Crate Entertainment, developers behind Grim Dawn and the newly released Farthest Frontier have run into a bit of controversy over their choice to not put religion in the game.
The controversy stemmed from backlash by the community over the fact that Farthest Frontier does not have churches, while many also shared their disappointment over the lack of a refined faith system in the game.
When asked about the lack of churches in the game, a designer at Crate pointed out that the game did not have mosques or temples either, they said “there’s way too much baggage and drama around real world religions,” and that the game was better off without it.
After their comments were met with a mixed response, Zantai gave a better clarification as to what they meant.
“We’ve intentionally left faith ambiguous in [the Farthest Frontier] even if churches are a ‘staple’ of medieval Europe, which is another thing we’ve deliberately left vague,” Zantai said. “The setting for the game is inspired by certain time periods and places, but it is not set in those places. The player can decide whatever suits them.”
So, from the words of the developer themself, it appears that it was not a choice to target churches for removal, rather it was a choice to keep real-world religions out of their fantasy setting.
As it stands right now, the Farther Frontier developers are choosing to keep real world faiths out of their game, which includes but is not limited to churches. Arthur Bruno, lead designer on the game, further explained why religious buildings were not in the game.
“I did not want to add a large religious structure that was purely decorative and had no function,” Bruno said in a follow up (via PC Gamer). “I felt like that would just lead to disappointment and the obvious question—why doesn’t this building do anything besides raise the desirability of nearby housing?”
He went on to explain the team brought up how to include religious mechanics throughout Farthest Frontier’s pre-launch development.
“We have talked about it as a feature several times during development, where all sorts of different mechanics were proposed, some much more involved than others. We still haven’t quite nailed that down and that’s another part of why there is still no religion,” he said.
“For some, the answer is obviously a church. Maybe some sort of quaint, wooden church as seen in most of the small New England towns I’ve lived in? But wait, is the game set in the Colonial period, should it be a big medieval cathedral instead? What about a Norse temple? Maybe it’s not set in a real time period at all?”
In closing, Bruno did hint at the possibility of religions based on Grim Dawn possibly finding their way into Farthest Frontier in the future. Farthest Frontier is now available for Windows PC (via Steam) and is now early access.