Today we are proud to release The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge on Steam after over a year and a half of production. This is our first commercial game since releasing the award winning Portal Stories: Mel.
What is The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge
The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge is a game set in a fantasy world and features Souls-like combat mechanics, compelling storytelling and the ability to customise a new character before each new level. However, in a unique twist, after completing a level all your previously customised characters continue to exist within the game world. Thus, rather than a single protagonist, you will be developing a whole cast of characters to interact with throughout the game!
Character customisation of appearance, stats and weapons
Levelling choices in each dungeon
Focus on storytelling
Replay the game with special Challenge Runs, combinations of unique modifiers to the game.
These include Roguelike Challenge which randomizes your build each time you play through the dungeons and Soul Challenge which restricts the number of checkpoints in the game and changes how healing works.
With a variety of individual modifiers you can also tweak the game to create your own challenge runs or make things a little easier if you get stuck.
Prism Studios is a small video game company based in Northern Ireland. In 2015, we released the Portal Stories: Mel mod for Valve’s Portal 2 game which was downloaded by over 1 million unique users. Now we are hoping to follow that success with our current project, The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge.
Getting this game to the finish line has been a challenge, especially since we are a tiny team trying to transition from the creation of an award-winning mod to a commercial product. Working without any budget or outside investment for over a year and half means that this project has been very much a labour of love!
You can keep up to date with our projects via
One Year in development
The development for “The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge” has officially entered it’s second year of development. In this year we’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m proud of all the work that’s been done by everyone involved.
To give you an idea of how things have changed, here’s a screenshot of the first level, first in April 2017, then April 2018.
So, where are we at?
This week also marked the first time I’ve been able to play through the whole game. As the game is still in Alpha that meant there were still a lot of rough edges, but overall I’m super happy with how the first playthrough went. It also provided us with a whole list of bugs and issues, as well as a lot of feedback on the levels, the combat and various other aspects of the game.
This was one of my favorite encounters with a romantic dance partner bugs this week:
(Since this was recorded in a small view-port in Unity, the resolution is a bit low)
You might be wondering how much work it is to create a game, and we’ve crunched the numbers for the previous year:
Number of files
Filesize of the project
Lines of Code
Filesize of the game
Number of textures
Number of 3D models
Lines of Dialogue
Over the next couple of months we’ll be working on polishing the game. Fixing bugs and issues, as well as actually implementing a coherent user interface and many more things. We’re still pretty much on our internal schedule and we fully expect to release the game later this year. But as always, quality is the most important part of the game for us, and some things might take longer than expected.
Make sure to follow us on twitter to keep up-to-date with the development of the game!
The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge
With development progressing steadily, it is time to announce the full name of our next game!
The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge is set during a struggle between two opposing ideologies. After Prince Pico and the city-state of Volturno leave the anti-magic Tetrarchy to explore the alluring possibilities of the magic sciences, the other states band together to retake Volturno and stop whatever scheme Pico may have begun with his newly-acquired arcane knowledge...
You play as convicted prisoners, drafted into the Tetrarch’s army to undertake missions against Prince Pico’s forces and collect intelligence concerning his masterplan. While each prisoner has their own individual personality and backstory, all share one goal: to complete their assigned objectives and earn their freedom.
The Captives: Plot of the Demiurge is an action-adventure game with a variety of carefully crafted levels. You will start by creating your character for each particular level. You can customize the character’s name, stats, weapon and appearance, giving each character you play a unique feel.
After each level your personalized character gets added to the story’s cast of NPCs whom you can then talk to and interact with. As the story grows, so too does your cast of previous player characters.
When you create your character you will choose from a variety of weapons and distribute your skill points amongst four stats. Since your available skill points are limited, you will have to think carefully about how you invest them.
The four stats of the Captives are:
Health helps your character survive damage – pretty straight forward! A character with lots of health will allow you more room for mistakes while a character with little health will have to be more careful to avoid damage.
Stamina is used for each action in the game: attacking, defending and dodging. A character with lots of stamina will be able to chain together many attacks while a character with little stamina will have to be more tactical and patient.
Focus prevents your character from being staggered by enemy attacks. A character with lots of focus will be able to shrug off damage while swinging away at enemies while a character with little focus should try to fight enemies one at a time.
Movement determines the speed at which your character moves. A character with a lot of movement will be able to dance around their foes while a character with little movement will have to time their aggression carefully.
All the numbers in The Captives are very low so that the difference between spending a single stat point in health over movement can change the feel of how your character plays significantly.
It’s not possible to create a character that is good at everything. By trying out different combinations of stats and weapons, each character you create will have a distinct play-style and require different strategies to defeat your enemies.
The combat of The Captives is real-time tactical action in the style of the Zelda or Souls games. Anticipation and timing is a consistent key to success, although each character you create will require different approaches depending on how you invested your skill points.
Playing as a character with lots of health, focus and a massive claymore over their shoulders may allow you to crush the helmets of your foes while being ambushed on all sides.
As a character with plenty of stamina and movement, together with a short dagger you will have more success dodging around your enemies and stabbing them in the back.
Because you will play as multiple characters you can experiment with different weapons and stats and explore what the combat has to offer within a single playthrough, instead of being locked into one playstyle for the entire game.
When does the game release?
We simply don’t know exactly yet! This is our first original game and there’s still a lot of work for us to do. During development we’ve learned lots of new skills and it’s been a really enjoyable project to work on. We hope to release the game in the first half of next year but ultimately we’ll release it when the game is ready and we’re confident it is really fun to play!
We hope to have given you a little bit of insight into the current development of the Captives: Plot of the Demiurge. If you want to find out more about the project as it gets created you can follow us on social media for weekly updates!
Our new PC video game The Captives has been coming along well so we've decided it's time to go into a little more detail.
What is the Captives going to be?
The Captives (working title) will be a top down action RPG for PC on Steam.
For each chapter of the game you will create and customize a new character, both visually and in playstyle. The chapter will follow the story of that character as they converse and battle their way through medieval/renaissance style fantasy dungeons and castles.
Once the chapter is complete your character will become an NPC that now interacts with each new character in their own chapters. By the end of the game the story will be populated by a whole cast of your own custom made characters.
Each character presents a new opportunity for you to try out different builds and playstyles. Instead of being locked into a single build for the whole game you can try out different combinations of stats and weapons for each dungeon.
Maybe you want to play as a nimble rogue, darting in and out of combat with a lightning fast dagger, or perhaps you want to play as a sluggish armoured knight with an impossibly massive sword that can tank a few hits. In the Captive's you can play both these styles and more in a single playthrough. This way each character will also feel unique, not just visually, but in how they control and fight in combat.
There is still a lot of work to be done on the Captives but we look forwards to sharing more and eventually releasing the game for PC on Steam.