Stirring Dragon Games Announces Unknown Realm: Siege Perilous (Now On Kickstarter!)

Stirring Dragon Games have revealed the project that they first teased back in April of this year: Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous. What is more, a Kickstarter campaign has been launched to fund the completion and release of the game (as Unknown Realm has already been in development for a few years already).

Why is it that anytime you ask an RPG fan what their favorite game is, they will almost inevitably name a game that was made 30 years ago? You know the games we’re talking about, games like Ultima, Legacy of the Ancients, Wasteland, SSI “Gold Box” titles, or some other game from the “Golden Age” of RPGs. Despite the high-end graphics and advances of modern RPGs, they still somehow fail to live up to the enjoyment found in these fan favorites of the past.

Let’s face it: those low-fidelity RPGs had something special. They had the perfect mix of presentation and gameplay that allowed your imagination to run free. Sadly, for some reason, game companies decided to stop making single player RPGs like this and thus abandoned a generation of RPG fans…until now.

We here at Stirring Dragon Games think it’s a shame no one is willing to make classic RPGs like this any more, and we’re just crazy enough to do something about it!

Unknown Realm: The Siege Perilous is a new single player medieval fantasy role-playing game that will take you back to the glory days of 80’s gaming.

Together with your help, we can bring back a taste of the Golden Age! Not just for the fans who almost flunked out of high school playing these games long ago, but for new generations of gamers who never got the opportunity to experience what makes this genre of RPGs so special.

And yes, Unknown Realm is being developed for the Commodore 64 (a PC version is also in the works):

We chose the beloved Commodore 64 as the 8-bit system to develop for because in our opinion it has the best feature set of all the 8-bit systems. It also happens to hold the record as the best selling personal computer of all time.

What this means is that if your mom didn’t throw out your Commodore 64 years ago, it’s time to dust that baby off and experience an 8-bit RPG like no other! And don’t worry, we didn’t design this game just for Commodore fans. We designed it with all single player RPG fans at heart. That’s why we created a special PC platform to deliver an authentic 8-bit RPG experience all within the comforts of your modern PC.

The feature list is pretty impressive…certainly in line with what you’d expect from a Golden Age RPG:

  • Open world with lots of secret locations to discover.
  • 64 different day, night, and seasonal monsters.
  • Landscape reacts to the choices you make. Locations, characters, and game world will be impacted by your decisions, and your actions have real consequences.
  • Dual-mode exploration using either overworld view or zoomed in location view.
  • Traveling NPCs and settlements – stumble upon a gypsy caravan, traveling merchants or bandit encampments!
  • Find NPC or animal companions to join your cause.
  • Hire mercenaries to aid you on those really dangerous quests.
  • NPCs might strike up a conversation with you or blurt out for you to get lost.
  • NPCs can treat you differently based on their mood or how well they know you, or react to what they see you do or hear you say.
  • NPCs may travel between locations in the game.
  • Some monsters might even talk with you, if you happen to speak their language!
  • Try your luck at the rat races as you bet on which critter gets the cheese first.
  • Play some dice games with the local tavern folk.
  • Turn-based lock picking has never been more fun!
  • Use your wit to open the magically locked riddle chests.
  • Hungry? Try hunting or our fishing mini-game to catch your own food.

Stirring Dragon Games are looking to raise $65,536 USD (how’s that for an appropriate number?) over the next 34 days, and as noted above, the funding they are seeking is going more toward the manufacturing and production side of things than to the actual development of the game itself:

At this stage, the game itself is already in pre-alpha and most of the major technology hurdles have already been cleared. We have used our own funds to finance the development of the game engine and the PC platform so there are very few unknowns left in that respect.

Manufacturing hardware components always presents its own set of unique challenges such as testing and compatibility between supported systems. We’re confident that we’ve developed our cartridge prototype to a point where we know there aren’t any insurmountable obstacles to producing the final version.

Most of our physical components will be manufactured using local sources that we have already tested and established working relationships with. We’d be foolish to say there won’t be any manufacturing challenges, but again, any issues that could arise at this point would be the kind that cause delay versus failure to deliver.

And it has to be said: the backer rewards look pretty tops:

The minimum listed pledge (you can obviously pledge less, if you like) is $10 USD, and there’s a reward for that too in the form of a commemorative bookmark. $19 USD will get you a digital copy of the game (presumably limited to the PC version of the game). $49 USD will get you the “Ziplock Bag” Edition (a manual in booklet style, a paper map, and a keyboard overlay all wrapped up in a plastic zipper-locking bag), while $89 will get you the Commodore 64 version of same. $119 and $139 are, respectively, the prices for the Collector’s Edition of the game for PC and C64.

Unknown Realm certainly looks like a very promising modern successor to the great RPGs of yestercentury; there’s a very strong Ultima vibe to the gameplay screenshots and GIFs that decorate the Kickstarter page.

3 Responses

  1. Stirring Dragon says:

    Thanks for the write-up Kenneth!

    As an introvert, I’m not that vocal of a person, however, I have been listening very carefully to the Ultima and RPG community as a whole over the years. I believe Unknown Realm will bring a good mix of fun to Ultima fans, especially those that like Ultima II-VI. In my mind, I place Unknown Realm sort of between Ultima V and VI as far as on the tech side and look and feel. In some ways it even has a few things Ultima VI didn’t have at least on the C64, which wasn’t able to have portraits and even music. However, the whole design goal was to focus on fun rather than just features.

    Since this is the Ultima community, I feel ok talking a bit more technical to you guys, because after all most of you are more technical. So if any of you guys have more technical questions about the game I will be glad to answer them. Also, if anyone in the community would like to get involved in some capacity, we are definitely open to that. We have many updates about the game to come on KS so stay tuned.

  2. Corv Corv says:

    How cool is that? Congratulations Stirring Dragon! Will jump over to Kickstarter to pledge now. Good luck!

  3. Stirring Dragon says: