GhanBuriGhan interviewed Joshua DeBonis, founder and director of Sortasoft on their game “Meriwether: An American Epic”.
» Continue reading the article...
Expeditions: Conquistador Review
GhanBuriGhan reviewed Expeditions: Conquistador for RPGWatch and came back with quite a few things to tell.
» Read the article
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.
Saturday - June 15, 2013
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
Release: In development
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
Blackguards - New Screenshots
Release: In development
Massive Chalice - Update #8 Art Commentary
Massive Chalice is back with a new update that finally shows some artwork for the game.
Art Commentary with Mark Hamer
Earlier this week Brad sat down with art director Mark Hamer to discuss the current visual direction of MASSIVE CHALICE. This commentary starts with our initial reference images, then proceeds into some exploratory work, finally landing on a style that we’re really happy with. You’ve probably seen that main image a lot, but here it is again, from talented concept artist Derek Brand.
We’ve been working directly with old time friend of Double Fine and amazing freelance artist Peter Chan to help craft the world of MASSIVE CHALICE. Mark and Brad discuss Peter’s high level direction and share some techniques that Peter uses to develop the visual language of brand new worlds. We’re excited to share this in-depth look at the early exploration of the aesthetic of MASSIVE CHALICE!
Just a reminder that everything that you see in this video is still extremely early and should be considered a work in progress. The final art direction of MASSIVE CHALICE will not be fully formed for many months, and a lot of this art will not be represented in the game. But, we love open development and we really want to embrace it by sharing with you not only the final game, but also how we arrived at it. Enjoy!
Information aboutMassive Chalice
Release: In development
Dark Souls II - Various News Roundup #2
I've rounded up a few more previews for Dark Souls II from this year's E3 conference.
The Escapist - "Dying Over and Over Never Looked So Good"
From Software showed off four classes at the event: the Warrior, Sorcerer, Temple Knight, and Dual Swordsman. These classes aren't confirmed for the game yet, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet we'll see them. The developer also mentioned that there will be more than four classes in the game, which isn't surprising considering Dark Souls had 12.
The most interesting of the classes shown off was definitely the Dual Swordsman. Dual wielding is another new feature of Dark Souls 2. In the original, you could hold a weapon or shield in your off hand but couldn't actually use it. In Dark Souls 2, you'll now have the chance to use weapons in both hands. The Dual Swordsman was able to - surprise - wield two swords at once and attack with them simultaneously. He was quick, agile, and dealt a medium amount of damage to enemies. If the enemy managed to get in even a few swipes on him though, he was done for.
There were also a couple of new items shown off during the demo as well. The first was a life gem, which allows the user to regenerate a little bit of health over time. Estus healing flasks are still in the game, but life gems provide an alternative to getting your precious health back. There's also a green blossom which increases your stamina, allowing you to attack more or run longer.
EDGE - "Hands-on impressions and new details on FromSoftware’s Sequel"
There is much here to like. There is an awful lot that reassures us this is still Dark Souls. And yet we have concerns.
You can warp between bonfires from the very beginning of the game – as long as you’ve already visited them, of course. Dark Souls kept this ability from you until a good way through the game, until you had learnt area after area like the back of your hand. Even then it limited those you could warp to a relative handful. We worry that letting us move freely from one bonfire to the next will mean we feel less connected to Dark Souls II’s world than we did to its predecessor’s.
That desire for accessibility means that Dark Souls’ character creation system, which was admittedly baffling on first playthrough, has been replaced by what Hong says will ask you to define “parameters and preferences about the way you want to play the game.” It will then present you with a number of choices for a starting build. The four available here – Warrior, Sorcerer, Temple Knight and Dual Swordsman – serve only to streamline this particular demo, and won’t necessarily be in the final game. The reasons for this are clear, and understandable – and you’ll still be able to switch class completely as you progress through the game – but it does rather pull the game away from its D&D roots.
Computer and Videogames - "Hands-on: Beautiful and Brutal"
Enemies range from typical variations on the lumpen undead seen throughout Dark Souls, though to a new turtle-backed beast that will crush you beneath its shell dare you attack it from behind. The enemy AI has been improved, in the sense that each enemy's moveset is larger than before. This means simply memorising what each foe is capable of will not hold you in good stead. Even the lowly enemies are unpredictable, though patience and observation is still rewarded. As in Dark Souls, three consecutive sword swipes is very reckless, so know your enemy.
The controls operate and feel exactly the same as Dark Souls 2, but there is a new health item in addition to Estus. Called Lifegems, these items regenerate health very slowly and by a fraction of what an Estus will. It's a trade-off, because consuming Lifegems doesn't slow the player down like supping from the Estus flask does, and be warned: enemy's are more likely to attack while your guard is down in Dark Souls 2. They're smarter.
Another neat change is with dual-wielding: if you're brave enough to forgo a shield, you can actually attack with both weapons simultaneously, rather than with just one at a time. Simply equip two weapons and hit the button to attack with two hands, and you'll deal a lot of damage to certain enemies, but it's a risky maneuver.
NowGamer - "Number One Thing For Us Was Don't Sell Out"
"When we were trying to come up with the planning, when we were trying to communicate what this game was, the number one thing for us was don't sell out" says Hong.
"Let's make sure we are true to what Dark Souls is meant to be and intended to be. As far as promotion goes, we don't necessarily want to be like 'hey, prepare to die, it's all about death, it's all about being hard' because that was the message the first time around.
"Like every good game, it should evolve and the messaging should match that evolution, right? So this game is definitely better. It's got a lot of things that we want to show the folks along the course of the next 10, 11 months as we get on."
Hong went on to speak about how important the die-hard Dark Souls fans have been in the creation of the sequel.
"Naturally the fans are what's really driving all of this. The organic growth that we experienced could not happen without the fans.
"So first and foremost, it's all about them and it's all about serving them and what is it that they really loved about this game. In terms of our messaging, that's what we are intending to try and convey. All the stuff you loved about Dark Souls and all the things we think you're going to love about Dark Souls 2, we want to articulate that. "
Information aboutDark Souls II
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
South Park - Preview Roundup and Video
A bunch of previews for South Park: The Stick of Truth have been released recently. Here a few of them and as a bonus a video interview with Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
IGN - "How South Park: The Stick of Truth Farts its Way to Greatness"
Gameplay systems abound now; this isn't just the lightest of light RPGs. You have a full inventory of weapons (like Cartman's Mom's vibrator), including your personal special attack: farting. You can use the power of your a-hole to blast open vent shafts, then use the Underpants Gnome ability to shrink yourself down and fit through the small opening. You can fart at loose wires holding light fixtures over the top of your enemies, severing the frayed cord and dropping it onto your foes below, zapping them. You can fart near broken, exposed gas lines in order to create inferno waves. In fact, the demo ended with an epic ass-to-ass duel between you and Cartman, with each kid trying to overpower the flaming fart blast of the other.
Yes, this is still a Paper Mario-style role-playing game, but it just feels more fully fleshed out now. The show's characters and lore are so flawlessly married to the gameplay systems -- Stan gets enraged when you take out his dog Sparky in battle that he goes into a frenzy mode and attacks more furiously, for example -- that xxx. And the fan service is off-the-charts. The visuals are 100% dead-on with the show, such that if someone doesn't see you manipulating a controller, they will genuinely think you're watching an episode on Comedy Central.
Digital Trends - "The Stick of Truth’ offers a putrid waft of fresh air"
The game looks like a South Park episode – almost to the point that it is easy to mistake the gameplay for CGI. To be fair, the animation isn’t exactly high tech in the TV show, but it’s almost disorienting at first. If you are a fan of the show, the word “immersive” just doesn’t seem strong enough. The simple way to describe the game South Park: The Stick of Truth is that it feels like you are playing an episode of the show.
All the voices are present from the TV show as well, and the humor was both accurate for the show and bizarre. At one point, the person in charge of the demo changed the character’s outfit from a wizard’s robe to fishnet stalkings and a bustier. Oh, and they also gave him a new weapon that looked like a dildo.
“Like.” One of the more interesting conceits of the game is found in the upgrade trees. The personal menus are stylized to look like the new kid’s Facebook page. The more you do and complete, the more friends requests you will receive. These somehow tie in to your strength, but exactly how wasn’t clear.
The humor won’t be for everyone, and the JRPG mechanics might not win over some. But despite the traditional gameplay, you can’t deny the fierce creativity at work. It’s refreshing, and stands out in the sea of violent titles that dominate gaming today.
Leviathyn - "Come On Down To South Park"
One element that pleasantly surprised me was the emphasis on environmental puzzle solving. One scenario has multiple kids blocking your way through the school. No problem; Randy Marsh has taught you the secret of the Nagasaki fart (which you can see in the trailer below). Farting clears the path no problem, until a kid set-up with a fan bars your path. The player has a number of options here: they can walk around trying to figure out another solution, trigger the sprinklers to short out the fan or teleport up to the ducts to bypass the situation altogether.
During our time with The Stick of Truth, we saw more cameos than you could shake a Manbearpig at: Mr. Slave, the aliens, Jesus, Satan, hippies, the Underpants Gnomes, the Woodland Critters, Mr. Hanky and the Crab People all made appearences at some point. A long as Towlie gets included at some point, I’ll be happy.
Information aboutSouth Park
Release: In development
Neverwinter - Interview @ CapsuleComputers
CapsuleComputers has an interview on Neverwinter with Systems Designer Lindsay Haven.
So far the races have been identified as elves, half-elves, dwarves, half-orcs, halflings, tieflings, and humans. With the coming release of the drow elves as a playable race, will Neverwinter acquire more races? Perhaps through a payment option?
There will absolutely be more playable races coming to Neverwinter. We aren’t quite sure if they will be monetized or not. Though I think we will be making that decision soon, so keep an eye out for new races on our website.
Can you explain the licensing process in making this game a reality considering an already licensed Wizards of the Coast product – Dungeons & Dragons Online? Was it hard to establish a need for a fresh MMO?
In terms of adding a new MMO to the market, we felt that there was a lot of space in the free-to-play (and free-to-download) game space. As for a new Dungeons & Dragons game, well, most of us were pretty excited about being able to work on that, and it was something that Wizards of the Coast was pushing for as well. I think all parties involved never doubted this game had potential in the market as it is now.
Classes are a bit few in number at the initial release of the open beta. Can we expect more free classes to generate new characters or will they need to be purchased? Any hints to what new classes may be in the making?
We are currently working on new classes. I can’t say what classes we are working on, but I can say that we are looking at the most popular class in D&D history and listening to the Neverwinter community. We have room to expand in that direction because there are a lot of classes available to us through the Dungeons & Dragons lore. At this time we don’t plan on charging players for playable classes.
How far is Neverwinter willing to go? The name seems to localize the title in the immediate area in Faerun. Beyond the Underdark, can we expect expansions to led us into the deserts of Calimport or into the heavy winters of the Ten Towns?
The Sword Coast is a fairly big place and there is a lot we have yet to explore, so we’re going to focus on that for now. We have no current plans to go beyond the Sword Coast, but that may change in the future.
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Peview Roundup
PCGAMER has two articles which are barely snippets of information on The Witcher 3.
“[It] will definitely impact your playthrough in The Witcher 3,” says executive producer John Mamais, speaking to Videogamer.
The extent of this impact hasn’t been revealed, but we can imagine that it’ll cover minor plot and characters details as the Mass Effect series’ save files did. If The Witcher 3 will be your first foray into the monster-hunting trilogy, or if you’re crossing over from console territory, however, know that the developers at CD Projekt RED are trying to figure out how to accommodate you too. “We might try to create some kind of game state even if you haven’t played,” says Mamais.
“We are not killing the world and walking away from it,” CEO Marcin Iwinski told Polygon during an E3 demo, “but we will definitely want to make this game the finale in a big way.”
“We might even include Geralt in later games potentially.”
The gorgeous-looking Witcher 3—whose breathtaking E3 trailer we shared a few days ago—will wrap up monster-hunter Geralt’s story nicely, though it’s great to know that the keenly realized kingdom of Temeria won’t be forever banished to history.
GameInformer also has a preview that gives more information on the game called,"Five Promising Features Of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt"
The Witcher series has been lauded for its exceptional storytelling and challenging, multifaceted combat. For The Witcher 3, CD Projekt Red is focusing on adding a massive open world to the mix. Our demo showed off just a tiny corner of that world, but revealed five new facts that will please fans of the expansive RPG series.
Beyond The Horizon: CD Projekt Red states that the world of The Witcher 3 is 35 times larger than that of The Witcher 2, with different regions based on various cultures and mythologies. Our demo showed off forests, coastal regions, and a few small towns, as well as the dynamic day and night cycle and weather systems. Those systems aren't just cosmetic; for example, your boat can be smashed apart on the rocky coasts if you try to take it out during a storm, and werewolves pose a significantly greater risk during the night. Your exploration of the world will be driven by a wide variety of main quests, side quests, and random events, which CD Projekt Red is attempting to blur together.
Side Quests That Mean Something: The majority of our demo focused on an optional side quest that involves Geralt helping a town plagued by murderous creature living in the nearby woods. The townsfolk are split on how to best handle the beast, and it's up to Geralt to investigate the killings, deduce what type of monster is responsible, and choose the best course of action. The side story contains several twists and interactions with the townsfolk, along with a challenging battle against the culprit – a mystical, tree-like monster called a leshen. Geralt ultimately gets paid for his services, but true to the series' intricate storytelling, the outcome of the mission is far from black and white, and Geralt isn't entirely happy with how things turn out. This is just one of countless sidequests that the player can freely skip.
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Interview @ Iron Tower Studio
There's a new Torment: Tides of Numenera interview at the Iron Tower Studio forums with Project Director Kevin Saunders.
Making a proper Torment game is a very challenging task, mostly because what made the original so special is the writing (story, characters, interactions, etc). Thus, to make a worthy sequel, “all you have to do” is to write a great story with great characters and dialogues. How's InXile approaching it?
Kevin: We’ve talked about the basic structure of our writing organizational approach before, so I’ll just mention that part briefly here: we’re spending considerable effort in establishing our design and writing conventions and designing example areas and characters to serve as a foundation to help guide our many writers. And we’re writing the five From the Depths novellas upfront, which will acclimate several of our writers to the setting and provide us all with a deeper understanding of the Tides.
But I think this only partially touches upon what you’re asking. =) One key component is the strength of the creative vision. Developing and communicating this vision is one of Colin McComb’s primary responsibilities and my part is to help him succeed.
I don’t think it’s this simple, but I believe that, in general, design by dictatorship yields the best results. To that end, I’m helping Colin be a good dictator. Colin is great about soliciting and extracting value from the feedback of others, but I try to push him to make sure he doesn’t compromise his vision in doing so (including freely ignoring (most of) my feedback when he wishes =) ). Colin’s a sincere, thoughtful guy, and empathy for others can hinder one from being an effective dictator. I also try to identify and champion the aspects of Colin’s vision that I feel are the strongest. Brian Fargo has also been doing this at key points in preproduction – reviewing we’re where at and calling out both the areas of risk he wants us to focus on and the areas of greatest potential he feels we should emphasize.
Related to the creative vision, and Colin’s ownership of this aspect of Torment, is the other writers being empowered to own the vision for their sections of the game. The strong foundation, conventions, and examples that Colin, Adam, Tony Evans, and I are working on are all toward this end – if we provide the right guidelines to the writers, then they can exhibit full creative freedom from there, with a much greater chance that what they come up with will complement Colin’s vision. This means there’s less chance that Colin’s feedback to the other designers will require a lot of rework, so they’ll be able to build momentum and create content that accentuates their strengths. Not that we’ll perfectly achieve this, but it is how we are approaching the game’s development.
We have added safeguards simply through the creative talent we have involved in the process. Not only do I have a lot of faith in the team (in many cases stemming from first-hand experience working with them), but I’m hoping peer review further helps us refine the content. For example, Chris Avellone has been reading everything and giving feedback along the way aimed toward strengthening the story and characters and helping Colin flesh out and communicate his vision. Finally, we’re planning for a lengthy finalization period, which will give us time to iterate and improve anything that we feel doesn’t come together well enough initially.
I think if we were to concentrate on “this must be a worthy sequel!” then we’d hamstring ourselves a bit. We’re not explicitly attempting to ”compete” with Planescape: Torment in terms of its writing, characters, and storytelling. We are making a game that places focus on those elements, but we’ll allow Torment: Tides of Numenera to organically become its own game.
Information aboutTorment: Tides of Numenera
Release: In development
Thursday - June 13, 2013
Witcher 3 - Impresssion @ Destructoid
Destructoid has a new impression article on the Witcher 3 E3 reveal.
Those of you who haven't really gotten into The Witcher series might not be too invested in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yet despite how great it looks. That's something you'll want to change leading up to release across PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One next year. This third installment may be wrapping up Geralt's story, but it seems like the perfect opportunity to jump into the franchise (or keep playing, if you're already a fan).
By the end of CD Projekt RED's sizable hands-off E3 demo, I was so on board with the new installment. Much of the emphasis this time around is placed on crafting an absurdly large open world -- one that takes 40 minutes to travel across on horseback -- and filling it with interesting, often dynamic things. You can seamlessly jump on a boat and sail to distant islands in real time without coming up against loading screens. It's magical. Unless, of course, you attempt to sail when the weather is bad and the sea is rough -- your ship will go down, and the water is too frigid to swim in for long. It might've seemed like a good idea at the time, but don't do that.
As a bonus here is a polish translated article titled,"The Witcher 3 will cost more than 100 million zł." Lets just say $34 million in US dollars.
Elder Scrolls Online - Preview Roundup
Here are a few more previews for The Elder Scrolls Online.
GameInformer - "Exploring Daggerfall"
During my hour of playtime, I make my way through a number of small sidequests, as well as an extensive mission chain that sees my character thwarting an assassination attempt on the local king. Questing feels more directed and story-driven than many MMOs, and less focused on "kill this many foes" or "collect this many objects." Even so, in the balance between traditional MMOs and the familiar Elder Scrolls games, the game undeniably feels closer to an MMO than its single-player RPG forebears.
FleshEatingZipper - "5 Reasons Why ‘The Elder Scrolls Online’ Isn’t The ‘Skyrim’ You’re Searching For"
This morning I got my hands on Bethesda’s new epic new MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online. It was a brief session, only about half an hour, but it was enough to get a good first impression of what the new online team’s been putting together for so many years. If you’re looking for a traditional Elder Scrolls game though, you’re going to be plenty surprised.
Polygon - "Separate Servers for PC and Console Players"
Sage, who works as creative director on the studio's MMO offering, stated that despite recently announcing the title would hit both next-gen platforms as well as Windows PC and Mac, the game will feature three separate server environments to ensure fairness in PvP across all systems as those on PC and Mac will use a mouse and keyboard while console users will have only a controller.
Information aboutElder Scrolls Online
Release: In development
Dragon Age 3 - The Next Generation
IGN has a small article that discusses the Dragon Age 3 E3 reveal.
Dragon Age II distanced itself from the tactical combat of Origins, but Inquisition aims to marry the responsive action with methodical thinking. “It’s a synthesis of the two games,” Flynn said. The PC and console versions are expected to be “comparable” in terms of combat feel and presentation.
The philosophy of Dragon Age Inquisition “starts with getting back to exploration, something that Origins had some of, but we really want to do a lot more of,” Flynn told IGN. Within that world, BioWare wants you to both engage in the environment around you while still having a sense of “narrative urgency” as the world of Thedas falls to pieces around you. Flynn wouldn’t dive deep on the extent to which players will explore Thedas while bad things happen -- will we leave Ferelden? Will we finally see Orlais? -- BioWare wants them “to see a lot of Thedas...and go to new places.”
As the Chantry’s oppression of the mages comes to a head in the opening of Inquisition, a Fade tear splits the sky, leading dragons and other monsters into the fray, “and that kicks off the events." Following that, nations plunge into war, and “the decision is made to bring back an inquisition to find out what’s going on and stop this,” Flynn explains.
As the leader of an Inquisition, you have an uncomfortable moral choice to make. Do you side with the mages, (heretical victims) or the Chantry (oppressive religious zealots fighting for the god Andraste)?
Information aboutDragon Age: Inquisition
Release: In development
Dragon Commander - Delayed, GOG Preorders Get Master of Magic for Free
Divinity Dragon Commander is being delayed to August. GOG is giving people who have pre-ordered the game a free copy of Master of Magic to apologize.
Divinity: Dragon Commander adds in gift for all who pre-order the game on GOG.com, delays release to 6 August 2013
DRM-FREE DIGITAL DISTRIBUTOR MAKES THE WAIT FOR DRAGON COMMANDER EASIER, ADDS THE TIMELESS CLASSIC MASTER OF MAGIC TO ALL PRE-ORDERS
(12 June 2013) -- Dragons with jetpacks are still coming to GOG.com, it's just that the jetpacks need a few more tweaks. Larian Studios, the developers of the highly-anticipated Divinity: Dragon Commander , currently available for pre-order on GOG.com, have moved their release date for the game to 6 August 2013. To make the wait easier, GOG.com will provide all the gamers who have already pre-ordered Dragon Commander--and everyone who preorders the game from here on out--with a fitting gift: a timeless classic, Master of Magic , added in for free! The similarity between these two titles may not seem all that apparent--especially since Master of Magic is nearly 20 years older than Divinity: Dragon Commander, but both games have an incredible blend of strategy, roleplaying, and tactical gameplay.
Originally released in 1994, Master of Magic has introduced many innovative elements to strategy and roleplay gaming, in fact, one can find traces of some of the creative genre mash-ups from Master of Magic in Dragon Commander itself. Additionally, for total customer satisfaction, each and every retail box of Divinity: Dragon Commander will come with a free digital backup on GOG.com.
By pre-ordering Dragon Commander on GOG.com not only can you take 5$ off of the retail price and get it for just 39.99$, you also receive the acclaimed Master of Magic for free!
Information aboutDragon Commander
Release: In development
Van Helsing II - Announced
Neocore announces The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II. You'll be able to import your character from the first game to continue playing.
Budapest, Hungary – June 12, 2013 – Esteemed indie developer NeocoreGames announced today The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing II for PC, bringing players the follow-up to the popular gothic-noir steampunk action-RPG influenced by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Returning fans will be able to import their characters from the first adventure, while new hunters will have the opportunity to create their own legendary monster-hunter.
"In the first game it all seemed so simple," said Viktor Juhász, narrative designer at Neocore Games, "defeat the mad scientist, free the land and ride into the sunset, but sometimes the fall of a villain only opens the way to more sinister foes.”
The incredible adventures continue, and Van Helsing, the famous monster-hunter returns to save the day again with the help of his charming, ghostly companion, Lady Katarina. The gothic metropolis of weird science is on the brink of destruction as chaos rules the streets and a new enemy plots revenge. It’s time to enter the dark side of Borgova and the forbidden wilderness, but beware: you are not the only one behind a mask.
The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing, currently available worldwide $14.99 via Steam on Windows® PC, is a one-of-a-kind action-RPG that pits players in fierce battles against familiar supernatural foes and enables players to partake in a tower-defense mini-game within Van Helsing’s upgradable lair to ward off evil that attempt to overrun the base by way of force.
Information aboutVan Helsing
SP/MP: Single + MP
Lords of the Fallen - Preview Roundup
Here we are a day later from E3 and a few more previews for Lords of the Falllen.
Trendingfever - "Lords of the Fallen is your subsequent-gen Dark Souls"
The game will have non-linear exploration, but will be broken up into chapters. The developers genuinely wanted to emphasize that the game will hold many secret collectibles and enhancements for those that really go hunting for them. The game will also reward players who decide to backtrack to previously visited levels when certain things or keys are obtained, with potent equipment and weapons.
One exciting point to note is that even although the game was shown off on a Computer, the game was built from the ground up for consoles, which means the Computer version is the port. Looks like subsequent-gen is turning development on its head, with PC’s acquiring ports rather than the other way around.
GamingNexus - "Step by Step: Lords of the Fallen demo"
The gameplay demo follows Tomasz Gop, executive producer at City Interactive, as he guides a rogue character through the corridors of an ancient castle. Gop, formerly a senior producer on The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, stresses that Lords of the Fallen is all about tactical combat that forces the player to learn from every death.
“Our goal is to make a game that properly rewards players for doing what it takes to win,” Gop said.
“Dying is not a failure; it’s part of the learning process.”
Gop runs across the demo’s first enemy, a knight reincarnated by a mysterious light hovering over the scene. The evidence for Gop’s “learning” approach is soon seen, as Gop’s character dies after two swings of the enemy’s sword.
“There’s a big difference between randomness and skill,” Gop said. “We want to cross that gap.”
After respawning close by, Gop uses his rogue’s quick dodges to dodge his enemy’s sword, quickly gaining an advantage as he stabs the knight up close. When the knight finally falls, Gop gains a level and points that he can allocate t”o specific character upgrades.
“It’s important that we give players a feeling of progress, and a feeling of learning new skills,” he said. “We’re not orthodox, though. We’re not focusing [entirely] on classes.”
Gamezone - "Lords of the Fallen is your next-gen Dark Souls"
Lords of the Fallen is an ARPG through and through, and actually takes a lot of elements and inspirations from Dark Souls. For one, the game wants to focus on very duel-oriented combat, meaning that rather than sending 10 enemies on you at once, you're generally going to be fighting an enemy or two at a time. While it sounds limiting, each fight, whether its a standard enemy, a miniboss or a giant monster, will feel tense, ande difficult.
Information aboutLords of the Fallen
SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Wednesday - June 12, 2013
The Witcher 2 - Full Combat Rebalance Mod Release Update
Two days ago I informed you about a combat rebalance mod that was being developed by CD Projekt RED’s gameplay designer Andrzej Kwiatkowski. Well I'm happy to report that the mod is planned for a June 20th release.
Kwiatkowski himself revealed the release date on CD Projekt RED’s forum, and stated that the mod will be 2GB in size instead of 8 GB. The changlog is masssive so check out the forum link for more info.
-Up to 80% increase in responsivness per Geralt’s animations.
-Up to 50% increase in repsonsivness per NPCs animations.
-Added strafing while being locked on an enemy and walking.
-Geralt can block while moving ( NEW ANIMATIONS ). Static Guard Stance is no longer required to parry enemy attacks.
-Geralt automatically parries enemy sword attacks and deflects incoming arrows.
-Geralt and his attackers are no longer bouncing off parry. It allows to continue attack sequence.
-Monster attacks still cannot be parried with a sword.
-While using Guard Stance Geralt channels an active Quen shield.
-Above listed changes to defence mechanics decreased importance of rolling in combat.
-Decreased the number of skills to ensure quality over quantity.
-Geralt now starts with core witcher skills already learned. No need to go through Training tree before unlocking other branches.
-Removed many passives from skill tree to replace them with more active abilities. Remaining passives are changed to make them more attractive.
-All skills now have one level ( previously 2 ).
-Aard and Igni Signs have been changed from projectile to cone area of effect.
-Riposte doesn’t require Guard Stance to activate, only attacking in a timed window.
-Changed riposte animations ( NEW ANIMATIONS, DUH ) to prevent Geralt from sliding on enemies.
-Experience points are given only for progressing through quests, not for killing enemies. This encourages role-playing without worrying about missing experience.
-Geralt no longer buys witcher specific recipies from random merchants. He recalls lost memories as a part of character development.
Information aboutThe Witcher 2
Arakion - Updates
There is quite a range of updates we have missed for Arakion, although most of them are visible to backers only. You can find them here.
The latest entry provides more information on the alchemist skills.
The Alchemist is a mix of potion blending and raw power when manipulating the Earth. She gives the party a massive boost in skillpower and utility.
- High energy reserve
- Powerful utility skills
- Reasonable damage considering the high utility.
- Special ranged and melee items that increase energy (books and journals)
- Can replace the monk as healer for the group
- Low defense requires good group management strategy
- Low melee damage
- Most builds require a large amount of energy to be useful
- High complexity (easy to ruin the character if not planned out properly)
- Depending on the build could be a late bloomer
A note on energy, as a refresher, skills use energy in dungeons / outside of the town map. Using a skill takes X amount of energy and you don't refill energy until you're back in town. So having a high amount allows you to plunge deeper into dungeons without having to head back to town to rest. It's about health and energy management and the Alchemist is a master of this. Why no energy regen? Simple your skills are extremely powerful. Now on to the good part!
Release: In development
The Black Tower - Cancelled
It is with a lot of sadness that I am here to announce the end of the project The Black Tower. Started by 2 people (graphic designers) in february, and joined by 2 others working half-time (programmer and music composer), TBT was probably too ambitious. I want to make it clear that the project was totally realistic, and we are confident in the fact that we could have made it in its entirety with funds, and I will be the first one to regret that we have to cancel everything. But facts are facts, and we are 99% sure that it is now impossible to realise our dream of reviving these 2.5D J-RPGs that we used to like so much. In 15 days, we haven't reached 1% of our goal, with around 80 contributors for 8k visitors. It is now obvious that, even with the 30 days left, it is impossible to make it.
Five reasons are given on why it failed, one of them being that they could not be on Kickstarter.
As explained through various comments, we didn't choose Indiegogo because we like it more than Kickstarter.
We had to make this difficult choice for 2 main reasons :
- Kickstarter doesn't allow non-US/UK residents to ask for funds, and it becomes very difficult and very long for a foreigner to share their project. I don't say it is impossible, yet it was not compatible with the following point.
- For various reasons linked to some team members, the crowdfunding had to begin in May. From February (beginning of the project) to May, there is not a long period. Understanding how crowdfunding works, finding a good status for us, and starting the procedure to use Kickstarter from France was too slow and we couldn't make it in time.
This is why we chose Indiegogo, and we knew it would become very, very difficult to reach our goal. Because yes, the problem of Indiegogo is that they really not support video games as much as Kickstarter does. Where we reached 1% of our goal on Indiegogo, maybe we could have reached 40% on Kickstarter. We don't know, but it is possible.
Some of you will ask : then why not start a new campaign on Kickstarter as soon as you can ?
Simply because the team will soon be dissolved. Some of us have to find a job to live from, and with the end of TBT, they just can't wait and see what will happen next. As everyone is important in the current team, we can't go further when someone lives.
Diablo 3 - Blizzard Delays Expansion Until 2014?
GamesBeat has a small article about the expansion for Daiblo 3 and it's being delayed to 2014. Surprisingly this is nothing new as they delay every game if this is true.
LOS ANGELES — Blizzard Entertainment has delayed its expansion pack for the action-role-playing game Diablo III until next year, GamesBeat has learned.
A Blizzard spokesman declined to comment to GamesBeat.
The delay is a big deal because expansion packs can generate a lot of revenue for the company, which is a division of Activision Blizzard and the publisher of huge games like StarCraft II and World of Warcraft. When the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm expansion pack launched in March, it quickly became the top-selling PC game for that month.
The Diablo III expansion was never announced with a specific launch date in mind, but many were expecting that it would arrive in 2013. We have learned from a source that it has definitely been delayed. And even with some reassigned employees who came over from another project, it’s clear that the expansion will not arrive until 2014.
Information aboutDiablo 3
SP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash
Release: In development
Xenoblade Sequel - E3 2013: Nintendo Direct Trailer
I know most scoff at JRPG's but I had to share this one. Nintendo revealed that a sequel to Xenoblade is going to be released.
Also before I forget it's for the Wii U. I can hear the outrage already.
Giant robots and an open-world RPG? The makers of Xenoblade know a good thing when they have it.
Information aboutGeneral News
Release: In development
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Maybe Games Just Aren’t For Telling Great Stories?
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new article examining if games are capable of telling great stories.
The temptation at this point is to get all sneery and superior, looking down on those inferior lot who enjoy manshooters. Two problems. Manshooters are often great, and haughtily refusing to enjoy the good ones is stupid. And what exactly is it we’re holding aloft as an example of storytelling done right?
For years I’ve lamented this, decried the failure of this medium to mature to a point where it can match literature and cinema in terms of intelligence in design. (And to be clearly, yes, most books and movies are terrible – we’re talking about comparing the very best.) When is gaming, I would ask, going to find its great stories? I believe I was wrong to ask.
Gaming isn’t going to. It’s had plenty of time to prove that. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a failure of developers at all. Maybe games just aren’t the right place for it? That’s practical: authors can take years to write their novels – something that wouldn’t be possible in game development cycles. And it’s perhaps pragmatic: the nature of interaction simply prevents great storytelling, and we should all accept this.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t demand better. It is still right and proper to lament the dreadful writing that appears in so many games, the cavalcades of clichés that plague us, the generic grunting tedium that most creators seem to think will do. But perhaps we should be setting our sights lower, reducing our expectations, and letting games get on with being a medium that simply isn’t going to provide us with wonderful story.
Information aboutRock, Paper, Shotgun
Massive Chalice - Update #5-7
Well as you know I stopped reporting on Massive Chalice due to the updates not really showing anything good. Well let me recap the new updates.
Interview with Brad: Part 1
The talented guys at 2 Player Productions interviewed Brad to find out what makes him tick. You’ll find out more about Brad beyond his work here at Double Fine and even the games industry.
Apparently when you give Brad some bourbon aged barley wine he tends to ramble on and on. This epic—nay, MASSIVE—interview is so long, we’ll be releasing it in several parts, so stay tuned for the rest! :D!
Team Update Forum and PayPal Counter
Two small bits of miscellania for you:
We have a new MASSIVE CHALICE Team Update forum! Click here to check it out!
This is where we’ll post game update threads and other content that comes straight from us. Backers will be able to post in those threads, but not create their own threads. This makes it a little easier to keep up with official Double Fine updates and content.
And for those curious how much is being contributed by PayPal backers, We’ve added per-tier and total project counters. It’s a small number right now, but it’ll grow!
The MASSIVE CHALICE MILLION DOLLAR TEAMSTREAM
MASSIVE CHALICE just cracked $900,000 today! Thanks so much for your support!
We've had such a great time interacting with you guys on our live streams, and we have a lot more planned. But once the campaign closes we’ll need to focus more on making our own awesome game than playing a bunch of other awesome games with you guys! :D!
We’d love to keep doing them, though, so we ran an idea by the higher-ups. If we raise over $1,000,000—and we’re so close!—we feel like we'll have enough budgetary breathing room to commit to a solid schedule of streaming. And so, we present to you the...
We'll play more great games that inspire us, show MASSIVE CHALICE concept art as it develops, answer your questions, and once the game itself starts to take shape we’ll be able to start sharing that with you as well! If we hit a million, we’ll do this every other week on a dedicated live stream from Double Fine HQ. We'll take questions from the stream and get you guys even more involved in the development of MASSIVE CHALICE!
Thanks for your support and thanks for helping spread the word so that we can get to ONE MILLION DOLLARS!
Information aboutMassive Chalice
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Xbox One DRM and The PC
Eurogamer has a new article with CD Projekt Red on the DRM of the Xbox One. I like how the company responds to the topic.
"It is a good question," CDP co-founder and Joint CEO Marcin Iwiński told Eurogamer yesterday, "and, to be perfectly honest, we are eager to find our more ourselves.
"We have not received anything from Microsoft until today on this one and, before we form any definite opinions here, we would like to have this process explained in details by the platform holder.
"From our side, we will be of course looking for the most gamer friendly solution."
"We do not know anything definite, nor have we received any firm guidelines from Microsoft," responded Iwiński.
"Having said that, we strongly believe in the freedom of choice and voting with your wallet. I would disagree that it would do any good if we decided to abandon one of the platforms, especially when we have the capacity to create games for it.
"We have no influence on the decisions of platform holders, neither Microsoft's or Sony's, but there is a platform where we can decide what we think works best for the gamers, and that's the PC. "
The Witcher 3 will be the first game CD Projekt has simultaneously released on three platforms - The Witcher 2 appeared first on PC and then a year later on Xbox 360. "What it means for gamers is the previously mentioned freedom of choice," he said.
"I am sure that a lot of gamers will choose one of the consoles for its convenience and easiness of use - that's fine, and by doing so they will agree to whatever rules the platform holder will impose.
"What I can, however, guarantee here and now, is that if you want the 100 per cent DRM-free experience you will have it on the PC, the platform where we set the rules for our games. The Witcher 3 will be available 100 per cent DRM-free on our digital distribution platform GOG.com, and that's one thing I can confirm."