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Aubrielle's Column

2016-07-07

Death By Exposure - Trails of Cold Steel

Aubrielle opens her new semiregular JRPG column with an unofficial review of Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.
» Continue reading the article...

Torment: Tides of Numenera

2016-06-27

Torment: Tides of Numenera Beta Impressions

Corwin entered the world of Numenera in the beta version of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
» Read the article

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Recently Released

Jul: Phantom Brave PC
Jul: Starbound
Jul: I Am Setsuna
Jul: Necropolis
Jul: Song of the Deep

Expected Releases

Jul: We Happy Few
Aug: Deus Ex: MD
Aug: Champions of Anteria
Aug: Stellar Tactics
Aug: Tahira

Saturday - July 23, 2016

Deus Ex: MD - Ignoring Main Objective

by Aubrielle, 07:44

GamesRadar takes a look at the question "how much fun can we have while ignoring your main objective?". The fleshed-out feel of the game is refreshing.

I got drunk in a railway station, tried to climb into a sewer, nearly died

The important take-away here is that I learned just how expansive and organically explorable Mankind Divided’s hubworlds are. They seems significantly upraded from Human Revolution, in scale, variety, freedom, and overall sense of being in a real place. Case in point: the city hub is so big that it’s actually split into two parts, with a subway ride connecting them. Additionally, the sewers underneath the city are no longer simply short-cuts and break-in routes. They’re so large and winding that you can pretty much cross from anywhere (within a hub section) to anywhere else without seeing daylight. The concept of a parallel under-city - mentioned at one point by an oppressed, subterranean aug pariah - almost rings true.

Anyway, I’m at the subway station on my way to getting a train across to the other side of the city. I realise that I have a few bottles of booze in my inventory - looted from a garage lock-up that I managed to hack open on my way over, using a very similar minigame to that used in Human Revolution. My health could do with a pick-me-up, so I down a couple of them. My health goes up, while my eyesight drops off a cliff. Adam is shambolically drunk, but I am undeterred. But I decide to get out of public view until it wears off. I’ve seen enough hollering, railway drunks in real-life to not want to be counted among their number. And look! What’s that over there? Why, it’s a ‘Staff only’ door. Bound to be something good behind it. I head through, and I find a manhole cover.

I open it, and climb down. I open up my map, and confirm that yes, these tunnels go on for miles. This is exciting, and I am hyped to explore and see what secrets they hold (when I can actually see again). But disaster! The bottom of the ladder is cloaked with poison gas, as is the rest of the chamber. Unable to focus when I first get down there, I don't notice until things go red and Adam starts coughing up thick chunks of God knows what. I shall return, sober, and augmented with air-purifying lungs, but for now, I rapidly ascend, flopping out onto the subway’s cold floor tiles like a dying seal, gasping, debased, but now at least sober.

I get a train to the other side of the city, deliberately get in the wrong ‘non-augmented’ queue at the other end (the cops are a bit sniffy, but basically let me get away with it, because I’m secretly their boss and I think on some level they’re starting to sense it), and head up to street level.

Read more.

Source: GamesRadar

Deus Ex: MD

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Shooter-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Witcher 3 - First Person Mod

by Silver, 02:09

@DSOGaming they report that CDPR forum member skacikpl has developed a first person mod for The Witcher 3 which will be releasing soon.

CDPR's forum member ‘skacikpl‘ is currently working on a first-person mod for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and has released a new video in order to showcase it. The modder claimed that the current version of his first-person mod will be released soon, so stay tuned for more. Until then, enjoy the video after the jump!

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Witcher 3

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Bard's Tale IV - Character Progression

by Silver, 01:44

A new kickstarter update for The Bards Tale IV brings with it details on what to expect from character progression. This update also gave our bt4 interview back in May a shoutout so check it out if you haven't already.

While skill trees can have a lot of options, their complexity grows along with the adventurer. The very first view you might have of your skill tree as a Fighter might look a little something like this, showing only a smaller number of skills to unlock:

skill tree mockup

The image above is a mockup using placeholder art, but should give you a sense of what this might look like in the game.

In the above image we see the player has a few choices to pick from for their fledgling Fighter: learning to wield more advanced one handed weapons, learning to wield great weapons, gaining access to battle standards, wearing more protective armor, gaining bundles of attribute points, learning a new passive, or learning to craft basic potions. You'll notice that many of those choices also carry along with them some increased attributes as an added bonus.

For those of you thinking that's all there is, don't worry. You'll be able to view your entire skill tree from the get go. For simplicity's sake we set the default view to show you only what you have available at a given level, and what's just beyond the horizon. However, you can always zoom out to see the full number of options available to your adventurers as they grow into heroes of legend.

[...]

For those of you looking closely at the skill tree descriptions, which I'm confident many of you are, you might be wondering where you get your combat abilities from. Many of them, in fact, do not feature in the skill tree directly - instead, the place you acquire abilities is actually from your equipment. As you progress down the skill tree you unlock the ability to wield new and more exotic weapons, off-hand items, and trinkets. You may unlock access to a single item, such as a battle standard, or an entire category of items, such as Tier 2 great weapons. These items each have a specific ability or abilities. By wielding a great club you'd be able to use Lumbering Strike during battle, while wielding a battle standard would allow you to rally your allies with the ability "To Me, Brothers." As a certain weapon is used, an adventurer will eventually master its abilities, allowing them to keep using those abilities even without needing the weapon equipped. This will let you naturally unlock a vast amount of tactical flexibility over the course of the game.

And lastly, equipment such as your helm, armor, and boots also play a major role in your character's growth and progression. Through the skill tree you're also able gain access to increasingly powerful and exotic armor, robes, costumes, garbs, habits, and accoutrement. Your gear accounts for a major chunk of your adventurer's attributes. How many blows your character can withstand, how able he or she is to focus the eldritch forces, and their mental fortitude is heavily influenced by what mystic equipment they've found and learned to use throughout their journeys. These items can also grant you unique passive abilities that can help you form powerful combos. Itemization is an important aspect of The Bard's Tale IV and we've only given you a cursory glance, so we'll be touching on it more later.

By the good graces of the Review Board, wise choices made in your skill tree, and only the most potent of enchanted war gear, your adventurer can become a one of a kind hero whose deeds will be chronicled through song for an age.

Bard's Tale IV

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Friday - July 22, 2016

ELEX - The Skex

by Hiddenx, 21:23

WoE presents artwork and info of the Skex monster:

According to legend, the Skex once had a bright coat and real wings. But nowadays the Skex is just known as an aggressive and haggard runner. If there is no way of escape, beware of it's razor-sharp mandible.
Despite his haggard appearance, the Skex is a very robust creature and has spread to many countries of Magalan. Especially when the Skex come across in small groups, you shouldn't provoke them. As a voracious omnivore, the Skex leaves nothing left from his foes.
 - Piranha Bytes

ELEX

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release: In development

Details

System Shock - Interview @ GOG

by Hiddenx, 21:19

Nightdive Studio talks about the System Shock Kickstarter on GOG:

[...]

How did you choose System Shock for a remake?

Once we had acquired the rights to the System Shock franchise we worked with a SystemShock.org modder to create the Enhanced Edition we eventually released on GOG.com. What they were able to accomplish was nothing short of amazing - with the addition of mouselook, higher resolution support, and some bug fixes we knew the game would be much more accessible to a wider audience, but at the same time we began to recognize the potential for creating a remake from the ground up. The game design, narrative, and pacing all withstood the test of time and we knew that by translating those timeless features into a new engine and recreating the iconic look of Citadel Station within it we’d have something very special. We started with a simple prototype to experiment and once we began to revisit the enemies we brought Robb Waters (the original concept artist) on board to breathe new life into his oldest creations. Momentum started to build and it was decided that remaking the entire game would be the next evolutionary step for not only System Shock, but for Nightdive as well.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

System Shock

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Shooter-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

System Shock - Kickstarter Update

by Hiddenx, 21:13

Farflame spotted this Kickstarter update for System Shock:

1.1m Stretch Goal Met and RPG Stuff

1.1m Goal Reached!

Looks like the 1.1m stretch goal has been reached and we'll be supporting Linux and Mac versions of the game! Thank you all so much for making that possible! :-D We're working on bringing the demo onto OSX, but no concrete release date for it just yet. We’re hoping to having it some time next week if all goes well.

1.4m Goal Changes

We've altered the 1.4m stretch goal to something a bit more manageable from a game development standpoint. Before, it was vague and misleading regarding “RPG Elements”. That lead to a bit of confusion and unease with our backers, and to be perfectly honest, deep system features like that are pretty dangerous as stretch goals. We have an awesome vision for the game and setting a bunch of features we deeply believe in to a stretch goal stifles our own creativity since we can't fully plan for things.

Now, the 1.4m stretch goal is something much safer for us to scale if we don’t make the goal. It’s to add content in the form of more maps such as Groves, floors of Citadel Station, and Cyberspace content. This will make it better for us to properly execute on our core vision of the game, while still being able to offer some more awesome content if we hit the stretch goal.

So the RPG Stuff...

As I mentioned before, we have a pretty good vision of where we want to take things and what RPG systems we’ll be leaning towards within our budget. Also, RPG systems can imply a lot of things, so I'll go over some core concepts that we're following with the overall systems design.

  • Stats are boring - Instead of letting the player feel stronger with stat boosts and level identification, we’re more in favor of ability and skill depth. As the player progresses, they will get more abilities/weapons, which will take skill to master (player skill, not skill points)
  • Things should make sense - We want to have vending machines, but they're mainly for food/drinks that the player can get to help heal themselves or provide a slight boost to their abilities. You won't hack a vending machine to get a gun, since why would a vending machine on a space station have a gun?
  • Upgrades are good in moderation - Throughout the game, the player will find upgrades to their abilities and find better weapons. We're not going to get crazy with this one since the point of the game is to have fun, and not noodle around in your inventory. If something is tedious, don't expect us to do it.
  • Multiple ways to solve a problem - We're going to assume our players are smart and want to find creative solutions to problems/enemies. We'll provide the tools/weapons/abilities, and the player will decide how they want to solve the problem given their playstyle.

I know that isn't very detailed, but it's still early in the game’s development, and things can change. Those rules above are what we're confident in delivering. At the end of the day, we always ask ourselves “What would Looking Glass do?” and strive to carry on their tradition of innovation and quality while being as faithful as we can be to the original game.

 - Jason

System Shock

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Shooter-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Necropolis - Improvements Inbound

by Silver, 07:16

Harebrained Schemes reflect on their launch week for Necropolis and outline whats next. The developers are taking suggestions here.

At a high level, here's what we've learned so far:

First, NECROPOLIS is a game people *want* to like. Many reviewers and commenters prefaced their criticisms with statements like, "I really wanted this to be good."
Second, people expected more content and more variety for their money. Whether it's more enemies, more environments, more loot, or more variety in a level, the message is that more variety is needed.
Third, many of the item descriptions in the game are obscure and unhelpful, making it hard to make decisions about what to buy or equip. And because our item descriptions are obscure AND written in the Brazen Head's snarky/humorous tone, some people find them irritating.
And fourth, some players found the game too easy and the AI in need of improvement. For example, players report that many enemies can be beat using the same tactics and they want more variety and challenge in combat.

With that in mind, here's what we're doing to improve NECROPOLIS.

The improvements and new content described below will be added to the game FOR FREE when each one is ready over the course of the next several weeks. Please note that the timeframes listed below are meant to be rough guidelines rather than hardcore deadlines.

TODAY

  • Text descriptions of the magical codexes in the Scriptorium are more informative. This change is included in Release 1.02 today for English speaking countries. Other languages will receive that update next week after translation.
  • Resolved issue that prevented a menu option from displaying text in several languages.
  • Found a workaround for crashes at launch when using a Razer headset.
  • Removed developer console access.
  • Resolved an issue that could prevent the main menu from opening on launch when Necropolis was set to several non-English languages.
  • Steam Achievements are now viewable through the Steam client.


ONGOING

  • Continue to fix high-impact bugs.
  • Continue to improve enemy behaviors to make creatures more fun to fight.
  • We'll be exploring enemy speeds, aggression settings, animation timing and more to better differentiate enemies and vary their challenges.


SHORT-TERM (Coming over the next two weeks)

  • Revise weapon descriptions to provide better clues as to their advantages or drawbacks.
  • Revise spawning system so that enemy spawning feels more logical and less frustrating.


MID-TERM (Coming 2-4 weeks from now)

  • New enemies that change up gameplay.
  • Revise enemy spawning so that some harder enemies will show themselves earlier in the game, resulting in more challenging combat with a greater variety of enemies.
  • New weapons and armor sets featuring unique stats with positive and negative trade-offs to allow for more varied play styles.
  • Turn crafting recipes into loot objects that can be found throughout the Necropolis to encourage further exploration.
  • Update the co-op revive system to provide a greater challenge.
  • Improve shields to make them more effective in combat.
  • Loot rebalancing based on feedback.


LONG-TERM (Coming 4-8 weeks from now)

  • Improvements to the final enemy to make him more challenging.
  • New and better designed traps.
  • New ways to engage with and affect the environment, like the platforms you can rotate.
  • Completely new outdoor environment - The Black Forest - a wintry deathscape to explore.
  • New Black Forest enemies.
  • New potions and scrolls.
  • A second playable character, the Brute

Necropolis

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Roguelike
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Arcanum - Retrospective

by Silver, 06:48

RetrospectiveGaming reviews Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura. Expect some minor spoilers if you have not played before.

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From Arcanum wiki -" Imagine a place of wonder, where magick and technology hold equal sway, and an adventurer might just as easily wield a flintlock pistol as a flaming sword. A place where great industrial cities house castle keeps and factories, home to Dwarves, Humans, Orcs and Elves alike. A place of ancient runes and steamworks, of magic and machines, of sorcery and science.

Arcanum is the first game to come from the development house Troika Games, LLC, started by former Fallout team members Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, and Jason Anderson. This team takes the depth of gameplay and world-building in role-playing games to entirely new levels of realism and excitement.

Arcanum

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Thursday - July 21, 2016

Antharion - 70% off all week

by Silver, 23:12

Orphic Software's Antharion is 70% off on Steam until July 26th.

Antharion

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Zavix Tower - Update 1.26

by Hiddenx, 22:57

The dungeon crawler Zavix Tower got a big update:

Update 1.26 Achievements and Pylemris

Hey Everyone,

We got achievements, and our last boss here. We also have more mobs (Zombies), and a few more story chunks!

Pylemris is a zombie boss and has become our floor 10 boss, we did this because we think the moving the Klopo fight back will allow users to have 5 more talent points (on average) and more of a chance to gain gold in order to have more skills before the Klopo fight. So to recap, all bosses from 10-30 have moved back 5 floors, and Pylemris is now the floor 10 boss.

[...]

 

Zavix Tower

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Deus Ex: MD - Concept Art @PCGamer

by Silver, 22:45

PCGamer looks at some of the concept art that went into the making of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

deconstructed Cityscape
Mankind Divided’s world is a lot more fractured and uncertain than it was in Human Revolution, which gives the game a darker, more dystopian feel. All this striking concept image is missing is some music by Vangelis.

Pulsed Enemy Projection augment
This is one of Jensen’s new experimental augmentations, the pulsed energy projection system, or PEPS for short. It’s a non-lethal projectile that, when upgraded, can target several enemies at once.

Deus Ex: MD

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Shooter-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Stardew Valley - Linux and Mac Support on 29th

by Silver, 15:14

On twitter it has been announced by ConcernedApe to expect Linux and Mac Support for Stardew Valley on the 29th this month. The 1.1 update is still a work in progress.

Quick Update: Mac & Linux are set to be launched on the 29th! Multiplayer, localizations, and the version 1.1 update are still in progress.

On reddit it has been confirmed that multiplayer will come later than the release of 1.1

Supernorn
Hey, Chucklefish developer here! ConcernedApe is focusing his efforts on delivering a content update with 1.1, while the technical side of multiplayer is being worked on in-house at Chucklefish. As such, multiplayer will come a little further down the line from the 1.1 update.

Stardew Valley

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Modern
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Vikings - Wolves of Midgard - Announced

by Silver, 15:00

@DSOGaming they announce a new action rpg called Vikings - Wolves of Midgard set during the mythical conflict of Ragnarok. Expect the game sometime in 2017 according to Kalypso Media. There are some screenshots at the link provided.

Regarding the game's story, this is what Kalypso Media had to say:

"Legend has it, that when the coldest winter descends, the Jotan will return to take their vengeance against the Gods of Asgard. The world is on the road to perdition and the fate of Midgard hangs in the balance. But when the Fire and Frost Giants begin to merge their armies, they encounter the clan of the Ulfung - the Wolves of Midgard. Bloody, but unbowed following the destruction of their village, this notorious band of ostracized Viking warriors are determined to seize their destiny and save the world. As clan chief, you must save Midgard from complete annihilation, and spearhead the charge to vanquish the fiendish creatures of the Fimbulwinter."

[...]

Here are the key features of Vikings - Wolves of Midgard:

  • Fantasy Meets Nordic Mythology: Travel the realms of earthly Midgard, freezing Niflheim and boiling Balheim, either as a fierce Viking warrior or merciless shieldmaiden.
  • The Deadly Fimbulwinter: Withstand the deathly colds and protect yourself from exposure to nature's wrath in order to survive.
  • Tribute to the Gods: Collect blood from fallen enemies and sacrifice it at the altar to gain gifts from the Gods to enhance your powers.
  • Berserker Rage: Let your anger take hold by activating Rage Mode to overwhelm your enemies in bloodthirsty combat.
  • The art of combat: Perfect your skills with each weapon to unlock their true potential, including swords, bows and spell-powered canes.
  • The Power of the Gods: Make the abilities of the Gods your own by equipping power-infused amulets, like the Talismans of Thor or Loki. Put your new skills to the test by competing in the Trials of the Gods to earn further rewards.
  • Teamwork: Team up with a friend and journey to the Shores of Midgard together in an epic two player online co-op mode. Choose between four difficulty levels to suit your skills and talents. Do you dare attempt the unrelenting hardcore mode?
  • The Clan of Wolves: Restore and rebuild your village and lead your clan to glory. Upgrade buildings such as weaponsmith, armourer, runesmith, and mead hall to unlock more content and better equipment.
  • Legendary Weapons: Gather the scattered fragments of mythical weapons and armors to take on the most fearsome creatures of the realms.
  • A Class of its Own: Become even more powerful in the next life by attempting New Game+, and push your Viking warrior or shieldmaiden to their limit.
  • Destructible Environments: Utilize your surroundings by burying your foes under falling rocks or pushing them off high cliffs.
  • General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    DA:Inquisition - Trespasser: An Emotional Theme

    by Aubrielle, 10:15

    Patrick Weekes and John Epler spoke at GDC 2016 about the writing and presentation of DA:I's Trespasser DLC, focusing on how they set out to deliver the story.

    loading...

     

    DA:Inquisition

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Opinion - Why RPGs are the Stars of the Industry

    by Aubrielle, 10:10

    Gamer Professionals features an op-ed about RPGs and why they're the stars of the video game industry right now.

    Additionally, many RPGs present a numerous (if not an infinite) amount of side quests. Side quests are an excellent addition to already extensive plots, giving RPGs a significant amount of replay value. Of course, in cases such as Dragon Age: Inquisition, many side quests were, dare I say…boring? It’s a hit and miss, for there are side quests that are utterly pointless and add nothing of significance to the core plot.

    Additionally, side quests can offer extra content such as backstories of secondary characters. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, players have the option to explore the history of each party member. Generally, this depends on the conversations that are exchanged and whether or not the main character responds positively or negatively. For instance, if you earn Carth Onasi’s trust, you learn his son has been admitted to the Sith Academy. Once you and your party stumble upon that area, you can choose to use evidence scattered throughout the academy to prove to Carth’s son that the Sith are pure evil. He then flees the scene and assures Carth he’s going to change his way of life.

    I must admit though, it’s a lot of fun joining the dark side.

    Not only do RPGs offer stimulating stories and lovable characters, they also present unique combat systems, imaginative crafting capabilities, and comprehensive methods to level up characters. For example, in The Witcher 3 crafting has become an addiction for many players, more-so than following the story of Geralt and his multiple lovers, ahem.

    General News

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Wednesday - July 20, 2016

    Fallout 4 - Far Harbor Quest Resembles a New Vegas Mod?

    by Hiddenx, 21:13

    Farflame spotted this post from modder BaronVonChateau:

    How would you feel if a big publisher inspired itself heavily from one of your work?

    Posted by BaronVonChateau on Jul 13th, 2016

    Some of you are probably familiar to the quest “Brain Dead” from “Far Harbor”, Fallout 4’s latest DLC. If not, be wary, [SPOILERS] ahoy!

    A few weeks before Fallout 4’s release, Autumn Leaves, a Fallout : New Vegas Mod was published on Moddb and the Nexus. It featured a colorful cast of excentric robots, in charge of a forgotten Vault where a strange murder happened. Sounds familiar ?

    Maybe, to those who played Far Harbor’s “Brain Dead.”

    The Escapist reports:

    A Fallout: New Vegas modder pointed out similarities between his work and a Far Harbor, but Bethesda says it's just a coincidence.

    If you're into Fallout: New Vegas mods, you may have played Autumn Leaves, created by modder BaronVonChateau. The mod adds a quest Based around solving a murder mystery in a vault. If that sounds familiar to you, it's because there's also a quest in Fallout 4's Far Harbor DLC named "Brain Dead," that has a similar theme.

    [...]

    Fallout 4

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Post-Apoc
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Expeditions: Viking - July Newsletter

    by Hiddenx, 21:05

    This is the July newsletter for Expeditions: Viking:

    Heil og sæl - Happy & Healthy

    Greetings Kinsmen! We're pleased that you've joined us once more (or for the first time) on this journey of ours. While it has only been a month since the last newsletter, we’ve been busy. We have introduced some new weapons to combat, made more definitive plans for our release window and made lots of progress on our upcoming preview build!
    Add to that a dash trivia knowledge a splash of Avellonian godliness, and you’ve got something delicious on your hands.

    Enjoy!

    A wild Avellone appeared.
    He used “Legendary RPG designer knowledge”.
    It was super effective.

    For the uninitiated, Chris Avellone is a game designer and writer, having worked on iconic titles like:

    Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2 and New Vegas, all the Icewind Dale games, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Mask of The Betrayer, Wasteland 2, Alpha Protocol, Pillars of Eternity, as well as the upcoming Planescape: Tides of Numenera, Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Prey.

    In short, if you like old-school RPGs, you’ve probably come across his work. If you don’t, odds are you’ve at least heard of them. Here at Logic Artists we’re big fans, so having Chris Avellone drop by and chat a bit about our game, and some of the challenges we face, was pretty great for us.

    We got to ask a lot of questions about our game and ways to tackle the challenges we face, but we also had time for a bit of fun.

    We won’t go into all of the stuff we learned during the workshop here. But if you haven’t seen it already, watch this video of us firing a tirade of questions at the man, who’s made it his business to write all the answers.

    In Development

    It’s no secret that the Vikings were masters of warfare. The devastation they left in their wake was only possible thanks to their savvy tactics and rigorous training. One of our goals with Expeditions: Viking is to expose players to a variety of potential tactics to overwhelm and surprise their enemies in combat. At its core, the combat in Expeditions: Viking relies on positioning, proficiency, and deception. Positioning and deception are being expanded upon later, for now we’d like to show you a couple of of weapon proficiencies that we’ve been working on.

    Dual Wielding!

    Fighting a berserker with one axe is scary, if they’ve got two axes it can be downright terrifying. And we want players to experience the fear of facing a dualist and the opportunity to dish out some fear and damage of their own! Check out the sheer badassery and bravado of our latest dual wielding animation.

    Freyja’s Viking Facts

    We all like a good story, and sometimes good stories become great stories by employing just a tiny bit of exaggeration. The pre-recorded era is hard to keep track of at the best of times, and the ability for people to make up their own, more colourful facts, doesn't help matters along.
    But have no fear, your friendly neighbourhood Logic Artists viking-(sort of-)fact-checkers are here!
    Each and every Friday on Twitter at @expeditionsgame we’ll post some true facts about Vikings. Lack of actual recordings from the era notwithstanding, these facts are only slightly exaggerated (possibly). We’ve named each one of these “oh so scholarly” posts Freyja’s Friday Fun Facts after the goddess Freyja, whom Friday is allegedly named after.
    There’s just one catch. Friday isn’t named after Freyja, it’s named after Frigga. Odin’s wife. Incidentally, they were, and were not, the same person. Confused? We don’t blame you! Let’s dig in, shall we?

    Frigga, Odin's wife.

    Some scholars hypothesize that both Frigg and Freyja may have their origin in a common Germanic goddess. There is no firm evidence for this, but scholars have found some similarities both in their mythological features and the possible etymologies of their names, as well as place-names associated with them. Due to linguistic variations between branches of Germanic languages, where even a god that is the same may be called by different-looking names, this confusion has not been conclusively resolved.
    Both goddesses bear names with meanings tied to love, relationship, sex, and fertility however, so it’s not a far stretch to suspect they started as one idea. Add to this that their names seem to spring from Frijjō ("Frigg-Frija"), the reconstructed name or epithet of a hypothetical common Germanic love goddess, and a pattern emerges. Frijjō was the wife of Wōdanaz, the proto-germanic name for Odin.
    But if Frigga and Freyja are the same, how come Friday isn’t named after Freyja?
    Well, Frigga’s name in ancient Germanic was Frīa. Friday was frīatag (later Freitag). Likewise the Anglo-saxons referred to the day as Frigedæg, meaning Frige’s day. Frige was the name for Frigga, not Freyja.
    So Friday seems not to be in honor of Freyja, the goddess of love and wisdom, but Frigga… The goddess of love and wisdom. But are we doing it wrong then? Well seeing as they’re pretty much one and the same goddess, the take away seems to be that while Frigga is apparently the namesake of the day, Freyja and Frigga weren’t actually separate deities back then. Proto-Frigga bore the day. But proto-Frigga became both Frigga and Freyja, so both are essentially heirs to the Friday.

    The more you know.

     

    Tala - Communicate

    There’s cool stuff on the horizon ahead, but for now the team is taking a well deserved summer break. Lots of exciting news coming in August, but until next time, safe sails.


    Expeditions: Viking

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Historical
    Genre: Strategy-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Kickstarter Games - Buck funded

    by Hiddenx, 20:54

    The post apocalytic adventure game Buck has been funded on Kickstarter:

    Now On To Stretch Goals!

    What a day. Thanks to new backers joining the BUCK Kickstarter and several of you raising your pledge, BUCK is now funded! We're thrilled about reaching this very important milestone, and now that the main goal has been reached, it is time to reveal some of the stretch goals for our campaign!

    [...]

    Kickstarter Games

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Unknown
    Genre: Unknown
    Platform: Unknown
    Release: In development

    Details

    Dungeon Guardians - 55% off & New Difficulty Changes

    by Silver, 13:12

    As noted by manutoo in our forums Fall of the Dungeon Guardians is 55% off this week until July 26th. This coincides with the release of version 1.0d which you can read more about here.

    This new version mostly brings the final touch for customizing the difficulty : now, if you select the Custom Difficulty and turn on the Advanced Tuning, you can set the strength of Normal, Elite and Boss enemies separately.

    This will both help the players thinking that only normal mobs are too easy, and the players thinking that Elites and/or Bosses are too difficult compared to the base mobs.

    Note: it's still recommended to play with one of the numerous built-in difficulty levels, as most players do, but if you wanted more freedom of choice, here you go ! :-)

    This new version also brings a bunch of enhancements and fixes for the Map Editor to give a more user friendly creation.

    Complete details of changes and fixed bugs can be seen here : http://steamcommunity.com/app/409450/discussions/0/490123727974362306/?ctp=6#c359543951698627341.

    Dungeon Guardians

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Dungeon Crawler
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Colony Ship RPG - Dev Diary #7 - Design Brand

    by Silver, 06:52

    Over at the Iron Tower forum there has been another Dev Diary posted. This one discusses Colony Ship RPGs design brand, as the game intends to target the same audience as Age of Decadence, the discussion document outlines the pros and cons of each mechanics idea with this in mind.

    Let's talk about our design "brand" as it applies to all future games and the Colony Ship RPG is next on the list. AoD wasn't perfect and we want to do better but without changing the core design to appeal to a wider audience. In other words, we want to do better for our existing audience, so let's examine the pros and cons of each design aspect (and then you can tell us how we can improve them).

    Turn-Based combat with action points and different attack types based on tradeoffs. I see nothing but pros here, so let's move forward.

    Skill-Based character system.

    Class-based systems offer you different packages of skills and abilities, designed to ensure that no man is left behind and your rogue can kick as much ass as your fighter. It's a good, time-honored design that makes it very hard to make mistakes. In comparison, skill-based systems offer all the freedom you can handle and don't restrict you in any way, so the chances of you screwing up your character is fairly high, especially for the first time players.

    Neither system is better by default so it comes down to personal preferences and firmly held beliefs, which is where it gets a bit complicated. Some folks believe that games shouldn't allow the player to make bad builds and choices; anything else is bad design. I think that if every decision is awesome, it hardly matters what you choose. Making mistakes is part of the learning experience but not everyone has the patience for it.

    Stats & Skills Matter not only in combat where they provide various bonuses but outside of combat as well, when exploring or dealing with people. It's a deceptively simple aspect, so let's examine it in details.

    What it means in practical terms is that your character would succeed in areas where his/her stats and skills are strong but fail where they are weak. For example, a perceptive person would notice something others won't; a brute would be able to move a heavy object, etc.

    Obviously, the effect can be minor (i.e. you moved a boulder and found a couple of coins underneath it!), major (you moved a boulder and found a passageway to another area!), or anything in between (you moved a boulder and found a passageway to another area where you found ... a couple of coins! T'was a good day for adventuring).

    Usually, stats and skills are checked in the following situations:

    • Multiple solutions (i.e. different ways to arrive to the same destination, everyone's happy and nobody's upset)
    • Optional content (limited ways to unlock optional content, aka. "gated" content)

    Multiple solutions are an important gameplay element, which allows you to go through a game in a manner fitting your character, but it is the optional content that truly differentiates one playthrough from another and boosts replayability (because solving the same problems in different ways isn't enough).

    Naturally, optional content must differ in accessibility. Someone's old shed should be easy to break into (let's say everyone with a single point in lockpick, which is 80% of all players). An area that resisted all attempts to get into for decades or centuries like the Abyss should force most people to turn back to preserve the setting's integrity (let's say only 10% of players should explore it). The rest of the content would fall somewhere in between.

    This approach greatly upset some players who felt that they were punished "just because they chose the ‘wrong' stats". Some RPG players are notoriously obsessive-compulsive and won't rest until they create a character that can get the maximum amount of content, which does require reading online guides and meta-gaming like there's no tomorrow - the fastest way to kill all enjoyment and ruin the game. Of course, the counter-argument is that failing repeatedly (considering how easy it is to make a character ill-equipped for what you're trying to do) is an equally fast way to kill the enjoyment.

    I'm not sure there's a way to "fix it" as those who want to get maximum content in a single playthrough will continue to metagame no matter what. The moment you tell the player "sorry, buddy, you need to be this tall to ride this", some players won't accept the failure and would want to know this kind of info in advance. Not many people see it as "you win some, you lose some" design. Anyway, I'd love to read your thoughts on this matter.

    Colony Ship RPG

    SP/MP: Unknown
    Setting: Sci-Fi
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Witcher 3 - On World Building

    by Silver, 06:31

    @80 level Senior environment artist Michał Janiszewski from CD PROJEKT RED discusses his guiding ideas when building the world of Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. He goes into things like world building, references and virtual city planning.

    Introduction

    Hi! My name is Michał Janiszewski and I'm a Senior Environment Artist working at CD PROJEKT RED. I didn't know it back then, but I started thinking about becoming an Environment Artist back when I was a kid. I got my first PC and I quickly got into video games. And that's when it hit me - the idea that I could create all these huge, sprawling worlds, home to thousands of adventures, characters and creatures. I started fiddling around with a variety of tools after school, learning as I go. Then I started university and got my first job in the game industry, eventually joining CD PROJEKT RED. It's been an amazing ride since and the last three years have seen me work on my most epic projects to date - The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and both expansions: Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine.

    [...]

    World Building

    The world in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is story driven, meaning we use the story as a base to determine the basic dimension and tone of each area. We use it to establish Points of Interest on the map that will guide players across the huge open world and be exciting to see. Along with concepts it serves as a blueprint to map out cities, villages, caves, using grey boxes first, and later replacing them with proper meshes, decorations, paths and foliage. And, as writers continue to work on the story, the world changes with it, and we have to be ready adapt to the new vision.

    In most cases these iterations help to improve the overall quality of the project and it's very important not to get too attached to your work at this stage. We had a case where a mountain was obstructing the visibility of an important quest location, so we had to remove the mountain and replaced it with a lake and a small village on the shore instead. As we get closer to having a final vision for the world, we start creating "beautiful corners" - areas like parts of the street, walls, or sewers that are supposed to come out as close to the final thing as possible. Using sets of decorations from meshes like groups of barrels helps speed up the process and get project leads involved quicker to weigh in on the quality and decide how to continue.

    When the story, quests, gameplay and world are finished, we start polishing the areas, making big open spaces between Points of Interest feel interesting and natural, and helping the cinematics team make the game's cutscenes look more epic. Lastly, there's optimization, which can be tricky and sometimes difficult. Creating mesh proxies, balancing the Level of Detail, or curving the street a little to change how many objects are visible on screen at the same time can go a long way to make a location run smoother or allow us to make an area more crowded. And everything we do at this point brings us a step closer to that light in the tunnel that not so long ago was still so far away - finally releasing the game.

    Witcher 3

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Dark Souls III - Estimated 1 Million Sold on Steam

    by Silver, 06:22

    @DSOGaming they report that Dark Souls 3 has sold 1 million copies on Steam. They base this number on Steamspys data.

    For the record, the game's PC sales are similar to those of Dark Souls II. However, the first Dark Souls game - while being a really awful port - managed to sell double the amount of copies. Of course, keep in mind that the first Dark Souls saw some ridiculous discounts (at one point it was offered for only $4).

    Dark Souls III

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Action-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    I Am Setsuna - RPS Review

    by Aubrielle, 04:39

    Rock, Paper, Shotgun met I Am Setsuna with a less-than-stellar reception.

    I Am Setsuna is an attempt by Square Enix and Tokyo RPG Factory to recapture the glory days of the JRPG. From the mournful piano overlaying the title screen to the world map where your character stands tall like a rampaging kaiju next to a diorama village, it aims to intoxicate you with nuclear-grade nostalgia – but does it live up to their legacy or is it just a pale, snowy imitation?

    ...

    Those golden-era JRPGs are beloved because they were packed with memorable locations, characters, and combat. I Am Setsuna unfortunately falls short on all three counts, and instead delivers an average and forgettable adventure, albeit one with wonderful music.

    Read more.

    Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

    I Am Setsuna

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: J-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Pillars of Eternity - Pillars More Like Skyrim?

    by Aubrielle, 04:33

    Feargus Urquhart expresses his desire to eventually make a 3d ARPG like Skyrim set within the Pillars of Eternity universe.

    Although not officially announced as yet, work on the sequel to Obsidian’s charming and wonderful crowdfunded role-player Pillars of Eternity was all but confirmed back in May, when the company’s CEO Feargus Urquhart suggested it “seems silly” not to acknowledge the project’s existence. In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Urquhart now says the developer is “starting to move forward on Pillars of Eternity 2,” and that making a 3D action-RPG—similar to Skyrim but within the Pillars universe—is something he’d love to do down the line.

    “We can keep doing great stuff with Eternity. I'd love to turn Eternity into more like a Skyrim product,” he says when asked where he sees Obsidian—now 13 years old—in the future. “I'd love to do a science fiction game. I just want to keep making role-playing games—I do, and the team does. Whether that's independent or not, making RPGs we can be proud of is the goal. And that's what I can look back on. We've been very proud of a lot of what we've done as a team.”

    More.

    Source: PC Gamer

    Pillars of Eternity

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Tuesday - July 19, 2016

    Earthlock - September Release

    by Hiddenx, 19:44

    The Adventure RPG Earthlock: Festival of Magic will be released on September 1st:

    We finally have a confirmed release date: Sept 1st

    We will be launching on both XboxOne and PC/Mac(Possibly Linux) on September 1st. (PS4 and Wii U as soon as possible after that)

    At the end of the journey...

    Dear backer, 

    This is it! We have been certified. We have a set launch date. It's no longer a tentative date. 

    Looking back over the last year, the team has done a fantastic job both in terms of work load, but also in quality. It is very clear that we have become better at making games over the course of production. 

    We set out to create 8 hours of fun gameplay, but our ambition and some wonderful funding opportunities have enabled us to create a game that most will spend over 20 hours to complete. 

    The project began almost 5 years ago and by the time we launched the Kickstarter campaign, we were running out of money and gumption. The campaign changed all that. Not only did it give us the funds to continue production, but it helped us regain the belief that we were working on a game worth doing. 4500 backers does that to you.

    So thank you all for making this game possible!

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    Earthlock

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Adventure-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Masquerada - Kickstarter Update

    by Hiddenx, 19:33

    Masquerada: Songs and Shadows will be released in September 2016:

    Release month news! BackerKit surveys!

    Hey everyone,

    Brian here, I am very apologetic for the weeks-long delay in updates; a stomach infection tends to do that! Let's get straight to the big news:
    We are pushing the Steam release of Masquerada: Songs and Shadows to early September 2016.

    It's July now and a couple of backers have wondered if the game's coming out soon. Unfortunately, good things do need time, and we would rather delay the release a little more to ensure that the quality we desire becomes reality! We've not set in stone a final release date yet, but the game WILL come out in September. That, we will promise. [...]

    As the famous saying by Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo goes: "A delayed game is eventually good, but a rushed game is forever bad." As an example of what we're doing with the additional time, we're rebuilding from scratch an entire boss battle whose assets (artwork, characters etc) were completed. The design of the boss made things tedious and it just wasn't fun, no matter how we tried to balance out the fight!

    [...]

     

    Masquerada

    SP/MP: Single + MP
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Action-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    Tahira - Preview @ Kill Screen

    by Hiddenx, 08:25

    Kill Screen has previewed the tactical RPG Tahira: Echoes of the Astral Empire:

    Tahira, a sci-fi epic that will question our violent histories this August

    Before the imperialism of the 19th century, or the World Wars of the 20th, there were the Crusades: a series of military campaigns in the Middle-East between the 11th and 15th centuries. During these campaigns, various Christian European powers sent large numbers of well-equipped men to what was dubbed the Holy Land to fight against local inhabitants, as well as the largely Muslim Turks, who would eventually become the Ottoman Empire. They were fought for a number of reasons: to capture Jerusalem, to help the Byzantine Empire maintain control of its lands, arguably to attempt to reunite Eastern Christians with their Western counterparts, and at least publicly to combat what was labeled as paganism and heresy.

    They’ve been covered in games before, notably in the Assassin’s Creed series, which highlights corruption among the invading European forces and the oppression they inflicted on the native people (especially those of Jewish descent) of the cities and regions they claimed. The violence lasted on and off for roughly 400 years, and though it did help lead to the Renaissance through the various treasures and knowledge pillaged by the Europeans, it ultimately resulted in very little territory being established in exchange for the bloodshed that paid for it, and is generally not remembered well by historians, who argue that faith alone did not justify the slaughter.

    [...]

    Tahira

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Tactical RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: In development

    Details

    I Am Setsuna - Release Day

    by Hiddenx, 08:15

    The story rich JRPG I Am Setsuna will be released today:

    This is the story of Setsuna; a young woman of incredible inner strength and the sacrifice she must make to save the people of her land.

    The Island had a custom.
    To maintain peace, once a decade, a sacrifice was offered to a fiend on the island.

    However, one year, the fiend grew violent before the next sacrifice was due.
    Those living on the island were afraid and tried to calm the fiend by offering a sacrifice; Setsuna, chosen because of her powers of enchantment.

    Setsuna must leave with her safeguards for the farthest land, where the ceremony of sacrifice will be held.

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    Key Features:

    • A great homage to JRPG masterpieces of yesteryear, using the latest technology to develop a truly memorable story and player experience and bring the authentic JRPG style to current hardware.
    • A new battle system inspired by the timeless JRPG classic, Chrono Trigger.
    • An emotionally impactful and memorable story which immerses players in the narrative of Setsuna, whose story portrays heartrending sorrow.
    • Beautiful character designs and varied in-game locales evoke nostalgia for classic RPGs.

    The I am Setsuna Collector’s Edition includes the full game and the beautiful 27 melody original soundtrack ‘Winter’s End’ by composer Tomoki Miyoshi.

    I Am Setsuna

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: J-RPG
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details

    Overfall - Impressions @IndieGames

    by Silver, 06:35

    IndieGames take a closer look at Overfall and like what they find.

    However, once it all falls into place, it is just glorious. You see, Overfall is actually a brilliantly complex game with a bunch of mechanisms that have to be mastered - or at least understood - before you can derive any enjoyment from them. That sounds an awful lot like work, but it feels like you're charting unexplored terrain.

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    Your tiny party of two sets sail, hoping to gain the trust of the game's different races. Each stop has a new encounter, and a few of them are chained together to form interesting and varied quest chains. There's usually a reward involved as well, be it reputation, items, or even new skills and characters for your next playthrough. Due to the randomized nature of the game, unlocking these things can feel almost haphazard, and not having a clear-cut goal at first feels weird. But it's actually a good thing; there's a real sense of adventure to all of this.

    Overfall

    SP/MP: Single-player
    Setting: Fantasy
    Genre: Roguelike
    Platform: PC
    Release: Released

    Details