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May 19

War For The Overworld

WAR

One thing that’s always saddened me when I look at my gaming shelf is that Dungeon Keeper stopped with number 2. Two great games that I spent many, many hours playing and loving as I built up my dungeon, trained evil minions and taking them to face the forces of good to conquer and turn the land into a blissful land of corruption and evil.

Part of the sadness was, for me, that Dungeon Keeper 2 had a teaser trailer for a proposed Dungeon Keeper 3 with the Horned Reaper looking at bright skies, sunlight and smiling at the prospect before him. The idea of taking Dungeon Keeper from the underworld into the overworld was one that I found impossible not to get excited about but as the years progressed, nothing further came from Bullfrog/EA about Dungeon Keeper 3. Finally seeing the world that all of these heroes had fought so valiantly to defend, seeing what the portal gems had been created to protect and it felt like a natural move after the campaigns to defeat the Avatar and King Reginald and his Stone Knights.

Now though, it seems that we may have something as close to Dungeon Keeper 3 as we are likely to have. Subterranean Games launched a Kickstarter Project back in January for War For The Overworld and their dedication and loyalty to the core concepts of Dungeon Keeper is clear. Two things show this off clearly – The first stretch goal was a whopping £75,000 over the £150,000 target (and through pledges post Kickstarter on their own site, they managed it) so that they could get Richard Ridings, the original mentor from Dungeon Keeper, The Deeper Dungeons and Dungeon Keeper 2 to provide his vocal talents for the full game. The second thing that shows their dedication and that they’re sticking true to the source materials is this video of endorsement]. The support of Peter Molyneux to them is a great sign in itself, but his saying that it needs to continue and be done by people who love and care about Dungeon Keeper and that Subterranean Games have the passion, talent and his confidence that they can take it and improve what we have had before in Dungeon Keeper and Dungeon Keeper 2 is remarkable.

For those who backed the Kickstarter project at the Tier 3 level or above (or anyone who wants to go pre-purchase the game from the WftO site), Steam Keys have already been provided for a very early ‘Bedrock Beta’, that will keep growing and adding in more as the game gets closer to final release. As one of those backers, I’ve given it a try and it is definitely promising. Don’t get me wrong, it’s far from finished and there’s a lot to polish and add, but it has definitely managed to keep the feel of Dungeon Keeper and I’m looking forward to seeing it grow and get closer to release. Any concerns I have currently, I’m confident will be sorted long before release (the fog of war is very dark currently and can make it difficult to find your way back to the dungeon if you get lost and no limit on imps can mean you don’t actually need your creatures to oppose the heroes that are in one of the two test levels currently offered, but with us still being pre-picking creatures up functionality that could be a deliberate move for the moment).

I do wonder when thinking towards the later stages how they’ll give us something close enough to the iconic creatures of Dungeon Keeper to satisfy fans without putting themselves in the focused eye-line of EA’s legal team, but if Peter Molyneux is confident, then I should probably cast my fears aside until I see what they’ve done and been working on.

If you loved Dungeon Keeper or any of it’s spiritual successors like Evil Genius, go take a look at the War For The Overworld. And remember, as we were taught in Dungeon Keeper – It’s Good to be Evil.

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