Grim Dawn

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Grim Dawn
Grim Dawn logo.png
Developer(s)Crate Entertainment
Publisher(s)Crate Entertainment
  • Steve Pardo
  • Chris Wilson
EngineTQ game engine
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Windows
  • February 25, 2016
Genre(s)Action role-playing, hack and slash
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Grim Dawn is an action role-playing game (ARPG), in a thematically dark fictional world loosely based on the Victorian era. Released on February 25, 2016, it's developed and published by Crate Entertainment.

Crate Entertainment announced on July 27, 2009 that they had licensed the Titan Quest engine from Iron Lore[1][2] and announced Grim Dawn's development on January 21, 2010.[1] Initially, few details were revealed, with Crate Entertainment simply stating that Grim Dawn is set in a thematically dark fictional world loosely based on the Victorian era.[3]


The game takes place in Cairn, a dark, war-torn world where a once proud empire has been brought to ruin and the human race driven to the edge of extinction. Cairn has become ground zero of an eternal war between two otherworldly powers, the Aetherials, who view human bodies as a resource to use, and the Chthonians, who are intent on destroying humanity before that can happen.

Humans at some point had come into communication with extra-dimensional beings. They learned things from the whisperings of these otherworldly entities and eventually attempted to open a portal to bring one across. Naturally, being paranoid of the unknown as humans often are, they also devised a way to imprison it once it came through. Through experimentation, they learned that these beings, made of aether, a sort of spiritual energy, could fuse themselves with the human mind, possessing and controlling their host if they were able to subvert the human's will. The researchers discovered that a human, once possessed, retained heightened abilities after the aetherial being was purged from them. Naturally, this research got out of control as such things always do. The researchers brought over more aetherials, they got loose, the aetherials were able to then open more portals into their own world, bringing over large numbers of their brethren.

While the Aetherials were seeking to use human bodies as a resource, the Chthonians appeared to destroy the human race before that could happen. This cataclysmic war not only decimated human civilization but warped the very fabric of reality and, in its wake, gave life to new horrors.

The world of Cairn can never be fully restored to the way it once was. Grim Dawn is about survival and adaptation to the grim new reality. Small enclaves of human survivors exist scattered throughout the world, holed up in hidden refuges. These humans have quietly watched the warring invaders destroy one another and have become wise to the strengths and vulnerabilities of their otherworldly foes. A few survivors have begun to exhibit strange new abilities after surviving possession or exposure to the warp. These unnatural powers are feared by some but give many new hope of launching a resistance to fight the "outsiders" and reclaim what's left of their world.


Like other prominent action role-playing games, the majority of the gameplay in Grim Dawn centers around fast-paced combat and the collection of loot—armor, potions, weapons, and money. Crate confirmed in an interview that Grim Dawn will feature a crafting system similar to that used in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos's popular mod Defense of the Ancients. Grim Dawn will also build upon existing systems present in Titan Quest, such as improved physics, location specific damage effects, dismemberment, and a completely redesigned quest system. In redesigning the quest system, Crate confirmed that Grim Dawn will feature factions.[2]


Grim Dawn's development is notable for Crate Entertainment's open appeal to their fans for financial support. In a posting on the game's official website, the developers announced that after a period of increased email activity from fans wishing to donate to Crate to support the project that they had added a pre-order page to the game's official website to allow fans to contribute to the project in an official manner.[4] Fifteen days later in another posting on the game's official website, Crate stated that they had received financial support from gaming website Gamebanshee and one of the authors of the gaming related webcomic Penny Arcade.[4] Despite this support from their fans and various websites, Crate manager Arthur Bruno stated in an interview with The Escapist that pre-orders made for only a very small percentage of Grim Dawn's total budget.[5] In a later interview with gaming website Big Download, Bruno again confirmed that donations and pre-orders alone were not enough to completely fund the project. Additionally, Bruno revealed that Crate intended to provide new gameplay content for Grim Dawn in the way of expansions every six to ten months.[2]

On April 17, 2012, Crate Entertainment opened a project page on Kickstarter, setting a funding goal of $280,000, with the halfway point of this goal being reached in four days.[6] It finished up with $537,515, well exceeding its initial funding goal.[7] Crate released an alpha version of the game (Build 8) through the Steam Early Access program on May 15, 2013.[8]


On February 25, 2016, the game entered full release with v1.0.0.0 (build 31 hotfix 1).

Downloadable content and expansions[edit]

The Crucible

On August 3, 2016, a new game mode called The Crucible was released as downloadable content.[9]

Ashes of Malmouth

On October 11, 2017 Grim Dawn's first expansion, Ashes of Malmouth, was released[10]

The Forgotten Gods

On March 5, 2018, a second expansion was announced, called Forgotten Gods, and was released on March 27, 2019.[11]


Critical reception[edit]

Grim Dawn received generally favorable reviews from 29 critics, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[12]

Leif Johnson of PC Gamer wrote: "If anything, Grim Dawn is both empowered and chained down by its retro stylings, preventing, say, the randomized levels of Diablo III and thus its endless potential for replay. But on the upside, none of its recent competitors deliver that old-style hack-and-slash experience so purely and so satisfyingly, and its hybrid class system makes each new jaunt a little different. More than once it found me playing until dawn, and my appreciation for any game that manages to do that is anything but grim."[16]


As of May 2017, Grim Dawn had sold over 1 million units worldwide and its DLC, Crucible, over 200,000.[17]

In a live stream on April 19, 2019, Crate announced that the Forgotten Gods expansion had sold over 100,000 copies, bringing the total number of copies sold between the base game and its DLC to over 3 million.[18]

On May 31, 2020, one of the game's designers stated in a forum post that the game and its DLC were approaching a total of 5 million copies sold.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Crate Entertainment Website". Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Arthur Bruno Interview - Big Download". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  3. ^ "Crate Entertainment Website - Games Section". Archived from the original on April 29, 2010. Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Grim Dawn Website". Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Escapist, Crowd Contributed Game Development Article". Retrieved April 21, 2010.
  6. ^ Bruno, Arthur. "Kickstarter - Update #2: Grim Dawn is backed 50% in 4 days! New goals on the horizon!". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 26, 2012.
  7. ^ "Grim Dawn". Kickstarter. Retrieved April 18, 2012.
  8. ^ "Grim Dawn Alpha Release!". Crate Entertainment Forum. May 14, 2013.
  9. ^ "Grim Dawn - Crucible Mode DLC on Steam".
  10. ^ Brown, Fraser (October 12, 2017). "Grim Dawn: Ashes of Malmouth is out now". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Forgotten Gods is coming March 27th!". Crate Entertainment Forum. March 8, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Grim Dawn for PC Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Todd, Brett (April 7, 2016). "Grim Dawn Review". Gamespot. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  14. ^ Cobbett, Richard (March 7, 2016). "Review: Grim Dawn". IGN. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
  15. ^ Johnson, Leif (March 12, 2016). "Grim Dawn Review". PCGamer. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  16. ^ Johnson, Leif (March 12, 2016). "Grim Dawn Review". PCGamer. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  17. ^ "Grim Dawn Passes 1 Million Copies Sold, Crucible DLC Hits 200,000". Kotaku. Retrieved May 29, 2017.
  18. ^ "Forthcoming Forgotten Gods expac - what we know so far Part II". Crate Entertainment Forum. July 28, 2018.
  19. ^ "Interview with Arthur Bruno on working remotely". Crate Entertainment Forum. May 31, 2020. Retrieved February 17, 2021.

External links[edit]