Game developer David Brevik, who once oversaw Blizzard North and Gazillion Entertainment, will release a new game later this year called It Lurks Below, via his Graybeard Games studio. Like Brevik’s previous work on games such as Diablo and Marvel Heroes, It Lurks Below will include action-RPG mechanics and lots of collectible loot, but unlike his other projects, this is a much smaller affair; Brevik made it by himself.
It Lurks Below combines Diablo-style dungeon-plumbing mechanics with sandbox-style worlds that let players dig and construct, à la Terraria and Minecraft. In an interview with Polygon, Brevik said he’s a big fan of those games (and Starbound), but wanted to add something of his own to the genre.
“I wanted more of a point to a lot of those games,” Brevik said. “I wanted to make an RPG, with classes and leveling up, random items, where you get more and more powerful as you go down into the core of the world and fight baddies.”
Brevik said It Lurks Below will be a roguelike mix of what he’s done before with games like Diablo and Hellgate: London, and the games he loves playing now. His side-scrolling 2D game will let players explore procedurally generated levels populated with randomized monsters to fight and items to collect. It Lurks Below is “random built on random,” he said.
The game’s combat will see players using wands — “basically guns” — and tools like a pickaxe to fight and dig through the game world. Those weapons will carry their own stats and elemental attributes, as will enemies. “I’m taking inspiration from the Diablo series, where every monster has its own trick,” Brevik said.
It Lurks Below will include three styles of play: normal, an easier “creative” mode and hardcore, essentially a permadeath mode.
Brevik aims to launch It Lurks Below on Steam this year, and will release a closed beta this weekend. That beta will be limited to 200 people. Brevik plans to stream the game this weekend on his studio’s Twitch channel.
It Lurks Below has been in development “in earnest” for about a year, Brevik said. It was originally a project of a much larger scope that he said might take 10 years to finish. But he scaled his idea down, and turned his new roguelike dungeon crawler into something simpler that he could make himself, from art to music to programming. Brevik’s been making games for more than 25 years — he programmed and designed the original Diablo — but he admits he’s inexperienced in making game art. Hence It Lurks Below’s low-res, pixelated aesthetic.
“That was the most difficult thing for me, because I’m not much of an artist,” Brevik said. “It’s definitely got a pixel retro kind of feel to it ... I’ve tried to make it as dark and creepy as I can ... creepy atmosphere and lighting.” Brevik said that the game’s art “took me the longest amount of time, but as I’ve gone along, I’ve gotten better and better at pixel art and animations.” He joked that as players dig deeper in the game, they’ll see his artwork improved over the course of development.
Brevik said he plans to continue to work on It Lurks Below, as its sole developer, after its release.
“I am going to be adding stuff to [It Lurks Below], listening to the community, getting feedback and making sure the game is the best it can be,” he said. “That is something I definitely worked hard on with Marvel Heroes, getting that feedback from the community.”
If you’d like to watch Brevik play his game this weekend, you can do so on Twitch. He’ll start streaming It Lurks Below on Friday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. PT.