Sword Coast Legends
Sword Coast Legends Community Interview
We asked our visitors what they wanted to ask about Sword Coast Legends and this is the result
» Continue reading the article...
Dex - RPGWatch Review
Aubrielle hits the streets with Dex, the brand new sidescrolling cyberpunk adventure from Dreadlocks.
» Read the article
I can't choose
I don't do franchises
I don't like Bioware
Friday - May 22, 2015
TechRaptor - The Etymology of RPGs, Part 2
More RPG history on TechRaptor - part 2. Robert Grosso explains the origins of WRPGs and JRPGs. A snippet:
During the early 1990s, there were some attempts to innovate the genre further. Quest for Glory incorporated role-playing mechanics into a point-and-click adventure game. Betrayal at Krondor, based on author Raymond Feist’s Midkemia setting, featured a turn-based, semi-tactical system coupled with pre-determined characters and a skill-based experience system. Legends of Valour was the first sandbox style role-playing game without a non-linear plot line and would later be named as one of the primary influences of the Elder Scroll’s series.
All of the above games were criticized as role-playing games in the West upon release. Notable problems included a poor user interface, unusual gameplay mechanics, bad graphics or lack of depth found in most other CRPGs at the time. Essentially, they deviated too much from the winning formula. Even Quest for Glory was considered more of an adventure-game than a true RPG and much like Times of Lore, was relegated to “novice-level” status rather quickly.
This stagnation led to the major decline of the CRPG market. As reviewer Mark Walker put it, “During the now-infamous mid-nineties CRPG lull, the toughest dungeons were the bottomless pits of failed designs, and the fiercest beasts the deadly-dull CRPG releases.” Many issues stemmed from ballooning budgets for software development, longer development times, and heavy competition not only from other PC games, such as more fast-paced first-person-shooters and strategy titles. Tastes were also shifting to Japanese role-playing games, leaving many western RPGs with a shrinking audience. By 1997, Western RPGs were at their all time low.
This would change with a trio of games that would change the landscape once again, this time borrowing from less traditional sources. The first would be Blizzard’s Diablo, an action RPG that was heavily influenced by the roguelike Telengard from 1982. Eschewing the slower pace of a dungeon crawl, Diablo was quick and accessible, heavy on combat and action, and had a vibrant online community when it was released in 1996.
A year later, Interplay, with a new developer called Black Isle Studios, would release a game called Fallout. Based on a previous Interplay title called Wasteland, Fallout was set in a post-apocalyptic future ravaged by nuclear war. The game would feature an open, non-linear world, heavy emphasis on character interaction, turn-based tactical combat system, and distinct aesthetic presentation. All of this allowed Fallout to stand out and further revitalize the CRPG market with a fresh approach to the genre, both in terms of mechanics and presentation.
Knights of Pen & Paper 2 - Review @IGN Africa
If you roleplay roleplaying is this called 'meta-roleplaying'?
Knights of Pen & Paper 2:
What better way to have some fun with the traditions of fantasy video games and nerd culture than through a game where you role-play as a role-player? That’s the premise of the Knights of Pen & Paper games, which see you gather up a brave party of adventurers… then sit around a table and tell the dungeon master what you want to do. It’s a strong central conceit, adding a meta-commentary to what would otherwise be a solid but familiar RPG backbone, and this sequel expands neatly on the systems and presentation of the original. It’s not quite as tactically deep as it could have been, nor does it have the end-game I would have liked to see, but Knights of Pen & Paper 2 is thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.
The PC version is coming soon.
Knights of Pen & Paper 2SP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
The Witcher - was almost a Diablo clone
No, the gif below is not another Wild Hunt graphics downgrade, it's a prototype version of the original Witcher from 2002. Former project lead Ryszard Chojnowski has taken to YouTube about his time with the franchise in its early days.
The demo was a point-and-click action game directly inspired by Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance,which itself was a riff on Diablo. CD Projekt RED was shopping this around to publishers, and hastily built their prototype using the engine for Mortyr, a World War II shooter from 1999.
The original plan was to have players create their own characters, rather than play as Geralt. Instead, Geralt would show up as an NPC for players to talk to and interact with.
The WitcherSP/MP: Single-player
Moonrise - early access trailer
What? No, of course I'm not playing Pokemon! This game is completely different, it lets me collect hundreds of unique and powerful creatures and evolve them into new and exciting forms!
Originally announced for iOS, the monster collection game Moonrise is now also headed to PC through Steam early access. Here's the trailer.
Battles involve “real-time speed” but, thankfully, appear to be similar to Final Fantasy’s Active Time Battles rather than scrappy clickfests. There’s a full singleplayer campaign, taking place in a world with all kinds of different scenery – forests, deserts, villages clinging to the side of enormous land-spires – and PvP battling.
Moonrise is Undead Labs' followup to their pretty great 2013 survival horror sim State of Decay, so I wouldn't write this off.
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Indie RPGs - Bedlam Bundle
Indiegalas' latest Bedlam Bundle has a few rpg's for those who may be interested in them. One is a jrpg called "Darkend" & a match 3 puzzle/rpg called "Gunspell." Also included is N.P.P.D. Rush, Pixel Puzzles, Pressured, Gold Rush ( an old DOS game that comes with dosbox to run on newer systems), Bedlam & an older RTS called "Z", which has some of the funniest cut scenes ever.
Indie RPGsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Patch 1.03 Released
CD Projekt Red released patch 1.03 for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Here's the patch log:
This update introduces a range of stability and performances ehancements as well as allows users to take advantage of some additional graphics settings.
Please find the detailed list of fixes below:
Improves stability in gameplay and the UI
Improves performance especially in cutscenes and gameplay
Fixes grass and foliage popping that could occur after density parameters were changed
Improves Nvidia Hairworks performance
Boosted texture anisotropy sampling to 16x on Ultra preset
Sharpen Post-process settings extended from Off/On to Off/Low/High
Blood particles will now properly appear after killing enemies on the water
Corrects a bug where player was able to shoot bolts at friendly NPCs
Improves menu handling
Corrects an issue with Stamina regeneration while sprinting
Fixes a cursor lock issue that sometimes occcured when scrolling the map
Generally improves world map focus
Improves input responsiveness when using keyboard
Corrects some missing translations in the UI
Corrects an issue in dialogue selections
Rostan Muggs is back
Minor SFX improvements
Shadowrun: Hong Kong - Update #32 brings a trailer and a sale
Harebrained Schemes has released a teaser trailer for the upcoming third entry in their series of Shadowrun adventures, and the game is also now available for pre-purchase on Steam. To celebrate, the team is offering the previous two games for just a few bucks, and a discount on preorders of the new one as well.
Company co-founder Mitch Gitelman effuses:
Shadowrun: Hong Kong is on track for an important milestone at the end of this month: Feature Complete! That’s when the code for all our new features is working in the game. There will still be a little placeholder art remaining for some of the new interfaces we’ve added, but the underlying code works like it’s supposed to and everything will be in the hands of the artists and the designers after that. For the engineers, it’s all bug fixes, tweaks, and polish for the rest of the project!
The new screenshots actually show more of the game than the brief teaser, so here's a couple of them:
Shadowrun: Hong KongSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Invisible, Inc - More Reviews
It's not getting a lot of attention, but reviews for this little stealth game have remained very good.
All the systems are at odds with each other and it is exhilarating. You want to find the exit quickly, before things get too difficult to handle, yet the whole point of your infiltration to to quickly prepare for a big standoff, which means it's better to steal all the credits and gear that you can, to explore every room ... But not doing enough, not filching everything, feels like it will do you in in the long run, too. Credits buy you new gear ... It's elegant as hell. A commensurate arms race.
Game Planet: 9/10
By lifting and mixing the best parts of Syndicate, Splinter Cell, and XCOM, Klei has managed to create something familiar yet totally unique with this stealth-focused isometric strategy game.
As with every Klei game, Invisible Inc. is beautiful. ... The cartoonish cyber-noir aesthetic is some of the art team’s best work to date.
It’s all tied together by a loose story of rebellion against a corporate-dominated world, but it’s disappointing that the fiction is so static in a game that’s meant to be repeated. ... while I love the sleek cartoon art style, that makes up most of Invisible Inc’s personality.
But I did keep replaying, because I know every run through will throw some new combination of obstacles at me, and ask me to overcome them with a different set of tools.
PC Gamer: 80/100
It all feels too effortless, at first, as your agents trade off turns with the enemy guards. And then a momentary lapse forces your hand and you kill a guard, which raises the alarm level, which activates a new camera, which catches one of your characters dead to rights, which calls in heavier armored guards right next to your first character, who just used their last bullet to kill that first guard, and you know what? Let’s just hit the rewind button before this gets really out of hand.
Game Revolution: 3.5/5
The start of each campaign comes with a warning: “You will fail. Repeatedly.”
Even on the most mundane missions I was constantly on edge while guards patrolled surrounding areas. It doesn't feel like a complete experience in some specific areas, but the combination of challenge and stealth gameplay provides a refreshing change of pace for the beloved genre.
Invisible, IncSP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Tactical RPG
ToEE - A New Fluent Let's Play!
In this exciting new video, I start my first ever Fluent Let's Play of the classic Dungeons & Dragons RPG, The Temple of Elemental Evil!
Check it out and follow along with the fun! I will update it regularly, so feel free to take your time and enjoy.
Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, children of all ages - gather 'round as Uncle Fluent takes you on a wild adventure in the Dungeons & Dragons classic RPG, The Temple of Elemental Evil!
I have never played this game so it's going to be an exciting and new experience for all of us! Yes! Let's do this!! =)
Thanks and enjoy!
Drakensang: TDE - In latest Bundle Stars bundle
Drakensang:The Dark Eye is the game of note in a new Bundle Stars Barbaric Bundle. The bundle also includes Grid, Droid Assault, Bardbarian, Hero of Many,Leviathan:Last Day Of The Decade,Battle Of Sol, Another Perspective, Hassleheart, & Helldorado.
Drakensang: TDESP/MP: Single-player
Thursday - May 21, 2015
Hellraid - Development Put on Hold
Originally announced in April 2013, Hellraid is a first-person action game about battling the forces of Hell, who are raiding the dark fantasy world in which the game is set. Or at least it would be, if it ever actually came out. And right now, that's not looking too likely.
"We would like to officially announce that our dark fantasy FPP game Hellraid will not be released this year as previously planned, and the development of the game has been put on hold," Techland announced today. "In the recent months we conducted an internal analysis and came to the conclusion that Hellraid, in its current shape and form, is not meeting our own expectations for this project. Therefore, we decided the best course of action would be to send it back to the drawing board and invent our dark fantasy title anew."
That reinvention isn't going to happen right away, however. Techland said its focus for now will be on the "further expansion of our Dying Light franchise," and there's no indication of a possible future release date. That's not quite the same as an outright cancellation, but it's awfully close.
HellraidSP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash
Release: In development
Technobabylon - Review & Interview @ TechRaptor
Cyberpunk comes back. Don Parsons from TechRaptor reviewed the excellent Point&Click Adventure Technobabylon. A snippet:
I’ve taken my time getting to gameplay because there isn’t a ton to talk about here. It is mostly traditional point and click adventure game play with some time sensitive events (not traditional QTEs as you can just wait and try again for the right pattern spot). The puzzles in Technobabylon are a breath of fresh air. They are challenging at times but logical in almost all instances. There were one or two that had me feeling it stretched logic some, but by and large the puzzles in this game were of very good design, logically proceeding from the story and fitting into it, rather than puzzles for puzzles sake, or puzzles that make no sense. A lot of the puzzles even have multiple solutions to them, which also helps mitigate a traditional adventure puzzle flaw where if you aren’t thinking exactly the same way as the developer, you can’t solve it.
The inventory interface is clean and works well, and in more modern traditions it gets rid of items that you won’t need for future puzzles. That makes it easier to know what your options are, which means that even if you get stuck, you can probably eventually brute force your way through the situation. The game wouldn’t hurt with a bit more feedback at times during puzzles, but it does pretty well most of the time with the world around you having hints on occasion.
He interviewed developer James Dearden, too:
TechRaptor: Technobabylon was originally released as freeware, what was the hope in revisiting and updating it to release as a commercial product?
James: Way back in 2010, I’d started making Technobabylon as a practice attempt at making adventure games. Before that, all I’d done were a couple of simple puzzle and strategy games, and I wanted to get better before tackling a longer narrative. However, Technobabylon turned out to be more popular than I’d expected, so as the narrative grew, I thought it might benefit from being all together as one large project, rather than a series of episodes with sharp quality changes.
I’d seen the success that other commercial projects like Gemini Rue had had with Wadjet Eye, so I thought it’d be worth a chance by showing Dave the demo at AdventureX in 2012. Apparently my pitch succeeded, so this is my opportunity to turn indie games into something more than just a hobby for me!
There's a demo on Steam to test the game.
RPGWatch - Dex Review
Aubrielle checks out Dex, the sidescrolling cyberpunk adventure from Dreadlocks, resulting in a review of the game.
The leveling system is also simple and straightforward. Your health bar at the upper left will tell you when you've leveled. Go back into the pause menu, select 'character', and take a look. Every level gives you a single point to upgrade something with. Leveling your charisma will give you more options in dialogue. Leveling hacking makes you able to stay in cyberspace longer and be more effective there. Putting points in firearms allows you to shoot more bullets per attack. One slight problem is that in the beginning of the game, you're not faced with tons of problems requiring different skills. Early on, the lockpicking skill is really useful, and it's one of the only skills you'll find yourself in need of. So the game doesn't cause you agony over choosing what to put your points into for a little while. Soon, though, the game will branch out and you'll find yourself in need of other skills, so this forces you to think ahead a little without necessarily knowing what you need. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on what kind of player you are. Do you like being in the dark, having to think ahead and live with your choices? Then it's right up your alley. As of writing this, I haven't been able to find any evidence of items that allow you to refund skill points. It's possible they'll add it in a later update.
Release: In development
Lords of XulimaSP/MP: Single-player
Umbra - Meet the Boss
The Kickstarter page for Umbra is providing an update on one of the bosses in the game.
Today, we are making a special update about an early concept of a boss from Umbra: The mighty and Dreadful Lambach ! It will be a good way for you to discover some of our unrevealed gameplay elements, and learn a bit more about the lore of the game.
Lambach used to be an ambitious human scientist of the Republic, but his limited understanding of the world lead him to explore the land of the occult. His main interest was the secrets of life and the human body. By reading a tome of ancient knowledge and forgotten religion, he slowly discovered forbidden secrets that humans should have never been aware of.
He tried to enter in contact with unearthly entities, but he failed at every try. He pushed his research more and more, visiting the most cursed places in the world, digging into graveyards and exploring forgotten crypts to harness infernal books and artifacts.
UmbraSP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash
Release: In development
Torment: Tides of Numenera - Indigo Voice, Floors and a Video
In Kickstarter update #41 for Torment: Tides of Numenera, the pending Kickstarter for The Bards Tale IV is plugged and there is news that the second of their From the Depths novellas is released and the technique behind moving floors.
Nathan Fabian here. At my day job I make pretty pictures out of billions of finite elements for one of the Department of Energy labs. At night I dabble in game development, including some consulting through my company, Longshot Studios. I was a backer of Torment and have been working with the team part time for almost a year. Currently, I'm working mostly on our animation system, but I wanted to talk a bit about a recent Torment challenge I worked on. It gets a bit technical, but the final result is pretty cool.
Imagine you are handed a pylon. It is a very ordinary sort of pylon. In fact it’s only a computer model—a few tens of polygons, quite unremarkable for a pylon. But your mission isn’t just to hold this, it is to take it forth and multiply! 100 by 100 pylons to create a dynamic floor where each individual piece can move up and down independently, changing the shape of the floor on the fly. This single pylon must become a mega structure of 10,000.
“No problem,” you say, “I have the power. I have code!” You execute a loop, create 10,000 pillars, and your graphics card (GPU) catches on fire (not literally). This was not the incantation we were looking for.
Modern graphics cards are extraordinarily powerful and can render hundreds of millions of triangles per second. For someone who grew up reading Michael Abrash books and articles, it feels indistinguishable from magic. Back then, we were happy to get resolutions of 320x240 because “Look! Square pixels!”
Where did our incantation go wrong? Why was the devil box not appeased?
In another Kickstarter update we are presented with a new video.
Torment: Tides of NumeneraSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - CD Projekt tackles downgrade issue [Update]
Apparently there is some kind of controversy about the graphics in the commercial release of The Witcher 3 not matching a promo video from a couple of years ago. What do the people at CD Projekt have to say for themselves? They've talked with Eurogamer:
Eurogamer: Did the console versions restrict the PC version?
"If the consoles are not involved there is no Witcher 3 as it is," answers company founder Marcin Iwinski. "We can lay it out that simply. We just cannot afford it, because consoles allow us to go higher in terms of the possible or achievable sales; have a higher budget for the game, and invest it all into developing this huge, gigantic world.
"Developing only for the PC: yes, probably we could get more [in terms of graphics] as there would be nothing else [...] But then we cannot afford such a game."
Studio head Adam Badowski confirms that the trailer shown at the VGX tradeshow was captured PC footage of the game as it existed at that time, but that the rendering system was changed after the creation of the trailer, partly to avoid the demands of dynamic lighting in a huge open world.
Also , Eurogamer reminds us that:
a big patch with 600 changes - including improvements to graphics and graphical settings - was sent to certification today (Wednesday 20th May), and will take between five and seven days to clear.
In addition, CD Projekt Red will patch the game to allow editing of .ini files on PC, to push graphical settings even higher. You will be able to tweak grass and vegetation density, post-processing effects such as sharpening, and draw distances.
"And we think about some other tricks but we need time," Adam Badowski says.
Update: It turned it this was a misunderstanding. Said patch was the day one update.
Witcher 3 - review @ PC Gamer
Well, PC Gamer also likes it: a 92/100. Shaun Prescott writes:
On my way to the witch I stumbled upon a typically destitute Velen village. I didn’t care about the village at all, [...] But something—maybe the sun setting so amber on the horizon, or the children dashing frantically through the muddy streets—made me stop. I was curious.
It probably goes without saying, but if you’re in a hurry, never get off your horse en route in an open world RPG. This is especially true for The Witcher 3. Several hours later, once I’d cleared out some monsters for a desperate peasant in her far-off stable, and made preliminary moves to slay a beast haunting the town, I forced myself to leave.
I didn’t really want to leave, though. It’s not that I liked the town [...] I was just curious about the villagers’ circumstances. [...] How did they get so poor and wretched? [...]
Straight up, this is the most remarkable thing about The Witcher 3. Its writing isn’t perfect—it still bears some of the familiar trappings of being a video game—but it almost always rewards curiosity, big time. [...] The Witcher 3 achieves something very few video games do: when I’m engaged in a peripheral mini-narrative I’m not necessarily thinking about its game aspects. [...] I’m not grinding. I just really want to know, and understand, what’s going on.
In this game, distractions overwhelm you. For mine, the game’s distractions are where its most engaging stories are found.
Source: PC Gamer
Wednesday - May 20, 2015
Battle Brothers - Early Access Impressions @ AttackoftheFanboy
Emily Speight from AttackoftheFanboy.com gives you some Early Access impressions on the game Battle Brothers:
A word of warning: Battle Brothers is NOT for casual players - like Emily said:
Battle Brothers rewards careful planning. Its AI adapts effectively to changes in battle — even skirmishes that outwardly appear to be easy can result in the loss of life without careful planning. Sometimes, even that is not enough to save your men.
Battle BrothersSP/MP: Single-player
Ys VI: The Ark of Napishtim - Review at Techraptor
Techraptor reviewed Ys Vi: The Ark of Napishtim awarding it a score of 8/10.
From a standpoint of the story, there really isn’t anything special about it. You’ll enjoy some of the recurring characters, along with the lore drops here and there if you’re a fan of the series, but considering that Ys V hasn’t been officially released in the west and probably never will, it’s safe to say that if you’re planning to play Ys VI for the story, you might want to look elsewhere (in that case, I’d recommend XSEED’s other recently released PC Falcom title, The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky). That’s not to say that the story is horrible, it just doesn’t do much. For the majority of the story you are tracking the pieces of a broken mirror, and it’s only at the very tail-end of the game that anything resembling an earth-shattering event occurs.
Ys VI: The Ark of NapishtimSP/MP: Single-player
Kingdom Come: Deliverance - Tech Alpha Update
In this latest Kickstarter update for Kingdom Come: Deliverance information is provided on the tech alpha, which is being presented at E3.
We have been silent for a while, because we are working hard on the next Technology Alpha update, which will be presented at E3 in June. What are the main new features you can look forward to?
- Combat: 1-on-1 combat with Long sword, featuring parrying, ripostes and combos
- New location: introducing a new village and surrounding countryside
- Travel: horse riding is now available
- Quests: new quests featuring alchemy, lock picking or grave digging
- Localization: in addition to English voice-overs you can now choose German or French subtitles
If you backed for Baron tier or higher, please register on our website to get the Steam code to download the Tech Alpha. If you need help, please follow the instructions on our website or email us. New update will be available in the second half of June.
You can take a look at the sword combat in this behind the scenes video from Daniel Vávra, but please remember it is still a work in progress from a basic testing build. The combat in game looks already much better :-)
Also the new location Merhojed village is being presented, the merchandise section on their wesite is ready now and for European backers there is Warhorse beer to be had.
Kingdom Come: DeliveranceSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Drivers & Tuning
A lot of gamers in our forum and at other places on the interweb are having fun tuning The Witcher 3. I'll post a couple of random infos and links to support you in your quest.
- nVidia released a new optimized driver
- You own a GTX Titan X? Congratulations, nVidia has a free The Witcher 3 for you!
- An optimized driver by AMD should come out this week
- GameStar's technik check (->traffic light system) gives you a good idea whether your PC can run the game. Just go through (1) graphics card, (2) CPU and (3) RAM. The weakest color counts.
- PC Games Hardware analyzed the performance of 22 graphics cards and the CPU scaling. Surprising result: If you have a decent CPU with at least 4 cores, The Witcher 3 is graphics card limited even on 1280*768 without AA/AF and post-processing!
- nVidia published a very detailed tuning guide
- The first dozen SweetFX profiles for W3 have been created. Here's one random video to get you started.
Dead State - Review @RPS
Although Alec Meer criticises a lot of game systems in Dead State: Reanimated, he pays his respect at the end of his review for Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
I do like it, though. Quite a lot more so than this piece probably suggests, and that’s because it’s a game which is far more successful in theme and tone (harder to convey in text) than it is in features. Getting through another day feels meaningful despite the barrage of numbers and the parroted lines. Fights are chilling, flexible and unpredictable rather than perfunctory. Error is a result of your choices rather than an enforced event. The wider world is a sinister, uncharted mystery, with your never quite knowing what’s out there until you encounter it. Decisions are painful. People are problematic. Murder feels bad. The downbeat prettiness of its world is littered with small details, hints of the communities that once were and the fearful squatters that have replaced them.
In terms of recreating the second act of an … of the Dead or 28 x Later film, that point where the world has fallen, scattered survivors have found shared refuge and now they need to take risks to maintain it, Dead State is probably as close as we get. I would say that Dead State probably has too many parts and doesn’t quite know how to fit them all together cleanly, but it just about manages to be more than the sum of them.
Dead StateSP/MP: Single-player
Witcher 3 - Gamasutra On a Successful Open World
Gamasutra author Phill Cameron analyses why the CD Projekt Red's implementation of a believable open world in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a smashing success. A random snippet:
It makes sense that villagers wouldn’t know the technical name for a monster, especially if it isn’t a common one. It makes sense that a big portion of a Witcher’s job is actually dealing with superstitious, uneducated townsfolk rather than necessarily monsters. There are multiple occurrences of Geralt needing to counter ignorance rather than a blade, which often could be interpreted to be cheating you out of a combat encounter. Combat which itself is diffident to the world far more than the player.
Psychology of Game Kickstarters @Gamasutra
Gamasutra published a blog post titled Psychology and Video Game Kickstarters. Here's the intro to the second of three main points:
Social Proof: Pump Up # of Backers As Early As Possible
The second element of a Kickstarter pitch page that I suspect most people notice is the collection of stats about number of backers and how much money they've pledged. This information is critically important in the first days of a campaign, as it can mean the difference between a trickle that never reaches its goal and a flood that blows past it. Because if we're browsing Kickstarter projects, we're probably more likely to back those that we see others backing, especially early on.
Kickstarter - Asking for Less than You Need is Risky
Developer Katie Chironis wrote a highly interesting piece for Polygon analysing the Kickstarter bubble and the risks of asking only for a small part of your game's budget: 'Big indie' Kickstarters are killing actual indies.
Bloodstained isn't a story of the little guy triumphing over big publishers; it's the story of a campaign that had millions of dollars of funding before the Kickstarter began and the help of multiple companies handling the logistics of the campaign. They asked for $500,000 to prove a point, not fund a game. The issue is that campaigns like that cause members of the community to believe that $500,000 is all you need to create large-scale experiences.
When you ask for half a million dollars when you really need $5 million, it becomes impossible for games with realistic budgets to survive. It’s not that people don’t understand what a game costs, it’s more that Kickstarter is actively distorting people’s understanding of a sane budget. The ecosystem is being poisoned for projects that need to raise their actual, workable budget for a game.
If you are considering to back a Kickstarter or even launch your own campaign in the future, you should head over to Polygon to read Katie's article.
Gamasutra - The Usability of Bloodborne
Gamasutra posted a bunch of interesting articles. The first is a blog post showing by example why a hard game - Bloodborne - and good usability are not a contradiction.
The corpse run mechanic
Another keystone of usability is being forgiving and allowing for error recovery. Bloodborne doesn't allow much flexibility outside of its core, consistent, rules, but the corpse run mechanics do give players a second chance. Especially given that dropped blood echoes (that drop when you die) tend to be placed a bit back from where you actually died. They also are friendly and spawn at the top of cliffs/bottomless pits. The assigning of blood echos to enemies can add a wrinkle to this (particularly if they patrol), but again Bloodborne clearly shows this has occurred via the glowing eyes and also is nice enough to not have bigger monsters and bosses absorb your blood echoes in this fashion. Personally, I recovered my shards more often than not. After-all, I had already got to the spot where I dropped them before and given the consistency of the game it usually wasn't too hard to get back there. Then of course, there is the huge full screen message when you reclaim your echoes. Unmissible feedback for an important moment. Good stuff.
Witcher 3 - Review @Eurogamer
Eurogamer's Oli Welsh gives The Witcher 3 the verdict "essential".
This is why I love The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It is crass in some places and overreaching in others, but despite its grandeur and its fantastical setting, it is a game made by, for and about human beings. It's lewd and perverse and poetic and hot-blooded. It's huge yet crafted; its systems are purposeful and it doesn't have a whiff of design by committee. It will last you months, yet not waste your time. Above all, it has a vivid, enduring personality, something that is exceedingly rare among its breed of mega-budget open-world epics (and that will probably be rarer still once Hideo Kojima and Konami part ways later this year). For my money, it's the greatest role-playing game in years.
Hero-U - Interview @RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun posted an interview about Hero-U and its roots in the Hero's Quest / Quest for Glory franchise with Lori & Corey Cole. This piece takes a couple of unexpected turns. Did you know the connection to Ultima IV?
RPS: So, heroism. It’s core to the genre, but so often it’s rarely on display. The main reason I wanted to speak to you guys specifically is because Quest For Glory is one of my main touchstones for games where you’re ACTUALLY a hero – and of course, began as “Hero’s Quest” rather than anything to do with gold and glory.
Corey: Yeah, the name change was completely wrong and inappropriate, but we didn’t have a choice. We had to change it to something! But Hero’s Quest is the actual game.
RPS: So was heroism rather than simply adventure part of the DNA from the start?
Lori: When we started out, it was wanting to get into games after playing things like Ultima that touched on this concept, of how to be a Paladin, an Avatar, and so on. It had so much potential, but when we actually played it… where was that?
Corey: I think in particular she’s thinking of Ultima IV, where of course you start with the gypsy fortune teller and moral questions that determine your stats and class. We said yeah, that’s great storytelling… but then the rest of the name is just “Name? Job? Bye?” There’s some story…
Lori: …but it was so disappointing, because that beginning gave us this idea we could have this grand adventure. We got into games to give that grand adventure we thought games needed to have.
RPS: Yeah, I was going to bring up Ultima, simply because it amuses me that if you look at the series’ story, the Avatar is the worst thing to happen to Britannia. [...]
The Hero-U Kickstarter is at 59k ,with 26 days to go. Although pledges have slowed down a bit it looks as if the Coles will reach their goal of 100k.
Release: In development