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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.
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.

Mage's Initiation Sees Green


Greetings would-be wizards and wizardesses,

This is just a quick update to let you all know that Mage's Initiation will be coming to Steam! 

After a long, tedious process of what frequently felt like nailing jello to the wall, we have finally emerged victorious on Greenlight after accruing a so-called critical mass of "yes" votes. We can now excitedly say that the game will be available on Valve's Steam platform upon release! This means we'll now be able to offer all of our lovely Kickstarter backers Steam keys. Getting Mage's Initiation onto Steam has been an important step for us and this news has given us a great surge of motivation to power ahead with development and make the game as good as it can possibly be (not that we wouldn't already, but you get the idea!). 

We'd like to thank everyone who voted yes for us and helped to spread the word - we're elated to be boarding the magical, green mothership, and hope that this will also be a nice convenience to those of you who prefer to keep your game library organized and up-to-date via the Steam platform. We'll also be drawing 3 winners from the promotional contest we had running. One winner will get a Swag Everest prize pack valued at over $450, and two runners-up will be gifted a Steam game. We'll be announcing the winners soon via the Mage's Initiation Greenlight page, so stay tuned!

Our other title, Al Emmo and the Lost Dutchman's Mine, is still in the Greenlight system and climbing the charts. We'd love to get our entire catalog accepted, so if you can spare a couple more mouse-clicks, we'd really appreciate your "yes" vote. You can also win prizeage (up to 3 Steam games) by voting and leaving a comment. Thanks again!

Al Emmo is only 1,552 votes behind Mages, when greenlit.
Al Emmo is only 1,552 votes behind Mages, when greenlit.

A Brief Development Update

Much development work has been taking place since the January Summit Meeting ended one month ago. During that time, we've managed to get the entire Act 1 (of 4) fully playable with 99.7% of the art, music, and programming assets implemented -- and we're now making great strides to having Act 2 finished up by the end of February. The second act is already fairly well-integrated, so with luck, we may even be able to get an early start on Act 3. Here's hoping! The work schedule has been pretty intense with Chris working through all hours of the day and night, tying all the code and assets together, while Jason provides code stability updates to various game systems, and Daniel is constantly on-hand tweaking puzzles, dialogs, and game texts. The rest of the team is simultaneously pitching in with art, music, and animation assets as required. Daniel and Chris have also had more than a few healthy/heated design debates about various puzzles and implementations, while Shane recently finished the last of the backer sprites. Things are looking good in the land of Iginor! 

(Note: Two of our Severed Head " Augurer" $150 backers have not yet replied back with their reference photos - we've sent you emails, so please get back to us so that we can lovingly decapitate you!)

Shout It Out


As you may (or may not) be aware, the motley lot over at Infamous Quests are developing a Quest for Glory-inspired RPG/Adventure game called "Quest for Infamy".  It's looking rather excellent with old-school retro charm and some VERY handsome background artwork, dialog portraits, and character sprites! Of course, Team Infamous, wanting to do complete justice to their amazing artwork, would like to have it immortalized in a worldly tome. Thus, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of such a compendium -- complete with a red decoder thingamajig which lets you read hidden game hints just like in the old days! If you missed their first Kickstarter back in 2012, some of the tiers allow you to get a copy of the game in digital format, or on DVD, or in a big box Well worth checking this one out!

To wrap up, we'd like to extend our heartfelt thanks once again for helping us to get Mage's Initiation onto Steam. We're continuing to slave  feverishly away at the game, and will be bringing you more updates as the development progresses further. Until next time, stay magical!

The Himalaya Studios Team  

Michael Shaw, Dean Thrasher, and 15 more people like this update.


    1. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on March 1, 2014

      As a GOG customer, I want to see Himalaya games there. I am glad and appreciative that GOG seems receptive to their customers' requests that great indie titles like Mage's Initiation be sold there. Hopefully we will see Himalaya games on GOG in the near future, and then it will be a win for everybody.

      By the way, I am looking forward to seeing the Steam "Greenlight" announcement for Al Emmo. It's going to happen!

    2. Creator Chris Warren on February 28, 2014

      Yes, they've seen the demo. However, note that I never made this about a specific game. I've been referring more so to GOG's general attitude toward Himalaya. Backers and fans have been inquiring about the availability about our games on the service and all we can really do is re-iterate what we've been told: The games aren't up there yet, GOG haven't accepted them yet, and we don't know if they will ever be up there. If the message conveyed to fans/backers from that is that we've been 'rejected' and they post about it on GOG's forum, then I imagine that's a good thing if it makes them aware of how their decisions are perceived and/or the dissonance between what they want and want their customers want.

      And yes, GOG is a business, but so are we. Naturally, we're going to try and negotiate a for win/win and the best outcome possible. At any rate, GOG have since been in contact and a proposal has been made. So we'll see what they say.

    3. Creator Tomimt on February 28, 2014

      Here's a question for you Chris: How much did you show of the Mages Initiation to GOG? As if you showed them the same demo that you've shown here, then yes I do understand why they would not accept it immediatly.

      I mean yes, it looks nice and all, but there really isn't that much of meat on it yet. It really could go in any direction from there. If I'd be GOG presentetive I wouldn't sign the game up yet, I'd want to see more of it first. It's business after all, they're not working on the same mind set as backers here.

    4. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 24, 2014

      @Gonchi: if bringing this to their attention might lead to better communication, then I think it's a good thing. I am glad that GOG is hearing from their own customers who would like to see Mage's on the site. Thank you for starting that thread, which helps bring to people's attention the kinds of challenges indie developers face on distribution services. It was perfectly legitimate to do so. Sometimes you just have to bring attention to an issue, since with more awareness comes a greater chance of improvement.

    5. Creator Chris Warren on February 24, 2014

      Well, the 'polite' approach was getting us nowhere, so let's see where this leads, eh? ;) Honestly, at this point, I'm happy to take it or leave it. I've already come to terms with the prospect of our games not being released on GOG, and as long as they're on Steam, that's good enough for me. My main concern is for fans/backers who wanted them available on GOG to add to their collections.

    6. Creator Gonchi on February 24, 2014

      I don't know if we ended up doing more harm than good, honestly. Hopefully it all works out in the end.

    7. Creator Chris Warren on February 24, 2014

      Oh and thanks to you guys for bringing that to their attention. I'm not sure exactly what to make of that reply, but we'll see how things go. Hopefully, some good news will come out of it.

    8. Creator Chris Warren on February 24, 2014

      Exactly why they felt the need to subject us to this public rigmarole in the first place is beyond me if they wanted to prevent the spread of misinformation. What else are we supposed to tell fans who keep asking us about GOG releases of our games, other than to reiterate the terse replies they gave us?

    9. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 24, 2014

      @Gonchi: that GOG response looks like a good sign to me. I do appreciate them posting that to let us know that they heard these concerns.

    10. Creator Gonchi on February 24, 2014

      TurnipSlayerr (GOG staff) posted in the forum thread;

      "Hey guys.

      This thread was just brought to my attention and I wanted to pop in and stop some misinformation spreading because we absolutely have not rejected Mage's Initiation. We're still in discussions regarding the title but we're waiting to see a more complete build of the game before we make any final decisions.

      I'm afraid that I can't get too far into discussions regarding this specific case as we consider it unprofessional for us to discuss the submission process of a game."

    11. Creator Chris Warren on February 23, 2014

      Ah, no, Mage's Initiation is definitely NOT episodic. We made certain to mention that in the opening blurb at the top of our Kickstarter page: "An enchanting Adventure/RPG set in a magical realm. Master spells, battle foes, and quest forth in this full-length game."

      I've always wanted to steer clear from making any episodic games, as my personal opinion is that their structure makes the narrative too predictable. Sales dictate that every episode has to end with some kind of cliffhanger, and the episode usually follows a mini "Hero's Journey" story arc. This pattern became evident in TellTale's earlier games, where each episode would follow the same structure as the ones that preceded it, and aside from slight deviations in the story and puzzles, it really felt like you were just playing the same episode over and over. I'm guessing this is why they started offering advance season passes, because after the first episode, the sales/interest level would decline for subsequent episodes when sold individually. Episodic works for a television series (and to some extent, works better with a game adapted from TV like The Walking Dead), but I think adventure games in and of themselves are a more interactive medium -- since they're less passive than TV, they make the player more aware of the steps they're personally taking to advance the narrative. When you make them repeat something over and over, they become more aware of it. By using "Acts" in Mage's Initiation, it's just our way of breaking up D'arc's three trials into sub-quests. But the game probably won't flash up an intrusive title saying "Act 2", "Act 3" etc. The end of each act will be punctuated, more subtly, by cutscenes that segue into the following act. However, the story (and the product itself) is, and always has been a self-contained title.

      Also, to be clear, GOG didn't outright reject the games. They gave us that dismissive line about "not accepting at this time", but that's meaningless. For Al Emmo, they did throw us a line about the cutscenes "needing some work". That was a true WTF?! moment, because we just spent thousands redoing them in 2D and the feedback has universally been that they're a huge improvement over the old 3D ones. We're not working with the budget of Deadalic here! When I pointed out that GOG have accepted other indie titles with "questionable graphics" - their logic, not mine (i.e. Richard and Alice), they just gave an evasive excuse that they don't discuss the acceptance of other games. I asked them if they also requested AAA game developers from the 90's to make fundamental and expensive changes to their now-dated graphics, or if they simply sold them as digital antiques, quirks and all - products of their time? This question was also duly evaded. I couldn't quite grasp the logic of expecting boot-strapped indies to spend thousands and thousands more dollars redoing work to be given a chance at a "maybe", when GOG routinely accepts titles from the 90's that are filled with flaws and graphical anomalies. Case in point, I'm betting they didn't ask Activision to fix the dated, clunky 3D models in Mask of Eternity before accepting it. Overall, the thing that worries me the most isn't that they didn't accept our games - it's the erratic and inconsistent decision-making behind the process and the fact that I know any games we submit won't be given a 'fair trial'. It's even worse if the people making the decisions aren't aware of how valuable a mutual relationship could be, and wish to tarnish that and all future prosperity by being obtuse about 1 or 2 titles in there here and now. GOG requested us to put those banner ads on our AGDI site, so you'd think they'd be able to put 2 and 2 together. It makes me just not want to deal with the headache of GOG's review process at all. Greenlight's taken enough of a toll, and there are more productive ways to invest our time (like developing Mages!)

      At any rate, we'll be on Steam, and that's what truly matters. And of course, we'll be offering DRM-Free versions elsewhere for players who prefer it. We'll probably just offer the DRM-Free version from the main Himalaya site and remove the DRM version altogether. The Humble Bundle widget that we have on the Al Emmo page at the moment covers that pretty well.

    12. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 22, 2014

      I've never heard them say anything about an episodic release. Don't think that's true at all.

    13. Creator twincast~Eternally Tormented WoOS-o-DOoD on February 22, 2014

      The game's got 4 acts, and they hope to make a series out of it. (I forget if they mentioned a specific number; I'm sure they have one in mind, but I can't think of one.) But I haven't heard anything about an episodic release at all, not even as a rumor. And if they were thinking about it, I'm sure they would have dropped that bomb (or at least hinted at it) in the development update specifically talking about acts in this update.

      People are quick to denounce pretty much everything as episodic these days as soon as they hear the words "chapters" or "acts", as if they'd never read, watched or played a book, film/play or game with multiple acts/chapters and/or installments, so rest easy. (Mind, the problem with episodic games as I see it doesn't lie in them being released episodically per se to begin with but in a number of design issues that tend to come with that but do not necessarily have to.)

    14. Creator Gonchi on February 22, 2014

      Heh, yeah, I'm getting there MoP.

      Something that's come up a lot in the forum is that the game is episodic. It's been mentioned enough that it's made me wonder, did that info go over my head? Mage's Initiation is still a single game split in multiple acts, similar to King's Quest 7 for example, but there are no plans to release each act individually, right?

    15. Creator Seba on February 22, 2014

      Oh well, their loss I say. Not the first time the "selective process" over there raises eyebrows.

      But I think "GOG's audience" is much less of a focused target group than it was.
      Their goal doesn't seem to be "focusing on old games" anymore (they seem content with just waiting for Night Dive, Tommo or whoever else -like their users in once case ;P- to handle the "pulling stuff out of limbo" battles lately).
      DRM-free is done in many other places, with some advantages over GOG (Desura has the optional client, the newish ShinyLoot has some stellar search functionality etc.).
      Now there's new drama with the introduction of regional pricing, and wrapping the announcement in colourful PR.

      I could echo Gonchi's last comment here, with the small difference of no longer asking myself that.

    16. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 21, 2014

      Gonchi, I got the same exact email you received. Word for word.

    17. Creator twincast~Eternally Tormented WoOS-o-DOoD on February 21, 2014

      Oh the irony of that automated response, considering that they just announced loosening their stance on one world one price...

      Anyway, I am disappoint.

    18. Creator Gonchi on February 21, 2014

      That's pretty bad. It's not the first time they do this, and as someone that actively promotes and directs devs towards GOG, I'm increasingly asking myself if I should even bother.

    19. Creator Chris Warren on February 21, 2014

      Hey, thanks for being pro-active, you two! :D The conspiracy theorist in me almost believes that there's a segment of the gaming industry/fan-base who do NOT want to see our games published at any cost. While the realist says that it just comes down to clueless executives who don't know what the left/right hands are doing, and then end up making astoundingly arbitrary, inconsistent decisions -- or using our titles in some kind of guinea pig experiment. Either way, it's certainly not the quality of our games that's the issue.

      I'd love to say that GOG gave us a concise, logical answer that we're not at liberty to talk about, but truth be told, we didn't even get that far into the discussions with them. Yes, they were that dismissive. This came as a pretty big surprise, as I was expecting them to be the most accepting portal, based on a combination of factors like AGDI/Himalaya's track record, our mutual goal of focusing on old games, and the amount of new customers we've drawn to their site. I've always loved GOG and what they do and it was immensely disappointing to have such inane decision-making sully the beginning of what would and should have been a very strong, long-term relationship.

      I know I complain a lot about Greenlight -- they make it sheer hell to get a title through. But at the end of the day, at least they're eventually letting our games onto their system. GOG may well be the 2nd largest portal, and I suspect that shall remain so while they're so aggressively selective, that they end up rejecting games that are on Steam which would be even better-matched to GOG's audience. When all's said and done, it's more money in Valve's pocket and less in GOG's, which hardly seems sensible if your company mission is really to inspire a DRM-Free revolution. A developer really cares most about getting their games onto Steam and GOG is an afterthought, so with this in mind, why on earth would GOG be pushing strong candidates toward their largest competitor? Baffling! I just wish we weren't the ones caught in the crossfire.

    20. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 21, 2014

      And I included this kick-ass screen shot with the email:…

      How can they not sell the game after seeing this stunning scene? :-)

    21. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 21, 2014

      I just wrote them. I wonder how long it will take for a response and if I will get the same response you did.

    22. Creator Gonchi on February 20, 2014

      I sent them a message through their Contact Us link;

    23. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 19, 2014

      Thanks for posting that! The letter does seem to be very generic, but at least they responded. Which email address did you contact them at? I'm also going to write them. Hearing from lots of their customers that Mage's is a desired game can only help.

      It is my understanding that "Quest for Infamy" got approved for the site after fans of that developer gave the game lots of votes. Quest for Infamy is similar to Mage's, and if we're comparing these two developers' track records and game quality I would have to give the edge to AGDI/Himalaya (and I love IQ/IA, so this is a compliment to Himalaya and NOT a knock on IQ/IA). So, GOG's apparent hesitation to sell Mage's and Al Emmo just seems so odd.

    24. Creator Gonchi on February 17, 2014

      GOG's response;

      "I'm afraid that I can't comment on any upcoming deals and releases (or lack thereof). I can only assure you that we're doing everything possible to get our hands on the best good games, both old and new.

      Unfortunately the process can be very complicated. There are many variables to take into account when trying to secure distribution rights from a publisher or developer, and it's not always possible to come to a compromise that satisfies all parties. This is especially true for GOG, as we want to uphold our core values (like no copy protection, or one world – one price), which do not always fit well into how the industry generally works. It gets even more complex with old games, whose rights are often in a state of “legal limbo”.

      Check out this Q/A video, featuring one of my superiors - Marcin Iwinski, for a first-hand view of how it works:…

      Finally, please stay tuned and check out our news page every week for new release info.

      ----- Support"

      I presume that's an automated reply. Himalaya/AGDi probably can't publicly discuss details regarding the negotiation, but I think it's safe to say DRM isn't the issue here. So... pricing?

    25. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 17, 2014

      Gonchi wrote:

      "I think people just aren't aware of the situation. I'm wondering if we should not follow Novotnus' example and open a thread in the forum calling attention to this as he did with GOG's refusal of The Cat Lady. The King's Quest and Quest for Glory remakes AGDi did come up in discussion often in their forums, I'm certain there is interest among other GOG users to get the game release"

      I think that's a great idea. Mage's Initation should definitely be on GOG, and I think we (the fans) ought to make sure it gets on there. :-) Let's make it happen.

    26. Creator Himalaya Studios, Inc. on February 16, 2014

      Thanks so much for your support, KSimms and Gonchi! It's really heartening. :)

    27. Creator Gonchi on February 16, 2014

      There is a second GOG wishlist entry for Mage's Initiation. I filed a request to have them merged ages ago but nothing has come of it.

      I've now also contacted GOG about their refusal to release Mage's Initiation. I doubt I'll hear back or receive a meaningful response. but you never know. I think people just aren't aware of the situation. I'm wondering if we should not follow Novotnus' example and open a thread in the forum calling attention to this as he did with GOG's refusal of The Cat Lady. The King's Quest and Quest for Glory remakes AGDi did come up in discussion often in their forums, I'm certain there is interest among other GOG users to get the game released there.

    28. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 14, 2014

      I voted on both and left comments. Everyone else reading this now, please do the same and support this amazing adventure game developer!!

    29. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 13, 2014

      Will do. It's a no-brainer that your games should be on there!

    30. Creator Chris Warren on February 12, 2014

      The best thing would probably to vote for both games and leave a comment about why they should be on GOG, if you'd like to see them there.

      Thanks for the kind words, too!

    31. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 12, 2014

      Who at GOG should we write? This is an outrage. I am one of their customers, and I want them to sell Himalaya Studios games! Few others have kept alive the "good old games" spirit as well as AGDI/Himalaya has. Now, I have heard talk of heroes of the adventure game revival movement, but no such talk would be complete or accurate without putting the influential and inspirational and extremely well-regarded AGDI/Himalaya squarely at the top of the list of such heroes. I really think GOG needs to hear what their customers want.

    32. Creator Chris Warren on February 11, 2014

      Bizarrely, GOG have given us a fair bit of resistance - which is quite odd given the amount of new customers we've drawn to their site via the affiliate program and our mutual goal of revving old games. It really should be a shoo-in. Doesn't seem to make much business sense to be putting up walls with indie developers who directly feed their core customer base (especially considering that indies are the lifeblood of their future business logevity), but no matter, Steam is where we really need to gain our foothold from a financial standpoint. If GOG ever come around, we'll get the games up there too, but we'll also be making a DRM-Free version of Mage's Initiation available through other venues.

    33. Creator Himalaya Studios, Inc. on February 11, 2014

      Hey folks, we'll happily honor your requests for Steam keys but please be aware that the game will be made available DRM-free through IndieGameStand or another platform that will allow for an en masse distribution of keys to you guys (they were wonderful to work with when we sent out the Al Emmo keys to the all-digital backers.) We know that not everyone is a Steam user, just wanted to clear that up!

      But I won't lie, the whole Greenlight process was exhausting. It was like trying to keep an armful of cocktail glasses from spilling in a Category V earthquake!

    34. Creator KSimms ✵ ✵ on February 11, 2014

      Happy to see this get Greenlit. Such an awesome, hard-working team that makes wonderful adventure games. Your excellent reputation is well-deserved!

    35. Creator FuKuy on February 11, 2014

      Congrats for the STEAM greenlit. It was a big concern to get a STEAM key.

    36. Creator Dave, Shadowrunner on February 11, 2014

      Congrats on getting Greenlit. I'm only interested in the DRM-free copy myself and am wondering what the distribution method for that will be... would be my top choice, but of course Humble Bundle or a direct download from Himalaya is fine. I know GOG opened up an indie submission portal last year, which works quite differently from Greenlight and hope Mage's Initiation will be released there.

    37. Creator ET3D on February 11, 2014

      Voted for Al Emmo.

    38. Creator Adam Teske on February 10, 2014

      I dont care about Steam, if i get a GOG key, when the game is released there.

    39. Creator Jeremie Lariviere on February 10, 2014

      Nice update, and thanks for the additional info!

    40. Creator Dean Thrasher on February 10, 2014

      I missed out on the original Quest for Infamy Kickstarter campaign. Signing up for the hint book sounds like a great way to get in on the action.

    41. Creator Katherine Spaulding on February 10, 2014

      WHEN WILL THE GAME BE DONE????!?!?!?!?!?!?!