Unreal World started life as a shareware ASCII RPG in 1990

Game in development for 26 years comes to Steam

Move aside, Duke Nukem Forever – there’s a new contender for the longest-developed game of all time.

Unreal World has finally come to Steam, after nearly three decades in development.

That’s right – the sandbox RPG has been worked on for 26 years by a team of two people.

Head creator Sami Maaranen started the project in 1990, releasing the first public build two years later. Erkka Lehmus helped with additional programming and design.

Since that time, the title has evolved with the changing face of game design and even the approach to market taken by new releases.

Unreal World started as a shareware RPG built in ASCII, before amassing and refining extra features and even changing location from a fantasy world to an Iron Age Finland.

While the visuals of the modern Unreal World still hark back to its 1990s roots, gameplay now spans multiple jobs and classes – from a trapper to a hermit.

The title launches on Steam on February 26th for $10.99 – although a free browser version is also available.

Unreal World’s lengthy creation process overtakes resurrected vapourware Duke Nukem Forever as potentially the slowest path of any game from inception to release.

Gearbox’s sequel to the 1996 title Duke Nukem 3D took 15 years and passed through the hands of multiple developers before finally hitting the market in 2011.

Another long-running title is Dwarf Fortress, which saw an alpha release in 2006 and, like Unreal World, is being developed by just a two-man team.

Creator Tarn Adams has described the game as his “life’s work”, and suggested in 2011 that it would take another 20 years until a version 1.0 was released.

You can track back through the 26-year history of Unreal World on the game’s website.

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