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Iconic ASCII sim 'Dwarf Fortress' will hit Steam and Itch on December 6th with major upgrades

Bay 12/Kitfox Games

It's been a long, long time coming, but the legendary civilization management sim Dwarf Fortress at last has a Steam and Itch.io release date. It will be available on both storefronts on December 6th for $30. While that might seem steep for a game that has already been around for 16 years and is available for free elsewhere, the latest version has some major upgrades.

For one thing, you won't need to deal with Dwarf Fortress' famously primitive visuals anymore. The ASCII graphics have been upgraded to a pixel art tileset. Other new features include a fresh soundtrack and sound effects, a revamped user interface and menus, a tutorial for newcomers and other quality of life improvements. All of these are designed to help make the game more approachable.

Tarn and Zach Adams have been working on the game for 20 years at their studio, Bay 12. They teamed up with publisher Kitfox Games (of Boyfriend Dungeon fame) for this upgraded version, which has an official title of Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II: Dwarf Fortress.

The main Fortress mode and the Legends mode will be available at the outset, with the original game's Adventure and Arena modes arriving later. Even then, Bay 12 is far from done, as the studio has plans for major changes for the map system as well as procedurally generated myths and magic systems. There's "no end in sight" for the project, according to a press release.

If all of that seems too fancy for you, there's still the option to download the original version of Dwarf Fortress from Bay 12's website in all its ASCII glory at no cost. Until now, fans have supported Bay 12 and the game's development through donations.