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It took 10 years to make it happen, but the sequel to one of my favorite tower defense games is finally almost here

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Defender’s Quest: Valley of the Forgotten is an excellent tower defense game, and so it wasn’t surprising that in 2013, a year after its release, a sequel was announced. And then, nothing happened.  

But now it’s back! A decade down the road, developer Level Up Labs has officially “re-revealed” Defenders Quest 2: Mists of Ruin and said it will be out later this year.

Defender’s Quest 2, like the first game, promises to mix tower defense tactics with “long-term strategy” and RPG-style party and character building. This time around, players will lead a team known as the Hunters on a mission across the Shining Lands in a last-ditch effort to save the once-lush oasis from a deadly gas called Mirk.

One of the things I liked most about Defender’s Quest was the writing, courtesy of James Cavin—a bit oddly, it’s his only listed credit. The underlying story is fairly generic “chosen one” stuff but it never takes itself seriously, and it’s filled with silly dialog like this early-game encounter with your first NPC:

Defender’s Quest 2 is being written by indie developer and PC Gamer contributor Xalavier Nelson Jr., whose previous releases include Witch Strandings, Space Warlord Organ Trading Simulator, An Airport for Aliens Currently Run By Dogs, and the upcoming El Paso, Elsewhere. He clearly has a knack for the unusual, so hopefully it will be a good fit.

Delighted to announce that after over a decade of development, Defender’s Quest 2 is finally releasing – with me as co-lead and narrative director!Y’all are in for something very special. 🙂 https://t.co/udNHM2xQ7OApril 5, 2023

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I initially said that I didn’t know why it took 10 years to get an indie tower defense game from start to (almost) finish, but Lars Doucet of Level Up Labs explained that, simply put, “life happened.” 

“I finally realized the only way the game would ever get finished was if I got some finishing funds together and hired a team of full timers to help me get it across the finish line,” Doucet said. “That happened last year when we signed with Armor Games. That ultimately got the project back on track and I think we made more progress in the last year and a half then in the preceding 5 years.”

He also explained that while Cavin’s only listed credit is on Defender’s Quest, he’s actually worked on a few other games, and is still in the industry. He’s not working on Defender’s Quest 2 because he got “an offer he couldn’t refuse” at Imangi Studios, but he did serve as creative director on Defender’s Quest 2, and the “overall loose structure” of the story he’d helped create remains intact. Xalavier Nelson was brought in to complete the work because he and Doucet are friends and colleagues, and Nelson is “one of the few people I trusted to deliver a script that could match the style and energy that James would have brought to the table.”

“I had Xalavier sit down with DQ1 and told him to match the general style of James’ writing as best he could, and I think he’s done an excellent job,” Doucet said.

“No writer is fungible, so there will never be a replacement for James Cavin, but Xalavier is a legendary writer in his own right and I’m very confident that anyone who was a fan of DQ1’s story will be a fan of DQ2’s.”

A release date for Defender’s Quest 2 hasn’t been announced, but it’s set to come out in 2023 and is available for wishlisting now on Steam. And if you’ve never tried the original Defender’s Quest, you can see what it’s all about for free thanks to the demo of the updated DX Edition, which is also available on Steam.

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