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Game News Dead Monarchy Released

Infinitron

I post news
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Tags: Dead Monarchy

Nearly six years ago, a fellow by the name of Bantichai showed up on our forums to talk about a game he was working on, a Battle Brothers-inspired open-world tactical RPG called Dead Monarchy. Today, nearly four years after it went into Early Access, the game's full release is finally here. Bantichai was pretty young when he began working on Dead Monarchy so many years ago. His release announcement reflects on how far he's come since then and what he has planned for the future. But first the release trailer, which has a heavy focus on visceral combat animations.



Initially, when I set out to create Dead Monarchy, I thought I could work on this one game forever. I know, it sounds naïve, a large amount of developers that go into early access don't finish their games and countless games don't even make it into the early access stage. I felt confident that I could do it though.

I have to say, that after 6 years, it does feel like forever, especially when it's just you. Day in and day out, solo development becomes extremely "insular". I say that because at least for me, it feels like I stuck my head in the sand and popped out half a decade later. Everyone and everything around me has changed and moved on but I still remained the same. To me, time stalled but the reality is that time keeps flowing.

After that realisation, I took some time off and realised that I myself had also changed, I had become more experienced, but I never realised that until I took the time to think about it. While I still have those lofty ideals and the same amount of enthusiasm and passion, I also now have a more realistic plan to achieve my dreams.

I have decided that I will create a series of games, essentially standalone expansions. They will all relate back to Dead Monarchy, as in they will all share the same setting but they are separate games. Combat will be the one consistent thing that will improve upon each game. I will continue to add new perks, new weapon types, new armours and new enemies and they will be built upon each new game. So the combat system will remain intact and be expanded upon each new game but other features such as the open-world exploration, may be removed and other major features added in such as base management.

The reason I am doing this is because I realised that it is impossible for me to balance and design the game that I want in a single game. It also isn't exactly financially viable.

My dream is to just be able to make a living from creating games, to be able to work on my games full-time. If I made a modest 50k AUD a year from games, that would be enough to go full-time or if Dead Monarchy somehow made a million that would secure me for life and I would have all the time in the world to just work on a single game.

Both scenarios still seem so far away and deep down I knew that going in as Dead Monarchy is a niche game, but that's why dreams exist, so you can chase them and in my case, gives meaning to my life.

Once I have created a few more games and the major features that those games will be based around have received adequate feedback and have been polished, I will then combine all the games into the "ultimate" version and that game will then ultimately be my "dream" game and the game I will then continue to work on.

That is the plan and the route I have decided to take. I need to be able to work in sections, if the game gets too big, it becomes too unwieldy, sections need to be locked down, if I have multiple things that need my attention all at once, it becomes extremely messy.​

Thoroughly inspiring stuff. Dead Monarchy is available on Steam for just $10, with a 40% launch discount until next week, which means it's practically free. Give it a try if you like what you're hearing.
 

Tavernking

Don't believe his lies
Developer
Joined
Sep 1, 2017
Messages
1,205
Location
Australia
Looks cool but that was a bad trailer, I can't hear the narrator over the music and the narrator's voice wasn't exactly professional either. Not saying that I could do better btw
 

Norfleet

Moderator
Joined
Jun 3, 2005
Messages
12,250
I'm pretty sure the trailer was made by the dude and the narrator is the dev, so I wouldn't expect it to be "exactly professional".
 

Bantichai

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
332
Location
Australia
Yeah I made the trailer, working with sticks and stones I suppose. Someone else mentioned that the audio was a bit loud, I'll probably lower it once I get around to it.
 
Joined
May 9, 2019
Messages
9
Great to see you finally getting some "ink" today Kevin. As I said on another forum, I was playing Wartales and enjoying it alot, but I am simply having much more fun with Dead Monarchy, can't put my finger on exactly why.
 

Bantichai

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
332
Location
Australia
Great to see you finally getting some "ink" today Kevin. As I said on another forum, I was playing Wartales and enjoying it alot, but I am simply having much more fun with Dead Monarchy, can't put my finger on exactly why.

Thanks again! Yup I saw it. I've played Wartales for a bit too and I've hit a few walls, I'm curious to see if you have had a similar experience.

- No Hit chance, sure there is some degree when it comes to ranged attacks if you have something in the way of LOS but the vast majority of the combat will be fought by melee fighters in which you will always hit or be hit. To me after a while it morphs into a puzzle game, every single fight, I deploy my berserker to the enemy leader and I know he will always and under no circumstances, miss, meaning he will always get the kill regardless. Sure some enemies have the "oil/slick" effect, but it's gonna be dead next turn. There is no backup plan forming in my head. Even with enemy turns UI hidden, you know X amount of turns is X amount of kills, you chain it up mentally in your head as if it's like Tetris. There is a very fine line between strategy and puzzle games and when everything is certain, with no unpredictability it eventually removes the strategy layer, there always needs to be some degree of unpredictability. When you are frustrated that you missed at 95% chance you want there to be no RNG, once you do well and you start to steamroll you then ponder why you suddenly hit a wall and everything seems too easy.

- There doesn't honestly seem to be a lot of visual customisation. I wasn't a fan of the ghost hide armour either, the leap from something that looks plausible in a gritty medieval world to the neon blue really messed with my head. There's no helmets either, that REALLY messes with my head. Most likely a technical issue, a while back I couldn't get shadows to work in DM so I was thinking about coming up with a long and elaborate justification as to why there are no shadows in the world but it just doesn't work. To me, that applies to helmets too, it's such a base necessity without it the world feels off. Every single concept art of Wartales featuring a character has no helmet. They plan to eventually add it back in but I wonder why it wasn't in the first place.

- Deployment. I know my own deployment system isn't the best, but at least with big parties in DM you can eventually instantly deploy with the same setup. In Wartales every single fight is an ambush, your units start scattered about, scattered in different positions, every now and then you might miss a straggler stuck in a corner, even if you hit "alt" to check their names. Deployment is a tricky thing though, they probably overall do it better than DM but with bigger parties I spend ages shifting through each unit.

- Character builds and progression. I don't know, honestly I have to say DM does it better, sure it may be bias but I really think that's the case. Each character has a set amount of perks in Wartales, you pick 1 every few levels like XCOM. I feel like there is a lot more flexibility in DM. A sword n board character can be built in multiple ways and they are all viable.

Battle Brothers is still king, especially modded. I think Wartales is a great gateway game into this niche genre if for some reason you missed Battle Brothers. Because it is a niche game though, you are eventually gonna go through these games and probably play them all and I feel that DM can at least stand on its own. Sure both Wartales and BB are vastly superior to my little $10 game, but the combat in DM can stand on its own which is ultimately the largest part and you get your money's worth.

Hell, in Australia it costs me $20 USD to get a meal at your local burger joint and it's gone in 5 minutes.
 

Tyranicon

A Memory of Eternity
Developer
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
5,543
Bantichai

What are your plans once launch winds down? Sequel, another game, continuing support for DM?

I hope you are able to continue gamedev, brother.

:brodex:
 

Bantichai

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
332
Location
Australia
Bantichai

What are your plans once launch winds down? Sequel, another game, continuing support for DM?

I hope you are able to continue gamedev, brother.

:brodex:
Cheers mate! Yeah so, I have free post-release content lined up, it will expand upon the post-game content. Will probably take me over a year to get all that in. Once that's done, I will probably transition to purely bug support and occasional balances for DM.

I will also begin working on a standalone expansion/game for Dead Monarchy. Each of these new games will continue to expand upon the combat system adding new weapon types/perks, that will be the one consistent thing that will be continually ported over in each game. Major features will change though, for the next game I wish to focus more on base management which is something I scrapped from DM.

Then once a few of these standalone expansions have been released and I have received adequate feedback on them I will combine them all into the "ultimate game". I will then continue working on the "ultimate game" until I'm dead. How long until the ultimate game? Probably 5-10 years I think, just glad I started this journey at a ripe age.

Pretty much got the timeline of my entire life figured out at this point I think, as it will most likely just revolve around game development.

What about you mate, any new games on the horizon?
 

Tyranicon

A Memory of Eternity
Developer
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
5,543
Bantichai

What are your plans once launch winds down? Sequel, another game, continuing support for DM?

I hope you are able to continue gamedev, brother.
Cheers mate! Yeah so, I have free post-release content lined up, it will expand upon the post-game content. Will probably take me over a year to get all that in. Once that's done, I will probably transition to purely bug support and occasional balances for DM.

I will also begin working on a standalone expansion/game for Dead Monarchy. Each of these new games will continue to expand upon the combat system adding new weapon types/perks, that will be the one consistent thing that will be continually ported over in each game. Major features will change though, for the next game I wish to focus more on base management which is something I scrapped from DM.

Then once a few of these standalone expansions have been released and I have received adequate feedback on them I will combine them all into the "ultimate game". I will then continue working on the "ultimate game" until I'm dead. How long until the ultimate game? Probably 5-10 years I think, just glad I started this journey at a ripe age.

Pretty much got the timeline of my entire life figured out at this point I think, as it will most likely just revolve around game development.

What about you mate, any new games on the horizon?

That's pretty ambitious, but why else are we in the solodev business if we aren't?

I'm currently working on my fourth game, but I still feel like I'm in the learning phase of gamedev.
 

Bantichai

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
332
Location
Australia
Bantichai

What are your plans once launch winds down? Sequel, another game, continuing support for DM?

I hope you are able to continue gamedev, brother.
Cheers mate! Yeah so, I have free post-release content lined up, it will expand upon the post-game content. Will probably take me over a year to get all that in. Once that's done, I will probably transition to purely bug support and occasional balances for DM.

I will also begin working on a standalone expansion/game for Dead Monarchy. Each of these new games will continue to expand upon the combat system adding new weapon types/perks, that will be the one consistent thing that will be continually ported over in each game. Major features will change though, for the next game I wish to focus more on base management which is something I scrapped from DM.

Then once a few of these standalone expansions have been released and I have received adequate feedback on them I will combine them all into the "ultimate game". I will then continue working on the "ultimate game" until I'm dead. How long until the ultimate game? Probably 5-10 years I think, just glad I started this journey at a ripe age.

Pretty much got the timeline of my entire life figured out at this point I think, as it will most likely just revolve around game development.

What about you mate, any new games on the horizon?

That's pretty ambitious, but why else are we in the solodev business if we aren't?

I'm currently working on my fourth game, but I still feel like I'm in the learning phase of gamedev.
True that, it takes a certain kind of crazy to do solo-dev huh?

It would have been hilarious if your game was just named "Battle Brothels". Do you remember how long it took you to reach 100 reviews?

And yeah I get that feeling too actually, imposter syndrome I think they call it? Idk, so much to learn as a solo dev, so little time, but the challenges are nice. I somewhat understand now why people want to climb Everest.
 

PapaPetro

Guest
Congrats Bantichai!
Good to see one of our own make
incline.png
 

Galdred

Studio Draconis
Patron
Developer
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
4,307
Location
Middle Empire
Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Congratulations on the Full Release. To be honest, I had serious doubts after you announced the complete rebuild, as it usually spells doom for a project, but I'm happy to have been proven wrong.


Great to see you finally getting some "ink" today Kevin. As I said on another forum, I was playing Wartales and enjoying it alot, but I am simply having much more fun with Dead Monarchy, can't put my finger on exactly why.

Thanks again! Yup I saw it. I've played Wartales for a bit too and I've hit a few walls, I'm curious to see if you have had a similar experience.

- No Hit chance, sure there is some degree when it comes to ranged attacks if you have something in the way of LOS but the vast majority of the combat will be fought by melee fighters in which you will always hit or be hit. To me after a while it morphs into a puzzle game, every single fight, I deploy my berserker to the enemy leader and I know he will always and under no circumstances, miss, meaning he will always get the kill regardless. Sure some enemies have the "oil/slick" effect, but it's gonna be dead next turn. There is no backup plan forming in my head. Even with enemy turns UI hidden, you know X amount of turns is X amount of kills, you chain it up mentally in your head as if it's like Tetris. There is a very fine line between strategy and puzzle games and when everything is certain, with no unpredictability it eventually removes the strategy layer, there always needs to be some degree of unpredictability. When you are frustrated that you missed at 95% chance you want there to be no RNG, once you do well and you start to steamroll you then ponder why you suddenly hit a wall and everything seems too easy.

- There doesn't honestly seem to be a lot of visual customisation. I wasn't a fan of the ghost hide armour either, the leap from something that looks plausible in a gritty medieval world to the neon blue really messed with my head. There's no helmets either, that REALLY messes with my head. Most likely a technical issue, a while back I couldn't get shadows to work in DM so I was thinking about coming up with a long and elaborate justification as to why there are no shadows in the world but it just doesn't work. To me, that applies to helmets too, it's such a base necessity without it the world feels off. Every single concept art of Wartales featuring a character has no helmet. They plan to eventually add it back in but I wonder why it wasn't in the first place.

- Deployment. I know my own deployment system isn't the best, but at least with big parties in DM you can eventually instantly deploy with the same setup. In Wartales every single fight is an ambush, your units start scattered about, scattered in different positions, every now and then you might miss a straggler stuck in a corner, even if you hit "alt" to check their names. Deployment is a tricky thing though, they probably overall do it better than DM but with bigger parties I spend ages shifting through each unit.

- Character builds and progression. I don't know, honestly I have to say DM does it better, sure it may be bias but I really think that's the case. Each character has a set amount of perks in Wartales, you pick 1 every few levels like XCOM. I feel like there is a lot more flexibility in DM. A sword n board character can be built in multiple ways and they are all viable.

Battle Brothers is still king, especially modded. I think Wartales is a great gateway game into this niche genre if for some reason you missed Battle Brothers. Because it is a niche game though, you are eventually gonna go through these games and probably play them all and I feel that DM can at least stand on its own. Sure both Wartales and BB are vastly superior to my little $10 game, but the combat in DM can stand on its own which is ultimately the largest part and you get your money's worth.

Hell, in Australia it costs me $20 USD to get a meal at your local burger joint and it's gone in 5 minutes.

Dead Monarchy has helmets, which makes it the superior game. I hate the lack of helmets on named characters in movies. I don't think we should accept it in games.
 

Bantichai

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
332
Location
Australia
Congratulations on the Full Release. To be honest, I had serious doubts after you announced the complete rebuild, as it usually spells doom for a project, but I'm happy to have been proven wrong.


Great to see you finally getting some "ink" today Kevin. As I said on another forum, I was playing Wartales and enjoying it alot, but I am simply having much more fun with Dead Monarchy, can't put my finger on exactly why.

Thanks again! Yup I saw it. I've played Wartales for a bit too and I've hit a few walls, I'm curious to see if you have had a similar experience.

- No Hit chance, sure there is some degree when it comes to ranged attacks if you have something in the way of LOS but the vast majority of the combat will be fought by melee fighters in which you will always hit or be hit. To me after a while it morphs into a puzzle game, every single fight, I deploy my berserker to the enemy leader and I know he will always and under no circumstances, miss, meaning he will always get the kill regardless. Sure some enemies have the "oil/slick" effect, but it's gonna be dead next turn. There is no backup plan forming in my head. Even with enemy turns UI hidden, you know X amount of turns is X amount of kills, you chain it up mentally in your head as if it's like Tetris. There is a very fine line between strategy and puzzle games and when everything is certain, with no unpredictability it eventually removes the strategy layer, there always needs to be some degree of unpredictability. When you are frustrated that you missed at 95% chance you want there to be no RNG, once you do well and you start to steamroll you then ponder why you suddenly hit a wall and everything seems too easy.

- There doesn't honestly seem to be a lot of visual customisation. I wasn't a fan of the ghost hide armour either, the leap from something that looks plausible in a gritty medieval world to the neon blue really messed with my head. There's no helmets either, that REALLY messes with my head. Most likely a technical issue, a while back I couldn't get shadows to work in DM so I was thinking about coming up with a long and elaborate justification as to why there are no shadows in the world but it just doesn't work. To me, that applies to helmets too, it's such a base necessity without it the world feels off. Every single concept art of Wartales featuring a character has no helmet. They plan to eventually add it back in but I wonder why it wasn't in the first place.

- Deployment. I know my own deployment system isn't the best, but at least with big parties in DM you can eventually instantly deploy with the same setup. In Wartales every single fight is an ambush, your units start scattered about, scattered in different positions, every now and then you might miss a straggler stuck in a corner, even if you hit "alt" to check their names. Deployment is a tricky thing though, they probably overall do it better than DM but with bigger parties I spend ages shifting through each unit.

- Character builds and progression. I don't know, honestly I have to say DM does it better, sure it may be bias but I really think that's the case. Each character has a set amount of perks in Wartales, you pick 1 every few levels like XCOM. I feel like there is a lot more flexibility in DM. A sword n board character can be built in multiple ways and they are all viable.

Battle Brothers is still king, especially modded. I think Wartales is a great gateway game into this niche genre if for some reason you missed Battle Brothers. Because it is a niche game though, you are eventually gonna go through these games and probably play them all and I feel that DM can at least stand on its own. Sure both Wartales and BB are vastly superior to my little $10 game, but the combat in DM can stand on its own which is ultimately the largest part and you get your money's worth.

Hell, in Australia it costs me $20 USD to get a meal at your local burger joint and it's gone in 5 minutes.

Dead Monarchy has helmets, which makes it the superior game. I hate the lack of helmets on named characters in movies. I don't think we should accept it in games.
Lmao, I will always love helmets, especially in games with a top-down/isometric camera, you need those heads to be distinct haha. Yeah the rebuild was rocky, if I had to pay even one developer it probably would have ruined me. Only worked because it was solo development and I could just sustain development.

Thank you for the support too, hope everything goes smooth for Zodiac Legion!
 

Tyranicon

A Memory of Eternity
Developer
Joined
Oct 7, 2019
Messages
5,543
It would have been hilarious if your game was just named "Battle Brothels". Do you remember how long it took you to reach 100 reviews?

Yeah, it's part of the joke since it does have certain Battle Brothers-inspired elements.

Regarding 100 reviews, it does knock you up a tier in Steam's arcane and mostly unexplained visibility algorithm. But it took me entirely too long, something like two years after Early Access.
 

IMPERIVM RECTVM

Literate
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
19
Bantichai I've been watching your devblogs years ago and I completelly forgot this games existence until now. Visuals seems to get better but I'm not sure about the gameplay. It has good potential, I just hope the combat will be hard like in The Age of Decadence and Dungeon Rats. Player being too powerful and the game being unbalanced overall gets boring very quickly.
 

Bantichai

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
332
Location
Australia
Bantichai I've been watching your devblogs years ago and I completelly forgot this games existence until now. Visuals seems to get better but I'm not sure about the gameplay. It has good potential, I just hope the combat will be hard like in The Age of Decadence and Dungeon Rats. Player being too powerful and the game being unbalanced overall gets boring very quickly.
Combat is definitely the focus in DM and it has received a lot of feedback from players over the years, it's been refined quite a bit. There are countless builds that you can make when you sit down and look at each of the perks. There is no level-scaling, entering the wrong locations will end you. I think you'll find it to be quite challenging and if it's not your cup of tea, you can always refund it. A lot of mechanics in DM, attack of opportunity, counter attacks, elevation, diagonal vs square attack positioning, flanking positioning, resolve, stamina etc.
 

IMPERIVM RECTVM

Literate
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
19
Bantichai I've been watching your devblogs years ago and I completelly forgot this games existence until now. Visuals seems to get better but I'm not sure about the gameplay. It has good potential, I just hope the combat will be hard like in The Age of Decadence and Dungeon Rats. Player being too powerful and the game being unbalanced overall gets boring very quickly.
Combat is definitely the focus in DM and it has received a lot of feedback from players over the years, it's been refined quite a bit. There are countless builds that you can make when you sit down and look at each of the perks. There is no level-scaling, entering the wrong locations will end you. I think you'll find it to be quite challenging and if it's not your cup of tea, you can always refund it. A lot of mechanics in DM, attack of opportunity, counter attacks, elevation, diagonal vs square attack positioning, flanking positioning, resolve, stamina etc.
There are countless builds you say, but do all of them viable? Because if so then the game is too easy and unbalanced.
 

Strange Fellow

Peculiar
Patron
Joined
Jun 21, 2018
Messages
3,973
Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
Multiple viable builds means the game is unbalanced :gumpyhead:

Every time I think all stores of retardation have been tapped, the Codex finds a way.
 

IMPERIVM RECTVM

Literate
Joined
May 18, 2023
Messages
19
Multiple viable builds means the game is unbalanced :gumpyhead:

Every time I think all stores of retardation have been tapped, the Codex finds a way.
What I'm trying to say being able to beat the game even with most retarded build means the game is too easy. I have no problem with various builds being viable, in fact they add replayability value which is always nice.
 

Modron

Arcane
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
9,676
There are countless builds you say, but do all of them viable? Because if so then the game is too easy and unbalanced.
I'd imagine it would be pretty easy to make a really terrible build just by virtue of how many tens of perks there are and only ~20 perk points for your character. Not to mention it's like BB in terms of random starting stat distributions depending on background, random background traits, and skill bonuses. I could see someone making their way through midgame then start having their high level labourers getting slaughtered by better stated/skilled/pedigreed enemies.
 

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