What is Legend of Grimrock?

July 5, 2011|

If you’ve found your way into this blog, you should be interested in what the game is all about. Legend of Grimrock is a fantasy game loaded with underground adventuring, tricky puzzles, combat and role-playing elements. In other words, it’s a dungeon crawl game.

It’s a genre that a lot of people consider old fashioned since nowadays there are huge open world RPGs filled to the brim with stuff like customizable horses, several-hundred-page scripts for subplots alone and, uh, talking dragons or spaceships I think. But we feel that some of the simple charms of dungeon crawl games have been forgotten and for no good reason too. To many, it might feel silly to make a 3D game in this day and age that constrains itself to grid based movement and environments but it actually works rather nicely when you think of combat as a game of tactics and timing. It works very well when designing puzzles too, which is an element we feel is very lacking, and in some cases completely absent, in modern RPGs. And, possibly most importantly, it also makes it possible for a small team of four developers to make a rather sizeable game!

Obviously it won’t have the same mainstream appeal as many big budget RPGs, but when you don’t have too much money you can afford to make niche games. And I’m not even joking! It’s pretty darn expensive to compete with the industry giants in their own game (ha!), so why not play the game by your own rules? That being said, we do hope that we can attract some players new to the genre too. After all it is a nice genre. It’s just that its fans have not been treated very well in the past, uhh, ten years or so… But we are doing our best to ease their plight!

So. Legend of Grimrock is a dungeon crawl game. It will be influenced by oldschool games of the genre but it won’t be a game that would have been possible to make fifteen years ago. It will look great, have loads of atmosphere, sound good and play well. We won’t be making many promises during the development since things will often change down the line, but those aforementioned parameters I can pretty much guarantee. And lastly, we’re hoping on bringing this game for iOS, PC and Mac and possibly some other platforms as well.

41 Responses to “What is Legend of Grimrock?”

  1. zurnl says:

    I was a big fan of Ultima Underworld. UUW was THE RPG of that time when i was introduced to pc-games and computer gaming. After that there were very few games like that (Lands of Lore…).
    I’m extremely happy you are doing this!

  2. ErikBauer says:

    A little bit of Nostalgia rises in me looking at your hand made map…
    I still have tons of them at home, 20 years old… but I still care them.

    Can’t wait to map your game :)

    • petri says:

      Hey Erik, good to see new faces here! That map fragment is actually part of level 1 :-D

      About mapping in general, we haven’t still decided if Grimrock should have an auto-map or not. It could make some puzzles too easy but for players not accustomed to oldschool difficulty levels it might be too much without one. What do you think?

      • ErikBauer says:

        Well… why not an integrated mapping tool?
        I mean: a Map object to put in the hand of a character. If the Map is in the hand, then ‘automap’ happens, if it is not in hand then ‘automap’ is gone.

        Now what happens if you restart mapping far from the last mapped point?
        The new map part is drawn in another page / different corner of the same page and the two different submaps are joined together only when you step (map in hand) from a point of the new map part to a point of the old one.

        This mapping tool should have ‘free hand’ tools to give the player to customize it’s own map by putting secret passages, signs, ground objects, monsters, notes, etc…

        Hope the explanation is clear enough…

        • ErikBauer says:

          Uh, of course automapping should just draw empty and full squares, doors and stairs, everything else is left to the player.

        • Sharkytrs says:

          ever played Etrian odyssey for ds?
          good little dungeon crawler
          create-able items and what not
          but the best little feature of the game was the mapping
          you had to draw the map your self on touch screen
          just like old school (eye of beholder etc)
          that always adds the added dimension of accuracy
          if you get a mapping wrong you spend a large amount of time
          running around the map again to find a passage you missed
          i miss that in modern RPG’s

      • Skan says:

        I vote for a Black-Crypt-like automapping feature. ;)

      • Qix says:

        Me too Eric! Love making maps for RPG’s
        If there is a difficulty, that might give you a chance to have both with and without automapping.
        Also, Eschelon (a small indie, old school RPG) has a mapping skill in game, the more points you put into it, the better your automap is. I always thought that was a good idea, it rewards people for going the hard route without the auto-map by having a couple more points to spend on the combat skills.

      • unwesen says:

        Ultima Underworld’s auto-mapping was near perfect to me: it only filled in outlines, and only those outlines you had in your cone of vision and that were no more than a few units of distance away. Labels you put in all by yourself. What UW got wrong is the distance at which walls were recognized; it was a bit silly just how close you had to get to them.

        As for any other auto-mapping feature, such as putting in area labels automatically… well, I like exploration, so if that happens the instance you *see* the area, I find it takes away fun. If you add labels once you’ve gone to a central point within an area, or you’ve auto-mapped a given percentage of the area’s walls, then I’m ok with it.

  3. Mariusz says:

    Amazing. I actually recently was imagining someone to use a modern engine to make a grid movement party crawler complete with the eye candy of mostly full screen view as an option along with a more traditional Might and Magic I-V interface with the world view being in a window. It’s brilliant that you Finns are making this dream into a reality.

    As for automapping, have it as an on/off feature or integrate it into the game system like needing a cartography skill or special spell. Automap never hurt the grid based Might and Magics. The trick is to make automap not be excessively detailed; just fill in squares you’ve visited so you know the basic layout of a place. Let the player annotate secret doors, levers, traps etc. Again, you could perhaps add an upgrade to a cartography skill so that the map is filled in with more detail. It would be an interesting tradeoff; do you forgo the simplification of mapping and keep the upgrade points for something else or would you rather not have to worry about recording everything you come across?

    • Dmitry says:

      Fully agree

    • Clocknova says:

      I remember playing an old dungeon crawler called “Citadel: Adventure of the Crystal Keep” on my Mac SE back in the late 80’s. That game used a skill-based automapping feature that would only start to function if you had the skill AND the right materials. I think integrating the mapping into the game world, rather than having it be a metaphysical feature of the UI, is absolutely key to having it not feel like a cheat.

      • Clocknova says:

        Actually, the more I remember and read about the various features of “Citadel,” the more I think you might want to draw some inspiration from it. It really did some things that few if any games of the time or since have done. For example:

        “An interesting feature of Citadel is that it supports non-consecutive multiplayer gameplay. Although you can have a maximum of six characters in your party at any one time, you can create as many as you like and switch between them. There is even a mechanism for protecting your characters with passwords, so you can let your friends and siblings play without worrying about them hijacking your characters. Everyone who plays on a given computer plays within a persistent world and locals at the tavern will give you information about characters lost in the Citadel in need of rescue. In fact, there is no ‘New Game’ option in Citadel. If you want to start completely afresh you have to reinstall the game. Furthermore, the game autosaves as you play, so if your party becomes trapped after falling down a pit (this happens a lot), you really do have to send in another party to rescue them.”

        Now I promise I’ll stop talking about “Citadel.” I cannot wait to play your game. Even more, though, I cannot wait to play your second game.

  4. Robert says:

    “… for iOS, PC and Mac and possibly some other platforms as well.”

    So you’re saying there might be an Amiga port? I can’t wait!

    • petri says:

      There might but I wouldn’t hold my breath! ;) unfortunately Amiga is commercially dead and buried but the spirit is still alive and kicking! I’m a big Amiga fan too and did many smaller games and demos together with Olli back in the days. Bloodfest might be worth mentioning here. Lots of good memories!

  5. [...] a new first-person dungeon crawler for the PC, Mac and iOS by the name of Legend of Grimrock. They describe the game as a grid-based dungeon delver of the Wizardry variety: Legend of Grimrock is a fantasy [...]

  6. ZappasGhost says:

    “you just have to press a button to make something awesome happen ”

    Without Guys like YOU, that would be the sad End of CRPG !

    Thank you for this ambitious project.

    I will be one of the first adventurer in your Dungeons.


  7. Skan says:

    I know it’s too soon to spoil all the fun maybe, but any info about the mana system / magic attacks? :)

    • petri says:

      Sorry, can’t reveal all the secrets yet! Actually we need to test out some ideas before we want to talk about magic in detail…

      But I can reveal at least one thing, that is the magic system is going to be much more cooler than selecting spells from a list – I hate that kind of systems because it feels like I’m doing spreadsheet calculations rather than being the Archmage of Des Academy.

      • Skan says:

        Haha cool. As long as there are some DM-like runes and a shitload of spells, I’m ok with that! ;)

  8. Manlypup says:

    Oh man… Memories of Eye of the Beholder, one of my favorite game series of all time. Thank you guys for returning one of my favorite types of rpgs back to life. I can’t wait!

  9. Hobbes says:

    I vote for no mapping feature ! it is much better to get lost sometimes (add fearness so hand mapping get interesting) and have to remember the path we follow.

    Maybe it could be an option to add a difficulty level which add/disable mapping feature to content everybody.

  10. Jack Dandy says:

    Looks very interesting.

    I’ve never played this exact kind of game before, but I’m looking forward to giving this one a shot!

    Good luck, guys!

  11. [...] won’t be a game that would have been possible to make fifteen years ago,” Almost Human explained in July. “It will look great, have loads of atmosphere, sound good and play well. We [...]

  12. Hey, I’ve read the whole thing and I can’t agree with you more, I miss the dungeon crawl games and I feel they should be brought back. I miss the games from the 90s. All RPGs were better back then! Good luck on your development! Will you have private beta testers? If so may I please participate :D:D:D?

  13. Mr. Fusion says:

    I’ve seen the gameplay Video of this game, looks interesting. :)
    But within a minute I’ve got serious motion sickness. XD Maybe adding a bobing could help or maybe I’m not hardcore enough for this game. ^^
    However, I never had much contact to Dungeon Crawler games, I#ve tried nethack but it was frustarating, because if you die, you start again from zero, I hope this game here is not that hardcore. I love to level up my characters, so I hope they don’t go back to nothing if you die ingame. ^^

  14. wachinayn says:

    A truly amazing project, guys!

    Keep up the good work. I’ll do whatever I can to promote it. You deserve every attention you can get.

  15. sjatplat says:

    Twittering Notch sent me to your game – and wow am I excited!
    It looks like an utterly wonderful updated version of a dungeon crawl. Fantastic graphics and lightning!
    I can´t wait. You have my money.

  16. Nick says:

    /\ What he said

  17. Peter says:

    Congratulations on your efforts.

  18. Alex says:

    This looks so cool. I remember playing these types of games with my brother 15 years ago, mapping out dungeons on grid paper and sketching out solutions to puzzles. The funny thing is though, nostalgia has little to nothing to do with why this has suddenly become one of my most anticipated games.

  19. kullendorff says:

    Oooh .. cant wait!

    Dungeon Master was the best game ever!
    Gif old school mode without any automap.

  20. Sean Kennedy says:

    I have to say that this is an incredible project. Having played Wizardy, Bards Tale, and Dungeons of the Unforgiven, I have to say that this has been something I have really missed. Awesomeness!

  21. Almost all says:

    I such as this site much, saved in order to fav. Nostalgia is not what it used to be. by Peter De Vries.

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