Geneforge is Spiderweb Software's newest game. The three-person company, already well known in the shareware RPG community, is bringing an expansive new one-island world to gamers this winter.
To play Geneforge is to enter a world of magic, adventure and intrigue. The retro-role playing game casts the player as a Shaper. Shaping is the most powerful and secretive school of magic in this electronic universe. Its members have figured out how to create life, and to mold it and program it according to their needs and whims.
The player is an apprentice newly accepted into the sect, but hasn't learned any Shaper secrets yet. On a boat ride to where he is to begin training, a mysterious ship capsizes the craft and strands him on an island.
The island contains an abandoned and forbidden Shaper settlement. It is populated by serviles, intelligent humanoid Shaper creations, who were left with the settlement and have had the past few centuries to develop their own beliefs. There are also people on the island who are trying to steal the Shaper secrets and learn them on their own.
The player and the party s/he develops has to interact with the serviles on the island, some of whom have come to worship the Shapers as gods, and others who hate them. Players decide which creatures to help and which to crush including whether to stop the outsiders from mastering Shaper secrets, or join them.
Spiderweb president and chief prognosticator Jeff Vogel said creature creation and control was high on his hit parade for Geneforge.
"The basic idea was that I wanted a game where you could make this horde of creatures to serve you, and care for them or let them get slaughtered according to your whim," he said. "That was the germ of the whole idea. I had to think of what sort of people could gain this power, and how they would treat it. And then I thought about how they would interact with the world around them, and, more importantly, how they would interact with the creatures they make. And that's where the plot came from."
Vogel said his primary influences for Geneforge came from Baldur's Gate II, Planescape: Torment, Deus Ex, and EverQuest, games that, on a scale of one to ten, Vogel ranks as "brilliant, brilliant."