Cursed Lands is finally out!

Yes! As the title says, Cursed Lands, my new RPG, is finally out. The game official page is here:

Like my other games, even Cursed Lands will also be available for mobile and Steam: I only need a bit of time to optimize the game (whenever possible) for mobile, and to do the Steam setup (achievements, trading cards, etc). To be honest I also need a small break haha, but you can still expect mobile/Steam to be available shortly.

And now, I asked the game’s lead writer to write a “guest post”, so here it is. You’ll laugh like me reading the part about “a smaller game” 😀

Hey, I’m Justin Kuiper, lead writer on Cursed Lands. It’s been quite a journey, starting way back in 2015. Celso Riva was considering creating another game in the Aravorn fantasy setting, and I happened to have several ideas for a high fantasy story, including the concept for an “alignment” system based on the four temperaments and using social talents to avoid or escape combat. We decided that these ideas would be a good fit for a game in the Aravorn setting, and I began working on Cursed Lands, a story set before the events of Loren: The Amazon Princess.

I recently went back and read the initial email exchange, and noticed that one of his messages contained this sentence:

“I’d like this to be a smaller game (the others are huge, over 180k words of texts)”

I had to chuckle when reading this message with hindsight, because at over 300k words, Cursed Lands is the LONGEST Winter Wolves game to date! So much for this being a “smaller game,” a game that I originally expected to be done in under a year ended up taking three years to complete. That being said, I’m really glad that we took the time to include all of the story and content that got added, and despite the fact that this game is over 300k words, I don’t feel like there is any “filler:” everything that’s included in the game is there because it serves an important purpose to the story or the characters.

The story of Cursed Lands takes place across several lunar cycles, and the player is tasked with defeating undead that can only be confronted at night, with major story events coinciding with the full moon. The fact that the game’s major story events consist of investigating a castle and battling vampires and various ghouls gives the story a distinct gothic horror feel, but I’d say that Cursed Lands treats gothic horror more as an aesthetic than a genre. Cursed Lands is, at its core, a high fantasy story about traveling the continent and forming a group of allies to do battle against a powerful evil. The characters you recruit and the relationships that you form what I consider to be the real heart of Cursed Lands, whether that means romance or just forming bonds with your companions through conversation and shared experiences. Of course, there’s no better test of friendship than going on a vampire-slaying mission together.

One of the things we decided early on was that Cursed Lands would be a cast of mostly original characters. Karen and Apolimesho appear in the story (along with a cameo appearance by a young Princess Loren and a few other familiar faces along the way), but all of the party members are new original characters. This gave me a lot of freedom to write the story without having to worry about how the personalities and experiences of the characters would affect the Aravorn canon. For example, it wouldn’t make sense if a certain character had visited Castle N’Mar during the events of Cursed Lands, then later appeared in Loren: The Amazon Princess and had no memory of the events from the prequel; creating a new cast allowed us to avoid these potential issues, and also provided me with a lot of latitude in writing the game’s various endings. Having a fresh cast of characters also gave me a lot of freedom to come up with original backstories and personalities for each of the characters, which allowed me to try out lots of different ideas and give each cast member their own little quirks and unique traits.

At the same time, one of the fun parts of working on Cursed Lands was getting to familiarize myself with the lore of Aravorn. While the characters are new, many of the places you meet them are locations you might already be familiar with from other games in the Aravorn universe. You can travel to Hammerhands and do business with the dwarves, or go to the Great Forest and consort with the elves. Having an original cast of characters also made it possible to explore new facets of those areas, moving away from the populated areas of the Great Forest and traveling off the beaten path to discover where the outcasts live, and to explore some of the corrupt aristocrats that form the ruling class of Hammerhands. I think each of the game’s settings represents a mix of familiar and new, taking fresh ideas and enmeshing them with the rich lore of the series.

If you’ve never played a game set in Aravorn, welcome! I think you’ll find Cursed Lands to be a good entry point into the franchise. And if you’re a long-time fan of the series, I hope you enjoy this fresh take on the setting you already know and love.

Happy gaming,

Justin Kuiper

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17 Responses to Cursed Lands is finally out!

  1. Ian says:

    Is Lauren 2 still coming? I would still like to romance that Succubus from the first game and last I checked she was going to be a romance for Lauren 2.

    • admin says:

      Loren 2 yes, I am working on Planet Stronghold 2 now, but after that is finished, I’ll begin working on Loren. I think at this point it will be out in 2020 though (it’s going to be a big game).

  2. Larite says:

    So far Cursed Lands sounds like a great adventure! I really have high hopes for this game, I tracked all news on your forum and twitter, checked all pictures and I’m sooo waiting for the chance to play it now! 🙂
    I’m more SOTW than Loren fan, so I hope Cursed Lands would remind me of SOTW or would be even better. Especially at a romance part (I guess it’s the main thing your fans think about too xD)

    • admin says:

      I think Cursed Lands overall could be a mix with SOTW and Loren. There are romances, but there’s also a slightly more complex battle system than Loren. The degrading armor/defense and the fix to the stun/paralyze skills in particular were great moves (everyone while beta testing agreed on this).
      About romances depends what you’re after (girl/boys/yuri/yaoi) but in general I think you shouldn’t be disappointed! 😀

  3. Jule says:

    Huh? Am I missing something? Was about to buy it, but it’s listed on Steam as an Autumn 2018 release. :/

  4. Maddie says:

    Hello! Forgive me for popping in, I just needed to get this off my shoulders. *takes deep breath* Ok, here we go:

    I LOVEDLOVEDLOVEDLOOOVED THIS GAME; THIS GAME WAS SO WELL WRITTEN; CHARACTERS SO INTERESTING, COULDN’T FIND ANYTHING I DIDN’T LIKE OMGOMGOMG! The magic is back in your games, and I LOVE it! I am so absolutely blown away, I MISSED this kind of great story, plot, characters and… Gosh, I just.. Loved it. Absolutely loved it.

    Happy 2018! Here’s for more epicness like this game! *toasts*

    • admin says:

      Haha thanks! You know the best part is, that I wrote 1/3 of the game myself (all the Nagas in particular) using a very good editor to help (obviously). So… I think I know how I’m going to do about my future games 😉

  5. Kimberly Fels says:

    Enjoying cursed lands! Also, I was waiting for the official announcement of Love Bites’ release … then it turns out it’s already out! Buying as soon as I get home!

  6. Kimberly Fels says:

    PS love your work and the effort you put into your games shows. Thank you.

  7. CursedBun says:

    Hi, I wanted to leave feedback in forums but I can’t register. Overall I see a lot of improvement over Loren but I was shocked when I created a character – and it started speaking, with already pre-existing personality! Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of customizing them? And their personality was incredibly dull. I know the idea was to project onto the main character – but in that case he shouldn’t have pre-written lines.
    I think that snarky/aggro/diplomatic personality system in Loren worked well.
    The style of the writing improved even if it’s sometimes inconsistent and so did the art – and I love the social talents, I think that’s a cool concept. I just had to say something because I noticed nobody else pointed it out – I honestly feel like your pre-set characters like Eleanor and Saren gave me more opportunity to RP.

    • admin says:

      Well “pre-existing personality” is a broad term. Even Loren/Saren have one. Unless I allow the players to click to speak every single line of dialogue! 😀
      The choices in Loren actually tweaks maybe the 10% (but probably much less) of the total lines spoken by the main characters. So the issue could be that you find the main character personality dull but not the customization itself.
      Some recent AAA games have an almost silent main character or that speaks very rarely but I don’t think that would work in my kind of games!

      • CursedBun says:

        With Saren and Eleanor, the 10% of dialogues tweaked works because they already have personalities and aren’t the characters you create. You do have some choice over what personalities they have via the Snarky/Aggro/Diplomatic personalities. I think that the system worked and made the main more colourful, and the game more replayable. Of course, that’s just my opinion.
        Btw I haven’t praised combat system yet. Grinding isn’t boring surprisingly, battles are fun I think because every character has unique abilities and situation they work the best for (Enok, for example, doesn’t have any AoE but he leaves a buff with every spell, and Nuala is very useful against groups and can also take ‘paralyzed” and other buffs off other characters).
        I haven’t bean it yet, enjoy worldbuilding and the fact it introduces some real-life concepts like bureaucracy or lawsuits into the fantasy world, and honestly, I now feel very bad about killing Valery and Zachary in Loren.

        • admin says:

          Haha cool, glad you’re enjoying it. I know some people disliked moving from the front/back row of Loren/SOTW to this system, so for Loren 2 maybe I’ll go back to that, we’ll see.

          About Zachary and Valery wait until you get to the end and maybe you won’t regret it anymore ;P

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