Solium Infernum - League of Geeks brings a cult classic to 2024


The title image for Solium Infernum
Credit: League of Geeks

I was pretty chuffed with myself when the head honcho of Melbourne’s League of Geeks, Trent Kusters, heralded my “book to movie adaptation” description of his upcoming project as a perfect way to describe what he and his team are trying to achieve. For some of you out there, the name Solium Infernum may ring a bell. That’s because the game was first released back in 2009 at the hand of Ohio native Vic Davis, who has since taken a back seat and given Kusters and crew his blessing to reimagine the game like never before.

Solium Infernum isn’t the first project from League of Geeks. As a matter of fact, their first major IP, Armello, was received with open arms by the gaming community. While many fans of the first instalment have been pining for a sequel, Kusters wants it to be known that the next game out of the Melbourne-based studio will more or less serve as a sequel to the highly-regarded game that received glowing reviews on Steam.

A playable character from Solium Infernum
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Credit: League of Geeks

We had a good long chat with Kusters about the upcoming game while giving it a whirl ourselves and one thing was made abundantly clear - this game is being developed by a group of the biggest Solium Infernum fans out there. This isn’t just about putting a fresh coat of paint on a classic car and taking it for a spin - this was a way of completely rebuilding it from the inside out for those who have stuck by the strategy title for all this time. Kusters recognised that Solium Infernum’s gameplay is unlike anything else out there and, given the original game is no longer on sale, he wanted to share the game that brought him and his workmates so much joy with the rest of the gaming community.

For those unfamiliar with the original Solium Infernum, it’s described as a long-form asynchronous game, which is what appealed to League of Geeks so much as a new project. Kusters noted that, given the gameplay style of Solium Infernum, “there’s no other strategy game like this”. In simpler terms, it’s more or less a digital board game designed to be played over long stretches of time. The asynchronous element of it means you can play with pals across the globe and you don’t have to all be present at the same time. You can adapt the timer for each turn to go on for several hours or even a day or more, so it won’t discriminate against those with a packed schedule.

The lasting impression I got from Kusters came off the back of his approach to taking a cult classic game and trying to make it more modern. This isn’t about making it necessarily better, but making it more accessible and attempting to do the game justice. The existing player base, who dedicated over a decade to the original game, has had a major influence over the key changes made to the remake and their feedback has been invaluable in the game’s development. Heavily involving the Solium Infernum community was a no-brainer for League of Geeks because in their eyes, according to Kusters, "If you've got a game people have been playing for 13 years, you can't make a better version".

A screenshot of gameplay from Solium Infernum
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Credit: League of Geeks

As far as gameplay is concerned, you’ll need to be crafty in Solium Infernum. After choosing from any of the eight Archfiends and equipping them with some powerful relics to boost their stats, you’ll be pitted against other players in a battle for the approval of the Conclave so you may be the one to occupy the now-vacant seat at the head of the table of Hell. Gameplay is multi-layered, you’ll need to have your political wits about you as you create fragile alliances, spread rumours, and lie your way to the top, all while commanding an army in combat against your foes. The game is designed to be played over dozens of rounds, so you might want to avoid any rash decision-making.

There is plenty of logic to League of Geeks revamping the project. The game was originally structured in a way that would require you to submit your actions for each turn to the game master via email by sending save files so they could be synced up and played out. It certainly wasn’t the kind of game you could sit at for hours at a time but matches could go on for days, weeks, months, even years. But in a gaming market that is saturated by high-pace, high-octane action titles that have you glued to your consoles and PCs for hours, Kusters put emphasis on the fact that, while this game is for everyone, it’ll be of particular interest to the busy folk out there, from the long-hour workers to parents and everything in between, who only have 5-15 minutes in a day to dedicate to extracurriculars.

After a successful run with their first major title, League of Geeks will again be looking to show their countrymen in Australia and the greater gaming community that Aussie game devs are capable of being bold and ambitious and very much deserve their time in the spotlight on the global stage. The unique passion project that is Solium Infernum will be hitting Steam on February 22nd, so the throne of Hell should have a new suitor in no time.

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