Caves of Qud announced, public alpha released

Brian Bucklew of Freehold Games (the 3-person studio that you may remember as the developer of Sproggiwood) writes in to tell me about Caves of Qud, a strange retrofuturist science fiction/fantasy roguelike.

Impressively, Freehold Games have apparently been developing CoQ since 2007. (I mean, 10 years is actually not that enormous a period of time to spend developing a complex roguelike; but still!) Caves of Qud has been out in Early Access since mid-2015, making this announcement pretty late (but hey: better late than never, right?)

Anyway, let’s get to the premise:

Caves of Qud is a science fantasy RPG and roguelike epic steeped in retrofuturism, deep simulation, and swathes of sentient plants. Come inhabit an exotic world and chisel through a layer cake of thousand-year-old civilizations. Play the role of a mutant from the salt-spangled jungles of Qud, or play as a true-kin descendant from one of the few remaining eco-domes: the toxic arboreta of Ekuemekiyye, the ice-sheathed arcology of Ibul, or the crustal mortars of Yawningmoon. Decide: is it a dying earth, or is it on the verge of rebirth?

The developers write that “Caves of Qud is a deeply simulated, biologically diverse, richly cultured world.” They state that they “wanted to weave a rich, exotic, and well-researched culture around deeply simulated physical and political systems. The result is an open-world roguelike where the gameplay is unpredictable, the plants are sentient, and the development is ongoing.”

If you’re having trouble wrapping your head around this, well, maybe this trailer will help:

Features reportedly include:

  • Assemble your character from over 70 mutations and defects, and 24 castes and kits — outfit yourself with wings, two heads, quills, four arms, flaming hands, or the power to clone yourself; it’s all the character diversity you could want.
  • Explore procedurally-generated regions with some familiar locations — each world is nearly 1 million maps large.
  • Dig through everything — don’t like the wall blocking your way? Dig through it with a pickaxe, or eat through it with your corrosive gas mutation, or melt it to lava. Yes, every wall has a melting point.
  • Hack the limbs off monsters — every monster and NPC is as fully simulated as the player. That means they have levels, skills, equipment, faction allegiances, and body parts. So if you have a mutation that lets you, say, psionically dominate a spider, you can traipse through the world as a spider, laying webs and eating things.
  • Pursue allegiances with over 60 factions — apes, crabs, robots, and highly entropic beings, just to name a few.
  • Learn the lore — there’s a story in every nook, from legendary items with fabled pasts to in-game history books written by plant historians. A novel’s worth of handwritten lore is weaved together with a procedurally-generated history that’s unique each game.
  • Die — Caves of Qud is brutally difficult and deaths are permanent. Don’t worry, though — you can always roll a new character.

A full release of Caves of Qud is planned for sometime in 2018–but there’s no need to wait, as you can grab the alpha and start playing immediately for $9.99 via Steam Early Access. Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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1 Comment »

  • BarryB says:

    “…deeply simulated physical and political systems.” Given that they’ve got books, I wonder if the lore’s just going to be found there, or really integrated into gameplay, somehow. I mean, when’s the last time you played a rogue or rogue-lite that involved political systems? Best I can see is some caves may spawn guards, which is nothing much. Still–will be worth watching.


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