A new throwback RPG is so good, it's won praise from Larian boss Swen Vincke: 'I’m flying to LA next week and plan to play it the entire flight'

pixelated fantasy characters standing on rock in ocean fighting monsters
(Image credit: Raw Fury)

Retro-style RPG Skald: Against the Black Priory is a game that's almost snuck up on us with how good it is. Its VGA-style color palette and pixel art graphics harken back to an earlier age of CRPG history—one even earlier than the late '90s Fallout/Baldur's Gate heyday that continues to define the genre—and it pays homage to the oft-forgotten Ultima series. Skald is a niche product to be sure, but it's also found an advocate in one of the most prominent figures in gaming: Larian CEO Swen Vincke.

"This is one I’ve been waiting for," Vincke wrote on Twitter while sharing a trailer for Skald. "I have nothing but respect for the ambitions here and I love how it looks."

Expanding on his interest via email, Vincke said that while he hasn't had the time to dive deep into Skald yet, "The little I’ve seen already fills me with a deep respect for what Anders and his team have accomplished.

"It feels right from the get go—which for an RPG like this is quite the accomplishment. I’m flying to LA next week and plan to play it the entire flight. My play time is limited so that’s probably the biggest compliment I can give."

Skald has been on my radar for a minute, but Vincke's endorsement, as well as PCG senior editor Robin Valentine's impressions piece on the game have shot it near the top of my "to-play" list. Robin had a lot of praise for Skald's surreal blending of Lovecraftian horror with more classico fantasy RPG fare, while its RPG systems and tactical combat look a whole lot more welcoming than the '80s RPGs it was inspired by.

This isn't the first time Larian has paid it forward with attention or support for a smaller studio's project: back in April, Blasphemous level designer Enrique Colinet revealed that Larian backed the game at its maximum $1,000 level on Kickstarter without asking for anything in return

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.