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Tuesday - May 24, 2016
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Tuesday - May 24, 2016

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD - Job System Critique

by Silver, 04:45

Gamasutra has an interesting blog on Final Fantasy X2's job system and what it did right.

FFX-2 only has 3 character but it does the exact same thing. Instead of letting the player switch up which characters they were using it let them switch up what jobs those characters had.

job switch

Instead of "We need a healer, switch in Yuna" it is "We need a healer, switch Rikku's job to White Mage".

FFX-2 has ~20 jobs (depending on what you count as a job and what version of the game you are playing) and by having a lot of options available the game can push each option further apart mechanically and into their own special little niche. More jobs, more niches. And because of the mid fight adaptability that comes from letting them change jobs each job can be balanced based on situation usefulness and not on general viability.

In FFX everyone basically had their own job but they all existed on the same "Sphere Grid" and so were technically all able to learn all abilities. This makes each character much more adaptable (in an a-la cart sense) but it also means that every job has to share a basic mechanical vocabulary. Things like "Items" and "Attack" are things everyone needs to do becuase Lulu could, in theory, have a really strong attack even though her role in the party is that of a Black mage. So even if a character has a shitty attack that is basically pointless it still has to be there taking up space on the UI.

The job adaptability in FFX-2 though means we can drop things like basic attacks off of jobs like White/Black Mages. In FFX-2 if you are a mage and you want to "Attack" you have to change job which you easily can at any time. "Attack" on the various mage jobs is basically wasted UI space because of how weak those classes are physically.

Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD

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

Details

Fallout 4 - Cascadia Mod Announced

by Silver, 04:31

There is a large mod for Fallout 4 that has been in the works for the past six months called Fallout Cascadia which is looking at opening up Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately the mod is still several years away from release but is already looking quite ambitious.

Fallout Cascadia Information: Cascadia is an upcoming new world-space mod for Fallout 4 set in a retro-futuristic post-apocalyptic version of Seattle and the surrounding areas. Users will start a new adventure entirely separate from the main game. The scale of this project is a land area that is just a bit smaller than Fallout 3, but more quests and locations than Fallout 4's Far Harbor DLC. We currently have approximately 18 members working on this project to the bring the Pacific Northwest to the world of Fallout. Work on this mod began six months ago, and has intensified with the release of the Creation Kit. Inside the mod, players will find new quests that challenge them mentally and morally, locations that tell a story, and factions that are vying for control. Please consider following us on any and all our outlets, as we have much more to share as the project matures, and the release date begins to comes closer.

[...]

Any special requirements to run?

Our plan is to make this mod run on any machine that runs Fallout 4, without any additional script extenders, or additional mods to make run. However are currently considering adding a requirement to own the DLC to run our mod. The resources contained in the DLC could greatly enhance the quality and the speed of the creation of our project. More details will come later.

Do I have to start a new save?

Yes. Our adventure is completely separate from the main game. It begins before the intro movie and character creation even start. You will not be able to travel between the Pacific Northwest and the Commonwealth. This is a design choice (but if you really want to, a simple mod will likely make it possible).

What can you tell me about the plot?

Its pretty cool. Sorry, no spoilers from me. Nice try though.

What is the setting?

This mod takes place several decades after the events of Fallout 3/NV/4. The city of Seattle is the main hub of the game. Many locations of the game focus around the city proper, including certain fair grounds, public markets, and other famous locations. The game will also include other locations to the west and south including Mercer Island, Redmond, Bellevue, forested areas and airports. The project make an effort to make the world a believable and alive one.

Fallout 4

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

Details

StarCrawlers - Early Evaluation

by Silver, 02:31

@Vox Ludicus they have an early evaluation of StarCrawlers which the writer has broken up into categories - Visuals, Audio, Gameplay and Story.

----GAMEPLAY---
...

Combat is turn based, your team of crawlers against the enemies. Enemies are shown on screen as sprites, and your team is represented only by the health bars at the bottom of the screen and on top via the initiative tracker. Initiative is determined using a system called Time Units. Each action costs a certain amount of time units, and this dictates where your action places you during a fight. When a character or enemy reaches 0 Time Units they can take an action. For example, if your basic attack is 150 time units, then when you use it you drop to place 150 on the chart. If an enemy currently has 100 Time Units, you go after they do, but if your action only cost 55 time units then you would go again BEFORE the enemy could act. Its fairly easy to figure out once you get the hang of it. My hacker is fast enough with light armor, for example, that I frequently get two or three turns before an enemy gets to go with her, or anyone else on my team for that matter. You need to pay attention to your weapons and armor and what effect they have on your Time Units in battle, as heavier armor can inflict a penalty to your speed, basically making every action cost more, while light armor can do the opposite. Heavier weapons do more damage, but also cost more in Time. It's a balancing act. Also your special attacks cost Time Units as well.

[...]

----AUDIO---

The sound work in this game is serviceable. The music is frequently overshadowed in combat by the sound effects, which are again solid but nothing noteworthy. There is no voice work or voice acting at this time, so no comment really there. Truthfully, I barely notice the sound most of the time unless I am in the main station. The music that plays there is dreary, and monotone, and I suppose it's meant to be that way, to give you a feeling of being out on a lone space station in the middle of space. Combat music though does have a more frantic feel, but again can frequently get overshadowed by the booms and zaps of your special attacks and guns.

During exploration, when you can hear the music in the dungeons, its really quite nice.

StarCrawlers

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

Details

Monday - May 23, 2016

A House of Many Doors - New Release Trailer

by Myrthos, 22:49

Here is the new trailer for the upcoming relelase of A House of Many Doors.

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A House of Many Doors

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

Details

Matt Chatt #341 - Stellaris Review

by Hiddenx, 20:32

Matt checked out the space strategy game Stellaris:

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Non-RPG General News

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

Details

InSomnia - Kickstarter Update

by Hiddenx, 20:21

Learn more about the rifles of InSomnia in this Kickstarter:

Time For Some Rifles!

Hello everyone! For today's update, we'll be talking about a very handy type of weapon that will help you survive the dangers in Object 6. What do you do when shotguns and SMG are not good enough for the task at hand? That’s right, for those cases you pick up a rifle!

Rifles are powerful weapons that are particularly useful against armored targets. Average armor can be penetrated without any additional effort while heavy armored foes can only be damaged if you target the weak spots - such as joints. As expected, rifles are great at trying to hit something that is not right on top of your face. Their fire rate is low, take a while to reload, and are not ideal when you're on the move.

And now let’s take a more detailed look at one specific rifle model:

MT-4 Linear Rifle

The MT-4 Linear Rifle is a powerful six-shooter that can penetrate a standard army protective vest from a 70m distance. A very reliable and accurate weapon based on the structure of heavy rifles of used in the Last War. This model is a simpler version (although still very deadly) that was downgraded a bit as there was no need to fight heavy armored SORG golems anymore after Object 6 left the dying planet of the Nomahs.

[...]

InSomnia

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Steampunk
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Arx Fatalis - Arx: End of Sun Mod released

by Hiddenx, 20:11

Arx: End of Sun - a standalone Doom 3 mod - is a prequel for Arx Fatalis:

Arx - End Of Sun is a new free and fan made game that is based on the first person dungeon RPG: Arx Fatalis developed by Arkane Studios. In our game world you will play out the events ( with a liberal dose of poetic licence ) that precede the original story of Arx Fatalis. You will no longer require a copy of Doom3 to play Arx - End Of Sun. We are now running on a custom version of the engine code and we use no assets from any commercial titles in our game.

Arx Fatalis

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

Details

Tyranny - Interview @ GameWatcher

by Hiddenx, 20:05

GameWatcher has interviewed Game Director Brian Heins about Tyranny:

We talk to Brian Heins about Obsidian's new world where the bad guys are in charge

I fell in love with Pillars of Eternity last year despite having no nostalgia for Baldur’s Gate or its Infinity Engine successors. The excellent RPG took the depth and complexity of those old RPGs, sanded off the rough edges, and built a brand new world with compelling history, excellent quests, and exquisite combat.

So when it was announced that Obsidian was working on a new title built on the same ideas, I was more than a little excited. Titled Tyranny, the new game dispenses with the epic quest to stop an evil overlord from enslaving humanity. The bad guy has already won, the emperor is already ruling, and you play as one of his most important lieutenants. I got the chance to sit down with the game’s director, Brian Heins, and ask about the upcoming adventure.

GameWatcher: The basic pitch is that this is a world in which the bad guys have already won. How does the player factor into that?

Brian Heins:
Your role is what we call a Fatebinder. It’s a role that exists in Kyros’ empire to help resolve the disputes that can arise from the various factions that make up the groups within the empire. So Kyros, the overlord, has several lieutenants that are called Archons, and each of those is in charge of different aspects of the empire. Some are governors of districts, others are generals of armies, and some are in charge of magical guilds or elements of the bureaucracy that keep the wheels of empire turning. Each of these different Archons have different agendas and personal goals they want to try and fulfill and often those come into conflict.

One of the Archons, the oldest and what some believe is the most powerful of the Archons, is your boss, Tunon, who is responsible for judging all of the other disputes between the Archons. Tunon created the Fatebinders to basically resolve the disputes that arise between the different armies and magic guilds and things that are all controlled by Kyros. So your job is basically to handle these disputes and make sure that they don’t become larger problems, and to enforce Kyros’ law in the world.

GameWatcher: How does the main character’s role in this ostensibly evil faction affect the player’s options for behaving in the way they want?

Brian Heins: So basically, within the rules of Kyros’ law, each of the Archons and then the player themselves have a great deal of autonomy. As long as you are upholding Kyros’ will, you have a lot of leeway in what choices you make. So just because you’re serving in an evil empire doesn’t mean you necessarily have to make evil choices. They’re definitely available and they can be a lot of fun to make, but players who want to try to have more of a moral stance can take it. It’s not always going to be the easiest path to take because you’re surrounded by awful people who want awful things, so they’re definitely going to try and lead you astray and make things easier for you to take the difficult path.

[...]

Tyranny

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

Details

Non-RPG General News - Thief 1 HD Mod

by Silver, 10:58

An HD mod for Thief: The Dark Project and Thief Gold has been released.

Thief 1 HD Mod v1.2 is out!

This is the full Installer Setup of version 1.2 - Now also for Thief: The Dark Project version! - New water arrow FX, new gas arrow FX, new smoke FX, new water FX, new explosion FX, new blood FX, new Zombie models...

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Non-RPG General News

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

Details

Dark Souls III - Beating Bosses With Dance Pads

by Aubrielle, 05:23

Just when you thought you'd seen it all, some incredibly talented person managed to beat a boss on Dark Souls III...using a dance pad.

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Beating Dark Souls games using unconventional tools is a popular sport on the internet. Folk have beaten early instalments of the series using drum and guitar controllers in the past, while the rest of us swear in admiration. Now YouTuber Rudeism has taken up the challenge in Dark Souls 3: he's decided to beat the game using dance pads, because why not.

The boss battle embedded below is the game's first, Ludex Gundyr, and according to the creator it "only took nearly 30 attempts". At that rate, I'd hate to guess how many attempts some of the game' later bosses will require. Given the feats we've seen achieved in the past, though, it's inevitable someone will do it eventually.

Source.

Source: PC Gamer

Dark Souls III

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

Details

Diablo 3 - Fourth Anniversary; Then and Now

by Aubrielle, 05:18

Has it been four years already?  Blizzard is celebrating Diablo III's fourth anniversary this week and muses aloud about how the game has changed in that time.

A post on the Battle.net website alerts us to the fact that Diablo III is celebrating its fourth anniversary this week, while a subsequent post provides a quick look at how the item comparison mechanics have evolved over that course of time, given the release of the Reaper of Souls expansion pack and the game's transition to consoles. An excerpt from the latter:

Patch 2.0.1 launched just prior to the release of Reaper of Souls, introducing many new systems to the game in preparation for the expansion. One change was replacing the Life and Protection stats with new and better-defined stats.

Enter Healing and Toughness. Toughness was intended to be an overall calculation of your Effective Health Pool, or EHP. This is a simplified summary of your hero’s survivability based on stats like maximum Life, Armor, Resistances, Dodge, and other types of damage reduction. Similarly, healing was meant to be an average of how quickly you could regain health. This first pass got the basic messages across, but some of the more variable stats (like Life Per Kill) caused confusing inflations and muddled the information given to the player. So in Patch 2.1.2, we made another change.

“Healing” was replaced with “Recovery,” and the name was changed to not only better encompass its purpose, but to clearly highlight that change had occurred. The new stat estimated how much Toughness you would expect to recover in an average encounter, and we changed the weighting of certain healing stats to provide a more accurate picture.

In our current iteration, these stat summaries provide enough information to be useful to the average player and helps shine a light on how each stat contributes to your character’s overall power. This feature was so useful that we received a lot of community requests for a similar overview of follower equipment. In Patch 2.4.0, we fulfilled this request!

Source.

Source: GameBanshee

Diablo 3

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Opinion - Sidequests and Other Distractions

by Aubrielle, 05:13

GameBanshee links to a couple of interesting op-eds on quests, distractions, and how the author believes meaning is changing in RPG's.

This recent and lengthy editorial points to the way in which quest design and execution have been handled in virtually every CRPG since the 1990s, in particular how dozens of even hundreds of side quests have caused us to neglect many games' main quests.  The article suggests that this has led to an "erosion" of meaning to the primary quests in general, and while I tend to agree, I don't think there's a great alternative without the narrative being structured around a series of progressive quests toward one end goal, therefore limiting player choice.  In any event, I've left you with a handful of paragraphs below:

This juggling of quests and side-quests is, I guess, part of the form of CRPGs, set in stone by the time Baldur’s Gate came along (1998) but present in games quite a bit earlier: you see similar plot/task juggling in, for example, the first-person CRPG Betrayal at Krondor (1993), just on a smaller scale. This “start task, get distracted by other task, end up with a shopping list of stuff” model seems natural to videogames – perhaps because, in giving us a to-do list, the form naturally dovetails with the player’s instinct to tidy up game worlds.

Still, I think videogame “quests” could benefit from quest models from other media: literature, for example. Quests in videogames – particularly RPGs – are promising opportunities for expression, empathy and the creation of meaning: key moments in the role-playing interface between game and player. Yet often they’re repetitious, predictable and by-the-numbers – and even when they’re not, the meaty quests brimming with character are often undercut by popping off to kill 10 spider rats.

...

In the original Baldur’s Gate journal, quests were not represented: instead players were given a list of date-stamped entries which filled out as their adventure progressed. Their story was told linearly, as a series of diary entries.

I find it interesting that you can see the development of quests and task structures in CRPGs through their evolving interfaces. I also find it interesting that while the BG developers started by keeping track of actions in a journal – a throwback to the storytelling focus of D&D – and kept it as a vestigial interface feature in the sequel, it’s ultimately a forgotten feature which has been expunged from the RPG genre. CRPGs, at least those built on Baldur’s Gate‘s foundations, do not lend themselves to organic storytelling as much as they do to “I completed this goal, I completed that goal, now I need to go do this goal.”

But just because these games don’t seem to be as narratively flexible as their pen and paper counterparts doesn’t mean that the notion of “quests” (as a personally significant journey) has no value. On the contrary, I think that if used correctly quests can breathe life into an RPG experience and provide much-needed context and personal stakes.

...

Another example of a game with meaningful quests is the much-praised Planescape: Torment. This game, building on the Baldur’s Gate formula, has the quest system we recognise from CRPGs, but the main quest is a quest in every sense. The player character, we discover, is an immortal who sometimes loses his memory when he “dies”; as such, he has lived an unknown number of past “lives”, each one ended by a sudden bout of amnesia brought on by the trauma of death. Some of these past incarnations, we discover, were kind; others were brutal. The player begins a quest to discover who they are, how they became this way and why this all happened, and on the way discovers what remains of their past incarnations; the game’s tagline and central question is “What can change the nature of a man?”

This harmonises with the conventions of the CRPG genre, since most RPGs ask the question “Who are you?”, and let the player’s choices and actions determine the answer. This is especially complicated and juicy in a game where “Who are you?” can also be read as “Who were you? Are you the same person as your past selves? Is it even possible for a person to change?” This quest is not as tightly designed as ME2‘s crew missions – it lasts at least 30 hours, not 30 minutes – but it is a game-long quest which really is a quest in the traditional sense. It’s ultimately about the most fundamental aspects of the protagonist’s identity. As such, the main quest enriches and adds context to all of the minor choices and character-driven moments in the game. The player is playing a game about a man seeking his identity while asking questions about the nature of identity, and play is accomplished by defining this character’s identity through choice and action while also thinking about those same questions of identity. It’s an unusually thoughtful discussion of roleplaying since one could argue the protagonist achieves personhood after his amnesia by roleplaying the person he wants to become: the questions “Who should I be? How do I get there?” are implicitly asked by both player and character, even if the protagonist never asks them aloud.

And, for what it's worth, the blog is also sporting an older article that analyzes why role-playing games are so combat-focused. Food for thought, both of them.

Source.

Source: GameBanshee

General News

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

Details

Total War: Warhammer - PC Gamer Review

by Aubrielle, 05:07

PC Gamer reviews Total War: Warhammer and gives it an impressive 86.

Dwarfs line the walls of the Everpeak, weapons ready. They fire bolt and lead at the incoming Orcs, but to the Giant lummoxing forward at the head of the green horde it may as well be a light smither of rain. The Giant crashes into the gates, stumbles back and crashes into them again. It bursts through to be faced by massed units of Longbeards, fearless Dwarf veterans, who mob the Giant like dogs harassing an elephant.

They win, because in the rock, paper, scissors of Total War: Warhammer the Longbeards' immunity to psychological effects makes them good at fighting fear-causing Giants. Slayers would be even better as they have the Anti-Large trait as well as Unbreakable, but this is a game where paper can beat scissors so long as there's enough of it.

Moldy Old World

Until now Total War has recreated historical eras, and so the tactics have been based on simplified versions of real-world tactics, whether deployed by Rome or Napoleon. Cavalry flank and race ahead to attack missile units before they get too many shots off; spears defend and resist cavalry charges; missile units pour volleys into dense infantry units as they slowly advance. Here, things are more complicated.

The Warhammer World is a fantasy setting, one loosely based on Renaissance Europe but with the fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien, Michael Moorcock, H. P. Lovecraft and Fritz Leiber funnelled into it through industrial pipes while copies of 2000 AD and heavy metal album covers are scattered on top. It's a mish-mash of everything someone at Games Workshop ever thought was cool, and it's both familiar and really weird.

More.

Source: PC Gamer

Total War: Warhammer

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: Unknown
Release: Released

Details

Sunday - May 22, 2016

Graywalkers - April-May Update

by Hiddenx, 18:23

Here's the newest Kickstarter update for the Graywalkers: Purgatory RPG:

April-May Update

Greetings Graywalkers! We have a lot to share with you today as usual. Though our updates are only every other month, we try and make sure that they are long and full of content and news. This month though, we will be sharing 2 updates. We've figured that while we are working on the game, we can give you more information about the other aspects of the game, particularly the role-playing aspect of it. That will be in the update next week. In the meantime, this update will focus on the development itself.

So here we go with what we have in store for this update:

NEWS UPDATE

  • Steam Store Page – we are currently preparing our Steam Store page and will be posting information to that soon. We're just working out the final paperwork needed and preparing the new content we will be sharing on it. We’re slowly putting together everything we need to move forward and this is one of them.
  • Fund Raising – as we go into the next stage, we are now again trying to raise funds via investors. The reason we are trying to raise funds is primarily for 2 reasons: to get more resources to speed up development since we’re behind schedule, and to prepare for costs of marketing and distribution. We are currently talking to several investors but these things normally always take time. If any of you know anybody who might be interested to invest, feel free to contact me at russelltomas@dreamlordsdigital.com and we will share more information about it.
      
  • Pre-Orders - When we release the new website, we will start taking pre-orders from those who would be interested. Obviously you guys don't have to do that anymore but you may know some friends or family who might want to order soon. In the meantime, while that isn't up yet, people can still back us up via PayPal.
  • Regular Monthly Updates - I've decided to start doing regular monthly updates starting this month. Those updates may be shorter than the ones we normally make but at least it will be more regular now. We've been noticing some people are getting antsy so the regular communication should ease up some fears that we are not around. 
  • Casual Connect Indie Prize – Graywalkers Purgatory has been shortlisted for the IndiePrize in Casual Connect this 2016. The event will be from May 17-May 19, 2016. IndiePrize is a competition joined by game companies from all over the world, most of which is from Asia. Unfortunately, we didn’t win but we’re still happy to have been a part of it. We’ll be joining the next ones in the various other Casual Connects in the US and other places. I think as we get closer to the game being done, the bigger our chances.

ALPHA

We are still working on the Alpha but we’re getting close. We really just want to make it good so we’re trying not to rush it too much. As we already said before, quality over speed. One thing is guaranteed, once it is ready, you guys will be the first to know...and those who have Alpha Access, will be the first to try it out. Thank you for your patience. Don't worry, we guarantee it is all worth it in the end. 

GUI

We’ve shown you some of the combat GUI in the past. Today we want to share with you a few of the character UI screens. Like always, it’s a work in progress so feel free to let us know any feedback, comments or suggestions. UI was one of the areas people commented about the most

[...]

Graywalkers

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

Details

Shroud of the Avatar - Capital City of Brittany

by Hiddenx, 18:10

Couch spotted a walkthrough of Shroud of the Avatar's Capital City of Brittany:

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Take a guided tour with Level Designer Esteben Zaldivar, as he walks you through Brittany, the Capital of Novia, in Lord British's epic game, Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues.

Shroud of the Avatar

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: MMORPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Dark Souls - The Evolution of the Level Design

by Hiddenx, 18:04

Super Bunnyhop analyzes the evolution of the Dark Souls level design - don't watch the video if you still want to play the Dark Souls series (SPOLER ALERT):

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Thanks Couch!

Dark Souls

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

Details

Dishonored 2 - No dumbing down

by Hiddenx, 17:56

Couch spotted this Gameinformer interview with the creative director of Arkane Studios - Harvey Smith. Fortunately he likes challenging games:

Why Harvey Smith Refuses To 'Dumb Down' Dishonored 2

It's a nebulous genre, but Arkane Studios and Dishonored 2's creative director Harvey Smith have an undying passion for "immersive first-person" games. With our June cover story detailing Dishonored 2, we break down what's exciting about the sequel's gameplay, and while visiting the studio we spoke to Smith about the game's place within the evolving genre.

[...]

Video interview:

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Dishonored 2

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

Details

Witcher 3 - Don't expect a Witcher 4

by Hiddenx, 17:41

Eurogamer suspects that there will not be another Witcher game:

Don't expect The Witcher 4 any time soon - or maybe ever

According to CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski, the company doesn't have a next Witcher game in any kind of development. Nor is one planned.

I asked him whether the studio will leave The Witcher series for good - following the release of Witcher 3 Blood and Wine on 31st May - or return to it some day, and he said, "We honestly don't know. We don't have anything planned as of now to be honest on the next Witcher.

"As we said before, never say never [but] right now it's really Blood and Wine. This is the end. Blood and Wine is [the] closing and there won't be any Witcher any time soon - if there ever will be one. And I would really like to see how people feel about it, if they will enjoy it."

[...]

Thanks Couch!

 

Witcher 3

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

Details

InSomnia - Interview @ TGG

by Hiddenx, 17:30

TGG has interviewed Anatoliy Guyduk of Studio Mono about InSomnia:

Some of you might already have seen my “InSomnia” video. Well, for those who haven´t done that yet. I really enjoyed Studio Mono´s tech demo of their upcoming retro-futuristic/dieselpunk RPG “InSomnia”. And thus I decided to do an interview with Studio Mono, so I got a chance to talk to Anatoliy Guyduk about their plans for “InSomnia“. And with that said, please enjoy my interview =)

Robin TGG
Could you perhaps tell us how Studio Mono and “InSomnia” came about?


Guyduk Studio Mono
Hi! It all started quite long time ago when few of my other friends and I started to discuss the possibility of developing of an RPG. At first this was more like joke, but by the end we asked ourselves: why the hell not? This made me write first design document of the project, which took about two weeks to complete. After that I started looking for programmers who could implement all these ideas in form of working code. I searched for all information online I could find about game development, asked friends of my friends to join the cause etc. So, step by step, month after month the vision of the project grew stronger, we had new people to help us and add some personal input. We tried things and learnt stuff. My home was like a focal point at first, but then we were able to find a small office, moved a few old PCs there. This is when we decided to create a studio and called it Mono.

Robin TGG
What can you tell us about “InSomnia´s” story and its main characters? And how big do you think the world of “InSomnia” will be in the final version? (hours of gameplay and the actual km size of the world).

Guyduk Studio Mono
The story takes place onboard a gigantic space metropolis, which started its journey through the universe over 400 years ago. This ship is inhabited by descendants of a once great civilization who were forced to leave its dying planet in search of a new home. The last hope for these people is to reach the Evacuation Point, which is a distant planet where they plan to start the history of humanity once again. This is exactly when the player enters the scene – to find out the real reasons for what remains of humankind to proceed with this dangerous trip, and face a new threat that might easily kill everyone who’s left.

Regarding the size of the world, I certainly can’t tell how many KMs are there. InSomnia consists of a number of locations of differing sizes, all of which are connected with the help of global map, with occasional random encounters with generic content happening in between. However, it will take up to 33-50 hours to complete the main storyline. So the game is pretty expansive!.

[...]

-> Kickstarter

InSomnia

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Steampunk
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Dungeons Of Aledorn - Alpha Released

by Hiddenx, 17:19

The alpha version of the old school RPG Dungeons of Aledorn is out:

Alpha Released - At Last!

   Greetings to all friends, gamers, backers and followers. Today, we have some good news, the twice-postponed alpha version of "Dungeons of Aledorn" (DoA) is finally here. We briefly want to tell you what you can expect in the alpha version and why it took so long.

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Starting today, a total of 119 backers are eligible to download and try out the game in its current state. If you hit the KickStarter rank of "Black Bear" or better, check you email for further instructions. And now, straight onto the features of the alpha version. Your pre-designed party of 3 heroes (Warrior, Rogue and Wizard) finds itself in the small town of Manto. You can roam around freely, search for hidden treasures or enter into dialogue with some NPCs. You can also accept a few quests and one of them can be even successfully completed.

[...]

Dungeons Of Aledorn

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

Details

General News - Chris Avellone @ Retrokompott

by Hiddenx, 02:49

The guys from the German Retro Podcast called Retrokompott published an English Audio-Interview with Chris Avallone where he talks about a little bit of everything, mostly about old times and his beginnings.

The interview can be found at here -> at the bottom, numbered 6.

General News

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

Details

Niffelheim - A Vikings Job is Never Done

by Silver, 02:03

GamePressure gets hands on with Niffelheim, a 2D Viking action-rpg.

"There's more to being a Viking than life itself" - invented by an ancient Norse wiseman, this saying flawlessly captures the spirit of Niffelheim. For the setting of their debut work - an action-RPG featuring hand-drawn 2D graphics and a set of basic mechanics - independent developer Ellada Games chose the Viking "afterlife", allowing the player to take control of a long-bearded warrior who tries to escape purgatory to reach the mythical Asgard. Having tested this Early Access title, we can conclude that this journey - assuming it will prove itself to be more diverse in the long run - may draw the attention of fans of small indie productions.

Before venturing forth...

Even a true Viking needs to be prepared to survive in a hostile environment. And to be prepared, first we need to acquire tools somehow. That's where crafting - the most well-developed element of this production - comes into play. And although the options offered by the game are far from surprising, they fulfill their role well enough. First of all, crafting is what drives exploration (and combat) in Niffelheim, as the easiest way to get the raw materials we need is by traversing the world and the network of caves underneath it, as well as by defeating opponents. Having gathered the components, it is easy (using the schematics provided by the game) to craft things like pieces of armor, weapons, and food, or expand the hero's fortress. Unfortunately, even considering the abundance of various "craftable" materials constantly luring me to catch 'em all, I grew tired of it rather quickly. Personally, I blame the repetitiveness - true, you can craft a lot, but there's only one way you can do it. Alchemy doesn't require any experiments, workshops offer progressively better gear depending on how far we have upgraded them, and all the elements of the fortress are upgraded using the same raw materials. The game failed to provide anything that would engage the player, and as a consequence this aspect of the game also fails to live up to its full potential.

Niffelheim

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

Details

Copper Dreams - Setting Part 1: The Syndicates

by Silver, 01:48

The latest kickstarter update from Copper Dreams focuses on the Syndicates and how they fit into the world of Calitana. Below is just a sample of the factions so be sure to read the update for more.

The Syndicates

In Calitana, the syndicates that rule the streets are as much a part of everyday life as the joylessly utilitarian synthetic food and overpowering aroma of copper that radiates from alleyways. In your role as an Agent of Asset Inquiries, you interact with many of these groups and will be thoroughly briefed on your rivals, but we wanted to give you a brief overview of the main players on the island.

[...]

The Mayflower Initiative (MFI)

Walled off from the rest of Calitana, the Mayflower Initiative, or the MFI, is the largest and wealthiest group on the island, hoarding resources, talent, and technology on their elevated plane above the rest of the city. Officially sent from the US government to jumpstart industry and civilized society for the colony in its founding years, the MFI not only built factories and housing for its members with its Corporeal Synthesizer, but also set up ministries for the purpose of enforcing fellowship and cheerful productivity, at gunpoint if necessary.

The MFI members and their families enjoy luxuries such as fresh produce, safe streets and well-made housing complexes, but their lives are restricted by the numerous harshly enforced regulations that dictate everything from the color of their jumpsuits to their thoughts and speech. Not everyone who is drafted to live on Calitana makes the cut to work at MFI, and thus the slums district grew outside its walls, sheltering those who have been exiled from the syndicate, those who are deemed unemployable, and those who are headhunted by other syndicates before the MFI can interview them.
...

Wolffz Bay Shipping and Services

One of the many syndicates operating outside of the walls of the Mayflower Initiative, Wolffz Bay originated as an industrious family of fishmongers, but quickly expanded into shipping and other services with the help of their nimble hovering boats that navigate the canals of the city. 

The Wolffz family and their employees exercise ruthless tactics to protect their interests and those who have sworn their loyalty. A smaller company than their neighboring competitors, Wolffz Bay relies on stealth and well-timed information over resources or brute power to achieve their ambitions. 

Wolffz Bay has recently been losing agents in their expansion efforts and are aggressively hiring. In Copper Dreams, you have been recruited by Wolffz Bay based off your military experience to seek intel, gather resources and protect shipments and property that will help your company stay a step ahead of its competitors.

Quinton Industries

Owning and running the factory district in the slums, Quinton is easily the wealthiest of the syndicates, manufacturing clothes, construction tools, hardware and other various essentials. Looking down on the less successful ambitions of rival syndicates, they see no moral issue with stealing secrets and goods from their inferior competitors and torturing agents for valuable intel to sell to the MFI. 

Luckily for Quinton, they are adept at sidestepping complaints, shifting blame and keeping on the right side of MFI. Without the factories, the commerce supporting the slums would break down, and the heads of Quinton sleep soundly at night knowing they always have an ace up their sleeve.

...

Copper Dreams

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

Details

Saturday - May 21, 2016

Colony Ship RPG - Dev Diary #5

by Hiddenx, 09:33

Vince tells us about all the things you need to create an RPG:

We started working on AoD back in 2004 which was a long time ago, so long, in fact, that I’ve completely forgotten what it feels like to start from scratch, when you need everything but have nothing. To say that it’s overwhelming is to say nothing at all. If anything it was easier the first time around when our naïve belief that we can do it in two years shielded us from lasting mental harm. It’s not the same when you know that 4 years development cycle is the best case scenario, if everything goes smoothly.

So what does one need to make an RPG?

  • An engine would be nice. Fortunately, it’s not my department so I’ll scratch it off my list and pretend that it will magically appear one day. So far, the plan is to use Unreal 4, but if we run into trouble we can always use Torque (the AoD engine), aka oddly comfortable plan B.
  • Setting, story, locations, quests, characters – the writer's domain. If AoD’s 600,000 words are any indication, it’s a big project that would probably take at least 3 years out of 4, if not all 5 out of 4, but as long as I’m half a step ahead of Oscar, it’s all good.

    Right now I’m working on the 'foundation': history, mutiny, early factions, post-mutiny events, schisms within factions, etc. Basically, the past events that explain why things are the way they are and how "we" got there in the first place. It’s important to see such things clearly when working on quests and leaders who don’t spring out of nowhere but are the product of their age and milieu. Overall, it’s been about hundred years since the mutiny and more than three hundred years since the ship was launched.
  • Systems. While the exact details aren’t important yet as all systems will keep evolving throughout the development, gaining more depth and complexity with every iteration, we need to get the 'foundation' right the first time, then build on top of it. More on that later.
  • Art. Surprisingly, the biggest problem right now is art. We need a lot of art, all kinds, shapes, and sizes. No, we don’t need it right now, but all these tasks take months and years, so we need to start planning now or we’re going to miss the train.

    It feels like a Tetris game where you have to put all these different pieces together and make sure we get everything we need and in a timely manner. Mazin (our artist) is truly exceptional and there is very little that he can’t do well, but he’s working part-time. Even if he weren’t, he can’t do everything as the list is too long, which means that we need to hire freelancers.

    That’s where it quickly gets prohibitively expensive. Quality takes time (days) and nobody will work for days for $25. Now we know that the game will still look crappy indie because we don’t have the manpower (the Witcher had 80 people, the Witcher 3 250 people, we have one artist/designer which explains why AoD didn’t snatch a single “Best Graphics 2015” award), so if we can’t deliver awesome visuals, we HAVE to deliver awesome details like portraits, icons, intro art, models, etc.

    So what do we need?
    • Logo
    • Interface
    • Intro, Menu, Promo art. Each piece takes 3-4 weeks, so that alone is a year-long project IF the artist is committed and dedicated. Sadly, that’s a big IF so it might take 2 years IF it goes well. When it comes to freelance artists, your mileage varies greatly.
    • Visible Things That Must Be Designed:
      • Weapons
      • Mechs & Turrets
      • Anti-Riot Droid aka your faithful companion
      • Shuttles
      • Mutated critters
      • Space Suit and other trendy clothing items
      • Gadget effects when deployed
      • Non-generic locations. For example, the cargo hold is visually interesting (looks amazing in Excel!), but it's built from generic parts (containers, cranes, etc). A place like the Bridge, for example, or the Neo-Church, or the Breached Hull :have spacesuit – will travel: requires a concept artist’s touch (weeks of work per location).
      • Misc; ideally a lot more things should pass through the Concept Art department, but we have to be realistic and never ever bit more than we can chew on.
    • Portraits. AoD has 57 portraits. Let’s say we’ll go with 60 portraits because they really do add so much to the dialogue screen. 3-4 days per portrait, that’s 180-240 days right there.
    • Inventory Icons. AoD has 252 unique items (not counting different variations like bronze, iron, steel, etc using the same models and icons). We don’t have a full item list yet but I’d be surprised if we end up with less than 200 items, so we’ll have to split the items between two artists to make sure it’s done by 2018.

      So far we've finalized weapons, armor, and gadgets.  We started with 81-90 weapon icons but reduced them to 66 for cost-related reasons, which is still more than AoD’s 40 weapons plus uniques. It takes 3-4 days per icon (including the back-n-forth design phase), so 6-8 months of work with a dedicated artist, about 2 years of work with a busy artist who’s working with multiple clients, and that’s just the weapons.

      This brings us to the issue of costs and art budgets. Any work, be it a portrait or an inventory icon, that takes a couple of days of work would end up costing you $100-300 per item. For example, when I was looking for a portrait artist for AoD, I was quoted $80-100 for a black-n-white portrait, $200-250 for a color one, which explains why you rarely see high quality portraits in games. It's just too expensive. If not for Mazin's generosity, we wouldn't be able to afford them either.

      So 66 weapon icons would cost us anywhere from $6,600 – if we’re lucky and find a guy willing to do the top tier work for the low tier price – to almost 20k, which is a lot of money. It's very easy to understand how game budgets quickly grew out of proportions and to the point where you have to play it safe to get your investment back and make a few bucks on top of it.

      It’s tempting to invest more, to hire more artists, but I know of three indie studios that either ended up deep in debt or failed to make any money to continue after releasing RPGs that seemingly did well and I’m not in a hurry to join them. I'll go over the indie "business model" in the next AoD update.
    • Models (weapons, objects, etc) : Same story, there’s only so much we can do on our own because modeling guns and objects take time from Oscar and Ivan (our animator). So again, you outsource - you pay a lot and drain your coffers faster than you can blink, so it requires an approach so careful and balanced it would make Sawyer proud.
    • Animations. AoD has over 500 animations, but that’s mostly melee. Firearms and cover mechanics can easily double that number.

    [...]

Colony Ship RPG

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

Details

Shoppe Keep - Released

by Hiddenx, 09:12

The Adenture RPG Business Sim Shoppe Keep has been released on Steam:

Run an adventurers shop – a serious business in a fantasy environment. Stock your store with dangerous weapons, fancy hats, sturdy armour and magical potions.

IGP checked the game out:

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Shoppe Keep

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

Details

Copper Dreams - Kickstarter Progress

by Hiddenx, 08:32

The cyber-espionage RPG Copper Dreams is making great progess on Kickstarter:
63% of the $40.000 target are funded with 21 days to go.

On the other hand Swen Vincke and Charlene Putney from Larian ask themselves:

I don’t get why @whalenought ’s copper dreams isn’t already funded -

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Copper Dreams

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

Details

Titan Quest - 1.22 Patch Released on PC

by Aubrielle, 06:54

The Titan Quest devs have released patch 1.22 for the popular ARPG, with an eye toward releasing an enhanced edition in the near future.  The patch is an all-around update, featuring class tweaks, bug fixes, and performance improvements.

As Nordic Games charges ahead toward their goal to release an enhanced version of Titan Quest and Titan Quest: Immortal Throne on PC, there have been quite a few updates that anyone who owns the Steam version of the action RPG should pay attention to if another play-through of the mythology-based title is in your near future.

Full patch notes here.

Source: GameBanshee

Titan Quest

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Dishonored 2 - Inside the Development

by Aubrielle, 06:47

GameInformer has a video interview with Dishonored co-creator Harvey Smith focusing on the development of Dishonored II and the culture at the studio.

Arkane Studios has been around for 17 years, releasing successful games and plugging away on secret projects, but it was the release of 2012's Dishonored that introduced the talented studio to a wide, new audience. With our June cover story on Dishonored 2, we've been rolling out information on the gameplay and art of the new game but wanted to also focus on the team behind the sequel. There's been a little bit of confusion about the current state of Arkane Studios, with Dishonored's co-creative director Harvey Smith moving to France to lead development on Dishonored 2, so we spoke with Smith about the reasons behind the move and how this project has evolved.

Watch the video below to learn more about the development history of Dishonored 2 and how the team compares to the first game's lead developers.

Video available here.

Source: Game Informer

Dishonored 2

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

Details

KotOR 2 - Retrospective Audio

by Aubrielle, 06:33

Video Game Sophistry had a chat with Feargus Urquhart about Knights of the Old Republic II, and came away with some interesting perspectives about nostalgia in gaming.

(For the talk with Feargus about KOTOR 2, skip to 25:00)

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Source.

Source: GameBanshee

KotOR 2

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

Details

Fallout 4 - Far Harbor PC Gamer Review

by Aubrielle, 06:24

PC Gamer reviewed Far Harbor and gave it a solid 80.

The island itself is perfectly enjoyable to explore: gloomy, marshy, shrouded in mist and prone to radiation storms. It’s a spooky and atmospheric setting, weird and evocative even in broad daylight. It’s not that heavily dotted with locations, but there’s enough exploring, combat, and mission running to keep most players busy for 20-plus hours. There are also plenty of raiders (here they’re called trappers), supermutants, ghouls, and some new weapons to kill them with, such as a harpoon gun and a lovely giant hammer equipped with an afterburner to help you swing its radioactive head. There’s also a new companion in the form of a grizzled and salty old coot, and a few new settlements to build (if you haven’t already had enough).

Far Harbor is a bit pricey but worth it for those looking for a good amount of new content and a real departure in setting. More dialogue-based resolutions are also welcome: I feel like I did more talking, and likewise more listening, than in Fallout 4 itself.

More.

Source: PC Gamer

Fallout 4

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

Details

Path of Exile - Prophecy Content Update Soon

by Silver, 02:58

Prepare for a content update June 3rd for Path of Exile in the form of Prophecy Content Update 2.3.0 & Prophecy Challenge Leagues. The content update will include new skills, items, balance changes and a endgame labyrinth.

Coming on June 3, 2016!

Content Update 2.3.0 will be released at 1pm on Friday June 3 (US Pacific Time). This is 10pm in the CEST timezone and 8am on June 4 in New Zealand. The Prophecy Challenge Leagues will also start at this time.

This article does not contain the full patch notes for the 2.3.0 update. We'll be releasing more details on specific features over the next couple of weeks, culminating in the final patch notes a few days before the update is released.

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Path of Exile

SP/MP: Massive
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

BattleTech - Q&A Video

by Silver, 02:06

Harebrained Schemes conducted a live Q&A on all things BattleTech recently courtesy of HyperRPG.

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BattleTech

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

Details

StarCrawlers - Ironmode has Arrived

by Silver, 01:36

StarCrawlers has been patched and now has a permadeath mode for those that want it.

Ironmode has arrived! As requested, you can now subject yourself to permadeath in StarCrawlers by starting a new game with the Ironmode option selected. Mercenaries can now join your crew for a limited time under special circumstances - the first first mercenary available is the enigmatic Mr. Lieu, a security consultant working for Kage Enterprises. Expect to see more mercenaries become available from Factions in the future!

Ironmode
This is the first time this feature has been activated, so if you choose to go Ironmode, we'd love to hear about your experience, be it good or (probably) bad! :D

  • New games with difficulty of Standard or higher can choose to activate Ironmode.
  • Limit of 1 Ironmode save that auto updates.
  • Character death is permanent and equipped gear is lost forever.
  • The Ironmode save updates whenever a character dies.
  • Not for the faint of heart.


Mercenaries

  • Mercenaries can temporarily join your crew for a mission.
  • Mr. Lieu, a friendly smuggler, can be hired after reaching Allied reputation with Kage.
  • Unique mercenaries can be obtained from rare drops.


Factions

  • Kage Enterprises can now be contacted via the Wire terminal.
  • Kage can supply items to help crawlers deal with traps, provided they like you.
  • Fixed some typos in the Jiyin contact event.


Items

  • Added new drops that can counter traps.


UI

  • The new game menu has been improved.
  • Saved games now display the difficulty setting of the game.


Coming Next

  • New Story Mission...
  • More friendly faction contact events.
  • More cool stuff!

StarCrawlers

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

Details

Halcyon 6:SC - Post-Launch Report

by Silver, 01:24

Prepare for an extensive update planned for late May/Early June for Halcyon 6: Starbase Commander

Next Steps and Road to Full Release

What's next? Well, we're going to keep pushing towards the Final Release of the game as soon as possible!

There will be TWO major updates to the game, the first is Officers Unleashed and the second will contain Acts 2 and 3 together. In between these major updates, we'll be pushing smaller updates to fix bugs, UI issues, polish and 'quality of life' tweaks to make the game better.

Once the two major updates are out, we'll launch the Full Release version of the game. After the Full Release, we'll work on immediate stuff like Linux version and the Kickstarter stretch goals (as promised!).

So, onto the next major update...

Officers Unleashed!

From the beginning, officers were always an integral part of our game design. We're adding to what we launched in our Early Access build to give players more customization and more control over their officers.

First up is levelling up an officer. In Officers Unleashed, you'll be earning skill points as you gain levels and you can go to this screen to spend those skill points however you like. Be it upgrading an existing power or training in a brand new one, the choice is yours.

officer level up mockup

Officer Level Up Mockup.

We're also revamping our Tech Tree and moving some upgrades to trainable upgrades that may not need as much resources but simply an officer and time to unlock in the new Officer Academy room:

officer academy room
Also in the Officers Unleashed update, we'll be adding Away Missions on planetary surfaces and enemy strongholds.

Of course this means more stuff for your officers to do.. we'll be adding more officers into the earlier portions of the game to balance it out.

And of course there will be lots of tweaks and balancing as well. We're aiming to get Officers Unleashed out for late May/early June timeframe and yes this is a huge change to the major areas of the game so old saves will not work.

As with any major update, we'll be needing you to help us playtest and provide us that valuable feedback that you've been giving during our Alpha, Beta and Early Access phase.

Thanks again for supporting us in this journey, we're so proud that we were able to deliver a good experience in Early Access to both our backers and our new players from Steam and we can't wait to get Officers Unleashed, then Acts 2 and 3 into your hands.

- Halcyon 6 Team

Halcyon 6:SC

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

Details