You might have heard the recent news about Microsoft losing a lawsuit and awarding a California lady $10,000 over an unwanted Windows 10 installation. While the tech giant can be mighty persuasive when it comes to making people install and download its Windows 10 operating system whether they like it or not, this news still came as a surprise for many—there are many companies with shadier practices, and most of them are hardly penalised for it.
Perhaps fearing that this would spark off a series of lawsuits it can’t keep up with, Microsoft has decided to stop forcing the Windows 10 installation down its customers’ throats by allowing them to dismiss the upgrade. Previously, if you click on the red “X” at the top right hand corner of the upgrade prompt, Microsoft will pretend that you are playing hard-to-get and download the operating system for you anyway. Now it won’t!
“Since we introduced a new upgrade experience for Windows 10, we’ve received feedback that some of our valued customers found it confusing,” said Windows and Devices Group EVP Terry Myerson to The Verge. “We’ve been working hard to incorporate their feedback and this week, we’ll roll out a new upgrade experience with clear options to upgrade now, schedule a time, or decline the free offer.”
Ah, thank you for making our computers less complex to use, Microsoft. We are glad you understand that no means no, and clicking the big red “X” on the prompt means “No, I really don’t want to upgrade now, and please don’t ask me to upgrade to Windows 10 ever again for as long as Microsoft exists.”
But juuuuust in case you change your mind, the free upgrade offer will only last one more month. After that, you have to fork up $119 for the operating system.
Torment: Tides of Numenera
Torment: Tides of Numenera Beta Impressions
Corwin entered the world of Numenera in the beta version of Torment: Tides of Numenera.
» Continue reading the article...
Stardew Valley Review
Purpleblob goes down on the farm with Stardew Valley.
» Read the article
Mega Bucks AAA+
Noticeably well funded
Fairly well funded
Cheap and cheerful
Friday - July 01, 2016
Shenmue 3 - One Year Later...
One year after Shenmue 3's Kickstarter, the developers only have a few words about the game's development.
One year after launching its successful Kickstarter campaign, developer Ys Net and its head Yu Suzuki have released an update on how development of Shenmue III is going. It doesn't answer a lot of questions, but it is something.
According to Suzuki, the team is creating a prototype build for the game began back in January – which he points out is when the project really ramped up. He continues, saying both the game's battles and facial expressions are starting to take shape, leading to lots of cheers from his team. "It makes me feel it will turn out to be a good game," Suzuki says in the video.
The creator closes by asking fans to continue their support of Shenmue III. Not explicitly saying it, but potentially asking for more backing via the game's still-running PayPal campaign.
Shenmue III was announced last year alongside its Kickstarter campaign at Sony's E3 Press Conference as a joint production between Ys Net and Sony. It was met with large fanfare, meeting its funding in full in under 13 hours,and the developer has opened a second crowdfunding effort (the aforementioned PayPal campaign), as well as having been relatively quiet regarding the status of the game, its funding, and which backers would get what rewards.
No release date has yet been provided for Shenmue III, which is assumed to be still early in its development cycle, though its crowdfunding pages point to a December 2017 launch. Sega has recently shown an interest in re-releasing the first two games in the series.
Suzuki has an uphill battle in front of him, one it may be hard to win. It seems to me that having such a long-awaited, highly-anticipated game comes with a big pro and con. The pro, perhaps most obviously, is the game stands a good chance of being successful, and one could surely argue that it already is. The con, however, is that Suzuki is facing a lot of expectations, from a lot of people. One year after Kickstarting his game, his approach seems dicey, at best. Being this secretive with a game people have invested a lot of money and time into could end up being to his detriment. It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out, and I wish the best for Suzuki and his game, but, as of now, I have my reservations about how good this game will actually be.
Source: Game Informer
Shenmue 3SP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Dark Souls III - Embracing the Bad Times
Game Informer takes an introspective, thought-provoking look at using games as a lens through which to see our own lives. For the author, it's Dark Souls.
Halfway through my second semester of teaching, I popped Dark Souls into the disc drive of my PS3. I had already played through the game before, understood its insistence on making you earn your victories through many, many failures. But I felt drawn to replaying through it for some reason, so I created a new character, and became hollow once more.
Lordran, the setting of Dark Souls, took a different shape this time. It was no longer just a spooky kingdom filled with all sorts of baddies that I had to get before they got me. Instead, it was an absolutely haunting place, a world of the dead and the damned, a realm of silence. I actually took the time to examine my surroundings. The algae green stone bridge guarded by the fiery Hellkite Dragon, the mountains of bloated blue corpses that lay at the bottom of New Londo Ruins. I witnessed a kingdom that had, perhaps in another age been one of great beauty and wonder, fallen so short of its promise and sunken into ruin.
I saw the unhappiness of my life reflected back at me in fragments, being fed to me in bearable installments, and I was engaging with it in a battle doomed to fail because I was confronting that misery without actually confronting it. Instead, simulating confrontation through an interactive assemblage of fantasy archetypes. But that was important for me...
Sometimes, as silly as it sounds, it’s easy to forget the human experience is not a universal one, and that we are all different entities constructed out of our own personal experiences and socio-economic circumstances. Each and every one of us prescribes different amounts of emotional and logical value to objects and experiences we come across in our lives. Someone might have some kind of deep moving emotional attachment to Watch Dogs, a game I truly despise, or Bubsy 3D. Unlikely? Sure. But it’s certainly within the realm of possibility. Besides, who am I, the guy who chose Tales From The Borderlands over The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt for his Game of the Year, to judge anyone on what they find meaning in?
Perhaps in the end it’s as simple as the right game at the right time, and for me in the fall of 2014, that game was Dark Souls because it allowed me to get away from my troubles without really getting away from them. Lordran is, to me, just as much my home as that little duplex in the heart of Georgia was, filled with memories good and bad, and an essential part of my experience as a person, cracked and broken in more places than the human eye can see, but also housing pockets of light burning well into the neverending night.
Source: Game Informer
Dark Souls IIISP/MP: Single + MP
Thursday - June 30, 2016
XCOM 2 - New Patch released
The June 2016 patch for XCOM 2 is out - it's neccesary for the DLC Shen’s Last Gift:
The XCOM 2 team continues to work to improve your XCOM 2 experience and have fixed a number of bugs in both the base game and the Alien Hunters DLC. New balance changes have been added including additional bonuses to swords to make your Rangers more effective in combat. Downloading this patch will also install the hooks needed for players to access the new SPARK class and narrative-driven mission in Shen’s Last Gift.
Gameplay – Base Game
- Fixed an issue where units would not have their mission starting abilities and Gremlins would not follow
- Fixed an issue with Wet Work where kills were not being tracked for the correct unit
- Fixed an issue where Burning and Poisoned damage was causing free kills
- Damage caused by Psi abilities will now ignore armor
- Faceoff may now only target units that are not mind-controlled (by the shooter’s team)
- Fixed damage preview for abilities that modify damage based on incoming damage amount
- Fixed an exploit where replacing a PCS would not always remove the value it gave when equipping
- Magnetic Swords are now referred to “Magnetic” rather than “Conventional”
- Fixed an issue where the unit flag would not properly show a unit as concealed when loading a save game
- Fixed a crash that could occur after selecting an AOE ability and then another (disabled) ability
- Fixed an issue where Proximity Mines were not damaging every unit in a group move situation
- Blademaster grants +10 Aim to melee and Hunter’s Instinct grants +15 to melee crit
- [MP] Matches will no longer immediately end for the user when winning during the transition before their turn
Gameplay – Alien Hunters
- Fixes instances of Alien Ruler soft hangs
- Avenger Defense no longer fails if a Ruler is in the evac zone
- Fixed an issue where the Skulljack objective caused MECs to stop appearing in tactical
- Fixed a crash that would occur after the Archon King completes an Icarus Drop
- Alien Hunter weapons have range bonuses/penalties applied
- Fixed an issue where Alien Rulers were missing health after increasing the difficulty during a playthrough
- Fixed an issue where Alien Hunter weapons would be lost after upgrading through GTS
- Central can no longer bleed out on the Nest mission due to it causing a soft-fail state
- Removed Freezing Lash’s minimum range of 3 tiles which prevented units from using the ability when standing next to an enemy
- Berserker Queen’s Faithbreaker ability no long targets robotic units
- Removed “Return to Resistance HQ” button from the Hunter Weapons POI complete popup to prevent players from getting into a state where project times are incorrect
- Fixed an issue with Effects being ticked twice a frame
- Optimizations to path solving memory footprint and performance
- Fixed an issue where unnecessary game states were created on the Geoscape
- Updates to allow Steam Workshop DLC to be enumerated before native script packages are loaded. Will allow mods that override XComGame.upk to work through Steam Workshop
- Removed button labels in save/load list that are not hooked up to anything
- New flag bForceReselectAllGroupsForSpawn for use with multi-part mission schedules
- Armor hit rolls have been deprecated as the game treats armor as 100% chance to absorb damage
- Armor is now handled directly by ApplyWeaponDamage
- ApplyWeaponDamage now has a bIgnoreArmor flag so that psionic abilities properly ignore armor
- Tactical Quick Launch menu now supports the grenade slot correctly
- Debug command X2ShowFullObject to display a game state object’s data
- Bonus weapon ammo (e.g. Heavy Ordnance and Field Medic) is now handled through a delegate on ability templates: GetBonusWeaponAmmoFn
- X2DownloadableContentInfo has new hooks:
- AbilityTagExpandHandler, so new localization tags can be added
- FinalizeUnitAbilitiesForInit, which allows special manipulation of a unit's ability list before the abilities are created in a tactical match
- Effects now have the ability to be redirected from their initial target
- EffectShouldRedirect figures out who gets the redirected effect
- New character template flag, bDiesWhenCaptured
- Character templates can now have forced first, last, and nick names
- Character templates can implement the delegate GetPhotographerPawnNameFn so as not to be forced to use soldier pawns for pictures in the strategy game
- Countries can now be hidden from character customization
- Deprecated X2AbilityMultiTarget_SoldierBonusRadius (though it continues to work for now). Base classes X2AbilityMultiTarget_Radius, _Cone, and _Line now support increasing the AOE range based on passive abilities in a generic fashion.
- Effects may add projectiles to a volley conditionally by registering in the EffectsForProjectileVolleys array and implementing the function GetProjectileVolleyTemplate. Effects that are always on should still use the perk system, but this callback allows for game state checks to add or not add the projectile to a volley.
- X2Effect_GenerateCover can now generate cover for mobile units, instead of forcing it to disappear when the unit moves
XCOM 2SP/MP: Single + MP
DarkMaus - Review @ HardcoreGamer
The Action RPG DarkMaus was released in January already - here's an older review from HardcoreGamer:
Explicitly and proudly influenced by Dark Souls, indie developer Daniel Wright’s DarkMaus is one of the most successful translations of From Software’s design philosophies into another genre. A top-down action game that looks absolutely nothing like a Souls game, it nevertheless distills the challenge and tension-filled atmosphere so common to those games remarkably well. Wright’s obvious goal was to take the familiar mechanics of Dark Souls — restorative campfires, weapons, loot collection, leveling and progression — and transplant them into a completely unique type of game. Like Dark Souls, DarkMaus is difficult and potentially punishing, but like its inspiration, DarkMaus also requires players to learn its systems and play in a patient and meticulous way. Dark Souls punishes the brash and careless, and so does DarkMaus.
In DarkMaus, Daniel Wright has created a focused, challenging experience that successfully translates the core tenants of Dark Souls — careful approach to combat, high level of initial difficulty, wise use of resources and character development — into a game that looks deceptively innocent and benign. As a lone developer, Wright wisely chooses not to overreach and the game is stronger for it. There’s not much story but the juxtaposition of the cute little mouse against the ominous landscapes and brutal, Souls-like combat is a winning and effective combination. Other than Dark Souls itself, there really isn’t anything else remotely like DarkMaus.
Vampyr - Encouraging Evil Choices
In their upcoming title Dontnod wants to encourage evil choices but not without implications. Feeding will make you stronger, but you'll have to deal with consequences and moral decisions. Kotaku goes into more detail on how dontnod's Vampyr wants the decision to be more than just a simple choice.
As players explore early 20th century London and engage in the game's central conflict of reluctant vampire vs. vampire hunters and monsters, they'll be able to learn more about the civilians around them. Reid is a former doctor, and the idea is that he doesn't want to give in to his thirst for blood, but the reward for doing so will just be so tempting. Kill too many civilians, though, and the districts of London will plunge into chaos. The developers want you to tempt you to be the bad guy, but they don't really want you to go too far.
By gathering clues about the civilians, players may find the occasional justification for the next person they take out. "You could discover that someone who seems to be very gentle is beating his wife," Beauverger said. Then again: "You could discover that someone who seems to be a very shady character used his money to help his poor in the streets."
Release: In development
Blizzard - Unannounced Diablo Project
Picked up by website Blizzpro, the new vacancy for a game director might very well suggest that Blizzard is in fact creating a complete new Diablo game. Of course there is also the possibility that Blizzard is looking for a new game director for an upcoming new Diablo 3 expansion - just like they did with Reaper of Souls expansion from 2014.
Only time will tell whether Blizzard is working on Diablo IV, instead of a new Diablo 3 expansion. Check out the job listing down below:
Blizzard Entertainment is seeking a game director with outstanding communications skills, proven experience in creative direction, strong ability in system design, and a stellar track record of shipping AAA games to lead the Diablo series into the future.
Be the vision holder for the franchise, setting the creative goals for the team.
Direct game design while successfully partnering with the production director to deliver and maintain an epic gaming experience.
Discuss games with the player community via press announcements, forum posts, interviews, and public appearances.
Maintain an awareness of global player behavior and customs to ensure that design decisions are relevant for international regions.
Coach and guide creative team members toward achieving their career goals.
Establish and maintain a creative environment, resolve personnel challenges, motivate qualified developers, and foster a culture of success.
Knowledgeable and passionate about Diablo games
A minimum of 5 years' directing video game development
Shipped multiple AAA products as a game director or creative director
Outstanding communications and relationship-building skills
Recognized ability to guide and inspire large development teams
Able to work well in a team environment and communicate effectively with all development disciplines: programming, art, design, sound, and production
Exhibited ability to coach and mentor employees at all levels of an organization
Great sense for what makes a game fun to play
Unrelenting self-motivation and initiative
Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience
Experience developing online games, action games, and / or role-playing games
International game experience
Higher educational degree
REQUIRED APPLICATION MATERIALS
Cover Letter which should include:
Why you are interested in working at Blizzard
What games you are currently playing
**Only submittals with Cover Letters will be considered.
Stygian - Psychological Disorders
Stygian's Kickstarter campaign is almost over. GameBanshee found the latest update notes interesting:
As Cultic Games' Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones Kickstarter campaign nears its conclusion with less than 40 hours to go, it has seen a total of fifteen updates to date, which cover a variety of topics, including the game's stretch goals, art design, music composition, combat mechanics, and more. Here's a little something from the most recent update:In this update we'd like to share more information on the advantages and side effects of Mental Conditions in Stygian's challenging combat scenarios.
As we emphasized before, sometimes it helps to be mad in a world gone mad!
Increases Action Points but gives the character a small chance to lose control and attack the nearest enemy unit in combat.
Increases Reaction but gives the character a small chance to attack an ally in combat.
Increases Mental Resistance but gives the character a small chance to enter a catatonic state and lose a combat round.
Increases Critical Chance but gives the character a small chance to lose a certain amount of Sanity after killing a foe.
Increases Supernatural Defense but gives the character a small chance to lose his Physical Defense bonus entirely for a turn.
Slightly increases the success chance of a repeated combat action but gives the character a small chance to automatically repeat a failed combat action until getting a success or passing a High Difficulty Will check.
Release: In development
Total War: Warhammer - Blood Knights Update
A huge patch comes out today for Total War: Warhammer, which will include the feared Blood Knights.
The first Total War: Warhammer update will be out on June 30...and it is a big one. Highlights include the addition of five new multiplayer maps, unit rebalancing across all races, changes to enemy AI that will make sieges against it more difficult, and the coming of the Blood Knights.
“Once the order of The Knights of The Blood Dragon, these noble warriors were dominated and given The Blood Kiss by the vampire Walach of the Harkon family. In undeath, their skill is no less potent: they are among the most powerful cavalry in The Old World,” the very lengthy patch notes explain.
“Tier 5 Shock Cavalry, Blood Knights are recruitable from the Vampire’s Keep building (along with the Black Coach). Heavily armoured and shielded with a high Charge Bonus, they smash into infantry with ease, and with the Anti Large ability, they are apt to take on larger foes. They also have the Frenzy ability, meaning they deal more damage as long as their leadership is high. Blood Knights can also be directly improved with two technologies: Turning Knightly Orders (bonuses to Melee Attack, Melee Defence and Charge Bonus), and Delusions of Grandeur (Upkeep and Recruitment Cost reductions).”
Despite the amount of ground the patch covers, Creative Assembly said it's just the first in a number of planned updates, so it may not make all the changes you were expecting. “For example, while multiplayer has seen some attention in this update, it’s in line for more focused improvement, additional features and rebalancing in an upcoming update,” the studio wrote. “Many of these changes are in testing right now, and as long-term stability and balance are of principle importance to us all, we don’t want to rush the process.”
The release of the patch will also see the launch of Total War: Warhammer's DirectX 12 mode as an opt-in beta. There are “some outstanding issues still to solve” with the DX12 implementation, so it's being kept in beta for the time being. More information on that, including the system requirements, is on the Total War Wiki. And as long as you're here, you should probably also take a look at our rundown of the best Total War: Warhammer mods, right here.
Source: PC Gamer
Total War: WarhammerSP/MP: Single + MP
Tyranny - Dev Diary #5 - Combat System
A new dev diary from Tyranny and this one is focused on combat mechanics.
...Our combat is real-time, with the ability to pause at any time to issue commands to a party of up to 4 characters, including your own. In addition to the spells and abilities each character can use, we've also added companion combos - abilities that allow your character and a companion to work together in concert to create a powerful effect. Abilities use a cooldown system, allowing you to use most of your abilities multiple times per encounter. Combat is based on your character's skills, and the more you use those skills, the more experience you'll gain.
With that overview in mind, let's dive into some specifics!
When you perform an attack in Tyranny - whether it's a basic weapon attack, casting a spell, or using an ability - your Accuracy is compared to the target's Defense to determine how well the attack does. As with Pillars of Eternity, each attack can have one of four possible results: Miss, Graze (attacks deal less damage, status effects are applied for a shorter duration), Hit, or Crit (attacks deal greater damage, and status effects are applied for a longer duration).
Your Accuracy is determined by one or more character skills. A basic attack will use the skill associated with the weapon you're attacking with. A spell will use the magic skill for that type of spell and the character's Lore skill. If more than one skill is used, their values are averaged together to produce the final skill value. Accuracy bonuses from weapons or abilities are added to that base value to determine the final Accuracy for the attack. The skills used to determine Accuracy are also the skills you gain experience in for that attack.
Each attack targets one of five possible Defenses: Parry, Dodge, Endurance, Will, or Magic. Enemies and party members have different strengths and weaknesses in these defenses, making some attacks better options against one type of enemy than another.
Accuracy is compared to Defense, and the resulting difference is used to modify the combat result table. Higher Accuracy results in a greater chance to Crit or Hit, reducing the chance to Graze or Miss. A lower Accuracy has the opposite effect, making you Graze or Miss more often.
Damage in Tyranny works similarly to Pillars. We have multiple damage types based on the armor a character wears: Slash, Pierce, Crush, Burn, Shock, Frost, Corrode, and Arcane. Different enemies have strengths and weaknesses against different types of damage. To maximize the pain you inflict, you'll want to target your enemies with damage types they are weak against.
Armor is still important to mitigate damage, but we also wanted to give more options for different character builds. Heavier armors (bronze or iron) provide Armor, which reduces damage dealt down to a minimum of 1. We've also added a new stat to lighter armors called Deflection. Deflection provides a chance that an attack will be downgraded one level (IE: a Crit becomes a Hit, a Hit becomes a Graze, or a Graze becomes a Miss). Deflection can be increased by the Finesse stat, and by talents and other items you can find in the game.
Tyranny handles hit points differently than Pillars did. Instead of the combination of Health and Endurance, we have a single Health bar to focus on. As attacks deal damage, your character's Health is reduced. When it reaches 0, a character falls unconscious (or dies, depending on game options). Characters can be revived using special abilities or consumables, or they will regain consciousness at the end of combat and begin regenerating Health.
We've also added the Wound system. When your character falls unconscious, they will gain a Wound - more than one on the hardest difficulty settings. On harder difficulties, you'll also gain a Wound when a character reaches low health. When a character is Wounded, their max health is reduced and all of their skills suffer a small penalty. Wounds can stack and will remain on a character until they rest.
Release: In development
Phoenix PointSP/MP: Single-player
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release: In development
System Shock - First Impressions
In case you haven't gotten a chance to check out the demo yet, PC Gamer provides a bit of gameplay footage from the new System Shock. They really like what they see.
Remember Citadel? Absolutely, and if there’s one thing that really stands out about the new System Shock reboot, it’s that five seconds in, I’m home. To be exact, I’m in the Citadel Station that I think of when I fondly remember the series, rather than the blockier, low-resolution version of it that passed for the future back in 1994. Evil AI SHODAN is back in her original home, orbiting Saturn. All around are the corpses and blood splatters marking the human population’s last stand—a failed one. As the hacker accidentally responsible for the whole mess, you enter the story hoping to prevent things from getting even worse.
And yet, saying that the alpha demo is simply the same does it a disservice. This isn’t just an HD remaster, but a complete rebuild intended to take advantage of what was almost unthought-of technology for the time. It even adds a few clever tricks of its own. It’s System Shock, but it’s also new license-holders Nightdive Studios proving they can handle the franchise—System Shock 3 is on the way, in partnership with Otherside Entertainment. This is a chance to put their own stamp onto it.
Source: PC Gamer
Wednesday - June 29, 2016
Microsoft - No More Forced Win 10 Installs
It seems Microsoft has finally gotten the hint. After a $10,000 lawsuit over a forced Windows 10 installation, Microsoft will no longer be hoodwinking us into forced installs.
Source: Pixel Dynamo
Non-RPG General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
I Am Setsuna - New Artwork
Square Enix has released beautiful new watercolor images for I Am Setsuna. Setsuna will release on July 19.
Square Enix has shared some new artwork for upcoming JRPG I am Setsuna. Included are watercolor portraits of new locations and various characters protagonist Setsuna is said to encounter during her journey.
I Am Setsuna draws inspiration for its battle systems from Chrono Trigger, as its developers have said since the game was first announced in March. When we first got our hands on it at PAX East. we found the combat to be an interesting blend of the old and the new. You can check out the combat systems yourself in a gameplay trailer released last month.
Some PlayStation Network preorder incentives were also announced. Two dynamic themes will be available at the moment of preorder. The first, called Kuro (or black) is a night-time theme, while Shiro (white) shows the same background image but during the day. Both of those can be seen below. Those who pre-order will also get an exclusive digital track titled Eternal Winter by composer Tomoki Miyoshi that will automatically download on release day. Additionally, those who preorder through Steam will get a bonus exclusive digital track titled The Warmth of Hope.
I Am Setsuna will be arriving to PlayStation 4 and PC on July 19 for $39.99.
Source: Game Informer
I Am SetsunaSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
The Technomancer - Review Roundup
Here is an overview of reviews for The Technomancer, which show a wide variety of scores
- Dark Zero: 4
- PCWorld: 2/5
- Game Watcher: 4.5
- IGN: 4.9
- PC Invasion: 5
- Push Square: 5
- The Sixth Axis: 5
- TechRaptor: 5.5
- Attack of the Fanboy: 3/5
- Examiner: 3/5
- Gamingbolt: 6
- GBA Temp: 6
- ZTGD: 6
- Impulse Gamer: 6.4
- Dual Shockers: 6.5
- CGMagazine: 6.5
- Lazy Gamer: 7
- Playstation Universe: 7
- WCCFtech: 7.2
- Playstation Lifestyle: 7.5
- Gaming Trend: 7.5
- We Got this Covered: 4/5
Unsung Story - New Update
In a new update for Unsung Story, Playdek informs us that more information about the schedule of the beta will be expected in August.
Here is an update on our current progress towards an Unsung Story beta release. First off, we have released the product spoken of in our updates, and have been getting resources onto making a beta playable version of Unsung Story tactics. The second platform release of the other product took a little longer than expected, so getting onto content work is behind about a month. We apologize for being off a month with this update, as we had hoped to have more specifics for you in May. We have fortunately been able to start getting some agreements in place for outside design assistance on the character classes and mechanics, and we will be able to update you on those specifics later next month.
We are also starting the process of getting additional concept art work contractors in place as well for world and level design, and look forward to sharing the new art work with you. Our beta game play and content goal still remains the same, which is two levels and two character schools, with each school having multiple class variations. We need to spend a bit more design time on the characters for the beta goal before we can provide an updated timeline estimate for the beta release, but we should have a good handle on that by August.
As of now, we estimate to have new art, screenshots and design details to show by September, and we will have another design update for you next month.
We know that we have one method of restoring faith in this project, and that is through delivering on a great tactics game, which we intend to do. Thank you again for your patience and support.
Unsung StorySP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Fallout 4 - Vivid Weathers Mod
@DSOgaming Produced by modder 'Mangaclub' for Fallout 4. The mod contains 75 types of weather including storms and snow.
Modder ‘Mangaclub' released a new mod for Fallout 4, called Vivid Weathers. Vivid Weathers is a complete Weather and Climate overhaul for Fallout 4 that adds 75 new Weathers with over 110 new cloudtextures to the Fallout 4 World for players to experience.
According to its creator, this mod also improves the general Image quality by adding new LUT and Imagespaces to the game.
Here are the key features of the Vivid Weathers mod for Fallout 4:
75 New Weathers
Over110 new cloud textures
Added 15 more cloud meshes to the game so Fallout4 now handles over 30 Cloud layers!
New Rain sounds
Adds 17 new Thunder sounds!
Enhanced Volumetric Fogs for Rainy and Foggy Weathers
Night brightness depending on the Weather
Many little small details as surprise
With Vivid Weathers you can also experience following Weather Situations:
12 New Clear Weathers
12 New Cloudy Weathers
3 Fallout Weathers (Snow)
6 Overcast weathers
9 new Radstorm / Rad Rain / Rad Snow weathers
18 Different Rain Weathers (Lite,Med,Heavy)
8 Thunder & Rain Weathers (Lite,Med,Heavy)
7 Fog Weathers in different strenghts
1 Surprise Weather for all Silent Hill fans
You can download this mod from here.
Fallout 4SP/MP: Single-player
BattleTech - Campaign Setting Details
The latest kickstarter update for Battletech has details on the campaign setting. This is a large update with a lot of details so head to the link for more.
History of the Aurigan Reach
The Inner Sphere, Circa 3025
At the edges of the Inner Sphere lies the Periphery. The systems there were far from the protective embrace of Earth, and were thus colonized by outcasts, misfits, renegades, and those who simply valued freedom and independence more than they valued comfort and safety. As a consequence, the Periphery has always been a somewhat lawless fringe, a haven for misfits and refugees, the Wild West to the civilized Inner Sphere.
In a very real way, though, it was the marginal nature of the Periphery that directly led to the chaos of the current era; the traitor Amaris was a product of the Periphery and was radicalized by two centuries of the Inner Sphere's iron-fisted occupation of his homeland. His resentment and hate led to civil war, the catastrophic collapse of the Terran Hegemony, and with it the fall of the Star League.
In the wake of that fall, the Succession Wars have crippled all of humanity, and the Periphery is no exception. With the chaos of constant war, economies have shrunk, non-essential projects have been curtailed, and planets that might have once been worth colonizing have been abandoned, their colonists evacuated or left to starve in isolation.
The rimward area of the Periphery (what looks like ‘south' on a map) includes a lightly-settled region that's known as the Aurigan Reach. While once divided between the Magistracy of Canopus, the Taurian Concordat, and the Capellan Confederation, all three withdrew from the region during the wars, preferring to hold more secure borders and less marginal systems. The distant, poorly-developed worlds of the Reach weren't worth the danger of overextending one's power, given the sudden brutality of the Succession Wars.
The Capellans, hard-pressed by their rivals in the Inner Sphere, were first to abandon the Aurigan Reach, and by 2798 they'd withdrawn to a new, more defensible line, from Repulse to Rollis, leaving over a dozen systems to their own devices. The Taurians, in the wake of the disastrous and humiliating Taurian-Canopian War in 2813, turned away from expansionism, and likewise abandoned their Reach holdings. The Magistracy was the last to hold on to any Reach systems, but their claim was always more of a line drawn in the sand against the Taurians than any real colonial ambition; by 2840, their military forces were withdrawn to their own borders, leaving a vast and lawless region behind.
Power cannot tolerate a vacuum, though, and many of the abandoned systems had significant populations, industry, and commerce. Four of those systems were particularly well-suited to continue on as though still part of an interstellar civilization: Coromodir, Itrom, Tyrlon and Guldra. Trade between them continued, and the network of JumpShips continued to serve them, and through them some of the nearby, more marginal systems.
Of the four, Coromodir was the wealthiest and retained the most infrastructure and technology from the Taurian colonization. Two major mercantile houses, the Arano family and the Espinosa family, dominated the remains of the Taurian-led economy, and were natural leaders for the newly independent world. In 2820, the Arano family displaced the figurehead governor the Taurians had left behind, and with the support of the Espinosa family, Wiremu Arano ascended to the governorship.
This independence and leadership was needed as the Taurians withdrew from the remainder of the Reach over the next 20 years. By the time the withdrawal was complete, the Aurigan Reach was a haven for pirates and renegades, warlords setting up their own petty kingdoms, and worse.
Genre: Tactical RPG
Release: In development
Slayer Shock - Eldrich Spiritual Sequel
PCGamesN reports on Slayer Shock which is an immersive sim set within vampire fiction from the indie devs who brought you Eldrich and Neon Struct.
Slayer Shock is described as a "role-playing shooter about hunting vampires in Nebraska". From your college coffee shop headquarters, you take on missions patrolling the streets, rescuing human captives and weakening the undead threat.
You're helped along by a team of vampire slayers who operate out of your base, the place where you can pick up new weapons and skills, as well as researching new ways to deal with the fanged threat.
Minor Key Games describe Slayer Shock as a spiritual successor to Eldrich, "in its generated worlds and its immersive simmy blend of stealth, combat, and player choices", though this one won't be a roguelike.
There have also been a bunch of technical advancements since Edlrich, including replacing its voxel world with a mesh-based one and rewriting the entire procedural generation pipeline. There's also been a bunch of work put into making sure the game feels like a campaign and it will track the persistent status of the player, your allies and your enemies.
The game has been in development since November 2014 and Minor Key are hoping to have it out by the end of this year. There's a bunch of fascinating insight over on the dev blog, and there's a really interesting personal developer blog about how professional wrestling influenced Slayer Shock's design.
General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Tuesday - June 28, 2016
System Shock - Kickstarter Started
The Kickstarter for the System Shock reboot has started a few hours ago and already raised $127K of the $900K goal. It has a demo that you can download from Steam, GOG or Humble Bundle.
System Shock is a complete remake of the genre defining classic from 1994, rebuilt from the ground up with the Unity Engine.
System Shock was one of the first 3D games that took a methodical approach to exploration while revealing a story driven narrative through audio logs and messages scattered throughout the game world. It was a revolutionary step forward for the medium in a time when developers first began experimenting with interactive story telling.
Players were trapped aboard Citadel Station as they fought to survive against the cyborgs and mutated crew members corrupted by a maniacal A.I. known as SHODAN, one of the most treacherous antagonists ever conceived. System Shock offered an unparalleled experience that would solidify it as one of the greatest games of all time.
Bevontule - Second Demo Coming
The devs of Bevontule are preparing to release a second demo:
Bevontule is an upcoming tactical turn-based RPG that layers innovative mechanics atop classic role-playing elements, while presenting a compelling, deep and mature storyline spanning thousands of years. The idea of Bevontule has existed in a very basic, conceptual form for roughly 15 years, and draws inspiration from other role-playing games such as Final Fantasy Tactics, Secret of Mana, Earthbound and Shadow Hearts, among many others.
+ Relatively simple 3D graphics guarantuees high FPS on laptops and older PCs
+ Amazing GUI!
+ Excellent Art Direction and world graphics!
+ nice NPC faces and
+ skilfully built monsters
+ THERE IS A DEMO
General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Mass Effect: Andromeda - Novels to come
Bioware has confirmed a rumor that they are releasing a series of novels based on the Mass Effect universe. Gamespot has written an article containing some possible information about the first book titled Mass Effect Andromeda: Initation.
According to the report, there will be four new Mass Effect novels in all. The first one, which is reportedly titled Mass Effect Andromeda: Initation, is being written by N. K. Jemisin; the report said it's due out in August 2016. The document also revealed that Mass Effect series writer Mac Walters will pen the last one, which does not yet have a title but is slated for March 2018.
In an official blog Bioware writes
This past weekend, information came out regarding our new series of Mass Effect novels from Titan Books. These novels will give us the opportunity to expand the Mass Effect universe and bring new stories to life outside of the games.
Unfortunately, it's still too early to go into more detail about the books or when they will be released. But don't worry, we'll have a proper announcement with all the juicy details at a later date.
We are still in the midst of the creative process, but we are working with a talented group of writers to bring these exciting new stories to our fans.
Read the full article from gamespot here
Read the official comment from bioware here
Mass Effect: AndromedaSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Wizard of Legend - A Closer Look at Arcana Combinations
The last kickstarter update for Wizard of Legend shows us some sweet wizard action as they show us some of the games combat combo potential.
We wanted to take the time to highlight some of the nuances of the combat by focusing on arcana combinations. Part of the progression in Wizard of Legend is learning the effects of each arcana you come across and how to best use them in conjunction with the ones in your deck.
A quick example of this would be the synergy between our Freezing Lunge and Ball Lightning arcana.
Read more here
Kickstarter GamesSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
BGII:EE and IWD:EE - Soundtrack on Steam
The soundtracks of Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition are now available on Steam.
Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Soundtrack Available
EDMONTON, ALBERTA – The Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition soundtrack is now available on Steam for the first time. The digital package contains the original soundtracks for Baldur’s Gate II and Throne of Bhaal, composed by Jeremy Soule, Inon Zur, and Howard Drossin.
“This soundtrack is fantastic,” says Cameron Tofer, COO of Beamdog. “I listen to it at max volume when I’m speeding around town. Somehow my gas gauge never drops while it’s playing. Scientists hate me!”
The Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Soundtrack also contains 15 new tracks by Sam Hulick, composed for the enhanced edition of the game, making 81 tracks in all. This includes 34 previously unreleased tracks, now available for the first time.
The Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition Soundtrack is available on Steam for $9.99 USD beginning on June 23, 2016. All tracks come in both MP3 (320kbit) and lossless FLAC format.
Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition Soundtrack AvailableEDMONTON, ALBERTA – Beamdog, the company behind Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition, has released the official Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition Soundtrack on Steam. The digital package contains the original soundtrack for the Icewind Dale video game, composed by Jeremy Soule.
“Icewind Dale was our best release ever,” says Alex Tomovic, project manager for Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition. “Probably because I was in charge. The music definitely helped, though.”
The Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition Soundtrack is available on Steam for $9.99 USD beginning on June 23, 2016. All tracks come in both MP3 (320kbit) and lossless FLAC format.
Baldur's Gate 2: EESP/MP: Single + MP
Anarchy Online - Celebrating 15 years
I wasn't aware it was still running, but I don't tend to play MMOs anymore, so it is nice to read that Anarchy Online is still in business after 15 years of operation. To celebrate the anniversary, the press release below comes with some gifts to all those who are still playing or at ant time in the past 15 year played the game.
ACCLAIMED SCI-FI MMORPG ‘ANARCHY ONLINE’ TURNS 15
- Funcom celebrates 15th anniversary of the first Sci-Fi MMORPG -
Oslo, Norway - June 27th, 2016 - Funcom is excited to announce that ‘Anarchy Online’, the first Sci-Fi MMORPG and one of the longest-running titles in the genre, celebrates its 15th anniversary today!
As part of the celebration, Funcom invites everyone who has ever played 'Anarchy Online' to join in the festivities between June 23rd and July 11th (regardless of current Membership status). New Membership offers, with brand new armor pieces, login rewards and the Desert Rider event are also part of the grand 15th anniversary celebration!
Included with the anniversary is an all new Game Update which changes the Player vs Player attack windows on Notum Tower fields, where players battle for dominance over the planet Rubi-Ka. The update also introduces a new Research Line for end-game players, with powerful skill increases, and adds new Veteran Shop rewards with bonus Veteran Points for existing members.
Read more about the celebration and game update here
“I wish to thank everyone who has been part of this extraordinary journey,” said ‘Anarchy Online' Lead Designer Henry Senger. “Anarchy Online's incredible community has always been the heart and soul of the game, and I also wish to thank everyone who will continue the adventure with us, so we may go on for another 15 years!”
Released in 2001, ‘Anarchy Online’ shaped the face of the MMORPG genre with its Science-Fiction setting and innovative features, including dynamic missions, item levels, and instancing. A Beta version of a new ‘Anarchy Online’ rendering engine was released last year, and thousands upon thousands of players continue to explore the world of Rubi-ka today.
Anarchy OnlineSP/MP: Massive
The Technomancer - First Reviews
Here are some early reviews of The Technomancer, with two low scores and one relatively high score.
I highly recommend playing this game with a controller of some kind, especially if you are playing on the PC like I did, as it makes the game feel more fluid as the combat system is generally just a serious of non-sensical button mashing. Think Tekken but with customisable boots. I found the controls somewhat slow to react especially when trying to stop running as this would last a little longer than needed. I keep coming back to the voice acting but a big part of an RPG is the how the story is conveyed and this game falls flat on it’s face here making the story seem drab rather than the colourful tale they have crafted. The environments are nice but overall nothing to write home about. The game looked good on paper but unfortunately it has too many pitfalls causing it to feel very lackluster.
If there is a game to compare The Technomancer with, it is reminiscent to Alpha Protocol. Both titles felt limited and decisively average in almost every way, except for one area where the game can excel. For Alpha Protocol, it was the game’s dialogue and factional dynamics that elevated it above the dredges of a failed game. For The Technomancer, it is the fluid combat mechanics that pulls Spider’s title from the abyss. This doesn’t save either game from their fate in the bargain bin, but for the right person, the right audience, it is at least a passable experience in the way a B-game can only be, shlocky and without thinking about it too heavily.
We got this covered, 4/5
Despite these few issues, The Technomancer is actually a very accomplished game that does well to fight for place among some truly exceptional action RPGs. It has A-list ambitions with a B-list budget, but more often than not it feels more akin to the former than the latter. The fluid combat system gives more than enough cause to play and replay the adventure, and a simple but effective story is well-supplemented by a rich world and solid RPG progression techniques. The trials of Zachariah Mancer are fraught with peril and danger, but his unique skills and a band of companions mean that he is more than up to the challenge. Above all else, The Technomancer is a tremendously fun adventure that more than deserves your attention and, perhaps, a spot at the top table of action RPG titles.
Chaos Reborn - New Mode Reduces Randomisation
A new 'law mode' has been added to Chaos Reborn that reduces randomisation. If you still want the traditional gameplay it is still there and called 'chaos mode'. RockPaperShotgun outlines the changes.
In the traditional version of the game, spells and attacks have a probability of success, so every move is a gamble, with the odds known in advance. In Law mode, those probabilities are replaced, with mana costs, hit points and predictable outcomes taking their place. The actual deck of spells you take into combat will still be randomised, though with some rigging of the numbers permitted through use of gear that bumps up the likelihood of certain spells being selected.
I've long thought that the perfect tactical game wouldn't use any random number generation at all (hi, Chess) but I enjoy variety enough to see the benefits of the occasional dice roll. Truth be told, I like the tension that a percentage chance to hit or survive provides in certain circumstances. A game that can support the roll of the dice and predictable outcomes, from one mode to another, could offer the best of both worlds, so I'm pleased to see Chaos Reborn attempting just that.
The reasoning behind the mode is best explained by Gollop himself:
"The new mode is entirely optional, but we added it for the benefit of those who prefer less random elements in their game play. It also adds an interesting alternative game style for our existing players. It is also an interesting experiment in comparative game design. By changing just a few rules a whole new game experience is possible."
And this isn't the end of Chaos:
"...we have released eight updates of the game since launch, including the recent addition of a flexible custom multiplayer games lobby that allows co-op and AI players. We always listen to feedback from players both old and new, and will continue to support the game on a regular basis. There is more Chaos to come."
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Chaos RebornSP/MP: Single + MP
The Technomancer - Launch Trailer
The Mandate - Producers Letter
There has been a lot of time since the last update from The Mandate and this is addressed in the latest kickstarter update called 'The Producers Letter'. They have brought on board a new community manager who will endeavour to update the community more.
We are putting the Galaxy together. The first Cluster, which consists of a four star system, is done and it was very needed to have the core systems in place for fast iteration and to have a quality benchmark for level design -- now it's much easier for us to expand and build the rest of the "world". It was a major step and we're much relieved now that it's completed and that it works as we imagined it.
We wanted something rich, we have it, next for us is: build on it and use it up to its full potential.
We are starting to populate the Clusters with missions. This includes both tutorial missions and advanced missions.
Since the relationship with the crew is our focus, personal missions will be included, like requests from your very own officers. You will dive into their Background and learn about the world you live in through their own experience. We know precisely the experience we want to create but it ties into a lot of game Systems. We are looking at how to integrate this at the moment.
As of today, the entire story for the first Cluster is completed, we are currently designing the crew missions, additional side missions and faction specific missions.
Some of the delay can be attributed to the narrative. When we put everything together, we felt, that it was too weak. Of course our universe stayed the same and, but we have now achieved the internal consistency we needed and a way for the player to create his unique version of the story.
There is a much deeper and richer narrative, which ties into you as a captain on a personal level as well as your crew, while still retaining all we have promised before story wise, like the conflict between factions for example.
Events are situations that happen during play and require a response from either your crew or your captain. Basically every event has a clear cause and effect, but there are a couple of events that are triggered randomly, to act as some kind of surprise element you need to take care of.
For now, events are split into two categories: Interior Ship Events, affecting the interior of the ship and Space Events, relating to situations that occur outside of the ship, such as rogue asteroids, pirate attacks, etc. This is one of the things we had right, so we kept it and are working on integrating it to the missions.
Exploration will be a big part of the experience when you are roaming the universe. You will encounter different Points of Interest (POI) -- You can unveil them by ordering your Astrogation Officer to activate the ships' scanners. There you might find lore, items, events or other types of activities, such as special combat encounters. This is part of the things we decided to add as we looked at how we could make our adventure mode the most interesting we can. We will confirm several more aspects as we move forward.
For our internal test purposes, the UI did not have to be very user friendly or pretty, so let me tell you, it made Amelie's eyes bleed. But slowly but surely we are changing this, replacing placeholder art with real art assets - she is thankfully already recovering. Of course this process needs a lot of iterations, but hey - we are getting there and moving towards playtest in the next 3 months!
This is one of the things that nobody notices if you get it right, and everybody complains about it if you do not. During the last months we iterated on the control scheme for the Adventure Mode. Currently you can decide how to navigate your ship, you can also set a desired camera angle to enjoy the universe either top down or more from a third person view. We need to pass the validation test in a few months and iterate to make it smooooth.
The MandateSP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Driftland - A blend of Heroes and Majesty
A new fantasy inspired 4x title modelled after Heroes of Might and Magic and Majesty is in the works called Driftland: The Magic Revival and GamePressure have previewed it.
Driftland: The Magic Revival takes us into a classic fantasy world, which is slowly shaking off the effects of a magic catastrophe which had almost annihilated the planet hundreds of years ago. In a galaxy far away, there was a planet inhabited by four races. It's kind of easy to guess that those races couldn't simply co-exist in peace - war was virtually permanent, only once in a while a fragile, temporary peace was established. Blinded by the war, people abused magic, and the planet slowly began to fall apart - no sooner have the mages managed to reach an agreement. Exhausting all sources of magic, they created a powerful spell holding the world in a relative balance. The civilizations, which up until that moment were entirely dependent on magic, became incapacitated; some cultures have vanished forever, others became savage... Now, as centuries have passed, the shattered magic is gradually returning, and with it beings that are able to control it again: the new mages. They create new nations and try to resurrect the fallen civilization - and so, wars break out again. The players become one of the said mages - the task is to build a country and fight with others for domination over the world.
This simple story is both the background for the campaign, which consists of a series of associated missions (much like in Heroes of Might and Magic or Age of Wonders III), as well as the means to create a really interesting setting. The map on which the game is taking place is made of islands floating above the planet's core. It looks pretty spectacular, and is rather uncommon in strategy games - it reminds me a little bit of Bastion, an RPG by Supergiant Games.
A silence before a storm?
There isn't much publicity around Driftland: The Magic Revival yet, despite the fact that the game is slowly but steadily heading towards the end of its development. The devs are planning to launch early access on Steam before the end of this year, and the full game will be released in 2017. If everything goes according to the plan, the players will get updates, e.g. introducing new biomes, for free, after the release. The Star Drifters have high hopes for this game, since they would like it to grow into a well regarded franchise, and-as they've said-they're definitely not short on ideas. I really like these guys' attitude, by the way. They promise to release a demo, for those undecided, and here's what they've said about early access:
We think that a game should only enter early access if its technical side is solid. Otherwise, the feedback from gamers will focus on obvious mistakes, going nowhere. The players' opinions can be very helpful, and we're looking for legitimate support from them.
Can you call this the "CD Projekt RED effect"? It's hard to say, but we wouldn't mind it one bit should open mind and prioritizing quality become Star Drifters' trademarks.
The solution of population growth is also interesting. You cannot simply recruit more units, as in other RTS games. Instead, they're born independently of the player's actions - there are two prerequisites: food surplus, and... some free time. So, during the game, you have to manage your units in such a way, that some of them always have some time to spend on procreation. I mean procrastination.
It seems that Driftland: The Magic Revival has all the attributes needed to achieve success, namely: simple rules, solo and multiplayer gameplay modes, original mechanics, free updates... and that's only a couple of examples. The graphics, powered by Unreal Engine 4 are an icing on top of the cake. The few screenshots that we've seen so far suggest that Driftland will get a detailed and eye-catching visual layer. I especially liked the animation of building construction - when a castle was slowly and smoothly transitioning into its upgraded version, a bit like in the intro of Game of Thrones. I hope that the Polish strategy will transition from an unknown strategy into a critically acclaimed hit just as smoothly. Driftland: The Magic Revival definitely has the potential to achieve it.
Non-RPG General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Monday - June 27, 2016
Grim Dawn - 500k copies sold
In a press release Crate Entertainment reveals a new milestone as Grim Dawn reaches 500k copies sold.
Boston, MA - June 27, 2016 - Grim Dawn breaks 500,000 copies sold!
The action-RPG Grim Dawn, Crate Entertainment's first title as a studio, has recently passed the half-million mark in sales on PC. More than two years after its initial debut on Steam Early Access and now four months after its full release, Grim Dawn remains one of the top 100 games by sales on Steam; with a 93% user rating and a Metacritic meta-score of 83%.
With no outside investors or publishers, the financial success of Grim Dawn will remain with the studio and fund future projects. Currently in the works are "Crucible," a new game mode for Grim Dawn, along with a full expansion and a yet unannounced new project.
Thank you to all the early supporters who helped make this game a reality and to all those who continue to enjoy and recommend it!
Grim DawnSP/MP: Single + MP
Genre: Hack & Slash