We’re not in Deponia anymore.

After an impressive roster of fun and critically acclaimed adventure games like Deponia and Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes, Daedalic Entertainment has gone off the grid into dark and uncharted territory for the developer’s first non-adventure game: a gritty turn-based fantasy RPG. In Blackguards, you are not the hero. In fact, if you even want to succeed in the game, you’ll need to constantly tread on the path of evil, and balance the lives of others in your hands as they stand between you and your ultimate goal.

As you might imagine, Daedalic tells us that Blackguards is “framed in a significantly darker story than you usually find in Daedalic games.” The game begins with your character witnessing the grisly death of their girlfriend by the jaws of a wolf. After fighting off the wolf and killing it, the beast’s corpse is suddenly nowhere to be found, and the town convicts you of your girlfriend’s murder – and who knows, maybe you actually did kill her. Nothing is ever certain here in Blackguards, especially your character’s shady and questionable actions.

Blackguards

The official press release promises a rich world with surprising twists at every turn, and tons of individually crafted battle maps “full of interactive objects and strategically complex situations [that] lead the player to exotic locations and put them through deadly trials.” While the gameplay will be taking a more traditional turn-based tactical approach, we also know that the environments will come into play, and can even affect the outcomes of certain battles: as some early gameplay footage of Blackguards shown at GDC featured players crushing enemies under a large chandelier. The first two screenshots released for the game show a dark and frightening world, and mark a sharp visual departure from the bright and friendly environments of Daedalic’s past games. One look at them, and it’s clear we’re not in Deponia anymore.

Players will decide on a character class at the beginning of the game, like a mighty warrior, clever wizard, or skillful hunter, but have the option of switching classes later on in their travels. Blackguards also features a party-based battling system, with parties of up to 7 people, and the ability to equip gear and change attributes. As you flee through the wild South of Aventuria, in a world known as The Dark Eye, you’ll encounter a number of corrupt and untrustworthy individuals that you’ll be forced to work with, like a drug-addicted half-elf thief named Niam, and a lecherous wizard named Zurbaran.

Blackguards

With more than 170 unique battle maps and a deeply engrossing story, Blackguards promises to deliver over 40 hours of adventure when the game is released in the summer of 2013. An international release planned for Q3 2013.