Daedalic turns one of its classic point-and-click adventures into a life-and-death survival game, and it feels a little weird

A new Deponia game was unveiled today at the Future Games Show, called Surviving Deponia. But unlike the previous games in the series—all comedic point-and-click adventures—this one is a "story-driven survival" game where you'll "Explore, craft, build and fight your way through the harsh landscape of Deponia."

Deponia actually makes sense as the setting for a survival-crafting game. The planet of Deponia, where the adventure games mostly take place, is a trash world, believed uninhabited, but which actually supports a small number of humans living in settlements built out of junk cast off by the people living in the wealthy, orbital city known as Elysium.

Surviving Deponia takes place right after the adventure games, and promises to give fans of the series "canonical closure about Elysium’s fate and Deponia’s citizens." I'm not sure how many gamers out there are actually concerned about such a thing, but as you can see from the trailer it's not an overly happy conclusion: Elysium has fallen from orbit and crashed into the surface of Deponia, and the once dirty-but-otherwise-not-entirely-unpleasant world has been turned into a Mad Max-style nightmare, complete with water shortages, violent enemies, and dangerous monsters.

Amidst all that, you'll gather resources—junk, I would suppose—build and upgrade a base, make allies and enemies, and do your best to stay alive.

My question at this admittedly early stage is... why? Deponia isn't a "big" series by any measure, and it's been years since the last game, Deponia Doomsday, which came out in 2016 and didn't make much of a splash. Maybe it saves a little time laying down a narrative framework, but it's still kind of a weird shift, in both genre and narrative. I don't know if I qualify as a "fan," strictly speaking, but I quite enjoyed the first Deponia, in part because it was kind of a chill, happy game: It's a goofy, slapstick comedy, and the people of Deponia, while not exactly happy with their lot, are a community, working together in relative harmony to carve out a decent life under tough circumstances. Casting all of that aside to turn Deponia into a violent, unforgiving life-and-death arena feels a little off to me.

It's an interesting idea, though, and if it embraces Deponia's underlying silliness more than it appears to right now, it might work really well. (If I have to kill a whole bunch of my fellow Deponians for a piece of rotten cabbage, on the other hand, I don't think I'll enjoy it quite so much.) We'll find out which way that goes later this year: Surviving Deponia is set to launch later in 2023 on Steam.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.