.

  9. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    Well, I’ve just spent the last hour watching Yogscast’s play through of Sorcery! 2, and now I’m going to buy the first one..

  10. hermitskull says:

    I thought the Sorcery! adaptations were great, Starship Traveller not so much (but the source material they had for that wasn’t great to begin with). I hope this one is good, I made a pledge to help them along.

  11. NathanH says:

    I’m always in two minds about these gamebook adaptations that change up the mechanics significantly. On one hand, it interferes with the elegant simplicity of the original. On the other hand, I already have the books, so I can just play them anyway.

  12. Premium User Badge

    syllopsium says:

    Let’s face it, didn’t most of us cheat or at least ‘quicksave’ by keeping a finger in the books?

    Playing Starship Traveller properly at the moment, and dying a lot..

    • RuySan says:

      I think i actually finished Robot Commando and Forest of Doom without cheating, but for most of the books it was almost impossible without lots of luck and brute-forcing by learning the optimum route.

      • Premium User Badge

        syllopsium says:

        yeah.. I think I finished Forest of Doom myself successfully, and possibly its successor as well. Finished FEAR without cheating as well, and Warlock. Probably cheated on the rest..

        Just finished Starship Traveller using a solution – not ashamed of that, it’s too fucking obtuse to bother with.