Dwarf Fortress, the Byzantine and beloved colony simulation game, releases on Steam on December 6th. The announcement today marks a major milestone for Tarn Adams and Zach Adams of Bay 12 Games, who began work on the game in 2003.
Originally titled Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter 2: Dwarf Fortress, the game’s main mode involves taking on a small group of dwarves and making a home for them in the unforgiving wilderness. The game combines classic Tolkien-inspired fantasy with incredibly complex simulation, which models everything from the mood, mannerisms and madness of people to glacial flows and hydrodynamics.
Until today, the release date of Dwarf Fortress has remained a mystery. In fact, the “Release date” section of the game’s Steam page simply stated that “time is subjective,” nodding to the assumption that the game would arrive when it was ready. However, after 20 years, it seems unlikely that the Adams brothers are completely done with the game – the press release still says that the project has “no end in sight”.
Dwarf Fortress will release on Steam and Itch.io with updated graphics and new guides to make the notoriously difficult game more accessible. While the official release of 1.0 is on the way, the game created by the Adamses has long been available, allowing generations of gnomes to dig and die in the endlessly sprawling dungeons of this almost unbelievably ambitious game. Over its 20-year history, it has helped shape modern management games such as RimWorld and Prison Architect and spawned some of the wildest and most branching player narratives in gaming.