By Logan Booker
After countless delays and a development period extending over 20 years, Cleveland Mark Blakemore's Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar is on the verge of a full release. While it missed its advertised July 8 launch due to "last minute testing and repairs" the Wizardry-style RPG should be with us "as soon as it's ready".
Yet, despite these tribulations, it looks like Blakemore's grand project will finally make it into the hands of eager fans.
Grimoire is as retro as it gets for RPGs. Even the feature list has a certain creakiness to it:
- 600 hours of play possible in a single game
- Lush Colorful 2D Hand Drawn Artwork
- Retro style MIDI music and 8 bit sound effects
- 244+ Maps in the game to explore!
- Turn-Based strategic combat
- Multiple Beginnings, Multiple Endings
- 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
The system requirements are unsurprisingly low. In fact, as long as your computer has a monitor plugged into it and Windows installed, it'll run fine.
In terms of pricing, Blakemore's gunning for $US39.95 (£30), which may be justified considering the development time, but might turn away all but the most enchanted.
As mentioned earlier, it was supposed to come out today in the US, but that window has since passed. Blakemore provided the following — graphic — update regarding the delay:
Bloodshot eyeballs inflamed to 8x normal size, mucus from nose pooling on floor around chair, been doing 20 hour days with nothing but expired beef jerky to keep me from starving to death. My wife has brought a bedpan into my study and placed it under my chair like that episode of South Park so I no longer have to break to go to the bathroom
He goes on to mention that last-minute changes, including save game versioning, have held up the release, but that the game is "almost there". Hopefully for fans, "almost there" can be measured in hours or days, not weeks or months.