Medieval Manuscripts Take Center Stage in Innovative New Game

Inkulinati, a turn-based strategy game, launches today. Gamers on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and 5, and Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One can now get into the Middle Ages by playing with characters right out of medieval manuscripts.

The debut title of Polish indie developer Yaza Games and publisher Daedalic Entertainment, Inkulinati has already earned a lot of praise, even garnering the Best Indie Game and Most Original Game awards at Gamescom 2022.


The name Inkulinati comes from the combination of two words: “ink” and “illuminati”. It brings together medieval manuscript images along with a bit of Monthy Python-esque humour to give users lighthearted puzzle-like challenges using over 50 beasts and animals that come from several 14th-century works. They include the Breviary of Renaud / Marguerite de Bar (Verdun, Municipal Library, MS. 107), The Pontifical of Renaud de Bar (Fitzwilliam Museum MS 298) and a Breviary held by the Getty (MS Ludwig IX 2).

“Medieval manuscripts, and especially marginalia, are a world of unusual creatures, animals, and people living in old books,” the game’s developers tell “These characters navigate this two-dimensional world through all the structural elements of the manuscripts – like auxiliary lines and decorative borders – and create their own unique world with specific symbolism and meanings. It was a world ready to be transferred to the modern language of computer games, which, despite being created about 700 years ago, is still just as surprising and entertaining for modern audiences – as can be seen, for example, in the medieval memes that roam the Internet.


“We like to say that the game development cycle of Inkulinati spans over 700 years, as Inkulinati pays homage to the medieval scribes and illuminators who originally created these incredible creatures. Their work basically served us as ready-to-use concept art. We consider these often unknown artists as co-authors of our game, with Inkulinati serving as their last post-mortem work.

“What’s worth noting is that a significant aspect of our creative game design processes over the years has been the collaboration with a real medievalist. We aimed for Inkulinati not only to provide entertainment for players but also to ensure historical authenticity and coherence. We knew that Inkulinati would be played by people who are knowledgeable of the subject, so it just has to be done properly and faithfully to our historical references. Therefore, every idea integrated into our game underwent careful assessment for its relevance to medieval culture and humor first. We’re proud that each and every element of our game has its roots in medieval manuscripts – that’s why we are so excited to finally present it to not only video game players, but also to the community of medieval history enthusiasts.”

In the game, the player assumes the role of an adept of the ‘Inkulinati Academy’ on their way to become the greatest ‘Master of the Living Ink’. The player-character is represented in-game as a quill-wielding hand and (in most battles) also as a special unit on the battlefield called a Tiny – the Inkulinati’s avatar on the pages of the manuscript. The player uses Living Ink to draw their army of fantastic Beasts to battle against different Inkulinati and their own Beasts on the battlefield – real pages of a manuscript.

Inkulinati features both single-player and multiplayer modes. Players will overcome puzzle-like challenges in the single-player campaign, called Journey Mode. Once players get comfortable commanding their doodle army, they can duke it out in Duel Mode. The head-to-head mode supports couch co-op, Steam remote play or AI opponents. Players can also recreate scenarios in Duel mode to practice.


To learn more about the game, please visit the Yaza Games website.

Images courtesy Yaza Games / Daedalic Entertainment