OK, hold onto your butts for this one: Bedlam is described by the Skyshine team as “a rogue-like, turn based strategy game set in an over-the-top post-apocalyptic wasteland filled with colorful characters and brutal enemy encounters.” They then go on to list a number of influences that include: XCOM, FTL, and… Oregon Trail?
Let that description sink in for just a moment, but while it’s doing that, gaze at the header image above all this text. Look at that artwork. It’s gorgeous. Now learn that the game is made on the Banner Saga game engine; the same engine that powered, well, The Banner Saga, which is one of the most lovely looking games in ages.
By now you should be beginning to realise that Bedlam is a game that deserves closer attention.
Chatter for this game has been floating around the interwebs for some time already. Tiny indie team Skyshine held a successful Kickstarter campaign in which they raked in $166, 000 from just over 5, 250 backers. That was back in October of last year. A few months later they brought the game to both E3 and Gamescom, and now they already have a release date for the game: 17 September on Steam.
Bedlam is a post-apocalypse game. The Mad Max and 2000 A.D. comic series tones are everywhere, but a campy, colourful aesthetic almost tones down the violence and horror ordinarily associated with this genre. That’s not to say the game isn’t violent and at times horrific; because it is.
You play as The Mechanic. Your job is to drive a Dozer (pretty much a rolling fortress) loaded with crew and passengers from the technological city of Byzantine all the way to a mythical location called Aztec City. Unfortunately there’s a wasteland between Byzantine and Aztec City. That wasteland, known as Bedlam, is home to irradiated mutants, rogue A.I., marauders, and cyborgs. Enjoy your roadtrip!
In order to keep yourself, the passengers, and your Dozer from flat-lining, you’ll need resources. More specifically you’ll need Meat, Metal, and Crude, all of which is obtainable in the wasteland, or rewarded from completing missions or killing enemies.
You’ll need to upgrade your Dozer, recruit new crewmembers, upgrade skills, and kill anything that looks at you with even the slightest of irradiated expressions. Combat is turn-based, with characters’ positions on the battlefield playing the crucial role in the difference between victory and defeat. While the story of Bedlam will feature scripted encounters with specific characters, the battles and the crew you find will be randomly generated. Numerous playthroughs are an option.
There’ll be an element of permanence to your playthrough, as you’ll only have one saved game slot from beginning to end. Also, if a crewmember succumbs to evisceration by pissed-off cyborg, then agg shame… they’re gone for good.
Need more to get excited about? Well, for a start, the lead artist on this game is John Mueller, who created the OINK graphic novel. He also worked at Vigil Games as the studio art director, so he had a hand in making the Darksiders series look as unique and beautiful as it did.
Then there’s some pretty amazing music for the game’s soundtrack; that’s being composed and put together by Kevin Riepl who did the Gears of War music. Bedlam’s sound has a lot of gritty synth drums overlaid with your typical Wild West guitar twangs. There are a couple of tracks you can listen to over on the Kickstarter page.
You like? I like. I really like. There’s not much longer to wait either, with the game releasing in juuuuust over 3 weeks’ time. It’s up for pre-order on Steam for $16.99. In the meantime, check out the latest trailer for the game below: