Klei Entertainment first announced Griftlands at E3 two years ago. It was supposed to be an RPG in which you play a mercenary, gather companions and stake your claim to fortune and fame (or infamy). A lot has changed since then, and they took to the E3 stage again this year, to re-announce Griftlands. This time around, it’s a deck-building roguelike. There’s a video showing it off in action, and they’ve published a blog post in which they explain the reasoning behind the changes.
It’s pretty simple really – it just didn’t work. They designed a bunch of systems – a full trading simulation, modeling supply and demand, a fully featured crafting system, a dynamic faction simulator – only to realize they don’t actually gel. It didn’t feel right, so they scrapped it and decided to rethink the concept.
The new Griftlands will be something akin to Slay the Spire – you’ll start off alone and weak, but you’ll gather more cards through encounters and become better at what you do. You’ll have separate decks for fighting and negotiating, and it seems like the whole thing will be about relationships with other characters and how persuasive or “persuasive” you can be.
The alpha is going to be released on the Epic Games store on July 11th, and it’ll feature part of the first character’s campaign. The other two characters’ campaigns are going to be released gradually, with the third one coming out in June 2020, which is when Griftlands will appear on Steam Early Access. The devs expect the final release to take place during autumn next year, but take that with a grain of salt.
It’s a pretty drastic change in mechanics, but there’s really no reason to doubt the folks at Klei. They’re one of the rare studios that haven’t once released a bad game, and whatever they touch seems to turn to gold.