Update: So close, and yet not quite. With less than two hours before the scheduled unlock on Steam, Grimoire's release date very suddenly switched to "coming soon."
"Will be working all day to complete, as soon as I have verified remaining areas that underwent some editing I will begin building deployment packages," Blakemore wrote in a new update. "Sorry but I am just one guy and normally during this crunch time on any software project you have more than one person to help you when the going gets tough. It's all on me and it only gets fixed because I fix it, I can't delegate that bug to a team member."
Blakemore said that he'll put up a "deployable package" on Steam as soon as it's ready, but gave no indication as to when that might be.
Grimoire: Heralds of the Winged Exemplar is one of the most infamous videogames ever to be (almost, but not quite) created. In development since the mid-'90s, it promises players a massive, sprawling old-school RPG/dungeon crawling experience with traces of Wizardry, Might and Magic, Eye of the Beholder, and other first-person, party-based classics. It's missed an untold number of release dates over the years—gamers were joking about it at least as far back as 2010—and so when it turned up on Steam Early Access earlier this year, I figured it was doomed to languish there forever.
But it looks like I was wrong. Grimoire : Heralds of the Winged Exemplar was not only given the Greenlight, but it actually has a release date of July 7, and holy cow, that's today.
"Been working around the clock here to finish up every possible detail before Friday. The game is looking really good. It has been very enjoyable to review areas I have not looked at in a long time and discover they are even more fun than I remember," solo developer Cleve Blakemore said earlier this week. "There are still going to be parts of the game that are not quite polished but the game as it currently stands is truly a one-of-a-kind classic. I have successfully played through all four endings of the game using save points and cheat codes and I found my own product to be more satisfying than any of the Wizardry games and even better than the original Eye of the Beholder series."
As an old-time gamer and RPG fan, it's honestly a little hard to believe that this is actually happening. To put it in perspective, Grimoire underwent its first beta test in 1998—the same year that games including Baldur's Gate (the original), Half-Life (the original), Unreal (the original), Fallout 2, and Thief: The Dark Project were released. If you're a teenager, then you almost certainly weren't even born when work on this thing began. That's the kind of development schedule that makes Valve Time look downright punctual.
Despite Grimoire's looming launch—it's scheduled to go live around 7 pm ET—there's still no price attached to it, although Blakemore said the "proposed price" is $40.