Fans grown tired of waiting for an MMOG based on the
franchise might have reason to rejoice. style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands,
a Gamigo-published title under development by Drago Entertainment (makers of
the successful yet Eurocentrically marketed RTS style="font-style: italic;">Earth 2150
series) made it's debut at gamescom 2011. While style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands
might not have the licensing rights to Bethesda's runaway success, the
games looks to preserve much of style="font-style: italic;">Fallout 3's
flavor and quasi-sandbox spirit and (despite some polarizing
concessions to the style="font-style: italic;">Borderlands-inspired
cell shaded look) significantly improves upon its graphics.
Shown in pre-alpha state at gamescom, style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands
is centered on the American southwest. Some might prefer a post nuclear
scenario - radiation is a useful plot device in a dystopian game - but
Drago opted for a civilization-unravelling megaquake. That
doesn't mean that natural disasters won't carry their own level of grim
interest: gamigo’s Mathaüs Glinkowski hinted at
weather effects such as acid rain caused, presumably, by widespread
Games like Star
Wars Galaxies and style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan
have taken a stab at making player-created cities as cool as it sounds
in concept, but in style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands,
such cities are at the core of the game. Mathaüs explained
that the game would only have a few NPC outposts that function
primarily as mission hubs, so it will be up to players to populate,
develop, defend and run a limited number of city sites. Structures such
as hospitals and retail stores can be built and upgraded through
resource gathering and teamwork, but the highest quality settlements
must, of course, be carefully defended.
Crafting isn’t limited to the mammoth scale. Mathaüs
explained that crafting is a way of life in style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands.
Just like in style="font-style: italic;">Fallout,
you find trash and make cool stuff out of it, but unlike style="font-style: italic;">Fallout,
recipes are folded in with items. Pick up an item and you’ll
learn what Players will be able to craft everything from weapons to
upgrades to “buggies, trucks, jeeps, and even possibly
tanks.” The latter vehicles will allow multiple players to
jump in, and crafting gets pretty in depth – right down to a
tradeoff between max and effective range on individual batches of
bullets. In the larger sense, the economy will be based mostly on
barter, just as you’d expect in a post-apocalyptic setting.
Not only is
going off the beaten path in terms of setting, but the gameplay looks
to be pretty novel as well. The game has no levels and is entirely
skill-based – if you tend to take a lot of damage, your
character will (painfully) learn how to absorb it. If you slink around,
you’ll get more stealthy and agile. if you pick up a shotgun,
you’ll learn how to use it well, but if you pick up a pistol
and use it primarily, interestingly, your shotgun skill will start to
Even more interestingly are two bars along the bottom of the UI that
track your noise level and visibility. Firing a gun raises your noise
level tremendously, while sticking to the dynamic shadows lowers your
visibility. style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands
might be the first mainstream MMO to incorporate a stealth system that
works on both AI and player enemies. PvP will be a core part of the
game, obviously, but if players don’t want the player killing
experience, they can toggle off the PvP flag. The game will also
feature a arena PvP, according to Mathaüs.
Just like Fallout,
however, the environment is what piqued my initial interest in style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands.
Broken down windfarms, shantytown settlements, unexpectedly
mood-setting vestiges of civilization’s golden age (things
like, say, a gas station), and a fairly pristine, less-brown-than-usual
desert were the highlights of the brief demo session.
is also surprisingly close to launch. The Poland-based development team
is aiming for a December closed beta with release in Q2 2012. My hopes
for the game are manyfold – I love the setting and the game
will appeal to those who liked the style="font-style: italic;">Fallen Earth
concept but felt that maybe there weren’t enough community
hooks or graphical appeal. But so are my concerns; style="font-style: italic;">RAGE
might raise the post-apocalyptic bar uncomfortably for a game that
looks very good but lacks the tight direction, single-player emphasis,
and mammoth pocketbook of such a game. Still, style="font-style: italic;">Grimlands
is definitely one to keep your eye on in 2012.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Grimlands Game Page.