GhanBuriGhan interviewed Joshua DeBonis, founder and director of Sortasoft on their game “Meriwether: An American Epic”.
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Expeditions: Conquistador Review
GhanBuriGhan reviewed Expeditions: Conquistador for RPGWatch and came back with quite a few things to tell.
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Poll WatchDo you Kickstart?
Yes, I've supported a bunch!
Yes, but only 1 or 2.
I'm waiting for the right project.
No! No finished product, no money!
No - but only because of my tight budget.
Monday - June 17, 2013
Witcher 3 - Preview Roundup #3
Hopefully this is the last roundup of news from E3 for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. First we have a full audio presentation from E3 from gamertagradio.
Now here are the previews.
After speaking with a jarl, the demo took Geralt to the seas, where he passed a raiding party's ship (the rowers' song reaching across the water). We then saw the fast travel option, which is quite appreciated in a game of this size. The game, which can occupy a thorough player for over 100 hours, is 35 times larger than The Witcher 2. Yes, it's also larger than Skyrim, although comparing the two misses a few points. Allegedly it takes Geralt 40 minutes to pass from one end of the world to the other. On a horse. The developers actually have tools to develop realistic geography. They have one tool, for example, with a single purpose: to measure where rain would gather on terrain and allow a forest to grow.
I later interviewed Jonas Mattsson, an environment artist, and he explained the construction of the world as "organic," a term I commonly use when critiquing level design and world building. He assured me that the player would encounter something interesting every two to five minutes, and I believe it. From a single vantage point, we could see a house on a little island cliff, a fallen ruin, roads leading away, farmhouses, mountains, a forest, and probably more things I missed. That I couldn't take control of Geralt and explore almost killed me. There are sure to be side quests, caves, monsters, and treasure along all these routes, and some of the quests randomly pop up, although none are randomly generated. The entire game is handcrafted, which gives it a feeling of immense authenticity.
When Geralt headed to some ruins, he discovered a Fiend eating a corpse on the ground. A Fiend is a hulking three-eyed antlered beast of terrifying composure — you can spot it in the E3 trailer. It immediately attacked and an intense battle unfolded. The Fiend unleashed its special attack: using its third eye to hypnotize Geralt, causing his vision to darken and blur. The effect was horrifying, exciting, and unique — probably the coolest single thing I saw at E3.
Littering the landscape are mobs of creatures and monsters, small and large, as well as bandits, mercenaries, and other humanoid opponents. Like any good open world action game, whether or not you engage your opponent is entirely up to you. If you see bandits attempting to ransack a house you can, if you desire, keep on walking and let them go about their business. Or you can intervene. Doing so might give you access to secrets and lore about the world around you, fleshing out Wild Hunt‘s narrative, or may even open up an entirely new side quest story. Either way, if you do chose to engage opponents you find Wild Hunt has changed up the combat in a few ways from Assassin’s of Kings. Enemies are generally a lot tougher and methodical to take down, Geralt’s sword play faster, and sign powers like Igni easier to chain into battle (like incinerating your enemies). CDPR have also noted the negative reception from fans in regards to Assassin’s of Kings quick time events, removing all such things from Wild Hunt‘s combat.
Graphically speaking, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt captures those little details beautifully. Although we were reminded that we weren't seeing a final version of the game, the graphics were simply stunning. One sequence showed Geralt meditating for hours, and as the sun moved around him and day turned to night and night turned to day, the complex weather system and dynamic landscape of The Witcher 3 really came to life. Rippling grasses, wispy clouds and impressive lighting effects looked as good as anything I've seen at E3 and the team at CD Projekt RED should be (and is) proud of their product. But it's more than just a pretty game. Mattsson reaffirmed the company message that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is about bringing an intense, gripping story to the open world genre.
"Story can be lost in the open world," said Mattsson. "We want it to make sense. There is no 'collect ten flowers' or 'take this package over there' type questing. We are eager to prove that we made an open world with a strong story."
And here is a interview from OnlySP.
Q: On that note, will there be multiple endings?
A: Yes, sure. We’re having around 36 endings, as far as I remember. These affect the state that you will leave the world in after your playthrough.
Q: Firstly, the loading times… how prevalent will those be? Do you have any idea how long they’ll be and how often you’ll encounter them?
A: Thanks to new technology on RedEngine3, we were actually able to create a world without loading screens as you travel across the world. This should answer your question. *laughs*
Q: I did see a few framerate issues during the presentation. It was from a pre-alpha version, though, so I imagine those will be ironed out in the full release.
A: Yeah, definitely. We didn’t have everything fully optimized. It’s still very much a work-in-progress, so many elements, such as streaming, are still being created.
South Park - Preview Roundup #3
Here we are for the third time for more previews for South Park: The Stick of Truth based on it's showing at E3.
Combat itself plays out very similarly to Mario & Luigi, with timed button presses for extra damage becoming a must. All of the skills, like the rest of the game, involve a combination of school-age "magic" and real-life perversion. It's safe to say that Obsidian didn't skimp on any of South Park's foul-mouthed humor, as our demo's final battle with Cartman saw us mashing the A button to overpower his farts with our own.
It's tough to call South Park: The Stick of Truth "gorgeous," with its cardboard cut-out characters, but it is easy to say that it is extremely true to the show. Take away the HUD and UI and an argument could be made that just maybe you're watching an episode of the television show. The environments are equally impressive, with destructible objects aplenty. South Park's level-up system takes place within the world of - what else - Facebook, as the New Kid gains power by finding new friends in South Park, and the aesthetic works quite well.
Combat is turn-based, so players alternate turns with computer-controlled enemies they will encounter. The spells and abilities players use are comical, such as a lightning spell involving a bucket of water, jumper cables and a car battery, or the Flame Blast combining a can of hairspray and lighter. To restore mana, players must down burritos.
The show's humor is on full display during Stick of Truth, starting with the rampant passing of gas that serves as the game's equivalent to magic. After cupping his hands to catch farts, the player tosses them to cause damage.
"No magic with the fan running," shouts Butters. "You'll kill us."
Game developer Ubisoft demonstrated how "The Stick of Truth" would honor the show's spirit at E3 conference in Los Angeles. The demo begins, as so many episodes do, in South Park Elementary School. Rather than playing as existing characters from the show, the game puts players in control of a new student, dubbed "Commander Douchebag" by Eric Cartman, one of the show's main four characters.
The Commander finds himself in the middle of a war that's broken out in the school between two factions competing for the titular Stick of Truth — an artifact that holds either great power, or just provides a plot device for 8-year-old boys to fight over. Green-hatted Kyle leads the peaceful Elves, while Cartman has taken control of the belligerent Wizards. The Commander recruits series regular Butters into his party and sets out, under Cartman's orders, to stop Kyle.
The game looks exactly like the show, and the animation retains its occasionally jerky feel. All of the series regulars reprise their voice roles, and the music sounds like a parody of the epic tracks in games like "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim."
Information aboutSouth Park
Release: In development
BioWare - GM Aaryn Flynn Reflects on E3 2013
BioWare's GM Aaryn Flynn shares his thoughts about this years E3 on the company's blog.
What did it feel like to show the first glimpse of Dragon Age: Inquisition to the world during the E3 press conference?
[Aaryn Flynn]: Very humbling. Many team members who are much closer to the game could have stood up there, but I got chosen because I’m more ‘expendable’! To represent their collective effort, in front of thousands of people is a big responsibility.
I wish I could convey how hard the team has been working for the past couple of years on the game. They had a vision to not do a CG trailer, but instead to show a trailer made from in-game footage, and they accomplished that in spades. But beyond that, there’s so much we haven’t shown yet, and we will very soon. This was just the team’s way of showing a small window into the game for fans that’ve been with us from the beginning.
You shared just a few of the first details about the game during the conference, but for those that weren’t able to watch, could you leave us with a refresher?
[AMF]: Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch in the Fall of 2014 on PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, and Xbox 360. We’ve shown Varric, a Qunari (who has a name, we’re just not releasing it yet!), Cassandra, and Morrigan.
With the breach of the Fade happening in the sky, demons have poured out and created a pretty big problem for the Inquisitor, the character you will play. You’ll have to cover huge areas of Thedas to uncover what happened. As you do, the choices you make will impact the world and bring everything to an ultimate conclusion.
Project Eternity - Social Round-up #3
Gamebanshee has another round-up of forum posts, and social network activity from the developers for Project Eternity. Most of the topics cover the UI mockup from a few weeks back.
Thanks for the feedback, everyone, divergent though it may be. Here are some things we are going to continue to look into:
* Better use of space overall. Not all of the decorative elements need to be there. We would like to have more room for the ability icons in particular.
* Re-working and re-positioning of the player menu (inventory, etc.).
* Possibly vertically orienting the character portraits and ability icons on one side of the screen. The combat log pretty much has to be horizontally-oriented, but other than scrolling through it, that's a non-interactive element of the UI.
I have to say I think it's strange that people are requesting UI layouts with character portraits far away from action icons, floating wireframe UIs, and similar features. While it's true that BG1 and IWD1 used wrap-around UIs, that was because 640x480 base resolutions didn't allow us to fit all of the elements along one edge of the screen. As soon as we went to 800x600 in IWD2, we immediately went to a consolidated UI layout that made mouse movement much more efficient. I understand that a lot of people use hotkeys and we certainly plan to support that, but GUIs need to be functional for people who use them. Putting abilities 75%+ of the screen width away from the character portraits is really inefficient.
While I certainly think the idea of a bone and obsidian UI could be really cool looking [note: he's referring to a forum user's idea], it would also be very stark and high-contrast. I think it would wind up dominating the screen, regardless of the environment. Our outdoor environments, especially, will fall more in the BG and BG2 spectrum of colors, which is why we went with more subdued natural tones and copper accents. We can certainly look at alternatives, but I wanted to give feedback on that particular idea.
Information aboutProject Eternity
Release: In development
Sunday - June 16, 2013
Information aboutIndie RPGs
Release: In development
Video Game Reviews - The Ten-Point Scale And Inflated Scores
Forbes has a new editorial discussing game reviews, and inflated scores.
There’s a perception out there among many gamers that video game review scores are inflated or biased. Why do so many games get scored between 7 and 10 on a 10-point scale? What happened to the rest of the numbers?
And why do some games—especially ultra-hyped AAA franchises—get such high numbers?
There’s a few things going on here, I think. First of all, the 10-point scale is deceptive.
Information aboutGeneral News
Release: In development
Drox Operative: Invasion of the Ancients - Scavenger Race Profile
Soldak Entertainment released details about the Scavenger one of the races that will be in the next expansion.
Scavenger (Invasion of the Ancients expansion)
Danger Level: Very High
A mixer of vehicle components, scavengers adapted both mechanical and biological tech as solutions for advancement. Natural evolution led to incorporating any leftover debris after battles, including other races' ship corpses and technological abilities. Profiting from the demise of others was business as usual, but other races thought it an abhorrent practice and despised the scavengers for it. The scavengers enjoy a period of great advancement and wealth during wartime, which explains many other races' fear and hesitancy to engage this voracious enemy.
Traits: Scavenger and Reverse Engineering
Information aboutDrox Operative
SP/MP: Single + MP
Lords of the Fallen - Peview Roundup #2
Here are a few more previsws for Lords of the Fallen and it's E3 demo.
“Germans still like all the epic material where a guy has a club in his hand and runs through forests,” said Creative Director Jan Klose of Deck 13. “Maybe Polish people as well. I think for the region, stories are really big and storytelling is really big in this part of the world. And Dark fantasy is a cool way of telling stories, because they get more to the heart than some lighthearted, shiny-mailed knight running around without a care.” You can hear the disdain in his voice when he talks about traditional fantasy fare.
Every region of the world is different, and has different tastes and inclinations. He gave adventure games as an example. They're still a viable business in Germany, but less so in North America. “It's a cultural thing that people want to have these stories, and in Lords of the Fallen we don't want to tell the player a story, we want them to explore it.”
That's another very European style of game making. More than once this week at E3 I've heard from a developer that when you make a game for Americans, you generally need to tell them what to do every step of the way, or they get frustrated and annoyed. Tomasz Gop said that Eastern European players want you to leave the game obscure and explorable.
“They appreciate when you do that,” he said. “There's a strong demand from people to find out things on their own. So that's why we want to do this type of game, and we hope that we can be successful with it.”
Old school and new. Combat is typically slow and methodical, with the big Rhogar (boss baddie Lords) capable of downing the hero in one swipe. Gop openly compared his game to Dark Souls, which engages in the same environmental and combat play, but also cites old one-on-one fighting game Tekken as an inspiration. Every death, he says, and every conflict should feel fun and like something the player earned by learning how to play steadily.
Choices+. The characters you create are broken into three classes: the hammer-wielding cleric, the speedy rogue, and the tank warrior. You’re not locked into these roles once you start playing, since you can change up provided you find a full set of each class’ armor and weaponry. There are also three skill trees for leveling up your character as they fight and earn experience: intelligence, vitality, and endurance. It’s basic stuff, but it also accommodates different styles of play. If you like to be agile or a bruiser, it’s easy to change that up on the fly.
This might be an action RPG, but don’t think you can just charge into battle and spam abilities. You’ll quickly be punished for your foolish actions. The game has vicious foes who would like nothing less than to chop you in half. You’d be wise to learn enemy habits and dodge their attempts to murder you.
Most combat sequences will be between yourself and fewer than four foes. It’s intimate and challenging with blows received putting a large dent in your health pool. It’s difficult not to draw a correlation with Dark Souls, a game that follows some of the same core principles. However, Lords of the Fallen isn’t a game that emphasizes constant trial and error. Instead, it fills up time with a story.
The game's primary focus is evidently combat, with a heavy dose of strategy used to determine the when and how of battles. For example, with the cleric and his massive war hammer you have to time your attacks perfectly to even hope of landing a hit, while with the rogue you will have quicker strikes at your disposal. The game will also let you switch classes on the fly without much interruption to the flow of the game.
Armor will also play an important role in the game's progress as you will find pieces of equipment in chests and through specific actions. The catch is these armor pieces are not only specific to your class but all the classes, so if you find a cool dagger you'd like to use you may consider switching over to rogue for a bit to try it out. Each class also has their own special move based on action points. Once you have enough you can unleash your special move to turn the tide of combat.
City Interactive's lead developer Tomasz Gop claimed that Lords of the Fallen will be the most challenging of the next gen RPGs, and boasts that the game is more centered on combat and action than anything else. While I didn't see anything out of the ordinary as far as difficulty is concerned, the action within the game looks incredibly fun. You can play as three different classes: a Warrior, Rogue or Cleric. Each type of character plays as you would imagine: the warrior uses heavy armor and is strong, the Rogue is quick and uses mostly daggers, and the Cleric uses lighter armor but uses a heavy hammer that has to be timed well to be most effective. Each type of character has their own action, as well. A Cleric has the Dogma skill which allows him to spawn a clone of himself to fight alongside him. The Warrior had a power skill, and the Rogue had Shadow, which allows him to disappear to stealthily kill his foe in a powerful way.
Lords of the Fallen won't only focus on the action, though, as CI games promises there will be plenty of background lore for the medieval fantasy RPG. The story that we were given is that the game takes place 8000 years ago during a time when there's a fight against god and his army. In fact, if you look closely at the first image we received from Lords of the Fallen, you'll notice that what appears to be mountains is actually the hand of that fallen god. As you traverse through the world, there is more lore scattered about in different forms. We saw the protagonist, Harkyn, pick up a couple notes that were randomly spawned in the world, which contained lore. Tomasz Gop stated that finding lore is a major factor into the game's replayability and branching off from the main storyline. In fact, Gop teased that the game will be heavy on secrets and discovering, and re-exploration will be important to find hidden items that weren't there the first time.
There are a number of features that Lords of the Fallen has which sets it apart. Equipment and weapons are completely customizeable and there are secrets hidden throughout the game world that can be unlocked for amazing upgrades. The demo had three starting character types (Rogue, Warrior, Cleric) but you have the ability to customize it however you’d like as you progress. Characters can also learn Action Skills which can help you by increasing your power, distracting enemies, or rendering you invisible for a short time.
Information aboutLords of the Fallen
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Van Helsing - Review @ Gamebanshee
Gamebanshee has posted their review for the The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing.
Overall, The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing is a pretty entertaining game, especially for a $15 budget title. There are some parts of the game that could work better, but the setting and the dialogue make it worthwhile. In fact, about the worst things I can say about Van Helsing is that it's too short. The campaign only takes 20 hours to complete, and once you defeat the final boss, that's it. There isn't really anything more for a character to do. All you can do if you like the game is create a new character and play the campaign again.
I played through Van Helsing twice, once with a "normal" ranged character and then once with a "heroic" melee character. Those two games were more than enough for me to say that Van Helsing is worth the price of admission, but for others you might be happy to hear that the game also comes with a cooperative multiplayer mode, where you can play the game with your friends -- or random strangers. In other words, if you enjoy action RPGs at all, then Van Helsing is an easy game to recommend.
Information aboutVan Helsing
SP/MP: Single + MP
Lords of Xulima - New Screenshots and Videos
Information aboutLords of Xulima
Release: In development
Fable Anniversary - Previews and Gameplay Footage
Lionhead's remastered Fable Anniversary was at this year's E3, and so here are a few previews and gameplay video.
There's someone else with an eye on this project, Lionhead founder Peter Molyneux, who has now moved onto new things with 22Cans. "He's very interested in progress," said Oman. "We chat about it often. He and Tim had breakfast today and talked about it."
Famously, Fable was one of Molyneux's great development projects, a living, breathing world that, he said at the time, would redefine gameplay. Even if it didn't quite pan out according to the Molyneux hype, Fable is, according to Oman, "one of the most successful IPs in gaming history."
He said that the new game will retain the exact same controls as the original, but with "a more intuitive design, that feels exactly like the original." he added, "Visually, it's completely updated, in all the environments from bright outdoor scenes to misty graveyards. We're able to do the things the original designers could only dream of."
The UI has been rejigged to feel a little more modern, but the moment-to-moment gameplay is the same. It’s a strange feeling to return to this game’s more complex UI-reliant combat after the ‘one button’ rhythm-driven combat of Fable II and III, but it still feels pretty good. There are new control options for those more familiar and comfortable with a feel closer to more recent titles in the series. All told, it’s a little more obviously sluggish than modern games, but again, one has to remember that this game is a decade old.
The save system has also been made more forgiving to match Fable II and III, and will allow players to save at anytime from anywhere in the game - even during quests.
The game unfortunately still features load-times, the architecture of the game such that it would likely be impossible to turn it into a flowing open world - but Lionhead has reduced them significantly. The developer describes them as ‘Lightning Fast,’ and they certainly zipped by during our time storming Twinblade’s camp at E3.
Saturday - June 15, 2013
Might & Magic X - Character Creation
A new update was posted on the Might & Magic X Legacy open development blog a few days ago. It's all about character creation classes, races, stats, and skills.
The party creation
When starting a game of Might & Magic X, you will have two options: either start right away with a default party (more details below), or you can manually choose and customize four different heroes.
If you decide to customize each hero, the first feature you will have to pick is the race, which then defines the different classes available for heroes of that race. Each race also has their specials: Humans for example come with additional start skills, Dwarfs have more health points, Elves are more resistant and Orcs have increased critical damage.
Also, you can select a portrait and voice for your character (for example cynical or heroic). The choices you have here depend on the class’s race and the character’s gender.
Altogether, if you decide to create new characters instead of using the default ones, you have the following options:
- Choose the gender of the character
- Choose the class of the character
- Choose the default name of the character to a name of your choice
- Choose the portrait of the character
- Choose the voice of the character
- Modify the attributes, health and mana points
- Select two additional start skills for the character in addition to the default start skills
The class of a character gives you different skill options. Also, each class has a dedicated paragon class. In general, you can unlock the paragon class by finishing an epic quest chain, which will give you access to the Grand Master tiers and improve the character even more.
When you start playing the game, each of the characters you created will have certain default skills on level 1, including the two additional skills chosen by you. When your character levels up, you can choose whether you want to improve the already existing skills (and which ones), or if you want your character to learn and improve other skills. By visiting trainers, your characters will even be able to learn expert, master and grandmaster skills. You will get to know more about trainers and skills in another posting that’s currently in the pipeline. :)
The default party
The default party consists of a Dwarf Defender, an Orc Barbarian, an Elven Ranger, and a Human Freemage.
As mentioned above, this race combination ensures that you party members have different specials, for example more health points for the Dwarf and so on. Furthermore, the default party has additional start skills. Each skill has special features on its tiers description. We will soon provide you with more information on that in a separate posting about skills and spells.
Information aboutMight & Magic X
Release: In development
Blackguards - Video Interview @ GameSpot
GameSpot has a video interview with two developers from Daedalic Entertainment at E3 about their upcoming turn-based tactical RPG Blackguards.
Time to be the bad guy! Daedelic pop by the stage to show us an early build of their upcoming turn-based RPG, Blackguards. Except dice rolls, hex grids, and breaking tables with your bare hands.
Shroud of the Avatar - Post-funding Update #31
Shroud of the Avatar has a new post-funding update and it's a long one. The topics cover the new monthly payment layaway plan, new public & private forums, and team bios.
Monthly Payment Layaway Plan Goes Live!
During our Kickstarter campaign we received many requests for a monthly payment plan from backers that couldn't afford to pay for their desired pledge all at once. In Update #25 we mentioned we were working on a Layaway Plan that would provide for recurring monthly payments toward a desired tier. We're happy to announce that our Monthly Payment Layaway Plan has now been rolled out!
Can I Make Monthly Payments Toward New Pledges and Upgrading Existing Pledges?
The monthly payment plan is available to new backers making their first pledge, as well as existing backers that want to make monthly payments toward upgrading their pledge. You'll notice the changes on the front page of the SotA site, right side-bar, where it says "Select Full Payment or Monthly Payments". The drop-down menu now has a new item, "Monthly Payments - CreditCard". If you select that, and click on Pledge, it'll take you to a new Monthly Payment page, allowing you to select a new pledge to start making payments toward, or upgrade an existing pledge (if you have one) with monthly payments. It'll automatically show you the lowest monthly payment amount based on how many months are remaining until September 2014, however, it won't go below $10 per month. You can adjust the monthly payment amount, and the number of months to reach your pledge will automatically change.
What's Up With the Service Fees?
There is a monthly service fee associated with the Layaway plan, thus increasing the overall amount paid for a tier. Part of this service fee goes to cover the monthly charges passed on to us from your payment provider (credit card, PayPal, or Amazon), part goes to cover our additional processing costs, and part covers the extra benefit you receive for reserving a potentially limited tier, and getting the rewards for that tier, prior to actually paying the full amount for that tier. For example, if you decide to make $80 monthly payments for the $800 Knight tier, we have to remove one of the Knight's pledges from the limited pool, and you immediately have access to the Private Developer Forums, even though you have only made one $80 payment. This would be unfair to all the backers that paid $400 or more in a single payment, so they could have access to the Private Developer Forums. The additional service fee you are paying each month covers these benefits.
Tracking Developer Posts
Many of you asked for a tool to help you find forum postings made by members of the SotA Development Team, so we added the "Developer Tracker" button to the forum menu. If you're logged in, it'll list every developer posting, sorted by date. Give it a try and let us know what you think!
Private Founders Developer Blog
In the past week, we've also added the private Founders Developer Blog, which is available to all backers at the Founders tier and above. The Dev Team will be making regular posts in this area (including the transcript of our daily team stand-up meetings), so come check it out to see what the team is up to.
New General Forums
We have also completed the migration of all the public general forum posts over to the new forums, and have closed down the old forums, so head on over and check them out at https://www.shroudoftheavatar.com/forum (or click the "Forum" button on the SotA home page).
Checkout the Team Bios!
Our Dev Team has grown considerably in the past 2 months (we're up to 22 now)! For those of you that want to get to know our Dev Team a bit more, we just published a Bio for each and every one of them on our new SotA Developers page. We'll add new bios as we add new team members (we just interviewed a new artist intern, so look for her bio shortly).
Information aboutShroud of the Avatar
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Massive Chalice - Update #9, Podcast Episode #1, Artist Livestream
Massive Chalice has another quick update on it's kickstater page. This time it's a podcast with with John Swisshelm and Chris Remo, and a livestream video with the games Lead Artist Derek Brand.
MASSIVE CHALICE Backer Q&A Podcast
Recently Brad sat down with John Swisshelm and Chris Remo to answer questions from backers about MASSIVE CHALICE. This is a great chance to get even more insight into our design direction and influences, so grab the recording here!
Today at 1PM Pacific (20:00 GMT), MASSIVELY TALENTED artist Derek Brand will be livestreaming straight from his desk here at Double Fine while he works on new concept art for MASSIVE CHALICE!
Derek created the striking concept image of a hero going into battle alongside his ancestors:
And here's a new concept of a warrior that we discussed on our art commentary from the last update!So be sure to tune in at 1PM Pacific (20:00 GMT) today to watch Derek at work!
If you can’t make the live stream you can always go here http://www.twitch.tv/doublefine/videos?kind=past_broadcasts to watch the recording.
Thanks again and have a fantastic weekend!
Brad and the MASSIVE CHALICE Team :D
Information aboutMassive Chalice
Release: In development
Transistor - PS4 and PC at Release, Mac and Linux Later
Here we are with another E3 announcement this time about Transistor. You will be able to play the game early next year on PS4 and Steam. While those waiting for a Mac and Linux version you will have to wait longer.
One of the most common questions we get about our next game is, which platforms is it coming to? Today we’re excited to have a specific answer for you at last: When Transistor is released sometime early next year, it will be available day one for PlayStation 4, and for PC on Steam. We plan to bring the game to Linux and Mac afterwards, and haven’t ruled anything out beyond that.
You may know that our first game, Bastion, is available for more than six different platforms at this point. But it started on just one. We were still working on new versions of Bastion more than a year after the initial launch on Xbox LIVE Arcade. The main reason Bastion ended up in so many places, of course, is because a lot of people liked the game. And the main reason a lot of people liked it is because we were able to create the game we wanted to make in the first place, by not spreading our focus too thin and making sure Bastion ran great on XBLA, then on Steam, and so on. So, in short: Our strategy of focusing on a console/PC launch worked well on Bastion so we’re doing it again on Transistor.
Information aboutIndie RPGs
Release: In development
Bethesda Softworks - Next Project Not Unveiling Any Time Soon
We all know Bethesda is working on another Fallout 4 or Scroll game, but it might be a while before we get to hear anything about it. Pete Hines has told OXM in a brief chat at E3 that the project isn't quite ready to be announced any time soon.
Hines also advised caution, despite his optimism about the project. "I get to see it and it's already really awesome, but it's probably helpful to note that anyone who thinks that what he's working on next is going to be talked about soon doesn't understand game development.
"They just announced that they're moving the whole team onto something else. Give these guys time and space, expect it never and be surprised if it's any time before then."
"Arkane, id and all of these guys, they work on really big projects that are ambitious, and it just takes them awhile to get to speed. You know how we are; we like to show what we're up to, not just put something up and there's no substance to it. It's going to be a while."
In my opinion they don't want to announce Fallout 4 because it will dilute the enthusiasm for ESO, Wolfenstein, and their other published games.
Information aboutBethesda Softworks
Thief 4 - Interview @ Gamespot
Information aboutThief 4
Release: In development
Frozen State - A Survival Based Horror RPG
Frozen State is a new rpg on kickstarter looking for funding. The project still has 37 days left and has raised £7,763 of it's £60,000 goal. It's worth a look so spread the word.
It is a survival based horror RPG, which will immerse you in a Siberian, post apocalyptic wasteland. The game takes place in a secret Soviet city,which was partly destroyed. You will get by, side by side, with vicious alien hybrids, ruthless bandits and other survivors like you, who haven’t lost hope. Exploring new areas, scavenging and fighting for your life, you will be making hard choices between greater good and your personal goals, which will lead you to different outcomes.
Our inspiration comes from many sources: games like Fallout 1 and 2, S.T.A.L.K.E.R Shadow of Chernobyl, Metro 2033, Half-Life 2, Resident Evil; films The Thing, Alien(s),Prometheus, The Road, The Myst; our favorite writers Isaac Asimov, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, Stanislaw Lem and many others.
We are making a game which will have virtually an ultimate freedom without labeling you as a bad or a good guy, a game where your actions affect the world, a game without hordes of brainless zombies, but rather with strong and dangerous enemies. The game with tense and grim atmosphere.
Thanks go to rjshae for bringing this game to my attention.
Elder Scrolls Online - Peview Roundup #2
It's time for more previes for The Elder Scrolls Online., but first Machinima has a video interview with ZeniMax Online's Paul Sage.
APL steps into the MMO world with the upcoming Elder Scrolls Online during the Machinima E3 live stream.
It was, more or less, exactly the same as my typical Elder Scrolls solo experience. Character creation was pretty familiar, if simpler, but the typical races were represented. I went around doing a bunch of quests that didn’t have much to do with one another, and I wandered around looking at stuff while random assassins tried to murder me. I talked to some people, and my dialogue options were usually pretty meaningless. It’s all what I would have expected from any other internally developed Bethesda RPG.
One might read what I just wrote and interpret that as me asserting that TESO is some sort of grand evolution of the MMO, but that is not at all what I am trying to say. Rather, what playing TESO made me realize is that all those other Elder Scrolls titles were actually MMO-style games that you had to play alone. That’s not an insult, because those games have avoided some of the key annoyances about MMOs, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
To be fair, TESO is not exactly identical to Skyrim. There is an action bar, for one, though there is no cursor as mouse look is locked on. Yeah, you’ll hit the left mouse button a lot to attack, but then you’ll throw some abilities, which you buy with skill points that you gain from leveling up, in from time to time with the 1-5 keys. And, like, uh, I’m sure there were other things that were different. No, this feels like Elder Scrolls.
As soon as I strode into the town of Daggerfall, a dog bounded up to me. I entered a dialogue with the puppy - like you do - and I was led to the body of a young Breton. His supposed killer attacked me immediately, and I got my first taste at combat. The right and left mouse buttons feel a bit odd to constantly press when fighting, at least for me, but I soon figured out a nifty combo of trapping the Bloodthorn Assassin in his place and peppering him with lighting and basic staff attacks.
It turns out the dead guy left a shopping list, and I had to go around to the shopkeepers in town to see what I could find out. Talking to the shopkeepers not only introduced more of the excellent voice-acting for every NPC - on par or better than Skyrim I'd say - but it also let me loot all of the barrels and crates in the market. I was disappointed the guards didn't attack me, my loot OCD will get the better of me in this game, but I gathered a bunch of raw materials like grain and fruit.
Hey, that's a cookfire. What happens if I ... Yep, hello crafting system. From what I had in my inventory, I brewed an ale and a wine - potions which would restore my health or mana over a brief time. You can also "deconstruct" anything you craft to get some raw resources back and possibly discover new recipes, but I didn't learn anything new when I deconstructed my beer. Pity.
For Skyrim fans, marriage systems are no big news. For newer fans of Zenimax's Elder Scrolls Online, this may come as a pleasant surprise. In an interview with Gamespot, Paul Sage, Creative Director of ESO, explained what these marriages actually are, and also detailed several other features of this upcoming game.
A player can marry another player in a simple ceremony, but it’s really a marriage of convenience. The benefit here lies in the bonus experience points you’ll get travelling and adventuring together with your character’s spouse.
Just like in Skyrim, players will have to pay up to get hitched, and both parties will wear rings signifying their new bond. And if you happen to play with more than one person, you can marry another too. Polygamy knows no bounds in Tamriel.
An even cooler feature is the guild integration. You can find your guild from Day 1 of gameplay. The moment you sign in, your guild will be listed and you can jump right into familiar territory.
As a guild, you’ll get some perks that lone wolves won’t.
- Claim Keeps: guilds get to claim a keep or tower and this steps in as the “player housing” system in Elder Scrolls games. Close enough.
- Guild Leader Options: guild leaders can set permissions within the guild to allow guild members access to certain features, or to keep them out.
- Guild Bank: guild members have their own shared inventory to store loot in, accessible by every member accepted into its fold.
- Guild XP: get bonus experience points when you travel and adventure with your guild.
And finally DevilsMMO has news the the game is being delayed.
If you were excited for all the next-gen console news to come out of E3, there's one small rain cloud attached to the whole thing. The Elder Scrolls Online for PC, originally due in Summer 2013, has been delayed to Spring 2014, to coincide with the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. No news as to whether this is an actual delay, a delay due to the developers needing to make changes based on the console version or if Bethesda are showing shades of Rayman Legends and delaying a finished game just because, but delayed it is.
Information aboutElder Scrolls Online
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Video Interviews And Artwork
Next Techjeep has more screenshots and artwork. The pictures wont fit the post so visit the site to view them.
And lastly we have a E3 interview, and a cam video from E3 showing the graphic effects. That's all for today.
The Witcher 3 New PC Graphics Effects Detailed
E3 2013 - Witcher 3 Interview with CD Projekt Red
Witcher 3 - Preview Roundup #2
Get ready for more previews for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. They keep multiplying everyday thanks to E3 and there is allot to cover so here we go.
This morning, CD Projekt RED showed a 45-minute demonstration of The Witcher 3 to press behind closed doors at E3. I was lucky enough to be invited.
If there’s a game at this year’s show that is more impressive than The Witcher 3, I haven’t seen it yet. The demo showcased numerous improvements to the game, including a new open world and dynamic quest system.
The combat is very similar to that of the previous game, where the learning curve for swordplay was a bit steep and unrewarding. Ziemak said the combat is being redesigned with those shortcomings in mind, and said there will be attacks that can be unlocked and new, improved magical signs will be available. Unfortunately, he said he couldn't be more specific now as nothing has been finalized.
Players will now have plenty of extra room to explore, as CDPR has crafted an open world that is 35 times larger than The Witcher 2. Even the single island that was the focal point of the demo we saw was larger than the previous game. Whether larger equates to better remains to be seen, but at least players won't need to ride the whole distance as a new fast travel system will allow players to jump quickly to areas they have already visited. Ziemak said players will be encouraged to explore the huge world by offering plenty of new achievements and quests.
The Witcher 3 appears to be building on the successful formula of its predecessor while trying to add in new features to better flesh out Geralt's character in his journey. We can only hope that the demo is indicative of what the final game will be.
The comparisons to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are unavoidable, and visually The Witcher 3 has very much that same Alaskan-national-park-postcard kinda feel. If you’ve added all of the many mods that max out Skyrim’s visuals, you’ve already got a great idea of how The Witcher 3 looks. She’s a beaut.
And she’s massive. Thirty-five times bigger than The Witcher 2 is CDP’s official claim, and filled with more than 100-hours’ worth of content. You’ll get around this world on foot, horseback, swimming, and even by boat. After chatting with the lord and agreeing to go after the Wild Hunt, Geralt went down to the docks and hopped in a small watercraft, raised the sail, and set off. While there is a fast travel system, this isn’t it. Players control watercraft, so you’ll be able to explore the seas much like you explore the land, travelling wherever your heart desires. And the sea looks just as alive as the land. Just outside the harbor, a whale surfaced, flapping its tail in hello before going back under. Nice touch.
It’s only day one, and I’ve already found one of the biggest standouts for my week at E3. I was fortunate enough to sit in on a private presentation of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt from CD Projekt RED.
Fan of the old games? Good. Things have changed. Over the span of nearly an hour’s worth of live and uncut pre-alpha gameplay, I immediately learned that The Withcer 3 is almost wildly different from The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher. This is an open world title. Completely open world, and that greatly affects the game’s immersive capabilities.
If you’re less concerned about reading bestiary entries, and fictional political histories, I’m sad to report that combat seems a bit wobbly at this stage. Unfortunately, Geralt is still prone to lashing his swords about at random, unsure of where to strike, thanks to weighty animations. That was an issue in the last game too, and considering how much The Witcher 3 resembles its predecessor — both graphically and mechanically — it doesn’t seem like core play has seen a stark overhaul. You’ll still rely heavily on magic, traps, potions, and items to offset the wild sword swings.
Every action has a consequence. The world is a morally gray place, where good and evil are merely two sides to the same coin. The lines blur together, and the decisions you’re tasked to make may have strange and unforeseen consequences a long ways down the road.
As a fan of deep fantasy lore and RPGs that really let me soak in the universe, The Witcher 3 seems like it was made just for me. There’s no release date for this massive game as of yet, but I’m willing to wait. If CD Projekt Red can deliver on only half of what they’ve promised, I think next gen console and PC owners are in for a very special adventure.
Friday - June 14, 2013
Mistborn - Delayed To 2014
Our previous news post on Mistborn: Birthright was when it was announced in 2012, where it was mentioned that the game would be released later this year.
So it is time for a new news post to mention that it is delayed. RPGFan has learned that the game will be released in 2014 to make it possible for Little Orbit to spend more time on Young Justice: Legacy.
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Release: In development
Expeditions: Conquistador - Review @ Universal Gaming Reviews
Universal Gaming Reviews add their positive review of Expeditions: Conquistador to the list.
Overall, Expeditions Conquistador is an excellent game that isn’t without its own foibles but it’s a game that feels like a lot of work has gone into crafting the experience and is not only well written but incredibly in-depth and well thought out. It’s a game that may not appeal to some people and it’s incredibly high difficulty and somewhat steep learning curve may deter a few people but it’s a fun game overall and while it may be aggravating losing battles often the game gives you a lot of customization in the difficulty of the game and it’s a game that I can gladly recommend giving a shot, especially if you like historical turn based strategy games or tactical RPG’s with a twist.
Information aboutExpeditions: Conquistador
Blackguards - Preview @ Rocket Chainsaw
Rocket Chainsaw has written a short preview of Blackguards based on what they have seen of the game at E3.
The game is heavily based on the pen-and-paper system, behind each attack is an invisible dice roll. The game was created in the Unity engine, and it actually looks quite nice visually. Gameplay is very smooth. You can visit towns where you move around freely, interacting with other characters. As for the plot, The producer claims that you can’t play this game as a good guy, even if you try to, you’ll turn to evil at some point. And for quests, even if you fail to save someone, the game will still continue. Your failure has repercussions, but it does not interrupt the game’s flow
Frayed Knights 2 - Working With Unity 3D
The Rampant Coyote is sharing with us his insights on using the Unity 3D engine for Frayed Knights 2, which are fairly positive.
The Unity scripting system is very easy to use once you get a “feel” for it – which might take a while. There are a few libraries to get familiar with, and some critical components to be aware of (things like Time, Transform, Mathf, and Camera are pretty critical off the bat). But at it’s core, Unity deals with GameObjects – a base class for all objects – which are object-oriented containers for components – behaviors and characteristics.
In practice, it’s pretty straightforward. You have an object. Want to make it player controlled? Link in a player control component. Want to make it visible? Link in a mesh renderer using whatever player mesh you want. Want it to leave a trail behind it? Link in a trail component. For more complex objects, your game object can have a number of “children” objects, all with their own components. It’s powerful and elegant. And of course, much of your job as a programmer is creating these components.
Once I got into the swing of things, I quickly found that a lot of the way things were designed pretty consistently – which means to me that I could predict with decent accuracy how I expect Unity to handle things I needed to do. I felt like it was designed the way I would have designed it. This makes navigating the system much easier – when I’m trying to figure out how to do something, I simply think of how I, as a programmer, would have set it up, and go hunting for a function that sounds right. Four out of five times, I nail it. This is perhaps a subjective aspect of Unity, but it makes things a lot easier and more fun for me. It just makes sense and feels right.
In addition there is some in-game footage of Frayed Knights 2 showing a software bug.
Free bonus (and worth every penny…)! Since I’m doing a lot of work with dungeon geometry generated in run-time, I can get some weird effects that hit the entire dungeon. This was 100% a “me” bug, not a Unity problem, but I just thought I’d share. The problem is when I flagged certain areas as being water. It worked well – except for sections of the dungeon (which I deem “blocks” – a 20 meter x 20 meter square area) with no water. There, the water didn’t get initialized, and decided to turn all the floors of the “default” material into running water instead.
So it looks like I left the water running in my dungeon.
Information aboutFrayed Knights 2
Release: In development