After Decades Of Development, Retro RPG 'Grimoire' Is On The Cusp Of Release

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".

If you spend some time looking up the game, you'll see Blakemore's name appear in various places, be it his alleged attempt to sue NeoGAF, to a failed 2012 Indiegogo campaign for the game.

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, 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.

Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar [Steam, via USgamer]


    Yeah I really agree with the statement 'In terms of pricing, Blakemore's gunning for $US39.95, which may be justified considering the development time, but might turn away all but the most enchanted.' Not that the work has not been put in; but this seems like a fair amount of coin to drop on this style of game.

      . deleted because a typo edit put the post into moderation hell

      Last edited 09/07/17 7:38 pm

      Niche publishers are entirely justified in charging niche publisher prices.

      A game like this will never make money at $3. A low price won't attract any significant volume of new players beyond the hardcore of fans already aware of the game, or at least aware of this style of game.

      All that low-balling a release date price is going to do is ensure that the cashed-up older player base who are the core market for such games end up paying end of financial year clearance prices for a game they can afford to pay much more for, and happily will pay much more for.

      Furthermore, as a retro game to start with, the game won't age any worse than it already appears and therefore might be expected to have a very long tail, continuing to sell for many years.

      There are several publishers who operate on this model extremely successfully. Lower prices quite frequently do not equal higher overall profits, see both Blizzard and Matrix Games (Distant Worlds: Universe ), for example.

        Fair point and not saying that the core group isn't justified in spending this on the game. Just commenting for myself that 40 usd is a lot for a game I have never heard of, from a dev I don't know, I might take the chance for 10-20 bucks, but 40 for me personally seems like a lot.

    I'll keep an eye on this one. Sounds like a pretty good deal if you can get it on sale =)

    Will it actually release? I remember reading about this years back and people were convinced it would never come out. The guy making it is just alittle eccentric

    Blakemore isn't eccentric, he's outright insane. Here's what he wrote trying to threaten NeoGAF:

    It always starts like this. I could have just used a form letter for your reply and have you fill in the blanks and mail it back to me.
    You are going to change the name of your development team. I began litigation with Crystal Dynamics in 1998 and pursued them to the day of their bankruptcy with court orders and appearance dates right up until their doors closed. We were the ones who required their web host to block their site with a court order.
    Your objections that copyright is held by whomever shows up first in web searches is facetious and legally ridiculous. If this constitutes your defense rebuttal I promise you that you are going to lose against me in court.
    It's effortless for me because I have close relatives on both continents who are practicing lawyers. They will first find you, gather your details and we will begin our campaign against you without surcease or rest until your web host bans you, just for starters.
    You were correct when you said non-profit trademark infractions are far harder to contest. Unfortunately for you, you are profiting from your game development by selling related products in CafePress which makes you a beneficiary of said copyright infringement. This also implicates you in the theft of images from the game BIOSHOCK used to promote your game. I will be sure to notify the appropriate copyright holders shortly.
    You and I are going to be good penpals over the coming years and you will find that trespassing on my intellectual property is just like being tracked by Yul Brynner in WESTWORLD. I will never go away. This will never end. It's only getting started.
    The solution for you is to change the name of your development team. Otherwise you would not believe what an ordeal I will put you through over the coming months and years. If you think I am bluffing, I will put you in touch with people who are currently on medication because just mentioning my name makes them start screaming uncontrollably. They thought I was bluffing too.
    Cleveland Mark Blakemore

    In no universe would I give money to a developer who acted like Blakemore did, even if I thought the game was even remotely worth what he's asking for it.

      Some more gems from this jackass, just posted in the last week:

      It's so dense it is like those 12000 page novels written out in longhand on legal paper they find in the apartments of adult retards when they die.
      I would like to see a review by Matt Barton or some other lofty aristocrat of the genre but I could care less what dens of SJW iniquity have to say about Grimoire. They would not understand the game, period. They do not have the souls to appreciate fine things. It would truly be throwing pearls before swine.
      I have last veto on any price anywhere as the author. This game will never, ever be offered anywhere for $12.95 before the year 2025. That's a promise. I am considering an opening discount. It is highly recommended by Steam. After that, it will go to full price and stay there for the next 8 years.
      Grimoire is the pinnacle of the peak of the summit of the incline. I could probably get 99.95 from a lot of people but I don't want to limit it just to the very elect of RPG players. I made a compromise and and priced it somewhere just under current AAA titles. The truth is there is not an AAA title you could buy nowadays that deserves to crawl up on a high chair and plant a kiss in the crack of Grimoire's ass when it comes to enjoyment, immersion and wonderful escape.
      SJWs are the scum of the earth. You heard it here first. Give any of them enough time and they will show their true colors sooner or later. They're all disgusting, rancid, greasy untermenschen, every one of them
      There is no such thing as a flu season. It is a myth created by advertising.

      Not to mention the guy genuinely believes vaccines cause autism.

        looks interesting.. oh dear he actually used the term SJW seriously? yeah im not tossing a cent his way. its the fastest way to get me to disregard anything you say or do

    I know this is this guys life work, but that linked video is truly terrible...

    This guy is 2nd only to Derek Smart in terms on insanity and ego. I remember some of his messages from many years ago (back in the Usenet days) when Grimoire was being developed - it was supposed to be the best game in the world that would surpass all other games.

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