Share this project


Share this project

Death Inc. project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with

Take Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park and Pikmin, set it in the 17th century and add a Grim Reaper. A game for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Take Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park and Pikmin, set it in the 17th century and add a Grim Reaper. A game for Windows, Mac and Linux. Read More
pledged of £300,000 goal
seconds to go

Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on March 6, 2013.

About this project

Thank you to all our backers!
Thank you to all our backers!

The Last Post

Dear friends, backers, supporters and well-wishers,

There are a handful of hours left on the clock but I think we can all see the outcome. What a ride it has been. But it's OK! Together we've taken an exciting, gruelling, and enlightening journey over the last month. We've created and released a tonne of content (including a demo and a house!) and received loads of useful feedback. We wouldn't change that for the world.

We would like to assure you all that you haven't seen the last of Death Inc! We are working extremely hard to make this beautiful, bonkers, original game a reality for you all.

Please keep in touch! There are so many ways:

We'd love to hear from you and take the next steps of our journey together.

All the best, 

- the Ambient team

The Death Inc. Story

Peter Molyneux, Alex Evans and Sean Murray endorse Death Inc!

In between Life and Death, there lies the Nether. And this is where Grim T. Livingstone, freelance Reaper, lives.

As Assistant Underreaper at the Ministry Of Mortality, Grim’s task is soul collection. Filing reports, data processing, administration. Thankless and soulless.  

And so Death Inc. is born: A way to escape the rat race and establish the Nether’s premier mortality outsourcing agency, moving souls from Life to… somewhere better.  

As Death Inc. grows, Grim discovers a terrifying threat: The villainous King Of England is in league with the Black Hearts, a secret society intent on discovering the secret of immortality.

And in doing so, they start to destroy Grim’s world. With not only the Nether but Life itself under attack, Grim has his work cut out and the Ministry Of Mortality either doesn’t know or care.

As is often the way, if you want something done right, you do it yourself.

The Death Inc. Demo is available for Windows, Mac and Linux! Go here to check it out:

Update Highlights:

March 1st Update #22: Day & Night

March 1st Update #21: The House That Jon Built

Feb 28th Update #19: Unit Types

Feb 27th Update #17: #SaveOurSouls

Feb 26th Update #16: iPad and Multiplayer revealed

Feb 25th Update #15: Peter Molyneux, Alex Evans and Sean Murray endorse Death Inc!

Feb 19th Update #13: Demo! Add-ons! Greenlight!

Feb 14th Update #10: The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

Feb 13th Update #9: Villager Edition Backer Names

Feb 11th Update #7: A Global Afterlife Enterprise: The Business Of Death Inc.

Feb 6th Update #3: Rewards! Steam Greenlight!

Feb 5th Update #1: Death Inc. comic - Grim T. Livingstone, Origins (Part 1 )

Ambient Studios is proud to present Death Inc. - a pungent re-imagining of the Black Death.

  • Play as the Grim Reaper and unleash the bubonic plague upon 17th century England 
  • Command an infected horde against the evil King Of England 
  • Paint your orders with a unique and intuitive control scheme 
  • Ransack ports, towns and cities and convert their citizens to your cause 
  • Use special abilities like Plague Rats, the Pigeon Pox, or the Cowstrike. 
  • Use physics to alter the course of battle with siege weapons and cunning tricks and traps 
  • Save souls in battle and use them to expand your operations 
  • Build your base in the Nether and manage the growing business of Death Inc. 
  • Hire minions, underlings and assistants to spread Death Inc’s reach further. 
  • Unlock powerful units like the Plague Doctor and the Monk 
In-game screenshot
In-game screenshot
Click to support us on Steam Greenlight!
Click to support us on Steam Greenlight! "A marvellous, horrible, brilliant, horrible idea" "Think Wind Waker ... but mixed with the sly humour of the gallows" "A development supergoup" "Bat-sh*t crazy but brilliant"

TheVerge: "An adorable strategy game... an incredibly charming art style"

The Guardian: "Gorgeous art style ... a fascinating concept with an intuitive interface" "Exactly how a modern day Bullfrog game would look" "It sticks out on presentation alone, but combined with the intuitive control system that presentation becomes artistic"

Want to know more about what you're getting? Click here for pictures!

Can't find a tier that gives you what you need? Here's the add-ons we've announced so far:

  • If you've chosen a reward that receives a copy of the game, you can get an extra digital copy for just £6.50 / $10.00 (approx) / €7.50 (approx)
  • Add £5/$7/€6 (approx) Digital design doc - read all the info from our amazing designers, get an insight into how they approached the game the finer details of our game mechanics.  
  • Add £3/$5/ €4 (approx) for a special private 2 hour live stream Q&A with the team - pick our brains on our jobs, our plans for the game and anything else you care to think of!
  • You can get access to all future expansions, DLC and upgrades for just £10.00 / $15.00 (approx ) / €11.50 (approx)
  • Get a digital copy of the soundtrack for just £5 / $7.50 (approx) / €5.80 (approx)
  • Get a beautiful Death Inc. t-shirt for £16 ($24 / €18.50)! You'll also need to add £10 for international shipping if your pledge level doesn't already include it.Click here for a super high-res image of all the shirts.

Simply raise your pledge by the required amount and we'll sort it all out in the aftermath.

And there's more! Everyone who pledges £40 or more (approx $62) will also get to name a cow

Disclaimer: This animal may or may not explode during the course of the game.

Death Inc. is not your typical strategy game. It's a unique mix of real-time strategy, god game and business sim, harking back to some of the classic Bullfrog games like Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper.

Simply paint your orders into the world and unleash your infected minions on serfs, wenches and noblemen. Every human that falls will join the ranks of your pestilential horde. 

In-game screenshot
In-game screenshot

In between battles, build your business empire on the bones of your victims and strive to become the greatest Reaper the world has ever endured.

It's time to show the artistic side of infection and paint your way to the ruination of mankind. And a bigger office.

Every unit in your horde has a primal instinct to attack anyone and anything not affected by the plague. People, cows, chickens... you direct it, they'll infect it.

But beware! Humanity's not going to go down without a fight. Your potential victims will defend themselves with sticks, swords, bows or muskets, even siege weapons; anything they can find. 

A tranquil castle, doom impending
A tranquil castle, doom impending

You’ll face a variety of increasingly complex challenges through the game, battling from quaint country villages to bustling seaside ports before finally storming the castles and cities of England. 

Overpower soldiers, archers, pikemen, musketeers, plague doctors and knights, turning each into a baneful weapon to overpower your enemies.

To learn more about the enemies you'll face in the game click here

Death Inc's fluid control mechanic allows you to quickly and simply paint orders directly in the world for your horde to follow. Use broad brush strokes from afar to direct large swathes of infected, or zoom right in for pencil sharp accuracy. You'll be able to control your troops as you would in any other real-time strategy game, just with greater tactical finesse.

Here are just some of the challenges any Reaper faces, and how you might solve them:

  • Angry pitchfork wielding lynch mob: Two mouse strokes lets you split your horde and crush the mob in a pincer movement.
  • Town crier scuttling to sound the alarm: Flank him in one motion and cut him off with a wall of infected with the next.
  • Company of knock-kneed archers: Draw their fire with peasant arrow fodder, charge your malignant cavalry into their rear and watch them scarper.
  • A deadly rain of boiling oil streaming from a castle gate: Paint a simple circular gesture to tell your infected to scatter.

Your enemies can be simply, deftly and brutally dealt with. Just like that.

In-game screenshot
In-game screenshot

In a few quick strokes and gestures, you'll see exactly what your troops are going to do, where they're heading and how they'll get there. Multitasking becomes easy and adapting to the ebb and flow of battle, intuitive.

Unlockable special abilities make your battles even more dynamic, spectacular and bizarre:

  • Need to disrupt enemy defences? Just send some plague rats their way.
  • Farmers refusing to play along? Sabotage them with exploding livestock.
  • Villagers cowering indoors? Get them outside with a norovirus brunch.
  • Long range attack required? Unleash the pigeon pox! Those filthy skyvermin will be dive-bombing in no time.

Every level is a sandbox for you to experiment with, with different strategies to try out and challenges to overcome.

In between all the reaping, Grim T. Livingstone returns to the Nether, Death Inc's base of operations. This begins humbly, but you'll soon need to expand it to cope with the needs of an international reaping corporation. 

Grim T. Livingstone, ruthless business shark
Grim T. Livingstone, ruthless business shark

Harvested souls are the currency of the Nether. Spend them to upgrade troops and abilities, or to renovate your base of operations and make a personal statement about the business. Office furniture not only looks snazzy but can modify your in-game abilities too.

But why not hire lost souls as assistants? They'll increase your profits, ramp up your efficiency and can head out into the world to reap secondary targets.

Even the water cooler's shaped like a skull
Even the water cooler's shaped like a skull

Rise through the ranks of the Nether and become the top dog of the soul reclamation industry.

The project is at an early stage of development with plenty of features still to finish. However, we already have working levels in-game that demonstrate both the game's visual style and some of the gameplay features.

Everything you've seen so far has been built by our team in a short space of time. Achieving our target will allow us to build, refine and polish the remaining gameplay features and complete the art assets and levels needed in the final game.

We think Death Inc. is a fantastic fit for PC and Mac, and for Kickstarter. It's an innovative and original take on the strategy genre, brimming with humour. 

With your contribution and assistance we can create an awesome game that will appeal to both new and old fans of strategy and god games, without a publisher in the middle. We love that Kickstarter allows us to build something new and different directly with you, the players.

In-game screenshot
In-game screenshot

It's only with your help that we can make Death Inc. a reality. With your support we'll be able to deliver a fully realised single player campaign for Death Inc. Our experienced team have the knowledge and most importantly the passion to be able to do this by October 2013. Whatever distribution platforms the game ends up on, we will always provide a DRM-free option.

Raising more than our initial target will allow us to be even more ambitious with the game's design and in turn create more great content for you. We have exciting plans for stretch goals, we'll reveal them when we get close to the target.

We'll be discussing the design of the game in our private backers' forums and you can help us to prioritise the features that you're most excited about.

Ambient Studios is a small independent developer based in Guildford, UK, unexpected centre of the British games development universe. Founded in 2011 by Media Molecule alumni, Ambient now comprises 11 experienced, senior game developers, with pedigrees including LittleBigPlanet, the Fable franchise, Burnout and Need For Speed.

Ambient Studios, prepped and ready to lovingly craft Death Inc.
Ambient Studios, prepped and ready to lovingly craft Death Inc.

We’ve all been lucky enough to have a hand in some amazing games over the past few years. Ambient was formed so we could make original games the way we wanted to, directly for the people who play them. If we can do it without a middle-man in the way, then so much the better.

We’re passionate about creating unique, beautiful experiences. Help us make Death Inc. one of those!

Look at all the great things we've had a hand in
Look at all the great things we've had a hand in

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our gameIf you're unable to pledge but you still think Death Inc. sounds like an awesome idea, please share this page with friends and family and help spread the plague (and news) further.

Like us on Facebook and let us know your thoughts. We'd love to hear from you, why not email us on

Risks and challenges

Creating games can take a lot of time and things can sometimes take longer than originally planned. We are committed to delivering what we say we will, when we say we will. If for any reason circumstances change, you will be the first to know.

A major risk of any software project is QA (Quality Assurance). We have to ensure that it's up to the standards that we require and you expect. The backer-only alpha will not only allow you to play the game early but it will help us ensure the quality is on track from your feedback.

Not only will you be able to get your hands on the game before anyone else, you'll be able to play an active part in its development by giving us comments, criticism and ideas.

Another interesting challenge is localisation. The demographic of our backers will help us decide into how many languages the game should be translated. If you want to get involved, you could even help us crowdsource the translation, for extra special rewards.

To significantly reduce the technical risk, we are using the well known and widely praised Unity technology platform. This allows our programmers to concentrate on codifying Fun, and our artists on encapsulating Beauty, without the headache of tools development along the way.

We will be completely open about the development of this game by releasing regular dev diaries to keep you, our supporters updated on our progress and we’ll be engaging regularly with everyone on the backers forum regarding important decisions we have to make.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • Yes! Death Inc. is being built with Unity, so it's relatively easy to build the game for Linux. However, Linux support in Unity is a new feature as of version 4.0 and so support is not universal. The limitations and caveats are described here:

    Last updated:
  • Yep! The rewards lay out which lower rewards they inherit from. The only restriction would be that each would have to be a different name. Get creative! It could be your mum, your nan, your pet...

    Last updated:
  • That, my friends, is up to you! The game would be a fantastic fit for touch screen devices, but any additional platform is extra work. We don't want to sell anyone short with promises we can't keep, so please let us know which platforms you'd like to see the game on. If the demand is high enough we will add them at the appropriate stretch goals when the time comes.

    Last updated:
  • We'd love to have a multiplayer component to the game! We're investigating different ways of doing it and if we find one that works really well, it may well make it in as a stretch goal.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! With explosive consequences!

    Last updated:
  • Yes, we'll be making sure that anyone who is colour blind can make sense of any UI or colour specific mechanics in the game upon its release.

    Last updated:
  • Grim's office layout is pre-determined in the same way as some skill trees, but you can choose what rooms to unlock and in what order. The only condition is that players can only unlock rooms that are adjacent to ones already unlocked. You can also customise some rooms in order to improve your troops as well as choosing different employees to hire who can help you research new abilities and skills.

    Last updated:
  • Villager names in each level are randomised. So you could potentially come across yourself multiple times across the single player campaign.

    Last updated:
  • The biggest costs are staff and office overheads. We have an office, which obviously enables us to work much more effectively by being in the same location. And we have 11 staff, each of whom needs to be paid every month.

    The whole team is super experienced and that is why we know we can deliver this project in a comparatively short time frame. It's 6-8 months to make a AAA quality game that looks like this, with a comparatively small team.
    We did the finances, we costed in the rewards and Kickstarter's cut, and the £300k is really the bare minimum we felt we could realistically ask for without deceiving the backers as to how much the project would really cost.

    Last updated:
  • There won't be other control schemes. Our painting mechanic for controlling your infected horde enables us to create unique puzzles and gameplay that would be incompatible with standard 'drag/select' control schemes.

    Last updated:
  • Many of us at Ambient got into the games industry through the mod scene, so if it is something we can easily support then we will. Our 1st priority is to release the main game, but if there's time then we we'll look into adding additional mod support.

    Last updated:
  • The mechanic of highlighting troops/villagers will remain the same, but visually soldiers are going to look more important and display slightly different information. Soldiers will also have different symbols next to their name, any other titles will be chosen by the backers in our forum.

    Last updated:
  • We would love to have a level creation mode, but doing so will almost double the development time of Death Inc. If we're successful on Kickstarter and receive more than we're asking for then its something we'd consider.

    Last updated:
  • We have a lot of ideas for future content! We see Grim visiting many different time periods across the globe. We could even go into the future. Each time period would offer new enemies to defeat and unique puzzles to solve, as well as new rooms to unlock in the Nether.

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.57 USD

    You'll get our undying thanks! We'll print your name out, stick it on the wall and look to you whenever we need inspiration.

    Estimated delivery
    36 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $16 USD

    - - - -Early bird discount of £15 tier!- - - - - - - - - - [Approx $16 / €12] - - - - - - - -

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1,485 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $24 USD

    - - - - - - - - Pigeon Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $20 / €15] - - - - - - - Thanks! You'll get a digital download of the game on release and access to the exclusive backer forums.

    Estimated delivery
    786 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $39 USD

    - - - -Early bird discount of £30 tier!- - - - - - - - - - [Approx $40 / €30] - - - - - - -

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 676 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $47 USD

    - - - - - - - - Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $48 / €36] - - - - - - - Have your name immortalised as a villager in the game! You'll get exclusive access to the Death Inc Beta test (approx. August 2013) and a Kickstarter-only in-game statue for Grim's office. Includes everything in the £15 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    247 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $63 USD

    - - - - - - Alpha Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $62 / €46] - - - - - - Be the first to play Death Inc! Get access to the exclusive Alpha test, expected June 2013. Includes everything in the £30 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    87 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $71 USD

    - - - - - Digital Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $70 / €52] - - - - - - You'll get everything in the £40 tier PLUS an extra digital copy of the game (to make TWO!), a digital copy of the soundtrack, a digital copy of the art book and a digital copy of the Death Inc. comic.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 75 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £45 or more About $71 USD


    Digital Villager Edition!

    [Approx $68 / €52]

    You'll get everything in the £40 tier PLUS an extra digital copy of the game (to make TWO!), a digital copy of the soundtrack, a digital copy of the art book and a digital copy of the Death Inc. comic.

    A ready to print and make papercraft figure of Grim T Livingstone + A digital design doc revealing the dark art that is game design at Ambient Studios!

    Estimated delivery
    38 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $79 USD

    - - - - Wish You Were Here Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $72 / €54] - - - - - - - Be the envy of your friends and receive a boxed copy of Death Inc including an exclusive pack of custom Death Inc playing cards. Plus you'll get a set of Death Inc "Wish You Were Here" postcards and stickers. Includes everything in the £40 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    105 backers
  10. All gone!

    Pledge £65 or more About $102 USD

    - - - -Early bird discount of £75 tier! - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $105 / €78] - - - - - - -

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    All gone! 100 backers
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £75 or more About $118 USD

    - - - - - - - - Poxed Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $120 / €90] - - - - - - That's fighting talk: You're upgraded to having a soldier named after you in the game! You'll get the Death Inc. art book, a physical copy of the soundtrack and free access to all future expansions. You'll also get everything else in the £50 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    27 backers
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $157 USD

    - - - - - - - -Scythed Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $160 / €120] - - - - - - You're upgraded! Your name used as an important target for infection in a level! You'll get an upgraded Special Edition copy of the game signed by the team - including 'old school' game box, printed manual, map and a high-quality print of the Death Inc. comic. You'll also get a Death Inc. T-shirt, your name in the credits and everything else in the £75 tier. 

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    122 backers
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About $393 USD

    - - - - - - - -Epidemic Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $400 / €298] - - - - - - You're upgraded to become a bonus target for Death Inc employees to reap, and you'll help us design the setting and short backstory for the event. Plus you'll get a large high quality Death Inc poster and a deluxe Hardback art book upgrade, both signed by the team and everything else in the £100 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    14 backers
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About $786 USD

    - - - - - - Jolly Barkeep Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $800 / €595] - - - - - - Ever fancied owning a pub? You'll get to name an in-game tavern, help design its sign and be named the proprietor. You'll get a custom print of your pub's sign and everything else in the £250 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £1,000 or more About $1,571 USD

    - - - - Name Not A Number Edition! - - - - - - - - [Approx $1600 / €1190] - - - - - Congratulations, you're a Death Inc. employee! Work with us to design your character's look and backstory. You'll get a unique piece of signed and framed concept art of your character! Also you'll get a custom writing set, including a Death Inc. wax seal, sealing wax, parchment, quill and ink. Plus you'll also get your name in the Special Thanks credits of the game and everything else in the £250 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 6 backers
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £2,000 or more About $3,142 USD

    - - - - - - Yes My Lord Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $3038 / €2322] - - - - Always wanted a title, British style? You'll be a nobleman in Death Inc! Together we'll design your coat of arms and livery, and the world will see it in the castle or fort your character owns. Choose your title (e.g. Earl, Lord, Archbishop) and we'll create a character in your likeness, and send you a signed and framed piece of unique concept art of Lord You!


    You'll also get a studio visit to see the game being made and for a day long workshop with the team - see how each department works, check out the amazing animation, crazy code, fantastic design and departments and get guided through what we do to make great games. Travel to the UK not included, but a great lunch with the team is + everything else in the £1000 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
  17. All gone!

    Pledge £3,000 or more About $4,714 USD

    - - - - - - -A WHOLE HOUSE EDITION!- - - - - - - - - [Approx $4511/€3460] - - - - - - - -
    This is a one off model of GRIM T LIVINGSTONE'S house - a mini masterpiece in wood and clay! The house is approx 2ft high, 2ft wide and 1ft deep. Each room has been carefully crafted - gaze in wonder upon the teeny bathroom complete with noose flush and plush bath mats, visit Grim's living room and browse his book collection. Explore the attic and then light the whole thing up at the flick of a switch. There's no doubt that you will be impressed with the level of craftsmanship on display by our artist Jon Eckersley. All the amazing stuff in the £1000 tier will be yours as well.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    All gone! 1 backer
  18. All gone!

    Pledge £5,000 About $7,856 USD

    - - - - - - -Your Grace Edition!- - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $8000 / €5950] - - - - - Now is your time to rule, highness! You are the king or queen in the game: Grim T. Livingstone's prime target! Help design your character and the national coat of arms which will be seen throughout the game. You'll also get a one-off oil portrait of your 17th century likeness. You'll get a studio visit too and everything else in the £1000 tier.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    All gone! 1 backer

Funding period

- (30 days)