While heralded by fans as one of the greatest strategy games ever made, Vic Davis’ Solium Infernum has remained largely unknown since its release in 2009. Australia studio League of Geeks, creators of the hit digital board game Armello, have just announced their next project will be a reimagining of the cult classic with the goal of bringing Davis’ underappreciated masterpiece to a wider audience.
In a closed-door meeting at PAX West this year, League of Geeks cofounder Trent Kusters told me that Solium Infernum was a huge influence on Armello. He and his co-developers have been close to Davis – who has since retired from the game industry – for years, and decided that making their own version of his game would be a perfect follow-up. The studio acquired the rights and Davis’ blessing, and the new version is launching next year.
Solium Infernum is a turn-based grand strategy game set in Hell. Lucifer has absconded from the throne, and now the eight Archfiends of the Infernal Kingdom are waging war against each other to claim Pandaemonium, the capital city of the underworld.
While Solium Infernum is in the same genre as games like Civilization and Crusader Kings, there are some key differences here that make it a wholly unique experience. Rather than alternating turns, each player makes all of their moves simultaneously. Not knowing what your opponents plan to do until it happens sets Solium Infernum up to be a game of deep political intrigue and subterfuge. Outwitting your opponents is more important than overpowering them, so manipulation and backstabbing are going to be your biggest keys to success. You’re demons, after all.
The map itself makes Solium Infernum unlike any other strategy game as well. As you scroll from left to right or top to bottom, you’ll find that the entire thing loops back on itself from every direction. This means that the opponent whose kingdom borders you on the right also borders you on the left, and vice versa. Everyone is surrounding everyone else, and an attack could come from any direction at any time. The loop adds a significant layer of strategy, but it also increases the paranoia. Alliances are always temporary, particularly in Hell, and it constantly feels like you’re sitting on the razor’s edge of catastrophe.
Of course, League of Geeks is putting their own signature spin on the classic game too. The original has a decidedly barebones presentation, even by 2009 standards, so the studio has put a lot of effort into reimagining the look of Hell and the demons that inhabit it. It will feature more than 150 “dark paintings,” of the different archdemons and the legions of hellbeasts they command. There’s a storybook quality to the art like Armello, but with a much darker edge.
Solium Infernum will feature two-to-four hour single player campaigns, as well as multiplayer matches for up to eight players. It can be played asynchronously like Civ, so you only need to check in a few minutes a day to take your turns, and the game can stretch out over days or even weeks, depending on how active players are. Check out the Solium Infernum Steam page to learn more and add it to your wishlist today.
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