Two of the guys behind the hit dungeon crawler Legend of Grimrock are in the early stages of work on a new RPG, under the banner of a new studio, called Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest. Unlike its first-person predecessor, Druidstone is a solo, isometric journey through a procedurally generated world, featuring a reincarnated druid, who—surprise!—can't remember who he is or how he met his demise. He is, however, gripped by a great sense of purpose: "The forest called you here because it needs you."
On the whole, it looks and sounds very much like an old-school RPG experience. You'll begin the game not only with no memories, but also no equipment, and must explore ruins, battle monsters, and make allies as you grow more powerful and develop new skills and abilities. Battles will take place on a two-dimensional grid, and will be "tactical and turn-based, so you have plenty of time to think through your options." And there may be some puzzles, "but it is not the main focus of Druidstone," the studio said in the FAQ. "Instead we are concentrating on the tactical battle system, exploration, and storyline."
Druidstone is being developed by a newly-formed studio called Ctrl Alt Ninja, which actually shares a number of people from Grimrock developer Almost Human. (Grimrock designer and audio man Antti Tiihonen is also involved.) Co-founder Juho Salila said that after four years of nothing but Grimrock, the team needed a break, but when he and Petri Hakkinen "started to have that old familiar itch" to make a new game, the other Almost Human founders were wrapped up in other projects.
"To keep things simple, we decided to found a new company and started prototyping new game ideas. We made something like seven prototypes including one that we developed almost six months before abandoning it. In the end we settled with Druidstone and started working on it full steam," he said. "One other advantage of developing a game under different name is the freedom of fresh start. With a new company we don't have the pressure of making another Grimrock game and we had a lovely blank canvas in front of us."
A release date hasn't been set, but it's still early in the development process so you probably don't want to start holding your breath just yet. For now, you can dig into a few more early screens below.