Bizarro strategy-RPG Pit People launches next week

Pit People

The Behemoth have charted a very strange course through the games industry. A small studio established by Flash-hub Newgrounds’ founders, they followed up their Metal Slug-esque Alien Hominid with Castle Crashers, a bright and breezy brawler. Next up was co-op platformer Battleblock Theater, a logical enough progression. I’m still not sure why they opted to make the direct sequel a hex-grid, turn-based strategy RPG, but I’m glad that they did.

After over a year in Early Access, Pit People is due for release, and will officially be 100% complete and ready to consume on March 2nd.

Quite bafflingly, Pit People is a direct sequel to the events of Battleblock Theater. In the course of escaping from your technicolor cat-prison in that game, you inadvertently caused the end of the world by shooting down a giant six-armed space bear, which collided with Earth, infecting the already strange world with its mutagenic green blood. Cue the Weirdpocalypse.

Not to say that the space bear is dead, of course. He’s alive, well and still quite cranky about the whole getting shot incident, so he whiles away the time by tormenting the strange little mutant people on the planet below, bombastically narrating their fates. Battleblock’s Will Stamper returns to ham things up to 11 in this role as you’d expect, and from what I’ve played of the current early access version, he carries it pretty well, although perhaps doesn’t get as much speaking time as I would have liked.

As with their previous games, Pit People can be played both co-operatively or online against strangers. Mechanically, it’s a strange little thing, with combat actions being performed automatically, while movement happens simultaneously as both teams scramble around the board. There are some odd and offbeat units as well, with your very first healer being a sentient cupcake that scoops out chunks of its own delicious body (at the cost of health), catapulting them to heal allies in the front lines. I could elaborate further here, but Brendan has saved me the trouble by sharing his extended pre-review thoughts on the game here.

The release version of the game will feature a reworked world map, finally-complete cutscenes (many of them at present are just scruffy animatics, which is strangely adorable), the conclusion of the weird main story arc and the addition of another 15 sidequests, as well as a slew of improvements, quality of life tweaks and more. The Behemoth aren’t ready to release the full change-log yet, but say it’ll be their longest by far for the game.

The final version of Pit People will be out on Steam next Friday, and if their Early Access store panel is to be believed, may be accompanied by a price increase from its current £11/$15.


  1. Turkey says:

    I don’t think I would play it on my own, but I had a surprisingly good time playing it in local co-op with friend.

  2. Raoul Duke says:

    I have this. I find it very… mobile app-ish. There’s potential there, but too much of it is too streamlined for my tastes.

  3. Seafoam says:

    The only reason you need to play Pit People is to listen to Stamper’s sexy, sexy voice

  4. Thunderkor says:

    All I want is another Castle Crashers. I’m not saying the shouldn’t branch out and do other stuff, too. But I just really want another Castle Crashers..

    • Frank says:

      Opposite for me. All I wanted was Pit People (bought in EA), though I have no problem if they want to continue making action games or whatever.

  5. Hieronymusgoa says:

    As odd as Pit People is is my relationship with it: I bought it in Early Access and then never got around to play it so far. Guess now I can wait until it is properly released to play that version :) But…it is also fine as a classic single-player game, amirite? I bought it because I had some nostalgic Shining Force-feels (with odd cupcakes sprinkled in) when I saw it the first time.

    • titanomaquis says:

      Any time I see a tactical turn based rpg, I hope that it is something like shining force, which is why I clicked on this article. If there is any game I’d like a successor to right now, it Shining Force. I love that game series so much. I can’t think of anything that does what it does better. I love Fire Emblem, but I hate that there are no towns to explore and npcs to talk to. I’d also like a way to play shining force 3 without using ROM hacks.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        The closest I’ve played to a proper Shining Force successor is Soul Nomad and the World Eaters on PS2, which should be playable on most PCs via emulation now.

        It’s by the same studio as Disgaea, but it’s much more down to earth, with power-levelling and absurd min-maxing unnecessary to complete the main story arc, and it has that familiar mix of squad tactics, chattering to townsfolk and party building.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Ah, yep, here’s some footage of it running on PC.
        link to

        They’re using a widescreen hack, so some UI elements are a little stretched, but the gameplay itself is 16:9

        • Hieronymusgoa says:

          It is very nice to see fellow Shining Force fans :) I tried all the other stuff like FF Tactics and all but the only thing which (and oddly it is nothing like it) tickled my Shining Force fancy is Ogre Battle on the SNES back then.

          I’ll check out Soul Nomad, thanks a lot!