I've just left my wife and kids home alone so I can rob one of my neighbors, John Gordon Buffington. I bring a backpack stuffed with tools: some sturdy clubs for smashing windows, a saw to hack through wood paneling, and because my part of town is full of clever and dangerous people, water to short-out the security system and some drugged meat to fling at any guard dogs I run into. I expect I'll have to deal with more than one angry pit bull before I can break into the Buffington vault.
The Castle Doctrine
Indie developer Jason Rohrer has confirmed that his “massively-multiplayer game of burglary and home defense,” The Castle Doctrine, will be available on Steam on January 29. The game will cost $12 for the first week after it hits Steam, and then go up again to its full, final price of $16. There will never be a Steam sale for the game, however, because Rohrer thinks the sales “screw fans.”
This review is based on the current alpha build of the game. We'll re-review the game once it is complete.
I return home from a failed burglary, pit bull spit still drying on my trousers, to find my children motherless and my vault empty. This isn’t my first dead wife, but I’m determined she’ll be the last. Not out of respect, not even out of basic human decency. I play on with a dead wife in the middle of my house because it makes the game easier.
Drastic? Yes, but then Jason Rohrer’s The Castle Doctrine is punishingly difficult. It’s a turn-based multiplayer game where you play both dungeonmaster (of your own house) and potential burglar of everyone else’s, and I’ll take whatever help I can get. As my wife is dead, I don’t have to worry about her getting robbed of half of our belongings as she flees another burglar. I build my dungeon up around her corpse and carry on.
As part of this year's GDC Game Design Challenge, Jason Rohrer, the creator of The Castle Doctrine and Sleep is Death, revealed that he'd made and hidden a game in the hope that it wouldn't be played for thousands of years. The game, called A Game for Someone, was buried by Rohrer somewhere in the Nevada desert. Of course, by the time it's unearthed we could all be enslaved by aliens, robots, mutants, even mice-spiders. Who knows if we'll get breaks for gaming?
The Castle Doctrine may be an MMO about breaking and entering, but creator Jason Rohrer still requires some honour among thieves. When one player modded the game to allow him to walk through walls, live after death and create impenetrable defences, he probably didn't count on other players' in-game security cameras catching him out.
You can always rely on Jason Rohrer to create something different. He's previously given us the collaborative storytelling sketchpad that is Sleep is Death, and the infinite, recursive, procedurally generated shooter Inside a Star-Filled Sky. So that his tenth game, The Castle Doctrine, is an MMO about burglary and home defence is expectedly unexpected. It's available now as a pre-release alpha.
Back in October, Sleep is Death creator Jason Rohrer revealed The Castle Doctrine, "a massively multiplayer game of burglary and home defense." Though the prizes you'll pilfer sit in homes owned by players, you'll never know who you're burgling or who you're getting burgled by. Speaking to RPS, Rohrer stated all thefts in Doctrine are intentionally anonymous to send a message.