Guido Henkel, the man whose masked face dominates the Planescape: Torment box art, is working on a new role-playing game called Deathfire.

"Oh those old lot are all at it," you cry. They are, but Henkel's opting for a slightly different take: first-person and real-time, but also party-based and heavy on the story.

He's taking his cues from ye olde RPG Dungeon Master or - "if you're not old enough to have played [that]", he wrote on his website - the lovely Legend of Grimrock, and he's mixing that with a healthy dose of Wizardry.

henkel
A masked Guido Henkel.

Deathfire will be a "stepped" role-playing game, which means there won't be any open world exploration but rather a directed, linear route through.

"Our intentions are to push the envelope on what has been done with stepped role-playing games in the past. I feel that there is a huge untapped potential how that gaming experience can be enhanced," he wrote.

"Think of it this way, if there's an earthquake, in most stepped genre games you would see the screen shake and that's about it. In the case of Deathfire, I want this to become a much more gripping event where you will see rocks shake loose, where dust clouds will form and debris will rain down from the ceiling. Characters will react to it, voice their disapproval and fear, based on their stats, or urge the others to move along before everything caves in. On the whole, I want it to become an experience that is every bit as vibrant and alive as it is dangerous and adventurous."

Henkel has already shared Deathfire's character generation and progression ideas. There are 34 character traits broken into the categories Resistances, Body Skills, Nature Skills, Craftsmanship, Mental Skills and, interestingly, Negative Attributes. The latter can be things like a volatile Temper, Fear of Heights, Arachophobia, Greed, Superstition an Pessimism. There are Magic Abilities, too.

Deathfire as a project is young, only conceived by Henkel this Christmas passed. It was born out of the Kickstarter failure of Henkel's other RPG, Thorvall, which raised just $50,000 of its $1 million goal.

As of March, there were only three people working on Deathfire: Henkel and a couple of artists. Deathfire will be powered by the Unity game engine.

Henkel's studio G3 will make it, by the looks of things, but I'm not entirely sure what kind of game-making capacity it has - it's hard to track down. Judging by Wikipedia, G3 pumped out a few mobile games of little note, although in recent years it's been Guido Henkel's fiction fantasy writing keeping the studio busy. Shrug.

Once upon a time, though, Henkel produced Planescape: Torment and was involved with Neverwinter Nights and Fallout 2.

Also, I assume Deathfire will pop up on Kickstarter at some point, not that Henkel has specifically mentioned it.

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Robert Purchese

Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.

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