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Dungeon Keeper 3: War for the Overworld was to be the third instalment in the Dungeon Keeper series of strategy games developed by Bullfrog Productions for Microsoft Windows. The game never got past the design stages; it was cancelled in favour of franchises such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings after only a few months of development.

Dungeon Keeper 2 includes a short trailer showing Horny reaching the overworld, where the game was to be set, in contrast to the previous instalments, which were set in the underworld. This meant there would have been significant gameplay differences to previous instalments.


Conceptualisation and design began in November 1999, with a small design team drawn from the same development staff; there were no programmers or artists. Ernest W. Adams joined the team after the cancellation of Genesis: The Hand of God, a Populous: The Beginning sequel, for being too similar to Lionhead Studios' Black & White, which Electronic Arts were also due to publish. Development of Dungeon Keeper 3 was acknowledged by a website update from the Dungeon Keeper 3 team in early February 2000. Design goals included making the game less ambiguous and more straightforward, though they intended to keep the Imps, Chickens, and Portals, as well as the need to nurture creatures.[1][2]

There was going to be a new race, the Elders, who were neutral and represented the wilderness. All three races (the other two being the heroes and the Dungeon-Dwellers, representing good and evil respectively) were to be playable. Because the game would have taken place above the ground, gameplay would have been more like Stronghold than previous Dungeon Keeper instalments: players would construct and manage castles instead of dungeons. This, however, presented a problem, which was never resolved: castles are visible and vulnerable until its defences are constructed, unlike dungeons. The heroes' castles would have been white and organised, the Dungeon-Dwellers' black and sinister, and the Elders' arboraceous and hilly. One goal was to make creatures equivalent to the Horned Reaper for the heroes and Elders. They hoped to make the game's economy more like Age of Empires, by introducing peasant farmers, whom the player would exploit to make money instead of simply mining out gold. Multiplayer improvements were also planned.[3]

Development was cancelled in March 2000, though it was not until August that its cancellation was officially announced.[3] Bullfrog issued a statement explaining that the focus was shifting to the development of games for new platforms such as the PlayStation 2 and that there were no plans to continue the Dungeon Keeper series.[4] The projects that provoked Dungeon Keeper 3's cancellation were Electronic Arts' Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings games; unbeknownst to the Dungeon Keeper 3 team, Electronic Arts were in talks with J.K. Rowling and New Line Cinema for the rights to make Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings games, respectively, which Adams described as licences-to-print-money. He also noted that Dungeon Keeper 3 was still experimental, and it was therefore very economic to scrap it in favour of those franchises.[3] Bullfrog itself would be merged into EA UK in 2001,[5] leaving the franchise inactive until 2008, when Dungeon Keeper Online was announced.[6]

See also[]


  1. IGN Staff (8 February 2000). The Demon's Out Of The Bag. IGN. Retrieved on 16 August 2023.
  2. Dungeon Keeper III. Electronic Arts. Archived from the original on 11 March 2000. Retrieved on 16 August 2023.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ernest W. Adams (August 2006). Dungeon Keeper 3: War for the Overworld. PC Games That Weren't. Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved on 16 August 2023.
  4. Development On Dungeon Keeper 3 Has Ceased. Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved on 16 August 2023.
  5. SlipSlot (10 May 2020). The History of Bullfrog & How Their Games Began. Opium Pulses. Retrieved on 16 August 2023.
  6. Phil Elliott (1 December 2008). EA licenses Dungeon Keeper for Chinese MMO. GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved on 12 April 2020.
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