This indie micro-Morrowind keeps getting better with each update

DreadXP and developer Lovely Hellplace released a new dev diary for the early access RPG, Dread Delusion (opens in new tab), on January 13. The video covers new quests, characters, locations, and combat tweaks, and joins a host of quality of life and content additions that have graced the game since its initial June 2022 launch.

I was hooked even at that first glimpse of the game. Dread Delusion calls to mind the Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind in that it’s a first person, atmospheric, exploration-forward RPG in a weird world⁠—there are a lot of mushrooms, big and small, in both fantasy settings, but Dread Delusion’s fiction really stands apart. You explore a civilization clinging to the asteroids around a “Neuron Star,” remnants of a planet-side society driven to the skies by some great calamity.

Pointy-hatted wizards sail between these islands on magically-sealed airships, an atheistic inquisition hunts for the last gods, and a community of flesh-eating zombies has gone vegetarian thanks to the invention of artificial human meat. It’s great stuff, and Dread Delusion’s quests excel at feeling like little sci-fi short stories the way the best Witcher or Elder Scrolls missions do. There’s precious little fetching or grinding, but always a twist.

Dread Delusion’s latest update finally builds out its main quest, adding a distinctly Malenia-esque valkyrie to find in the world, as well as a ruined town taken over by bandits. Lovely Hellplace and co. have further improved the game’s combat and made the fatigue system more generous, addressing two of my biggest complaints when first trying out the game (opens in new tab).

Earlier, in 2022, the team introduced a faction reputation system a la Fallout: New Vegas, allowing you to pick your friends among Dread Delusion’s assortment of scholars, inquisitors, atheists, and pagans. There’s also now a player home on its own floating island, one you can build out and refurbish, and there seem to be secrets and history to uncover there like that great haunted mansion in the Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. Dread Delusion is also verified on Steam Deck now, which will likely be my go-to way to play from here on out. It’s like our own version of the Oblivion PSP port (opens in new tab) they got over in the Good Timeline.

Really, it’s just a challenge keeping myself from jumping back in⁠—I’ve sunk almost 20 hours into playing and replaying this single-player RPG, and I’d like to be fully fresh and ready to tackle its 1.0 release, whenever that comes. Dread Delusion is $20 on Steam (opens in new tab), or you can wishlist it to support and follow development.

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