Spiderweb Software's latest foray onto Kickstarter is another runaway success, which means that a remastered version of the "epic cult classic" RPG Geneforge 2 will soon be on the way.
Spiderweb makes a very particular type of RPG: Light on eye candy (very light) and other effects, but very deep, flexible, and open-ended. The studio—basically a two-person operation, Jeff Vogel and his wife Marian Krizsan—has been making RPGs like this for years, and it's found a small but committed audience. I jokingly (and very affectionately) called Queen's Wish: The Conqueror Spiderweb's "latest crappy-looking RPG" when it came out in 2019, but despite the 1980s-style visuals it holds a very positive user rating on Steam.
Like a lot of small developers, Spiderweb took to Kickstarter in 2018, seeking $30,000 for Queen's Wish: The Conqueror. The campaign was a huge success, as eager fans more than tripled that goal; Kickstarters for a Geneforge remaster and Queen's Wish 2: The Tormentor followed, and enjoyed similar results. Now the studio is deep into a Kickstarter campaign for a remaster of Geneforge 2, and with more than two weeks to go it's already doubled its goal.
We gave the original Geneforge 2, released in 2003, an 80% score in our review, saying that aside from its graphics (which weren't much to look at even back then), it was a "a terrific game to start with if you're fairly new to the RPG genre." The new version won't mess with that formula: The main goal of the remaster is to get it running properly on modern hardware, including mobile devices.
But Spiderweb does aim to expand on it, with "new characters, storylines, abilities, game mechanics, and other ways to go crazy with your mutant monsters." The success of the campaign, which has now pushed past three stretch goals, means there will also be a new endgame monster and a couple new storylines for players to chase.
There are five games in the Geneforge series, the most recent of which came out in 2008, and Vogel unsurprisingly hopes to eventually remaster them all, along with other Spiderweb RPGs.
"We’ve been in business almost 30 years, and we’ve written a lot of solid games we’re really proud of that don’t run well anymore," Vogel told PC Gamer. "When we retire, we want to leave our body of work as solid and enjoyable as possible.
"The Geneforge series was, more than any other of our games, our effort to innovate. We tried to make a game series that was different than anything else out there and enabled the player to do things impossible in other games (like being able to get any ending without ever attacking a foe). They were pretty mind-blowing 20 years ago and, honestly, they’re still unique now. This was our first game series where we totally abandoned the idea of good or bad guys. These games are full of different factions, some of them truly strange. I wanted all of them to be able to argue their case. You can choose to join any of them and still get a satisfying ending. I still love that."
The Geneforge 2: Infestation Kickstarter runs until March 10. Vogel said he's aiming for a release in early 2024, for PC, Mac, and iPad.