Dwarf Fortress, the cult classic simulator game that has been in development since 2003, is getting a new “premium” version this week with entirely new visuals. The original game is well known for its ASCII art, but the version coming to Steam and itch.io will feature really nice pixel art.
Dwarf Fortress can be a mind-bogglingly huge game. At its most basic level, the game lets you manage a dwarven outpost in a randomly generated world. But things can go much deeper than that; you can do a lot with your expansive settlements (just read the list of features from developer Bay 12 Games), and the game will even auto-generate a history of your world.
But the “classic” version’s ASCII art can be somewhat intimidating (for me, it’s been something that’s prevented me from jumping in), so the art in the new premium version could make the game more approachable. You can get a brief look at the differences between the two versions in this preview video from publisher Kitfox Games, and YouTuber Blind has a comparison that’s worth watching as well.
Dwarf Fortress will be available on Steam and itch.io for $29.99 on December 6th. If you’re on the fence about picking it up, our sister site Polygon has a great review that could help you make a decision.
The classic version of Dwarf Fortress will remain free for Windows, Linux, and Mac. You can download it from the Bay 12 Games website.