Diablo dev David Brevik goes solo with It Lurks Below

It Lurks Below

There are few accolades in PC games on the same level as ‘Programmer and designer on the original Diablo‘, but David Brevik gets to wear that badge with pride. However, leaving Blizzard following the release of Warcraft 3, his career has been a little tumultuous, to put it lightly.

Since leaving Blizzard, he has since worked on Hellgate: London, Dungeons & Dragons Online and was creative lead on the recently (and sadly) shut down Marvel Heroes. For his latest project, he’s going solo, old-school and indie, and his upcoming platform exploration/dungeon-crawling sandbox It Lurks Below looks more than a little like Terraria right now.

As it stands, at least going by the gameplay trailer above, It Lurks Below could pass for any of a hundred other Terraria imitators launched over the past few years. Fortunately, watching some extended gameplay footage on the official Twitch page for Greybeard Games (Brevik’s tiny indie outfit) there’s perhaps a bit more to it than just shameless imitation.

Watching it in action, it seems It Lurks Below is geared a lot more towards dungeon crawling than Terraria, with your town being a pre-fab assembled home base that you return to for healing and resupply rather than the main focus of your attention. Instead, you’re assigned quests to carry out in the dungeon beneath, which reward you with new abilities, character stat upgrades and new crafting recipes, meaning that in order to get stronger, you’ll always have to dig deeper and fight bigger, scarier monsters.

There’s also a greater Diablo-like focus on loot, itemization and cooldown-based powers. Given Brevik’s experience crunching those numbers on a multitude of other similar games, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to hope that this one will play a little more tightly than most games in this particularly wooly and casual sub-genre.

It Lurks Below will be available to purchase via Steam Early Access soon, and you can wishlist its page if you want to keep posted on exactly when it releases.


  1. syllopsium says:

    Poor bugger, to be involved in such a stream of unfortunately unsuccessful projects.

    That trailer is awful, though, and it’s taking far too long on Twitch to work out what’s going on. Makes me want to play Steamworld Dig, not this..

    • MrEvilGuy says:

      I liked the trailer and atmosphere, but didn’t check out the twitch gameplay.

    • Fluffy says:

      I find it rather sad, but I have to agree with you; that trailer is godawful, and it’s putting me off of even trying the game.

      Isn’t it funny that we’re holding tiny indy devs to such high marketing standards? I’ve bought more than one shoddy indy title because of a very shiny trailer – and I’m afraid to think of how many great games I might have missed because of a bad first impression.

      • syllopsium says:

        I’m not sure marketing standard is the right word. I definitely don’t insist on ultra high production values, or completely voiced speech (as was suggested to be mandatory in an incredibly entitled article here a couple of weeks ago), but it does have to show something new.

        VVVVVV was a great game, and frankly it looks awful, even allowing for the fact I started out with crap 8 bit games. Jeff Vogel has created some great games. Most things by Dave Gilbert/Wadjet Eye are decent.

        Steamworld Dig was a great game, and wasn’t exactly expensive. Waking Mars was excellent and damn cheap. Apotheon I lost interest in but it grabbed attention immediately with its style. This needs to compete with those.

  2. Throwback says:

    I have played and loved all of these games, except perhaps Marvel Heroes (Path of Exile and Zombasite are better). This sounds awesome.

  3. Niko says:

    This game is in dire need of artistic direction. I get that for a lot of people fun mechanics is enough, but it looks no different from a myriad of Terraria clones.

  4. Nelyeth says:

    Hard pass from me. From the trailer, I can’t see how this could not end up as just another Terraria copy. It looks like it has a more “hack’n slash” vibe, in that monsters are more numerous, tankier, and your character can take more hits, but that’s basically it. Artistic direction, gameplay, UI… It’s all the same. How is this any better than those mobile games that straight-up copy famous games to get players?

    • LessThanNothing says:

      Agreed, from the trailer it looks like a copy/paste of Terraria. Going to have to be way more interesting than that for people to buy in….

  5. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    I dunno, my bases in Terraria is usually a tower of tiny homes for all the NPCs and a room for work stations and chests, all made of dirt and wood and not something I really pay attention to. If I want to build interesting stuff, I play Minecraft, Terraria has more interesting things to explore for.

    As for this game, I hope “There’s also a greater Diablo-like focus on loot, itemization and cooldown-based powers.” is true, especially the powers part.

    The combat in Terraria could do with more skills and one of the updates I liked the best was when the gear could have random modifiers on them.

    All in all, I’d say I am cautiously optimistic about this game.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    I liked Hellgate: London, and D&D online was… fine I guess.

    I also liked Terraria, so hey. A terraria-like that is by someone who worked on those other titles too? May as well keep an eye on it, right?

  7. DantronLesotho says:

    I think this is great. It already shows good snappiness and ideas and Brevik knows what he’s doing. I’m signed on for this one for sure. I don’t understand people who derisively say “this looks like a terraria clone” but so what? Terraria was a 2d Minecraft until it eked out its own identity. Give the game some breathing room.

    • Nelyeth says:

      When people say Terraria is a 2D Minecraft, I say I agree… when it comes to the first hour of gameplay. Terraria is and has always been an RPG focused on weapon crafting/looting and boss fights, whereas Minecraft is a sandbox, with a stronger focus on creativity, multiplayer and mods in order to fully support whatever its players want to do with it.

      To come back to It Lurks Below, my beef with it is that it simply doesn’t show anything new so far (except for a hunger stat… don’t think I need to talk about it). From the game’s name and the screenshot in the article (notably the text “It knows about you now”), I assume it’ll have a story, possibly in a way that’ll differentiate it from Terraria. So why is the trailer just showing us explosions, numbers, ugly buildings and awfully messy gameplay when it could hint at what I assume is some sort of Lovecraftian horror, or focus on the “loot, itemization and cooldown-based powers”?

      The idea I get from the article is that it should be Terraria crossbred with a full-fledged RPG, with quests, abilities, potions and the like. What I see is a tasteless clone. Still, I’ll follow it from afar, to be sure I’m not missing a gem.