Just launched this week, new Windows/PC game Golden Treasure: The Great Green is a Michigan-produced philosophical open world game that puts you in the middle of a world where dragons are on the wane and humans on the rise. The game, which will later migrate to tablets and mobile as well, was created by a new gaming studio headed by former Sega and LucasArts game developer Benjamin Ludwig.
Golden Treasure is directed by Ludwig’s experience as a teacher of philosophy and mythology, featuring 15 hours of open world play time focused on elemental strengths. You start out in a sort of womb, learning about how the world feels and selecting how you feel about it, what kind of adventure you would like to have. You select how to move through the world one choice at a time that is subtly linked to your abilities related to fire, water, earth, and so on, learning about your strengths and weaknesses and learning how to follow the goals you need to pursue in order to survive.
Golden Treasure: The Great Green
Golden Treasure: The Great Green is a hand-painted game about choices, survival, and life as a non-human being. Players take on the role of a dragon and must survive the tender and dangerous years of childhood, forging a path to maturity in the beautiful and deadly world of Earth in the Bronze Age.
To survive, you must hunt prey, fight other dragons for dominance, plunder underground labyrinths for treasures, explore the far corners of the wilderness and, most importantly, grow and learn about the Great Green and its many inhabitants, from birds and beasts to ancient spirits. If you become wise and powerful enough, you may just change the history of our world and the fate of dragonkind.
- Over 100 hand-painted scenes
- Three massive open-world areas to explore
- Thousands of choices and several completely distinct endings
- Full combat system with 70+ opponents and dozens of special abilities
- Earn degrees of elemental enlightenment to grow and overcome challenges
- Original 3-phase hunting system; stalk, pursue, and destroy your prey
- First-person labyrinths to explore, each with its own story and treasures
- Dozens of unique artifacts and ancient secrets to discover
The interesting thing about the game is how you build strength as you explore the world. You can choose to take actions in areas where you’re not strong, and in the process gain more strength in those areas. Even mishaps, such as our premature attempt to fly off a cliff that had a sticky end, can lead to collecting achievements that come in the form of stylized tarot cards that look like stained glass windows. The Fool, a tarot card that symbolizes willingness to go on a new adventure with just the pack on your back, we collected just for trying a new thing.
The art on the cards and in the game is quite lovely. Dreaming Door founder Benjamin Ludwig met with us to demo the game and said he intentionally searched out the best local artists and game developers he could find in Southeast Michigan in order to create a game like this, that is both philosophically deep and beautiful to look at and listen to. “The soul of the game is in its philosophy, writing, and art,” Ludwig says, who is himself a philosophy teacher at the Cranbrook upper school in Detroit. “The mission of the company isn’t to make money; it’s to help games become a true art form.”
Golden Treasure has been in the works for 2 1/2 years and 15,000 hours of development. Ludwig says that if the game succeeds, they will be moving fully pro and offering higher salaries and benefits to their team with a new office space. The gaming scene in Michigan is still relatively small, but Ludwig is working to build a better ecosystem for game developers here, and loves meeting with the local IGDA chapter in Ypsilanti along with other local gaming mentors like Austin Yarger. You can check out the IGDA meetings here, and download the Golden Treasure free demo on Steam here or direct from the Dreaming Door website for Windows or Mac. Let us know how you like it!