Divinity: Original Sin II
Divinity: Original Sin 2 Interview
Here is part 2 of the articles on Original Sin 2. In it, we talk to the game writers Sarah, Kieron and Char.
» Continue reading the article...
Divinity: Original Sin II
Divinity Original Sin 2 Preview
I was invited to the Larian offices last week to check out Divinity: Original Sin 2
» Read the article
I don't care
Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms - Rights purchased by Developer Games Farm by crpgnut
Divinity: Original Sin II - Funded! by SteveTownsend
The Dwarves - On Kickstarter In September by joxer
GOG - Rescuing 13 Forgotten Realms Games by Alrik Fassbauer
Death Knights of Krynn - Review @ CRPG Addict by mercy
Wednesday - August 26, 2015
Dark Souls - Has it burnt itself out?
GamesRadar has an editorial up on the future of Dark Souls as a series. There are some spoilers there but the gist of the editorial is below.
So far, discussion of Dark Souls 3 has turned on a couple of topics: how it expands and adjusts the franchise's legendary combat, and how the mundane details of the plot fit into the existing world. Is that Drangleic Castle in the background during the announcement trailer, or Anor Londo? What exactly does the new weapon stance system bring to PvP, and what are the implications of a shortbow that can be quick-fired in a brawl?
How do you compose a follow-up to a game which suggests that every hero's journey is one and the same, a shared cycle of suffering and revelation, without missing the point entirely?
It would be one thing, perhaps, if this revelation were thrashed out purely in the endgame. But the beauty of Dark Souls is that almost every part of it speaks in some way to the whole.
Tuesday - August 25, 2015
Galactic Insomnia - New Kickstarter
A new sci-fi tactical squad game Galactic Insomnia has been kickstarted:
A Sci-fi turn-based tactical squad game, set in diverse worlds throughout the galaxy, inspired by genre classics:
Galactic Insomnia is a classic turn-based tactical squad game for PCs (Windows, Linux, Mac) in which the player manages a group of agents, each of them having their own unique set of features, equipment, and individual personalities.
The player can choose from a series of missions that take place in various environments. These include both vibrant and elegant city landscapes as well as inhospitable deserts and the cold desolation of outer space.
We want to offer:
- Compelling tactical combat
- A diverse universe
- Complex interactions between team characters
- A story-driven campaign
- Multiplayer mode
Galactic Insomnia is set in a world existing more than 500 years into the future. The advancement of technology, science and medicine has enabled human beings to expand across the whole galaxy, creating diverse cultures and societies, all of which have very complex relations among one and another.
Some groups shut themselves off from the rest of civilization, looking for a return to “the good old days”, while other groups remain in a state of commercial or ideological warfare between factions. The most developed societies have reached the heights of technological development, unlike those less competitive and ambitious who inadvertently make steps back in development.
Conflicts and misunderstandings between galactic communities are usually resolved by small dedicated groups of agents. These agents will often use radical means like bombings, kidnappings and sabotage. This approach allows them to avoid larger and much bloodier conflicts between mega-corporations that control the politics and trade in major areas of the known galaxy. Agents recruited by the player will actively participate in these dangerous games.
Galactic Insomnia game-play has both tactical and strategic dimensions.
Tactical level – comprises the efficient use of all available means. Equipment, the mission geography plus the active and passive abilities.
Strategic level – covers team management and the team. The choice of agents and control of their development will prove more challenging as the game progresses.
- Dozens of recruitable agents with individual personalities
- Characters leveling with both statistical points and special abilities tree
- Morale as an important factor in the combat statistics
- Combat stances affecting both offensive and defensive stats
- Characters gear: weaponry, armor, implants
- Weapons with multiple firing modes and limited ammo
- Additional senses (sound, electronic emission)
- Destructible covers
- Opponent flanking
- Basic healing protects only against bleeding out
- Personal and area forcefields
- Intelligent drones and landmines
RPGWatch Feature - Exoplanet: First Contact Interview
Farflame volunteered to ask the people of Exoplanet: First Contact a bunch of questions and they gladly agreed.
RPGWatch: You stated that you aren't happy with modern RPGs. So what do you miss or dislike in modern RPGs?
Alexey: Many things. We miss the breathtaking sensation of discovery, the feeling that there is a new living and breathing world that lies ahead, with hand-crafted landscapes and quests and with detailed simulations of its inhabitants' daily lives. These days developers take a set of rules and fill it with content. This content might be professionally and well crafted, but you can see this approach from a mile's distance. The world might be huge and detailed but uncomfortable, it feels like cardboard decorations for the role they want you to play. Not a world where you can live an alternative life.
Also we miss new, not clichéd settings, for example the low-magic fantasy like the first 2 Gothics and the crazy mix of cultures you can find in Morrowind. The Witcher 1 was a breath of fresh air with its Slavic mythology and bestiary as well. These days developers are not taking any risks to miss their hard won audience, they choose good old heroic fantasy with brick-faced heroes and huge shoulder pads or "realistic" variation influenced by George Martin and his followers' books. Personally I would like to see a game set in Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" world, grotesque and not pretending to be so serious. Or Mass Effect gameplay mechanics in a Firefly TV-series universe... Or the Dune universe. Lots of interesting settings and opportunities but nobody takes the risk to create a AAA title like that.
Alexander: The gameplay and level design, that gives you freedom of exploration, not hindered by quest markers and other "guided experience" gimmicks. You know, we really "lived" in some games like Bethesda's TES III or on the island Khorinis in Gothic. Why? Because their creators designed them, so you can find your way without taking a look at the map and constantly using a fast travel system. It was more interesting to follow the road and see where it leads, than checking if there are some question marks, showing the location of the quests or other activities on the map of this area. We like the more ambient storytelling through the details, observation of the events in older games. That is what we want to achieve in Exoplanet: we don't want to hold player's hand but to invite him into adventures that we design. In modern games the guided "cinematic experience" kills this feeling of freedom for us.
You can still pledge for their Kickstarter, if you haven't yet and like what you read.
Exoplanet: First ContactSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
PoE: The White March - Available Now
“The White March: Part I” is the first addition to thecritically acclaimed game, and includes an extensive array of new dynamic content for both Pillars of Eternity veterans and newcomers. White March expands the story and experience of the original game, adding new locations, quests, and companions to the world of Eora, as well as new gameplay features such as multi-class abilities, soulbound weapons, and a higher level cap, allowing players new ways to play in all areas of the game. The White March: Part I is available today as an add-on to Pillars of Eternity for Windows, Mac, and Linux PC for $14.99. A bundle with Parts I and II is available for $24.99, which will grant owners the second installment immediately upon its release.
In The White March: Part I, Obsidian Entertainment continues the tale of Pillars of Eternity, an RPG inspired by classics of the computer RPG genre. Featuring an expertly crafted story from Carrie Patel, author of the Recoletta series and writer on the original Pillars of Eternity, and Eric Fenstermaker, lead writer on Pillars of Eternity and one of the co-writers of South Park: The Stick of Truth alongside show creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the new expansion has new lore and challenges to explore. Set during the middle of the original game similar to the classic Tales of the Sword Coast, the new expansion can be experienced regardless if players have completed the core game or not. Players will venture into a new setting inspired by the snowy environments of Icewind Dale, and meet new companions including The Devil of Caroc, a construct rogue, and the scarred monk Zahua. Additionally, players can make use of new advanced party-based AI during combat and other adventuring challenges.
PoE: The White MarchSP/MP: Single-player
The Last Warlock - Available on Steam
The Last Warlock, a RPG-Strategy game, is released on Steam and will have a 15% discount until the end of the month.
The Last Warlock is a turn based strategy and role-playing game. Command your Warlock across a series of hand-crafted quests, encountering monsters, traps, puzzles and enemy Warlocks!
- Journey through varied magical lands on your quest to discover the secret of the last warlock.
- Featuring over 60 spells.
- Summon mythical creatures to do your bidding.
- Attack your enemies with fire, lightning and magic.
- Craft swords, shields and potions to aid in your quests.
- Use loot from your battles to level up and prepare for the next adventure.
- Customize the appearance of your Warlock and power up with new spells and abilities.
- Replay quests to discover hidden areas or defeat challenging monsters as you gain power.
- True emergent gameplay and freedom rarely seen in strategy games.
The Last Warlock features an extensive single player experience and an exciting multiplayer battle mode where you can play hotseat or online asynchronous battles against up to four human or computer controlled Warlocks.
- Supports cloud save.
- Leaderboards and achievements.
- Multiple difficulty levels for casual players or expert strategists!
If anyone is interested in reviewing this game let us know so that we can make good use of the key we have received (only applicable to already registered members).
General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Exoplanet: First Contact - Devil's Throat Mine
Next up for the Exoplanet: First Contact Kickstarter is some lore about the Devil's Throat Mine. The Kickstarter itself is currently at $27K out of a requested $45K, with 18 days to go.
The aborigines of K’Tharsis have a saying, that could be roughly translated as “sky-fallen demons’ footprints are filled with blood of our kin”, which accurately describes the history of this remote world; full of tragic and bloody events, that demonstrate the greedy and contemptuous attitude of humans toward nature, native aborigines and, even their own kind. The story of the first contact between the two civilizations (humans and aborigines) started when smuggler captain Lee Brennigan crash landed on K’Tharsis and discovered antigravium. This lucky discovery led the entire star cluster to an epidemic of a classic Gold Rush and caused the deaths of billions. Greed and ardor led the adventurous from all across the Known Space to a far corner of the Galaxy, where a fierce competition resulted in unbelievable cruelty. Ownership of the rich deposits rapidly changed hands, with the original proprietors vanishing without a trace. However, the most grim stories aren’t told about bloody massacres between freelance prospectors and bandit gangs of the first colonial wave. They’re about a unique, extremely deep mine in Hatton’s crevice that was opened much later after the initial booming colonization and was named The Devil’s Throat, for a reason.
The mining site called "Lucky Strike" was registered 30 years after Brennigan’s landing on K’Tharsis by none other than the late Diamond Dave. Probably he was not the first to claim this patch of the double-sun scorched K’Tharsis’ land for himself after putting a dozen bullets between the eyes of those who tried to challenge his rights, but surely he was the smartest among the previous owners. Dave quickly understood that the treasure in his hands was too big for a lonely small fry to keep. He started to hire the less fortunate adventurers as workers as miners, paying them more than his competitors. He didn’t forget to invite the various armed and dangerous types to be his guards. Dave wasn’t stopped by the fact, that lots of them were outlaws and cutthroats in search of easy money. This proud owner of the most profitable private mine on the planet was charismatic and paranoid enough to keep his position for some time.
Exoplanet: First ContactSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Soma - Can be preordered on GOG and Steam now
Here's a new video about the music in Soma, composed by Mikko Tarmia:
Release: In development
Monday - August 24, 2015
RPGWatch Feature - Kingdom Come: Deliverance Gamescom Preview
Here is the final article of the Gamescom series of 12 articles. It covers Kingdom Come: Deliverance. A game that was mentioned to be historically correct a few times in the presentation, but is it a RPG already?
Every NPC in the game will have its own routine. They get up in their own house and have breakfast there, go to work and pick the tools he or she needs. The NPC won't be carrying these tools with him or her all the time as is the case in some other games. When the working day has finished the NPC will go home again or go and do something else, like hang around in the bar. A NPC has several options of what they can do in their spare time. The choice they make is based on experience. If the blacksmith is in the pub and something nasty happens there, he will remember that and the next time, he will go and do something else. This would also mean that the NPC in the games of two different players could end up doing completely different things in their spare time.
Kingdom Come: DeliveranceSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Evoland 2 - Review @ TechRaptor
Don Parsons (TechRaptor) has reviewed Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder and he's impressed:
[...] Evoland 2 uses a set of 3 main time periods—the past 50 years ago, the present, and 50 years in the future—each of which have their own art style and events going on. The art style changes here are the main thing that harken to the technological focus of Evoland 1, but they do very well fitting the idea of how things worked, and the future 3D stuff in particular stood out as very well done and smooth. That’s not to say the past and present weren’t—it’s just at times for me they tended to run more together with their art styles, though there are definite differences as well.
In general though, while the different periods are a key feature to the game, the standout thing for Evoland 2 is the writing. Evoland , is quite simply in my opinion one of the smartest and wittiest written games I’ve seen in a long time. While Evoland 2 utilizes a lot of the same Hero’s Journey path you’re used to seeing in games, it executes it incredibly well for the most part and utilizes what is there to the best of its abilities, while surrounding it with a lot of incredibly smart writing. [...]
Overall, Evoland 2: A Slight Case of Spacetime Continuum Disorder is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a labor of love that celebrates the best of gaming and takes you through a wonderfully written tale. While there were some technical issues, it was relatively minor with some texture errors and a couple crashes through my playtime, but it has been improved since the preview and there’s every reason to believe the team at Shiro Games will continue to do so.
Score: 8.5 Great
Evoland 2 is a treasure to play with some of the best writing and wit in games to be seen in years.
Evoland 2SP/MP: Single-player
OMNIS - The Erias Line - New Kickstarter
A new JPRG has started a Kickstarter campaign: OMNIS - The Erias Line.
Vibrant characters. A bizarre, dying world. Impossible choices. Unforgivable sacrifices. A JRPG being developed in Unity.
Join Orphan and Skyler as they arrive in Verdamm City, the world’s decaying capital, and are conscripted into the ‘Operatives’ - a network of desperate men and women forced to undertake violent missions for the city’s corrupt elite.
Their first assignment will bring them face to face with a powerful and ruthlessly curious being, obsessed with finding and studying the limits of human suffering.
Defeating him will take more than force, and along with a motley band of allies, Orphan and Skyler must face a harrowing truth:
In order to save Verdamm, they must first help that sinister entity bring the city to its knees.
What is Omnis?
Omnis is a 2D, sprite-based game mixing the spirit and mechanics of a JRPG with the darker, grittier themes and settings of New-Weird fiction.
The game will be made in three parts and include at least twenty hours of gameplay (see 'Our Goal' below for more info).
Basically, we're making Omnis because it's the JRPG we've always wanted to play:
A JRPG that moves away from the tired tropes and stereotypes to tell a story that can really draw you in and surprise/intrigue you at every turn. The world we've created is bizarre and fragile, its population is real, flawed, and dangerous. The whole of Erias - the world where Omnis takes place - has been taking shape and evolving for almost a decade. Now it's ready to bring to life!
Omnis is not about a straight-up fight to defeat the villain; we're doing something different.
Omnis is about heroes who find themselves struggling under the weight of the future, and facing the cold, hard necessities of saving the world from self-inflicted ruin. We wanted to put them - and you - in a truly harrowing and desperate position, where more than their own lives are at stake in every battle and with every decision.
With your support, Omnis can be become a reality and live up to every single one of the ambitions we have for it.
The aim is simple, really: we want to provide you with as many ways to explore the game world and influence your experience as possible, while always maintaining strong narrative focus.
We'll be doing this with three simple core mechanics:
- As you proceed through the game, a huge range of your decisions influence how character relationships develop, how key events unfold and what paths and content open up. Rather than having a handful of decisions that majorly change events, the Dynamic Arc System lets you influence the story on a smaller scale but in a much bigger number and variety of ways.
- Throughout the game you can enter and explore each characters’ psyche, discovering more about them, uncovering their darkest secrets and influencing their past by interacting with their memories and thoughts. Their internal world is represented by a place or time important to each character, so each one is unique and adds something different.
- The Formation Battle System adds a new level of strategy to the turn-based, active-time format. Each of the five ‘slots’ in the formation has its own advantages and disadvantages, and characters can switch positions during battle, allowing you to adapt your party to new threats as they arise.
Enemy groups will also utilise the formation system, so enemies will reorganise themselves as battles unfold and adapt their strategy to provide a dynamic challenge.
Shadowrun: Hong Kong - First Patch
The first patch for Shadowrun: Hong Kong is out. Here are the release notes for V. 3.0.4:
Release 3.0.4 contains a variety of Shadowrun: Hong Kong campaign fixes and general system fixes and improvements. If you are encountering any issues in Hong Kong, please update to build 3.0.4 immediately. (To update, restart Steam and then allow Shadowrun to fully verify and download the new build.)
After the update if you are experiencing a campaign-related issue, you may also need to restart your current scene (select "Restart Level" from the PDA) or rewind (select "Rewind" from the PDA save screen, then select a previous level) to before you encountered the issue in order to resolve the issue.
Core/Engine Bug Fixes
- Resolved issue causing incorrect Nuyen value to be displayed in Sell Screen.
- Resolved issue causing mismatch between displayed and actual skin color for certain skin options in Character Creation.
- Resolved issue that caused some Backer names in the credits to have missing characters.
- Resolved issue that could lead to Elf Female models displaying incorrectly.
- Resolved issue that could lead to item loss when loaning items to some actors in specific situations.
- Resolved issue that could lead to actor duplication under certain edge-case save load conditions.
- Resolved issue that could leave Water Shrine Spirit unable to attack.
- Resolved minor animation issues.
- General minor VFX and Animation bug fixes and polish.
- Other minor bug fixes.
Content Bug Fixes
- Minor grammar and visual tweaks and polish.
- Resolved issue that caused a conversation to duplicate in Misdirection mission.
- Resolved issue that caused Matrix in the City of Darkness to have incorrect starting Trace.
- Resolved issue that could cause plot specific information to be revealed early.
- Resolved issue that could leave the Player unable to leave the Assist mission under specific cases.
- Resolved issue that could leave the Player unable to leave The Dig mission in certain cases.
- Resolved issue that could prevent Hostile actors from spawning correctly in Bad Qi mission in certain cases.
- Art book updated for purchasers of the Deluxe Edition (now contains more art.)
Shadowrun: Hong KongSP/MP: Single-player
Skyrim - Skywind August 2015 Progress Update
The TES Renewal Project has released a new Trailer: 'Rekindle' for Skywind.
A short preview for the latest developer update for August 2015. As always, this is early footage and everything is subject to change. This video shows a tiny fraction of what we have been working on, we mainly just want everyone to know we are still alive and working just as hard without spoiling too much.
For more information on the project, visit TESRenewal.com
Satellite Reign - Review @ High-Def Digest
High-Def Digest highly recommends the spiritual successor to the old Syndicate series: Satelite Reign.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
'Satellite Reign' is not the kind of game that holds your hand. After a brief tutorial I was dumped into the city with a trio of eager agents, with only a "good luck" and a "here’s your fourth agent, by the way she’s in a heavily guarded police compound" mission to my name. This made me very happy. It is not a theme park like most open world games turn out to be, where a chipper tour guide would slowly escort me about the various mechanics for hours, withholding the good stuff until halfway through the campaign. It is a sandbox, where the city lives on its own terms, gradually adapting to my presence as I hack into ATMs, infiltrate merc barracks, and bribe dirty cops for information.
In this city, as in any just about cyberpunk story, megacorps have taken over the governing role from the state and mixed in their own special brand of fascism, information control, and terror. It’s the future, so there are many future things like cybernetic implants, laser guns, and outlandish hairstyles. The game takes a laissez-faire approach to both exposition and morality. I am free to explore the city, steal things, and kill people, so long as I am able to fight off or escape from the responding security forces. The game does not penalize me for doing bad things, nor does it necessarily reward me for doing good things. I am rewarded for serving my own purposes, which I just kind of make up as I go along. My agents aren’t running the March of Dimes, after all - we’re trying to build a criminal empire. [...]
'Satellite Reign' truly embodies the phrase "spiritual successor". It is very much a modern adaptation of an older title. That is not to say that it is without innovation or not a good game - far from it. 'Satellite Reign' takes the best parts of its source material and expands upon them with modern tech, creating an intoxicating, thickly cyberpunk strategy experience. The degree of freedom available invokes that special kind of PC game that is all-too infrequent these days.
Satellite ReignSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Alpha Protocol - Is the great RPG of the last Gen @ Kotaku
Phil Owen (Kotaku) likes Alpha Protocol and tells us why:
In the “objective video game review” sense, Alpha Protocol is pretty much the worst. It’s super irritating to play, and every time I speak with somebody from Obsidian, the studio that made it, they just shake their head. But on the Phil Owen “Was This A Big Waste Of Time?” Scale, however, Alpha Protocol comes out on the good end every time I go back to it.
When it was released five years ago, everybody hated it. Like, it was so widely disliked that whenever I tweet about it being the best game ever people think I’m making a joke. But I’m not. I’m serious. Deadly serious. Let’s talk about why I like the janky, buggy mess so much.
-It’s very short. If you look at HowLongToBeat, you’ll see the average completion time is like 13 hours. And people on the forums and in Steam reviews often claim it’s upwards of 20. Those estimates are largely incorrect, though I suppose if you go full stealth it will lengthen the game. My normal playthroughs of Alpha Protocol, though, are under eight hours. The key there is to always always always play on easy, because that minimizes the irritation of the brokenness of the “game stuff.” What makes Alpha Protocol great isn’t stealth karate chopping or shooting bad guys anyway. Like all the great Bioware RPGs, the “gameplay” is what you suffer through to get to the good stuff.
-The ways the game changes based on how to treat people and the tactics you use during missions are super interesting, and make the game feel worth playing multiple times. There are major characters you might never even meet if you play the missions in a certain order. This is why it’s good that the game is so short—the longer a game is, the more prohibitive it is to play more than once, which is clearly a bad thing for games which have “branching story = replay value” as a marketing hook (coughmasseffectcough). When I played Alpha Protocol for review at FileFront back in the day, I played it through three times. That’s the only time I’ve done that in my career writing about games.
-It has the most hilarious RPG protagonist ever. Alpha Protocol’s dialogue wheel is tone-based, and player character Mike Thorton has three tones: super dull and matter of fact, humongous impatient asshole and smarmy piece of shit. It’s incredible. You can play it like “this is just what Mike is like” by picking the same one every time or you can use the different tones as affected spy personas, but either way this system which at first comes off as limiting turns out to be far more fun than more robust or straightforward dialogue systems in other games.
Much to my surprise, Alpha Protocol has seen a pretty remarkable public perception turnaround lately. It was widely maligned upon release, but on Steam right now the user review consensus is “very positive” and if you type “alpha protocol is” into Google you’ll get some surprising suggestions.
It’s so good people still want to pirate it!
Alpha ProtocolSP/MP: Single-player
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Sunday - August 23, 2015
CivCraft - Espionage Pack
As we are nearing the stretch goal for the Espionage pack in the CivCraft Kickstarter, which will be available to those who pledged up to that stretch goal, more information about it is made available.
In your built tavern, you can recruit heroes. Some heroes are warriors, Mages or Rangers, while others are skilled in the art of stealth. These heroes are proficient in the arts of alchemy, charisma, stealth or intelligence.
Depending on their skills, you can assign a hero to one of the following tasks
Once a spy has been assigned to a task, he/she will travel to the designated target and try to perform your orders as best as possible. There could be many outcomes depending on your orders, the rival kingdom's awareness, counter espionage and your spy's skills.
- Espionage (intelligence, charisma)
- Incite revolutions, persuade a leader or bribe a general (charisma, intelligence)
- Sabotage (alchemy, stealth)
- Assassination (stealth, alchemy)
Any hero can be sent on an espionage mission, but you should only send a skilled hero, since a failed mission could mean an execution, a hostage to rescue or even a declaration of war.
Some animate can be found by following the above link.
CivCraftSP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Sword Coast Legends - Head Start
All who pre-ordered one of the of the Limited Edition Collector’s or Campaign Collector’s packs can play Sword Coast Legends before the official release date on September 29th:
ORLANDO, Fla. — August 21, 2015 — Independent developers, n-Space and Digital Extremes, announced today that their upcoming Sword Coast Legends™, a party-based RPG set in the Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) Forgotten Realms universe from Wizards of the Coast, will offer Head Start Access for PC, Mac and Linux players. Starting September 11th, players can try Sword Coast Legends™, prior to the game’s release on September 29th.
Head Start will have three planned sessions, he adds. The first is scheduled for the weekend of September 11th through 13th and will be available only to members of the Design Council – those that pre-ordered one of the Limited Edition Collector’s or Campaign Collector’s packs. The second will run September 18th through 20th, and will be open to all pre-order customers. These first two sessions will focus on the Dungeon Master modes of Campaign Creation and Dungeon Crawl. In order to avoid spoilers, the Story Campaign will not be available at this time. The third session will run September 24th through the game’s release on September 29th and will once again feature the Dungeon Master modes for all pre-order customers while Design Council members will also have access to the Story Campaign. PC, Mac and Linux cross-platform play will be supported.
In each of these sessions, players will mingle with n-Space, Digital Extremes and Wizards of the Coast team members. To be included in the Head Start program, players must have linked their game purchase to an account on SwordCoast.com. Access details will be sent to the associated email account starting the week of September 11th.
“The Sword Coast Legends team welcomes your feedback! Feel free to share your experiences via your favorite forums, blogs and social media channels.”
Sword Coast LegendsSP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
General News - Games for Readers
At The Wertzone, you can find a list of games and for each of these games, a list of writers. If you like these writers you probably like the game as well. The RPG level is high in this list.
Ion Storm - 2001 - Available from gog.com
Humour in video games can be a hard thing to get right, with many more failures than successes. One of the more interesting successes is Anachronox, a 2001 roleplaying game set in the distant future. Humanity has colonised (alongside various alien races) Anachronox, a floating city made up of rotating sections inside a huge sphere of alien origin. The sphere enables FTL transit across many worlds. Your character, down-on-his-luck private investigator Sly Boots, is drawn into a mystery that starts off small in scale but eventually becomes huge in scope, taking in the fate of the galaxy, alternate realities and a mind-bending number of plot twists.
The humour is absurdly brilliant, taking in everything from satire on detective and SF cliches to riffing off superhero stories and governmental philosophies. It also has some of the craziest ideas to appear in an SF video game, taking in a miniaturised planet that joins your team as a party-member (to the disquiet of everyone you later meet - "Is that a planet floating behind you?") and a fantastically-developed sequence which pays tribute to silent movies by not involving any dialogue at all.
The game has not aged well graphically, but if you can look beyond the surface, one of the richest and most imaginative games in the roleplaying pantheon awaits.
See also: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the Mass Effect trilogy draw more than a little inspiration from this game, but are much more po-faced; Gearbox's Borderlands series also employs a nice line in humour (but not as good as this).
Play if you like: Douglas Adams, Harry Harrison, Terry Pratchett.
General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Saturday - August 22, 2015
The Mandate - Boarding Video with Commentary
In the article we had yesterday there was a video with boarding combat. They have made a new video availabe, this time with comments from the developers. In addition in their latest Kickstarter update there is also some Gamescom info from their public booth.
Mooncrest - What's Next?
A new update has appeared for the recently canceled Kickstarter campaign of Mooncrest. In this update they talk about the work that has been done to prepare better for their next Kickstarter campaign.
It’s been about a week or so since we cancelled our Kickstarter campaign. While we’ve been a bit quiet on the public side of things, we’ve been continuing to work toward our next Kickstarter campaign. It took us a bit of time to decompress and focus on things going forward. Mooncrest is totally self funded and contrary to popular belief we don’t have someone waiting in the wings with a fat wad of cash burning a hole in their pocket ready to invest in our game (if you are that person, let’s talk!).
Truthfully, we didn’t give a lot of thought to what steps we were going to take if the Kickstarter failed so we’re trying to sort everything out. Rest assured, we aren’t giving up, we are just determining our best course of action at this point. I know there are quite a few emails and comments where people are waiting for a response from us. We’ll be getting to all of them over the weekend. Sorry for the delays and we appreciate your patience.
On the development side, we are working on concepting out the Paladin Temple which will serve as a base of operations for players and where the adventure will begin. Here’s a few pieces from one of our concept artists, Raph Lomotan. We’ll be moving back to a regular update schedule next week and we’ll have a Q&A on Raph and his artwork then, so don’t miss it.
The update features some images and animated gif's showing combat.
Release: In development
CRPG Addict - Review Roundup (Part Thirteen)
1988 was coming to a close and the CRPG Addict introduced GOTY awards for the previous years. He also tracked back to the very first (surviving) CRPG, The Dungeon aka PEDIT5 from 1975.
Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom (1988)
The nature of the inventory puzzles makes the game extremely linear. It has virtually no replayability. If you don't spend hours and hours grinding, it's too hard (especially at the latter stages), and if you do spend hours and hours grinding, it's too long. (..) A challenge is good, but this game ends up being repetitive torture. (..)
This gives us a final rating of 37, equivalent to the first Wizardry. While this game improves upon NPCs, equipment, and a couple other areas, it lacks the first game's brisk gameplay, and many of V's "innovations" annoy rather than impress. I didn't deliberately engineer the rating to come out equal to I, but I think it says something accurate that in seven years, Sir-Tech was unable to fundamentally improve on the experience that they first offered in the CRPG Bronze Age.
- Game 67: Wizardry V: Heart of the Maelstrom (1988)
- Home for the Holidays
- All I Want for Christmas is Two Front Ranks
- Oh, Come All Ye Faithless
- It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Torture
- Wizardry V
- Final Rating
The Dungeon / PEDIT5 (1975)
Here I am, nearly two years after starting this blog, doing what I should have done in the beginning: playing the first CRPG, regardless of platform. (..)
I'm actually quite impressed. I would have forgiven the first CRPG for being really basic and dumb: perhaps a text-only game in which you managed some basic attributes against some random encounters. (..) Instead, we get a fairly large dungeon, a solid set of attributes, challenging random encounters, 8 spells, monsters with resistances based on type, and graphics that the DOS platform won't surpass until Ultima III. (..) Obviously, I don't recommend playing it now, except as an archaeological exercise; any roguelike will give you a similar challenge with a better gameplay experience.
The Game of Dungeons / dnd (1975)
The title screen calls the game The Game of Dungeons, but the file name was just dnd, and this is what has stuck in history and legend. (..) This may be the first CRPG developed openly as a game, without having to hide under fake file names on the PLATO mainframe. (..) It would be cool, but I suspect impossible, to win this one. (..) I definitely recommend that every true CRPG lover sign up for a Cyber1 account and play a few rounds.
BattleTech: The Crescent Hawk's Inception (1988)
Gameplay. I almost wish I could give a negative score on this one. The game is completely linear, non-replayable, too easy, too short, and it ends with the worst puzzle inclusion I've ever seen in a CRPG: a completely rote, bang-your-head-against-the-wall slog through a twisty maze, involving no intelligence and no tactics. (..)
As it is, I give it a final rating of 37. The scores add up to 39, but I'm using my "bonus" category to take away two points for having such a dumb ending and for essentially betraying its name through some staggeringly awful gameplay decisions. It started out with such promise, too.
Editorial: 1988/1989 and GOTY
Starting with 1988, CRPG Addict named Games of the Year and did so retroactively, so here's his top games from the early years.
- 1981: Wizardry
- 1982: Telengard
- 1983: Exodus: Ultima III
- 1984: n/a
- 1985: Ultima IV
- 1986: Starflight and Might & Magic I
- 1987: NetHack
- 1988: Pool of Radiance
TechRaptor - Playing Roles: On Tactical RPGs @ TechRaptor
Another episode of Playing Roles by Robert Grosso - On Tactical RPGs:
Some genres of role-playing games tend to be very self-explanatory in what we call them. In the West, we are used to seeing Action-RPGs and Dungeon Crawls mingle with real-time role-playing games or open-world titles. One genre that is curiously absent from the conversation of role-playing games, and on the radar for most players, is the tactical role-playing game, or TRPG.
TRPGs can arguably have their origins traced to the game Chess, where you need to use tactics to overwhelm your opponents in a combat situation. TRPGs are less exploration-heavy, more combat oriented, complete with statistics and level ups, equipment and abilities that need to be taken into account to maximize your effectiveness in battle. Through this, TRPGs tend to satisfy a singular niche—games with storytelling and tactical combat being the emphasis over exploration. [...]
ChemCaper: Petticles in Peril - A CRPG to learn Chemistry @ Gamasutra
I want to go back to school - the current generation of students can learn with CRPGs:
ChemCaper - Petticles in Peril is an upcoming role playing game from ACE EdVenture Studio, produced in collaboration with Artoncode (a development team based in Jakarta, Indonesia). Said to be the world's first educational game based on Cambridge University's IGCSE Chemistry syllabus, topics such as elements in the periodic table, compounds, types of bonding, and even laboratory apparatuses are lifted directly from the textbooks and re-purposed as story or game elements in ChemCaper.
Concepts of covalent, ionic and metallic bonding are encountered and learned through gameplay. The Active Time Battle System will see kids battling various foes with the help of their faithful Petticles, creatures formed by chemical bonding. Learning comes full circle with each Petticle demonstrating unique traits representing real life particles.
Additionally, students will learn how to separate compounds, refine fluids, and sieve through precious metals in various mini games which will introduce students to the kinds of Chemistry apparatus used in laboratories. [...]
Underworld - Definitive Editon Engine Update
After some time a new update has appeared for Swords and Sorcery: Underworld Definitive Edition. The update is about combat in the new engine that was made.
First of all, there are portraits. These are visible throughout the game but in combat there are a couple things to take note of.
- They are layed out in their actual combat positions. There are three rows of two, which represents their actual position in combat. Therefore the first two are most exposed.
- Characters (and monsters) are grayed out when out of melee range. (It does NOT mean they are inactive, nor does the highlighting indicate which character/monster is up). This allows for many things, including tactical positionning options. These include: join or leave melee, order everyone forward or to retreat, or move to the front. there is also the protect option (given the character carries a shield) which allows him or her to set themselves alongside or in front of a companion and physically “share their armor”. They effectively change position in the roster. Monsters can have similar behavior.
The combat log now appears in real time in the top left corner. This allows for much quicker combat since there is no longer a need for a pause to allow players to follow friendly and enemy actions.
Visual effect for spells.
All options appear in the bottom row and can be clicked or activated with their keyboard shortcuts (those appear on the left when hovered). Several actions are unlocked later with the earning of new levels. Naturally, spell casters are rewarded with new spells.
- Ambidextria allows Knights and Rogues to use two 1H weapons.
- Stun allows the rogue to immobilize a foe for some time (how many rounds depends on an accuracy and luck versus the monster’s endurance and luck check).
- Burst allows the archer to shoot three arrows simultaneously (with damage per shot reduced by 25%).
- Later, Barrage allows the archer to shoot all visible targets (up to 10) with a 50% damage score.
- Berserk allows the Knight to hit all enemies in melee with a loss of 50% of his/her own life bar.
- Bleed allows the Rogue to inflict cumulative damage over time, but you’ll need a high level for this one.
- Powerhouse allows the Knight to replace 1H weapons with 2H weapons. Meaning potentially two 2H if he/she chooses to not carry a shield.
To make this work better, I redesigned both the monster and item database. Monsters now have the same attributes as characters. Some attributes like endurance, spirit, intelligence and luck are used in different checks, allowing for much more variety of resistances and weaknesses. This info can be collected with a spell called Read Mind that’ll help you figure out how to defeat the tougher enemies in later stages of the game.
Another example is the Rogue no longer systematically leaves stealth mode after an attack. An accuracy and luck versus intelligence and luck check determines whether he/she remains unseen or is spotted by the target. If the target is killed by an assassination, the Rogue will remain unseen no matter what.
Weapons now have a penetration and minimum strength score. I added this mainly to accomodate the Archer. The Archer’s damage now exclusively depends on his/her accuracy and luck (to a lesser extent of course), regardless of strength. But to use a more powerful weapon, the Archer will have to match the weapon’s minimum strength. Penetration is deducted from the target’s armor score before determining final damage. While this helps balance the Archer’s contribution to the group, it works the same for melee weapons (whose damage scores are determined by strength.) But bows tend to have higher penetration scores than swords or daggers.
To further accomodate this system, I changed the way weapons work as well. They no longer add to the character’s damage score but multiply it (+0.20*Base Melee, +5.5*Base Ranged…). The weakest ranged weapon (sling) adds 20% to base ranged damage (the accuracy score). The most powerful melee and ranged weapons exceed 10*. Scores of armor and special items have attribute bonuses and many can be enchanted later in the game.
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Friday - August 21, 2015
RPGWatch Feature - The Mandate Gamescom Preview
One of the interesting games I wanted to check out at Gamescom was The Mandate. A game that tries to combine various gameplay elements into one game. Here is what I learned.
The character creation is not accomplished by making some selections in a UI but they take you through a 'choose your own adventure' mini-game in which you are presented with a bunch of situations and where you have to make a choice. At the end of the mini-game your character's attributes will be generated, but there are also some long term effects. If you are fine with bombarding civilians in order to get something to start the game with, that is not something a faction like the Black Eagles or Romanovs would like, so you probably would align more with the rebels, the pirates or the Arkwrights. Also, if you help someone in the mini game, that character is likely to be your allie later on in the game. If you however don't help that character he or she is likely to be your enemy later on.