Since the original announcement of Griftlands by indie development studio Klei Entertainment, updates on the development of Griftlands have been lacking. Now at E3 2019, Klei Entertainment has announced that they will be “rebooting” the title, though now the game will be a single player only deck-building game, a far cry from the open world RPG experience promised in 2017.
Quite similar to the successful Slay the Spire from fellow indie development studio Mega Crit Games, Griftlands trades in an open world environment for a seemingly more linear gameplay experience featuring a combat system that appears very similar to Slay the Spire.
The game will also feature a “persuasion and manipulation” feature for interacting with NPC’s that is similar to the card combat auto-battle system. According to the developers, Klei Entertainment had already developed multiple large open world environments, a “full trading simulation”, a “fully featured crafting system”, and a “dynamic faction simulator” for the original RPG experience (pars. 6). However, they have since seemingly scrapped it all in favor of the deck-building experience in an attempt to better focus the game. Now the game will be solely focused around negotiation and manipulation alongside the fighting with no sign of the aforementioned features.
Klei Entertainment provided this statement as their reason for drastically restructuring the game:
“We built a full trading simulation, modeling supply and demand, we built a fully featured crafting system, and a dynamic faction simulator. Unfortunately, the whole was never better than the pieces; we found that each piece of the game felt disconnected with the rest, and that actions often felt inconsequential. We built large worlds that felt tedious to travel around, and as designers we knew the systems were not working to provide a holistic experience.”
Open-world from the original trailer
Griftlands has since been delayed for a third or fourth quarter full release in 2020. However, players will be able to start playing the early alpha through the Epic Games Store on July 11, 2019. Klei Entertainment also announced that they have signed a one year exclusivity deal with the Epic Games Store, so Steam users will not be receiving an Early Access release until after July 11, 2020; despite the exclusivity deal, Klei Entertainment remains dedicated to a full release on both Steam and Epic Games Store sometime in third or fourth quarter 2020.
Despite serious setbacks with the drastic restructuring and the already one year delay, Klei Entertainment remains dedicated to seeing the project to fruition.
When asked about the possibility of microtransactions, the developers responded, “There are no microtransactions.”