11 Bit's 'The Thaumaturge' is a gothic, twisted version of Pokemon

The Thaumaturge from 11 Bit Studios is a dark and gritty RPG that asks "What if pokemon weren't so cute?"
(Image credit: 11 Bit Studios)

What you need to know

  • The Thaumaturge is developed by Fool's Theory (Seven) and published by 11 Bit Studios (Frostpunk, This War of Mine)
  • Play testers compared the isometric story-driven RPG to a dark, gritty and gorier version of Pokémon.
  • Set in 1905 Poland under the control of imperial Russia, The Thaumaturge follows the story of a man named Wiktor Szulski who bears a gift and a curse to see ethereal entities known as Salutors.
  • Plays as a burdened miracle worker in a full-fledged RPG with turn-based combat where players will tame Salutors as they explore a gritty, historic Warsaw.

According to Fool's Theory and 11 Bit Studios, a thaumaturge is a person who can work miracles while bearing both a gift and a burden simultaneously. The folklore surrounding a thaumaturge is the baseline for the studio's upcoming narrative RPG, The Thaumaturge. A story trailer for the game was unveiled during Gamescom 2023.

The titular protagonist of The Thaumaturge is Wiktor Szulski, a man burdened with the gift of thaumaturgy inherited from his father. Wiktor has spent his life pursuing taming ethereal entities known as Salutors, even to the detriment of his own health. 

Salutors can harness magical powers that can discover secrets from within the human soul and speak to the Darkness. Wiktor's sister, Ligia, is concerned for her brother, as the quest for Salutors can force one to suffer face-to-face with their very own demons.

The Thaumaturge is set in 1905 Warsaw when Poland was under the thumb of the imperialist Russian tsardom. The city is a thriving metropolis, but it is one where the glitz and glam of aristocracy and high society are starkly juxtaposed against the dark and gritty alleyways of the Praga district, as crime and luxury find themselves on opposite sides of the same coin.

As an isometric, narrative RPG, The Thaumaturge allows the player to develop their character and explore the darkness on their own terms, though they will also be forced to deal with the aftermath. Turn-based combat is a unique addition to a narrative RPG, and players who tried the demo at Gamescom 2023 aptly compared The Thaumaturge to a darker, grittier, and more horrifying Pokémon. 11 Bit Studios didn't try to dissuade that comparison. However, the team did state that the game boasts deep lore and a dark story that players can soak in.

The Thaumaturge is planned to be released on PC later this year. While there has not been any confirmation of plans to bring the game to consoles, 11 Bit Studios recently signed a deal to bring more of their titles to Xbox Game Pass. The upcoming Frostpunk 2 is among the possible titles that are suspected to be launching into the monthly subscription service on Day One as a part of this new deal between 11 Bit Studios and Xbox, although it has not yet been confirmed.

Cole Martin

Cole is the resident Call of Duty know-it-all and indie game enthusiast for Windows Central. She's a lifelong artist with two decades of experience in digital painting, and she will happily talk your ear off about budget pen displays.