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Beamdog said its roguelite adventure game MythForce will debut on early access on the Epic Games Store on April 20.
The original game from the studio in Edmonton, Canada is a swords and sorcery title inspired by 1980s cartoons. Aspyr Media will publish the $30 title on the Windows PC.
I got a brief preview of the game during a demo at the recent Game Developers Conference. I played the co-op mode with three other employees of MythForce who of course did all of the hard work clearing enemies out of the level so I didn’t have to do much. Players can also brave the dungeon alone. We whacked a number of skeleton soldiers in our battles on the early levels. The art style reminded me a bit of Dragon’s Lair.
The early access launch includes four playable heroes for MythForce Episode 1: Bastion of the Beastlord. Wielding legendary weapons and powerful magic, the heroes of MythForce face a series of increasingly difficult challenges as they explore overgrown ruins teeming with cartoon enemies.
Heroes level-up as they explore the dungeon, unlocking different perks for each playthrough, as well as special rank upgrades that carry over to new sessions. Procedurally-generated maps with randomized encounters and loot keep each playthrough fresh. In true roguelite fashion, each time players are defeated they have to start over at the beginning, but every playthrough makes them a little stronger.
MythForce is currently available to add to a wishlist from the Epic Games Store, and Episode 1: Bastion of the Beastlord will be playable on April 20, 2022. Beamdog will release additional episodes and updates during Early Access, incorporating input from Early Access community members.
“MythForce is a feel-good game that speaks to the kid in us. In early access, we want to collaborate with players who are excited by our wholesome, 80s vision for MythForce, and build up the best game possible. Community will be key to getting us to 1.0,” said Oster.
Established in 2009 by BioWare cofounder, Trent Oster, Beamdog is best known for bringing beloved Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying classics like Baldur’s Gate and Planescape: Torment back to life across modern platforms. The cartoon roguelite, MythForce, is the first of many original titles Beamdog hopes to launch. I played it on a keyboard and concentrated on the special abilities of my mage with the Q, E, and R keys.
“It’s a wonderful player co-op, first-person fantasy, dungeon hack roguelike,” said Trent Oster, founder of Beamdog, in an interview with GamesBeat. “It has a 1980s cartoon take, and all of us were 1980s babies. We grew up watching things like Thundercats and [Watership Down]. We want it to be a love letter to that era.”
The four main characters include the mage, the knight, the hunter/archer, and the rogue. Their abilities complement each other. I did a quick tutorial and dove in right away.
“I’m beyond excited to finally show off our team’s original work,” said Oster. “MythForce is pure, unadulterated fun— right out of the Saturday mornings of my childhood. With a simple yet satisfying game loop, it’s a big departure from the RPG classics we’re known for, but the Beamdog DNA is evident if you know where to look.”
The controls were simple, inspired by Minecraft and Fortnite.
“As a roguelike, we want it to challenge players,” Oster said. “We expect players to fail more than they succeed. But through repeat playthroughs they will have the ability to become more powerful through our metagame systems.”
You can, for instance, get special abilities over time and get better stats too. The game will have an in-game store with cosmetics that you can buy.
The company expects to hold on to its creative vision, but it will also listen to feedback coming in from the early access players, Oster said.
“We are very open to being guided along that by solid feedback. We’re big fans of a lot of early access titles, like Subnautica, and we love how those games just found a lot of their footing with fans,” Oster said.
The game is being built on the Unreal Engine. The animations take place against a backdrop of beautiful backgrounds.
The team has about 50 people, and the plan is to do regular content updates during early access.