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The Dark Eye role-playing game was originally published in 1984 and it is the most successful RPG on the German market. The RPG and the world it is set in was first transferred to the computer RPG world eight years later, in 1992. There were a total of three games in this first series, called Realms of Arkania. Another computer RPG series set in the same world saw light in 2008, carrying the name The Dark Eye: Drakensang. There were five games in this series. In addition to these, the RPG has also been introduced to the mobile gaming scene with seven different titles, on the tabletop in the form of three boardgames and to the players’ hands in the form of a trading card game. All in all, the gameworld seems to excite attention in all possible forms.

Now, in 2013, another computer game appears that is also set in this classic world: Blackguards. The game comes from a Hamburg-based studio Daedalic Entertainment which is known mainly for adventure games. The game is set in the Horas Empire of Aventuria, so it has little or no connection to the previous computer RPG games based on the same world. It will also be more of a hybrid between a tactical turn-based combat game and an RPG than a pure RPG.

The Hero and his Merry Men

The game gets its name from a fellowship of rogues and outlaws who join the main character in their search for the murderer of the protagonist's girlfriend – the murder that the protagonist is accused of even by the closest friends. The protagonist claims that the girlfriend was killed by a wolf, but even these memories are put into question. The members of the fellowship that gather around the protagonist have equally shady pasts and all of them have their own secrets to hide. Just imagine going on an adventure with a drunk wizard or a drug-addicted rogue. It is not yet known, however, if these characteristics will affect the gameplay (such as the casting abilities of a drunken wizard).

Your party size will vary as the story progresses and will usually consist of the protagonist and two to four companions. The player can choose the protagonist’s gender and class, the latter of which has three options. There is no customization for the looks of the character, other than the ability to choose between five possible appearances for each gender. The companions are picked up as the story begins and the player’s ability to customize them is restricted to the choice of which abilities and skills to progress at each level-up.

The word “restricted” may be somewhat misleading, however, as you will have a lot of choice in how to use your skill points. For example, when you add points to your weapon skills, you will have to make a further choice between that skill’s offensive and defensive capabilities. You will not, therefore, have a simple armor check number, or a dodge skill, that acts against all incoming attacks, but also your defensive weapon skill that affects the chances of your enemies hitting you.