Update: Grimoire has missed it’s release window, and has been slightly delayed.
Developer Cleveland Blakemore posted on Steam last night that he will be verifying last minute changes to the game, including “introducing a versioning for the savegames and side-by-side execution of updates so any future patches of Grimoire will NOT break any savegames out there.”
The delay is expected to be a minor one. Blakemore has pledged to work all day and night to verify the final touches and deliver deployment packages to Steam.
“Sorry but I am just one guy and normally during this crunch time on any software project you have more than one person to help you when the going gets tough,” stated Blakemore. “It’s all on me and it only gets fixed because I fix it, I can’t delegate that bug to a team member.”
Original Story: In what is perhaps one of the more surprising stories in recent memory, a game that was over 20 years in development is finally scheduled for a full release on Steam.
The game in question is Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar, which has been under development since 1995 by a single programmer named Cleveland Blakemore, with magazine previews beginning in 1997. Within RPG circles, Grimoire has a rather dubious history, most of it tied to Blakemore himself and his own brash, outspoken style.
Blakemore worked on a sequel to Wizardry 7 back in the early 1990s, titled Stones of Arnhem, when the title was in the hands of an Australian company called Directsoft. Blakemore, however, has made a few claims regarding the development of Stones of Arnhem, many of which have been corroborated, mostly thanks to a few scattered design documents that were released on E-Bay in 2012 and an interview with Robert Sirotek, the founder of Sir-Tech.
The history behind Blakemore’s Grimoire has also been tumultuous, with several attempts to crowdfund Grimoire going back for years. Blakemore first began development on the title in 1995 and even held several beta tests of the game in 1998 before the title famously became a piece of vaporware for almost a decade. It was only recently when Grimoire has made a comeback through two different indiegogo campaigns, with each generating a bit of money using indiegogo’s flexible funding. Blakemore has also been very protective of the Grimoire name, even threatening a trademark suit in 2014 over indie developer OmniConnection’s Grimoire title- an FPS MOBA that would ultimately fail in securing enough funding on kickstarter.
The version of Grimoire being promised is an old-school style RPG in the same vein as the Wizardry series, a first-person dungeon crawler title which will feature over 600 hours of gameplay and 244+ maps to explore. The game will feature 8-bit sound effects MIDI music as well, along with hand-drawn 2-D graphics, multiple endings, and 14 different races to choose from. Grimoire has no suggested price yet, but Blakemore and his development studio, Golden Era Games, has suggested a retail price of $39.95.
*Note: This story has been edited to fix minor errors and discrepancies.
What are your thoughts on Grimoire and its history? Leave your comments below.