War for the Overworld: Dungeon Keeper rises from the grave
Like so many wonderful PC franchises, Bullfrog’s delightfully evil Dungeon Keeper series was the victim of the green grass of the console market. Dungeon Keeper 3 was in development 12 years ago, but got taken out back and shot in the head because nobody played games on PCs after the turn of the millennium. Every now and then someone from EA teases us with the possibility of a new game, but it’s only because they are cruel.
You can put down your spade, pick, or drill and cease construction of an actual dungeon, however, as Subterranean Games are doing what EA won’t. War for the Overworld is exactly what the red skinned, hoofed, horny doctor ordered — a dungeon building RTS/god game, essentially a spiritual successor to Dungeon Keeper, with a bit of Overlord, StarCraft and Evil Genius thrown in for good measure.
Subterranean Games has just launched a Kickstarter for the project, and it’s been pledged £8,000 out of its £150,000 goal. The team is comprised of people who have been working on the title in their free time while working full-time jobs, and it’s the studio’s first game.
The team explains that they’ve “fused together the best components from the RTS and god game genres to create War for the Overworld; here you will find familiar elements from Dungeon Keeper, Overlord, StarCraft and Evil Genius. Your domain lies beneath the surface of this realm, and it is here that you will begin to build your sinful empire.”
As they tend to do, the surface heroes are none too chuffed about having a dungeon filled with beasties below their feet, so they make a habit of trying to break into the dungeon and put all the innocent, murderous creatures to the sword. Of course, there are lots of obstacles to throw in their path. “In War for the Overworld youhave the power to create vast dungeons filled with hordes of evil minions who share a common goal: to crush the bones of the goodly heroes that dare to enter your unhallowed halls. You will command mighty armies, create vicious traps and cast dastardly spells to overcome the pitifully gallant armies that defend foolish principles such as “honour” and “righteousness” — it’s going to be more fun than taking candy from a baby… ”
It looks like it would everything one would hope for from the spiritual successor to Bullfrog’s classic; from spells to cast and research, devious traps that annihilation foes, autonomous minions that build and fight, stalwart fortifications and dozens of unique rooms, as well as a few intriguing twists. For instance, minions can learn occult magic and with the right ingredients and appropriate sacrifices, they can empower all of their chums.
The studio is working on three modes: A single-player campaign, the first episode of which will be set underneath the Sterling Empire and pit players against Emperor Stockington, customisable multiplayer with “as many of your friends as you want”, and a sandbox mode.
If you want a quick taste, you should meander over to the “Playable Showcase” or as I like to call it, the wee demo, and take it for a spin. You can only walk around and stare at things, but once the Kickstarter reaches £10,000 more of it will be opened up. Despite not being able to do anything, the art direction seemed comfortingly familiar, and the whole experience was reminiscent of possessing minions in Dungeon Keeper. There was even a beating dungeon heart, though unfortunately not surrounded by gold.
I think I’ll go and sacrifice an errant knight in anticipation.