Godus is an upcoming real-time strategy game developed and published by Guildford based developer 22Cans for the PC, MAC, Linux, iOS and Android platforms. Godus is the studio's second production, and marks Peter Molyneux's return to the god-game genre he is often credited as having created. The last god-game Molyneux had worked on prior to Godus was 2005's Black & White 2 and its subsequent expansion Black & White 2: Battle of the Gods, released in 2006. Godus began development in 2012 and is due for release in 2013.
Similarly to the games that inspired it, Godus' main premise essentially consists of empowering the player with god-like abilities to rule over a civilization of followers, without ever judging the player's moral decisions. At first a player starts with only a few followers, but by molding the land to fit the needs of its people and blessing the zealous peasants with godly gifts and knowledge, and by protecting and guiding tribesmen in battles against rival armies, an infant civilization can grow to become a thriving powerful metropolis - or it can, at a whim, be completely eradicated by a player-induced natural catastrophe.
The player has the ability to gift followers with knowledge and other offerings or to, conversely, destroy entire landscapes with the power of natural catastrophes. Destructive abilities can also be used to attack rival tribes.
Terrain Manipulation is one of the game's key gameplay mechanics. Terrain can be elevated or lowered (allowing for the creation of valleys and mountains), shores can be extended or diminished, etc. Molding the world can hold a strategic value in this game, since mountains can be raised to isolate the player's tribe from enemy forces, or a river's path can be careened towards a place that is convenient to the locals and helps daily activity. Moreover, placing houses on higher ground will grant the player a higher score. This gameplay element is utilized via gesture-based controls.
God Powers give the player a whole range of divine abilities, allowing one to either provoke wanton destruction and wreak havoc in Godus' world, or bless the lands and its population with fertile soil, life and knowledge. Destructive abilities give the player the power to summon natural disasters at will, while constructive ones replenish life and order to whole landscapes. As outlined in the image to the right, God Powers are commanded through gesture-based controls as well.
The home-world is the game's starting point, it acts as a hub world and is the core game-mode of Godus. It consists solely of a vast sandbox where the player can acquire followers and develop a civilization which can then be used in multiplayer matches or the campaign mode. In this sense the home-world is Godus' main hub, which harbors the main element of the game: the player's civilization. The home-world mode has been described by 22Cans staff as being a soothing experience of an almost therapeutic nature.
The campaign mode in Godus consists of a series of single-player challenges that pit the player against a set of deities. These rival gods will each have their own theme, and offer varying degrees of intelligence and challenge. This game mode can be played cooperatively.
Godus features a multiplayer that works across all the platforms for which the game is available. This type of cross-platform multiplayer functionality means that it's possible for a competitive multiplayer match to take place between two players where one is using a Windows desktop computer and the other is using an iPad, for instance.
The multiplayer component of Godus offers both ranked and unranked matches, as well as the ability to play with people from a friends list, or against random adversaries via matchmaking. Victories grant the winning party more followers.
Developer 22Cans launched the month-long Kickstarter fundraiser titled "Project GODUS" on November 21st 2012, just two weeks after the release of their first game Curiosity: What's Inside the Cube? on the Apple App Store. The popular pledge-funding platform represented the main source of financing for the game's development and, as is common with kickstarter-funded projects, the amount of money resulting from the fundraiser was advertised as being directly proportional to the scope of the final product. By the time the fundraiser reached its deadline on December 21st 2012 it had surpassed its initial target goal of £450,000 (which it reached on December 19) by roughly 17%, having amassed a total of £526,563. This meant the project reached five of its six "stretch goals", leaving out only Ouya support which would have been added if at least £550,000 had been raised.
On January 7th 2013, an image was posted to 22Cans' facebook page where it was revealed the game is due for release that same year.
The game is being developed for a variety of platforms, ranging from MAC, Linux and PC to iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. However, the FAQ on the game's official Kickstarter page clearly states that the "PC (Windows) version will be hands down the most beautiful".
Though a digital distribution platform has not yet been chosen for the MAC, PC and Linux versions of the game, the same FAQ has addressed DRM-related concerns, stating that "the singleplayer campaign does not require you to be online" while adding that "potentially some additional features" may require an internet connection.
In the development videos that have been frequently uploaded to the 22Cans Official YouTube channel since the fundraiser launched, Peter Molyneux has repeatedly mentioned that Godus is thoroughly influenced by three of his past projects (namely Populous, Dungeon Keeper and Black & White) in core, evident ways. In the videos Molyneux is extremely candid regarding the faults that plague his aging projects, and detailedly pinpoints what cues are being directly taken from each title and what mistakes are trying to be avoided.
- Control of terrain elevation is a key mechanic for success in both Populous and Godus.
- The game's singleplayer and multiplayer modes were a main source of inspiration for Godus' style of play.
Dungeon Keeper (1997)
- Digging is an important mechanic in Godus as a player can tap or click into any point of the terrain to carve the landscape and, as in Dungeon Keeper, it is a quintessential method of resource finding.
Black & White (2001)
- Molyneux finds B&W's world to be characterized by a "tactile feel", in part due to the game's cursor (the player's way of interacting with B&W's world) being a human hand that responds fluidly and dynamically to its surroundings. According to a Godus design document, the developers "want the player to really feel like they are forming the world with their touch".
- Moreover, according to the same design document, "the open world feeling to B&W, the scale, and the charismatic civilizations... are big inspirations for GODUS".
On December 19th 2012, it was revealed via a Kickstarter backer update that Harry Waters, the son of Pink Floyd founding member and world-famous progressive-rock musician Roger Waters, had approached 22Cans with the intent to contribute to their soundtrack. The studio demonstrated keen interest in working with Waters, and stated that they "will be exploring how [they] can collaborate with Harry on the soundtrack" and that the result of the collaboration "could be in the form of a bonus track on the soundtrack or it could be something else".
Jack Attridge is 22Cans' resident sound designer and responsible for the soundscape of the game.