Klei Entertainment, an independent game studio behind games such as Mark of the Ninja and the Don’t Starve titles recently launched their newest project, Griftlands, on popular game distribution platform Steam. Griftlands was originally started as a role-playing game endeavor that aimed to provide players the freedom to do whatever they wanted and have their choices impact the world itself. However, the original iteration was scrapped after a few years of development due to the development team realizing they weren’t delivering the experience they wanted to.
Klei founder Jamie Cheng wrote in a post on the Klei Entertainment forums, “We wanted the story to be systemic, but it felt either robotic or too linear. We built a full trading simulation, modeling supply and demand, we built a fully-featured crafting system, and a dynamic faction simulator. Unfortunately, the whole was never better than the pieces; we found that each piece of the game felt disconnected with the rest and that actions often felt inconsequential. We built large worlds that felt tedious to travel around, and as designers, we knew the systems were not working to provide a holistic experience.”
Then, at E3 2019, Klei announced a reboot of Griftlands, a single-player roguelike card game that revolves around building decks which you use to negotiate, persuade, fight, or steal your way through the world. Players control one of three characters at a time, and every choice you make matters – what cards you pick, which sides you choose, and which jobs you take. In the alpha, you play as Sal, a freelancing adventurer out for revenge and profits, getting your hands dirty so others don’t have to. Sal uses two different decks – one for negotiation and one for battle, and both decks can be customized throughout the game.
The Griftlands reboot originally released in alpha exclusively on the Epic Games Store, on July 11, 2019. Recently, on June 14, it came to Steam in Early Access. The Steam Early Access release features Sal’s full campaign, as well as a second playable character and story. The next update, coming to both Steam and Epic Games Store, is coming out on June 25. The development roadmap expects to have the third character developed by the summer, and a full game release in late 2020.
Cheng continued on his forum post, “Griftlands has taken a long time, and it’s gone through more twists and turns than any of our previously released projects. Making new experiences is never easy, and if nothing else it’s guaranteed to work out differently than we anticipated…we’re looking forward to taking that journey with you, from Alpha to Early Access to launch.”
You can check out Griftlands at the Klei Entertainment website here.