Darkest Dungeon is officially launched on Steam after a year of Early Access, delivering on its Kickstarter promise of unforgiving, uncompromising action.
Another Kickstarter darling has delivered, as the unpitying RPG Darkest Dungeon has been fully released on PC as of this morning. The final patch notes are live, the final and darkest dungeon has been added to the end of the game, a launch trailer is published, and developer Red Hook Studios cackles wildly from their throne of skulls. Darkest Dungeon can be purchased via Steam for $19.99, which is part of a two-week 20% discount ending February 2.
As part of their launch announcement, Red Hook Studios wrote a letter to their community thanking them for their support and discussing the process that had led to this point. Halfway through, they described Darkest Dungeon in a way that must be shared:
“Darkest Dungeon grew up in that second year. It was not friendly, or welcoming; it did not owe you a victory, or suffer fools. It wasn’t fair, like the horror movies and war stories that formed its foundation. It broke game ‘rules’; took control away, kicked you when you were down. It smoked behind the gym with its friends and skipped class.
Underneath all that badassery, though, it challenged you to think differently about heroism, and about the cost of adventuring. It taught you that preparedness was important, but thinking on your feet when the s*** hits the fan was the true test. And, of course, it reminded you that overconfidence is a slow and insidious killer. For all its unyielding focus on what can go wrong in an adventure, it showed why heroism is the only antidote for failed hope.”
It’s refreshing to see the developer be so direct about what kind of game Darkest Dungeon is, because there will inevitably be many players who outright refuse to play Darkest Dungeon again after it shows how truly vicious it can be. It’s best players know what they’re getting into so they have no one else to blame when the dungeon wins.
The Darkest Dungeon began its life as a side-project developed by four friends. However, the scope of the project quickly grew beyond their means, leading to the launch of a Kickstarter requesting $75,000. The project would go on to raise $313,000 and funded the developers work through 2014. By the start of 2015, they’d have Darkest Dungeon in a playable state and launch the game on Steam’s Early Access. Over the past 12 months the game has changed in large and small ways, many the result of direct feedback from the community. Today it’s fully launched.
That Darkest Dungeon exists and is fully launched today is evidence of how far independent development has come in recent years. Kickstarter only launched in 2009. Steam Early Access only launched in 2013. That both of those platforms reached a stable point where a team of four friends could find success on each, thereby allowing them to bring Darkest Dungeon that much closer to launch, is incredible. Ten years ago, Darkest Dungeon would never have been made.
Ten days from now there will be a lot of frustrated players who will be wishing Darkest Dungeon was never made! It’s great to see games that defy the norm, games that have broken “game rules,” find the audience begging for them.