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An enchanting Adventure/RPG set in a magical realm. Master spells, battle foes, and quest forth in this full-length game.
3,157 backers pledged $125,174 to help bring this project to life.


Posted by Himalaya Studios, Inc. (Creator)

Greetings, Initiates of Magic!

The Mage’s Initiation demo is now available for public download! 

Download the Mage's Initiation Demo here!

We wanted to give it a little more polish, so to speak, before showing it to the backers (and potential backers!) and give everyone a chance to play it over the weekend. This gives you just a teaser of what the gameplay will be like, both the adventure/RPG and combat aspects.  

Important Note: As of March 2013, this demo is still in an early alpha stage of the game’s development. It is feature-incomplete and there are bound to be some bugs. The demo does not yet represent the final product.

We are releasing this early alpha to gather feedback and suggestions about the interface and combat system so that we can refine these aspects for the final game.

If you discover any bugs or crashes you can copy and paste the error message with Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Please post any reports or general feedback on our “Technical & Bugs” forum at

Additionally, we still have two Supreme Archmage slots left! This demo will give potential backers a small taste of what you’ll get if you’d like to be immortalized as D'arc's combat opponent in the training hall. You’ll also get your own lip-synced dialog portrait and have the chance to voice your own speech lines and battle grunts (plus all the awesome swag from the previous physical tiers)! 

Reddit AMA

The Himalaya Studios Development team will be doing a Reddit AMA (Ask me Anything) on Saturday, March 16 at 1PM EDT. Stop by and ask us what you will about Mage's Initiation, the company, or whatever tickles your fancy!

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Destructoid and Goozer Nation were quite happy with our demo, as we're sure you'll be too! Check these reviews out! 

 Destructoid - Mage's Initiation Channels Quest for Glory

Goozer Nation - Mage's Initiation Aims for Stretch Goals has also covered Mage’s Initiation.  

And that wraps it up for the latest kickstarter update edition! Thanks again for your support and  we hope to see you all in the Reddit Ask Me Anything session, after they've had a fun you've had with the demo!

The Himalaya Studios Team


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    1. Max Hrabrov on

      finally got the time to run through the demo. Nice - definitely gave me the Quest for Glory shivers :) To echo what many have already said, combat needs improvement. More specifically:
      1) I expected spells 2 and 3 to be trigger based, e.g. the ring of fire stays active until a foe actually trips across it - but it turned out I still had to aim with these, which was un-intuitive
      2) I wish I didn't have to run around so much. This could be accomplished with some reasonably robust defensive magic (like a sphere of protection that would last for X points of damage or a "keep at a distance" spell), or else by enabling things like dodging.

      Great job otherwise!

    2. Bobby Allen

      dunce here... Right click toggles what left click does... how do you bring up inventory/journal/etc...

    3. Aaron Russell on

      @Chris Warren: Thanks for the forum link. I took a look. My mouse is also listed as a PS/2 device. Apparently that's not such a good thing. As I am actually running Windows 8 on a Mac Pro it may not be a fixable problem. I'll give the demo a whirl on my HP laptop!

    4. Benjamin Yunker on

      But aside from that, I was very impressed by it - will probably up my pledge :D

    5. Benjamin Yunker on

      Just played through the demo; once I figured out I could easily evade the goblins using WASD, it became a lot easier in combat, and I actually started to enjoy it :) Reminded me a bit of QFG5.. But I agree, it was a little too intimidating and difficult at first

    6. Missing avatar

      trekker99 on

      Just tried the demo and loved it. The combat does need work though. I don't remember combat being so difficult in the QfG series. I have tried with the default settings and it doesn't feel intuitive, perhaps WASD and left click for spell casting might be easier to use (will have to try that). The game crashed out when four goblins appeared (something about no frames in loop 0 of view 243). A similar error message was mentioned in the forums, so will not post there again.

      Some suggestions:
      Perhaps I have been playing a bit too much Torchlight II recently, but it would be great if we can run to where the mouse is pointing when the left click is held down. As it stands, I have to reclick each time I want to run to the a new place.

      Is there any possibility of the game being wide screen? Not a big deal, but this is probably one of the few old-school features which I imagine many people won't miss.

    7. Missing avatar

      jfrisby on

      Oh, looks like I went and posted to your forum instead of here...
      I'll add: I enjoyed the hectic-ness of the combat, but I see people here asking for a speed bar... Which would probably be helpful -- It'd be interesting if a pause/slow button / FTL-like mechanic could be implemented somehow. Or slow-time potions that made combat easier, but required some extra effort elsewhere. Sorry no real answers here.

      @Blackthorne: Yikes, Paul Trowe territory, man.

    8. Missing avatar

      Peter Schott

      Interesting demo. I liked the dial interface to move around and unlock different rooms. Will those be set up so that the rooms won't unlock until we learn the correct codes or could we get to them earlier than expected if we either poke around or know the code?

      Combat - agreed with others, I'd love a slider, but understand this is an alpha to show off the potential. The mass combat with all of the bad guys thrown at me was a bit more than I was ready to handle, though I got a bit better the 2nd or 3rd time through. It was still a bit difficult so if there's more afterwards I haven't seen it yet.

      I like the sneak preview so far and it's quite promising. I look forward to seeing more as the project progresses. Thank you for the early preview. I wasn't expecting something at this stage in the game.

    9. Missing avatar

      Chun-Che (Johnny) Shih on

      Great demo! Still playing it, but found something that I am not sure if it is a bug or not......when I clicked on the dials in the reading hall and clicked (return to) reading hall instead of clicking on the symbols to unlock the door; I was sent back to the reading hall through another doorway. But when that happens, I couldn't access the icon bar at the top of the screen anymore! It is only my knowledge of old Sierra games that caused me to use right-click and cycle through the actions until I reached the hand and use the dials to go through the doorway to reach Varner that I was able to access the icon bar again.

      Anyways, just wanted to point out this weird thing that happened to me. Will go back to playing the demo and hopefully have more things to explore!

    10. Tijne on

      Amazing demo -- Beautifully detailed art, a rich story-filled world I want to know more about, enjoyable music, and an amazing combat systems I can't wait to play around more with.

      The Best:
      1. The artwork and music was beautiful.
      2. The doors were ingenious.
      3. The combat system was also really fun. I loved it. I loved all of it, and I can't wait to see this being expanded upon in the main game. I hope you don't change it. I'd say more, but I'm a bit too verbose.

      Function Nitpicking:
      1. Even considering classes-choice (Earth's probably less Kite-prone) and more in depth tutorials in the main game, I do think a speed-slider is needed for combat. While I loved it personally, I do know others may want to slow it down.
      2. When allocating stat points, I’d like to be able to add/subtract freely and then finalize the changes, if possible.
      3. Hotkeys to select the Sierra icons please? :D

      Cosmetic Nitpicking:
      1. Starting out with 1 for each stat was depressing. It made me feel super-super weak flavor wise; and an increase from 1->2 implies a greater change than it gives. Perhaps you could visually display the stats to display as +9 higher than it is without actually changing the internal calculations?
      2. It would be nice to have a mouse-over tool tip for each stat so that players aren't required to remember what they do throughout the game. I'm still not sure how/what each stat effects during combat, or whether they have story/puzzles elements at all.
      3. It would be equally nice to visually see our stats like "Accuracy 90%", or whatever they are on the right hand portion of the spell book, much like we can see our MP/HP. This would make allocating stat points more fun and building diverse character-types more interactive.

      Lastly, I had no feel for what the Gems did -- I'm hoping they do more than just "+1 to this spells/stat". I know it's just a demo and not all features at in yet… but still!

      @Valdrim -- I understand where you're coming from -- you want games to advance in time rather than using archaic styles, and you don't want to support a game that doesn't support that ideal -- However, did you try out the various Lucas Arts interfaces? You basically use one click to walk, and a click-hold-release to do anything. The verbs are still there, but the clicks are reduced and it's simplified.
      Also, Himalaya does do custom responses for each and every verb on each item, unlike many other games. Simplifying this interface reduces the possible interactions and takes away from the quality of the game. If there's demand for it, they will be incorporated it, but I don't think that simplification is needed. More often, games resort to that simplification to reduce production cost, or because they aim for a different emphasis of game play, like the Wadget games. I don't think this game would benefit from it.

      Oddly enough, non-adventure games released today require an increasing complexity of rapid keystroke and click combinations, whereas the adventure games are being simplified to single (or less!) clicks. Weird huh?

      @Blackthorne -- You have a sharp tongue, and that will be fun to see in QFI, but I think a less aggressive response would have been more constructive this time. Valdrin did pledge money, and he did have a valid perspective, and the developers were looking for feedback. His request also wasn't entirely unreasonable or baseless, and he did maintain a level of respect.

    11. Asrai on

      Great demo. The artwork is great, and I loved the music. Personally, I'm happy with the multiple cursor types as well. I like the extra challenge and the flexibility that it gives to puzzles , and the room for humorous responses from the game, that a straight up one-click-does-all interface just doesn't offer.

      That said, and I do understand that this is a very limited taste of how it will play out in the final game, please please please include a difficulty slider for combat. I love an engrossing story and challenging puzzles, but I'm terrible at combat. REALLY terrible. Even on the easiest setting with a maxed out fighter I could never come close to beating the Pizza Elemental in the QfGII remake. I'm just not very good at it, and I don't have the time to practice for hours until I'm actually a little better. If I can't get through a battle after about the third try, and I can't somehow make my character stronger and stock up on more potions, before trying again, I usually wind up getting frustrated and taking a break, then I never really get around to trying again. Challenging combat is great for players who want to be challenged that way, but for those of us who suck at it, if it's too challenging it just prevents us from progressing in the game.

    12. Missing avatar

      Kim Ryser on

      I've tried every combination of settings, and I can't get this to run in anything other than 640x800. I haven't had this problem with any other similar game. I tried all the suggestions posted here, but only turning filter to "none" made it run.

    13. Blake on

      All in all, I'd say that was a pretty great look into the 'feel' of the game. I enjoyed that every time I walked into the reading room, there were more/less people in different spots. The combat was challenging and gives a great reason for proper potion stocking and using good strategy instead of standing in one spot using spells.

    14. Anaxphone

      Shoot them in the back with fireballs, of course.
      You can also herd, at a horrendous mana cost, with Ring of Fire.

    15. gandalf.nho

      @Chris Warren thanks for the answer

      Regarding the goblins, how you guys managed to kill them? Except the first (the ranged one), all the others flee when they're low in health...

    16. Chris Warren on

      @Aaron: Here's a similar issue posted on the AGS forums and a suggested solution:…

      Not sure if it will work for you, though. Let me know.

    17. Chris Warren on

      @Aaron: That sounds like an odd one! Your best bet is probably to post in the AGS technical forum (which is the engine we use, along with those other titles you mentioned). Maybe somebody there can assist:…

    18. Aaron Russell on

      I would love to try the demo however I can't get passed the "No mouse was detected on your system..." error (something about DirectInput). Same thing happened when I tried to demo Quest for Infamy. Google is providing no help to resolve the problem. I'm not finding any DirectInput settings on my computer either. Grr...

    19. Missing avatar

      Darren on

      I enjoyed the demo a lot. The combat was a little difficult until I used the second spell and realized that if you kill the enemies they drop potions. It would be nice to note that extra potions/gold can be obtained that way.

    20. Joshua on

      Yeah, that combat is pretty bad. I'm used to game pads for combat and needing to use mouse and keyboard means I basically will die, over and over. I managed to kill the second enemy once, and didn't get past the two enemies together. Not to mention, as others said, the attacks tend to miss a lot. I dunno how much further the demo was...because I couldn't get past that.
      Plus I had to use task manager to exit the game.

      As for 'old style' control scheme, I have to agree it's a bit annoying. Nostalgia is no reason to kill function. Certainly giving a simplified scheme as an option should be good, yes?

    21. Chris Warren on

      @gandalf.nho: In the full game, when you see a pack of goblins approaching, you will have the "fight or flight" option. You won't need to stand there and get pummeled since you can simply run away at any time. Large packs also probably won't approach you in the game unless you have sufficient stats to deal with them (i.e. during the later stages). In the demo, you cannot escape combat, because it was designed to be a procedural showcase of the game elements for the press: Adventure puzzle, followed by RPG stats example, followed by a combat example. The full version will also have "stun" attacks that can freeze or slow-down enemies and make them easier to hit. But it's kinda hard to give an accurate representation of how combat will be in an RPG demo like this because by their very nature, RPG's constantly change depending on what level your stats currently are, which spells you have, and so forth.

      @pom1998: In the final build, there will be a tutorial of sorts in the Training Hall with Varner, where he teaches you each move, step by step. This is similar to how we weaned players onto the combat in our Quest for Glory 2 remake. We added a tutorial with Uhura. (This is also where the Supreme Archmage tier backers will make their appearance in the game. The sparring opponents that D'arc practices with during the tutorial moves will be the backers of that particular tier.)

    22. Missing avatar

      Alter Ego on

      Very cool first impression!

      I would like to see keyboard shortcuts for directly selection an action (walk, interaction, etc.). That way I don't need to "click through until I reach them" with my right mouse button.

    23. gandalf.nho

      I hope we can at least configure the difficulty of the combat areas, try to fight six enemies at the same time with limited space and who keep blocking all the attacks isn't much funny, maybe put a option for more casual combat

    24. Missing avatar

      pom1998 on

      the demo reminds me of the old days of sierra. the games that encouraged me to try to learn to use the computer so my family could play them to the fullest (I taught myself how to forward the completed game file in a certain Quest series) or navigate the KQ collection menus to play what we wanted.

      but the combat controls and movement are non intuitive and confusing. half the time i want to run i cast spells, half the time i try to cast i stand and take damage. this is an early build, i understand. so theres time to make the controls either more intiutive or the instructions more clear. I'm not saying they're bad, they might not even need to be changed. I don't get it and I would like it to be more clear to do combat the right way. I just find it frustrating since KQ's learning curve leveled out with the mouse-click interface, I would like to learn to play Magte's Initiation just as quickly.

    25. Himalaya Studios, Inc. Creator on

      Thanks for the feedback on the demo, everyone-- we do need to hear both the good and the bad, what people like and what some find off-putting. And please remember that this is a VERY early build and a bit limited-- the final product is definitely going to give you more freedom in terms of changing screens and you'll have had a chance to get more potions and goodies.

    26. Chris Warren on

      @Blake: Single-clicking will walk and double-clicking will run (if "Always Run" is disabled). Since the run was implemented to provide a faster mode of movement, we'll probably leave the walk speed as it is. Though it may be tweaked marginally before the final release.

    27. Anaxphone

      re: Adding to the FAQ
      That's a good idea, Chris.

    28. Blake on

      As well as the "Always Run" option, are you folks planning to have an option for walking speed as well?

    29. Chris Warren on

      Suppose I should add this to the FAQ!

    30. Chris Warren on

      @Robin, if it's a graphics adapter/resolution problem:

      If you experience any adapter or graphics resolution error messages when running the demo, you may run the winsetup.exe program located in the game folder (or by clicking the "Settings Menu" icon) and change various graphics settings. You can try:

      -Unchecking the "Side borders on widescreen monitors" option.
      -Checking the "Run in a window instead of full-screen" box
      -Changing the "Graphics driver" setting to DirectDraw 5
      -Changing the "Graphics filter" to "None"

      Usually, only one of the above steps is required, so you might want to try them in the listed order.

    31. Anaxphone

      @Robin- Have you tried"

      Chris Warren about 6 hours ago

      If you experience any adapter or graphics resolution error messages when running this demo, you may run the winsetup.exe program located in the game folder (or by clicking the "Settings Menu" icon) and change various graphics settings. You can try:

      -Unchecking the "Side borders on widescreen monitors" option.
      -Checking the "Run in a window instead of full-screen" box
      -Changing the "Graphics driver" setting to DirectDraw 5
      -Changing the "Graphics filter" to "None"

    32. Robin N on

      Dammit, I can't run the demo. Did it take some tweaking for anyone?

    33. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      Thank goodness we will be able to run to adjacent screens during combat in the full game. I think that will make a HUGE difference. I felt so confined in the demo combat.

    34. Chris Warren on

      All things considered, Vladim did give a fairly detailed account of his feedback, which is more than what a lot of people do. Yeah, it's a shame he didn't stick around, as these are the kinds of opinions we listen to and try to incorporate into subsequent builds. We like to get ongoing feedback from the people who initially reported things like this. But at the end of the day, people are entitled to spend their money however they choose.

      After doing this so many years and seeing all kinds of criticisms leveled at our games during that time, you really get used to what to take on board and what's not worth taking seriously. Sometimes the guy swearing and trolling may have a valid point - you just need to cut through the BS to find it. Everyone's a critic on the net so you just fine-tune your "filter". Juts gotta try to cater to the reasonable majority as opposed to the unreasonable minority. It's all good!

      @Christoffer: I think part of the reason combat seems harder in the demo than it will be in the actual game is because in this demo, the player has limitations. They are limited to stay within the confines of the screen border; they are limited to the amount of potions they have etc. In the full game, you'll be able to run into the adjacent screen and lure enemies into another forest area to battle them and make use of the new environment. Also, the smart adventurer *always* stocks up on mana and healing potions from town before looking for a fight. The combat in the demo is really just a skewed a snapshot with limitations. In the full game, the player can turn things in their favour by being well-prepared and fleeing to safe ground, if needs be.

    35. Anaxphone

      The mine, sadly, seems useless right now. You can't use it to lay traps in the lull between swarms and it has a short radius. Try to avoid being swarmed, Ring for breathing room and fireball like mad is all the advice I can give for now, I fear. I think the ring does do damage.

      It is tricky. At least you get to look around before the fight.

    36. gandalf.nho

      @Anaxphone I tried, but is difficult fight in a confined space being forced to keep running to avoid being swarmed by enemies and when I try use the mine D'Arc stops and the enemies manage to reach him. And basically all enemies keep blocking my attacks, I guess is a difficult fight for a tutorial one...

      About the climbing option, is a great idea, if all combat will be resume to running in circles trying to keep distance from enemies will be tedious. And the ring of fire maybe can cause damage to enemies who touch the barrier, not only to keep them out of reach for a few seconds.

    37. Christoffer Ronander on

      I for one hope they keep the combat as difficult as it is now.

      Or if possible maybe give you the option to choose between hard or easy when the game begins. Then everybody should be happy. :)

    38. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      @Anaxphone: I also wanted to climb during the combat. Would be cool if that ability could be added. I felt like I was running around in circles while my magic points regenerated. Maybe being able to climb on things or go on types of higher platforms within the scene could give more area for movement and allow the player more options in the combat gameplay?

    39. Anaxphone

      @Gandalf- Be sure to use your red(health) and blue(mana) potions and watch for more to drop. The Ring of Fire spell helps keep them off your back while you fireball the backs of their heads. It was tricky and took a few tries. You can also use wasd/arrow keys to move around, which helps a lot.
      This is the alpha/demo, so it was made puzzle-easy/combat-hard for reviewers, apparently.

    40. Tomimt on

      Personally I didn't read it as a threat, but as a statement. If your final product reflects this quality I don't think its for me. And for that he's entitled but before backing out he wanted to know if there's change planned or is this it.

    41. gandalf.nho

      I found the combat too difficult even the tutorial one, can't pass the wave with 6 enemies, they keep blocking my attacks and pummeling me to death. It's possible to configure this difficulty?

    42. Anaxphone

      @Steven- I also read your line as aimed at Tomimt, so more care might be warranted.

      @Flippin- You can walk with the keys, though it's not noted in the demo and you are rooted while casting/hitstunned.

    43. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on

      @Tom - of course he's entitled to pull his pledge. But the petulant way someone demands something, and then threatens to "take their ball and go home" is what is wrong here. Like I said - voicing a concern, or sharing an idea - one thing. Being a douche and threatening to leave the party? Quite another.

    44. Tomimt on

      But Vladim is fully entitled to pull his pledge and he did give his reason why he does that: he seemingly dislikes old school UI scheme. That of course is a solid reason, as if he feels he can't live with the UI, then he is better off dropping his pledge.

      The problem always is, that most of the time people can't articulate why they dislike something. It's just something they dislike and thats that. If you ask improvement ideas from them they just say something meaningless, like "it needs more cowbell", despite they don't even know what that means. There was a good interview about FPS maker, who got frustrated to his testers, as all they could say for a reason not liking the game was that it wasn't enough "Call of Duty", but none of them could elobrate what they meant by it.

    45. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      I just want to reiterate that I loved the demo. :-) Happy to see that Himalaya is welcoming feedback and will be making improvements with it in mind. Getting this kind of access and insight into the game development is one of the great things about backing on Kickstarter!

    46. KSimms ✵ ✵ on

      Is it possible to move during combat by using the keyboard (numeric or arrow keys) but to control magic with the mouse? I think that option could make things easier. I am not in front of my PC, so I can't check. When I played the demo earlier I had some trouble using the mouse for all combat actions. I would often click the wrong button and move towards the opponent rather than attacking him with a spell.

    47. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on

      @Tom - the unlabeled message was not referring to you; the posts labeled "@Tom" are to you. Sorry about the confusion.

    48. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on

      @Tom - I'm sorry if you feel I'm being a dick. I'm merely calling out someone for their ridiculousness. Offering feedback is most certainly a good thing, but there's a difference between feedback and pedantic douchebaggery. I'm speaking as a game developer here. There's always people that offer good feedback - and they care about things. I've gotten plenty of it - and then there's someone who posts a list of myopic insights (and, on Kickstarter threatens to remove their almighty pledge. It's usually someone who's pledged at the lowest tier, too.) and then offers no insights on how to practically deal with it. It's just inane bitching, and yeah - it sucks.

    49. Tomimt on

      I've done no such thing Blackthorne.

    50. Steven "Blackthorne" Alexander on

      The way you left feedback was off putting. Chris is being very diplomatic, but you went in with this list of problems - and threatened to take away your pledge. (Which is probably a whopping $6) Instead off really offering any kind of decent feedback, you came in all haughty, and that was kind of a crappy move. And, of course, you immediately martyr yourself under the guise of not offering "uncrtical praise"! I mean, how noble of you!