The Bard's Tale IV
The Bard's Tale IV Interview
Fluent tries to get some answers from Inxile's David Rogers
» Continue reading the article...
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear
Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear Review
Forgottenlor braves the dangers (and controversies) of Siege of Dragonspear.
» Read the article
Mega Bucks AAA+
Noticeably well funded
Fairly well funded
Cheap and cheerful
Sunday - May 22, 2016
Niffelheim - A Vikings Job is Never Done
GamePressure gets hands on with Niffelheim, a 2D Viking action-rpg.
"There's more to being a Viking than life itself" - invented by an ancient Norse wiseman, this saying flawlessly captures the spirit of Niffelheim. For the setting of their debut work - an action-RPG featuring hand-drawn 2D graphics and a set of basic mechanics - independent developer Ellada Games chose the Viking "afterlife", allowing the player to take control of a long-bearded warrior who tries to escape purgatory to reach the mythical Asgard. Having tested this Early Access title, we can conclude that this journey - assuming it will prove itself to be more diverse in the long run - may draw the attention of fans of small indie productions.
Before venturing forth...
Even a true Viking needs to be prepared to survive in a hostile environment. And to be prepared, first we need to acquire tools somehow. That's where crafting - the most well-developed element of this production - comes into play. And although the options offered by the game are far from surprising, they fulfill their role well enough. First of all, crafting is what drives exploration (and combat) in Niffelheim, as the easiest way to get the raw materials we need is by traversing the world and the network of caves underneath it, as well as by defeating opponents. Having gathered the components, it is easy (using the schematics provided by the game) to craft things like pieces of armor, weapons, and food, or expand the hero's fortress. Unfortunately, even considering the abundance of various "craftable" materials constantly luring me to catch 'em all, I grew tired of it rather quickly. Personally, I blame the repetitiveness - true, you can craft a lot, but there's only one way you can do it. Alchemy doesn't require any experiments, workshops offer progressively better gear depending on how far we have upgraded them, and all the elements of the fortress are upgraded using the same raw materials. The game failed to provide anything that would engage the player, and as a consequence this aspect of the game also fails to live up to its full potential.
NiffelheimSP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Copper Dreams - Setting Part 1: The Syndicates
The latest kickstarter update from Copper Dreams focuses on the Syndicates and how they fit into the world of Calitana. Below is just a sample of the factions so be sure to read the update for more.
In Calitana, the syndicates that rule the streets are as much a part of everyday life as the joylessly utilitarian synthetic food and overpowering aroma of copper that radiates from alleyways. In your role as an Agent of Asset Inquiries, you interact with many of these groups and will be thoroughly briefed on your rivals, but we wanted to give you a brief overview of the main players on the island.
The Mayflower Initiative (MFI)
Walled off from the rest of Calitana, the Mayflower Initiative, or the MFI, is the largest and wealthiest group on the island, hoarding resources, talent, and technology on their elevated plane above the rest of the city. Officially sent from the US government to jumpstart industry and civilized society for the colony in its founding years, the MFI not only built factories and housing for its members with its Corporeal Synthesizer, but also set up ministries for the purpose of enforcing fellowship and cheerful productivity, at gunpoint if necessary.
The MFI members and their families enjoy luxuries such as fresh produce, safe streets and well-made housing complexes, but their lives are restricted by the numerous harshly enforced regulations that dictate everything from the color of their jumpsuits to their thoughts and speech. Not everyone who is drafted to live on Calitana makes the cut to work at MFI, and thus the slums district grew outside its walls, sheltering those who have been exiled from the syndicate, those who are deemed unemployable, and those who are headhunted by other syndicates before the MFI can interview them.
Wolffz Bay Shipping and Services
One of the many syndicates operating outside of the walls of the Mayflower Initiative, Wolffz Bay originated as an industrious family of fishmongers, but quickly expanded into shipping and other services with the help of their nimble hovering boats that navigate the canals of the city.
The Wolffz family and their employees exercise ruthless tactics to protect their interests and those who have sworn their loyalty. A smaller company than their neighboring competitors, Wolffz Bay relies on stealth and well-timed information over resources or brute power to achieve their ambitions.
Wolffz Bay has recently been losing agents in their expansion efforts and are aggressively hiring. In Copper Dreams, you have been recruited by Wolffz Bay based off your military experience to seek intel, gather resources and protect shipments and property that will help your company stay a step ahead of its competitors.
Owning and running the factory district in the slums, Quinton is easily the wealthiest of the syndicates, manufacturing clothes, construction tools, hardware and other various essentials. Looking down on the less successful ambitions of rival syndicates, they see no moral issue with stealing secrets and goods from their inferior competitors and torturing agents for valuable intel to sell to the MFI.
Luckily for Quinton, they are adept at sidestepping complaints, shifting blame and keeping on the right side of MFI. Without the factories, the commerce supporting the slums would break down, and the heads of Quinton sleep soundly at night knowing they always have an ace up their sleeve.
Copper DreamsSP/MP: Single-player
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release: In development
Saturday - May 21, 2016
Colony Ship RPG - Dev Diary #5
Vince tells us about all the things you need to create an RPG:
We started working on AoD back in 2004 which was a long time ago, so long, in fact, that I’ve completely forgotten what it feels like to start from scratch, when you need everything but have nothing. To say that it’s overwhelming is to say nothing at all. If anything it was easier the first time around when our naïve belief that we can do it in two years shielded us from lasting mental harm. It’s not the same when you know that 4 years development cycle is the best case scenario, if everything goes smoothly.
So what does one need to make an RPG?
- An engine would be nice. Fortunately, it’s not my department so I’ll scratch it off my list and pretend that it will magically appear one day. So far, the plan is to use Unreal 4, but if we run into trouble we can always use Torque (the AoD engine), aka oddly comfortable plan B.
- Setting, story, locations, quests, characters – the writer's domain. If AoD’s 600,000 words are any indication, it’s a big project that would probably take at least 3 years out of 4, if not all 5 out of 4, but as long as I’m half a step ahead of Oscar, it’s all good.
Right now I’m working on the 'foundation': history, mutiny, early factions, post-mutiny events, schisms within factions, etc. Basically, the past events that explain why things are the way they are and how "we" got there in the first place. It’s important to see such things clearly when working on quests and leaders who don’t spring out of nowhere but are the product of their age and milieu. Overall, it’s been about hundred years since the mutiny and more than three hundred years since the ship was launched.
- Systems. While the exact details aren’t important yet as all systems will keep evolving throughout the development, gaining more depth and complexity with every iteration, we need to get the 'foundation' right the first time, then build on top of it. More on that later.
- Art. Surprisingly, the biggest problem right now is art. We need a lot of art, all kinds, shapes, and sizes. No, we don’t need it right now, but all these tasks take months and years, so we need to start planning now or we’re going to miss the train.
It feels like a Tetris game where you have to put all these different pieces together and make sure we get everything we need and in a timely manner. Mazin (our artist) is truly exceptional and there is very little that he can’t do well, but he’s working part-time. Even if he weren’t, he can’t do everything as the list is too long, which means that we need to hire freelancers.
That’s where it quickly gets prohibitively expensive. Quality takes time (days) and nobody will work for days for $25. Now we know that the game will still look
crappyindie because we don’t have the manpower (the Witcher had 80 people, the Witcher 3 250 people, we have one artist/designer which explains why AoD didn’t snatch a single “Best Graphics 2015” award), so if we can’t deliver awesome visuals, we HAVE to deliver awesome details like portraits, icons, intro art, models, etc.
So what do we need?
- Intro, Menu, Promo art. Each piece takes 3-4 weeks, so that alone is a year-long project IF the artist is committed and dedicated. Sadly, that’s a big IF so it might take 2 years IF it goes well. When it comes to freelance artists, your mileage varies greatly.
- Visible Things That Must Be Designed:
- Mechs & Turrets
- Anti-Riot Droid aka your faithful companion
- Mutated critters
- Space Suit and other trendy clothing items
- Gadget effects when deployed
- Non-generic locations. For example, the cargo hold is visually interesting (looks amazing in Excel!), but it's built from generic parts (containers, cranes, etc). A place like the Bridge, for example, or the Neo-Church, or the Breached Hull :have spacesuit – will travel: requires a concept artist’s touch (weeks of work per location).
- Misc; ideally a lot more things should pass through the Concept Art department, but we have to be realistic and never ever bit more than we can chew on.
- Portraits. AoD has 57 portraits. Let’s say we’ll go with 60 portraits because they really do add so much to the dialogue screen. 3-4 days per portrait, that’s 180-240 days right there.
- Inventory Icons. AoD has 252 unique items (not counting different variations like bronze, iron, steel, etc using the same models and icons). We don’t have a full item list yet but I’d be surprised if we end up with less than 200 items, so we’ll have to split the items between two artists to make sure it’s done by 2018.
So far we've finalized weapons, armor, and gadgets. We started with 81-90 weapon icons but reduced them to 66 for cost-related reasons, which is still more than AoD’s 40 weapons plus uniques. It takes 3-4 days per icon (including the back-n-forth design phase), so 6-8 months of work with a dedicated artist, about 2 years of work with a busy artist who’s working with multiple clients, and that’s just the weapons.
This brings us to the issue of costs and art budgets. Any work, be it a portrait or an inventory icon, that takes a couple of days of work would end up costing you $100-300 per item. For example, when I was looking for a portrait artist for AoD, I was quoted $80-100 for a black-n-white portrait, $200-250 for a color one, which explains why you rarely see high quality portraits in games. It's just too expensive. If not for Mazin's generosity, we wouldn't be able to afford them either.
So 66 weapon icons would cost us anywhere from $6,600 – if we’re lucky and find a guy willing to do the top tier work for the low tier price – to almost 20k, which is a lot of money. It's very easy to understand how game budgets quickly grew out of proportions and to the point where you have to play it safe to get your investment back and make a few bucks on top of it.
It’s tempting to invest more, to hire more artists, but I know of three indie studios that either ended up deep in debt or failed to make any money to continue after releasing RPGs that seemingly did well and I’m not in a hurry to join them. I'll go over the indie "business model" in the next AoD update.
- Models (weapons, objects, etc) : Same story, there’s only so much we can do on our own because modeling guns and objects take time from Oscar and Ivan (our animator). So again, you outsource - you pay a lot and drain your coffers faster than you can blink, so it requires an approach so careful and balanced it would make Sawyer proud.
- Animations. AoD has over 500 animations, but that’s mostly melee. Firearms and cover mechanics can easily double that number.
Colony Ship RPGSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Shoppe Keep - Released
The Adenture RPG Business Sim Shoppe Keep has been released on Steam:
Run an adventurers shop – a serious business in a fantasy environment. Stock your store with dangerous weapons, fancy hats, sturdy armour and magical potions.loading...
Shoppe KeepSP/MP: Single-player
Copper Dreams - Kickstarter Progress
The cyber-espionage RPG Copper Dreams is making great progess on Kickstarter:
63% of the $40.000 target are funded with 21 days to go.
On the other hand Swen Vincke and Charlene Putney from Larian ask themselves:
I don’t get why @whalenought ’s copper dreams isn’t already funded -loading...
Copper DreamsSP/MP: Single-player
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release: In development
Titan Quest - 1.22 Patch Released on PC
The Titan Quest devs have released patch 1.22 for the popular ARPG, with an eye toward releasing an enhanced edition in the near future. The patch is an all-around update, featuring class tweaks, bug fixes, and performance improvements.
As Nordic Games charges ahead toward their goal to release an enhanced version of Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne on PC, there have been quite a few updates that anyone who owns the Steam version of the action RPG should pay attention to if another play-through of the mythology-based title is in your near future.
Titan QuestSP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash
Dishonored 2 - Inside the Development
GameInformer has a video interview with Dishonored co-creator Harvey Smith focusing on the development of Dishonored II and the culture at the studio.
Arkane Studios has been around for 17 years, releasing successful games and plugging away on secret projects, but it was the release of 2012's Dishonored that introduced the talented studio to a wide, new audience. With our June cover story on Dishonored 2, we've been rolling out information on the gameplay and art of the new game but wanted to also focus on the team behind the sequel. There's been a little bit of confusion about the current state of Arkane Studios, with Dishonored's co-creative director Harvey Smith moving to France to lead development on Dishonored 2, so we spoke with Smith about the reasons behind the move and how this project has evolved.
Watch the video below to learn more about the development history of Dishonored 2 and how the team compares to the first game's lead developers.
Source: Game Informer
Dishonored 2SP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
KotOR 2 - Retrospective Audio
Video Game Sophistry had a chat with Feargus Urquhart about Knights of the Old Republic II, and came away with some interesting perspectives about nostalgia in gaming.
(For the talk with Feargus about KOTOR 2, skip to 25:00)
KotOR 2SP/MP: Single-player
Fallout 4 - Far Harbor PC Gamer Review
PC Gamer reviewed Far Harbor and gave it a solid 80.
The island itself is perfectly enjoyable to explore: gloomy, marshy, shrouded in mist and prone to radiation storms. It’s a spooky and atmospheric setting, weird and evocative even in broad daylight. It’s not that heavily dotted with locations, but there’s enough exploring, combat, and mission running to keep most players busy for 20-plus hours. There are also plenty of raiders (here they’re called trappers), supermutants, ghouls, and some new weapons to kill them with, such as a harpoon gun and a lovely giant hammer equipped with an afterburner to help you swing its radioactive head. There’s also a new companion in the form of a grizzled and salty old coot, and a few new settlements to build (if you haven’t already had enough).
Far Harbor is a bit pricey but worth it for those looking for a good amount of new content and a real departure in setting. More dialogue-based resolutions are also welcome: I feel like I did more talking, and likewise more listening, than in Fallout 4 itself.
Source: PC Gamer
Path of Exile - Prophecy Content Update Soon
Prepare for a content update June 3rd for Path of Exile in the form of Prophecy Content Update 2.3.0 & Prophecy Challenge Leagues. The content update will include new skills, items, balance changes and a endgame labyrinth.
Coming on June 3, 2016!
Content Update 2.3.0 will be released at 1pm on Friday June 3 (US Pacific Time). This is 10pm in the CEST timezone and 8am on June 4 in New Zealand. The Prophecy Challenge Leagues will also start at this time.
This article does not contain the full patch notes for the 2.3.0 update. We'll be releasing more details on specific features over the next couple of weeks, culminating in the final patch notes a few days before the update is released.loading...
Path of ExileSP/MP: Massive
Genre: Hack & Slash
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release: In development
StarCrawlers - Ironmode has Arrived
StarCrawlers has been patched and now has a permadeath mode for those that want it.
Ironmode has arrived! As requested, you can now subject yourself to permadeath in StarCrawlers by starting a new game with the Ironmode option selected. Mercenaries can now join your crew for a limited time under special circumstances - the first first mercenary available is the enigmatic Mr. Lieu, a security consultant working for Kage Enterprises. Expect to see more mercenaries become available from Factions in the future!
This is the first time this feature has been activated, so if you choose to go Ironmode, we'd love to hear about your experience, be it good or (probably) bad! :D
- New games with difficulty of Standard or higher can choose to activate Ironmode.
- Limit of 1 Ironmode save that auto updates.
- Character death is permanent and equipped gear is lost forever.
- The Ironmode save updates whenever a character dies.
- Not for the faint of heart.
- Mercenaries can temporarily join your crew for a mission.
- Mr. Lieu, a friendly smuggler, can be hired after reaching Allied reputation with Kage.
- Unique mercenaries can be obtained from rare drops.
- Kage Enterprises can now be contacted via the Wire terminal.
- Kage can supply items to help crawlers deal with traps, provided they like you.
- Fixed some typos in the Jiyin contact event.
- Added new drops that can counter traps.
- The new game menu has been improved.
- Saved games now display the difficulty setting of the game.
- New Story Mission...
- More friendly faction contact events.
- More cool stuff!
Release: In development
Halcyon 6:SC - Post-Launch Report
Prepare for an extensive update planned for late May/Early June for Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander
Next Steps and Road to Full Release
What's next? Well, we're going to keep pushing towards the Final Release of the game as soon as possible!
There will be TWO major updates to the game, the first is Officers Unleashed and the second will contain Acts 2 and 3 together. In between these major updates, we'll be pushing smaller updates to fix bugs, UI issues, polish and 'quality of life' tweaks to make the game better.
Once the two major updates are out, we'll launch the Full Release version of the game. After the Full Release, we'll work on immediate stuff like Linux version and the Kickstarter stretch goals (as promised!).
So, onto the next major update...
From the beginning, officers were always an integral part of our game design. We're adding to what we launched in our Early Access build to give players more customization and more control over their officers.
First up is levelling up an officer. In Officers Unleashed, you'll be earning skill points as you gain levels and you can go to this screen to spend those skill points however you like. Be it upgrading an existing power or training in a brand new one, the choice is yours.
Officer Level Up Mockup.
We're also revamping our Tech Tree and moving some upgrades to trainable upgrades that may not need as much resources but simply an officer and time to unlock in the new Officer Academy room:
Also in the Officers Unleashed update, we'll be adding Away Missions on planetary surfaces and enemy strongholds.
Of course this means more stuff for your officers to do.. we'll be adding more officers into the earlier portions of the game to balance it out.
And of course there will be lots of tweaks and balancing as well. We're aiming to get Officers Unleashed out for late May/early June timeframe and yes this is a huge change to the major areas of the game so old saves will not work.
As with any major update, we'll be needing you to help us playtest and provide us that valuable feedback that you've been giving during our Alpha, Beta and Early Access phase.
Thanks again for supporting us in this journey, we're so proud that we were able to deliver a good experience in Early Access to both our backers and our new players from Steam and we can't wait to get Officers Unleashed, then Acts 2 and 3 into your hands.
- Halcyon 6 Team
Halcyon 6:SCSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Fallout 4 - Guide to Survival Mode
TechRaptor's Robert Grosso gives us a quick guide to surviving the trials ad tribulations of Fallout 4's new Survival mode. Here are his tips and tricks in making it through the Commonwealth, including weapon and armor consideration, settlement ideas, and suggested perks to consider for your survival playthrough:
Surviving the Commonwealth:
A Guide To Fallout 4's Survival Mode
With the release of Fallout 4's new and improved survival mode, we have seen the game take on a whole new life and playstyle that is quickly catching the attention of Fallout fans. Survival mode is the hardcore, survivalist standard that only a series like Fallout can bring us; the implementation of hardcore mode in Fallout: New Vegas for example, was a great addition that added layers of complexity to a playthrough that changed the face of the entire game. The Fallout 4 survival mode tries to up the ante further, creating a simulation environment for the first time in the RPG series.
This is mostly achieved by eliminating all saving and fast travelling, something the New Vegas hardcore mode didn’t have. It is now a strategic challenge in Fallout 4, a chance to really show your abilities to survive the harsh conditions of the Commonwealth wasteland. With Far Harbor also being released, it is a chance for players to get into their groove before exploring a new zone, provided they have the skill and patience to contend with survival mode.
Arcadian Atlas - Reflects RPG Maker Progress
Arcadian Atlas is the type of game we need more of on PC according to PC Gamer. Its development reflects the rise of RPG Maker as a serious tool for development.
A work-in-progress sprite sheet tweeted by Becca Bair.
Bair draws and paints in Photoshop and does sprite animation in Pyxel, a young, still-in-development tool built for pixel art. "It can export directly into a sprite sheet or as an animated gif," Bair said. For the sprite sheet it will just do a frame-by-frame breakdown and you can import that directly into RPG Maker. I like that program specifically for spriting. Their animation features really lend themselves to that, and the layers that they offer. Photoshop is better for color and contrast tweaking and the finishing touches for sprite work."
Arcadian Atlas's programmer has already built an engine for creating the isometric battle maps they'll use in the game, which Bair pointed to as a possible avenue for future mod support. It's already user-friendly enough to allow for designing maps without the need for complex programming.
Even well-received RPG Maker games like To the Moon and Skyborn ultimately look very much like the top-down 2D Super Nintendo games that inspired them. Arcadian Atlas may draw just as heavily from isometric games like Tactics Ogre, but if it's a success, it'll show how far RPG Maker has come as a game development tool.
Arcadian AtlasSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Friday - May 20, 2016
Stellar Tactics - Developers Log #1
In the Stellar Tactics developers log #1 we get some info about the Dauntless:
DEVELOPERS LOG #1 – Dauntless
The Dauntless is one of four massive ships that carry the remnants of humanity into the far reaches of deep space in search of a new home. You start the game on the Dauntless, woken from your cryo-chambers by an emergency protocol initiated by Dr. Rhamus, a scientist and caretaker. The events that transpire will change the future forever, and challenge you and your team of genetically modified warriors to their fullest!
Hello, and welcome to the first Developers Log. I’ll be updating regularly as progress is made towards the release of the Early Access Build, or “Prologue”. The prologue will be the initial release of Stellar Tactics, giving folks willing to play Early Access over ten hours of story based game play that takes you through the initial events leading up to your arrival in Achmedius, the launching point of your space-faring career. The Prologue will help me by providing further testing on a large number of the core systems that make up the game mechanics for Stellar Tactics.
What I’ve been working on:
- Scripting final narrative content for the prologue
- Refining space travel mechanics
- Asteroid mining
- Speeding up ground combat
- Coding/optimizing transitions from ground exploration locations to space and back
- Integrating Steam library requirements
- Validating load/save data
- Initializing the “Autonomous Universe AI” (AUAI)
That’s a lot and there is quite a bit more to do before the games is ready. I’ll be working on finalizing features and polishing the existing Prologue content over the next few weeks.
More updates to come…
Stellar TacticsSP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release: In development
Fallout 4 - First Far Harbor Reviews
The first reviews for the Fallout 4: Far Harbor DLC are out:
All of this comes together to form a true expansion, not just a chunk of fresh DLC. Far Harbor takes what Fallout 4 did and does it a little bit better, with adjustments and additions tossed in to really shake things up. It is also a long experience, with tons of quests to work through, and plenty of new characters to interact with. If you enjoyed any part of your time with Fallout 4 then Far Harbor will surely please you, and those who were wanting a little bit more might just find it here.
All in all, tip top. I smashed through Far Harbor in a couple of days, but although I’m reasonably confident I conquered the core story content, I’m aware that there’s loads more out there to discover. My Fallout 4 support group has alerted me to half a dozen delights I missed by sticking to the main quest, and there’s so much of The Island still to explore. I can’t wait to take my main through and dive into every nook and cranny, winkling out its secrets and expanding my settlement empire.
At this point in Fallout 4, if you don’t like what the game’s about, then no new content is really going to change your mind. If you’ve already spent 100s of hours camped out in the Wasteland, though, Far Harbor is a welcome change of scene.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD - Reviews
The scores for the reviews of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD are 7 and higher and here are a few:
The remakes of these two classic games was masterfully done. Square Enix is no stranger to remakes and upgrades but they have outdone themselves with this iteration of X / X-2. From the orchestrated score, to the increased polygon count and improved textures the game is atheistically better in every way. If you missed out on playing these games on the PS2 this new layer of polish on these classic gems will leave you unable to guess one is 14 years old this year.
So aside from some visual enhancements and the option to flit between OSTs, the game doesn’t really offer you anything you wouldn’t have had on the PS3/Vita. While it’s still an essential part of any JRPG fan’s collection, we recommend grabbing it on PS3/Vita instead.
Gaming Trend, 8.5
There's no point in trying to sum up Final Fantasy X or X-2's storyline beyond saying that it is every bit as incredible as you remember, cringeworthy laughing sequences and all. The PC version brings accessibility and graphical upgrades, as well as the promises of unofficial mod-based improvements. If this is your first time with Final Fantasy X, I envy you - it's a powerful journey that you won't soon forget.
PC Gamer, 8.5
This is a good value package, too. This remaster retailed for full price on PlayStation, and here we get them at a budget price, which is generous. There are some of signs of age on both games, particularly the random battles and voice-acting, but new players will still get a lot out of them if they can tolerate that. Spira is a wonderful world that’s well worth exploring, and X and X-2’s different approaches to combat systems are both deep and exciting. Now we’re just Final Fantasy XII and a couple of spin-offs away from having all the best moments of the series on PC.
With a clean, gorgeous new look, the Final Fantasy X games are good enough to hold up despite a number of surface elements not really aging well. So on one hand you’ve got a lot of game that’s still worth playing all these years later with a pleasant makeover for a solid price, but on the other hand Square Enix is still giving you functionally the same games from back when. A bit of effort in cleaning up some of the mechanical mess in these games could have made this pack an obligatory buy for a lot of folks, but instead the Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster box doesn’t feel like it’s going to do much to help bring new fans to the ancient series.
There are plenty more reviews out there, but you will get the gist of things from this somewhat random selection.
Final Fantasy X/X-2 HDSP/MP: Single-player
Overfall - Reviews
Here are two more reviews of Overfall.
We Got This Covered, 4/5
Overfall may surprise people by how well the different genres have come together. The visual novel elements are fast paced, with witty writing to keep you entertained. The intercutting combat has a satisfying level of strategy, staying fresh through the different classes to choose from and clever AI. Wrapping everything up is the music, collectables, endings and other such details, that give gamers a solid reason to keep coming back for more.
Overfall is a good game - better than most first attempts at game development. It provides simple laughs, but still decent storytelling. Its strength does not lie in its role-playing aspects, though. It would've been a more tactical game if it allowed for mixing and matching through customisation of characters' skills and passive traits, and unique armour would've done much to alleviate the boredom of looking at generic character models. It does have good replay value with a few unlockable weapons, trinkets, and companions, though. If you want to play a simple blend between role-playing and the randomness of roguelikes, give it a try.
GOG - Strife Veteran Edition Released
GOG have a new classic FPS-RPG game from NightDive Studios called Strife Veteran Edition which has a new release discount of 50% lasting until May 24, 1:59 PM UTC.
About: Hailed as the original FPS-RPG game that spawned countless imitators, The Original Strife: Veteran Edition is a love letter to the classic from 1996. Immerse yourself in this all-consuming epic quest that for the first time combines riveting role-playing adventure with the spectacular Doom 3D engine! An evil presence has implanted itself in the fabric of our world. Play the role of spy, assassin, warrior and thief as you are lured into the darkest and most perilous adventure of your life. You'll have Blackbird on your side - a seductive underground agent that will provide you with clues as you encounter progressively more sinister foes.
Be strong, and trust no one.
FULLY INTERACTIVE WORLD
The elaborate virtual environment offers 28 interconnected levels covering over 200 square miles. Explore medieval towns and industrial complexes filled with pitfalls and perils, ending in a final confrontation that will reveal the planet's darkest secrets. AN AWESOME ARSENAL
From the silent but lethal crossbow to the breathtaking flame thrower, you'll toast, mince and vaporize your opponents in your search to control the ultimate weapon of mass destruction - the Sigil.
In your role as resistance fighter, you'll conspire with allies to demolish the fanatical ranks of the order from the inside out. Provides an engaging complex storyline and a multitude of dramatic voice-overs.
New Features Include:
- Completion of missing and unfinished options in the original game, such as: the planned "Capture the Chalice" multi-player mode, marking of current objectives on the auto-map, and special HUD for the Torpedo weapon
- Support for high resolutions, with proper aspect ratio
- OpenGL for video backend to provide portability and support for vertical sync
- Dynamic lighting and bloom
- Widescreen support
- Ability to freely rebind all keyboard, mouse, and gamepad inputs
Black Desert - Valencia Update Coming Soon
Black Desert Online's next update will add the Arab-esque land of Valencia, which will increase the world size by 30%. It is scheduled to launch for NA and EU on the 1st of June. No official trailer was released, so here's a video showing off the Korean version.
Daum Games Europe announced today that the massive Valencia Part 1 expansion for Black Desert Online will hit North America and Europe on June 1st. They also released a batch of screenshots of the beautiful and dangerous desert region, which you can check at the bottom of the post.
Like Mediah before it, it will add a further 30% to the landmass you can explore including the desert itself and the beautiful (and enormous) Middle East-inspired city of Valencia. It’s actually quite a lot bigger than the Mediah expansion, but I guess this is calculated as 30% of the original plus Mediah.
The new content increases the size of the world by an additional 30% and also brings hundreds of new quests, some of which extend the main storyline.
With Valencia Part One, players will be able to journey to an expansive desert region where exploration will take a completely different turn. Extreme heat during daytime requires proper hydration, and intense cold at night requires players to stay warm. Additionally, a new weather effect, sandstorm, inflicts damage unless players set up a tent to protect themselves. The minimap will be unavailable, but getting lost is not all bad―who knows what treasure your shovel may strike?
Regular horses and wagons are not ideal to traverse the desert and will see their speed lowered. Thankfully, players will be able to purchase Camels from NPCs, which fare much better in these harsh conditions. Another new mount, the Guild-owned Elephant, serves as a powerful war mount in sieges.
On top of that, node and castle siege warfare will be added on June 15th, starting a trial period to let players familiarize themselves with the system. After two weeks, results will be wiped and the real deal will start. Node and castle siege is a guild vs guild PvP system that involves truly massive battles.
The valencia part one expansion also brings new weapons, armor and accessories (like the Rocaba armor set that grants an evasion bonus and the Rosar weapons that ignore resistances), new crafting recipes and crops, and the increase of enchantment limits to +20.
Black DesertSP/MP: Massive
Release: In development
Thursday - May 19, 2016
Styx: Shards of Darkness - New Screenshots
Three new screenshots for Styx: Shards of Darkness have been made available.
Styx: Shards of Darkness reveals images of a few of the many dangers to overcomeStyx: Shards of Darkness, the sequel to Cyanide Studios' stealth cult-classic Master of Shadows, comes to consoles and PC in 2016. Styx creeps back in a new adventure packed with bigger production, tonnes of new features and a new engine: Unreal Engine 4. Today's new images reveal a few of the many dangers your green anti-hero will have to face during his journey.
One of the hostile factions you will meet in the huge underground city of Korrangar is composed of the Dark Elves. Dark Elves were previously Elves who had to live without any amber for multiple generations. Slowly, they have been turning into fanatic and bloodthirsty creatures. They became masters in Quartz fabrication, a new, much more dangerous, source of power. They are also experts at goblin hunting and the Exterminator Dark Elf is proof of that. He has honed his skills to perfection, and is able to flush out pesky creatures hiding in dark corners and hard-to-reach places with toxic bombs.
If there's an even more dangerous place than Korrangar, it would be Wildoran, the city of goblin hunters. Wildoran inhabitants are stout people wearing heavy armour - the powerful Dwarves. Styx is unable to breach their impenetrable defence, so you must innovate and adapt to disable or avoid them. Every dwarf also has a supernatural sense of smell, and is able to slowly track Styx as he moves from cover to cover.
This is only a small example of the many enemy types Styx will face in his journey. Each faction has many unique classes of enemies and will require you to creatively utilize all of Styx's tools to overcome them: assassination, amber powers, talents and skills, equipment, etc. But that's not all! Deep in the most dangerous of areas lie greater foes and obstacles that are epic in size and scale - monstrous beings that overshadow anything Styx has ever seen!
Styx: Shards of DarknessSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Blood & Wine New Region Trailer
Here is a new trailer for Blood & Wine showing of the new Toissant region.
Become professional monster slayer Geralt of Rivia and explore Toussaint, a remote land untouched by war, where you will unravel the horrifying secret behind a beast terrorizing the kingdom. With all trails leading to dead ends, only a witcher can solve the mystery and survive the evil lurking in the night. Introducing an entirely new realm to traverse, new characters and monsters, Blood and Wine is a 30+ hour adventure full of dark deeds, unexpected twists, romance and deceit.
Blood and Wine releases May 31st, 2016.
Witcher 3SP/MP: Single-player
After Reset - Patch, Date and Lore
Next to a new patch and artificial intelligence lore, this development update for After Reset also mentions the estimated date for the prologue release.
One of the most inspiring part of today's news is that, based on our current stage and pace of development, as well as on our current human and financial resources, I recon to complete and delivery the prologue by the end of this summer. I know this is just an estimation, but it is a realistic one.
The game core become more and more sophisticated with every monthly update. It happens very often when amending one bug that we reveal a couple of new ones. The major threat to this plan of release is the human factor (frankly, as it's been the case during the whole development). I'm doing my best to attach a new spare programmer to the development (at least for bug fixing) but if we lose our current programmers that might slow us down again. I'm praying with you that won't happen and we'll go through this coming three months smoothly and release a great product.
Beyond that, if it goes according the plan, we need to look in the future. In the next update, I feel like to share the plans with Co-Founders, coordinate it with them, then (in August) share updated plan with Kisckstarter backers to ask their thought on it. If it run fine again, we'll share the plan with everybody else after release of the prologue by this Fall.
After ResetSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
For the King - Development Update
Moving towards their beta, this development update for For The King is about balance, tuning, and audio integration.
Speaking of quests, we've spent some time tuning the side-quest system (or jobs as we call them). Jobs now account for a lot of a party's motivation in the early game as they serve as an invaluable source of money and XP. And sure, if you split your party up you can complete 3 times as many jobs but it can be ill advised to travel through the wilderness on one's own...
We've finally upgraded the character select screen from it's basic debug form and even through the options are somewhat limited, we all spend far more time creating our party than we'd like to admit. Part of the reason is the new character special abilities that were recently added. Each character now has a special ability they can perform. For instance, Buskers can earn gold by ending their turn in a town, Herbalists have a chance of finding herbs in the wilderness, and Blacksmiths do not break their weapon on a critical fail.
For the KingSP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Krai Mira - Kickstarter Update
The last Kickstarter week for Krai Mira has begun:
We are doing our best to make the game more interesting.
During this week we updated GUI,
Added new weapon (electroshock club),
Fixed several bugs and improved performance.
And now we are working on save / load scripts!
Soon we will launch forum for community and of course for bug reports, to help us fix them!
Krai MiraSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Fallout 4 - Far Harbor DLC released
The Far Harbor DLC for Fallout 4 is out now - it's Bethesda's biggest addon ever:
In Far Harbor, a new case from Valentine’s Detective Agency leads you on a search for a young woman and a secret colony of synths. Travel off the coast of Maine to the mysterious island of Far Harbor, where higher levels of radiation have created a more feral world. Navigate through the growing conflict between the synths, the Children of Atom, and the local townspeople. Will you work towards bringing peace to Far Harbor, and at what cost?
Far Harbor features the largest landmass for an add-on that Bethesda Game Studios has ever created, filled with new faction quests, settlements, lethal creatures and dungeons. Become more powerful with new, higher-level armor and weapons. The choices are all yours.
The first user reviews are positive.
GamePressure - Interview with Feargus Urquhart
GamePressure have released the full interview with Feargus Urquhart taken during the Digital Dragons conference.
I've read that Tyranny came out of the idea of Stormlands. What's the actual origin story of Tyranny?
It goes WAY back. So we had a game idea that was pitched, it was called Defiance and it was around 2008, maybe 2007. It started with that idea: "What if evil won?". So we were pitching Defiance about the same time we were doing Dungeon Siege III. There was this idea for it and it morphed into Stormlands. So it was not Stormlands itself, but ideas taken from it. And there's also an idea from Defiance that was not in Stormlands. When Josh Sawyer took over Stormlands, he said something like: "Now, let's really flesh it out", and lots of things changed about it. Then Tyranny came about, and it was really about ideas from Stormlands and ideas from Defiance, all mushed together under the umbrella of that concept of what it would feel like to have adventures in a world where evil had already won. That, I guess, is the origin story - lots of things getting mushed together. But there are ideas of characters that are in Tyranny that are from Defiance and that were not in Stormlands.
That sounds interesting! Does this have anything to do with the Unreal Engine-based prototype that you mentioned during your podcast with Game Informer?
It's funny, even our artists wanted to get good at Unreal Engine 4. But no, it is NOT a Star Wars game. What our artists did is that they created Mos Eisley in Unreal Engine 4. We think that the whole reason for it is that one of our artists, Jason Lewis, who's working on Armored Warfare and worked on Call of Duty and Medal of Honor beforehand, really wanted to create a one-million polygon Millenium Falcon. Then he just convinced a bunch of artists to build Mos Eisley around it. But there was a purpose to it, which was to learn everything about the Unreal Engine so that we could use it.
White Wolf Publishing registered Vampire Bloodlines. Would you like to work on that?
I think Vampire would be really cool, but that's the tough bit - there are so many cool things, there are so many awesome things out there. I know Tim and Leonard both loved working on it. We flirted with White Wolf long ago, right before CCP actually bought White Wolf. Mike Tinney was the president of White Wolf, and we got to know each other. What we were trying to figure out back then was whether we could take the Neverwinter 2 engine and do a Vampire or a World of Darkness game. It would be cool, not only as just a game, but also from the standpoint of people who love World of Darkness, who would then be able to go and make more World of Darkness modules and things like that. It would be cool, I've always loved Vampire, I read the books, read the novels, all kinds of that stuff.
General News - Demographics and "good" and "evil"
Quantic Foundary have produced a study that looks into player preferences when playing rpgs. This study focused on faction preference in rpgs and looked at the data according to motivation scores, age and gender.
RPGs are known for creating deep narratives where players are able to immerse themselves in a compelling world and get lost in their "role". As developers seek to create more immersive worlds, characters have become more and more customizable. Not only can players choose what their character looks like, or their base stats and abilities, but also their ethics and moral code. Will their character be a champion of the helpless, or a power crazed tyrant?
While this mechanic has experienced a resurgence (Mass Effect, inFamous, Bioshock, and Knights of the Old Republic series being some of the more popular examples), it is not a new one. A more classic example would be from 1985 when Ultima IV introduced a virtue system that, depending on how the player answered morally ambiguous questions, would determine their class and other gameplay details.
Do gaming motivations and demographics impact the choice of "good" or "evil" factions in RPGs? It turns out they do, but sometimes in surprising ways.
Younger Gamers Are More Likely To Pick The Dark/Evil Faction
So if gender doesn't influence faction choice, what about age? As we've seen in a previous article, age can have a large influence on how gamers play, and that appears to be the case here as well.
The average age of players who preferred the Dark/Evil side was 22.7 years old. Players who sought out more morally ambiguous options averaged at 26.3 years old, and finally those more inclined to seek out Light/Good factions were the oldest at an average age of 27.8. Overall, among gamers who have a faction preference, those who preferred the Dark/Evil side were much younger.
General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
The TechnomancerSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Deus Ex: MD - Dikiciyan to Contribute to OST
It has been confirmed that renowned composer Sascha Dikiciyan will be contributing to the soundtrack for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Dikiciyan's past work includes Mass Effect 3, Might and Magic X: Legacy, Borderlands, and many other titles.
The music in Deus Ex: Human Revolution was nothing short of superb, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who is looking at this new press release hoping that the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided soundtrack will be on par with it. The good news is that well-known music artist Sascha Dikiciyan will be contributing to it, whose previous work includes Hellgate: London, Borderlands, Mass Effect 3, Might & Magic X: Legacy, and many other titles:
AWARD-WINNING ARTIST SASCHA DIKICIYAN TO COMPOSE TRACKS FOR DEUS EX: MANKIND DIVIDED
Original Soundtrack to release this Fall
MONTRÉAL (May 18, 2016) – Square-Enix® and Eidos®-Montréal today announced that, in addition to Michael McCann returning to compose music for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, award-winning artist Sascha Dikiciyan (aka Sonic Mayhem) will also bring his talent to the game’s soundtrack. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s Original Soundtrack will be available worldwide this fall.
Overseen by Executive Audio Director Steve Szczepkowski, the music direction of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided represents an evolution of the score created for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The world of Deus Ex has dramatically changed since the final events of Human Revolution, which culminated with the Aug Incident. The golden age of augmentations is now over, and mechanically augmented humans have been segregated from the rest of society. Mankind Divided deals with heavier subjects and, as a result, the music has been adapted to reflect the new state of the world. It plays a key role in immersing players within the more mature and darker atmosphere of the game, while still staying true to Deus Ex’s distinctive and signature style.
Hear Sascha Dikiciyan’s work in action in both the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided 101 trailer and the Adam Jensen 2.0 trailer.
“It was important for us to build upon the strong foundation of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but also to let it stand on its own. Along the way, we realized this game was much vaster than anticipated and we made the choice to add another composer to the team. Sascha Dikiciyan’s music stood out,” said Steve Szczepkowski. “After talking with Sascha, it became clear that we shared the same vision and passion for what musically drives Deus Ex. Sascha’s influences mirror ours in many ways, yet he also brings a whole other set of influences to the table. Sascha is completely immersed in the musical feeling of Deus Ex; he’s a huge fan of the franchise, and that comes through loud and clear in his compositions. We can’t wait for people to hear the work that he’s done and we are all thrilled he’s now part of the Deus Ex family!”
Deus Ex: MDSP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Sword Coast Legends - Rage of Demons DLC released
The free DLC Rage of Demons for Sword Coast Legends has been released:
Venture into the depths of the Underdark, through the trading outpost of Mantol-Derith, and fight alongside the legendary Drizzt Do’Urden!
Rage of Demons is a free DLC expansion for Sword Coast Legends that includes hours of new story content; new Dungeon Master options; a new playable race: Tiefling; and a new playable class: Warlock!
- New cantrip - Eldritch Blast
- New spells - Finger of Death, Tasha’s Hideous Laughter, Hex
- Unique archetype abilities - Dark One’s Blessing, Hurl Through Hell, Create Thrall
- Hellish Resistance - All Fire Damage reduced by 50%
- Hellish Rebuke - Flames surround the caster, reaching out and burning any creature that attacks for the next forty seconds.
- Darkness - Magical darkness spreads from a point within range to fill a three-yard radius sphere for the duration.
Dungeon Master Features:
- Two new tilesets
- New monsters
- New placeable decorations and objects
- Gather your party and prepare to delve into the Underdark, before the Rage of Demons consumes the Sword Coast!
Sword Coast LegendsSP/MP: Single + MP