Stone Story RPG has been in development for quite a while already—five years, according to developer Standardcombo. After a lot of updates on the TIG Source devblog forums starting back in 2014, it's finally ready for the world. It launched on Steam Early Access on August 8 and Standardcombo expects it to remain there for about a year, though it doesn't anticipate a price change between now and the final release.
Stone Story RPG is built entirely in ASCII characters, largely black and white with occasional flashes of color. It has admittedly hit me in the nostalgia bone, bringing back memories of obscure online game guides with detailed ASCII text art circa 1998 or so. Stone Story appears to be not at all hindered by its choice in art direction, as the screenshots on its Steam page range from screen-filling fortresses to giant spider webs, and even a mushroom forest.
Standardcombo's plans for the future of Stone Story appear just as ambitious as an ASCII-only visual style. The game is reported to take about eight hours to complete if you rush it at present, though there are plans for additional quests, items, and boss fight phases by its official launch.
Most interesting is the quest system that Standardcombo has planned. The idea is for user-generated content to expand the life of Stone Story RPG's world. According to its Early Access Q&A, "we plan to create a framework for players to build their own stories and share them with each other."
That's not the end of the custom choices for Stone Story RPG, though. "Currently, Stone Story features an in-game scripting language called 'Stonescript', which players can use to automate and optimize gameplay," the Steam page states. "Additional commands will mean more strategic possibilities open up!"
With enough interested players, it will be interesting to see where Stone Story's plans for new quest content can take it.
You can pick up Stone Story RPG on Steam Early Access or add it to your wishlist for later.