After an 8-year stint in early access, the brilliant Caves of Qud is due to hit 1.0 next year with the help of Dwarf Fortress publisher Kitfox Games. It seems like a good match, with Dwarf Fortress being a big source of inspiration for the indie roguelike sim.
For the uninitiated, Caves of Qud is a dense simulation with a procedurally-generated world where mutants must fight and dig their way through exotic lands teeming with dangers. Like Dwarf Fortress, it's elevated by its incredible dynamic storytelling and lore, as well as its 'anything goes' approach, whether it's chopping off body parts, creating clones, or mind-controlling monsters. It's also extremely bloody hard, with most runs ending in a grisly death. It's deeply nostalgic, too, with an ASCII-inspired aesthetic that perfectly complements the retrofuturistic vibes.
"Few games have had as big an impact on Caves of Qud as DF," says Jason Grinblat, co-founder of Freehold Games. "It's humbling to be mentioned alongside the legend, and it's delightful to lock arms with our friends and some of our favorite devs ever, Tarn & Zach Adams."
Though perhaps not quite as well known as Dwarf Fortress, Caves of Qud has still seen a lot of success since it appeared on Steam, with over 5,000 user reviews netting it an Overwhelmingly Positive rating. And it's well-deserved. I've never managed to get all that far in it, but I always walk away with some bizarre anecdotes and a satisfied grin on my face.
Back in April, we hosted a roundtable with the Dwarf Fortress and Caves of Qud teams where they discussed how they tackle their respective simulations, making procedural generation tell meaningful stories and their thoughts on AI. It's well worth a listen.
While there's no word on when in 2024 Caves of Qud will leave early access, there's already some new visual effects that you can check out in the beta branch right now, which you can also see in action in the trailer above. You can also chat to fellow mutants on the new Caves of Qud channel in the Kitfox Discord.