The 17-Years-In-Development RPG, Grimoire, Has A Public Demo And Returns To Indiegogo


“The Ultimate Classic Retro Old Skool Fantasy Role Playing Game.” That is how Grimoire is described by its creators, and don’t you dare laugh. Alright, a quick snigger won’t hurt. There’s plenty of tongues pressed against cheeks surrounding Grimoire, but many people are scared of it, and perhaps that’s understandable. Why? The game has been in development for 17 years. Since about 1996, to clarify. Since that time it’s become referred to by many as a vaporware joke. And so when its creator, Cleve “Tex Arcane” Blakemore, took to Indiegogo in late 2012, claiming that it was being released in May 2013 without a doubt and he wanted $250,000 to polish it off – “enhance” it – some people were very skeptical and started jeering at it. Who can blame them? A game that’s been in development for that long suddenly becomes very real and is asking for a LOT of money – was it a joke or what?

In short, no, it wasn’t a joke. The game had apparently been in development for all of those years, and to some it have have been laughable, but it wasn’t to Cleve, the developer, who had spent all of that time making this game what he wanted it to be. The problem was that the quarter of a million dollars he was asking for to enhance the game before release was never going to reach its target. So now he returns to Indiegogo, lesson learned, looking for just 10% of what he originally asked for, and with a playable demo to go along with that too.


“Grimoire is a turn-based, 3D, first person perspective roleplaying adventure in 1024×768 256 Color graphics. The 3D step-based engine is pixel perfect and smooth scrolling with zero distortion handcrafted images.”

You probably want more precise details regarding what this enhancement actually involves, and that’s only fair. The important thing to establish is that Grimoire will be released in May of 2013, apparently, regardless of how much money it makes, so the crowdfunding is just for the enhancement. These include a new animations and cutscenes, additional monster and magic spell animations and improvements to the animation engine and the user interface. That’s just the next 6 months, and it isn’t really all that exciting. With the right funding, though, the game could have new music, ports to iOS, Android and Linux platforms, as well as work beginning on a sequel happening straight after (which is an even funnier joke).


Grimoire is such a unique case of the retro-tastic, mostly because it doesn’t just act as a throwback to bygone eras, but actually is from that distant time. Given the many years of development, it is a seemingly huge game that promises up to 600 hours of gameplay should you want to pursue it. And the way the game is pitched is soaked in irony and satire, poking fun at aged perceptions of the kind of ‘nerds’ this game will appeal to – it also promises super powers to those who immerse themselves enough.

Ultimately, the ridiculous nature of the marketing and the scale at which the game exists is why many people think of it as simply a hyperbolic joke gone too far. But it’s real – it’s actually a real game that is stupidly ambitious and absolutely full of content and quirky elements all over. If you need evidence, then you simply need to download the public demo and get a taste for what this game is all about. You should probably do that, rather than trying to filter through the huge amount of information that would have to be read about the game to get a grasp of what it is. For instance, head over to the GrimDarkly Blog and you’ll soon be overwhelmed with information of all sorts about the game.

“The point of this game is to have fun inside a huge, sprawling fantasy adventure that is so immersive it serves as a completely shameless escape from the real world that lasts a long, long time.”

Oh, but you think that watching the Indiegogo pitch will somehow take some of that weight off, huh? Think again. The video is embedded below, but it’s 20 minutes long and is the definition of “just get on with it.” In his attempt to be over-the-top and amusing, I guess, Cleve drags the whole thing on and on and on. And eventually you’ll get some information before being whisked back to unnecessarily long utterances that attempt to build up the game to the equivalent of importance to the commandments that Moses received from God. It’s funny for half a minute, then it soon becomes tiresome, just like this description of it.

Do head on over to the Indiegogo page just to read up on the story and the “philosophy” behind the game’s design, if you wish. But all you really need to know is the features list, and that is below should you want to browse that.

  • 600 hours of play possible in a single game
  • 244+ Maps in the game to explore!
  • Turn-Based strategic combat
  • 144 context sensitive magic spells
  • 14 races, 15 professions, 50 skills
  • 64 intelligent NPCs with 8000+ Words in Vocabulary
  • Full Sentence Communication with NPCs
  • 240+ monsters each with special powers and defenses
  • 1000+ items, Carry Containers, Global Party Inventory
  • 30 conditions, from Confusion to Disease & Lycanthropy
  • Automapping, Autowalking, Autohealing
  • Global Map Atlas With Position Marker
  • Quest Journal, Hint Prompting, Help Facility, Mini-Quests
  • Complex LockPicking Interfaces for Doors & Chests
  • Challenging Puzzles and Rich Interactive Dungeons
  • Browsable Character Library for up to 100 characters
  • Up to 12 Commented Postage Stamped Savegames
  • Multi-themed GUI and customizable screen layouts

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