Klei Entertainment's next game, Griftlands, is a 'pirate/mercenary sandbox'

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The next project for Klei Entertainment, the developer behind Invisible, Inc. (opens in new tab) and Don’t Starve (opens in new tab), has just become a little less mysterious. Sci-fi RPG Griftlands (opens in new tab) will be a “pirate/mercenary sandbox” with a small cast of characters and procedurally-generated NPCs, designer Kevin Forbes said this week.

You will control a group of mercenaries with their own quest lines, but outside of those stories the world should react to your actions dynamically. “It’s more of a pirate/mercenary sandbox than a sequence of story battles,” Forbes told Rock Paper Shotgun (opens in new tab). “You are put into a simulated economy and set loose to make your fortune.

“There is a small cast of written player-characters/companions who have their own quest lines, but these take place in a dynamic world with procedurally-generated NPCs. The land and the factions that inhabit it are fixed, but their state and the front-line NPCs that populate the world are systems-driven…”

I’m intrigued to see how the team pulls that off: I presume there are certain limits to how NPCs react and a few pre-planned endings that the game will eventually shimmy towards.

Expect turn-based fights in which you arrange your party into a “front row” and a “back row”, too, and you might be better off letting your enemies surrender than outright murdering them. “Individual fights are designed to be short and impactful. Morale and NPC personality effects factor in heavily – many fights are not to the death, but rather until one side surrenders. Killing people can lead to mechanical repercussions down the road, and NPCs remember what you did to them in the past.”

Again, I’m curious to see how that works. Surely NPCs remembering what you did to them in the past isn’t too much of a concern if they’re…you know…lying on a battlefield bleeding to death.

Regardless, this is one I’m excited for. The 2D art is gorgeous, and if Klei can replicate the quality of their previous efforts – which also includes Early Access colony builder Oxygen Not Included (opens in new tab) – then I’m all ears.

Here’s a trailer for the game that was first shown at the PC Gaming Show in the summer: 

Samuel Horti

Samuel Horti is a long-time freelance writer for PC Gamer based in the UK, who loves RPGs and making long lists of games he'll never have time to play. He's now a full-time reporter covering health at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. When he does have time for games you may find him on the floor, struggling under the weight of his Steam backlog.