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Aubrielle's Column

2016-07-07

Death By Exposure - Trails of Cold Steel

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

Torment: Tides of Numenera

2016-06-27

Torment: Tides of Numenera Beta Impressions

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

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Recently Released

Jul: Starbound
Jul: I Am Setsuna
Jul: Necropolis
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Jul: Krai Mira

Expected Releases

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Wednesday - July 13, 2016

Satellite Reign - Co-op in Open Beta

by Silver, 10:03

Satellite Reign has moved to open beta for the new co-op feature.

Co-op Now in Open Beta!
13 JULY - MITCH
Hi everyone!

We've updated the main branch with the co-op build of Satellite Reign, so now everyone will have access be default! We're not "officially" launching until the end of the week, but we wanted to get a few days of it being tested by everyone, now that we've addressed the most critical issues.

First thing you'll notice, is you'll be greeted with a choice between Singleplayer and Multiplayer. To play co-op, simply select Multiplayer, and either load up your own existing save as a host, or join someone else as a client

We were having issues for some time with random disconnections, as well as an issue where clients would suddenly see everything stop (e.g. agents not responding, enemies and civs standing still), but everything is fine for the host. We're fairly confident we've solved this issue, but if anyone experiences this, please let us know! It haunted our dreams for so long, we're almost finding it difficult to believe that it's fixed!

We're also aware that you may not be able to see games hosted in other regions. We're using the Unity networking system, which uses their own relay servers, located around the world. Currently, games hosted in other regions don't seem to be showing up in the server browser-however games hosted by overseas Steam friends should be visible if you change the filtering to "Friends." We've contacted Unity about possible solutions.

We've made a feedback thread for this build. Post here if you've got any feedback!

https://steamcommunity.com/app/268870/discussions/0/359543542234630557/

Thanks so much for your support!

5 Lives Team.

Satellite Reign

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

Details

Pillars of Eternity - Patch 3.03 Live, New Novella

by Aubrielle, 08:16

After a month in beta, Pillars of Eternity's patch 3.03 is live. A new novella from Chris Avellone has also been released, and comes with the patch.

After more than a month in Beta, patch v3.03 for Pillars of Eternity has been released officially on Steam and GOG. The patch's changelog hasn't been released yet, though it's likely to closely match the notes offered for the beta.

The patch also includes Chris Avellone's novella for the title, which is called The House of Wael and comes in both e-book and audiobook form. I haven't had the chance to start reading it yet, but it was a long time coming, and questions about its release were frequent on both Obsidian's boards and Chris Avellone's twitter account. Hopefully it will be satisfying for those who have been looking forward to it since the Kickstarter campaign, all the way back in 2012.

Source: GameBanshee

Pillars of Eternity

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

Details

Josh Sawyer - Historical RPGs, "Save Scumming"

by Aubrielle, 08:12

Josh Sawyer has been verbose lately on his Tumblr page, answering fan questions about a variety of topics. He's been talking about save scumming in Fallout: New Vegas, as well as work on other projects.

Obsidian Entertainment's Josh Sawyer continues to crank out answers to community-submitted questions over on his Tumblr page, with the latest topics including the mechanics in Fallout: New Vegas used to deter "save-scumming", whether he'd consider licensing Ars Magica or Darklands for the planned historical RPG project, Pillars of Eternity combat mechanic effects, and more. A sampling from the latest post:

yellowthirteen asked: Hi Josh. I've seen you mention previously how some mechanics in New Vegas were implemented in order to deter save scumming (e.g. hard speech checks). Do you think that, in general, systems which are susceptible to save scumming also tend to be less fun for players? Or would heavily percentage/RNG-based game elements be just fine in a world where save scumming didn't exist?

Tabletop RPGs are the world in which save scumming doesn’t exist, so I think it serves as a reasonable subject for comparison. In TTRPGs, most GMs/DMs/storytellers/god emperors won’t allow players to re-roll or take back the consequences of a stand-alone check (e.g., trying to pick the lock on a door). The game may have built in mechanics for retrying a check, but otherwise the player has to live with the results. Some games also have a caution to let the results stand, e.g. Burning Wheel’s “let it ride” recommendation won’t let the player test again unless the circumstances surrounding the test change significantly.

In these situations, the tension/exhilaration/relief/anguish comes from the “no take back” stakes. Here’s a video from a D&D game we played a few years ago. Darren’s character would die if the incoming damage were over a certain threshold:

https://www.instagram.com/p/kFyR2sJxy4/

That sort of reaction happens in a TTRPG because you can’t reload from it. The chaos of die ranges normalizes in a combat, which is why save-scumming is not usually as big of a deal outside of early combat save-or-die effects.

There is also a different feeling for many people that comes from rolling physical dice rather than seeing a RNG spit out a result. A lot of people like an element of randomness in games. It increases tension and uncertainty. It doesn’t really matter that people are colossally awful at understanding probability (e.g. listen to people cry about “bad beats” in poker). The emotional aspect of rolling is more compelling than the rational analysis/problem solving aspect of considering the odds.

Source: GameBanshee

Obsidian Entertainment

Details

Ultima VII - The Cover That Never Was

by Aubrielle, 08:08

The jet black cover to Ultima VII was memorable, and it made an impact. But there was almost another cover, and it's been revealed.

It's hard to believe that it has been nearly 25 years since I first laid eyes on the jet black cover of Ultima VII: The Black Gate, but perhaps the odd cover somehow helped to cement the RPG's significant place in video game history. Or maybe not, and it would have been even more successful had it sported the cover that was originally intended (Patreon contributors only) by artist Denis Loubet. We'll never know, but it's certainly cool to check out the cover that was proposed rather than the one that Origin ended up shipping the game with:

This is my cover to Ultima 7:The Black Gate from an alternate timeline where Origin Systems decided to go with an illustrative cover rather than a flat black, high-concept, box.

Here we have the Avatar with his companions, standing in a river of blood as the Guardian pulls the strings of the Fellowship in the background. The blood, of course, represents the gruesome murders which the Avatar and his party must investigate. This is all in a grim and somber color palette to highlight the melancholy nature of the plot. The Avatar's downcast eyes search for clues to end the bloody doings of Batlin and his zealots. (Sorry about the spoiler!)

As you can see, I've got The Avatar in front, Iolo with a crossbow on the right, Dupre on the left, with Jaana just behind him. You will also notice that the Guardian has ears. This is because when I did the animation of the Guardian poking his head through the screen and talking to the player, he didn't poke his head all the way through the screen. He simply did not push his face through far enough to reveal his ears. A happy "coincidence" of this rationale is that I did not have to model the Guardian's ears in 3D with the crappy tools I had available at the time. You'll notice the Guardian's face in that animation is made up of very simple shapes that overlap; This was by design. I knew I couldn't do a realistic face at that time, so I went for simple and cartoony.

Source: GameBanshee

Ultima VII Part I

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

Details

Reboot Develop 2016 - Daniel Vavra talk

by Silver, 04:08

Back in April Daniel Vávra talked about 'Writing an Insanely Complicated RPG' at Reboot Develop 2016. The video has just now been posted.

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Kingdom Come

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

Details

Fallout 4 - Workshop DLC out July 26

by Silver, 03:11

PCGamesN reports that the Vault-Tec Workshop DLC for Fallout 4 will launch July 26th.

Fallout 4's Vault-Tec Workshop DLC comes out on July 26, Bethesda have announced, so it's not long until you can become the Overseer of your very own vault.

Fallout 4's DLC has been a bit pants so far, hasn't it? Far Harbor was good, and the upcoming Nuka World expansion also looks to add more meat to the game, but the rest has been mostly filler.

Vault-Tec Workshop is the third workshop add-on for Fallout 4. It lets you create a massive, underground Vault and attract new dwellers.

Like the Wasteland Workshop DLC which added the ability to let your settlers, enemies and animals fight to the death in an arena, Vault-Tec also adds new mechanics as well as decorative items. Being an Overseer of your own vault, you can perform horrible experiments on your dwellers.

Fallout 4

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

Details

CRPG Addict - Downfall: End of an Empire

by Silver, 02:31

The CRPG Addict has postulated on an upcoming RPG in development by a fictional Henry Lancaster who is looking for a publisher. The made up game is called Downfall: End of an Empire.

Downfall: End of an Empire takes place in a large city--the capital of the Maranian Empire--and its surrounding environs. The player takes on two roles: the origin character (drawn from one of the scenarios above) and the character he or she becomes when he or she puts on Nakata's cape and cowl and takes to the streets in disguise. The player can choose any name from the origin character but chooses from one of seven names for the assassin; this allows the in-game dialogue to refer to the character by name while still preserving some sense of freedom in character creation.

Although standard weapon-based combat is possible, the game stresses assassination and stealth as its primary mechanic. After the origin story, background, and possession by Nakata, the game becomes completely open. The player must topple the empire by assassinating (or otherwise eliminating) its leaders and functionaries, from the lowliest tax collector to the Emperor himself, but it's completely up to the player to determine who those people are, and in what order to target them. Through research, scouting, reading, listening, NPC dialogue, and other means of acquiring knowledge, he learns who controls what in the Empire and develops his own plan for working his way to the top. The story changes dynamically and plays out very differently depending on the order of execution.

The key is that every assassination produces a reaction. An individual guard may simply be replaced, although the Empire has a limited pool to work from. A mid-level bureaucrat might be succeeded by a more cruel and efficient one--though if the player assassinates several holders of the same office in a row, the Empire may have to leave it unfilled. Eliminate the captain of the guards, and the resulting confusion on the streets may give you a few nights of breathing room--or it might lead to a squad of Zaüd Seekers scouring the poor quarters and killing indiscriminately.

CRPG Addict

Details

Tuesday - July 12, 2016

Stygian - Update #17 Interview, Paypal Donations and Project Delegation

by Nyx, 22:24

Kickstarter update #17 of upcoming Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones includes an interesting interview and information for people who have been itching in their wallets to donate to the game.

Here's a snip from the interview from Twisted Tales blog.

DM: Although the game begins in Arkham, it has been transplanted into a much more hostile, alien environment. How does this build on H.P. Lovecraft's stories and distinguish the game as its own entity?
CO: H.P. Lovecraft emphasized humanity's fragility in the face of a cosmic threat and our inescapable demise when the Great Old Ones awaken, but he never described the actual apocalypse. Our aim is to create a supernatural post-apocalyptic anti-utopia which is being ruled hand in hand by the Mob and the Cult in the absence of the proper institutions after the fall of society in Arkham. We wanted to isolate the iconic town of Arkham in a limbo between dimensions to be able to create a pocket plane, which we intend on filling densely with figures and entities of terror. We take our inspiration from the social reality of the period in which Lovecraft wrote as well as his work to create the devilish status quo of our Arkham. So I can say that we are interpreting a lot while respecting the actual canon.

Source: Kickstarter

Stygian

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

Details

Tahira - Release Date: August 31

by Hiddenx, 20:22

The tactical RPG Tahira will be released on August 31 on Steam:

Tahira is inspired by real-world travels through The Middle East, Nepal and India.

We wanted to explore how the destruction of an influential civilisation would have ramifications that lasted for thousands of years. In Tahira's world you'll encounter relics from the past. But you'll also encounter ideas and philosophies that have developed as a reaction to the destruction of a galaxy-spanning empire.

The people who live in Tahira's world can still feel the distant memories of a greater time and those memories reach from the past and cast themselves as a shadow over all that remains.

It is our hope that we've made a game that captures the excitement and adventure of going on a journey, but one that also reflects on some of the harsher realities of life in an honest and interesting way.


Tahira is a tactical turn-based RPG, set on a world fallen into a medieval dark age after the collapse of a spacefaring civilization. You must guide Tahira, the 20-year-old princess of Avestan, on the most challenging night of her life as she fights to save her people from the genocidal Astral Empire.

Tahira

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

Details

Necropolis - Review @ WGTC

by Hiddenx, 19:58

WGTC has reviewed the rogue-like Necropolis:

As the video game subgenre known for resetting people’s progress when their characters die, roguelikes place an emphasis on additional factors, such as a rigorous challenge and randomly generated environments. Of those features, Necropolis ‒ a new action RPG from Harebrained Schemes ‒ enforces all three to some success. Upon entering the game’s titular dungeon, the developers abandon intruders to their fates; you must traverse the Necropolis while fending off skeletal denizens and seeking a lost amulet. But six hours per playthrough, permadeath still in effect, begs the question: Will the enemies or the monotony take your head first?

[...]

Necropolis marks an admirable first attempt for Harebrained Schemes at breaking outside the team’s comfort zone. But like the labyrinth’s emaciated inmates, there is too little meat on this action RPG to sustain its lasting appeal.

Score: 3/5 - Fair

The stylish visuals and streamlined combat that define Necropolis slowly succumb to repetition, laying waste to this roguelike’s longevity.

Necropolis

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

Details

Archmage Rises - On Steam Greenlight

by Silver, 09:49

Archmage Rises has released a new trailer for its Steam greenlight push. The game is described as a fantasy rpg simulation with tabletop leanings.

loading...

Aug 4: Playable demo and pre-order
Q1 2017: Release Date

Its an RPG set in a World Simulation

Prepare to immerse yourself in the freedom that you can normally only get out of a tabletop RPG. Empowered with magic, you will create your own story, and experience real consequences from the decisions you make. Will you be the world's savior . . . or its destroyer? The choice is yours.

Key features:

  • Explore a true open world teeming with life, choice, and consequence
  • Immerse yourself in a player-driven story that evolves based on your decisions
  • Unleash dangerous spells that can have game-changing consequences
  • Cast magic to overcome obstacles and explore challenging dungeons
  • Procedural world generation featuring in-depth political, economic, and military simulations
  • Experience a never-before-seen religion/spirituality/worship system

Archmage Rises

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

Details

Conan Exiles - Concept Art

by Aubrielle, 07:55

Funcom has published a batch of new concept art for the upcoming action RPG Conan Exiles. The new art teases the weapons that will be available.

Funcom has published three separate rounds of concept art to the Conan Exiles Facebook page, with this latest eye candy depicting some of the weapons we'll be wielding in the forthcoming, open world, and action-heavy RPG. Included among them are the hammer, dagger, axe, spear, crossbow, and shield:

The hammer is great for repairing broken structures and equipment, and can make for a decent makeshift weapon in case of emergencies. The pickaxe lets you very quickly break up big rocks so you can gather more resources.

Now the dagger is very special. This sacrificial knife is used to cut out the heart of your enemies so you can sacrifice it to Set, the serpent god.

...

Single handed axes are slower and heavier than swords, but deal much more damage to your opponents. They're also pretty awesome looking, if we're being completely honest. Very viking-y, and perfect for a Conan game.

Shields are for defense, obviously, but can also be used offensively by bashing your opponent with it and staggering them. Then you go in for the kill and cut off their heads.

...

Crossbows are easy to load and fire, and are great for blowing up explosive barrels or taking out enemies from a distance. The spear is a quick-jab, close combat weapon, for fast fighters who like to poke at their opponents and then retreat behind a shield.

Source: GameBanshee

General News

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

Details

Bloodborne - Gothic Horror Music; GDC Talk

by Aubrielle, 07:51

The chilling gothic horror soundtrack of Bloodborne was the subject of a panel at GDC, where they talked about the musical style and orchestral approaches that led to the phenomenal end product.

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General News

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

Details

Sir-Tech - Wizardry Interview

by Aubrielle, 07:35

4Gamer has an interview with Sir-Tech's Robert Woodhead, discussing Wizardry and rambling across many topics.

There's an interview with Sir-tech co-founder Robert Woodhead up on 4Gamer, and while the entire feature is in Japanese, the folks over at RPG Codex took the time to translate it in its entirety. The article spans a number of topics, but the questions and answers dealing with the early days of the Wizardry series are the most applicable to us here. A healthy sampling to follow:

4Gamer: What about the Murasama Blade and the Shuriken? Ninjas and Samurais appear as jobs in Oubliette too, but only Wizardry had actual japanese weaponry.

※The original Apple II version of Wizardry 1 had Murasama instead of Muramasa.

Woodhead: Ah, no, this is the influence of James Clavell's Shogun (1975). The Murasama Blade and Shuriken came from that novel too.

4Gamer: And what about Wizardry #4 - The Return of Werdna's ARABIC DIARY(TALES OF MADNESS)? It became Necronomicon in the console game version, was it what it was supposed to be?

Woodhead: Yes, it was supposed to be the Necronomicon. 95% of Wizardry's n°4's scenario was written by Roe Adams, the ARABIC DIARY was his idea too. I read H.P.Lovecraft's works too, so I knew it was the Necronomicon.

4Gamer: I know a big part of the influence is D&D, but there is also some influence from J.R.R.Tolkien. In 1977 the NBC TV released the Hobbit's adventure anime. It was made by future studio Ghibli staff and was top of the line.

Woodhead: I didn't know about that anime. I read Tolkien's novels, obviously, but the principal influence is clearly D&D.

4Gamer: I thought Wizardry's unique spell lingo was similar to Tolkien's fictional languages though.

Woodhead: Ah, that's impossible (laugh). It's actually fake welsh, we chose that because it sounded good. Why welsh especially?...I totally forgot (laugh).

4Gamer: There is one word that I'd like to know more about: the Maelfic monster's name, where does it come from? In the Famicon version it uses the Pazuzu image, but...

Woodhead: It comes from the English word "malefic", meaning "Extremely evil". Like an embodiment of evil. It came from the witch's name in the Sleeping beauty fairy tale, Maleficent.

4Gamer: In the late 80's, there was a plan to make player character data from the software production house BPS's RPGs※ and SIR-TECH's Wizardry series convertible. I remember reading about it at the time in a PC magazine. What happened to that project?

※"Black onyx" and "Fire crystal", amongst others.

Woodhead: It probably happened while I was working on the Macintosh version of Wizardry, but...I vaguely remember BPS's Henk Rogers' name. I think it's just that it never actually happened.

4Gamer: I see... Ah, I'm sorry, I keep asking questions that kept me intrigued for a while.

Woodhead: No problem. You know, as most games, Wizardry is nothing but a ring in the chain that bind all games together. Games are influenced by their predecessors and cultural events, and Wizardry was no exception. And now, it is Wizardry's turn to influence the work of others. It really does feel like being part of a big chain.

4Gamer: Oh yes indeed. The "ring" that Wizardry created in Japan is quite noticeable. I don't think I would be exaggerating saying that many games, anime and novels are directly influenced by the Wizardry series.

Woodhead: It's an honor. But I do think we were lucky more than anything else. And I do think most of the thanks are due to the localization For Tune and GameStudio as well as Asuki's staffs. I especially think that the Famicon release was our best version of Wizardry. At the very least it didn't contain my badly drawn pictures! (bitter laugh)

4Gamer: When I replay the Apple II version now, I see how Wizardry was born from a melting pot of various influencing works. The character's jobs and races, the monsters, the pictures and text messages. But what did you accomplish with Wizardry that you feel was entirely original?

Woodhead: Well...the presence of a scenario, I think. Older Computer RPGs didn't have a defined goal and were not made with an end goal in mind. We added a scenario with puzzle-like components to our game. That's the thing that make it different from the other titles, I think. The n°4 of the series was the more representative of what we aimed to do.

Source: GameBanshee

Sir-Tech

Details

Shadow of Mordor - WB Paid for Positive Reviews

by Silver, 07:35

@ArsTechnica Warner Brothers has settled with the FTC over paying YouTubers for positive Shadow of Mordor reviews.

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement on Monday with Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Inc. over the studio's alleged failure to properly disclose that it had paid top YouTube "influencers" to promote the 2014 game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. While the FTC's complaint against Warner Bros. (PDF) does not mention any specific influencer, the commission's press release calls out PewDiePie, the world's top-earning YouTube video creator, as one of the so-called influencers that took the studio's money.

 

The FTC's complaint says that a third-party marketing team hired by Warner Bros. gave the YouTube game reviewers "cash payments often ranging from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars," as long as the videos they made about Shadow of Mordor met certain criteria. Among those criteria were stipulations that the video had to be positive about the game; could not show any bugs or glitches that the reviewer may have found in the early release copy they were given to play; could not contain any negative sentiments about the game, Warner Bros., or its affiliates; and had to include "a strong verbal call-to-action to click the link in the description box for the viewer to go to the [game's] website to learn more about the [game], to learn how they can register, and to learn how to play the game."

In addition, the YouTube creators also had to make at least one Facebook post or one Tweet to promote the video they made about Shadow of Mordor.

Shadow of Mordor

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

Details

Fallout Shelter - Releasing this Thursday

by Silver, 06:48

@GamePressure Fallout Shelter is due for release this Thursday for PC with the 1.6 update, which promises new locations, enemies and quest system.

The 1.6 update is promised to offer new places to explore and enemies to fight. You will be able to assemble a group of vault dwellers to raid dangerous locations and fight bosses for you or send them on quests in order to get some precious rewards. Another much-anticipated feature is the brand new combat system that will allow you to directly control your characters during the battles.

Fallout

Details

Monday - July 11, 2016

Fictorum - Kickstarter Update

by Hiddenx, 21:56

The Mage Action RPG Fictorum is 75% funded with 11 days to go:

Hey fellow spell-casters,

We're so excited to be over 75% funded with just about half of our campaign remaining! We cannot wait to get our latest build into the hands of our new game community and get the team back to development.

Thunderclap

We have a request of you—We are ramping up a Thunderclap for next week in order to help spread the word about Fictorum and we could use some help. If you've never heard of Thunderclap, it allows a single message to be mass-shared, flash mob-style, so it rises above the noise in your social networks. To support us, all you have to do is: 

  • Click this link 
  • Choose a social network. 
  • You can make any changes to the message you'd like, then hit Add My Support.

You are Great

Finally, thank you. The awesome person reading this message at some point decided "Yep, I want in on this," and that gets me and my team tingly in all sorts of interesting places. We love our game and feel it is very special—you share in that feeling with us. Words fall sorrily short of expressing exactly how touched we are by what you have done for us.

Have a wonderful weekend and continue being incredible.

Magically yours,
Chip

Thanks Farflame!

Fictorum

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

Details

Krai Mira - Released on Steam

by Myrthos, 17:11

The post-apocalyptic roleplaying game Krai Mira has left early access and was released today on Steam. It also has a temporary 20% price cut until the 18th of July.

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Thanks Strus!

Krai Mira

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

Details

Dishonored 2 - Assassin's Guide to City

by Aubrielle, 05:11

RPS takes us to Dishonored 2 and gives us a look at the intricate planning and research that went into the city, as well as how that city's architecture will affect your mission.

During one decade in the late eighteenth century, one gang was reportedly responsible for around 80% of bank robberies in America. That gang was led by George Leonidas Leslie, an architect and a criminal genius. He utilised his knowledge of buildings and their secret ways to break them down piece by piece, building scale models of targets, and replicas of their safes and vaults, planning for years. Like many master burglars, he could look at an exterior and understand the interior it hid.

Designing a game like Dishonored 2 [official site] requires some of those same skills.

...

If Arkane can show the scars and trophies of that history in the quiet moments of observation as well as the extravagance of big setpieces (not to mention the actual time travel), Dishonored 2 will be the studio’s strongest achievement to date. In a recent interview, lead designer Dinga Bakaba said the team hadn’t been sure how Dishonored would be received. With its success behind them, they seem much more confident that people want to see not just kinetic stealth powers and assassinations, but fictional places that are much more than a backdrop to action.

Read more.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Dishonored 2

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

Details

Turbine, Inc. - Goes Strictly Mobile

by Aubrielle, 05:04

Sad news for us PC gamers. Warner Bros. has decided to turn Turbine, the studio famous for Lord of the Rings Online and D&D Online, into something that only makes mobile games.

Turbine has accomplished a great deal since the company's founding in 1994 (then CyberSpace) - they not only brought us two Asheron's Call titles, Dungeons & Dragons Online, The Lords of the Rings Online, the MOBA Infinite Crisis, and a handful of expansion packs, but they also proved that a transition to a free-to-play business model could be very lucrative and substantially change the company's outlook.

However, since their acquisition by Warner Bros. in 2010, they've been hit by multiple rounds of layoffs, with the latest one apparently happening today. And that's not even the worst of the news - according to an official statement from Warner Bros., they intend to turn the studio into a mobile game developer, which would be in stark contrast to what their core audience has come to know from them:

Turbine is transitioning into a free-to-play, mobile development studio, and as a result we are eliminating some positions. The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons online games will continue to operate as they do now. Re-focusing and reducing the studio size was a difficult decision for the company, and we are grateful to all of the Turbine staff for their considerable contributions.

A strange move, if I've ever seen one.  Furthermore, if this thread is to be believed, "the programming staff has been cut down to three people on LoTRO and three people on DDO", which doesn't bode well for those of us who are fans of either (or both) games.

Source: GameBanshee

Turbine, Inc.

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Ultima 1 - Video Retrospective

by Aubrielle, 04:56

Slegnor's Random Gaming takes us aalllll the way back to Ultima I and II in a series of video retrospectives. They're broken into multiple chapters, and I've linked part 1 here to get you started.

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Ultima 1

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

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IGN - Top 10 Dungeon Crawlers Ever

by Aubrielle, 04:52

IGN opens the pandora's box of RPG fan debate by compiling a list of their favorite dungeon crawlers of all time. Some are solid old staples, and some might surprise you. Wizardry, Ultima Underworld: Stygian Abyss, and Etrian Odyssey II all make the cut.

Players have been diving into dungeons since the very earliest days of video games, slaying dragons, stealing treasure, and descending to ever-darker depths in search of fortune, glory, and fun. Today, we’re counting down the top 10 dungeon crawlers of all time.

For the purposes of this list, we're defining “dungeon crawler” as a game mostly confined to a multi-floor dungeon area, featuring plentiful loot and favoring combat and exploration over platforming or deep storytelling.

Read on...

IGN

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Sunday - July 10, 2016

Arakion - Skill Upgrades

by Hiddenx, 18:06

Farflame spotted this Arakion video about skill upgrades:

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This video overviews skill upgrading in Arakion and how it vastly changes your character.

 

Arakion

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

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Fallout 2 - Resurrection Mod

by Silver, 13:37

Fallout 1.5: Resurrection is a mod for Fallout 2 due out July 15th and features a New Mexico setting. The mod takes place between Fallout 1 and 2.

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Fallout 1.5: Resurrection is a modification for Fallout 2. Its story takes place chronologically between 1 and 2, hence the name. It takes place in New Mexico. Content-wise, it rivals or possibly surpasses the original Fallout.
http://www.resurrection.cz/en/

Fallout 2

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

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Might & Magic - Retrohistory of NWC

by Silver, 11:50

Retrohistory looks back at New World Computing and the Might and Magic Series.

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We look back at the classic CRPG series from 1986-2003, and the rise and fall of New World Computing.

Might & Magic

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Banner Saga 2 - Review @ RPGFan

by Hiddenx, 08:55

RPGFan has reviewed the second part of the Banner Saga:

The Banner Saga 2

Whether I'm reading a book or playing a game, my ultimate goal is to be drawn in. The narrative should be so compelling that my mind can't wander off anywhere else. I should be so completely enveloped in the fictional world of the media I'm consuming that the outside world might as well not exist. Truly being able to experience something the way it was intended is rare for me, as it takes a lot to get me hooked. Maybe my standards are too high; maybe I'm too selective. So imagine my surprise when after finally taking my first break from The Banner Saga 2, I saw that over five hours had suddenly passed.

The Banner Saga 2 is nothing short of compelling. It weaves a tale so intriguing that you're too focused on the present to even wonder what's in store for the future. Characters have arcs and develop, you're forced to see things from different perspectives, and you're presented with choices that have both true benefits and true consequences. It succeeds masterfully at putting players in the shoes of its protagonist and encouraging them to lose themselves in their role. The story is epic in scale, sprinkled with moments that made me genuinely gasp aloud.

[...]

Score: 95/100

Banner Saga 2

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

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Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 - Review

by Hiddenx, 08:50

RPG Site has reviewed Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13:

Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a series of classic novels by legendary author Luo Guanzhong who romanticized a tumultuous period in China's history that lasted for over a century as a constant state of conflict left the nation in flux until it was eventually unified under a single banner.

The popularity of these pieces of literature spawned countless TV shows, movies, anime, manga, and of course, a multitude of video games in a variety of genres. None other have had a more successful history with this than Koei Tecmo.

It has been several years since fans in the West have seen an entry in the seminal strategy series, popularized by its exceptional attention to detail and wealth of content. In honor of its 30th anniversary, Koei Tecmo has finally abated our hunger by localizing Romance of the Three Kingdoms XIII.

[...]

Gameplay Footage:

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Score: 8/10

Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13

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

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XCOM 2 - Long Wars Studios Mods

by Silver, 07:39

XCOM 2 has some new mods to play with from the makers of the Long Wars Mod, Long War Studios. The mods are titled "Perk Pack" and "Laser Pack"

"Perk Pack" Mod

  • Choice of three perks per promotion rank instead of two
  • More than 70 new and reworked Abilities that can be assigned to soldiers, gear or aliens
  • Reworks the four base classes into seven, including the assault, gunner and shinobi, or create your own class
  • Adds ten new PCS items, each granting a unique ability
  • Support for more than 15 active abilities in the tactical UI

"Laser Pack" Mod

  • Adds a new laser tier of XCOM weaponry, which includes a new variant for the assault rifle, shotgun, cannon, sniper rifle, pistol and SMG, plus all attachments
  • Mod includes models, textures, particle effects and sounds
  • Tier exists between magnetic and beam tiers, with two new technologies

XCOM 2

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

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System Shock - Funded!

by Silver, 07:34

System Shock has been funded and with 18 days remaining. The latest update thanks the community and goes over Night Dives history with the System Shock license.

The journey started with System Shock 2 and the reception/support I received allowed me to seek out other like minded individuals who would help locate and revive more lost classics like: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Wizardry, and The 7th Guest series to name a few. As we continued to grow in team size, so did our ambitions. With the release of The Original Strife: Veterans Edition and Noctropolis we were able to restore the games and add additional features. We fixed original bugs, included unfinished games mode, added support for widescreen monitors, and implemented OpenGL to update the visuals. Next was Turok, followed by System Shock: Enhanced Edition and an even greater desire to take our mission to the next level.

We had done everything we could to make the Enhanced Edition more accessible to a modern audience but it reached the point where we began discussing a remake from the ground up. We started with a core team and a simple prototype to see if we could capture the look and feel of the original game.

System Shock

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

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Saturday - July 09, 2016

Enderal - Review @GameStar.de

by Gorath, 16:09

The German mag GameStar - a few years ago the world's biggest PC game magazine - posted a very enthusiastic review of SureAI's Skyrim total conversion Enderal. I'll post more details than usual because this is the first published review for this game.

GameStar's test is accompanied by a 15 minute long video in which their editor in chief and two other editors explain why they've decided to review a free mod and which standards they'll apply. Their answer: Enderal's quality is on par with other full price AAA RPGs. They'll apply their normal review standards for a 50€ game, without any bonus. GameStar didn't review mods in the last couple of years. They want their review to be seen as sort of a reward for the developers.

Here are a few translated quotes from the article:

Enderal's biggest USP compared to Skyrim is the story. While it's only more or less an attachment in Bethesda's classic, it plays a key role in Enderal. The first ten minutes prove this impressively. The intro is disturbing and poses a lot of questions. [...]
Who wants to save virgin vampirewomen while riding a dragon is wrong in Enderal, though. It doesn't make epic heroic deeds its focus, but rather personal fate and the human abyss [This half of the sentence is in plural in the German text - ed.]. It discusses questions about religion, idealism and ethics.[...]

GameStar explains that although some of the dialogs seem a bit excessive at times, Enderal succeeds in finding the sweet spot in the mix of story and quests. The main storyline is "wonderfully told".

An enthralling story needs a believable world around it though [...]. And the Enderal devs overcame this challenge too.[...]

This was flashed out a bit in the video. The editors said the whole world feels handmade. Not even the dungeons leave the impression of being made with a construction kit. The world oozes with attention to detail.

The verdict:

Heiko Klinge:

Enderal is great RPG-art on world class level. The start is so dramatic, fast paced and - gameplay wise - exciting that even masters of the craft like Bethesda and CD Projekt are welcome to take several leaves out of [SureAI's] book. And after that Enderal serves a magnificent adventure from start to finish, which hardly leaves anything to be desired. [...]

 The only mentioned weeknesses are:

  • quick travel is unconvincing 
  • balancing is only okay
  • a couple of technical issues

A summary of the good stuff:

  • great story, deep characters, all with background story
  • good quests with a lot of diversity
  • no level scaling
  • 6 difficulty levels
  • graphics upgrade compared to Skyrim
  • superb sound track
  • professional voice acting (GER / ENG)

The Rating:

89%, 2% deducted for technical issues, means 87%.

Enderal

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

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