Black Geyser is a CRPG where greed is bad, actually

Black Geyser may be inspired by classic isometric RPGs like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, but you usually finish games like that with more gold than you know what to do with, having looted every kobold, barrel, and stranger's house you've encountered (and maybe picked some pockets too). In this game, greed makes the world a worse place.

Thanks to the supernatural machinations seen in the trailer above, the land of Isilmerald is haunted by avarice. Your actions can influence its corrupting spread, and if you're too greedy—demanding extra payment for every quest, for instance—you'll contribute to the infestation. NPCs will be more paranoid, merchants will jack up their prices, scavengers will try to steal your loot after battles. At its most extreme, ordinary citizens will turn to banditry and the dead may even come back to retrieve what they owned in life.

Plenty of RPGs have endgame money-sinks, like a fortress for you to upgrade—Black Geyser will have its own stronghold system when the full version launches—but it's interesting to see a game motivate players to not amass fortunes in the first place.

As someone who likes to play a thief or the local equivalent, I wonder if Black Geyser might be a bit punishing for scoundrels. Developers GrapeOcean have made thieves tempting anyway thanks to a skill called 'plant item'. If you ever snuck a live grenade into someone's pants in Fallout you'll get the idea: it's reverse pickpocket. Plant item lets you use poison or sleeping powder on unaware enemies (with Black Geyser's crafting system you create your own powders as well as brewing potions), and can be used to sneak stolen items onto NPCs so you can accuse them of being the thieves. That makes a pro-greed playthrough based around roguishness seem quite tempting.

Black Geyser should have 30-60 hours' worth of adventuring, sidequesting, building a party, planting poison on guards, romancing companions, and realtime-with-pause combat when it launches, and is aiming for full release in the first quarter of 2022. An early access version will arrive on August 26, with the small team at GrapeOcean planning to gather community feedback to improve and iterate on their game.

Black Geyser will be available on Steam and GOG with a 10% launch discount. Right now, we're giving away a Black Geyser gaming PC with a pretty sick skull case, and some keys for the closed playtest.

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.