Cult: Awakening of the Old Ones announced

Now this is a game to watch. See that map to the right? That’s procedurally generated. But that’s not even the half of it.

Cult: Awakening of the Old Ones is ridiculously ambitious. Not only does this roguelike procedurally generate the entire world, the developer also aims to procedurally generate all of the characters and narratives that populate it. Here is how the developer describes it:

Cult is an open-ended role-playing game set in a user-generated world with a strong focus on storytelling, exploration, and environmental interaction.

Dialogue, the personal stories of the various characters you meet, cultural anecdotes, and even the mythology of each world will be generated from scratch. Conceptually, it’s fairly simple – I plan on writing many, many different possibilities for each different thematic element of the game to explore, so that each character, story, and personal exchange you make will seem organically unique.

The developer cites Dwarf Fortress as an influence, but he’s clearly aiming for hard narrative with comments like, “I want Cult to be something of a combination between playing a game and reading a fantasy novel.”

I admit to some skepticism. This sort of procedural storytelling has eluded the games industry for many years; legendary developer Chris Crawford has chased that white whale–without success–for decades. So I don’t believe for a fraction of a second that there’s anything “simple” about doing this. With that said, however, I’m highly interested to see what this developer comes up with. Here is where he’s at as of his last developer video, released last month:

Cult: Awakening of the Old Ones is running a Kickstarter campaign, but it has reached 100% funding as of the time of writing. So this game is definitely getting made; whether it ends up actually shooting the moon is another story.

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