RPG General News - All News
Monday - December 09, 2013
Telltale Games - VGX 2013 Announcements
Telltale Games annouced two new game series at the VGX 2013 show. Keep in mind these are adventure games not RPGs.
Game Of Thrones
Telltale Games has announced it’s developing a new game series based on Game Of Thrones. The new series is coming in 2014 and according to Telltale Games, this game series will be made in conjunction with HBO and will be based on the television series.
Tales from the Borderlands
Gearbox and Telltale Games announce a new game called Tales from the Borderlands. Tales from the Borderlands is an episodic game series and as its title suggests, it will be based on Gearbox’s Borderlands franchise. The first episode will be released in 2014.
Thaks goto DSO Gaming for the news.
Friday - December 06, 2013
EDGE - Tabletop RPGs & Game Design
EDGE has posted a new article about tabletop RPGs, and what they can teach us about videogame design.
When I was but a lad, my true love was tabletop roleplaying games. Although I was into computer games, TRPGs were the ones that really opened the door in my mind marked ‘Imagination’ and left it open. Whole universes came to life in my head, and it was TRPGs that made me want to be a game designer.
Fifteen-year-old me spent a lot of time rolling dice and drawing maps. He liked to play with possibilities, to invent and make games. Like many bright kids, he became adept at cramming in order to get past school exams, but spent the rest of his time daydreaming. He even got into trouble when, upon finishing an English exam with time to spare, his teacher caught him writing character sheet notes on the back of his test paper.
Forty-year-old me looks back on those years with fondness, and also an enormous sense of fortune. Although I later separated from tabletop gaming, I owe it a phenomenal debt. Why? Well, because making TRPGs and other kinds of ‘trad’ games taught me why designing games involves more than a healthy imagination.
Wednesday - December 04, 2013
Warcry - Richard Garriott Interviews
Richard Garriott was interviewed by a site called Warcry. You can find the links with a brief description of each interview below.
Interview Part 1: How Shroud of the Avatar Gives History to Player-Made Items
Lord British discusses SotA's release date, combat system, business model, and how player-made items can have real history.
Interview Part 2: World of Warcraft Model of MMOs Overdone
Lord British offered his thoughts on the progression of gaming as a storytelling medium, the death of the theme park MMO, and the future of virtual reality gaming.
Interview Part 3: Seeking Greatness in a Game Designer
Seeking his insight for my own design aspirations, Garriott and I discussed the importance of meaning in games and what he thinks will be the most important qualities in the great game designers of tomorrow.
Tuesday - December 03, 2013
Matt Chat - Guido Henkel on Realms of Arkania
Matt Barton continues his interview with Guido Henkel talking about Realms Of Arkania.
In this episode, the great Guido Henkel returns to talk about his greatest achievements: Realms of Arkania I and II. We also chat about his books, the art of writing good game manuals, and more.
Thursday - November 28, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving - Enjoy the Food
Just a quick announcement wishing all our American forum members, and guests a Happy Thanksgiving. Just go easy on the deserts as I gain a few pounds myself this time a year.
Wednesday - November 27, 2013
Richard Garriott - Video Interview
The Spoony Experiment continues their interview with Richard Garriott, but talks about his art gallery, and akalabeth pictures instead of Shroud of the Avatar.
Monday - November 25, 2013
Matt Chat - Guido Henkel's Early Days
In this episode, Guido talks about his early days, focusing on the difference between the German and UK and US computer game scenes. How are German gamers different? Watch this video to find out! We also chat about Guido's first games, Ooze and Hellowoon.
Monday - November 18, 2013
Wasteland - Review @ LGR
Before Fallout, there was Wasteland from Interplay in 1988. And it exploded cRPG gamers' minds like a blood sausage with its post-apocalyptic awesomeness!
Saturday - November 16, 2013
BitComposer - Humble Weekly Sale
In case you missed this sale in the pricewatch thread BitComposer is offering six games in this new Humble Weekly Sale.
Pay what you want for Jagged Alliance: Classics DRM-free for Windows. Galaxy on Fire 2: Full HD, Air Conflicts: Pacific Carriers and Thunder Wolves are available on Steam for $1 or more. If you pay $6 or more, you’ll also receive Expeditions: Conquistador and Jagged Alliance: Crossfire too! All games are available on Windows via Steam with select games also available on Mac and Linux.
Friday - November 15, 2013
Matt Chat - Albion Retrospective Video
Matt Barton takes a look back at Albion the classic CRPG from Blue Byte in this new Mat Chat video. I have to admit I almost forgot about this game.
This week's episode is a retrospective of "Albion," a 1995/6 CRPG from Blue Byte. Originally intended for the Amiga AGA platform, Albion is a forward-thinking RPG classic, with turn-based combat, an epic sci-fi storyline, and adventure-game style puzzles.
Friday - November 08, 2013
RPG Circus - Chris Avellone Podcast
RPG Circus has new podcast with Chris Avellone. Thanks SER for submitting the news.
Welcome to Season 5 Episode 21of RPG Circus
- Interview with Chris Avellone
- Traveller for New Players
Friday - October 25, 2013
FMV Magazine - Warren Spector Interview
FMV Magazine is the next site this week to interview video game veteran Warren Spector about his past, and the state of the current industry.
During your career, you’ve developed some genuinely iconic games. Which of your titles would you say you’re most proud of, and why?
Which of my babies do I love the most? The easy answer is I’m hugely proud of Deus Ex. The fact that it’s still relevant and playable today – 13 years after its release – is amazing to me. I still get fan mail about it. And I’d have to be blind and disingenuous not to see the influence the game has had on the medium in the years since. I had a great team on that project and we changed the world a little. That’s pride-worthy, I think.
After that, it’d probably be the first Disney Epic Mickey game, simply because we changed the way a lot of people thought about Mickey Mouse AND we reintroduced Oswald the Lucky Rabbit to the world. It wasn’t movies or cartoons or merchandising or a theme park attraction that did all that. It was a game. Our game. Again, that’s worth being proud of, I think.
Is it gratifying when you see modern games that have clearly been influenced by your own work?
You bet. I’ve always said there are a lot of ways to define success – sales… revenue… influence. I’ve always been into that last one. When I first started thinking about Deus Ex, one of my goals was to shame my peers into making more ambitious, more genuinely interactive games than many were making at the time. Yes, I was – probably still am – that arrogant! I didn’t even talk to the team about that little goal. The fact that you’re even asking the question says we did change things, at least a little.
What’s the most flattering thing anyone’s said about any of your creations?
I’ve had lots of people tell me Deus Ex is the best game they’ve ever played. That’s always nice to hear! It’s even nicer to hear from developers who say they started their company because of DX… or that they changed the way they thought about and made games as a result of DX. I love that.
When you were working on the likes of Deus Ex, System Shock and the Thief series, did you always set out with the intention to create something genuinely groundbreaking from the beginning?
Yep. My motto is “fail gloriously.” Why even bother trying to succeed at something mediocre or well understood? Every project has to do at least one thing no one in the world has ever seen or done in a game before. It’s one of my rules.
What are your favourite elements and moments from those titles?
I loved seeing people “paralyzed by choice” in the early moments of DX. I’d watch them play and, when they hit the first obvious choice point, they’d just stop – some even pushed the keyboard away. No game had ever given them a real choice before, I guess! I also love watching people playing a game and solving a problem in a way I’ve never seen anyone try before. When players can craft their own solutions to problems, well, that’s gaming at its all-too-rare best. I’ve seen that happen on every game I’ve worked on, because they’re all designed to allow that to happen. That’s their reason for being.
Monday - October 21, 2013
XCOM: Enemy Unknown & Xenonauts - Editorial @ NewStatesman
The NewStatesman has a new article that takes a look at XCOM: Enemy Unknown & Xenonauts , and asks is a dumbed-down game any less fun?
For years there has been debate amongst video game fans about dumbing down, about streamlining games, cutting out features, making them easier to play and less challenging. Players lament the over-simplification of titles like Mass Effect 3, or Skyrim, but the debate is usually hypothetical because we only know about games that exist. There is no complicated version of Skyrim for comparison, ditto for the Mass Effect series. We can only conjecture on what might have happened had Bethesda used the Morrowind systems in Skyrim or if Bioware opted to perfect the cumbersome inventory systems of the original Mass Effect rather than ripping them out.
However, one instance where we can examine this subject outside of hypotheticals has come to light with the emergence of two X-COM games. XCOM: Enemy Unknown, produced by Firaxis, which shares the name and the legal ownership of the IP with the original series, and Xenonauts, an indie title produced by Goldhawk Interactive which is dubbed a re-imagining. Both games have appeared at roughly the same time after substantial development periods: Xenonauts has been in production since 2009, and work on the new XCOM: Enemy Unknown (now hyphen-free) began in 2008.
Tuesday - October 15, 2013
Jagged Alliance 2 - Retrospective @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer reinstalls Jagged Alliance 2 and gives their opinion on how the game has hold up after all these years.
Like other excellent TRPGs (Fallout, Dragon Age) JA2 isn’t afraid to make freedom (including the freedom to fail) a key trait of its combat system. Almost all the fighting you’ll do is unscripted. Heroics arise from planning, improvisation and a little luck. The fact that an automatic weapon can accidentally fire more rounds than you intended—as an interaction between the gun and your character—is such a sweet, surprising nuance.
The other side of that coin, of course, are the grueling, random situations you stumble into: turning a blind corner can reveal an SMG-wielding enemy ready to instantly send your top commando.But that fear of lost characters feels meaningfully frustrating to me. When my recon guy, Marty McFly, died in a swamp, I had a 10-minute debate with myself over whether to revert to my last save game. If a game’s goal is to stimulate emotion, JA2 succeeds.
Monday - October 14, 2013
Polygon - Richard Garriott Interview
Polygon has posted a new interview with Richard Garriott where he talks about ways to create a healthy game development industry.
During a panel at New York Comic Con this afternoon, Garriott spoke about his history as a game developer, and expanded on what he saw as the important distinctions between the game industry in Austin and what he's noticed during his time in New York so far.
Austin quickly became a hub for game development, according to Garriott, because it's naturally a city that people in the art and technology fields flock to. But it's been suffering in recent years because it never developed the best educational institutions to bring the next generation of game developers into the industry. More importantly, Garriott explained, there isn't a lot of money for game development in Austin, because few game publishers and developers actually have their corporate headquarters in town. Instead, they tend to be located in California, and maintain satellite offices in Austin.
"Everyone in Austin is on the binge-and-purge cycle of the industry," said Garriott, noting that when companies have to make personnel cuts, they tend to lay people off at the satellite offices first.
Sunday - October 06, 2013
The Koalition - AAA and Indie RPGs Podcast
The Koalition has a new RPG Podcast asking,"What’s the Difference Between AAA and Indie RPGs?".
This week we welcome an old friend (and Guild Wars 2 guild master) Xeridian Darkmoon. Xeridian is in charge of an upcoming content production brand known as E1337cm. This week as our main discussion we posed the question What is the difference between AAA and Indie RPGs? Indie RPGs are far more creative these days, where-as AAA RPGs are continuously trying to reinvent themselves to stay relevant.
Also on this show we boast about our rightful prediction on Project Destati, the South Park Stick of Truth release date, and the news of Warhammer Online coming to an end. There's our usual Final Fantasy talk as Square Enix announces that FFX/FFX-2 HD will be released this Winter. And I also spoke on some stuff I personally experienced at the Eurogamer Expo.
Monday - September 30, 2013
Night Dive Studios - Paul Neurath Interview
What do you think about Kickstarter and other alternate methods of funding games? Do you think that if Looking Glass had access to that kind of alternative back in the 90s that the company may have survived?
Perhaps so. We relied on venture funding to grow the studio, and it turned out that LookingGlass was not a great fit for the venture model. This was heading into the heyday of the first dotcom bubble where venture guys were looking at 20x and higher potential returns. We are simply not on that trajectory. Even today it is difficult to see where venture fits well with traditional AAA PC or console game development.
Crowd funding does seem to be working for fans of classic games, with a relatively modest but dedicated audience willing to fund some of these titles on order of $1M to $4M, and in a few cases substantially more.
We've heard that recently you've been working mostly on mobile games. What direction do you see mobile games going in? How do you think mobile games can innovate? What do you feel is unique about that platform?
Another topic for its own interview. But in brief, mobile and tablets are where much of the innovation in gaming is happening today. The costs are dramatically lower than in console, and you don’t need a publisher or retail to reach the audience. Also millions of new folks are being introduced to gaming on their mobile devices, so you have fresh expectations from an audience who in some ways are more open to trying whatever might be fun.
Thursday - September 26, 2013
Hellraid - Interactive Movie Prequel
Techland has released a new interactive movie prequel for it's FPS/RPG Hellraid called Edyn's Escape.
Edyn's Escape is an interactive movie prequel to the events in Hellraid, a video game by Techland.
When brother Edyn woke up his monastery was overrun by hellish creatures. Now he must find a weapon and get to safety before monsters kill him. Help Edyn in his escape and get your award at the end of the story.
Wednesday - September 25, 2013
RPG Worlds - Depth Vs Practicality
VGU has a new article about Depth Vs Practicality in modern RPGs.
There has always been one thing that has bothered me about RPGs. This is a genre based around the size and scope of a world, full of wonderfully written characters to spend upwards of 100+ hours with sometimes. As the name denotes you play a role, you fill a space in that world that is pre-defined and as such needs to be polished to a high standard. These universes are filled with history and context to sink your teeth into. Given all of this there is still one problem though, a single nagging issue I have always had since I first played Phantasy Star 2 on a Best of Sega compilation for my PC years and years ago. Why isn't there more of it?
Sunday - September 22, 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall - Console & PC Port?
Portable Gaming Region nas news that the andriod version of Deus Ex: The Fall release is close. They also have news that Square is thinking about console & PC Ports of the game.
Wright revealed that Deus Ex: The Fall “has always been planned for Android,” and given how “there is a lot of interest in playing Deus Ex: The Fall on other platforms,” Square Enix and N-Fusion are “considering many options.” Though hinting at console and PC ports of the critically acclaimed game, Wright quickly added that the development team is still completely focused on smartphone and tablet version of the said mobile title.
Thursday - September 19, 2013
RPGamer - Teabagging Nostalgia
RPGamer has a new article about remakes, reboots, and nostalgia.
There's no doubt in my mind that the RPG landscape is going through a period of transition. Since the early PC days, RPGamers have purchased the latest platforms and reaped the benefits of continually supporting their favorite long-running franchises. It's been good, but there are now fewer active series to speak of and the platforms themselves have changed in such a drastic way that many traditional RPGamers no longer feel the need to adopt. It's hard to say whether this can simply be attributed to the industry itself changing or video game publishers altering their business strategy, but one thing is clear: what few nostalgic series rear their heads in today's modern landscape are far too often marginalized in spite of their lineage.
It's a bit hard on the heart. Many of us have grown up alongside our favorite RPG franchises, and to see them now dip into mediocrity with mobile, browser, and free-to-play MMO releases can be difficult to watch. That's not to say that I feel every entry in every RPG franchise deserves a AAA release, but now what we are usually given is a subpar and lazy title with only vague ties to its namesake. You only have to look as far as the GREE network to see a few of the worst cash-ins on RPG nostalgia available.
Grid Cartographer - Android Version Available
Grid Cartographer the program that allows you to make maps to go along with your RPG games now has a new android version for mobile users.
Grid Cartographer Touch is a map making tool for role-playing games.
The perfect companion for classic RPGs like Wizardry, Might & Magic, Eye of the Beholder, Captive, Lands of Lore and Dungeon Master.
Grid Cartographer Touch improves upon paper maps with a number of useful features such as unlimited map area and floors stored in one convenient file, undo / redo, clipboard functions, support for custom tiles and a notes feature.
The advanced editing features such as the quick move tool and area stroke and fill make blocking out maps incredibly easy. Then detail using the many icons included (or import your own) and simply export the map to an image file for printing or sharing online!
Traditional Role Playing?
It's a great tool for traditional pen and paper role playing games. Dungeon Masters can make maps with it to be revealed to the party at key moments, or the party could use it themselves as a tool for mapping out a dungeon as they explore. You could even role-play an actual cartographer!
Grid Cartographer Touch supports exporting maps as XML or Binary data. It's fully documented in an easy to read reference manual. Check out this Flash demo game (with full source code) for a real-world example of using an exported map. All files are fully compatible between desktop and mobile versions.
Thursday - September 12, 2013
GMG - Deus Ex Pack & Thief Pack
As part of Green Man Gamings huge sale going on right now you can pick up two bundles that might be of interest to our forum members.
First up we have the Deus Ex Pack for $11.23.
This pack includes:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Explosive Mission
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Tactical Enhancement
Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition
Deus Ex: Invisible War
Next they have the Thief Pack for $5.74.
This pack includes:
Thief: Gold Edition
Thief II: The Metal Age
Thief: Deadly Shadows
Just remember Steam is required to play most of these games. Origin is not required this time.
Tuesday - September 10, 2013
Dungeon Keeper 2 - Retrospective @ EDGE
EDGE has a new retrospective Dungeon Keeper 2.
The sound of digging pervades Dungeon Keeper 2. Bullfrog’s 1999 realtime strategy game involves the construction and operation of a dungeon and its associated labyrinth in a gloomy, underground world. There are always chambers to be excavated, minerals to be mined and exploratory tunnels to be dug in order to expand your area of play. The imps, tiny magical creatures who comprise your basic workforce, are continually scraping and picking away at the ground somewhere, carrying out your orders.
It’s a pleasantly double-edged sound – industrious, but also subversive. You’re eating away at the world around you, undermining, corroding, tunnelling like a colony of termites. And if your imps run out of orders and stop working – you’ll see them sit against the wall and light up cigarettes – you might still hear digging. That would be the sound of one of your rival keepers chipping away at the rock in your direction, heading inexorably towards you.
Building and undermining at the same time – that’s the centre of the appeal of Dungeon Keeper 2. The player must design and construct a detailed and multi-functional underground world to perform a number of tasks, but also revel in destruction, murder, torture and slavery. Indeed, those are the tasks. This is a dungeon, after all. In other hands, DK2 could have been a recipe for dreary sadism. But Bullfrog put together a world that was all about beautiful, rich, detailed, absorbing, funny sadism.
Thursday - September 05, 2013
Racketboy - Chris Avellone Podcast
Racketboy has a new podcast with Chris Avellone talking about the various RPG's he has worked on.
Chris Avellone is a veteran developer who over the past twenty years has created an impressive oeuvre of intelligent, groundbreaking, and much-loved RPGs. In this interview he graciously sat down with Dave and John to talk about his role and influence in many of these past projects (including the monumental Planescape Torment and Fallout series), his current work with several high profile Kickstarter projects (Wasteland 2, Project Eternity, and Torment: Tides of Numenara), and his thoughts on how the industry has changed over the years.
Wednesday - September 04, 2013
The Koalition - Top 5 Action RPGs of this Generation
The Koalition writer David Jagneaux has written a new article about what he thinks is this generations best ARPG's. Remember this is his opinion not fact so take it easy on him.
To be clear, this list is in regards to isometric-styled hack-and-slash action RPGs. If you've ever played a Diablo game or anything like that, then you have a pretty good idea. There are lots of games and franchises in this genre, but it also seems to be one of the most under-represented each and every gaming generation. Releases are few and far between, but each successive title seems to always garner praise and success. One of the most iconic franchises in all of gaming - Diablo - basically started the entire subgenre and it's still going strong to this day. With Diablo III finally set to release on consoles soon, I thought this was a good time to take a look back at all of the best the action RPG genre has to offer this generation.
Monday - September 02, 2013
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan indiegogo Campaign
Kiro'o Games started an indiegogo campaign for Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. They're asking for 75k€. At this time they're still building momentum.
Their crowdfunding pitch:
Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan - The 1st African Fantasy Action RPG
Kiro'o Games from Cameroon sends word they're working on Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan. According to their PR it's the first African fantasy action-RPG ever.
I've posted a screenshot trailer below. Please visit our forum for masses of pics and some infos.
Warcraft Film - Based on Prince Arthas
Remember the Warcraft movie? Well BlizzPlanet has news the title is going to called Conflagration, and be about Prince Arthas. So what do you think does this sound good, or is it another movie flop in the making?
Rumors have circulated for a few weeks the plot for the Warcraft film is based on Khadgar and Medivh — rumor ignited by Bleeding Cool on July 31. That sets the story during the First War as depicted in the first Warcraft game titled Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (1994). Players kill Medivh in mission # 8 of the Human campaign as seen in our single-player guide.
Friday - August 30, 2013
Forbes - Dungeons & Dragons Video Games
Forbes Contributor Erik Kain has a new article were he writes about three Dungeons & Dragons video games that need to be made.
Dungeons & Dragons has two massively multiplayer online roleplaying games, an upcoming mobile game, and a huge back catalog of old-school computer roleplaying games and brawlers.
But MMORPGs don’t scratch the roleplaying itch for many gamers, or at least not always in the same way that single-player games do.
Wizards of the Coast should capitalize on the D&D brand’s long tradition of single-player RPGs, especially now that technology and video game innovation could lead to some of the best D&D video games ever.
Here are three games that the D&D license should take advantage of.
Monday - August 26, 2013
Record of Agarest War - PC Release Date
Ghostlight announces on a new blog post that Record of Agarest War for the PC is nearing release.
Lastly, I have some Agarest news for you all. Thanks to the hard work of the guys at Laughing Jackal along with our intrepid band of beta testers, we are now fast approaching our first Agarest: Generation of War PC master candidate.
We’ve been busy squashing the last few remaining bugs as well as integrating the DLC, so this means that while we’re not quite there yet, we’re not too far off being able to announce a release date.
Friday - August 23, 2013
Amplitude Studios - Dungeon of the Endless
Dungeon of the Endless is a rogue-like tower-defense game in which the player and team must protect the generator on their crashed ship while exploring an ever-expanding dungeon, all while facing waves of monsters and special events as they try to find their way out.
Tuesday - August 20, 2013
Matt Chat - Bill Volk on Return to Zork
Matt Chat is back again with another video interview talking to Bill Volk. While not an RPG the games he made are classics that deserve to be talked about.
In this part of the interview, Bill and I chat about the glorious days of The Manhole, Return to Zork, Aegis, Ports of Call, and much more. Bill shares some great stories about the early days of Amiga and Mac, plus offers his views on the future of the adventure game.
Josh Sawyer - Game Design Video
Josh Sawyer updated his YouTube channel with a new video talking about importance of real-world knowledge for game design.
Monday - August 19, 2013
Game Informer - The Best BioWare Characters
Game Informer has a new opinion article about the Best BioWare Characters.
With our Dragon Age: Inquisition coverage in full swing, the time is ripe to celebrate the best BioWare characters. BioWare has provided us with many extraordinary party members over the years that making a list was no easy task. After debating internally and with my fellow staff members, it was decided that certain characters simply had to make the cut. Cast members are memorable for different reasons, whether we love them for their sarcasm, development, or merely because they're different from the standard video game archetype. For this list, I have some of the obvious choices and some neglected standouts.
Thursday - August 15, 2013
Telltale - Debuts New Trailer for Fables
If you were a fan of The Walking Dead then you should enjoy this new trailer for their next project called Fables: The Wolf Among Us.
Developer Telltale Games is bringing Fables to you -- but can you handle the big bad detective?
Wednesday - August 14, 2013
Amplitude Studios - Dungeon of the Endless
Amplitude Studios has posted a teaser video for their upcoming GamesCom debut of Dungeon of the Endless. It seems to be a Sci-Fi ARPG from the teaser.
Tuesday - August 13, 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall - Android Release Next Month
Eidos Montreal has revealed that the Android version of the Deus Ex: The Fall mobile game will be hitting the Google Play Store next month, priced at $6.99.
Additionally, we’re also very excited to confirm that the Android version of Deus Ex: The Fall will be available in September.
Monday - August 12, 2013
Ultima Forever: The Quest for the Avatar - Now Available
Ultima Forever: The Quest for the Avatar is out now on iOS. The free-to-play adventure takes place 20 years after the original Quest of the Avatar.
Experience the biggest co-op, action RPG on mobile, available now on the App Store for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch! http://smarturl.it/ohbzmb
Play the first major Ultima release in nearly 16 years! Lady British has summoned a new generation of Heroes like you to help save the world of Britannia from the Black Weep, an insidious plague that's infecting the land and corrupting her inhabitants. Britannia needs you, will you heed her call?
SAVE THE WORLD OF BRITANNIA
+ Form parties with up to three friends and explore dungeons
+ Defeat enemies in fast-paced, co-op action combat and earn epic loot
+ Enjoy hundreds of hours of quests and immersive storylines
+ Personalize your adventure with special abilities, epic gear, and cosmetic items
+ Choose your actions wisely, as every choice may have a later impact
+ Meet players from all over the world
Do you have what it takes to become the Avatar? Download Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar today!
Saturday - August 10, 2013
Mass Effect 4 - Why Isn’t Commander Shepard Coming Back ?
Unigamesity is back again with another article about Bioware this time asking,"Why Isn’t Commander Shepard Coming Back?"
It has been confirmed that Mass Effect 4 will have a completely new focus, since Commander Shepard’s destiny has been fulfilled and there’s nothing much to go on about. There are mainly two reasons that won’t allow the hero of Mass Effect to return in upcoming games, at least not as a main character.
The first explanation is related to the protagonist’s storyline and its conclusion in the third game. The events of Mass Effect 3, where the Normandy’s Commander manages to become a legend responsible for saving the entire galaxy from extinction, established a closure for Shepard’s story – his physical death was a cruel, yet logical ending for a dignifying character like this one. Despite the negative reception of Shepard’s death, which was perceived as an utterly disappointment by the fans, BioWare’s solution was not dramatic or severe in my opinion.
Escaping death once again wouldn’t be any surprise for Commander Shepard but under the circumstances it would be more than astonishing, it would be ridiculous and completely fictional. This faith was inevitable and the most realistic one considering the sacrifices required to enable the catalyst. But this is not the only reason why BioWare isn’t bringing Shepard back in the fourth game.
Tuesday - August 06, 2013
The Phoenix Project - Interview @ Incgamers
Incgamers has an interview with the members of the The Phoenix Project. It's a group of volunteers from the City of Heroes community. They are developing a new superhero MMORPG that could become the spiritual successor to CoH.
When City of Heroes shut down, the community was left in limbo and disappointed with the way NCSoft handled it. What are your thoughts on that now? It’s been quite a few months since this happened.
Cameron: City of Heroes was and still is their property so it was their legal right to do whatever they wanted with it. The reason we are doing what we are doing is because when they pulled it off the market there was a huge hole there. So we’re seeking to fill that space so the community that now wants to dwell in that now-empty niche will have place to go back to.
How do you think the community is taking it as far as wanting to see a new project is concerned? Do you think people are really sticking around and wanting to see the Phoenix Project happen?
Cameron: Generally speaking, yes. We are seeing a lot of people who have tried other things and keep coming back to see what we’re doing, saying they are really lookingforward to something that will fill that void in their lives.
Jim: You hit the nail on the head. You have to look at the whole thing that we are dealing with here; the stages of death, grief and acceptance. We’ve moved pretty far through that process as a community. I think everyone has finally accepted it. However, there is the gap of what is still needed and everyone’s going to find a game they want to play to fill the meantime. Yes, we do have quite a community that keeps checking back, there’s still enthusiasm and you know, I think we’re all pretty grateful for that.
Monday - August 05, 2013
VGS Radio - Phil Fish vs Casey Hudson
VGS has a new audio podcast about hate on the internet especially against Phil Fish and Casey Hudson.
This week on VGS we discuss and compare the blowout between Phil Fish and the world of gaming. Does the vitriol spewed at Casey Hudson of Bioware compare at all to the circumstances faced towards Fish?
If so, then why does so much of the gaming community flock to Fish’s defense but crucify Hudson, despite his non-combative nature? The Retake Movement was decimated in the press but one indie developer starts to cry and all of the sudden there’s a huge public outcry for more sensitivity and civility from media outlets. Where do you stand? Contribute!
Video above also includes an examination of comments made by Ubisoft’s CEO and why it’s terrible. Below is this week’s entire show- we go hands on with Batman: Arkham Origins.
Sunday - August 04, 2013
The Humble Deep Silver Bundle - German Versions Uncut!
Schnittberichte.com (English site: movie-censorship.com), the world's leading site for news and cut reports on censored movies, games and comics, confirms the rumors about the Humble Deep Silver Bundle. All included games are uncut, and even the critical games Saints Row: The Third + DLC and Dead Island + add-on can be activated from a German IP without problems!
Saturday - August 03, 2013
Xseed - To Release More JRPG's On The PC
Xseed has told Siliconera that they are planning to release more JRPG's on the PC. So if you enjoyed playing the Ys series this is good news.
In recent years, Xseed have begun to publish games on PC, starting out with Falcom’s Ys games. In a recent interview with the publisher’s Executive Vice-President Ken Berry, Siliconera asked about how those games have done and further PC support.
“They have done great on Steam, and hopefully that introduced a lot of new people to the Ys series so that they will want to check out the latest offering on PS Vita when it comes out later this year,” Berry replied. “They’ve surpassed our expectations, and we are definitely looking to bring more titles to PC.”
Berry replied, “We are absolutely interested in bringing more titles, especially JRPGs, to PC. We are doing what we can to make it happen, so hopefully we will have an announcement within the next month or so.”
Friday - August 02, 2013
The Humble Bundle - 1C Company Sale
The Humble Bundle has another deal for you if your interested in any select 1C Company games. I would grab it just for the King’s Bounty games if you haven't played them yet.
Pay what you want to get King’s Bounty: The Legend, King’s Bounty: Armored Princess, Men of War, and Men of War: Red Tide! Pay over the average and also get King’s Bounty: Crossworlds and Men of War: Assault Squad - Game of the Year Edition! All the games are available for Windows via Steam with select titles also available on Mac and DRM-free.
You can also choose how you want to distribute your money: to 1C Company, and/or two non-profit charities, the Child’s Play Charity and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And if you love this bundle, a tip to Humble Bundle would be greatly appreciated!
Wednesday - July 31, 2013
The Humble Bundle - Deep Silver Sale
The latest Humble Bundle is offering most of Deep Silver games at a cheap price. The games that might interest most are Sacred 2 and Risen 2.
The Humble Deep Silver Bundle
Support vital charities. Choose how you want to divide your purchase: between Deep Silver, the American Red Cross, or the Child’s Play Charity. And if you’re liking this promotion, a tip to the Humble Bundle is greatly appreciated!
*Note: This bundle is Windows-only and provides Steam keys only.
Pay what you want. All these unbelievable titles and soundtracks on their own would cost about $190, but we’re letting you name your price! Only $1 is needed to get Steam* keys. Beat the average to also get Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition and Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package. Pay $25 or more and you’ll additionally receive a key for Dead Island: Riptide.
Six wild games and a bunch of DLC. Pay what you want and get the urban warfare open-world adventure Saints Row: The Third; the prequel open-world action-adventure game Saints Row 2; the swashbuckling fantasy action RPG Risen 2: Dark Waters; and the hack-and-slash RPG Sacred 2: Gold Edition. Pay over the average and receive the survival horror RPG Dead Island: Game of the Year Edition and Saints Row: The Third - The Full Package, which includes a bunch of DLC. And if you pay $25 or more, you’ll get the sequel to Dead Island, Dead Island: Riptide.
Fire it up on Steam for Windows. Buying the Humble Deep Silver Bundle gets you the games for Windows, through Steam (system requirements here). For your listening delight, you also get a collection of DRM-free soundtracks in lossless (FLAC) and MP3 formats!
Thanks SpoonFULL for spotting this.
Saturday - July 27, 2013
ShinyLoot - Nordic Games Sale
ShinyLoot has sent news of their Nordic Games Sale. You can find a few gems in the package if your interested.
1. Gothic Complete (Gothic 1-3) for $6.25
2. SpellForce 2 for $3.75
3. Silent Storm Gold for $2.50
4. Dungeon Lords MMXII for $3.75
5. ArcaniA: Gothic 4 $5.00
6. ArcaniA - Fall of Setarrif $3.75
Space Hulk - Release Date and Pre-Orders
Space Hulk is now ready for pre-orders on Steam and will be released on August 15th.
The legendary Space Hulk returns to Windows PC and Mac in this epic turn based strategy game. Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, an intriguing story of legendary battles and heroic actions unfolds. Play as a small squad of fearless Space Marine Terminators who attempt to reclaim their honor by mounting an assault on a derelict space hulk infested by hordes of vicious tyranid Genestealers.
Take control of the Adeptus Astartes of the Blood Angel chapter and guide them towards glory, while battling fierce Xenos and uncovering ancient relics in the infested confines of the massive Space Hulk named “Sin of Damnation”.
The game is a 3D digital turn based strategy game that recreates the classic claustrophobic board game experience in both singleplayer and multiplayer.
- The first Space Hulk computer game in 17 years! Available on multiple platforms.
- Set in the hugely popular Warhammer 40,000 universe! Official license of the legendary boardgame from Games Workshop.
- Turn-based tactical strategy game! Based on the popular and iconic board game mechanics.
- Blood Angel Terminators! Fight the ferocious Genestealers with heroes of the mighty Blood Angels.
- Fearsome Genestealers with challenging AI! Meet unforgiving hordes of Genestealers!
- Thematic 3D environment! Experience the dark labyrinth of a Space Hulk as never before..
- Single player campaign based on the "Sin of Damnation" space hulk! Take on the Sin of Damnation campaign, which includes 3 brand new prequel missions and the 12 missions from the classic board game.
- Multiplayer head-to-head recreating the board game experience against a friend! Get in the hot seat and battle it out with a friend.
Credit goes to SpoonFULL for the story. Thanks.
Monday - July 22, 2013
GenGame - The Trouble With MMO's
Bre Melvin has wrote an article on GenGame that MMO's need to escape the bounds of pre-established conventions.
Too often have I been tempted by the allure of a cinematic trailer for a game, and this is especially true for fantasy MMORPGs since these trailers are essentially high-end eye-candy. But let’s face it, while they’re fun for everyone and especially rewarding for pre-exisiting fans of the game, they are unrepresentative of the gameplay (or even the cutscenes in many cases), since these cinematics feel more like movies than dungeon crawlers.
For me personally, the problem is that when I see these cinematics without any knowledge of the gameplay, I start to imagine what type of game I’d like these trailers to represent solely based on the presented visuals, and these types games more often than not simply do not exist. The end conclusion is that when these MMOs are finally released, despite my interest in their aesthetics, I have no interest in the actual games. However, it’s rare that these desired aesthetics ever crop up anywhere beyond the MMORPG sphere. There is a big a glaring reason for this, and it’s one the game industry as a whole needs to move beyond.
The trouble begins with our definition of MMOs and MMORPGs.
Wednesday - July 17, 2013
The Roguelike - A Design Analysis
GatherYourParty is the latest site to take a crack at explaining roguelike games. Maybe they can explain why my blood pressure goes up playing them also.
The roguelike is a genre that has been gaining momentum and popularity, or so it appears to the bystander. The indie scene is being flooded with games that announce themselves as roguelikes, roguelike-likes or the newest word-salad: rogue-lites.
When talking about the roguelike genre I will be thinking of the classical view, the Berlin Interpretation. This is not to say that I am a purist and will try to force the Berlin Interpretation to the single last item on the list, however; roguelikes as a genre have a discoverable design-philosophy behind them, an irreducibly complex core, which makes them what they are for a reason.
Tuesday - July 16, 2013
Infinity Blade: Dungeons - Canceled
Softpedia has news that the tablet RPG Infinity Blade: Dungeons has been canceled.
Infinity Blade and its sequel delighted plenty of mobile gamers and Epic had big plans with the new Infinity Blade: Dungeons, which was supposed to be made by its newly founded Impossible Studios.
Sadly, with the developer's closure, it seems that Dungeons has also been canceled, as Chair Entertainment Creative Director Donald Mustard has confirmed the news in the latest Epic Games podcast.
While Dungeons will probably never see the light of day, Chair still has plans for the Infinity Blade universe, so fans shouldn't worry about not seeing a new experience in the future.
As of yet, however, it's unclear what projects Chair has in development.
Final Fantasy VII - Do We Need A Remake
Gamersector has a new editorial called, "Evaluating the Need for a Final Fantasy VII Remake".
Earlier this month, Final Fantasy VII, the beloved Square title released in 1997, saw its release on Steam. By this point, all of Final Fantasy fandom can agree on one thing: we aren't getting a PS3 remake of the original PlayStation smash hit. And yet, despite Square's persistence in denying its loyal fans any gratification in this realm, consumer demand for a full HD remake is high. Perhaps, with the release of next-gen platforms on the horizon, Square will consider revisiting this idea. But should they?
For those of you unaware of just how this demand was sparked, here's a brief history. In 2005, around the same time the compilation of Final Fantasy VII (hereafter referred to as the Compilation) was incepted, Square unveiled a tech demo at E3, mistakenly using the opening sequence from FFVII to demonstrate the PS3's technical prowess. Since then, speculation has arisen that a VII remake was intended as part of the Compilation, and outcry for a remake continues to this day.
Friday - July 12, 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall - Review Roundup
Deus Ex: The Fall was released a day early and the positive opinions seem to outnumber the negative ones. Here are the reviews.
IGN - 8.2/10
Frustrating combat aside, it’s almost astounding how successful The Fall is at distilling the core Deus Ex experience onto a mobile device. The mysterious and well-told story, steady stream of powerful new augments, and impressive game world all combined to create a mobile experience I didn’t want to put down after I started.
GameReactor - 7/10
As it stands, we do want to see more, play more. But it'll take a few more runs to see if the combat system clicks. Those used to action titles in this ilk on the format may have an easier time of it. This is an impressive title for a format that continues to surprise us. Deus Ex fans shouldn't feel that they're being short-changed. One thing it does trump Human Revolution though, hands-down? None of those damn boss fights.
Eurogamer - 5/10
On paper, this is just the kind of iOS tie-in fans often ask for: it's faithful to the source material, filled with familiar systems and details, and it's even made a decent attempt at matching the graphical style of the main game. It's Deus Ex in cross-section, but although so many of the right pieces are in place, the energy and skill that usually brings the whole thing to life is missing. Regardless of whether you believe Deus Ex's basic genome should have adapted a little more for its new platform in the first place, there's no debating the fact that any sequel will require some serious augmentation.
GamesBeat - 82/100
I’m shocked. The Fall works. Bringing an experience as complicated as Deus Ex’s to a touchscreen should have been a mess, but I was easily sneaking, hacking, and headshotting my way through the short campaign. I don’t know if I’m ready to call myself a mobile gaming convert, but this is definitely one of the deeper experiences I’ve had on an iOS platform.
Computer and Videogames - 6/10
There's about five hours of game here, or three if you don't pursue the numerous optional missions on offer. For us, the best thing about this spin-off is returning to Human Revolution's universe. It's one of our favourite game worlds, and the high production values and beautiful environment design in The Fall are as good as anything in the main game. So good, in fact, that we wonder if - and hope that - Square Enix will release it as PC/console DLC.
Tuesday - July 09, 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall - Release Date Announced
For those looking forward to Deus Ex: The Fall , and don't have a distaste for mobile games the release date is July 11. Here is the press release.
Deus Ex: The Fall coming to iOS this Thursday
London, 8th July 2013 - Square Enix is happy to announce that Deus Ex: The Fall, the winner of seven “Best Mobile/iOS Game” awards at E3 2013*, will be coming to iOS devices this Thursday, 11th July.
Deus Ex: The Fall will be available for $6.99/£4.99/5.99€ from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, or at www.AppStore.com.
Developed by Square Enix’s Mobile division in Europe, in collaboration with the original Deus Ex: Human Revolution® team at Eidos-Montréal and N-Fusion, Deus Ex: The Fall is a full story driven action-RPG and the first Deus Ex in the series to be developed for and released on mobile and tablet devices.
Deus Ex: The Fall will be compatible with iPad 2 and above, iPhone 4S and above, and iPod Touch 5 and above.
*Deus Ex: The Fall was awarded “Best Mobile/iOS Game” of E3 2013 by IGN, Gaming Trend, Game Chronicles, Pop.com.br, Technology Tell, Gamesource.it and Game World Navigator.
Friday - July 05, 2013
PCGamer - How I Game: Brian Fargo
PCGamer has a small interview with Brain Fargo as part of it's "How I Game "series of interviews with developers.
What’s on your desk?
I keep my desk pretty clean which means it has a simple configuration of my monitor, keyboard and mouse along with any pesky bills I have to pay.
What are you playing right now?
I tend to bounce around a couple of games at one time and currently I’m about halfway through Metro: Last Light which has done a fantastic job setting a mood. And then when I want my brain to hurt I jump back to an Indie puzzler game called Swapper.
Why do you game?
How can anyone not game? The absolute most fun entertainment experiences of my life have been when I was wrapped up into a great game. It’s intellectually challenging and highly entertaining and I enjoy it from an admiration level of how the game was put together technically or design wise.
Thursday - July 04, 2013
Mark Kern - Have MMOs Become Too Easy?
According to a former Blizzard dev Mark Kern Warcraft kiiled the MMO genre , or to put it simply,"Have MMOs Become Too Easy?"
Have you noticed the creeping casualness that permeates all MMOs these days? When is the last time you died in a starter zone? What happened to 40 person raids that have dwindled to 5? Do you feel any sense of achievement in the race to end game, or is the end game the only achievement?
It all started with the drive to make MMOs, which in the EQ and Ultima days were a niche and hard core game, more accessible. Accessibility was the mantra when I was leading the World of Warcraft team. We labored over the user interface for the game, going through many iterations, to find one that would be easy and intuitive for players new to the genre. We created a massive number of quests to lead the player through the world, making sure that they never had to think about what to do next.
Wednesday - July 03, 2013
Hellraid - Interview @ Gamingbolt
Gamingbolt has a interview with Game Producer Marcin Kruczkiewicz about Hellraid.
Ravi Sinha: Hellraid has been described as a “spiritual successor to Hexen and Witchaven”. How far did those games inspire it, whether in tone or content? Will you be going back to the roots of the series when it was still associated with id Software, or will there be a bent to experiment more?
Marcin Kruczkiewicz: It’s important to mention that we didn’t called Hellraid like this – gamers did. Most of the people in our team played those titles and others such as Heretic or the first Quake in the past and those titles shaped them as gamers. Now when people call our game a spiritual successor of these classics we feel privileged but also obliged because we know that it won’t be easy to meet those expectations.
In Hellraid we’re trying to achieve a similar level of fun and challenge which those classics had but we want to do this with modern gameplay mechanics like for example a strong emphasis on co-operation and competition between team members.
Ravi Sinha: The game has been described as a mix of the “best aspects of Dead Island and The Elder Scrolls”. Which one of those influenced the combat most?
Marcin Kruczkiewicz: Hellraid grew from an internal weapon mod for Dead Island so it’s natural that we used some basic gameplay and fighting mechanics from that game but we advanced them significantly and added new ones like blocking to them. We want combat in Hellraid to be realistic (with the exception of magic of course) but at the same time enjoyable and impressive.
Ravi Sinha: Will the game emphasize the standard array of blocks, parries, hacking and slashing seen in The Elder Scrolls, or will there be a more strategic bent of combat? In terms of gore, will there be decapitations, gibs or limbs flying all over the place?
Marcin Kruczkiewicz: It’s hard to compare it to any other game because of its complex nature and we wouldn’t want to oversimplify. Hopefully gamers will see this for themselves very soon. They will also find our game very mature in terms of violence with a lot of blood and flying limbs. We have no doubtsthat Hellraid will be rated PEGI 18/Mature.
Ravi Sinha: What is the level of importance given the campaign versus the amount of time and resources spent on the “Game Master” mode and randomly generated content? How far does this influence the replay value when it comes to “hundreds of hours of unique content” versus “hundreds of hours of slight modified content here and there”?
Marcin Kruczkiewicz: We’re not revealing any details about our story yet. What we can say right now is that our main campaign can be experienced both in single-player and co-op. We want players to be able to replay the story with different heroes from our set of four character classes as well as play it again with a more advanced hero. We also strongly focuson competing with friends for points and rewards in co-op and we’re building the replay value of the game mostly around this type of gameplay.
Tuesday - July 02, 2013
American McGee - Interviews Brian Fargo
American McGee interviews inXile CEO, and Interplay founder Brian Fargo on his blog website.
AJM: You’ve had a long and amazing career in the industry, made awesome games, built companies and managed great teams. Can you give me your “Top 2″ lessons learned – and a little detail on the mistakes or trials that lead to understanding those lessons?
BF: It is difficult to boil my thoughts on building teams and games into THE top 2 lessons but I will take a stab at two very important ones for sure. I find that people spend a lot of time designing a game but not much time designing the company itself and ultimately it is great people that make the games and having the proper dynamic in a team or company is paramount. I get plenty of credit for my role in these games but we all know that these larger products are always about a team of people pitching in ideas and talent, no one person can take credit for it all. Every game I have worked on has become bigger than any one human can do so that leaves it to me to make sure I create the right environment for this kind of magic to flourish. The personalities and talents and morale of the group all need to work if you want to make something special. My mistake in this regard was to spend too many hours trying to get an individual to buy off on the vision when it just wasn’t going to happen. It’s important to get that dynamic in place as soon as possible and protect it fiercely.
And I guess the second part of building a great game is to make sure everyone clearly understands the goals and sensibilities you are trying to achieve. This part is along the same lines as the point above except is more product focused and makes it so that the healthy group you have established can soar. When everyone on the team understands the sensibilities it gives more energy to the production and it allows for more of the team to contribute towards it. And defining things in a set of ideals allows for maximum creativity without getting too attached to a narrow set of ideas. Most often I have seen games go sideways because of a contractually tight payment structure that doesn’t allow for enough of a constant tinkering or if there isn’t enough time in the back end of development for the iteration. I really don’t have a true feel of a game until it is well along and playable and only then can I start to address pacing, balance, sign posting, satisfying effects, areas of boredom and excitement etc.
Thursday - June 27, 2013
Brian Fargo - The Golden Era of CRPG's
Brian Fargo gave an interview with polygamia about the future of RPG's and other topics.
You were one of the first developers taking the story and setting seriously, and trying to make games looked more like movies.
I think when we were all young, we had a certain envy about the way films could touch so many people and have such mass awareness. But I was more influenced by good storytelling in general, whether it came from a movie or a book and it all starts with clever writing. I was a huge movie fan when I was a kid, and I reads hundreds of books and thousands of comics. I'm very fortunate to be in a creative business making my own mark.
Why do you like post-apocalyptic setting so much?
I'm not sure why I have always been drawn to it, but it seems like most of my favorite comics, books and movies all had some kind of end of world type apocalypse take place. I remember reading "Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth" as a kid and my absolute favorite movies as a kid were "The Planet of the Apes" and "The Omega Man". And of course later I became a HUGE fan of the Mad Max/Road Warrior series. In fact I spent quite a few times with the director George Miller and got very close at several times to make a game based on his series. With books I loved "Swan Song" by Robert McCammon and of course "The Stand" from Stephen King. I think the post-apocalyptic universes seem more plausible for the most part over straight up sci-fi, which makes it approachable as a subject.
In the mid-90 Interplay was home for biggest RPG franchises - Stonekeep, Baldur's Gate, Planescape Torment, Fallout. Do you think it was a golden age for the computer RPGs?
I think you are about to see the golden age of RPGs come rushing back in the next few years, with what I'm seeing from Obsidian, CD Projekt and of course what we are working on. But most certainly there was a purity to the development of RPGs in the 90's in which we were very attuned to our players. You could not make nearly the money on a game back then as you can today, and the budgets were a fraction of today's big spends. The risk factors changed greatly as we left the 90's and the pressure ramped up and created a lot of craziness. But I honestly see that purity and being in sync with the RPG players coming back full circle -- in fact it is even stronger than ever.
How important is Kickstarter for the industry? Is it just a chance to revitalise some genres and series, or it's something more?
I have always believed that the concept of crowd funding is so much bigger than just us and these few games that we are doing. It really is about putting the power and profits into the creator's hands such that we can control our destinies and help others. Already you can see the effects of how the development community has come together in terms of promoting competitive games, sharing technology and even giving money to one another, this is not something you would normally see. The power of us sticking together will allow us to get some control back that has been lost. In addition you are seeing games get made like ours or Obsidian's for example that would have never existed if not for crowd funding and that is a major item in itself.
What would you tell to your critics, saying that it's been a long time since you've created decent game, and that your fundraisers succeeded only because of the sentiments?
Well certainly my experience with the publishers has not been very fruitful but I do my best when I am in control of my development. In fact I think the best creative work that is done in almost any entertainment industry is when someone has the power to make those critical sensibility decisions without needs for committees. But that said, our Bard's Tale game is one of the highest user rated games on Google Play on Android and I feel quite good about the creativity and content we delivered on that. This wasn't a game for core gamers, though, and I know some weren't expecting that. I set out to make a light RPG parody and for that we accomplished the goal superbly. So now with Wasteland and Torment we have a goal of bringing back classic RPG gameplay and that is the sensibility we will deliver on, plus we have our secret weapon of the crowd. Every aspect of development is being vetted by the audience so there will not be some big surprise or disappointment at launch. The vision of the game and the first playable have been shared with hundreds of thousands of people and we are in sync.
Tuesday - June 25, 2013
Rezzed 2013 - Is Storytelling in Games Getting Any Better?
This is the follow up to yesterdays video from Rezzed 2013 but this time the topic of discussion deals with storytelling in games.
Streamed live on Jun 23, 2013
John Walker hosts Dean Hall, Chris Avellone, Ragnar Tornquist, Ed Stern and Will Porter in a round table discussion.
Monday - June 24, 2013
GetLoaded - Pick Two Bethesda Games for $15
GetLoaded has there new 72 hour bundle sale. You can pick any two listed Bethesda games for $15, except for Dishonored as the keys are sold out.
Dishonoured has now sold out but the rest of the bundle is available. If you specifically want Dishonoured, check back Monday afternoon (UK time) when we should have more stock!
Bethesda means different things to different people. Is it a city in Maryland? A healing pool in Jerusalem? A video game publisher? To us at Get Games, Bethesda means a fresh haul of digital awesomeness for our Get Loaded offer. A golden loot chest of sci-fi shooters, steampunk stealth and fantasy adventure. So, fine patrons, how would you like two Bethesda games for $15?
Rezzed 2013 - Development Roundtable Discussion
Eurogamer has a 50-minute video from this weekend's Rezzed event featuring a roundtable discussion between Obsidian Entertainment's Chris Avellone, Funcom's Ragnar Tornquist, and other PC game designers.
Streamed live on Jun 22, 2013
John Walker hosts Chris Delay, Paul Taylor, Chris Avellone and Ragnar Tornquist in a round table discussion.
Friday - June 21, 2013
General News - Video Interview with Kickstarted developers
Yesterday The Krautfunding Show took place in which several developers with ongoing and ended Kickstarter games were interviewed, like developers from the RPG Kickstarters Unrest, Frozen State, Days of Dawn and Soul Saga! and from GhostControl Inc., Nelly Cootalot, Son of Nor, Wings and H-Hour: World's Elite.
It is a 3 hour video and I haven't watched it, so I don't know if it is any good.
Thursday - June 20, 2013
True PC Gaming - Defining Roguelike Games
True PC Gaming has an interesting new editorial that breaks down the definition of a roguelie. So if your curious give it a look as he gives a few good examples to try out.
In the early to mid 1970s, Dungeons & Dragons was gaining in popularity. It was just a matter of time before someone tried applying that same formula to the fledgling realm of computer games. Stats and tables could be stored and referenced much faster, and random number generators can do a lot more than dice alone. These early adventure games had random loot, monsters, player stats, experience point systems and there were even some with wireframe first person perspectives. It was in 1980 when many of these elements were combined in the right proportions to create a game that would define a genre.
Rogue is a tactical turn based dungeon crawler with RPG elements. You must guide your hero down the Dungeons of Doom to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor. Each level is randomly generated and death is permanent. This gave Rogue an incredible amount of replayability. You start each game without ever knowing what you will encounter, or even if you would make it. This meant an almost infinite amount of gameplay and it all fit on a single floppy disk. Some players began making changes to the weapons, loot tables and probability formulas to create variations of the game. Eventually these changes became entirely new games built from the Rogue code, they were referred to as Roguelikes. Today there are still Roguelikes being made as well as games inspired by the genre. Let's take a closer look at some of the elements of a Roguelike.
One concept that seems to be uniquely Roguelike is Perma-Death. There are functions written into the games where exiting the game automatically saves, and loading a saved game also deletes it. This means that when (not if) you die in a Roguelike you cannot reload or go back to your last checkpoint. The only option is to create a new character and try again. For many who have never played these types of games, this seems to be a major negative of the genre. Video games have a long history where Game Over means insert another quarter, use one of your continues or reload last save. For this reason, Roguelikes have developed a reputation of being punishingly difficult for the player. However, to many fans of the genre this is one of the most important features. You can't get through a level by simple trial and error, you actually have to think very carefully about the actions you wish to take. Every decision made in the game becomes permanent, no do overs. Can your level 27 Dwarf Berserker take on a room of 5 Death Knights? Maybe, but do you really want to take that risk?
Anytime the player dies in a Roguelike it is because of a decision they made. Many newer players will find themselves in a no-win scenario and proclaim that the game has unfairly punished them. Such as having their last torch burn out at a deep level of the dungeon and not being able find their way around, when they inadvertently stumble blindly into a nest of trolls. The more experienced player will plan ahead and take various precautions to avoid finding themselves in this situation, such as bringing spare torches or learning spells of light. Within the genre, players have coined the term YASD which stands for Yet Another Stupid Death. This refers to a time when the player goes against their better judgment and dies as a result. These are the very obvious mistakes, and yet everyone makes them. Recently I was playing Angband and was making my way to the surface world.
Tuesday - June 18, 2013
Fallout 4 - Shown Behind Closed Doors At E3 2013?
According to Bubblews Fallout 4 was shown to a select group behind closed doors. The site has has not revealed its source so take everything you are about to read with a grain of salt.
Fallout 4 has (apparently) been absent from E3 this year. However, behind closed doors, Bethesda gave details and a 37 second trailer for the upcoming Fallout 4. Pete Hines of Bethesda is keeping tight lipped about the 45 minute presentation, but it seems there was a leaker inside who was willing to give this information.
-Fallout 4 has been in development since January 2011 by a small team, as the majority were working on Skyrim.
- As of February 2013, the team working on Fallout 4 is the size of the team which was working on Skyrim. This is due to Skyrim development ending.
-As it stands now, Fallout 4 will release on Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3. However, this is still subject to change.
-The actual announcement for Fallout 4 will come BEFORE E3 2014, but will NOT launch in 2014.
-The expected launch is in October 2015.
-The game is (as of June 2013) 55% complete, consequently, voice actors will be hired towards the end of 2014
-There is no planned multi-player, but there is a possibility of Co-Op locally.
-The game will take place in Somerville, Cambridge, Arlington (and surrounding areas). The main setting is in a Post-Apocalyptic Boston. However, this area will not be immediately accessible.
-The story is not clear, however, Vaults exist.
-The 37 second trailor starts starts with a half-broken phone sparking. The scene pulls out slowly with the stereotypical music you would hear. Slowly you work out the scene is pulling out of a belltower. As it pulls further out, you see a destroyed town around. This is Boston. Suddenly, you hear the bell chime loudly, and the screen changes black instantly. The words of Ron Pearlman are heard "War... War never changes...". The logo for Fallout 4 appears with the 5 platforms above listed.
Sunday - June 16, 2013
Video Game Reviews - The Ten-Point Scale And Inflated Scores
Forbes has a new editorial discussing game reviews, and inflated scores.
There’s a perception out there among many gamers that video game review scores are inflated or biased. Why do so many games get scored between 7 and 10 on a 10-point scale? What happened to the rest of the numbers?
And why do some games—especially ultra-hyped AAA franchises—get such high numbers?
There’s a few things going on here, I think. First of all, the 10-point scale is deceptive.
Wednesday - June 12, 2013
Xenoblade Sequel - E3 2013: Nintendo Direct Trailer
I know most scoff at JRPG's but I had to share this one. Nintendo revealed that a sequel to Xenoblade is going to be released.
Also before I forget it's for the Wii U. I can hear the outrage already.
Giant robots and an open-world RPG? The makers of Xenoblade know a good thing when they have it.
Monday - June 10, 2013
The PA Report - Ditch Steam and Buy Direct
Penny Arcade has a new penny report article, and the title speaks for itself. It's called "Want to support your favorite developers? Ditch Steam and buy direct."
The amount of money Steam charges as a commission isn’t public information, but I’ve been told by multiple sources that most digital distribution platforms take around 30 percent off commission for selling the game. That still gives the developer or publisher the lion’s share of the sale, and the massive amount of publicity that Steam can help give games is certainly worth the price being asked, but if you know you’re going to buy a game, why not give the developer more of your money?
If you see a developer selling a game directly, give some thought to buying it that way, as long as you feel comfortable. Many Humble Store links give you a redeemable Steam key for your purchase anyway. We’re going to make a better effort to link directly to Humble Store links and the official pages of developers to encourage this practice.
Again, buying from Steam, or your favorite platform, is perfectly fine. Supporting games in any way is a good thing. But if you have the option, buy direct from the people making the game. The difference can be substantial, and it helps them make more games in the future, and it’s likely the cost to you is exactly the same. The difference can mean an extra 20 to 25 percent of the cash going directly to those that made the game, and that's a great thing.
Remember this next time a small Indie RPG gets released.
Sunday - June 09, 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall - Augmenting Mobile
Shacknews has a small preview of the mobile game Deus Ex: The Fall.
The game utilizes a dual thumbstick format common in adaptations of console-style games like this. There are other touch commands, however: players can also tap the screen to sprint to a wall for cover, or walk up to characters to interact for a bit more fluid experience. Combat is similar: tap an enemy to fire or sneak up behind them to take them down. An interface appears on either side of the screen, allowing a simple tap to access inventory to swap out weapons or augments, and update messages.
N-Fusion certainly captured the look of Human Revolution, with some areas looking on par with the console game on the iPad mini used for the demo. It definitely had the right futuristic feel of the universe, and solid voice acting added to immersion. It was rather simple to get around guards and avoid some confrontations, and others playing the demo were able to play through areas differently than I did. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to try the hacking or explore too much because of a couple lockups and some unresponsive controls, but the game seems to be accomplishing its goal of delivering a Deus Ex experience.
Dugas said Eidos Montreal sees The Fall as the first chapter in a new storyline in the Deus Ex universe for mobile. He didn't rule out the possibility of bringing the title to other platforms, but he qualified it saying "we'll have to see how successful this is."
The game will cost $6.99 for iOS when it launches this summer. It is also confirmed for Android, but no release window was revealed.
Hellraid - New E3 2013 Trailer
It looks like we'll be slaying an awful lot of undead and demonic creatures in Techland's Hellraid. Here is their E3 video trailer.
Hellraid developer Techland has released an E3 trailer for its fantasy battler, showing off several brutal creatures and abominations, as well as swordplay, magic and a ton of violence. Also, it's not Dead Island crossed with Skyrim, apparently.
Camelot Unchained - Interview @ IncGamers
IncGamers has an interview with MMORPG Design Veteran Mark Jacobs about Camelot Unchained.
IG: How have you found the whole Kickstarter process and what are your thoughts on the self-funding model, do you see the industry now moving in a new direction when it comes to publishing and funding?
MJ: Crowd-sourcing will not change the entire industry’s funding process, but rather, it will offer a viable alternative to the current publisher-centric model. This, I hope, will force the few major publishers that remain in the traditional spaces (PC and console) to moderate some of their positions in regards to IP ownership, payment models, etc. It may also be quite helpful when it comes to getting new development teams and young developers opportunities to get funding for their projects, which would not have been available to them otherwise.
IG: It also seems as if you want to introduce a touch of randomness and chaos into the proceedings too (critical attack hits and failures have been mentioned.) How does this fit into your overall philosophy for Camelot Unchained?
MJ: Absolutely! Critical attack hits and failures were a staple of the old pen and paper games that were one of the main influences on the development of computer RPGs. I can’t tell you how many games I’ve played where I was saved by a lucky hit or the occasional “divine intervention” role, and how incredibly good that felt when it happened. Now, I know in a RvR-based game, it will not be fun when you are on the wrong side of it, but OTOH, it will feel great when you benefit from it. I think the addition of randomness will make Camelot Unchained seem more like a magical world, not just a game.
IG: Based on the above it seems you’re hoping to entice the more experienced, maybe older MMO/RPG player. Do you think intentionally daunting games are making a minor comeback? Titles like Dark Souls have found great success despite a reputation for being unashamedly ‘difficult.’
MJ: Absolutely Part Deux! I know I’m not the only guy in the world who thinks modern MMORPGs are too damn easy and dumbed down in order to draw in the more casual market. There’s nothing wrong with this of course, but I’m not looking to try to create a game to appeal to that crowd. Instead, I’m looking to create one that appeals to the gamer who wants to take risks, is willing to lose some nights, and is in it for the long haul.
Saturday - June 08, 2013
Lords of the Fallen - Main Character Revealed
Lords of the Fallen has a render out showing the main character in the game, Harkyn. It’s below along with some information. He appears to be the typical bald marine with a beard in a fantasy setting.
Players will be able to develop Harkyn according to their play style, and customize their character using many abilities across three skill trees.
Players will uncover and learn new secrets and abilities as their character is “the only one capable of ending the long battle of the Fallen God believers and those that have abandoned him long time ago.”
“Harkyn is not your ordinary hero. Our team is committed to creating a distinct character and a gameplay experience unique to every player, as well as a deep, secretive history that players will be rewarded for upon discovering. We’re excited to show LORDS of the FALLEN, our main character, Harkyn, and the advanced combat mechanics for the first time at E3 next week,” said Tomasz Gop, executive producer.
Deus Ex: The Fall - New info and Trailer
Eurogamer has new details and a trailer for Deus Ex: The Fall. I know many of you are disappointed but give it a chance.
When asked why Eidos Montreal opted for the iOS route, producer James Wright told the site “Primarily the reason was that we really wanted to expand the Deus Ex universe, and have the experience not just for the core gamers, but to let other types of gamers have that experience as well.
“It is a true Deus Ex experience – it does contain action, stealth, hacking, social interaction, choice in gameplay and consequence. It’s a game very much that our fanbase and our core gamers will still enjoy, despite the platform.”
Thursday - June 06, 2013
Deus Ex: The Fall - A Spin-off for iPad And iPhone
Well surprise I guess. Deus Ex: The Fall will be a spin-off for iPad And iPhone instead of consoles and pc. I'm disappointed but it's still worth a look.
Deus Ex: The Fall - Coming soon on mobile and tablet devices.
We are back in 2027 -- a golden era for science, technology and human augmentation, but also a time of great social divide and global conspiracy. Ben Saxon, a former British SAS Mercenary who underwent physical augmentation, is desperate for the truth behind the drug conspiracy. Betrayed by his private military employers, the Tyrants, not only is his own life at risk, but for all augmented humans, time is running out.
MCV also has a response from Square Enix Europe's Marketing Director Jon Brooke.
"This isn't about tablets vs next gen," he said. "We're a big publisher, so you know we'll be showing next gen gaming at E3 next week.
"We're as serious about next gen as we are about tablet gaming."
"As a publisher, we believe all platforms present opportunities and if you create the right content, we believe we can have success.
"It's not just about next gen for us: it's about PC gaming, tablets, browsers. Wherever there is an audience, it's about creating great content that's suited to their needs."
Brooke added that mobile users have been fed too many "watered down and light versions" of cosnole games, promising that Deus Ex: The Fall will be a true HD experience like Human Revolution.
"I don't think many companies understand what you can do with these platforms," he said.
"We're trying to showcase what the platform can do by building a game from the ground up."
Grid Cartographer - Tool For Drawing RPG Maps
If your like me you probably use to make maps for old school RPG's just to find your way through a tough dungeon. There is a new program called Grid Cartographer that can help you do it digitally now.
Grid Cartographer is a helpful companion program designed to assist you in playing classic grid based RPG series like Wizardry and Might & Magic.
It improves upon hand drawn paper maps with a number of useful features such as: unlimited map area and floors stored in one convenient place and unlimited notes per tile (pro only).
Grid Cartographer is available in two flavours. The free version provides a good taste. If you like it, why not upgrade to the pro version to experience the full range of features.
Wednesday - June 05, 2013
Warhammer Quest - Review @ Softpedia
Warhammer Quest is about acquiring treasure by fighting hordes of enemies in semi-randomly generated dungeons. Those who did not have the chance to play the board game or have never read anything about it will have a hard time understanding the mechanics.
Warhammer Quest will be loved or hated, but it will certainly not go unnoticed. It can offer around 20-25 hours of gameplay, which is a bit unusual for such a cheap iOS game ($4.99/€4.49).
Overall, I believe there’s room for improvement when it comes to making Warhammer Quest more accessible to newcomers, but veterans and fans of turn-based strategy games will find it mind-blowing
- Randomly generated dungeons and encounters;
- "Events" system adds to immersion, though it can be frustrating for some;
- It offers more than 20 hours of gameplay;
- Pretty accurate adaptation of the classic tabletop game.
- Lack of tooltips;
- No in-depth explanations for game's rules and mechanics may confuse Warhammer Quest newcomers.
Final score: 8.5 / 10
VGS Radio - Interview With Drew Karpyshyn
Video Game Sophistry has a new audio interview with former Bioware Writer Drew Karpyshyn who talks about KOTOR, and writing in gaming.
This week on VGS, Shaggy Dave gives you all of the insider information on the new Xbox One and our feature interview!
Former Bioware Writer Drew Karpyshyn joins the show to discuss writing in the video game industry, what’s next for Star Wars: The Old Republic and how they came up with the concept of Revan in Knights of the Old Republic.
Tuesday - June 04, 2013
General News - Tropes vs Women
Anita Sarkeesian brings us part two of tropes vs women in video games in which she explores how the damsel in distress is handled in video games.
This is the second in a series of three videos exploring the Damsel in Distress trope in video games. In this installment we look at “dark and edgy” side of the trope in more modern games and how the plot device is often used in conjunction with graphic depictions of violence against women. Over the past decade we’ve seen developers try to spice up the old Damsel in Distress cliche by combining it with other tropes involving victimized women including the disposable woman, the mercy killing and the woman in the refrigerator.
Anita Sarkeesian states amongst others that it is "both possible, and even necessary, to simultaneously enjoy a piece of media while also being critical of its more problematic or pernicious aspects." Jenn Frank at medium.com agrees with this assessment as it describes how she feels about horror cinema, a genre she loves, while still being a feminist.
This video is the second in Sarkeesian’s “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games” series. In it, Sarkeesian underscores a power imbalance drawn along gender lines, an imbalance that is romanticized, not only in cinema and literature and video games, but glorified even in our own everyday, heteronormative relationships.
And while there isn’t anything wrong with rescuing a disempowered romantic interest, nothing wrong with being prompted to revenge by a wife’s untimely death, at some point these themes become so pervasive that it’s worthwhile to investigate what exactly they may signify and why they recur as archetypically as they do. Sarkeesian’s videos seek to illuminate a dangerous cultural pattern. When men and women are barraged with a narrative arc wherein the man is “the rescuer”—and, make no mistake, chick lit relies on this trope too—it reinforces a normative power dynamic that, in practice, can be devastatingly unhealthy.
And in a blog on Gamasutra, JJ Wang does not comment on Sarkeesian's video directly(but certainly does so indirectly), yet does feel that the tropes used are a form of bad writing.
Women also serve as a very convenient symbol for purity, innocence, and completion. Bad guys kidnapping the protagonist's girlfriend can very lazily be dramatically defended as "the main character's world being ruined." It makes dramatic sense. But it's also become a very thoughtless way to piece together a story. The issue isn't that this metaphor isn't "deep" enough. The issue is that this way of thinking is so entrenched within our society that it doesn't require much cognitive effort to see this metaphor. As a result, we don't learn much about our own humanity from this type of dramatic sequencing. Doesn't that go against the point of fiction art? To continue to evolve and challenge our understanding of humanity?
See, whether the damsel in distress trope is sexist or not is immaterial to the dramatic problem of this cliche. The fictionist problem of this trope is that this cliche is now a very easy go-to template for a story. What worries me is that the prevalence of it in video games either symbolizes a lack of respect for the craft of fiction or that our writers are doing the minimum to get their paycheck. Those are not productive ways to treat an artform.
Please don't come away from this thinking that I'm advocating condemnation of all escapism. It has it's place. But, like all facets of fiction, there are more than one way to write escapism. The principle is that overused cliches and tropes aren't bad because they are escapist but they are bad because they are mindless. There is nothing written in stone that says escapism has to conform to certain methods of writing.
Personally I think Sarkeesian is right and we could use a much improved depiction of women in video games, which probably will be an utopia as most game designers are male.
ShinyLoot - Laxius Force RPG Series Sale
ShinyLoot is currently having a sale on the Laxius Force series from Aldorlea Games. The games are currently 50 - 67% off for the next 10 hours.
Here are the links. Enjoy.
LaxiusForce - $4.99
The story of Random and Sarah who find themselves engulfed in a war against the Order, a dangerous organization wishing to take control of the world.Meet Brussian, Wendala, Marion and their many friends as they join the adventure for the only purpose of defending Adretana, a town that happens to be the next target of the Order's plans.Laxius Force is an epic, addicting RPG at the crossroads of games like Baldur's Gate and the old Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. If any of those are among your favorite games, then you should definitely give a try to Laxius Force.A new gaming experience is at hand!
Laxius Force 2 - $7.50
In this new adventure you will find dozens of hours of gameplay, more than 20 characters, countless monsters, items and quests as you follow the road of Half-Goddess Luciana and her many friends.
More will be revealed about the Grand Commendanter and his Order servants. Fans of the original game will be pleased to know that they can export their savefile from Laxius Force I to Laxius Force II, keeping their characters, equipment and so on. An amazing tale of love, passion, tragedy and fantasy is finally at hand.
Laxius Force 3 - $7.50
The absolutely stunning finale of the trilogy!Random is finally going to meet the Grand Commendanter! What will be the outcome? Will the Laxius Force or the Order win the war?Take control of Random, Sarah, Luciana, Coryool, Wendala, Xander, Brussian and many, many more characters, and find out!
Deus Ex: The Fall - Teased with E3 Appearance?
Eidos Montreal has tweeted a cryptic message that a new Deus Ex game will be annnouced at E3 2013. It's short and to the point. I will post more information when it's avaiable.
: Are YOU ready for The Fall?” Guess we'll be seeing a new Deus Ex at E3 then!
This doesn't surprise me because I remember Square Enix registered a few Deus Ex: The Fall domains. It was never really clear for what those domain registrations were for.
Monday - June 03, 2013
Matt Barton - Interview Richard Garriott
Matt Barton has a two part video interview with Richard "Lord British" Garriott.
Here is the first part.
And here is the followup video.
Warhammer Quest - TBS For iPhone and iPad
Games Workshop and Rodeo Games have a new Warhammer game that just came out for iOS. Warhammer Quest for iOS is aiming to bring back the basic ideas of dungeon crawling and RPG elements.
Dungeon Adventures in the Warhammer World!
Lead your group of brave adventurers through the perilous dungeons of the Warhammer world in the search for wealth and glory!
Based on the classic board game, Warhammer Quest is an addictive mix of role-playing and strategy. Level up your party of heroes. Loot weapons, armour and mysterious artefacts from fallen enemies. Crush orcs, goblins, trolls and more ferocious enemies!
Sunday - June 02, 2013
Warcraft - Movie is Being Made
After much debate and revision the Warcraft movie was finally given the okay to begin filming. Production will begin in first quarter 2014.
Late in January of this year, Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) was announced as director of the long-in-development film based on Blizzard’s game world seen in titles like World of Warcraft. Unsurprisingly, news on further developments has been slow in coming as Jones and the films producers craft a plan for the film. At the time Jones was announced, a late 2013 shoot was theorized, with hopes for a 2015 release.
That 2015 release may still be in the cards, but today producer Charles Roven told us that Warcraft is currently planned to shoot in early 2014. “First quarter 2014 we’re going to shoot that movie,” Roven told Germain while discussing Legendary’s plans. “We’re moving forward; obviously Legendary is making that film and I’m having a great time with Duncan.”
We’re still in the dark with respect to knowing how Jones will bring the environment of the Warcraft series to the big screen, and if the early 2014 schedule holds it will likely be Comic Con, at the earliest, before we get any real idea of the team’s plan.
Pokemon: Generations - An Indie Freeware 3D Action/Adventure/RPG
Don't laugh I know a few here have played Pokemon games in Nintendo handheld devices. So without any more rambling I bring you Pokemon: Generations.
Pokémon: Generations is a 3D Action/Adventure/RPG heavily inspired by both the Pokemon Anime & the Pokemon Video Games. The game will contain both single and multiplayer aspects, along with a story bridging the gap between RBY & GSC.
Pokémon © 2002-2013 Pokémon. © 1995-2013 Nintendo/Creatures Inc./GAME FREAK inc. TM, ®, the Pokémon logo and Pokémon character names are trademarks of Nintendo.
No copyright or trademark infringement is intended in using said source material in Pokémon Generations. All aesthetic assets are 100% hand-crafted by Xatoku Productions. *Sound assets have been ripped from bought Nintendo IPs. The goal of Pokémon Generations is to explore the world of Pokémon in a non-profitable, PG, respectful way.
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - OS Port Preview and Interview
Those with an iPad here is some recent coverage of the upcoming iOS port of XCOM: Enemy Unknown. It was developed by Firaxis, and ported to iOS with the help of 2K China.
Joystiq has the interview.
The project can be traced back to the time when Firaxis was finishing up its work on XCOM: Enemy Unknown for PC and consoles. 2K China presented a version of the game running on iOS, and from there Firaxis would work with them on the portable incarnation due this summer. It features the full functionality seen on other platforms, thanks to the Unreal foundation that has played nice with iOS since late 2010.
"Without Unreal, it certainly wouldn't have been possible," Solomon says.
In Solomon's eyes, a lot of the potential success for XCOM: Enemy Unknown has to do with its genre. "It's difficult to translate some games over to mobile devices," Solomon says. "It makes me laugh that we're one of the oldest genres, but we are by far best-suited for the platforms emerging. Gaming, like many things, is cyclical and good mechanics are good mechanics."
Shacknews has the preview.
Starting up the game on the European continent, it really does appear that the overall gameplay is intact. The basic game controls transition very naturally from the console and PC experience to the iOS environment. Moving and dashing involve either tapping a finger on a desired location and tapping to accept the move or tracing a finger to a specific area and double tapping. Completing most basic actions is similarly intuitive. You use the assault rifle on nearby aliens, for example, by tapping on the "aim" button and then tapping "fire" to accept the move.
Certain game controls feel more interactive. Using a grenade is a great example of how the port takes advantage of the iOS gestures. After tapping to select a grenade, drag your finger to create a blue laser-like trail in the direction of an alien enemy, and tap to accept and turn them back into space matter. There wasn't enough time to get to an area with climbable platforms, but Shacknews was informed that swiping two fingers up or down allows you to climb or descend.
Saturday - June 01, 2013
Crayon Chronicles - A Crayon Inspired RPG
Outer Grid Games now offers digital distribution of Crayon Chronicles, a roguelike turn-based RPG featuring hand-scrawled graphics. It's a good game for the family, or just to get kids interested in RPG's.
Crayon Chronicles has a relatively short (2-4 hours per play-through) but action-packed RPG experience that randomly generates the level layouts each time you play.
You are encouraged to play through the game more than once thanks to the random nature of the environment layouts, but also because we keep track of the interesting facts about each play-through (in our newfangled "Heroic Hallitorium") so you can compare your adventures to each other as well as to the adventures of your friends.
The Shadow Sun - New Info, Screenshots and Summer 2013 Release Date
Ossian Games the same studio that released Neverwinter Nights 2 Mysteries of Westgate, and Darkness over Daggerford brings news for their iOS RPG The Shadow Sun. If the game sells well we might also see a pc version.
Enter a world that has felt an alien touch upon its sun. An ever-increasing shadow that creeps across the sun’s brilliant face, with consequences that are only now becoming horrifically apparent. The city of Shar, once capital of a mighty empire that covered the continent, still remains the most powerful of the city-states of the ancient South. With its huge defensive stone walls that have withstood attacks for over a thousand years, its lofty towers and elaborately-constructed domes capped in gold, and massive ziggurat temple at its center upon which godly sacrifices are performed, the metropolis stands as an oasis amidst the hot desert of the Singing Sands. Yet all is not well in the Golden City, for a plague has come to Shar. A plague so deadly the Sharians name it Aya’s Wrath - a curse from their god.
The Shadow Sun is a dark, heroic fantasy RPG that combines the classic adventure of Dungeons & Dragons, the fear of otherworldly horrors of H.P. Lovecraft, and the grim sword and sorcery of Conan the Barbarian. Rendered in full 3D graphics using the Unity engine, the game offers a deep, single-player role-playing experience with a gripping story, important player choices, dynamic NPC dialogues, and multiple ways of solving quests. Do battle against the strange creatures native to Shar and unspeakable horrors not of this world in real-time, visceral combat like The Witcher 2, using a dozen different weapon types, special melee attacks, powerful magical spells, and deadly traps.
Designed and developed by Ossian Studios as an original game for the mobile platform, The Shadow Sun brings together everything the team has learned from working on the triple-A RPG franchises of Neverwinter Nights and The Witcher, with the ultimate goal of creating a top-quality PC/console RPG experience on iOS.
- A premium, full 3D Western RPG with a story filled with complex characters, intrigue, danger, and shocking surprises.
- A 10-15 hour adventure where you delve into the decadent imperial city of Shar and the exotic desert lands around it, as the Golden City languishes in the grip of a plague and simmers in defiance against the kingdoms of the North.
- Gorgeous graphics using the Unity engine, including normal/specular mapping and dynamic lighting on the characters, as well as anti-aliasing and bloom.
- Create your own male or female character and customize them with different appearances and over a dozen types of armour.
- Choose from among 30 skills to suit your play style and grow those abilities exactly how you want as the game progresses.
- Ally with one of four companions to adventure alongside you, each with their own personality, abilities, and romance options, and gain their approval or disapproval on your actions.
- A useful journal and detailed codex help you keep track of quests and the people, places, and things you encounter.
- Explore over 70 finely crafted areas and uncover 200+ unique items, hidden secrets, and ancient treasures.
- A striking and compelling orchestral music score by long-time Ossian composer, David John.
- Includes Apple Game Center support.
- A universal app for iPhone (3GS and up), iPod touch (3rd gen and up), and iPad (1st gen and up), with Retina display support. Graphics will scale with device.
Coming Summer 2013
Friday - May 31, 2013
Lords of the Fallen - Q&A at RPC 2013
If you happen to be in Europe check out the Role Play Convention in Cologne, Germany on June 1 and 2.
CI Games will take part in a Q&A and panel discussion where more Lords of the Fallen details will be revealed. That will be the last chance to learn about the game before it gets its first gameplay reveal at this year's E3.
They also revealed a new piece of artwork.
WARSAW, POLAND, May 28th 2013 CI Games, a fast growing developer and international publisher of interactive entertainment, will reveal more information about its upcoming LORDS of the FALLEN fantasy action/role-playing game (RPG) during a panel discussion and Q&A session at the upcoming Role Play Convention in Cologne, Germany on June 1-2.
Tomasz Gop, the Executive Producer of LORDS of the FALLEN is looking forward to having more details about the game shared at the conference as members of the development team shed some light on some of the game¹s features. One of the key features that they are excited to discuss is the gameplay balancing and difficulty levels in the game. ³A challenge in games can be measured with the difference between randomness and skill. Our goal is to make a game that rewards players for doing what it takes to cross that gap. A game where learning skills and ultimately mastering them is the basis of fun and entertainment,² said Tomasz Gop, Executive Producer at CI Games.
LORDS of the FALLEN is a complex action-RPG featuring an advanced combat system together with an uncommon and interesting approach towards gameplay difficulty. Taking on a mission to defeat the Lords who command a Fallen Gods¹ army, players will experience one of the most epic and unique fantasy universes in the action-RPG genre. Only proficient use of a huge arsenal of powerful weaponry and methodical planning of one¹s actions will let players emerge victorious in the cruel world of LORDS of the FALLEN, where no mistakes are forgiven.
The Role Play Convention is the last occasion to learn more about LORDS of the FALLEN before a playable version of game will be official unveilled and presented live at the Electronic Entertainment (E3) Expo in Los Angeles, California at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11-13, 2013.
Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space - Now On GamersGate
Digital Eel has released Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space on GamersGate with special limited time pricing.
Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space is a hybrid roguelike game of space exploration, adventure and starship combat set within a peculiar as-yet-unvisited region of the galaxy known as the Purple Void. Each time you play the game, a new and different “instant space opera” is generated at random; from locations of stars and nebulae to plot-twisting quest events, nothing stays the same.
But unlike other games of its kind that go on for dozens of hours, Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space plays to its conclusion in less than thirty minutes – it’s the perfect lunch break game! Features also include a fully animated star map, a unique turn-based movement system, real-time starship battles, award-winning music and sound, and a robust battle simulator. Weird Worlds also has built-in support for community-created mods that can change anything and everything in the game!
Thursday - May 30, 2013
Chris Avellone - Time Limits in Games
Critical Path a website dedicated to conducting short interviews with various gaming developers has a new video interview with Chris Avellone. He discusses time limits in games. You can watch it here.
From a gamemaster/game designer perspective, the idea of time limits is appealing. It creates pressure, and it creates an urgency for the player that's hard to beat.
In Fallout 1, the skill system and the plot was built around the design that you only had a certain number of days to find the water chip for your vault and then defeat the mutant army or game over. If you don't recall that, then chances are you played it with the patch that removed that design element, as the mutant-hunting-your-Vault-down-time-limit was patched out of the game in 1.1 because of the outcry.
So I love time limits. In Fallout 1, it was appropriate because:
- It reinforced the urgency and pressure of saving your Vault.
- It reinforced the brutal nature of the world you were in.
- It made time-usage skills more risky for players to use. Sure, Doctor was helpful, but you had to be careful because it could consume a lot of time if used repeatedly.
Players reacted negatively because:
- The time limit was unforgiving.
- It prevented them from exploring areas at their leisure, which undermined the non-linearity of the game suddenly you didn't want to go everywhere and explore everything, because the clock was ticking.
- It couldn't be reset/extended beyond the time limit except in a few places in the game, and only a finite number of times.
Wednesday - May 29, 2013
Hellraid - Internal Q&A
What is Hellraid?
We’re calling Hellraid a first-person co-op slasher. We invented this genre to capture the idea behind our game which blends elements of classic hack & slash titles with a more advanced combat system based on timing and precision, RPG’s, shooters and multiplayer games into one unique experience seen in very immersive, first-person perspective.
Will gamers experience Hellraid only in co-op? What is the main difference between playing solo and in co-op?
Hellraid can be experienced both in single-player and in co-operation. While playing solo you explore the world, complete quests, gather loot and develop your character. In co-operation tension rises when you struggle to achieve mission goals while competing with your friends for points granted for each kill, team-plays and automatically generated challenges throughout the game.
What does the gameplay in Hellraid look like?
In Hellraid you travel between levels using a web of magic portals. Each level can be played an unlimited number of times to complete the story campaign, side quests and to defeat forces of evil with friends while competing for experience, points, rewards and places on leaderboards. During the game players can use a variety of melee, ranged and magical weapons. Combat is expanded with a set of unique active skills for each character class which gives the team additional tactical capabilities while searching for treasure, completing objectives, avoiding deadly traps, fighting the hordes of enemies and boss battles.
Will gamers be able to develop their characters, or customize the weapons and armor?
Each of the four character classes available in Hellraid (Warrior, Mage, Paladin and Rogue) will have their own skill tree that can be developed during the game. Along with that players can customize their weapons using an advanced crafting system or change their combat capabilities and appearance with armor that can be bought in shops, traded between the players or found during the game.
Who or what is Game Master?
Game Master is a complex system inspired by pen and paper role-playing games that makes each play through of Hellraid a different, completely new experience. In co-operation mode, Game Master carefully selects competitive challenges for players and awards the best ones at the end of each level. It changes where and how you and your friends complete quests, placement, numbers and types of enemies you encounter as well as deploying treasure chests and loot.
Will Game Master work in single-player as well?
Yes, Game Master will alter the experience in single-player the same way it does in co-op but without the competitive challenges which are unique for playing with your friends.
How long is Hellraid and when it will be released?
Thanks to Game Master and the varied experiences that it provides, Hellraid will give players hundreds of hours of pure fun. The game will be released in 2013 for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
For more information about the game visit http://www.hellraid.com
RPC - German "Role-Play Convention" June 1-2
Alrik sends word that the German "Role-Play Convention" called RPC is about ready to start.
Role Play Convention (RPC)
A new trade fair event on the road to success.
The RPC is a young and innovative trade show format spanning the whole range of the fantastic genre. All genres (fantasy, science fiction, mystery, etc.) are represented over their whole range of applications (from board games to console games up to even LARP events) integrated into a new, holistic presentation concept:The RPC is not a typical trade show with bright white lighting and tall white partioning walls. Instead, it plunges the guests into a fantasy world created by harmonious lighting setup, decorated playgrounds, walking acts and live events like live performed music acts
The RPC is for playing!
In addition to the stand and playing areas of the exhibitors, free available areas invite the guests to stay a while and play. The community idea (from gamers for gamers) is clearly emphasized here. The previous installations of the RPC clearly showed the great potential of including all the different branches and genres of the gaming world in one event. No other event has had so many computer gamers experiencing live action battles with padded weapons or live role-playing gamers in full costumes enthusiastically watching online tournaments for games like Warcraft III. The cross selling potential presented on the RPC brings a high number of new prospective customers in contact with the exhibitors and helps intensifying contacts to fans and existing customers.
Aside from casual gamers, the RPC explicitely adresses those gamers that consider gaming their major leisure time pursuit. The fandom represented by those guests treats authors, artists and games developers like stars and provides closer ties to the prod ucts and companies. Numerous tournaments and challenges as well as workshops and presentations run during the RPC, creating plenty of opportunities for these groups to connect and exchange with developers, companies and fellow gamers.The RPC additionally supports non-profit projects with free available presentation areas. As an exhibitor on the RPC you have the opportunity to present yourself to a broad and versatile, yet gaming-eager audience.* Exhibitors from all branches of the fantastic genre (Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Mystery)
RPC 2013 – Facts and figures
* Distinct event character and versatile frame program
* Location Koelnmesse – an internationally renowned trade show center
* Tremendous cross selling potential
* Product sales on site
* Large gaming and event areas
* RPC-Fantasy Award – the new gaming and media award
* Leading partners in media and a strong media coverage
Tuesday - May 28, 2013
Player-Driven Stories - How Do We Get There?
The GDC Vault released a video with Bioshock 2 designer and Dishonored consultant Kent Hudson. Give credit to Gamasutra for finding the video.
In this free video, courtesy of the GDC Vault, Hudson offers a spoiler-filled talk on how Red Dead Redemption, Morrowind, Deus Ex, Passage, and Portal employ various story-telling devices to allow the player to contribute to the narrative.
Session Name: Player-Driven Stories: How Do We Get There?
Speaker(s): Kent Hudson
Company Name(s): then LucasArts, now independent
Track / Format: Game Design
Scrolls - Beta Release Date Announced and Launch Trailer
If anyone remembers a game called Scrolls being developed by the same people who made Minecraft. Well Notch and team finally released a gameplay trailer, and announced the date of the open beta is June 3rd. Also after seeing the video the game looks more like a SRPG.
Scrolls is the latest game from Mojang - creators of Minecraft.
You use the power of creatures, spells, and ancient machines to gain the edge in battle, deploying your forces by using scrolls: some rare, some common, some brutal, some tactical.
Over time you'll develop a unique army and the skills to manipulate it. Eventually, you'll face off against other players, proving your might on the battlefield.
Dust: An Elysian Tail - A Gorgeous Sidescroller ARPG
A game called Dust: An Elysian Tail caught my attention recently. I came across the game on Steam. The game can also be bought for $13.50. Give it a look it a look, and see if you will like it or not
Immerse yourself in a gorgeous hand-painted world on a search for your true identity. As the mysterious warrior, Dust, your action-packed journey will take you from peaceful glades to snowy mountaintops and beyond. At your disposal is the mythical Blade of Ahrah, capable of turning its wielder into an unstoppable force of nature, and the blade's diminutive guardian, Fidget. Battle dozens of enemies at once with an easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master combat system, take on a variety of quests from friendly villagers, discover ancient secrets and powerful upgrades hidden throughout the massive, open world, and uncover the story of an ancient civilization on the brink of extinction as you fight to uncover your own past.
Monday - May 27, 2013
Fallout 4 - Will Bethesda Announce It At E3?
Gamingbolt has a small article about Fallout 4, and asks the queation will Bethesda announce it at E3.
A few weeks back, Bethesda stated that they will be creating more vibes in 2013 compared to what they did in 2012. So far they have announced some solid games like The Evil Within and Wolfenstein: The New Order. But both of these games are published by Bethesda. They can’t create vibes by simply publishing games which indirectly means that their game studio is up to something and if rumors are to be believed it is Fallout 4.
There is a lot of data to back up this Fallout 4 claim. Last year Bethesda opened up a job listing for a next generation Console Programmer. The post wants the candidate to have an expertise in creating optimized games for the PS3 and the Xbox 360 as well as knowledge of DX 11. Now this may indicate that they might be simply hiring for The Evil Within or the new Wolfenstein but we have another report from earlier this year which makes things a bit interesting.
Sunday - May 26, 2013
Thief vs. Deus Ex - Practical Game Analysis with Doug and Warren
Deus Ex designer Warren Spector and Thief designer Doug Church grill each other on stage at GDC 2002, The topics talk about first-person games, and stealth game design decisions.
Courtesy of the GDC Vault, this free 60-minute panel sees Spector reply to topics such as the expression of narrative from minute-to-minute in Deus Ex, while Church explains such ideas as stretching the "edge of tension" between being safe and being spotted in Thief.
To watch the full Warren and Doug show, click here.
Session Name: Practical Game Analysis with Doug and Warren
Speaker(s): Warren Spector, Doug Church
Company Name(s): Ion Storm, Looking Glass Studios
Track / Format: Design
Overview:Warren Spector and Dough Church have worked together and separately on games for more than 10 years. Although they often have worked on projects with similar goals, the do not always agree on what methods are appropriate to reach them.
Similarly, although their interests overlap on issues of design, player behavior and effective tools for players and developers, there are notable areas of difference in their ideas and approaches.
In this session, they discuss these and other issues, often agreeing, but at times politely disagreeing about what should come next for games, as a medium of entertainment for players, as a medium of expression for developers, and as a medium of profit for publishers.
Friday - May 24, 2013
GameInformer - Do All Video Games Need To Appeal To Everyone?
GameInformer has a new article that ponders "Do All Video Games Need To Appeal To Everyone?"
I recently dabbled in Dark Souls for the first time. I watched my wife play a considerable amount of Demon’s Souls, and I sat near former news editor Jim Reilly, who was obsessed with the Souls games. I know a fair amount about both titles, but had never earnestly tried to tackle either game until recently.
After playing Dark Souls, I understand why the games are appealing. The quiet, foreboding atmosphere and high difficulty make the world of Dark Souls an absorbing and scary place to be. It offers a different type of survival horror atmosphere where you are cautious and concerned for your well-being, and every move requires a moment of thought, down to the most innocuous swing of the sword. It’s an intense experience.
It was also an experience I didn’t particularly enjoy. The frequent deaths and unforgiving ammunition boundaries (I had used up all of my arrows by my third of about eight tries at tackling the game’s first boss) means you have to be careful with how you approach every obstacle.
Every enemy is a careful decision of resources and combat skill, making it a frustrating game that generally isn’t the experience I am looking for when I sit down to play. After beating the first boss and exploring the first area, I put the game down in favor of a more forgiving medieval open-world fantasy creature beater-upper, Dragon’s Dogma.
Dark Souls isn’t for me, or at least it wasn’t the game I wanted to play at the time when I decided to give it a go, but I love that it exists for the gamer who wants that grueling experience.
Wednesday - May 22, 2013
Dungeon of Elements - Merges Tile Matching with RPG Dungeon Crawling
IndieGameInsider has an articele about a new indie game some of you might be interested in. The game is called Dungeon of Elements, and merges puzzles with rpg dungeon crawling.
Dungeon of Elements, the upcoming game from Frogdice Games, is a title that combines the casual puzzle gameplay of tile matching with the more hardcore elements of a dungeon crawler to create a hybrid game inviting to gamers of all calibers.
In the game, players take on the role of an alchemist on the hunt for rare elements. In the quest to obtain these precious resources, players will battle in 45 different levels while obtaining new gear and items along the way. In the lab, players conduct experiments to create new armor and items.
The studio’s goal is create games that merge casual gameplay with core genres in an effort to appeal to every type of gamer.
Guido Henkel - Interview @ The Nerd Cave
The Nerd Cave has a new interview with Guido Henkel. The interview covers Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny, Neverwinter Nights, Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, and Deathfire.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the gaming projects you have worked on in the past? Most notably Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny and Neverwinter Nights.
I’ve started writing computer games on the Apple II in the very early 80s and had my first game published in 1983 or so. I was a huge fan of text adventure games in those days and the first few years I focused on that genre. However, I was attracted by role-playing games a lot and eventually let role-playing influences flow into these text adventure games. “Drachen von Laas,” for example, a game that was published in Germany only, already had a full blown phased combat system, even though the game itself was still a text adventure game.
Eventually I made the switch to full role-playing games (RPG) and “Spirit of Adventure” was the first hard core RPG I wrote, together with my friend and business partner Hans-Jürgen Brändle, at the time. The success of that game opened the door for us to obtain the license for “Das Schwarze Auge,” a famous German pen&paper role-playing game. We began developing games in that universe, which were subsequently released as the “Realms of Arkania” trilogy.
After the third game in the series I left Attic Entertainment Software, the company that I had co-founded, and moved to the US where I worked for Interplay Productions for a while. During my tenure there I worked on “Fallout II,” and “Planescape: Torment”, and also helped start up the “Neverwinter Nights” project, among others.
All in all, I’ve been in the games industry for just about 30 years now, pretty much since its infancy, really, when computer games were still sold in Zip-lock bags.
What role did you play in the development of these particular titles?
“Blade of Destiny” was developed by a very small team. Attic was still pretty much a start-up company at that time. As a result everyone had to multi-task as much as possible, and we tapped into everyone’s full abilities. In my case that meant that I was working on the game as a designer, a programmer, and a producer, and later on also as the publicist and business developer when we began to reach out, looking for partners to release the game internationally. I was wearing every hat imaginable on that project — as well as all the other “Realms of Arkania” games. It was my job at Attic, in a sense, to be the Jack-of-all-Trades.
As for “Neverwinter Nights,” I was Interplay’s internal producer for the game during its start-up phase. As such I was part of various brainstorming sessions where the foundation for the game was laid, and where technical questions and obstacles were tackled. Apart from the look of the game and the technical design of the block-based level design of the game, we did research on the game system itself, as the AD&D 3.0 rule set was just about to be released, and we wanted to see if we should or should not use it for “Neverwinter Nights.”
I was working hand in hand with Trent Oster on this, who was the producer for the game at Bioware. He was really the driving force behind the project while I was there only to lend my experience to the discussions. I left Interplay a few months after “Neverwinter Nights” really went into development, so my contributions to the game happened really just at the beginning.
Dark Triad: Conspiracy - Development Update
Dark Triad: Conspiracy has a new development update found on their cancelled Kickstarter. The update shows renders of the noble district, offers a list of the non-combat skills, and annouces the company is changing their name from Autoloot Games to Azurite Games.
Also we want to share with you the ultimate list of non-combat skills that will be available unless we need to include one or a couple more due to gameplay needs later. Miguel A.L.M. has been working on it and we are quite happy and sure this will cover most game situations we can think of. The list was bigger but we decided to disregard those ones that weren’t meaningful enough. It must also be taken into account that we can only spent a full year after the next Kickstarter relaunch to complete the game due to budget constraints, so we needed to focus only on the strictly necessary ones to add enough content and at the same time to have full control of the possible outcomes. This will serve us to prepare all the quests, dialogues and game situations so you can complete them in different ways.
Tuesday - May 21, 2013
Planescape: Torment - Reinstall @ PCGAMER
PCGAMER has a retrospective article about the original Planescape: Torment.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, Richard Cobbett delves into the questions of human nature while beating up monsters in Planescape: Torment.
Most RPGs give you a quest. Torment gives you a question: “What can change the nature of a man?” It’s not a riddle. It’s not a puzzle. It’s simply the first hint that you’re about to embark on the smartest, most philosophical quest of your life.
What can change the nature of a man? As I said at the start, there’s no wrong answer. Still, nothing sums up the breadth and wonder of Planescape than this, a short monologue given by The Nameless One to an angry specter:
“If there is anything I have learned in my travels across the Planes, it is that many things may change the nature of a man. Whether regret, or love, or revenge or fear—whatever you believe can change the nature of a man, can. I’ve seen belief move cities, make men stave off death, and turn an evil hag’s heart half-circle. Belief damned a woman, whose heart clung to the hope that another loved her when he did not. Once, it made a man seek immortality and achieve it. And it has made a posturing spirit think it is something more than a part of me…”
There’s no replacement for serious, smart storytelling —between Fallout in ’97, Fallout 2 in ’98, Planescape in ’99, and Icewind Dale in ’00, Black Isle produced some of the best RPGs of the era. My only regret is that I can’t get the kind of targeted amnesia that would let me experience this game all over again for the first time. Torment or not, I suspect it’d be worth it.
Syndicate Wars - Revival Kickstarter Plans?
RPS connects the dots pretty well by suggesting the man is Mike Diskett. Which would make Syndicate Wars the "Bullfrog Masterpiece" they mention, and real-time tactics the genre they will redefine in the video.
Sunday - May 19, 2013
The RPG Podcast - What Is The True Definition of a Role-Playing Game?
TheKoalition has a new podcast about defining what is an RPG. Other topics include free-to-play and why it's the future.
Richard Bailey joins myself and David Jagneaux in this week's episode of Turn Based. Our colleague ElectroJade asked me a thoughtful question recently. The question was whether a game like Heavy Rain could be considered an RPG, due to the fact you assume the role of the numerous characters and make decisions for them.
I personally wouldn't call Heavy Rain an RPG, but I could easily see how somebody could make the distinction. We decided that this was a topic that should be discussed in more detail, so our main discussion surrounds the question "What is the true definition of a role-playing game?" Be sure to share your thoughts below.
Also on this episode we discuss the recent Diablo 3 auction house exploits, and the Defiance TV to video game events. There was also the awesome news that Rift would be going free-to-play, and developer Epic discussed about free-to-play business models on consoles recently. With the combination of these free-to-play topics we decided to touch on why we believe free-to-play is the way of the future.
Raphael Sbarge - AKA Kaidan Alenko Talks Mass Effect 4
Puresophistry has an audio interview with Raphael Sbarge better known as the voice of Kaidan Alenko.
It wasn’t until Mass Effect 3 when Bioware offered same sex romances options for players that a measure of equality was reached. Sbarge goes into detail as to why this was important not only for the game, but for the industry in general. (Starts at 31:20)
"I was thrilled when they introduced the Homosexual romance options in Mass Effect 3 just because obviously there was a huge audience. I spoke to the developers about it, they said they provided so many different choices we were proud of, to be really honest it was just another piece of extra content that didn’t make the final cut in the other games.
What’s amazing about the game for people is that you can cross gender! You can play through in any capacity you want, imaginatively for any of us that’s a huge factor in the experience. All of the opportunities and complexities are fascinating, and that’s what games allow to go down the rabbit hole and explore it.
As far as relationships, the writing is so wonderful. Dealing with issues of rank, emotionality and a sense of separation in Mass Effect 2. As I understand it, more women began play video games as a results of Mass Effect, I think because of these romance elements.”
Finally Raphael does make comment on the ending of Mass Effect 3, how he believes fans received it and what lies ahead for Mass Effect 4. (Will he playing Kaidan’s Great Great Grandfather?(Starts at 18:10)
“It was done, and people flipped out. What was so interesting about that is Bioware responded, they took it really soulfully to heart and really addressed it. Speaking to the fans and created that other additional content to play through other areas of the game.
Even though on the one hand it was incredibly sad not just for the fans but the people who spent a decade working on this game, but there is something in the fact it’s over. That makes it very precious in a way. It almost makes it more special and remarkable, that folks were part of Mass Effect. That elite club of millions.
That’s not to say that there isn’t sadness but it’s being felt by gamers and developers but they said publicly there will be Mass Effect 4. “
Bloodlust Shadowhunter - A New ARPG Adventure with Vampires
Bloodlust Shadowhunter is a Single-Player RPG from WRF Studios. The game is also on Steam Greenlight looking for approval. The developers have a demo on the main site to try also. Give the game a look, and give your opinion in the comment section.
There is also a video of the demo from Cramgaming.
Pre-Thief - Dark Camelot Footage
Rock Paper Shotgun has an article that shows the original concept behind the Thief series. The former Looking Glass Video Director Josh Randall unearthed a VHS of his unseen work, and uploaded it on Youtube
Thief was previously an RPG set in Camelot, built in the Stargate Engine. You would’ve played as Mordred, fighting a despotic Arthur. Merlin was a psychopath and the knights hired muscle. Not ridiculous enough? Your goal was to unearth the truth about the Holy Grail.
Saturday - May 18, 2013
7 Days to Die - A Voxel-Based Sandbox Game
Dallas based indie developer The Fun Pimps Entertainment announced 7 Days to Die. I know some will say but it's not a true RPG. Watch the trailer then decide.
An open world, voxel-based, sandbox game blending the best elements of FPS, Survival Horror, RPG and Tower Defense style games. "Seven Days to Die" looks to carve out its own space giving gamers what they really want with a unique combination of combat, crafting, exploration, and character growth. It's not just Survival Horror anymore its "Survival Horde."
Seven Days to Die Core Features include:
• Explore a modern, beautiful, fully destroyable, fully buildable, fully dynamic, hand crafted, huge voxel world with cities, forests, wastelands, deserts, plains and mountains. Explore hundreds of points of interest and every building inside and out!
• Our advanced "Dynamic Block Stability Physics System," simulates real-time structural integrity. Build it right or watch it come crumbling down.
• Relentless enemies will stop at nothing as they claw, jump and break their way through the world in order to get to you. And watch out for the unique severely mutated.
• Mine and loot a multitude of items and ingredients to survive creating hundreds of weapons, items and traps with the intuitive and deep "Crafting System" inspired by classic adventure games but modernized. No wiki required!
• Uncover the truth as you find survivor notes that lead to better loot from the "Dynamic Story Generation System" which puts the player in charge of the story solving the "now what problem" that plague most voxel games.
• Play solo, Co-op online with friends or in our unique "Zombie Nomad Mode" for a no rules experience!
• Enjoy a fully destroyable voxel-based world blowing up everything in the entire game or build it up bolstering the defenses of an existing structure or building your own fort to try and keep the zombies out.
• Gain experience and upgrade your skills in melee, guns, crafting, and stealth!
• Rummage and mine your way through the world finding food, water, loot and the resources you'll need to survive and discover a purpose for everything in the world.
• Build your own worlds and play them with your friends using the 'Creative Mode Tools" featuring hundreds of block shapes and prefabs.
Thursday - May 16, 2013
City Interactive - Officially Announces Lords Of The Fallen
City Interactive sent out a press release to various websites to officially annnouce Lords Of The Fallen. Some of you might already know about the game due to small tidbits given out over the last year.
WARSAW, POLAND - May 16, 2013 - CI Games, a fast-growing international publisher and developer of interactive entertainment, today officially announced Lords of the Fallen, a challenging fantasy action/role-playing game (RPG). Development of the game is being led by Tomasz Gop, former senior producer of the award-winning The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings. Lords of the Fallen is a demanding and strategic third-person action-RPG experience being created for next generation consoles and PC, coming in 2014.
"Our team is building Lords of the Fallen specifically for players who enjoy taking on huge challenges, where the odds are stacked against them," said Tomasz Gop, executive producer, CI Games. "From the very beginning, Lords of the Fallen will intrigue and satisfy players' hunger to explore each corner of a brand new world, freely customize and build their own character and take down some of the most epic enemies ever seen."
Lords of the Fallen is a hardcore action-RPG featuring an advanced combat systems and robust class skill trees. Set in a richly created fantasy world where the Gods have failed mankind, players will take on the role of a human named Harkyn who sets out on a quest to stand against an apparently unstoppable supernatural force. Players travel across a world that is deeply dived by those that follow and others that resist, the Fallen God. Along their journey they will be faced with a series of decisions that will alter both the world and their character thus dramatically impacting the storyline.
Lords of the Fallen will be presented live at the Electronic Entertainment (E3) Expo in Los Angeles, California at the Los Angeles Convention Center from June 11-13, 2013.
Chasm - Kickstarter Funded Pre-orders To Continue Funding
Discord Games 2D ARPG Chasm has battled its way to Kickstarter success. Their stretch goals are still on the table thanks to pre-orders.
In order to keep project going Discord has opened up a pre-order option which grants goodies depending on your choice of bronze, silver or gold tiers. All this goes toward the same Kickstarter stretch goals and so New Game+ is still within reach.
Check out the to learn more. It's due for PC in May 2014.
Chasm is a 2D Platformer Action-RPG currently in development for Windows, Mac, & Linux. Taking equal inspiration from hack 'n slash dungeon crawlers (procedurally generated dungeons, loot drops, etc) and Metroidvania-style platformers, the game aims to immerse you in its 2D fantasy world full of exciting treasure, deadly enemies, and abundant secrets.
Wednesday - May 15, 2013
GamerEuphoria - Morality Systems Need to be Less Black & White
GamerEuphoria has a new article discussing morality systems, and how they need to be improved. The article refers to The Witcher 2, Fallout 3, BioShock, Fable, and Mass Effect as examples.
‘Black and white’ decisions are the bane of morality systems. The choices are normally between doing an utterly selfless deed that is absolutely morally correct, or doing something that is straight up 100% evil; there is rarely middle ground. The problem with this is that these decisions then become a little detached from the dramatic effect that most of these games are aiming for.
ShowMeTheGames - 32 Indie PC Games On Sale
ShowMeTheGames is hosting it's summer sale, and for the next seven days 32 Indie PC games will be on sale. There are a few RPG's, and other titles in the sale.
The sales on the site are made directly though the websites of the developers so showmethesales.com won't be getting any money from this. All the money goes to the developers so this is a good way to show your support for Indie game companies.
Monday - May 13, 2013
Final Fantasy VII & VIII - Possible Steam Release?
EnixOrigin has a post about Final Fantasy VII&VIII might be released on Steam.
Yes folks thats right‚ Final Fantasy VII is coming to Steam! But wait! Rejoice‚ because it willbe coming with Final Fantasy VIII! Although there has been no official statements have been released by Square Enix themselves‚ the two games have had their logos added to the Steam DB (Steam Database). We’ll be sure to update with a list of achievements and changes as soon as more developments are made on the subject! Be sure to check back with EO!
Sunday - May 12, 2013
Cube World - A Voxel-based Exploration RPG
This new game was brought to my attention in our news box. It's called Cube World, and looks like Minecraft fused with an RPG.
Extended Cube World FAQ
Q: When will Cube World be released?
A: I'm currently tuning and fixing everything but I don't know how long it will take and can't estimate a release date.
Q: How many people are working on this game?
A: I started this as a small hobby project in June 2011. Since May 2012 we are a team of two developers.
Q: Can I help with programming, graphics, sound, music etc?
A: Thanks, but I want to do everything by myself.
Q: Which platforms are supported?
A: Currently just Windows PC. Mac support is planned in the future.
Q: Which games inspired you?
- Minecraft: Endless random world made up of blocks
- Zelda, Secret of Mana, Landstalker, Monster Hunter and more: Style, gameplay, overall feel
- Diablo, World of Warcraft: RPG elements
- And many more
Q: Which features do you still want to add?
- Player customization: I'm planning to add player customization whith different faces, hair styles etc.
- Classes: I'm planning to add a mage class next and more classes in the future
- Different playable races
- Quests: A variety of different quests
- Items: Different weapons, armor and other items
- Building: Different blueprints and materials
- Weapon/Armor upgrading system
- Different pets
Q: Is there multiplayer support?
A: Yes, you can do everything in the game cooperatively with friends. I can't say anything about maximum players per server because it still needs to be optimized and tested.
Q: Will you add mining/building/crafting?
- I'm not planning to add mining or digging.
- House building is supported.
- I will probably add a crafting system that allows you to craft weapons and armor from loot dropped by monsters.
Q: How do you create this game?
A: I've programmed everything with C++ and DirectX (OpenGL for the first version). For the voxel sprites, I created my own voxel editor.
Q: Will the final game still be called "Cube World"?
A: Probably not. It's currently just the project name. I'll have to come up with a new name soon.
Q: Will it be free?
Delver's Drop - Roguelike Zelda
Shacknews has a small preview article on the funded ARPG kickstarter Delver's Drop.
What if a Zelda game went on forever? Pixelscopic, the studio behind the indie game Delver's Drop, conceived of a classical action RPG in the vein of the Zelda series mixed with elements from roguelikes. The result is a promising project that, even in its unfinished state, blends familiarity with longevity.
The "drop" in the title references the progression between stages, as your hero travels ever-deeper into the dungeon by dropping through pits in the floor after solving puzzles or battling enemies. Indie studio Pixelscopic showed off the "Endless Drop" mode at PAX East. The studio is working on defined dungeons with exact level layouts, but Endless Drop randomly mixes levels. The feedback was mixed.
Pixelscopic hosted a successful Kickstarter campaign for the game in February and early March, just before it showed the game at PAX East. It ended up doubling its goal of $75,000, shocking the team.
"We set the goal based on what we needed for the base game, but we also thought it would be the upper reaches of reality," Utter said. "You know, we're an unknown studio, none of us have worked on blockbuster AAA titles. So we didn't have a lot of the things in our favor that a lot of the Kickstarter successes have. I thought we could get to 75 [thousand] but I thought it would be a grind."
Now that it's funded, Pixelscopic is being careful not to rest on their laurels. They mentioned that they don't want to go dark until release, so they're keeping active through their Steam Greenlight and the official site and forums. Most recently, it announced monthly streams of the game to be showing on Twitch leading up to the release.
Delver's Drop is aiming for a full release in October on PC, Mac and Linux, with plans for mobile and Ouya in February 2014.
Lords of the Fallen - To Be Shown at E3
Electronics Entertainment Expo is almost upon us . That means we'll soon be getting new information about RPG's. One RPG will be Lords of the Fallen. It's the new RPG from Tomek Gop.
E3 approaching great strides (less than a month), so more and more often we hear announcements regarding what developers will show at the party. This time it was the turn for CI Games, creators of the popular series of Sniper: Ghost Warrior.
CI Games at E3 2013 will show you a new game Tomek Gop (creator of "The Witcher"), which is, of course, on the next RPG-genes, as well as the presentation of hands-on action packed games sci-fi FPS, Alien Rage, known so far under the title Alien Fear.
Friday - May 10, 2013
Nexus Mod Network - Robin Scott On Hosting Mods
Edge has a new article on the founder of the Nexus Mod sites Robin Scott.
Scott got into the game website business when he was 15, and had built and sold two networks by the time the Nexus was rebranded in 2007. He is now 26. In the eyes of Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, he is his company’s fifth employee, alongside four programmers: two for the site and two for Nexus Mod Manager, an increasingly invaluable tool for all but the most hardcore modder.
“But I don’t really see myself as an employee,” he says. “I reply to all the private messages and emails because I want to keep the site going. As soon it becomes a pain, or I stop enjoying games, I think there might be an issue, but it’s not. I’ve got three monitors in front of me. I’ve got shares running down the left-hand side of my monitor, because I do quite a lot of the share market. A lot of people say that I must be doing pretty well. And the Nexus does do pretty well, but the money it does pretty well with just goes right back into hiring more people and buying more servers.”
Scott blogs regularly about the trials and tribulations of running such a bandwidth-hungry monster without totally selling out. Things have certainly improved since the days when the sites would regularly crash, keeping him up in the dead of night restarting MySQL. Nowadays, bedtime is just after 2am, taking him past US peak time, and breakfast is at around 10:30am, after which he gets right back into the routine. He starts by checking emails and private messages, most concerned with site registration delays and the like, and three hours later he talks to the programmers.
“They’ll show me what they’ve been doing, and I’ll try to show them what I think it should look like. I’m working on a few new designs for the Nexus sites right now. Every once in a while I’ll dabble in the code, but it’s so far above me now that I can’t just bring up a PHP file and start editing away. It just looks like Japanese to me,” he admits.
“Steam Workshop’s been great for a lot of things, but if you look at the Valve games, they’re making games like Dota 2 that they’ll give away for free, then they’re making so much money on those microtransactions. The one thing I do buy is the subscriptions to the tournaments; that’s brilliant, I really love that idea. But if you look at TF2 and Dota 2, it’s not the modding you and I know. It’s not the modding Nexus does. It’s a completely controlled, exclusive-to-Steam modding where they get to choose the mods that go on their service based on how well they think it will sell.
“If you say to mod authors that they can start making money out of their mods, are they going to be inclined to share their secrets, the stuff that they found that makes modding easier? That makes it great? Or are they going to hold on to it, because [that] means fewer people are doing what they’re doing? The general dilemma we’ve got with modding at the moment, with what Valve are trying to do, is that people are now competing financially with other people and are going to be a lot less helpful.”
Tuesday - May 07, 2013
George Ziets - Interview @ RPGCodex
RPGCodex interviewed game designer and writer George Ziets about the games he worked in in the past, the games he is working on currently (Project Eternity, Torment Tides of Numenera), Baldur's Gate 3 and more.
How would you describe the 'Ziets approach' to game design? Which designers and writers have influenced you the most over the years?What’s unique about the medium of games is its interactivity. A game is really a shared narrative between the developer and the player, and the more we can do to make the player an equal partner in that exchange, the better.
So my goal as a designer is to make the player feel like the most important character in the game… and to give the player as many ways as possible to customize their experience. Examples: Let the player decide who their character is and was – avoid imposing an identity upon the character if you can. Provide multiple ways to solve every problem, make sure the player is aware of their options, and provide clear consequences for the player’s choice. When important events happen in the story or world, they should result from the player’s actions, or they should play out differently because of the player’s choices. Anticipate what cool thing the player would want to do in any given situation, and try to find ways of letting them do it. Make your villains threaten things that are important to the player - not just to NPCs. And never impose words or actions upon the player in a cutscene (or anywhere else).
Another important goal is to think of all elements of the game as part of a coherent whole. No element – gameplay, story, art – is more important than any other. They all need to work together to create a unified experience. Ideally, we should approach every game with a high-level idea of what kind of experience we want to craft and then make sure that the story, mechanics, and art style all reinforce that big idea.
This perspective can be difficult to keep in mind at mid- to large-sized studios, where disciplines have become increasingly specialized, with one person doing nothing but combat design, another doing nothing but writing and story, another focused entirely on items, etc. This is one of the reasons I favor the older system of designers as generalists, which tends to encourage us to look at the whole experience, rather than one specific part.
Finally, I always prefer to put the player into a situation where they don’t know the rules. I’m not referring to game mechanics (which should always be clear and understandable), but to the story and the world. If you can drop the player into an unfamiliar situation that isn’t quite like anything they’ve seen or experienced before, they’re going to be more attentive and engaged, leading to a more memorable experience. Everyone likes a mystery – the key is to use plenty of unanswered questions about the setting, the story, and the characters to drive the player through the game.
Influences are tough. I’ve ingested such a mixed-up cocktail of games, books, movies, and TV over the past 30+ years that it’s difficult to pick out the ones that have had the greatest effect on me as a designer.
Certainly the team at Obsidian – Chris Avellone, Josh Sawyer, etc. – has had a significant impact because we share a lot of the same sensibilities and because I’ve worked with those guys longer than anyone else. The Infinity Engine games, in general, had a strong influence. Also the early to middle Ultima games from my childhood, so I’d include early Richard Garriott and Origin Systems as another influence. Sid Meier too – especially the open-ended structure of his original Pirates game, where the player could even determine when the game ended. As a storyteller / world builder, influences include Greek mythology, real-world history, psychology, and current events, Japanese animation (especially Miyazaki, but others too), the Fighting Fantasy novels of the 80s, Tad Williams, George R. R. Martin, David Brin, Steven Erikson, Gene Wolfe, and probably many authors that I’m forgetting. And it’s difficult to ignore the influence of D&D, since it played such a big part in my early creative work.
R.A. Salvatore - Neverwinter & 38 Studios
R.A. Salvatore gave an interview on GameReactor TV. In the interview he was asked about Neverwinter, and 38 Studios.
Best-selling author R.A. Salvatore talks about his most recent books set in the Forgotten Realms, their ties with Neverwinter, and the unfortunate demise of 38 Studios.
We caught up with Salvatore at the PAX East Neverwinter party, with the author sitting down in a comfy armchair with guests and journalist gathering in a circle to hear what he had to say. We sat back for a while, but finally stepped in and asked if we could steal away R.A. for ten minutes for an interview. With the crowd dispersed a number of issues were covered - including how it came to be that his latest series of books set in the Forgotten Realms are tied in with the MMORPG from Cryptic Studios.
"We'd really like your books to set the stage for the game, and I said "what does that mean?". And basically what it meant was you know, new game, they want a different look so basically blowing up a city... (laughs) So I finally get to destroy a city in the Forgotten Realms count me in."
"Curt Schilling gets beat up a lot, but he did something real magical with the people he brought together. He handselected that team and he brought in some of the best people ever and I give him a lot of credit for trying. He put himself, he put his own money on the line - I give him a lot of credit for that so no regrets from me. It is what it is, I'm sorry people got hurt, you know I got hurt, my sons got hurt, but as that fades the good parts come to the forefront."
Speaking on former 38 Studios colleagues and friends, Salvatore had the following to say:
"A lot of them seem to be landing on their feet with good companies or their own companies, so you know... It's journey right, everything we do here is a journey if you live your whole life think you just have to get to the goal you're not living your life you're just trying to get somewhere. You think you're going to some magic fairy land when you get to that goal. It's the journey, it's not the ending - the ending is death, dude."
"The IP is going to come up for sale. I hope somebody buys it. I hope they contact me and want me to come back and do some work with it. I think it's awesome, and I'm not just saying that cause I wrote it. The parts I wrote - great - but the work the team did... the love they poured into that expanding this hundreds and hundreds of pages in the wiki - just amazing stuff was coming out of that team."
Forbes - Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
Forbes reviews and unboxes the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. For the record it's not the PC game, but the table top version.
Call it the Pathfinder Cinematic Roleplaying System and borrow heavily from some of the marvelous indie d20 games on the market (as well as from other modern gaming systems which place more emphasis on character, roleplaying, and tough moral choices rather than combat.)
Fortunately, the adventures and system is also compatible with myriad d20 variants, so it’s no problem integrating the adventures and setting with games like Microlite20 (which has its own Pathfinder version) or Legend or any other d20-based system.
Meanwhile, for anyone who enjoys a solid book in hand with lots of other products to choose from, the Beginner Box is a great entry point. Moving on from there to the other Paizo books is simple enough, and there’s simply no denying that the artwork and production value in all of these products is top-notch—a great way to have the books themselves help deepen player immersion in the game world.
Monday - May 06, 2013
Indie Done Right - Interview with Anodyne Devs
Transistor - Podcast Interview @ Video Game Sophistry
Video Game Sophistry has a new audio interview with Supergiant's creative director Greg Kasavin on Transistor.
This week on VGS!
We discuss the recent departures from E3, Batman isn't Batman and a HUGE feature on all of the new GTA V info. We have EVERYTHING! Fact speculation,. Fever Dreams! If it's GTA related we got it.
FEATURE INTERVIEW: Starts at 25:54
Greg Kasavin from SuperGiant Games, the maker of the Indie hit "Bastion" have a new game! We find out all about it.
Edge-Online - Inside Irrational: System Shock 2 to BioShock Infinite
EDGE has a new article focusing on Irrational Games. The article has comments from various employees about the company , and the Bioshock games.
Navigating the constraints of tight budgets and outdated engines, the burgeoning team at Irrational infused System Shock 2 with “a mood and a vibe”, as Levine succinctly puts it. This was something that would become apparent in an early prototype that Levine recalls as being one of his fondest memories of the project.
“It was basically a demonstration of the shooting and RPG stuff, and it really was cool,” he explains, an enthusiastic grin spreading across his face. “I remember playing it and it was not functional in any way, shape or form – it barely held together. We had no AI. We had things that pretended to be AI. We had lots of things that pretended to be things, but there was no real anything. But we really tried to tell a story in this space with the limited tools we had and I remember finishing it and thinking, ‘Wow, we created something that has an emotional feel to it.’ It was powerful to me as a setting, sort of a vision of my future as a game developer encapsulated in this demo.”
Fortunately for the studio, System Shock 2’s roleplaying leanings were a hit with critics; 90 per cent or greater scores abounded (as well as eight out of ten in E77). “We were as stunned as anybody else as to it getting the reaction it did from the press,” admits Levine. “I think we expected the critical reaction to be on par with the commercial reaction, which was tepid.”
And therein lay a hard truth for Irrational. Although System Shock 2 spawned a dedicated fanbase that thrives even now (mods are still being cobbled together that improve the game’s graphical fidelity and overall performance), the game failed to ignite the sales chart, crossing the 50,000 copies sold mark around six months after release.
It would be eight years before the studio produced a title that was truly commercially successful, despite working on well-liked and critically praised games such as SWAT 4 and Freedom Force Vs The 3rd Reich in that period. Yet despite the sudden influx of capital and obvious physical growth of the company that it brought, the success of BioShock changed Irrational’s work ethic surprisingly little.
Sunday - May 05, 2013
Lost Spirits of Kael - Interview @ DualShockers
DualShockers has an interview with Pablo Coma on his new Indie RPG title Lost Spirits of Kael.
Chad: It was mentioned in the press materials that Lost Spirits of Kael is a very atmospheric game with an emphasis on the themes of loneliness and finding one’s way into the unknown. What was the inspiration for these themes and the direction you’re taking with the game?
Pablo Coma : As funny as it may sound, Lost Spirits of Kael was born from music. The songs featured in the trailer were composed before I did even think about making a game. At that time I was considering myself just as a composer. As there were not so many games out there that really match what I like to compose, one day I decided to create the game myself, tailored to my music. I took my inspiration in a trip to Ireland that I made just one month before starting development. I really liked this country, its legends, its forests, the Celtic crosses in graveyards, the sound of the Celtic harp…
Now to talk more precisely about Lost Spirits of Kael‘s gameplay, I consider Dark Souls and Shadow of the Colossus as being my main inspiration sources in the video game area.
C: The game takes place entirely within the Forest of Kael. How did you approach the visual aspect of the game? Does the game provide a change in scenery even though it takes place entirely within this forest?
PC: Something I really like is to work on color ambiances. When you learn to colorize at school, people ask you to make the trees brown. But they could tend to be purple, blue, or green. I also tried to give a kind of surrealistic tone to the art by working without any stroke. I work directly with colors, in a style that could be described as “painted sketch”. This results in the border of every element being somewhat murky, which is done on purpose of course. Why should video games be realistic, anyway?
When playing Ico, I really enjoyed the fact that the whole game consisted of exiting in just one place, and I wanted to make something close to this idea. However, I also wanted to have variety in environments, so while “normal” forest backgrounds will predominate, you will have to wander in places such as undergrounds, swamps, graveyards and snowy forest [areas], to name just those who appears in the trailer. There are more, but I’d like to keep the surprise on this point.
C: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about Lost Spirits of Kael?
PC: Sure! I’d like to talk a little bit about how labyrinthine the game will be. The entire game is designed to make the player feel completely lost. I wanted to do the opposite of games where locating oneself is made too easy with auto-maps and such things. If you ever wandered in the Lost Woods of Zelda III, you’ve got a basic idea of what is going to happen in the Forest of Kael.
But here I’ll give you a few tools to help you finding your way:You have the ability to mark your way in the forest. As you don’t have paint, you’ll have to use your blood, making you lose a few HP when using this ability. So use it carefully.
Secondly, as the view of the game is more horizontal than in most action-RPGs, you can see where you will go in the background before actually walking to it. Look carefully around you and try to remember the places you already went, because nobody will come to rescue you… You will be all alone.
Friday - May 03, 2013
Greg Zeschuk - Moving From BioWare to Beer
IGN caught up with and interviewed him about various topics, and of course beer.
My first question is obvious: what happened?
“Once you’ve done something for so long, at some point it’s just not that exciting anymore,” Zeschuk confesses. “I had trouble looking down the road at something that was just incredibly interesting and challenging and new and unique that stretched me personally. I think video games, for me...it was very clear what the future held. It was more of the same.” It’s a reply we’ve heard before, one that closely mirrors the message of the retirement letter he posted last September when he and partner Ray Muzyka stepped down. Naturally the gaming community was quick to offer other explanations -- including the controversy surrounding3’s unsatisfying ending and BioWare’s merger with mega-publisher EA -- but when I question him, Zeschuk calmly maintains that his reasons were purely personal.
“The passion and level of engagement was so high that it makes it very hard to solve every scenario you wanted to solve at the end of it,” Zeschuk says of3. “I always still sincerely think it’s because [the fans] really really care about what we make. It’s not random. It’s like, they may be disappointed when they can’t get the choice they want because they’re so intimate with their story or their character or their game. If it’s not just the way they want it, it’s not right. So it’s a very hard thing to reconcile, but the reality is, I can understand completely where it can come from.”
Anytime anyone writes about Greg Zeschuk, they’re always quick to point out one compelling piece of his personal history: before starting BioWare, Zeschuk was a licensed, practicing medical doctor. His choice to abandon years of training in order to make video games might seem brilliant now, but at the time, it surely felt like an insane risk. Speaking with him now, however, his decision somehow feels like the only one he possibly could have made. “It’s actually a personal philosophy of mine,” Zeschuk says. “For me at least, the secret to being happy, in a way, is just doing stuff. If I’m not doing stuff, I’m not happy. I think from a philosophical perspective, people kind of owe it to themselves to try to do things nowadays. There’s very little reason not to try to do stuff.”
Stuff like, say, quitting your job as an award-winning developer in order to pursue a new passion. While The Beer Diaries may not be the next Mass Effect or Dragon Age, it all makes perfect sense given Zeschuk’s mentality. “At the end of the day, at the very least, we did something,” he states. “Maybe we made some people angry, made some people happy... You can live your life without doing anything. The reality, though, is simply, having done something is really, really rewarding.” I think we can all drink to that.
Thursday - May 02, 2013
Crowdfunding - One Year Later
Gamasutra have a lengthy article on what the crowdfunding landscape looks like now by talking to Chris Roberts (Star Citizen), Brenda Romero (Shaker), Greg Rice (Double Fine Adventure), and Jim Rossignol and James Carey (Sir, You Are Being Hunted) about how they feel about it and if they would do it differently next time.
David Daw: You funded Star Citizen with a rather unorthodox combination of in-house crowdfunding, Kickstarter, and traditional investment. How’d you come up with that mix?
Chris Roberts: Yeah, we’re not typical. Everybody talks about our Kickstarter, but that was just one small part of what we did. In fact, most of our money’s been raised outside of Kickstarter.
I’ve always felt like there was a pretty strong community that were fans of my previous games, and fans of space sims in general. I felt like if I looked at everything going on on Kickstarter, a lot of it was really good -- but once you did the initial campaign, it was done and over, and I was fairly disappointed with what happened after that. I felt like no matter what, you’ve got to have a place where all the people that backed you are going to hang out, listen to what’s happening with the game, and interact, so why wait to do that later on?
So we actually launched a teaser site for what we were doing a month before we started the crowdfunding campaign -- the idea was to aggregate the really diehard fans. We’d gotten about 30,000 people to sign up and register when we launched the campaign, which gave us a bit of a leg up in terms of the initial awareness in crowdfunding.
I think it really just came out of the fact that you’ve got to have your own solution, even with Kickstarter, because a Kickstarter campaign ends at some point. So then you’ve got to have some way that you’re interacting with your community, and everyone always has to have some kind of option for PayPal or whatever, so we figured, “If you have to build it anyway, let’s just build it and do it upfront.”
DD: Do you think that the Kickstarter has shifted? Has the wave of big Kickstarter-funded games passed?
Brenda Romero: Kickstarter in and of itself has become a game. It’s a spectator sport, and it’s super fun to be involved in these projects. It’s fun to watch them succeed, and it’s fun, in a sadistic game, to watch them fail. Watching people succeed and watching people fail, for better or for worse, as humans, there’s something to that.
I think people have a limited amount of funds to spend on Kickstarters, and I think the market is a lot more crowded than it used to be. I also think in the early days there was a lot of press coverage of “Here’s some RPGs on Kickstarter you might like,” and you’re not seeing as much of that these days. So I think there is a bit of atrophy in the community and apathy in the community. There’s not as much money because the money there was to go around has gone around. Kickstarter really is its own social network, and it’s incredibly fun to see what’s on there, but that wanes after a while.
Tuesday - April 30, 2013
GameBanshee - Cancelled Planescape RPG Interview
GameBanshee has an interview with Colin McComb on the cancelled Planescape RPG.
GB: You mentioned a PlayStation-exclusive Planescape game that you worked on at Black Isle Studios in one of your recent blog entries. Can you tell us more about that?
Colin: There's seriously not much to it, though - it was six months of me playing King's Field, talking to people, and getting a design document together. The only team members were me and Greg Christensen, the programmer. Where the expanded design doc is now is anyone's guess. I don't think we had developed any assets for the game, so it's not going to be too exciting to see.
GB: Before we let you get back to Tides of Numenera, can you briefly sum up the main path or plot of the game?
Colin: This was about 16 years ago, so I hope you'll forgive my hazy memory on the exact details: The core of the game's story was that you took the part of a young Mercykiller recruit. It's your first day on the job and there's a riot in the Hive, the slum of Sigil. You go into the tenements with your squad, but are quickly separated from them by the press of flesh and the flames, and you need to find your way out. Clues lead you into the Lower Ward, where you discover a criminal enterprise run by (apparently) a shadowy thieving organization. Your superiors send in investigators to wrap up most of the conspirators, and they send you to Ribcage in order to pursue certain loose ends. While there, you discover that this is a much bigger conspiracy than you thought, with tendrils extending into the politics of Baator itself. You plunge into Hell to exact justice, even though it means your near-certain death.
We'd have had the politics of Sigil tied into this, which is to say lots of other factions getting involved, and some celestial hierarchy as well. I was looking forward to doing it, but I learned so much from Torment that I have to say it was really for the best.
Monday - April 29, 2013
Mass Effect DLC - Looking Back
SpiderDuck has an article discussing all the Mass Effect DLC. Enjoy and share your thoughts on his rankings.
The Mass Effect series is my favorite gaming series out there. I love pretty much everything about it and has kicked up my emotions so many times that I've lost count. That last statement is pretty impressive considering I have about as much personality and emotion jumping from me as a brick wall.
A couple months back we got the final piece of DLC, thus ending the Shepard trilogy. It was a bittersweet moment. I knew the end was coming and it was one hell of a ride I will never forget but it kills me that Shepard story is over. Through the course of this thrill ride we have had some amazing DLC and some not so amazing. In this article I am going to go over and rank the DLC for the entire trilogy. Now keep in mind that in my ranking I will not go over smaller bits of DLC (weapons packs, appearance packs, fire-walker, comics) and this is strictly for the single player. Sorry ME3 multiplayer. I will try and keep this as spoiler free as possible and as always, this is a personal opinion piece. I do not expect everyone to feel the same. I only wish to guide newcomers into which DLC they should not miss.
Saturday - April 27, 2013
Chris Avellone - Interview @ VGS
VGS' audio recording of their interview with Chris Avellone is available on Soundcloud.
FEATURE INTERVIEW! Starts at 33:08
Chris Avellone from Obsidian Entertainment joins us to talk about EVERYTHING he’s involved with right now and provides a retrospective on his latest title Fallout New Vegas
On “Torment Tides of Numenera” From 34:08 – 37:08
Highlights: “My friends don’t even call me by my name any more….just “The Stretch Goal”
On “Project Eternity” From 37:08-40:00
Highlights: “I LOVE working on Kickstarter Projects, first of all, you get to share a lot of stuff with the fanbase (design documents, how you build levels) some of that stuff when working within a normal publisher model is just not allowed, with Kickstarter you can take player feedback iterate on it and make them part of the process.”
On “Wasteland 2” and Why People Like Kickstarter. From 40:43 -49:30
Highlights: “Developers behind Wasteland 2 wanted to some more socially integrated features and the fanbase did not like the idea of having this feature added. But it allowed the devs to realize, “Hey!” we don’t need to waste precious hours on creating it, since no one was loudly advocating for it. You can actually poll the community to see if they want these features in the game….and if they don’t you can save everyone time and grief and not devote any resources too it! “
On “South Park: The Stick of Truth: From 50:10-52:30
Highlight: “Whenever (South Park) creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone get really excited about a quest or storyline…they start acting out the characters voices right in front of us…I wish we had a recorder turned on for that, because it’s the funniest stuff I’ve heard in a design meeting”
On “Fallout New Vegas” and Why are Obsidians NPCs SO Amazing? From 52:30
Highlight: “The way we approach characters in Obsidian, is that we try to examine the game mechanic of the title and try to make sure all of the companions you meet in the title compliment that- what I mean by that is..We look at things like “Hey New Vegas has a brand new reputation system” Once we know it’s a mechanic- we need to make sure all of the NPC’s you interactive with react to that system and compliment it in some way.”
Wednesday - April 24, 2013
Brian Fargo - The Man Who Made Fallout A Reality
It seems Brian Fargo is a busy man lately between two kickstarters, and the constant interviews. Well this time Edge-Online has a brief article about him.
One pivotal, life-changing moment of Brian Fargo’s career almost didn’t happen. Between 1994 and 1997, a motley crew of designers, creators and QA testers were working long hours for low pay on a new Interplay IP – a roleplaying game that eschewed the traditional elves and goblins in favour of a future world savaged by gun-wielding mutants and nuclear war.
Getting the game from pre-production to the shelf was an uphill struggle, with two near-cancellations and designers squabbling with marketing and executives over everything from the setting to the name. Finally, after taking an early build of this troubled-yet-promising title home for the weekend, Fargo – who founded Interplay as a programmer and game designer in 1983 – gave the game his blessing. He went to lead programmer Tim Cain and said, “You should call this Fallout.”
Fallout was a risky proposition that paid off, picking up nines and tens in reviews and spawning an equally successful sequel just a year later. But its hard-won success was more than merely a personal high point for Fargo and its designers, and Fallout became the poster child for the Interplay RPG – an expansive world in peril with plenty of backstory to uncover. “Exploration has always been the thing that motivated me in the game world,” says Fargo. “I love wondering what is around each corner, what lies inside the cave I can’t get to yet, or the meaning of a cryptic passage.”
Dark Quest - A New Turn-Based RPG
The Dark Quest website offers a debut gameplay trailer. Its a turn-based RPG that looks inspired by the HeroQuest boardgame. The game is currently available for iOS, but a Steam Greenlight campaign is underway for a Windows edition.
"Dark Quest is a turned based fantasy role playing adventure game where players assume the role of a mighty barbarian on his epic quest to destroy the forces of the evil sorcerer and save the land from evil."
Tuesday - April 23, 2013
The Dark Triad - Conspiracy Vision
Autoloot Games has a new update on the canceled kickstarter The Dark Triad. The developer has decided to rename and redesign the entire game.
Hi guys!Today we bring you great news. We can finally share our vision doc with you for Dark Triad: Conspiracy. This is a new take on the game and the old story is being rewritten from scratch, also some new game systems are being added. This will make of DTC a more engaging, deeper and meaningful experience in many senses, as we explain in the doc.Yes, we also changed the name.Most of you didn't like "Dragon's Death", besides, with the new take on the game, no dragons are to be seen... so it seems! Of all the names we added to the poll vote, you decided "Dark Triad: Conspiracy" would be the most suitable, and we also like it very much, so let's roll with it!This is the first draft of the Vision Doc and there's sure some room for improvement. Our aim is to polish it thanks to your feedback so we can release a new revision for everybody along our next KS relaunch. We'd deeply appreciate if you help us to make the game better within our resources and budget, so each opinion counts and we'll take all your comments into account.We keep working hard on the game development to bring this new vision to our next Kickstarter campaign. We will make the pitch video much better and we'll show more stuff, and also we are already in talks with a PR agency so more people can know about Dark Triad: Conspiracy. Anyhow, rest assured we will keep you up to date of any news about how things are going, and now, enjoy the reading!Here is the link:
You can also give us your feedback on the forums!
Lords of the Fallen - Releasing on PC and Next-gen Consoles
Well if anyone remembers Thomas Gop's new RPG Eurogamer has a new article on Lords of the Fallen. Just remeber the article seems to be a rough translation.
Lords of the Fallen will be "a challenging game" - an RPG a bit like Dark Souls but for PC, PlayStation 4 and the next Xbox.
CI Games, the company behind Sniper: Ghost Warrior, is in charge, although it's a separate team doing the honours - most of the work is being done by experienced German studio Deck 13.
"It's a challenging game, action RPG, which means a lot of advanced combat," he explained. "When you walk through a location, and you have to fight 10 enemies, that takes around an hour.
"When you fight in Mortal Kombat, when you fight in Tekken, that's why it takes so long - Dark Souls is probably a strong reference as well. But we've done a lot of things differently. For example, we have a skill tree. I would call Borderlands here, because we're gonna have something like action skills in the game, so classes, stuff like this.
"I would say Dark Souls, I would say Borderlands in terms of the experience of developing your character."
Gop couldn't talk about the online features of Lords of the Fallen but said the team was looking at "some of the functionality that could be called online-ish". "It's definitely going to be primarily a single-player game," though.
Right now, the Lords of the Fallen team numbers around 40. There are 30 at Deck 13 in Germany, 10 at CI Games in Poland, but the team will grow now full production is under way.
Sunday - April 21, 2013
The Black Tower - New Indie RPG
PCGamer has news of a new indie RPG called the The Black Tower.
I occasionally get nostalgic for the PlayStation-era Final Fantasy games – a feeling that generally passes when I play a PlayStation-era Final Fantasy game and find my patience tested within the first minute. Having said that, I’m intrigued by TBT: The Black Tower, an upcoming RPG with more pre-rendered backdrops and oversized swords than you can shake a bunch of Gysahl Greens at. If you understood the reference, you may proceed past the break, where I will tell you more things about this French take on a very Japanese genre.
I’m assuming TBT stands for The Black Tower (but if so, why the subtitle?), however I know that it revolves around Yan Forté, “a kind of ranger” who lives in the woods in the year 2032. There’s some business about a “strange alien Cube” and “Ellana, a young girl with a strange black Die as a pendant around the neck”, but the three-person development team is going to need to shove a few more ancient gods, magical eight-year-olds and giant yellow birds in there if they’re going to compete with the Final Fantasy series.
The Black Tower will have links to Simon Mesnard’s ASA: A Space Adventure, a Myst-esque adventure game with a similarly loose grasp on the whole subtitle thing. TBT is still very early in development, but that doesn’t mean you can’t vote for it on Steam Greenlight, await the crowdfunding campaign in May.
BlizzCon 2013 - Tickets On Sale Next Week
The BlizzCon Website has a reminder that BlizzCon 2013 tickets go on sale on Wednesday.
Remember, tickets usually go fast—so if you want to attend this year’s show, it pays to be ready prepared on the first sale date. If you miss out, you’ll get a second chance when the second batch goes on sale Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. PDT. In addition, tickets to an exclusive pre-BlizzCon dinner to benefit Children's Hospital of Orange County go on sale Wednesday, May 1 at 7 p.m. PDT. Visit the BlizzCon Ticket Information page for more details.
BlizzCon 2013 will take place November 8 and 9 at the Anaheim Convention Center, and tickets cost $175 USD each. Tickets to the BlizzCon Benefit Dinner cost $500 USD each and include BlizzCon admission. Even if you can’t join us at BlizzCon in person, in-depth coverage will be available at home through the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket; further details will be announced at a later date.
Indiebundle - Dungeon Crawling Bundle
Indiebundle.org has started The Hellish Dungeons Bundle. The bundle allows you to choose 3 or 5 dungeon related games redeemable through Desura. Most of games will also yield a Steam key if they are approved through Steam Greenlight.
The choice of games are listed below.
Saturday - April 20, 2013
Burnedsap - Gameplay vs Graphics
A small blog called Burnedsap has a editorial that discusses gameplay and graphics. A constant problem with many RPG's and other games.
There used to be a time when the graphics of a game would define how good it was. Every year a new game would be launched with better, more realistic graphics, and everyone knew that there had to be a point where the hardware simply wouldn't be able to cope up. There are computers which can beautifully run those heavy processor intensive games, but the average gamer cannot afford those systems. Even gaming consoles have a limit to which they can play the more graphic oriented titles.
There is a saturation point where we simply will not be distinguish the virtual world from reality. I have no doubt that in the next few iterations of the Gran Turismo series, cars will look so realistic that one will simply not be able to make out if it's real or virtual. It will be fascinating and wonderful to have a game which is indistinguishable from reality. But it might not be necessarily fun.
Friday - April 19, 2013
Worlds of Magic - There's Magic In The Air
Worlds of Magic brings news on there kickstarter. The update shows the magic system of the game, and announces the game is at 80% of there funded goal.
Hail to you, our friendly, talkative backers! Today's update opens with a bit a news and moves on to a brief explanation of something we've received a number of questions about.
The News: We passed the 80% mark!! That means we're certainly gearing up to hit at least a few stretch goals. We want to hit more than a few, however, and are doing our best to get the word out!
Now for the explanation bit: It's all about the magic system. As posted on the main KS page we have 12 magic circles or schools to choose from.
Thursday - April 18, 2013
Hammerwatch - A New Age of Gauntlet
Here is another gem this time the game is called Hammerwatch. It was brought to my attention from Steam Greenlight.
Puresophistry - Why a “Moral Choice” in Gaming Is Awful
Puresophistry wrote an article about why moral choices are terrible in games.
It’s easy to see what the developers are trying to achieve by including these sorts of choices. If each player has a different experience they’ll have more to talk about to each other, and they’re also more likely to play the game a second or third time to see how it would have panned out had they chosen differently.
You could also be forgiven for thinking that giving the player the opportunity to steer the game at certain times would add depth and meaning to it, but unfortunately the opposite is true.
In the end, it’s difficult to impart a moral choice on the player that is both meaningful and recognisable as a moral choice. In real life, moral choices are complex and often don’t have a polar divide between good and evil, or selfish and selfless for example.
In video games the choices have to be crafted so that both options are viable and reasonable, but distinct, and this is a very difficult thing to do.The result is either unrealistic choices, that are often laughably exaggerated, or similar ones where it’s not evident which is correct.
The latter are more interesting for the player, certainly, but many people feel unfulfilled because they wanted to do the right thing, but didn’t know what is was.
Unfortunately, this is the true nature of moral questions a lot of the time, so perhaps it’s not that moral problems are done badly in games, but more that we don’t want them to be done too well.
All in all it may benefit many games to leave out the moral choice system altogether and focus on the gameplay and core events of the story. Again, which branching plotlines can offer an additional level of depth and intrigue, be wary of them if you ever want to make a sequel as you’ll probably leave a decent chunk of your fan base unsatisfied.
Bonfire - Tactical Turn-Based Battle RPG
Let me introduce a game called Bonfire. Bonfire is a battle roguelike with a puzzle element. The puzzle is: “How the hell am I supposed to survive this!?”
Bonfire is what happens when you take a battle system out of an RPG, boil it down to what really matters strategically, and make it super-hard. It’s a game takes 10 minutes to learn, but hours upon hours of sweet suffering to get good at.
You form a party of three distinct heroes and use it progress through randomized quests and puzzle-like challenges. You manage your health, come up with cool strategies to get out of hopeless situations, think when to activate powerful single-use items, and improvise to get the most of your setup. Defeat comes often, but it only makes the rare victory that much sweeter. Progression unlocks more characters, allows to develop their stats, initial equipment, and further customize your strategy.
The game is set up so that every encounter and party combination requires improvisation and custom approach. All monsters are designed to break or counter different strategies, and your characters are pretty fragile. Trying to do the same thing over and over results in a quick defeat. Every turn, you must consider what’s the best action to take, depending on the encounter’s composition, your characters’ status, and what items are available. Each battle is a puzzle of its own.
Wednesday - April 17, 2013
System Shock 2 - Mod Spotlight
GameBanshee put together a System Shock 2 mod highlight article.
SHTUP--installs the high-resolution textures and fixes for in-game objects that allow the game to make the most from the large modern displays. It adds much detail to the things that surround you in the game, from potted plants, through monitor screens, up to every single graffiti.
Four Hundred--another important texture pack. It makes the game's scenery look crisp and sharp by applying high-res textures to walls, floors, doors and whatnot, while remaining quite faithful to the original mood.
Vurt's Space--for those of you who love stargazing. This mod applies nice high-res texture to the in-game windows, so you can admire the ominous beauty of the Tau Ceti system while looking through them.
SHMUP--music update! It provides the game with better quality files of the original soundtrack, so you can admire the excellent work of the composer Eric Brosius, just as he'd wanted you to hear it.
All of the above improve on the game's various aspects but don't affect the gameplay. If you don't mind to stray somewhat from the game's original feeling and concepts, there are also some mods allowing you to change such things as weapons, enemies, and AI behaviour:
ADaoB--this is a modification offering fixes to some of the original game's quirks and re-balances the gameplay. Please note that you will have to start a new game after installing, as the changes are severe enough to make the game incompatible with earlier savegames.
Rebirth--enemy models modification. It replaces the original AI models with their more detailed counterparts, that make use of modern systems' power.
GameStop - PC Spring Sales Deals
GameStop has a huge list of RPG's on the up to 75% Off spring sale. The list includes many RPG's.
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC DLC/Expansion packs are 50% off at GameStop.
Tuesday - April 16, 2013
Worlds of Magic - Gains Master of Magic Veteran
Destructoid brings news about Worlds of Magic. They have hired George Edward Purdy. He was Assistant Art Director, and Character Designer on Master of Magic as well the much beloved Master of Orion.
It looks like Wastelands Interactive, the developer behind Worlds of Magic, isn't just all talk when it comes to calling its new title a successor to the MicroProse classic, Master of Magic. The development team has recently been bolstered by the presence of George Edward Purdy, who was Assistant Art Director and Character Designer on Master of Magic as well the much beloved Master of Orion.
As Creative Director for Worlds of Magic, Purdy will be working on character designs as well as providing assistance to the other artists in an effort to "capture the essence" of Master of Magic. As excited as I was about the prospect of a successor to one of the ultimate 4X titles of my youth, I wasn't particularly enamoured with the art direction -- so hopefully that will change. Purdy's drawn up some basic concept art for some of the characters, which you can check out now.
As a bonus here is a teaser video of gameplay. If the video excites you don't forget there kickstarter.
The Dark Eye: Demonicon - Demo Trailer
Thanks go to Dr. A for bringing my attention to the following video. Here is a Demo trailer of The Dark Eye: Demonicon.
Take a look at The Dark Eye: Demonicon demo from GDC 2013.
The Dark Eye: Demonicon - Interview
Strategy Informer has another interview and this time it's with Demonicon's Lead Writer Daniel Hessler.
Strategy Informer: Were there any challenges involved in crafting a story that dealt with such ‘Adult’ themes? Did you encounter any resistance?
Daniel Hessler: We just did it! Kalypso gave us the opportunity to, and they agreed with what we were dong, and I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the age rating’s tell us. Basically the whole thing was about writing a good story, and about the themes that are linked to that story. The player may have some questions relating to specific scenes in the game, but these questions will be answered. Whenever there is a dark theme, it may look like a provocation but I can guarantee it’s linked to the main quest. When a subject is that closely linked, you can have different ways of showing it, so there are less challenges involved I feel. We’ve been lucky to have a good publisher!
Strategy Informer: We first saw Demonicon two years ago at GamesCom, and obviously the game has evolved a lot mechanically over the past couple of years – has the story similarly evolved?
Daniel Hessler: We re-wrote certain parts of the story and we made changes. But the basic part of the story, the core of what the game is about, has remained the same.
Strategy Informer: Obviously The Dark Eye is an established franchise – how closely did you consult with the makers of TDE with regards to the game world, and more specifically the darker tone your story takes?
Daniel Hessler: Very closely. We have a close contact with The Dark Eye producers of the pen & paper game. We’ve been publishing some texts in their periodical, and something you can do in Demonicon is read background books that relate to that pen & paper game. The thing about The Dark Eye world is that it has many variations, so you can play a classic Tolkein Fantasy, or you could play as a Viking, you can play a fencing musketeer, or something completely different. We decided to deal with the horror approach, and the horror parts of the continent in which this takes place. We thought it would be fun to do.
Source: Strategy Informer
Monday - April 15, 2013
Mass Effect Movie - Drew Karpyshyn's Opinion
Drew Karpyshyn gives his opinion on how the upcoming movie adaptation will have to make some concessions. He hopes the focus of the movie will be on humanity as the newcomer on the galactic stage.
Kotaku asked Drew Karpyshyn, the man who lead the creation of the series’ universe, what the movie should do and not do. “I know fans don’t want to hear this, but you have to remove some of the characters. I think you just have to realise we can’t tell everything that’s in the game in a two-hour movie. Some of them are just going to be cameos, like in Ocean’s Eleven. ‘Oh, that guy was in there. I don’t even remember his name, but he’s the bomb guy.’ It’s going to be a muddled mess if you don’t do that.”
“If you say ‘We want this relationship between Shepard and Liara because it parallels humanity’s relationship with the various alien species,’ then you don’t even use certain characters at that point. Now Ashley’s gone. Then people are going to go ‘Oh, Ashley’s gone. What the heck?’”
The movie version of Shepard will also present a problem, as it’s impossible to reflect the millions upon millions of different versions that exist because of character choices. “Obviously, you’re going to have to define Shepard which is going to annoy a lot of the fans. That is something you just can’t avoid as a film. You just have to bite the bullet and realize that’s going to happen,” Karpyshyn says.
Whatever concessions need to be made, Karpyshyn really hopes the main focus of the movie will be mankind’s status as a newcomer on the galactic stage. “As far as what I think they really need to leave in, for me, Mass Effect is really about this idea that humanity is the newcomer and trying to prove themselves to the other races or trying to find their place.”
“Humans as newcomers will allow you to have these different species and lets viewers react to them. Shepard is trying to find his way through as the first human Spectre. For me, I hope that’s one of the things I really hope they’re able to capture in the film if and when it ever gets made,”
Fingers crossed everyone. Drew should be the lead writer, or at least give his knowledge for the script.
Sunday - April 14, 2013
Metacritic Matters- How Review Scores Hurt Video Games
Kotaku brings an article about Metacritic and how they affect video games.
Bugs in Fallout: New Vegas might have eaten your save file. Maybe they took away a few hours of progress, or forced you to reset a couple of quests. Maybe game-crashing bugs pissed you off to the point where you wished you could get your $60 back. But they probably didn’t cost you a million dollars.
Perhaps you've heard the story: publisher Bethesda was due to give developer Obsidian a bonus if their post-apocalyptic RPG averaged an 85 on Metacritic, the review aggregation site. It got an 84 on PC and Xbox 360, and an 82 on PS3.
“If only it was a stable product and didn't ship with so many bugs, I would've given New Vegas a higher score,” wrote a reviewer for the website 1up, which gave New Vegas a B, or 75 on Metacritic's scale.
“It's disappointing to see such an otherwise brilliant and polished game suffer from years-old bugs, and unfortunately our review score for the game has to reflect that,” said The Escapist's review, which gave the game an 80.
If New Vegas had hit an 85, Obsidian would have gotten their bonus. And according to one person familiar with the situation who asked not to be named while speaking to Kotaku, that bonus was worth $1 million. For a team of 70 or so, that averages out to around $14,000 a person. Enough for a cheap car. Maybe a few mortgage payments.
Those sure were some costly bugs.
Another problem for developers: outlier scores. What happens when tons of people like a game, but for one or two reviewers, it just doesn’t click?
“The problem is the scale,” said Obsidian’s Urquhart. “There's an expectation that a good game is between 80 and 90. If a good game is between 80 and 90, and let's say an average game is gonna maybe get 50 scores, if you wanna hit that 85 and someone gives you a 35, that just took ten 90s down to 85... Just math-wise, how do you deal with that? Some guy who wants to make a name for himself can absolutely screw the numbers.”
There's plenty of more information in the article. Now do you Agree or Disagree?
Eador – Masters Of The Broken World
Erador Masters of the Broken World is a Strategy/RPG title from Snowbird. It's the sequel to the original Erador. RPS has a preview of this good game enjoy.
Eador: Masters of the Broken World will be released into our very own fractured realm later this month and I’ve spent a few hours with a preview copy and had many of my expectations defied. Is it more of a King’s Bounty than a hero’s swordsmanship and spell-biffing, or is it something entirely different? I’m still not entirely sure, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
The particular way in which Eador’s world is broken does not involve a history of imperialism, and a present of corporate colonialism and financial malfeasance. More accurately, I should say that it may well involve some of those things, but the bigger issue is one of total physical collapse. The place has done a magicsplode and is separated into shards, each now adrift in space and glittering like a jewel, presenting just the sort of challenge that demands the conquering attentions of some sort of strategic master of magic.
It’s a far more ambitious game than I expected going in and each part is appealing, but it’s also difficult to understand the thing in its entirety without more time at the table. The preview code isn’t complete (nor, I should add, does it represent the current state of the game this close to release), particularly in the campaign mode, and the biggest queries I have are to do with the progression through a full journey across the broken world. Will the sense of achievement be maintained as map after map is uncovered and controlled? Will there be a fitting sense of escalation as the other Masters are encountered and crushed? I’ll revisit as soon as all of the pieces are in place.
Remember Eador: Masters of the Broken World is out on April 19th. Preordering from Steam or GoG.com provides a copy of Eador: Genesis.
Friday - April 12, 2013
Brian Fargo - How to win at Kickstarter
Brian Fargo is interviewed at pcgamesn. He gives his opionion on how to make a successful kickstarter.
PCGN: Is it a challenge to sell a Kickstarter campaign on concept art alone? What's the worth of that artwork to you, as a developer?
BF: I like to start with the concept because there are no technical parameters, let’s just dial in the look that we have that really captures the feel of what we want to do. Then when we’ve done that we’ve set the bar really high and we can say, how do we get to that? And that drives us to push ourselves harder, and that’s how I’ve always done it. That’s why they can be meaningful when done properly.
PCGN: When you reboot these old IPs, fans often have diametrically opposed ideas about what they want the game to be. Is it a problem making sure most of your backers are satisified?
BF: Ahh, no problem at all. None! Well yeah, I mean, it’s sort of a yes and a no. You’re right, not only are you trying to build a product, you’re trying to build a product that’s often based upon their memory of what it was, and not even what it actually was. We all get fonder of things as time passes, so I recognise that we are competing with people’s memories of those games also. Not what they actually were.
The reason I have confidence is because our communication is much tighter than it’s ever been before. Back in the days when we worked on Wasteland or Fallout of Planescape: Torment, we would work on these games in a vaccum and then hope we nailed it. We’d realease it and keep our fingers crossed. Kickstarter is anything but that, we’re in this constant communication, showing them things and reacting and modifying and dialling it in. We have our own sensibilities too, we know what pillars we’re going to hit and those aren’t going to change, but they know what those are and we know what those are. It allows us a greater confidence that we’re delivering against a vision.
The other part of it is that we have an amazing writing staff on this team. It’s unbelievable, you know, we’ve got Colin McComb, Pat Rothfuss, Chris Avellone. It’s an amazing team of writers.
General News - Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara
Gamebanshee brings news of a RPG/Brawler Chronicles of Mystara Fighter.
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara brings reworkings of two of Capcom’s classic arcade hits - Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom and Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara – together in one definitive digital package for current generation platforms. Just as in the arcades, up to four players will select their character class before doing battle against the mythical beasts from the Dungeons and Dragons’ universe with a mix of melee, range and magic attacks.
General News - Agarest: Generations of War lands on Steam Greenlight
I know a small segment of watchers enjoy JSRPG's so bear with me. Agarest: Generations of War was released on the XBOX 360 last year. Now thanks to a studio called Ghostlight Ltd it's being ported to the pc with Steam Greenlight. It's there mission to bring more JRPG's to the pc worldwide.
At the dawn of time, the world of Agarest was plunged into a terrible war between the forces of good and evil. Entire races fought and died for their divine masters, ending in the total destruction of the world. The victorious Gods of light unified their defeated foes, creating a new world and sealing their broken bodies into an eternity of darkness.
With the ancient wars fading into distant memory, all have forgotten the evil slumbering beneath their feet, but the darkness remembers. It watches. It waits. The seal that held the evil for aeons is fading and war is again raging among the Kingdoms of Men.
Leonhardt, an officer in the Gridamas Army is disillusioned by the brutal war against the races of the Frontier. Coming across a young elven girl about to be killed by his men, Leonhardt betrays his own nation, selling his soul in an attempt to rescue her.
Now, Leonhardt must become the first to cross the continents since ancient times on a quest to defeat the forces of darkness and renew the seal. The dark road ahead is paved with betrayal, death and sacrifice, but the light of love and companionship will guide him on his journey.
• Choose the path of darkness or light through a truly epic story spanning 5 generations and featuring a massive 60+ hours of gameplay
• Battle hundreds of different creatures using an array of character abilities, in compelling and strategic turn-based combat
• Control the battlefield in the Extended Turn Battle System; position your team and link characters for awesome combo attacks and use your skills and items to destroy your enemies!
• Unite with your chosen heroine using the “soul breed” system and together shape the fate of the next generation of heroes
• Collect hundreds of items and weapons, and harness the power of alchemy to vastly improve equipment
• Build the ultimate army of warriors and master Extra Skills, Special Arts and Over Kills to defeat colossal enemies!
• Enjoy the vast selection of stunning cut scenes and unlock over 800 items in the in-game gallery
• Command your destiny as your actions and decisions lead you to discover the many different possible game endings. Which path to victory will you tread?
New for the PC Build
The PC version of Agarest: Generations Of War will be based on the North American Xbox 360 release and will feature Aksys Games’ excellent English text translation but will retain the original Japanese voice overs. The PC version will also feature both gamepad and keyboard/mouse support along with Steam Achievements and dozens of both free and purchasable downloadable items and additional content.
Friday - April 05, 2013
Lords of Xulima - Food and Resting
Lords of Xulima developers Numantian games have published a new post on their site about food and resting in RPGs, how it has been handled in games and how they plan to handle it.
Traditionally, characters in RPGs are healed by resting for a period of time, through the use of potions, spells or by requesting help at a temple or from priests or clerics. In many RPGs, like Wizardry or Baldur’s Gate, the only drawback to resting was that there was a possibility of being ambushed by enemies, but it was a matter of chance, so you could always just save your game and load it in case your rest was interrupted, so in practice, rest and recuperation were practically worry free.
We were inspired by Might & Magic VI and have adopted a similar mechanism. We have taken the idea a step further in order to adapt it to our game system. In Lords of Xulima, the fundamental component is Food Stocks. The food level is always displayed on the screen and lets you know how much time (in days, minutes and hours) of rest you can take before you run out of your food stocks.
How can your food stocks be used?
To recuperate all of your hit points and powers and to cure minor wounds, your party will need to rest for 8 hours. To cure the fatally wounded condition, they must rest for 24 hours. This will consume your food stocks if you rest in the wilderness, but not if you rest at an inn.
While your characters are traveling, time is passing and food stocks are being consumed. The rate at which they are consumed is affected by the type of terrain being traversed. For example, traveling through desert or snow consumes 5 times as much food as traveling over a grassy plain. An Explorer with the ability “Pathfinder” can reduce the rate of food consumed during travel. The more developed the ability the lower the rate will be. The exception to the traveling rule is that when your party is in a village or town no food will be consumed as they move.
- By certain actions:
For example, breaking a lock when you are out of picks takes time during which you consume food. The amount of time depends on the difficulty of the lock. Another example would be breaking through a barrier of ice, which could go a lot faster if only you had the right spell to melt the barrier instead.
- Other methods of consumption:
Some enemies, places and special situations can also cause you to use or lose food stocks.
Wednesday - March 27, 2013
Current Bundles including RPGs - Overview
Here's a brief overview of the current Indie bundles and their highlights:
Groupees Build a Bundle 5 - only 10 hours left:
- Nethergate: Resurrection (Spiderweb)
- Geneforge Saga (Spideweb)
- SpellForce Platinum (Phenomic)
- other notable game: Oddworld Abe's Oddysee + Exoddus
- Warlock - Master of the Arcane
- also notable: Europa Universalis 3 Chronicles
- Avadon: The Black Fortress
- No RPGs, but a strong selection of adventure games like Still Life 1 & 2 and Syberia 1 & 2
Tuesday - March 26, 2013
Sword of the Stars: The Pit - Impressions @ IndieStatik
IndieStatik has played Sword of the Stars: The Pit and share their impressions of the game.
At the end of the day, The Pit’s grand undoing is that it’s merely a fun, solid game in a genre where the competition is often completely free and of exceptional quality. Any praise is going to sound damningly weak when there are genre titans out there like TOME that aren’t asking for a penny in return. What we have here is a solid foundation that, if supported, could grow into a universally recommendable roguelike. At the moment, it’s merely a distraction – a slightly insubstantial snack between larger, more developed meals. That’s not to say that it’s a bad game by any means, just that I’m really hoping that Kerberos decide to expand The Pit over time, starting with their proposed addition of a Psionic class (even more System Shock 2 parallels?) and some new content to freshen up those samey rooms.
Thursday - March 21, 2013
Richard Garriott - Your Headline is Wrong
In order to deal with the backlash of the recent interview with PCGamer in which we learned that Lord British virtually never met a game designer that was any good, he comes with an explanation.
In it he explains that it is the press who has put his quotes out of context and they are an inaccurate representation of the intent of his full commentary.
Perhaps my statement that has been quoted so often in recent days could have been presented in a more eloquent fashion. But I stand by the point I was making, that game design is the hardest profession in our business to understand and to learn.
He also discusses again why game design is so hard to learn and that most people in game design are not good at it.
Sadly, I really do think that most people who get into design roles on a team have no more skills at design than the programmers and artists. They may not be worse, but they rarely have better training than theothers to tackle the hardest job of all, determining what game is going to be built.
Which in my opinion is the same thing as he said before, but nicer. However to be sure you should read the entire thing for the proper context.
Wednesday - March 20, 2013
Richard Garriott - Most Game Designers Suck!
Richard Garriott was interviewed by PCGamer about game design and game designers in the industry where he used statements like:
"I've met virtually no one...who I think is close to as good a game designer as I am."
"And every designer that I work with...I think, frankly, is lazy."
Fortunately this only applies to game designers Lord British actually met, so for those designers that have not met LB before you might still be good. However if you did meet him, you are lazy or suck... or both.
I'm sure he means to say it is just very hard to do well.
Besides that he also says some less controversial things.
So how does a good game designer work? Garriott went on, explaining the design process which started back with that high school writing assignment. Using a “four-dimensional spreadsheet,” Garriott says he records every character, location, and item in a game and blends them into the whole.
“OK, here’s some magic items, have I distributed them around enough?” Garriott asked himself, miming his process. “How do they migrate across the story? What is the journey of that item through the game?”
“I think it’s this discipline of how I break down storytelling—not just the story, but each region, each thread, each object, and I kind of do them all simultaneously. I kind of have a four-dimensional spreadsheet in this sense, even before there were ‘spreadsheets,’ that’s how I broke them down in the beginning.
Tuesday - March 19, 2013
Lords of Xulima - Death in Party Based RPGs
In a blog on the Lords of Xulima website death in party based RPGs is discussed including an explanation on how this is handled in the game.
The group DOES NOT automatically recover at the end of combat.
Every fight counts, every trap activated and every wound inflicted. Actions, of whatever type, should have consequences, good or bad. Every encounter should be engaging and meaningful and require strategy on the part of the player to obtain the best possible outcome.
If ALL characters die, the game is OVER!
This can happen in combat, through traps or if the party decided to try to walk through lava and didn’t make it…
There is no death and resurrection of individual characters
If a character loses all his hit points he remains in a state called “defeated” and his portrait will turn gray. This character can walk and talk, but cannot engage in combat or perform actions such as lock picking or spell casting, until their hit points have been restored to a positive number. The game is novel in this aspect; the characters can have negative hit points (up to their maximum value of hit points). So, it will be more costly to revive seriously damaged characters (it will require more spells, potions or rest).
Defeated characters will suffer penalties
When a character has lost all of their hit points they are then assigned the condition “Fatally Wounded”. Even when they recover their hit points through rest, magic or potions, they will suffer penalties to defense, combat speed, attacks and skill actions. The effects will last until the condition has been cured. To recover from this condition, characters need to rest for an entire day, drink a special potion or be cured by a grand cleric (the cleric may be part of the group or the party can use the services of a temple if they are able to provided sufficient donations)
The Player Decides…
In Lords of Xulima you will frequently have your characters fall defeated in combat or other dangerous situations, but that’s not the end of the game, far from it. The player has many options, like resting in the wilderness (a dangerous risk), seeking refuge in a town, curing party members with spells and potions, or continuing on with the survivors. Each player will be able to develop their own strategy. There may be many situations where characters being defeated is inevitable. You may decide to walk across lava to obtain an ancient artifact, or run through a poisonous cloud to escape a giant serpent, the choice is yours…the only thing truly fatal is losing all of your characters at once.
Tuesday - March 12, 2013
Deathfire - Guido Henkel's New Baby
After the cancelled Thorvalla kickstarter Guido Henkel started working on something else; a RPG going with the temporary title Deathfire. The game is being designed in Unity and besides Guido two other persons are working on this game. One of them is Marian Arnold who worked on Divine Divinity and Beyond Divinity and also did the artwork on the extensive strategy guide for Beyond Divinity of which I was one of the authors. The other is Thu-Lieu Pham who did the artwork for Thorvalla.
There is not much info on the game, but we will likely see more in the near future.
I’ve decided from the outset that I will be using Unity3D for the game. As you can tell from previous posts and some of my tweets, I have become a big Unity fan, as it puts all the right development tools at my disposal at a price point and level of quality that is unbeatable. The package has not let me down once so far – though I would like to say that 3D object import could be improved quite a bit.
Deathfire is using a first-person 3D role-playing environment, and I am glad that we can rely on the muscle of Unity to make sure that we do not have to limit ourselves because the technology can’t keep up. Unity may not be a bleeding edge engine, but it can sure play ball with the best of them, and the fact that it is so incredibly well thought-through, makes developing with Unity a lot of fun. More importantly, we can focus on creating the game, instead of the technology to run it on.
I know, you may have a lot of questions now, about the game. What, when, where, how… I’ll get to all that some time later down the line. For now, however, I simply want you to let the info sink in, and hopefully you’ll be as excited as we are. Visit this blog regularly. I plan on sharing more of Deathfire with you as time goes on. In fact, after some deliberation, I’ve decided that I will cover the development process like a production diary of sorts, right here on my blog. And also, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@GuidoHenkel) for a constant vibe-meter as to what I am up to.
Source: RPG Codex
Monday - March 11, 2013
Sword of the Stars: The Pit - Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee has a rather positive review of the roguelike Sword of the Stars: The Pit.
The Pit gives you three character classes: Marine, Scout and Engineer, which roughly equate to fighter, rogue and mage archetypes were this a fantasy title. Each class starts out with different attribute and skill distributions, and they also have unique starting equipment. Ergo, the Marine is brawnier than the others, but also dumber, has combat-focused skills, and starts out with an assault rifle and several grenades; the Engineer is the polar opposite, carrying minimal weaponry to start, but making up for it with more computer hacking tools, repair devices, and a skill distribution favoring brains and working with technology; the Scout sits somewhere in between and could be described as a sharpshooter with survival training.
The Pit doesn't have the most extensive list of attributes and skills compared to some other games in its genre, but it has more than enough to get the job done. The three core attributes are Might, Brains and Finesse - Might affects your hit points, food consumption, resistance to poison, inventory carrying capacity, etc.; Brains affects most non-combat skills, makes you more resistant to mental status effects such as confusion, etc.; and Finesse deals with coordination-based skills (weapon accuracy, trap detection and disarming) as well as countering status effects like blindness. When you level up, you're able to distribute points to increase these, but you won't get so many points that you'll be able to make up for your character's weaknesses entirely, and you may stunt your growth if you try to do so.
Sunday - March 10, 2013
Dungeon Gate - Demo Available
On the Greenlight page of Dungeon Gate the news can be found that a demo of the game is now available. In case you, like me, don't know what this game is about, maybe this description and video helps.
*** Play with more than 30 characters ***
*** Drain the DNA of any creatures in the world, play and upgrade it ***
RPG/Adventure with more than 30 characters to upgrade
Huge open world to explore + 5 Dungeons with traps, puzzles and challengig fights
30 characters to drain, play with and upgrade and more
30 customizable levels per character
25 hours of gameplay and more
PC and Mac
Concept Game :
RPG Dungeon Gate is different. You can not equip your character. You must drain the DNA of creatures to use their equipment, power or capacity.
Why do you shapeshift? Because it will take you deep in the game. You're too weak to fight or you want infiltrate an enemy camp, drain the DNA of one of them and you turn them. Beings too tall to access a passage, drain the DNA of a small creature to pass. You must transform into different creatures through the adventure. You can drain the DNA of all living things in the game, even dungeon bosses.
Open World, you can walk as you want in a large valley, visiting several houses and villages. You will pass through five dungeons in the game dungeons with five different environments and different gameplay.
List of some possible transformation :
- Giant Spider
- Giant Scarab
- Dark Guardian
- Cassius Robot
Once Upon a time…
The story takes place in the besieged world of Barrilian, which is being devastated by the dragon hordes. In small village, pillaged and left to burn, not one soul was spared except for two babies; one recovered by the dragons and the other by a mysterious mage…
20 years later, a vicious tyrant has taken over the people of Barrilian, forcing them into slavery by using the influence he has over the dragons. By making the people extract precious stones from mines which enhance his magical skills, the citizens are unwillingly witnessing the gain of magical strength in the dictator.
A young man named Dysan will perhaps change everything…
Friday - March 08, 2013
Dark - Preview @ Strategy Informer
A preview of the 'vampire stealth game with some RPG in it' Dark can be found at Strategy Informer.
Dark is very much a back-to-basics game, and the developers have tried very hard to recapture the ‘root’ of the stealth game. Despite my previous protestations, the cell-shaded look combines with the comic-book style perfectly, presenting the player with a highly stylised world that’s not boring. As for the stealth part – it’s all down to you. There are no guns for Eric Bane (protagonist, voiced by Geralt of Rivera) to use, no weapons... you simply have to use your natural strength and guile, as well as the array of Vampire abilities you can unlock over time. Vampire abilities range from doing a shadow leap – going from one spot another instantaneously, to Vampire vision so you can scout out the area. Abilities require blood points to use, which you can get by feeding on moral enemies as we’ve just mentioned. A standardised RPG system allows you to level up and develop, and offers some flexibility in terms of what route you take.
Wednesday - March 06, 2013
Lords of Xulima - Pre-Made vs. Custom Characters
The Lords of Xulima blog has been updated with the characters in Lords of Xulima and how they are created.
When originally conceived, all 6 of the characters were completely pre-made and each had its own personality. Conversations were written for the characters and they had dialogs that were at times intense and dramatic and sometimes touching. The characters were written to evolve throughout the story. Personally, I can’t recall another game where this has been carried out to such an extreme. The characters truly came to life and communicated their emotions.
However, I felt this was betraying the spirit of the old school. I think a fundamental aspect of these games is the way they allow the player to create their own characters in a fashion that I think is lost in many modern games. So with this in mind I decided to do away with the original narrative direction for the characters and take out the conversations and feelings that had been included with the pre-made party.
Saturday - March 02, 2013
Lord British - Countdown
Lord British Presents is a countdown teaser with a little under 6 days to go as I write until...? Based on various comments he has made over time, this will be some sort of social MP game but I know some readers will want to watch. Here's a tweeted image to whet your appetites:
Source: Blues News
Dark - Trailer
Kalypso has released a trailer for their upcoming vampire stealth/action/RPG, Dark:
Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Wednesday - February 27, 2013
The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death - Introduction to Two NPCs
Information on two party members that can be part of your party in The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death found its way to our mailbox.
This small, slippery halfling has become part of the Saviors group by the highest merits - merits according to the Half-Ssized cultural and military standards of course- Being such land the most peaceful of the Gléah Lands, the mentioned standards are things as peculiar as being able to swallow as many mapplepies per hour as possible, running with one single foot during four miles without halting to rest and also disappearing from the audience without using magic, even any halfling would love to learn some magic tricks.
No matter if this race abhors killing animals to feed their bodies, they are not so forgiving when it’s about perpetrating such ominous deed against orks sneaking near the shores of their Islands -even they would not dare to eat such evil flesh!-. Barton has outperformed the vast majority of requirements to be considered amongst the citizens as the Ork Scourge.
Few is known about Barton's past. Only his father's death by an Ork axe explains his uncontrollable hatred towards the halflings natural enemies.
"Barton, from the Half-Sized Islands, also known as the Ork Scourge. You avenged your father long time ago, but your heart hasn't yet found peace..."
The members of the Elven Council at Oniria have appointed this slender, sculptural elf to join the Saviors on his quest. This last minute decision of the Council to join forces with the Gilgegard Empire obeys to the bidding of a former loyal Alliance, when humans and elves fought side by side against the Agaroth Hordes. Leindal is captain of the Moonless Night Wizards, an army that alone retrieved the cities of Mayreia, Adlaeiht, and Galinh in only seven days without any support units.
A fact not known to many, when Leindal was yet a child under the Order of the Divine Cosmic Triad, he took the bow of not killing any life form...
Even his bravery and imperturbable attitude during the battle, some say that he never sleeps at night as penitence for having broken his early childhood oath. The Moonless Night banner actually symbolizes the inner state of those wizards whose destiny is to live under the recurrent grief for past deeds while at the same trying to assist others in need to bring peace to their lives.
"And you are Leindal, Captain of the Moonless Night Wizards. Your brotherhood is not allowed to kill any living form. You know what you expose to on this mission, things can only get worse for you..."
Monday - February 25, 2013
Telepath Tactics - February Update
Craig Stern informed us of the February update for Telepath Tactics, the indie tactical RPG with mod support and local multiplayer that he is developing, which offers amongst others this:
- New title screen art!
- New music!
- New attack animations!
- The map editor now has a built-in dialog editor for crafting your own dialog trees!
- New dialog scripting capabilities!
- The ability to freeze water and form destructible ice bridges!
- An improved interface!
Furthermore Telepath Tactics is going to be in The Indie MegaBooth at PAX East, which should give the game more press coverage.
And finally he will Kickstart the game again in mid-March using a different strategy and synchronizing it with PAX East and an updated alpha demo to have a better chance in succeeding.
Friday - February 22, 2013
Egosoft Open Letter to the Community about X on Steam, Linux, etc.
Egosoft's managing director Bernd Lehan posted an open letter to the community in their forums. He talks in open and precise language about their policy regarding Steam, long term support, a non-Steam .exe for X3: Albion Prelude (already available!), Linux & Mac conversions, Steam's Big Picture Mode and Egosoft's business strategy.
Here's a quote:
Steam Play (Linux and Mac):
Today when we talk of "PC Games", we no longer ONLY mean Windows. For some time already, both Mac OS and Linux have become valid alternatives. External partners ported our games over to MAC and Linux and sold them as a new product, sometimes for a different price. Unfortunately these externally developed ports had a number of problems for us as a developer as well as for our customers:
For the customer: Should you ever switch to a different operating system and want to continue playing our games, you had to buy the game again.
For the developer: Since the porting is not based on a single set of source code, it gets increasingly expensive to develop updates for all platforms.
Steam's solution to this problem is quite radical and customer-friendly. Steam encourages all developers to turn their titles into so-called "Steamplay" games, where versions for all operating systems are part of just one product. You buy it once and you can play it on all operating systems that the developer supports. This even works if you bought a game for windows in the past and the developer adds support for another operating system later.
Announcement 1: Steam play: X3 games on Linux and Mac
EGOSOFT is currently working on porting all X3 games (X3: Reunion, X3: Terran Conflict and X3: Albion Prelude) natively to both Linux and Mac OS. There will be a transition period in which we phase out the older ports by 3rd parties, but our goal is to make all three versions available under "Steamplay" for all customers. This means that everybody who owns a Windows license on Steam will automatically own all three versions!
German equivalent found via GamersGlobal.
Thursday - February 21, 2013
The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death - Introduction to Combat
More detailed information on combat in The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death was delivered to our mailbox:
The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death will showcase a turn-based combat system, where the player can select his party members on each turn and perform movements, attacks, or many other feats against his enemies.
Turn-based combats are an essential element in TDT:DD. When a combat starts, the player will be able to choose the degree of strategy or action desired and also define, if he wishes, the speed, difficulty or other options to adjust the combat to his personal preferences.
Tactical elements during the combat
Besides normal attacks, one important element during the combat is what can be done during the current turn in order to improve the attack on the next turn (a kind of piling up effect). Analyzing the emerging gameplay of this element, we realized that it added interest to the combat dynamics. This ‘accumulating powe'r feature will enhance attack and defense on later turns, and thus will add an important tactical component. This won't only influence the result of the current turn but also the new mecanichs and rules that will emerge along with it during the rest of the fight. For example, you can choose a skill boost for the next turn. This implies concentrating and therefore losing the current turn. So you lose this character's outcome on the current turn but gain an extra bonus for the next one ... but everything has a price, and we will talk about it in another update (Chaos Factor)
Skills & Specializations
The importance of skills and spells in TDT:DD is crucial. We could say that we've created a system so focused on the skills, that each one of them has an essential role in the value of a class.
Each skill have its own specializations, so you can create hundreds of combinations and be able to build very many different and interesting models of the same class to play with. For example, we have a Blue Mage that specializes in healing and summoning clones of himself, one of the strongest abilities in the game. He can also focus on damage over time (DOT), draining life from enemies. Or maybe he'll can become an expert in crowd control (teleportation of friends and enemies in the battlefield, etc ...). All this is possible because each of these skills are associated with specializations. This interwoven links allow to create a great web of relationships within the same skill.
Our goal with combat
Our primary goal with turn-based combat is immersion and fun. We know there are players who prefer to stop for a moment and enjoy a good tactical component. We know there are other players who prefer to play more aggressive and fast, without halting to consider those tactical aspects. We've tried to find a balance and give players the best of both worlds without mixing both playstyles.
We want TDT:DD turn-based combat to make a difference gameplay and engagement-wise. The level of risk will be largely determined by the player himself and above all, by the great variety of encounters and enemies. We are working on a formula so there can be huge battles in which the player -through an appropriate mix of party-member skills and risk factor) can effect devastating attacks and wreak havok among the enemies.In future updates I'll talk about more aspects of the combat, IA, encounters with enemies, skills, spells and much more.
Sony Announces Playstation 4
Sony announced the PS4 for Christmas this year at a huge event last night. You can find the official PR on every other website. We'll give you a brief summary instead:
- The PS4 is basically a mid-price PC with an 8 core AMD CPU, 8 GB RAM, a mainstream AMD graphics chip and a Blu-Ray ROM drive.
- It will allow streaming of game content with the simple press of a button.
- All the internet stuff and social media crap no one needs is supported.
- Every publisher except MS supports the PS4 and thinks it's the bestest thing evar ... or at least until MS announces the XBox 720.
- Used games can be played! Sony will not force the user to lock them to his account.
Wednesday - February 20, 2013
Lords of Xulima - Announcement of A 2D RPG
Numantian Games send us word of their first video game, currently in development called Lords of Xulima. It is an isometric, turn-based, single-player 2D role-playing game and according to them features a challenging vast world where the player has to command and create a six characters party in an epic story between gods and men. Also:
It is a game inspired in old-schools classics like Ultima, Might and Magic, Wizardry (epic story and turn based combat), with some touches of Heroes of Might and Magic (like the exterior map view and static guardian monsters) and even Final Fantasy X (with dynamic queue of turns in combat).
You can find more information at:
And support them with your vote in their Steam Greenlight campaing.
Very soon, a blog will start about the development and RPGs mechanisms in general.
And here is the trailer:
Tuesday - February 19, 2013
General News - The Use of Previews
In an editorial on Gamasutra the question what a preview of a game is for is asked. The intro describes things nicely:
The traditional game preview event is a no-win situation. On one hand, it's interesting to get an early look at what a studio's been up to, hear them talk about their goals, see some examples of the work in progress. On the other hand, the process is so tightly-controlled that the only possible outcome is usually that we, the press, dutifully hand forward to our audience only what a company wants them to see.
What can one learn about a long-form, interactive product from standing at a plush, crowded display for prescribed minutes, directed through a sequence by a "helpful" marketing professional? That's when we are allowed to touch it at all, which is rare.
The consumer press watches theoretical gameplay segments that have been carefully prepared for the preview day. These demonstrations are bookended by one-sided conversations: An executive proffers canned statements, lists the names of writing talent intended to engender our confidence, sketches out the promise -- and it's our job to convey that promise to our readership. Often we do this without asking questions. Often we are only allowed to ask so many.
The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death - Pre-Kickstarter Campaign
In a month from now The Dark Triad: Dragon's Death should be launched on Kickstarter. because of that the devs have moved the game to the main section of Greenlight.
At the moment there is no gameplay yet to be seen so this appears to be a quite early move, but this is their reasoning behind it:
Why we did it this move so early when we can't show a gameplay demo yet? That's because in a month, mid-March, we'll launch a Kickstarter campaign so rpg gamers can help us to continue with the development of the game, and want to generate a bit of awareness.
That would also be the time a basic gameplay video is available. The name has been changed as well from Akhazal Quest to Dragon's Death.
For more information you can also visit their website.
Monday - February 18, 2013
Groupees BMA Bundle Includes Eschalon 2 and Two Worlds 2
The current Groupees Be Mine Anniversary bundle includes two games we cover: Escalon Book 2 and Two Worlds 2. Bonus is, amongst others, the Two Worlds 2 sound track composed by our forum member Glorian.
Minimum is $1, the whole thing costs at least $5.
The Kickstarter Promise @GamersGlobal
German site GamersGlobal published a thorough article explaining the results of the author's study of a huge sample of all gaming Kickstarters so far, including all 114 finished in January 2013. The piece includes detailed numbers and many conclusions, and deals with topics like risk, PayPal and star power.
Here's a random German quote. If you are a developer who considers to run a Kickstarter campaign, feeding the whole article into Babel Fish will save you days of research.
In der Gaming-Landschaft hat sich Kickstarter mittlerweile als feste Größe etabliert. Doch durch die Natur der Sache – unterstützt werden Spiele, die dann in der Regel allermindestens ein Jahr brauchen, um entwickelt zu werden – lässt sich noch gar nicht abschätzen, ob die Hype-Plattform auch zu spielenswerten Titeln führt. Kein einziges VIP-Projekt ist bislang erschienen (Giana Sisters war, wie geschrieben, bei Kampagnenstart bereits weitgehend fertig). Und das Beispiel Code Hero dürfte nur das erste bekannte von mehreren ins Schlingern geratenen Projekten sein. Denn wenn einem per Kickstarter finanzierten Projekt das Geld ausgeht, ist eben kein Publisher im Hintergrund, der im Notfall bereit ist, weiteres Geld zuzuschießen (das er sich dann später ja wiederholt). Dann ist im Zweifel nichts mehr da, und die von tausenden Spielefans gezahlten Dollar führen entweder zu einem vorschnell herausgehauenen, enttäuschenden Spiel – oder im schlimmsten Fall zu gar nichts. In den letzten Monaten scheint uns zudem die Masse nicht sonderlich interessanter Kleinprojekte zuzunehmen.
Thursday - February 14, 2013
Ravensdale - Interview @ Gamers.de
Once there was Spellbound Studios who worked on ArcaniA and on Ravensdale. ArcaniA was released and we all know how that went. With the insolvency of Spellbound the RPG Ravensdale was thought to be lost, however now there is Black Forest Games, founded by people from Spellbound studios who are continuing development on the game.
However the game went from a first-person action RPG to a multi-player, tactical heavy survival and conquer game in an Over-the-Top-Petrol-Punk-Setting as Steam-Punk apparently didn't really went down well with publishers.
In any case it is no longer an RPG, so I won't be following this and just mention it because it once was.
Monday - February 11, 2013
The Future of RPGS - - According to Urquhart and Muzyka
Eurogamer has a summary of a DICE 2013 talk from Feargus Urquhart and Ray Muzyka on "the next step for RPGs". Apparently social aspects will be even more important in the future:
"You could imagine online gameplay modes in the future that could work with a single-player game, like ghosting or seeing other players' characters - being able to play with other players' characters in an asynchronous multiplayer mode - or seeing achievements," he said.
"We've had ideas at Obsidian from the standpoint of why can't you share your world map with your friends?" Urquhart remarked. "If there's different ways to play the game, good and evil, why can't you look at how your friend is doing the quests, how the world is doing the quest - how are people in America or Europe... What's the ebb and flow of that?
"We always thought it would be really interesting to - instead of having to go to a website or having to go somewhere else, it's actually in the game," he added. "I can go into the game and look at my friend's characters and then see the trinkets, see the weapons and get information about where they got that.
"It's almost like putting the water cooler into the game."
Friday - February 08, 2013
Van Helsing - How monsters are born
Neocore has a blog post and some concept art on the development of monsters in Van Helsing:
A monster has several "parents" because every phase in the creating process belongs to another person.
Conception: First of all the narrative designer and the producer discuss with the concept artist what kind of characters the game needs. The monsters must be suitable to the game's universe and be skillful in the battles.
Modeling: Modeling is about creating a 3D model from a drawing. In the gallery below you can see more raw figures, still without textures. It's quite similar to making plasticine sculptures.
Texturing: Monster texturing is the very best job in the world because it's exciting and amusing! (In my opinion.) The monsters can be disgustingly slimy or cankerous or scaly or luminous, so there are several variations. The little details make lovely a character.
Animation: It's not difficult to make a monster move. But to make it move with life and spirit is a more complicated task. The unique movements give unique personality to each character.
Voice recording: There is still something missing for the perfect production. The voices! The sound designer records the voices in our own sound studio mostly with professional voice actors or sometimes with a team member. Grumbling, rattling, yowling or barking....everybody is good at something. :)
Wednesday - February 06, 2013
Age of Wonders 3 - Announced by Triumph
After a number of teases, Triumph Studios has finally unveiled Age of Wonders 3, which is scheduled to be released Autumn 2013. From Eurogamer:
Dutch studio Triumph (Overlord) is bringing the Age of Wonders strategy RPG series back to life with Age of Wonders 3.
Triumph co-created the series with Epic Games in 1999. The last instalment in the series was Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic in 2002.
Triumph is targeting an autumn 2013 release for Age of Wonders 3 on PC, but won't force it if it's not ready. There are plans for a Mac version - maybe even to launch simultaneously - but these aren't set in stone. Later on, a tablet version may appear.
It's not a Kickstarter project - work began in 2010 before the Kickstarter boom - and it doesn't have a new-age business model. Age of Wonders 3 has high production values and will be sold on Steam and Good old Games and in boxes in regions where that's appropriate.
Thanks, komandos1983! Screens and a trailer are available at the Eurogamer link.
Thursday - January 31, 2013
Dungeon Gate - February Release for UK
I can't actually remember if we've covered ths before but German publisher UIG sends word that Dungeon Gate will launch in the UK in February - presumably other territories will be a similar time:
UIG Entertainment announce UK release of Dungeon Gate
Step forth to save the world of Barrilian in February 2013
Munich, Germany –January 30th 2013; Established German publisher, UIG Entertainment have today announced Dungeon Gate, a fantasy role-playing game for PC releasing in the UK in February 2013.
Set in the desolated and vast world of Barrilian, the once prosperous land has been destroyed and left in ruin by dragon hordes years previously. Now, Barrilian’s people remain enslaved by a vicious sorcerer, yielding his influence over the dragons to impose his absolute rule. The population are forced to work in the enchanted stone mines, extracting the very minerals that enhance their oppressor’s magical powers and increase his hold over them. Amid the despair steps forth a young unlikely hero named Dysan whose destiny may change everything.
Explore this expansive and beautifully crafted game world, packed with diverse quests, over 40 characters and an enthralling storyline, delivering a compelling Role-Playing Game experience for fans of the genre and newcomers alike. Dungeon Gate will be available Q1 2013 on PC.
You can check out an old, awful trailer here.
Wednesday - January 30, 2013
General News - Voting with your Wallet
In an editorial on Rock, Paper, Shotgun the concept of 'voting with your wallet' is explored taking the recent demise of THQ and potenitally future demise of Gas Powered Games as carriers for the story talking about the downside of it.
It’s never easy to say goodbye.
Sometimes, though, acceptance comes quickly. All good things must come to an end, after all. But watching THQ go from slow tailspin into inescapable nosedive last week just left me with this wretched knot in my gut. It felt equal parts unreal and all wrong. I mean, here was this fixture of the gaming industry responsible – especially in recent years – for some games I legitimately fell in love with (oh Metro 2033, Red Faction: Guerrilla, and Saints Row: The Third, let me count the ways) crashing and burning. And I was powerless to do anything about it. So I just looked on from the sidelines as a vulture storm of other publishers lapped up the remains.
Here’s the thing, though: much as it tears me up to see super talented heads roll, the part that really bothered me concerned THQ as an organization. Because ultimately, it did a whole, whole, whole lot of things right. Or at least, its publishing choices were correct by our traditional, gamerly views of correctness. I mean, the Activisions of the world steer clear of risk and novelty with the cold, calculated expertise of a professional figure skater. An evil figure skater. But while THQ certainly wasn’t innocent of dipping its bucket into a well of stagnation (hi, Homefront), it certainly did its fair share of rolling the dice. Metro 2033 was a shot in the dark, Saints Row evolved into a gloriously unique rainbow cocaine explosion of pure madness, reviving Company of Heroes in a climate where RTSes are (depressingly) near-dead financially may have been madness, etc.
But it died. It died horribly, a fact that can mainly be chalked up to one awful business decision. Kid-friendly doodle peripheral uDraw failed miserably on Xbox 360 and PS3, and – for a company that needed a boost while the digital era forced everyone out of their comfort zones – it was the beginning of the end.
General News - Best of 2012 @ RPGamer
Xenoblade Chronicles is a massive game. Hearing gamers talk about spending over a hundred hours playing it is somewhat intimidating and might even scare some away, but whatever you do don't let it. Xenoblade is a fantastic experience filled with dynamic and loveable characters, a gigantic world to explore, a story full of twists and turns, and a real-time battle system to tie everything together. And it's worth every minute you spend with it. Those first few hours might be overwhelming with all of the quests that get thrown at you and trying to figure out how best to juggle skills in combat, but once you get your head wrapped around Xenoblade's depth, there is so much there, and it's all wonderful.
What's incredible is how close North America came to never getting Xenoblade Chronicles. It was first revealed quietly in 2009 via a trailer tossed into an E3 press kit with no further details. Shortly thereafter, it was renamed from Monado: The Beginning of the World to Xenoblade in Japan where it was finally released in 2010. After much debate on whether the game would ever see an English release, Nintendo of Europe stepped up and localized the game in 2011. Many North American RPGamers imported the UK version, a fan campaign began petitioning Nintendo of America to release the game, and eventually everything fell into place early in 2012 when NoA launched Xenoblade to a limited retail release.
While the game has a few issues, especially the clumsy UI, there is just so much it does right that it's hard to complain. The world is huge and you get rewarded in experience points simply for exploring and finding new areas. Quests are often streamlined where once you find all the items someone sent you out into the wilderness to hunt down, you automatically obtain your quest reward on the spot without having to backtrack. But if you ever want to travel back to a prior location, you only need to bring up the map and select any prior landmark and you're there. Not to mention you can save anywhere, which is nothing new to the Western RPG world, but is more the exception than the norm for Japanese-developed RPGs. All of these things combine to create a masterful experience that takes the top spot as RPGamer's RPG of the Year for 2012.
Second place is this year goes in a slightly different direction. Borderlands, while a visually impressive and solid quest-oriented first-person-shooter, was not without some issues. This grandiose title featured a clunky inventory system, predictable AI, and a story so thin that it raised more eyebrows than questions. Thankfully, Borderlands 2 manages to improve nearly all of the negatives that were holding the original sandbox shooter back while retaining the fun multiplayer-oriented nature and violence that brought it notoriety in the first place. Not much has actually changed about Pandora itself, but with the Vault now open the story has a chance to take center stage. Player characters, antagonists, and NPCs now feature robust personalities, and the level of humor for everything from minor quests to Achievements has been cranked to the max. Additional players mean more loot and more fun, new guns mean cooler UIs and more impressive kills, and of course Claptrap makes a grand return. This is one sequel that manages to do everything a sequel should.
In a year with a number of epic-length console contenders, who would have guessed that this little DS crossover strategy title would land in the top three? The wide appeal and easy accessibility of Pokémon Conquest led it to rate highly amongst the RPGamer staff. Pokémon fans found Conquest to be a fresh take on the series, while Nobunaga's Ambition fans appreciated the lighthearted take on their favourite characters. The addictive combination of quick battles and a huge amount of content led to many, many staff hours being poured into Pokémon Conquest. Activity Log doesn't lie, man.
This reminds me I have to upload the articles from our GOTY contest.
Friday - January 25, 2013
General News - Complexity of Designing a RPG
On Gamasutra Jordane Thiboust discusses what makes it so complex to create a RPG with the right user experience.
The RPG genre is a complex one. I've always known this, but I never realized just how much until recently. Beyond the complexity of the mechanics, the multiple systems, and the narrative, I noticed that what makes the RPG genre complex is focusing on, and nailing, the player experience.
I really started noticing this during the pre-production of a project I was working on. A lot of feedback or suggestions would be misguided because of the misconception that whatever was brought to our my attention was "RPG stuff."
The reason behind this is that the term "RPG" is used to describe lots of games, and it is easy to overlook the fact that some of those games have a completely different goal for their player experience. That's the hardest part; narrowing down that experience, asking yourself "What will drive the player for 30-plus hours?" and sticking to it... Instead of simply adding every RPG feature that you can think of.
For that reason, I found out that it is extremely important to subdivide the RPG genre by the experience of each subgenre and focus on, and then clearly decide, which of those subgenres you are aiming for.
Thursday - January 24, 2013
Upcoming RPGs of 2013 - @ RPG Site
Bob points out RPG Site's Upcoming RPGs of 2013, with a mix of western and jRPG choices:
Mistborn (PC, Mac, 360, PS3)
Release Date: Fall 2013
Developer: Little Orbit
Synopsis: Based on the series of popular fantasy novels by author Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn is set several hundreds of years before the first book. In a dark and dangerous world dominated by the immortal demon Lord Ruler, there are a select number of individuals who can use powerful magic known as Allomancy. This rule-based ability grants users to temporarily enhance their physical and mental capabilities by ingesting and “burning” pieces of metal. Those who are only able to burn a single metal are called Mistings, and those that can burn all metals are called Mistborn, the most powerful of their class. Fendin “Fiddle” Fathvell is a pretentious young nobleman who after realizing he himself possessed the powers of Allomancy must master them before a foreboding force destroys his family.
Worth Noting: Brandon Sanderson is already an accomplished author who not only penned the entire series of novels and will be doing the writing on Mistborn, but who also worked on Infinity Blade II and Infinity Blade: Awakening. He also took over for Robert Jordan after his passing to finish the wildly popular Wheel of Time series. Little Orbit may have very little experience as a game developer in the industry having only worked on a handful of titles few have ever heard about, but it will be interesting to see what they can come up with on a bigger budget.
Wednesday - January 23, 2013
General News - A Recipe for Dungeon Crawlers
In a blog post on Dungeon Crawlers the recipe for making them work is given. So if you ever wondered how that is done, check it out.
This is my dissection of the game genre and what in my point of view are the pillars of what makes a dungeon crawler a great dungeon crawler.
1. Well Defined Goal
Since the beginning that the player needs to know the reason of his quest. Of course there will be numerous loot and monsters to slay, but there needs to be a main purpose that will drive the player during the entire game. Generally, the reason for the quest is one of the three “R’s”: Revenge, Retrieval and Rescue. Look back to all the dungeon crawlers you played in the past, and you will see that in some sort of shape and form they adhere to the three “R’s” rule.
The environment needs to be consistent across all levels, in order to not break player immersion. If you are creating a medieval/fantasy game, do not throw to the mix cultural references from other ages. Do not mix medieval with Renaissance or Victorian and vice-versa. Keep a unifying theme that is believable for the player, because if you break that consistency you may well be ruining the players play experience.
3. Over-Arching Goal
In order to establish the setting for the game, it’s extremely important that there is a common link across all the enemies that the player will find in the game. They may all come from the same region in the world, or they may all be minions of the same master villain. What is important is that there is a common, unifying theme for the enemies, which blends with the world lore.
4. Traps & Puzzles Galore
A dungeon crawler is not a dungeon crawler if you don’t find traps and puzzles everywhere. Besides adding tension and challenge for players, they are also great reward mechanisms. When the player spends time trying to figure out how to avoid an encounter with a creature, and then he is able to successfully circumvent that encounter… That is a great moment. The player will feel he is incredibly smart, and the adrenalin boost will provide him with more excitement than if he had confronted the creature directly.
When designing a dungeon crawler, you can never leave space for the players to breath. They must be constantly faced with new challenges (walking through empty labyrinths without nothing to do is not that exciting, don’t you agree?). Whether they are enemy encounters, traps or puzzles, keep the flow of content quick. Design it so that when the player finishes one problem, he is almost instantly introduced to a new one. Keep the players on the edge of their seat.
General News - Good Violence in Games
In the never ending discussion on violence in games, Gamasutra weighs in with an editorial on 5 approaches to have 'good' violence in video games.
When, from a design standpoint, does violence "work"?
When it's necessary to the narrative. Some of the moments in games that are most widely remembered and appreciated involve acts of violence, like the plot climax of BioShock or the end of Metal Gear Solid 3 -- cases where the player is asked or forced to execute a death in a way that enhances the story.
When an act of violence is a crucial part of a game's story (assuming the story's well-established), the player naturally takes ownership of the action and its implications. That sense of agency is supposed to be one of the strengths of interactive entertainment, so it makes sense to be judicious with it.
Giving players the opportunity to perform any action in a very specific and intentional context virtually requires players to think about what they're doing and be engaged.
Tuesday - January 22, 2013
Van Helsing - What is the senior programmer up to?
The Neocore devblog has a new entry on the work of the senior game programmer, for those following this hack'n'slasher:
Robi created the objects that we use in the game, so it is his responsibility to deal with the appearance and the functionality of everything that you will be interacting with in the game world, when you destroy chests, interact with NPCs, open doors and switch between levels.
The functionality of the quests is his responsibility as well, mostly coding the conditions required to accomplish these tasks or writing special scripts and developing the quest interfaces.
Sometimes he helps out with the programming of the behaviour patterns that some monsters use, like the retreating tactic of the ranged fighters or the use of the resurrection skill that the necromancer-like Pale Gentlemen use, or the tactics of the cannon-wielding huge frog we call Batrachiantaur. Later this list will expand with even more interesting activities.
Robi spent a lot of time working on the physics as well, using the opportunities provided by the PhysX. This game has to be more realistic than our previous titles. He upgraded the editor into a more detailed version, so now each creature has a unique physical model in the game. Check out the result of his hard work, the really cool dance movements from our esteemed Pale Gentleman.
Thursday - January 17, 2013
Nyrthos - Demo Coming Soon
If you recall Nyrthos, the browser-based RPG with lovely 2D art, it seems the demo is very close according to this tweet:
Nyrthos demo hopefully next week! Get ready and check out Nyrthos on Facebook for more info.
Friday - January 04, 2013
Van Helsing - What is "Weird Science"?
Neocore writes about the setting for Van Helsing, saying it isn't really Steampunk but "weird science":
"The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing" is set in the majestic town of Borgova, where soot covers the walls and giant machines rumble in the dark. It is a city of old brick, grey slate, ugly factories and cast-iron walkways.
It all sounds very much like a steampunk setting, doesn’t it? Well, the artwork of Borgova certainly incorporates some steampunk elements, but it is far from being a proper steampunk setting. Firstly, steampunk is a concept deeply rooted in Victorian society and technology, which is very far away from our game world. And secondly, we don’t really have magnificent, larger-than-life steam engines in the game.
What we have instead is weird science. And by weird science we mean proper Mad Scientist stuff, with lightning rods, sparkles, bubbling vats, strange devices and someone in a lab coat, cackling madly in the shadows.
The truth is that Borgova is the playground for all your favorite gothic villains, the mad scientists. And they just love to dabble into all sorts of obscure fields: electricity and clockwork and steam and things that never existed, like phlogiston, the highly flammable element that was supposed to be contained within combustible bodies, making them burn.
Or think of the fantastic devices of Nikola Tesla (who was not a mad scientist, by the way, but he was indeed brilliant). By the way, did you know that Nikola Tesla spent a couple of months in Budapest and worked for a telegraph company? Considering that Budapest is where the headquarters of NeocoreGames are located and it also serves as a constant inspiration to create parts of Borgova, it’s a nice connection.
Wednesday - January 02, 2013
The Best PC Games of 2013 - @ PC Gamer
PC Gamer has kicked up a lengthy Best PC Games of 2013 article. Here's the RPG page, which is more a collection of everything they could think of than specifically the "best", but there are some interesting low-profile titles in the list. Some of the dates are definitely rubbery, so I'd wouldn't pay much attention to that.
Publisher: Harebrained Schemes
Lifting fantasy cliche out of the medieval era, Shadowrun sends its dwarves, elves, trolls and dragons hurtling into a cyberpunk future. However, the version of Shadowrun that made its way to PC in 2007 was hardly worthy of its name, sullying the memory of the classic turn-based RPG which had delighted console gamers some 14 years earlier. Harebrained Schemes looks to right this wrong with a loyal return to the classic series.
Publisher: DoubleBear Productions
This turnbased survival RPG sees players struggle through a world suffering the early stages of a zombie outbreak. It might not wow visually, but there’s clearly a lot more going on under the hood. The ample talent of Brian Mitsoda (he of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines) is being applied to writing duties, weaving a rich story through the sprawling, non-linear world. There’s a lot of brutal decisions to make here at the end of the world, with players being faced with choices that defy conventional scales of morality.
Sunday - December 23, 2012
General News - 10 Years of RPG Trends
RPGamer did some digging and created an article where they show the trends in RPGs over the last 10 years.
Most of us have a general understanding of what is happening in the RPG world, but many of the trends that were identified didn't cross my mind prior to this analysis. For instance, I could have sworn there were more western RPGs and fewer JRPGs on the market, but western RPGs have simply become more high profile in North America and more JRPGs are moving to new platforms. Also, while it was clear that there have been fewer RPGs on console platforms since the heyday of the PlayStation 2, I wouldn't have assumed that portable systems were starting to lose traction. And while it's clear that the mobile market is looking like the new frontier for RPG releases, this release trend shouldn't be terribly surprising or tremendously upsetting. A substantial amount of the population owns a smartphone of some type, and with more uniform development specs and low publishing fees, RPGs can be far cheaper to develop and release on mobile platforms than they ever could be on consoles or portables. The development process is so favorable on mobile platforms that even inexperienced developers can get in on the action
Friday - December 21, 2012
Van Helsing - Into the Wild Trailer
Here's a new trailer from Neocore's Van Helsing:
General News - 50 Games that Defined 2012, The Other Parts
From the games we have followed in the past the following are mentioned: Mass Effect 3, the failed Kickstarter for Shaker and XCOM: Enemy Unknown.
The fact that XCOM: Enemy Unknown even exists is kind of weird, in the best way possible. During a time when major publishers like Take-Two are investing in console-based first-person shooters and action games that take place in big, sprawling virtual worlds, here strolls in XCOM: Enemy Unknown, a turn-based strategy game developed mainly with consoles in mind (though also available on PC, naturally). It's a game based off of a classic series that was born in the 90s on PC, it's developed by a studio that is among the elite PC strategy game developers, and it's getting a pretty good amount of attention from players. That bodes well for this idea that maybe players are willing to pay a triple-A price for a quality strategy game -- a game that makes them think instead of running and gunning.
Tuesday - December 18, 2012
General News - The 5 Biggest 'Fill in the Blanks' of 2012
Over the last week or so Gamasutra created various list where they share their views on the video games of 2012. Not much is RPG related, but maybe you want to give it a go in case you are bored.
Double Fine starts the Kickstarter revolution
Before Tim Schafer's Double Fine launched its Double Fine Adventure Kickstarter earlier this year, Kickstarter was a place where smaller indie studios could seek an audience (and hopefully their wallets). I personally didn't know a single person who was even signed up to Kickstarter, let alone was pledging money to video game projects on the platform.
At about the mid-point of the current console generation, prognosticators warned the game industry: Going toe-to-toe with studios in the top-tier, high-budget "triple-A" video game sector is going to become an increasingly harrowing task.
We saw this happening last year as well, but the trend continued in 2012 -- mid-level developers and their games are falling out of the picture. Slow sales of Square Enix's Sleeping Dogs hurt the publisher's earnings this year -- a disappointing shortfall, as the publisher made a special effort to scoop the game up from Activision, where it was called True Crime: Hong Kong.
When 38 Studios imploded
The mere existence of 38 Studios was one of my favorite things about the video game industry. That a man could make his fortune being an all-star baseball pitcher and use it to jumpstart a video game studio, hire his favorite people, and make the kinds of games he wants to play was proof that even the wildest adolescent fantasies can come true.
Mass Effect's Ending
After three installments in BioWare's widely-celebrated franchise, the saga of Shepard came to an end. And yet it was far from over -- the ending of the game caused a vocal outcry of fan dissatisfaction with everything from the tone to the logic of the story itself. Particularly damning was the allegation that fans didn't have enough choice and control over their destiny, given that one of the strengths of the series is that it works to give players exactly that.
Star Wars: The Old Republic
Almost a year ago, Star Wars: The Old Republic launched amidst tremendous fanfare and confident projections from publisher Electronic Arts about its commercial potential. Astute observers had noted signs of trouble for years; many had questioned whether or not BioWare's strength in single player storytelling would translate to an MMO; whether too much money was being spent on the game's development; whether the subscription model still worked, and other concerns.
General News - 50 Games that Defined 2012, Part 2
Here are the next 10 games of Gamasutra's list of games that defined 2012. This time there are a few more games that are RPGish; Dishonored, Diablo 3, Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Guild Wars 2.
Monday - December 17, 2012
General News - 50 Games that Defined 2012
Gamasutra have made a list of games that have defined 2012 in their opinion. In this first part 10 games are listed, so this could be a 5 part article.
In this part we see Borderlands 2, which is the only game of the 10 we have followed, but also high lights such as CoD: Black Ops II and Boyfriend Maker (not often do you see those mentioned in the same sentence) and this on Copernicus:
The state of Rhode Island probably never expected to own the rights to an ambitious fantasy-themed MMORPG but, hey, here we are. Copernicus was the codename for the game that 38 Studios -- the developer founded by retired all-star baseball pitcher Curt Schilling and partially funded by the state -- was pouring money into before its money dried up and it was forced into bankruptcy, its assets (including whatever work was done on the game) defaulting to Rhode Island. The specifics of what happened are beyond the scope of this article, but in 2012 Copernicus was a reminder of just how expensive and risky a triple-A MMO is in our rapidly evolving climate.
Thursday - December 13, 2012
General News - Top 10 Game Developers 2012
It is the end of the year, so it is time for the lists. Usually one more sillier than the other. Here is one covering the top 10 game developers of 2012 according to Gamasutra. Determine the worth of it yourself.
Obsidian EntertainmentIf Double Fine paved the dusty road between game players and game developers, it was Obsidian that turned it into a two-way street.
Double Fine proved that crowdfunding game development is viable, but it was Obsidian that made its fans feel like they were part of the team. Through constant updates, fan forums, and a constant back and forth feedback loop, the team's "Project Eternity" feels like a crowd-developed game.
More importantly, Obsidian represents a developer quickly adapting and thriving in what is a rapidly changing game development world. The studio had been struggling with bad deals and draining triple-A work, but thanks to crowdfunding, it may have reinvented itself while playing to its core strengths.
If the studio is able to sustain with Project Eternity, and even have a follow-up developed in a similar way, it will have proven that a decently-sized studio can survive and thrive by independently making the games it wants to make, for fans that want to play them.
Wednesday - December 12, 2012
Warhorse - New Blog Entry
You've probably seen the shakycam footage from Warhorse' un-named RPG we posted about a few days back but we haven't had the chance to catch up on the subsequent blog post from Dan Vavra about the "leak":
In any case, more than a year after establishment of the studio it’s worth recapitulating a little what we’ve been up to so far for everyone interested in knowing what a demanding, time-consuming process developing a triple A game is.
In August 2011 we started with nine people. Since then, the studio has grown to a stable of 24, plus several external collaborators. For the first few months we were dealing with technology. We evaluated practically all the engines available at the moment, as well as a whole series of middleware technologies, and in the end we selected CryEngine 3 as the best candidate.
After that, for a relatively long time everything was settling down and people were getting used to each other. We sorted out the best work methods etc. A few people had to leave us during this time, or chose to, because it wasn't working out between us, but others came to reinforce the ranks.
At the outset we were a bit crestfallen at how slowly the graphics were progressing, but now it’s turned around and we have a whole city and a huge chunk of landscape done, more than I had anticipated right at the beginning, and I must say it looks pretty good. Obviously, not everything is yet optimized and there’s a whole bunch of interiors still wanting. Nevertheless, in comparison with the “average RPG”, on which dozens of graphic artists work, it’s a worthy feat.
We developed a number of the complicated game systems needed for creating an RPG. Our combat, dialog and dressing systems are truly unique and I’m duly proud of them. Lots of other, smaller systems are slowly starting to function, too (I have to admit I’m clueless about the purpose of some of them). We’re also finalizing one of many minigames). All of it for the time being is still in a more-or-less sketchy state and we’re putting together at this point the first sample quest script, which is proving a relatively complicated birth.
General News - Are AAA Studios DOA?
In a blog on Gamasutra Josh Bycer discusses the survival of AAA studios.
With the growth of digital distribution from sites like Steam, Amazon and many more, has allowed both designers and the online retailers to introduce sales. Before, retail chains like Best Buy and GameStop had the final say on what a game would cost.
The rate that games have become discounted, has caused many gamers to no longer buy games at release, or what would be considered full retail ($60.)
In other industries, products retain their value due to the quality of the brand and the product itself. For example, I will never be able to buy a brand new Lamborghini for $1000 no matter how long I wait.
Likewise, car companies know that they can't make every car like a Lexus or Mercedes as it would just over saturate the market with high end cars.
That's why cars are made and priced at different levels, obviously the more money you spend means a higher quality. But at the same time, lower priced cars still have a standard of quality to them that lets them retain their price.
But in the video game industry, specifically AAA studios, there is no differing value. A $60 price tag can be attached to anything from Halo, to Dead Space or Playstation All Stars Battle Royale. But as we're seeing, the $60 price doesn't come with the same standard of quality, as evident by the review scores games are getting.
Monday - December 10, 2012
Warhorse - Shakycam Footage
We've been following Warhorse Studios' semi-historical open-world CryEngine 3-powered RPG for a little while but we haven't actually seen anything yet. Slamdunk points out this shakycam footage from a Game Developers Session 2012 lecture. It's important to understand this footage was built with in-game assets but isn't a scene from the game:
We had several lectures at Game Developers Session 2012 and one of them was about graphics. We showed a little scene with assets from our game to demonstrate how we create "next gen" graphics in CE3. Below you can see "leaked" video from this presentation. Keep in mind, that this is not actual scene from the game, its just assets illustrating the presentation. :)
Thursday - December 06, 2012
General News - 5 Creepy Ways to Addiction
Cracked.com has an editorial on 5 creepy ways used by game developers to get us addicted to their games. Here is number 5: Putting you in a skinner box.
If you've ever been addicted to a game or known someone who was, this article is really freaking disturbing. It's written by a games researcher at Microsoft on how to make video games that hook players, whether they like it or not. He has a doctorate in behavioral and brain sciences. Quote:
"Each contingency is an arrangement of time, activity, and reward, and there are an infinite number of ways these elements can be combined to produce the pattern of activity you want from your players."
Notice his article does not contain the words "fun" or "enjoyment." That's not his field. Instead it's "the pattern of activity you want."
His theories are based around the work of BF Skinner, who discovered you could control behavior by training subjects with simple stimulus and reward. He invented the "Skinner Box," a cage containing a small animal that, for instance, presses a lever to get food pellets. Now, I'm not saying this guy at Microsoft sees gamers as a bunch of rats in a Skinner box. I'm just saying that he illustrates his theory of game design using pictures of rats in a Skinner box.
This sort of thing caused games researcher Nick Yee to once call Everquest a "Virtual Skinner Box."
So What's The Problem?
Gaming has changed. It used to be that once they sold us a $50 game, they didn't particularly care how long we played. The big thing was making sure we liked it enough to buy the next one. But the industry is moving toward subscription-based games like MMO's that need the subject to keep playing--and paying--until the sun goes supernova.
Now, there's no way they can create enough exploration or story to keep you playing for thousands of hours, so they had to change the mechanics of the game, so players would instead keep doing the same actions over and over and over, whether they liked it or not. So game developers turned to Skinner's techniques.
This is a big source of controversy in the world of game design right now. Braid creator Jonathan Blow said Skinnerian game mechanics are a form of "exploitation." It's not that these games can't be fun. But they're designed to keep gamers subscribing during the periods when it's not fun, locking them into a repetitive slog using Skinner's manipulative system of carefully scheduled rewards.
Why would this work, when the "rewards" are just digital objects that don't actually exist? Well...
Sunday - December 02, 2012
General News - Colin McComb - What's Next?
Colin McComb's thoughts turn to Planescape: Torment (and what a successor would be like) as he thinks of what's next after mostly finishing his work on Wasteland 2:
Though I was a big fan of my early work (just because it was my early work, and evidence that I was working as a game designer) one of the first things I was truly proud of was TSR’s Birthright, my first published world, which took AD&D into a lower-fantasy setting and let you take the part of a ruler of a realm. Second was my work on the Planescape campaign setting, which allowed a huge degree of creative exploration. In that body of work, Monte Cook and I (along with our able editors, Ray Vallese and Michele Carter) were able to flesh out a significant part of the cosmology and background of the planes, defining and creating a foundation that would lead to my next big gig (and to Monte’s; not only did he help design D&D 3.0, he also produced an amazing string of successes, the latest of which is his Numenera setting).
Third, and perhaps most importantly, was Planescape: Torment. That’s almost certainly the work that people remember best, even if they don’t necessarily remember my name. Working on PST was… well, let’s turn on the Wayback Machine.
I came onto Torment as, I think, the fifth or sixth person when my Playstation Planescape game was canceled. It was a blow to lose my first lead designer gig, but it turned into a real education. The first members of the nascent team had been working on the game’s preproduction for a few months. At that time, it was called “Planescape: Last Rites”, a name that had to change because of the game “Last Rites.” But the concept remained largely the same, though it grew stronger and stranger as we progressed.
Source: No Mutants Allowed
Friday - November 30, 2012
General News - Video Games as Art
Here is something that you might find interesting. The Museum of Modern Art has 'acquired' a selection of 14 games from a list of about 40 that they will show as art.
Not sure what 'acquired' means as some of the games can still be bought right now, but quite a few might be very hard to come by.
Here are the games they have now and that will be shown in the Museum’s Philip Johnson Galleries in March 2013:
• Pac-Man (1980)
• Tetris (1984)
• Another World (1991)
• Myst (1993)
• SimCity 2000 (1994)
• vib-ribbon (1999)
• The Sims (2000)
• Katamari Damacy (2004)
• EVE Online (2003)
• Dwarf Fortress (2006)
• Portal (2007)
• flOw (2006)
• Passage (2008)
• Canabalt (2009)
These they still like to have:
Spacewar! (1962), an assortment of games for the Magnavox Odyssey console (1972), Pong (1972), Snake (originally designed in the 1970s; Nokia phone version dates from 1997), Space Invaders (1978), Asteroids (1979), Zork (1979), Tempest (1981), Donkey Kong (1981), Yars’ Revenge (1982), M.U.L.E. (1983), Core War (1984), Marble Madness (1984), Super Mario Bros. (1985), The Legend of Zelda (1986), NetHack (1987), Street Fighter II (1991), Chrono Trigger (1995), Super Mario 64 (1996), Grim Fandango (1998), Animal Crossing (2001), and Minecraft (2011).
And this explains why they are doing this:
Are video games art? They sure are, but they are also design, and a design approach is what we chose for this new foray into this universe. The games are selected as outstanding examples of interaction design—a field that MoMA has already explored and collected extensively, and one of the most important and oft-discussed expressions of contemporary design creativity. Our criteria, therefore, emphasize not only the visual quality and aesthetic experience of each game, but also the many other aspects—from the elegance of the code to the design of the player’s behavior—that pertain to interaction design. In order to develop an even stronger curatorial stance, over the past year and a half we have sought the advice of scholars, digital conservation and legal experts, historians, and critics, all of whom helped us refine not only the criteria and the wish list, but also the issues of acquisition, display, and conservation of digital artifacts that are made even more complex by the games’ interactive nature. This acquisition allows the Museum to study, preserve, and exhibit video games as part of its Architecture and Design collection.
Thursday - November 29, 2012
General News - The Top Ten Dumbest RPG Plot Twists
RPGFan has made a list with the 10 dumbest RPG plot twists. Here is the number one, Mass Effect 3:
I am Commander Shepard, and I will win this war without compromising the soul of our species. Until I commit mass genocide or become a godlike (and no longer human) being or forcibly enact the homogenization of every single living being in the entire universe, that is.
Leading to what has to have been the most publicized outcry due to a game's ending, well, ever, Mass Effect 3's final moments are both controversial and flat-out stupid. Prior to the Extended Cut, which was the narrative equivalent of putting plywood boards over a gaping chasm (oh, so the Normandy is going to park in front of Harbinger for a few minutes while I have a tender scene with my love interest? Thanks for "clarifying," Bioware), the ending was simply a series of sequences that were thematically inconsistent with the rest of the plot and completely contradictory to the ideals players had been told they were fighting for over the course of three games. Twist endings aren't unusual, but they're rarely pulled off with such utter ineptitude. Remember how tonally inconsistent the theatrical "happy ending" of Blade Runner was with the rest of the film? That's exactly the mistake Bioware made in ME3, only in reverse. Top that off with a number of plot threads that seemed to be leading somewhere else (which many players ran with, forming the indoctrination theory), and you've got a recipe for the dumbest plot twist of all time.
Monday - November 26, 2012
General News - Going Back in Time to the TRS-80
Being old enough to have toyed with gaming on Radio Shack's TRS-80 I found the article on Gamasutra that delves into the history of the TRS-80 and its games a worthwhile read, so I'll bother you with this as well....
The TRS-80 was hardly a gamer's dream; it was designed for "serious" home and business use, though users were hard pressed to find many practical uses for the primitive technology -- a 3 x 5 card and a pencil were still superior tools for most purposes. Radio Shack wasn't quite sure how to market the system to consumers beyond the type attracted by its basic technological appeal, usefulness be damned.
While the TRS-80 was intended to help file recipes and balance the household checkbook, good tools for actually doing so were slow in coming, and most required the additional expense of a disk drive. Many of these utilitarian software packages were promoted with appropriately dull black-and-white one-sheets -- three volumes of Real Estate software, anyone?
It's hard to believe from a 21st century perspective, but Radio Shack's marketers didn't quite grasp the appeal of games as a way to sell home computers. This ad promoting a paltry launch selection of "Games and Novelty Programs" is just as uninspiring as the company's other software promos.
Ultima Ratio Regum - Version 0.2 Released
The developer of Ultima Ratio Regum informed us that he has released version 0.2 of this game.He states the following about this release:
Ultima Ratio Regum contains a guidebook, new world generation, sixteen skill trees, options, controls, saving and loading, multi-square trees, a thousand bug-fixes, and two massive secrets I’ve been keeping back until now. You’ll know them when you see them. It can be downloaded from http://www.ultimaratioregum.co.uk/game/downloads/.
To be honest I never heard of it before, but the site mentions this:
Ultima Ratio Regum is a middle-ground between roguelikes, RPGs and strategy games. It has no fantasy elements and seeks instead to be closer to a realistic history simulator, and a strategy/4x game which just happens to be in ASCII. Combat is rare and deadly – whilst these mechanics are modeled in detail, exploration, trade and diplomacy factors will have just as much effort put into them.
URR aims to eventually be a fusion of roguelike and strategy genres – rather than a strategy game where you command with omniscience (even in ancient eras), you instead command as an individual character also in the game. Orders must be issued in person; you can lose contact with distant armies; but the same mechanics affect the AI players who also lack omniscience and depend upon the knowledge of situations they themselves can garner.
Worlds can be generated over a vast array of sizes, climates and types, but all ultimately with no fixed objective but a world full of civilizations and factions to be allied with or battled against. It aims for depth in character development and world events, but with stuff in the ‘middle’ – constructing buildings, city growth, resource management – abstracted out (as many other games exist which cover those). Political and social dynamics will be modeled via a complex system that aims to generate both a history for the world, and the current state of political affairs when your game begins.
Read more about the game here.
Wednesday - November 21, 2012
Van Helsing - Miscellaneous Updates
Alrik points out we haven't checked on Van Helsing, the action/RPG from Neocore, for a while. They launched a dev blog a few weeks back, voted on a new-look protagonist and have some new videos and art on offer.
Monday - November 19, 2012
Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire - Now on Steam
Last Friday Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire became available on Steam with a 25% discount until the 23rd of November, but apparently has some issues.
In the meantime Gaming Blend reports that the devs refuse to fix the bugs until they get paid.
One of the reasons I love Kickstarter is because it cuts out this pesky virus known as a publisher. This virus basically feeds on currency of any and all kinds and usually it serves very little purpose other than to sometimes make people aware of a product, but in some cases even then they aren't necessary. Well, one virus – oops, I mean publisher – has decided to take things a step further by denying a developer the necessary funds for their work on the game and in result, a very broken version of Jagged Alliance 2: Wildfire is on Steam right now.
The modding scene for Jagged Alliance 2 used to be pretty big back in the day, so I was surprised to see that a community-favorite project had found its way onto Steam's store called Wildfire, designed by a group of modders going by the name I-Deal Games. However, it's not all roses and daffodils.
There's a pretty blatant warning on the forums about staying away from JA2: Wildfire because the proceeds of purchases will not go toward the developers and that the game itself has some pretty glaring bugs and glitches due to not being properly finished. What's worse is that none of the planned patches have been released due to the hold up in funds.
Tuesday - November 13, 2012
Kenshi - Plan Updates
We haven't checked in on Kenshi for a while - a new post explains their upcoming plans:
I'm making some plans for the overall world design at the moment. I consider the current world map and population a placeholder really, so I'm gonna give you my ideas for the final thing. Its not what I'm working on for the next update, I'm just sharing my plans:
- Firstly, I'm going to make things more dense. A smaller size of the map will be loaded at one time, which will allow for more NPC population, encounters, and towns can be closer together. There will be less uneventful long-distance running.
- I'm going to change the actual terrain map itself too, there's a lot of map not in the game yet, so I'm going to add the cool new areas, size down some existing areas, and try to have less empty space like the endless dunes and the flat zone in the south west.
- The world map will have more distinct zones. These zones will have different faction domination, races, different danger levels. Some zones will be impossible to survive until you are very strong. Eventually these zones will also have different creatures and biomes (eg grasslands, marsh, snow possibly, etc).
- I want some zones to have less of a focus on towns, and more on other stuff. Like ruins, creature nests, natural formations, things to explore.
- The different map zones may have rare resources that are vital to certain areas of research. This might force you to build a protected mining outpost to further your research, rather than one single mega-base.
- Originally I was going to expand the world map to be 4x bigger, but I might reduce that now. As the game has a focus on building static structures that's going to take away the practicality of long-range exploration, you aren't going to want to travel vast distances away from your home base. A smaller, denser map will also mean if your characters are split up across the map they can run to each-others aid a bit easier, so you can send out rescue parties, reinforce your HQ during attacks etc. It will still be a bit bigger than the current map however.
- Once I have all the new character models and armours, the factions will be overhauled. There will be a greater number and variety of factions and they will be more interesting.
Sunday - November 11, 2012
General News - Strategies for Game Balancing
Magic the Gathering creator Richard Garfield discusses balancing in games at Gamasutra and how it is an art and not a science.
He views two types of balance: Holistic and componential. When a game has separate components that need to be balanced, it's componential -- in Magic, should a lightning bolt cost just one red mana? In Diablo, should a piece of equipment give you 152 intelligence? Holistic balance issues concern the game as a whole -- in Magic should you start with 20 life or seven cards? In Diablo, should you be able to sell equipment for real money?
Sometimes the distinction is muddy, he notes, but it's still useful in talking about balance to differentiate.
"Often designers will design the game to be balanced for the expert," Garfield says. "This is certainly the way we thought about it in the early days of Magic, and it took me a while to outgrow this mode of thought."
A game balanced to favor experts risks other types of gamers having an unbalanced experience -- and the game may lose most of its players before they ever develop the skill level to attain the well-balanced experience. Meanwhile the experts run out of people to play with.
Also, balancing for experts often fails to consider that there might be levels of proficiency even above what the game is desgned to contain. Designers aren't necessarily the best players -- most of the time, they're not, actually.
All kinds of games are patched with rules to accommodate players that outgrow their bounds. Balancing is helped by the fact that most of the time skill goes up logarithmically, and the benefit for performance tapers.
The important thing is to provide options so that every type of player has a good choice, versus grouping players into correct and incorrect ways to use skills or classes. This lets players compete even if they're not mechanically-focused -- like roleplayers or fans of storytelling.
Some of these players will choose gear for their character based on appearance or narrative suitability, and feel forced out of their play style by the fact that other players are more successful. That unbalances their experience.
Friday - November 09, 2012
BioWare Mythic - Drops "BioWare"
A minor item largely out of our scope but it's interesting to read the oft-renamed Mythic - which was BioWare Mythic - has dropped the "BioWare" from their name. Is it a sign that BioWare's name is tarnished? Speculate away.
Thursday - November 08, 2012
General News - Is Game Music All It Can Be?
Gamasutra features and article on game music. How to do it right, how to do it wrong and how it can be enhanced, with plenty of examples to demonstrate the effects.
There is plenty of evidence of the many ways in which video games can be enhanced by a better take on their scoring, elevating them to much greater heights than they have previously attained. The score truly can be another character in the story, adding interjections and subtext of its own. How can we go about effecting such change?
I think the first thing is mere education. Being able to recognize and discern good uses of game music and how they work, and picking them apart from bad, is something from which all video gamers can benefit. Ideally video game reviewers and designers themselves will begin to pick up on such nuances as well, but only if gamers writ large begin to demand it.As we dip into the uncanny valley and emerge on the other side at nearly photo-realistic visuals, it's no longer enough just to have "good graphics". Over the next decade it will not be good graphics that win recognition, but good and cohesive art design (in truth, this is already happening). The singular artistic vision, contributed to by many -- just like a movie -- is the future of growth in games. This should -- this must -- include a much deeper understanding of visual-oriented music scoring and how it can enhance the gaming experience. We must create more immersive, more supportive scores, and the time is now for it to happen.
Wednesday - November 07, 2012
General News - Unpredictability and Control in Turn-Based Combat
Graig Stern has written an article about the need for unpredictability to build up tension in Turn-Based combat and that it is not the same as randomness.
Here is a snip from the lengthy article:
Unpredictability makes art interesting. Twists of plot, unconventional characterizations, and surprising character development engage a reader’s imagination; unique instrumentation, sudden shifts in time signature, or an unexpected chord progression delight the ear.
So is it with games. Exploration, experimentation, discovery: all of these depend upon unpredictability, on gaps in the player’s familiarity with the game. Challenge exists only where the player cannot know exactly how a scenario is going to play out ahead of time. This is the sort of unpredictability we are going to talk about today: since it concerns game mechanics, let’s call it mechanical unpredictability.
Real-time games, as a general rule, have an easy time fostering mechanical unpredictability. Spatial navigation requires accuracy and timing; a real-time attack could miss or hit depending on a player’s physical input. The chance of making a mistake in the heat of the moment adds uncertainty, and thus tension.
Without this sort of real-time interaction, turn-based games must look elsewhere for their mechanical unpredictability. Many developers working on turn-based games mistakenly believe that unpredictability is necessarily bound up in randomness. Indeed, there is an assumption prevalent in the design community that any turn-based game without randomness will feel stale, predictable, devoid of tension.
This is a misapprehension, however. Randomness creates uncertainty, it is true, but so do other elements. This piece will examine a variety of tension-building elements, from the basic die roll to other methods that—quite undeservedly—receive less attention and respect. Each method has its benefits and its costs, though some entail a higher cost than others. We’ll begin with the most obvious, then discuss it in comparison to other methods that tend to get overlooked.
General News - Retrospective Interview with Al Escudero
RPGCodex have interviewed Al Escudero on his games Deathlord (1989) and Spelljammer: Pirates of the Realmspace (1992) including an introduction of Deatlord.
Deathlord allows the player to import characters from Ultima III, Bard's Tale and Wizardry. Were those the games that inspired you the most? Would you agree if I described Deathlord as, among other things, an attempt to bring Wizardry's hardcore dungeon design over to Ultima's top down perspective? (After all, dungeon design was never the Ultima series' forte.) How did you come up with this idea?
I observed that players tended to form attachments to characters in their RPGs and often used the same names in multiple games. The importation was a way to bring their favorite characters from another game into this one. Various aspects of those games also served as inspiration. There were aspects I liked that I tried to emulate, and aspects I didn't like which I tried to improve upon. For me it was the things I didn't like that really motivated me. If some aspect of a game annoyed me, it was in my nature to say "Ok, how do I fix this."
My shift to top-down dungeons was designed to create dungeons that had some personality. Lakes of fire, pillared halls, and rough walled caverns with dirt floors. 3D felt gimmicky to me, and I didn't think that the computers of the time were able to make 3D dungeons that didn't look like a rat's maze with a bunch of walls made out of 10x10 painted panels.
What motivated you to choose the quasi-Japanese setting for Deathlord? Were the Japanese names for classes, weapons, spells, etc., there just for flavor, or did the whole thing grow out of your fascination with Japanese culture?
Honestly, no. Though I had a budding interest in Japanese culture at the time, the game was originally created with a Norse/Teutonic theme, and I had the game finished that way. It was the marketing dept at EA that insisted we change it (at the last minute) to an Oriental/Japanese theme. I was given 5 weeks to change all the art, story, spell names, equipment names, location names, etc. I was quite upset about it. I had a game I had crafted over a year and a half I needed to convert to an entirely different style at the 11th hour and wasn't given sufficient time to do the new style justice. It felt like a hack to me, and I hated doing it. If I'd had a few months, time to do reading on Japanese culture and myths, time to craft a tale that tapped into their rich Mythology, I feel I could have done a far better job, as it was I felt very dissatisfied.
Monday - November 05, 2012
Nyrthos - Alpha Update
Our last update expected the Nyrthos Alpha in October but it seems they are running a little late. Still, better to get it in the best condition they can, I'd suggest. From their Facebook page:
Hi Nyrthos fans!
As some of you already notices, 31st October has passed and nothing happened. So here come the news!
The biggest news is that - simply put - we‘re not absolutely satisfied with the state of the alpha yet. It‘s very painful for us to announce it, but that‘s just the way it is. On one side, we‘re thoroughly excited because we did a TON of work during the last month(s), made huge progress and we are very proud of ourselves; on the other hand, there‘s this moment, where we have to crawl out from our caves and admit that it just wasn‘t enough to meet the estimated deadline.
Well, estimates are estimates (we obviously suck at estimating).. and we are truly sorry to those of you who were eagerly awaiting the alpha on the 31st.
Right now, we‘re cruising through the internal testing phase, tweaking stuff, playtesting here and there and polishing what needs to be polished. It’s the best stage of the development so far, as we can already see the checklist getting shorter (for the first time.. ever.. ?). Please, bear with us a little longer.
As a little „apology“, we’re putting up a few screenshots from the demo level we’re working on at the moment.We love it :)
And now.. let’s get back to what you guys want us to do the most.
See ya later!
Friday - November 02, 2012
Heart of Oaks: Conquest of the Seas - Announced
Guenthar wrote in a few days back to point out Hearts of Oak: Conquest of the Seas, a new Age of Sail game being developed by the team behind some of the well-respected mods for Pirates of the Carribean. From their MODdb page:
Hearts of Oak is intended to allow whichever game experience any player might want in a mostly realistic, historical setting. The open game world is intended to be filled with enough content to allow for an infinite amount of stories and events to occur similar to those one might have encountered in real history, as well as the type of stores that you can read about in books and see in movies, both historical and fictional.
Our modpack Pirates of the Caribbean: New Horizons serves as a good showcase of what we intend to achieve, only better please. However, with better graphics and much less concern with game engine limitations, we have high hopes to eventually make this project fully live up to its potential.
Sunday - October 28, 2012
Telepath: Tactics - Pre-Alpha Teaser
Sinister Design has released a pre-Alpha teaser trailer for Telepath Tactics, the turn-based strategy/RPG set in their Telepath gameworld.
Sword of the Stars: The Pit - Indiegogo Campaign
If you're thinking Sword of the Stars: The Pit sounds like a well-known space 4x strategy game, that's because this "light-hearted action RPG, in the tradition of Rogue and other old school dungeon-diving games" comes from Kerberos and is set in the SotS universe. Kerberos has a campaign at Indiegogo looking for $60k ($8.4k, 18 days to go), using the "flexible funding system":
Tired of swords and rats?
Yearning to find a rocket launcher instead of a magic wand?
Looking to find a Brawler Suit of powered battle armor, instead of platemail?
Time to dive into The Pit!
Sword of the Stars: The Pit will take you back to the best of the Rogue-style dungeon diving games, up the ante with modern action/rpg gameplay, and catapult you into the future of the SotSVerse.
(Actually, come to think of it, it's impossible to get tired of swords and rats. We'll have those too.)
Tell Me More About...THE PIT!
Sword of the Stars: The Pit is a fun, fast, light-hearted action RPG, in the tradition of Rogue and other old school dungeon-diving games.
We've been working on it for a few months, and the game is presently at the Alpha phase. The goal of this campaign is to push the game forward to its Beta state.
With your support, we'd like to make this game our first self-published title.
Saturday - October 27, 2012
Warhorse - Blog Update
Warhorse's Dan Vavra writes about finalising a verticle slice of their "Skyrim killer" RPG to show to potential partners, and also running into Swen Vincke at Gamescom last August:
Things have been pretty hectic around here the last couple of months. Warhorse is up and running and the hour is fast approaching of planned completion of a very important milestone – the 'Vertical Slice' which we've been working hard on 24/7. As the name implies, a Vertical Slice is a cross-section of the game and should be a very polished demonstration of all the game’s basic mechanisms, its graphic look and its treatment of the important elements. For us, this means generating quite a chunk of art (in an Open World game doing one level is not exactly an option), scripting into it a representative quest, which will contain all the important game mechanisms, such as complete control of the character, the dialog, the combat system, AI controlled NPCs, and throwing in an animation sequence or two, voiceovers and user interface. As far as possible, the whole package should look as good as the finished game. In the case of a shooter, we’d simply do one level and exploit lots of mechanisms straight from CryEngine; with an RPG it’s a bit more complicated than that. For example, we had to program a very complex dressing system, which you won’t find in any 3rd party engine. But such is life.
Friday - October 26, 2012
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress - Released
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is not really an RPG, but more of a tactical strategy with some RPG elements, which might interest our visitors.
Thanks to SveNitoR, killias2 and Capt. Huggy Face for letting us know.
Wednesday - October 24, 2012
General News - Ken Rolston joins Turbine
A minor point of interest to footnote Big Huge Games with Ken Rolston joining Turbine to make MMORPGs. From GameBanshee:
TURBINE EXPANDS LEADERSHIP TEAM
Online Entertainment Leader Appoints Key Hires in Design, Technology and Operations
NEEDHAM, MA – October 19, 2012– Turbine announced today several key additions to its leadership team as part of its continued effort to design and deploy the next generation of online gaming.
“We are very excited to add such a stellar group of proven industry veterans to our world-class team here in Boston,” said Alessandro Galvagni, General Manager, Turbine. “Ken, Alan, Jai and Demetrius are proven leaders that strengthen our team and position us well as we work to continue operations of our award-winning titles and bring new innovative experiences to market.”
The new members of the Turbine team include:
Ken Rolston, Director of Design – Ken brings an exceptional track record to Turbine as one of the most accomplished fantasy RPG computer and video game designers of all time, with over a decade of lead designer experience on the award-winning Elder Scrolls franchise and, most recently, he released Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning to critical acclaim. Ken will lead the vision and the implementation of all aspects of game design for Turbine.
Tuesday - October 23, 2012
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Two DLCs on the Way
2K announced today that this game will get two DLCs as well as the Elite Soldier Pack now can be purchased. As for the two DLCs, 2K announced that one of them is named the Slingshot Content Pack.
Games Radar has more:
The story-driven Slingshot pack adds armor decoration options for mid- and late-game armor as well as three missions starring a new central character, Triad operative Zhang. According to Ananda Gupta, the lead designer of the Slingshot pack, the purpose of the DLC is to add a miniature story arc to a game propelled by strategy and emergent narrative. “There are these external [narrative] moments on the strategy layer where you’re talking to personnel at base and you hit these key moments in the game where the invasion is progressing,” Gupta says. “But we’ve never done designed storytelling in combat. We thought it would be cool to touch on that in DLC outside the core scope of the game and give players a designed character that can enter their squad of player-driven characters.”
Players will come into contact with a Triad operative, “divert an alien ship’s course, and do battle with the aliens in the skies over China.” The Slingshot Content Pack includes three new maps tied to the Council missions, a new playable squad character and a unique story and voice and new character customization options. The release date and pricing of the Slingshot Content Pack will be announced soon.
As for the other DLC, no name has yet been given to this DLC.
As for purchasing the elite soldier, according to VG 24/7 you can buy it for
$4.99/400 MS Points, and comes with the Classic X-COM soldier, Soldier Deco packs, and complete color customization.
Armchair Arcade - Matt Barton Tells What He Would Like to See in Old School Rpgs
Matt Barton, famous among other things for his Matt Chats, has written an editorial at Armchair Arcade on what he wants to see in an old school rpg. A snip:
A huge gameworld bristling with infinitely nerdy possibilities. One of my fondest memories of both Pool of Radiance was the expansiveness of the gameworld. It wasn't just that it was big; it was diverse and full of surprises. You *wanted* to go out and explore it, not because of a silly ass achievement--we didn't need that childish crap back then--but because the writers and artists put some real effort into making these places look and feel interesting. Do you remember Sokal Keep in Pool of Radiance? How about Koto's Well? The fact that we can remember these places after nearly 25 years ought to tell you something. I also liked the surprises you had, for instance, when you entered the Great Library and fought a specter. That little nasty was located in the midst of the slums, where you'd been battling a bunch of low level stuff. Whoops!
Game Informer - Permadeath and how it Affect Us
In games with more emphasis on their narratives, characterization becomes paramount when extracting lasting emotions from the player. You wouldn’t mind being responsible for someone’s death in Mass Effect 2 as much if a bond hadn’t been created beforehand. Completing loyalty quests, entering romantic relationships, and holding engaging conversations with characters creates an attachment to the NPC that ensures the end is all the more draining. You can even argue the point that the actual life or death decision isn’t as important as the characterization leading up to it. You feel regret because that character would have been helpful in later, but you feel guilt because you actually cared for them.
XCOM - Review @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee reviewed XCOM: Enemy Unknown resulting in both positives and negatives:
XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a frustrating game to review, because there are a lot of very good, very smart design choices in it, but it's impossible not to compare it to its forefather. It's clearly a love letter to the franchise, but it's also one that hasn't been afraid to make changes. Unfortunately, in my opinion, not all these changes have been for the better, and I think that they strip out layers of complexity in favor of accessibility. While the original game was very much targeted towards hardcore strategy fans, this new one is geared towards more casual, pick-up-and-play audiences, and that's why I question its longevity - will people really still be singing this game's praises and debating the finer points of its gameplay 15 years later? I can't see that happening
Monday - October 08, 2012
XCOM - Review @ RPS
We haven't been following XCOM: Enemy Unknown in detail but with the release imminent, it might be worth a look at Rock, Paper, Shotgun's review:
It’s a game about slowly moving your frontline forwards, meticulously ordering a squad of six1 from cover to cover and making a stream of tactical decisions in order to overcome an enemy that always, always outnumbers them. You’re directing a SWAT team that needs to stick relatively close together (not too close mind, unless watching a grenade liquidate four people at once turns you on), carefully clean out an area and move on, not the spread-out search and destroy agents of 1993. It’s faster and more furious than its 90s ancestor, but it is no less strategic for it.
It works. It better than works. XCOM is muscular, tense, thoughtful, mutable turn-based strategy with the dramatic, explosive presentation of a contemporary all-action game. Also, the environments get unavoidably trashed on a grand-scale, in a fashion all too rarely seen in either strategy or action games: these are true battlegrounds. No matter how well you do in a mission, you’ll leave a bombsite behind you. Frankly, you’re probably doing more harm than good to the world.
Monday - October 01, 2012
General News - Square Enix Sale @GOG
We're a bit late to the party on this one. GOG has a lot of older Square Enix / EIDOS titles on sale for 2.39$ - 3.99$. There are only a few hours left, so you've got to act quickly of you want to buy, for example, the following games (often gold editions):
- Thief 1, 2, 3
- Hitman 1, 2
- Deus Ex 1, 2
- Tomb Raider 1-3 bundle, 4, 5
Tuesday - September 25, 2012
XCOM: Enemy Unknown - Demo Released
We haven't really been following XCOM: Enemy Unknown but Klar sends word that a demo has been released (6Gb from Steam) for the modern re-envisioning.
Apparently there has been some controversy over the demo and RPS argues it's not as bad as it seems.
General News - Petition for a Krondor Remake
Charles writes in to inform us of a petition for kickstarting the creation of the spiritual successor to Betrayal at Krondor. You can sign up for the petition implying that you would either pledge $200 or think you can convince your friends to pledge $200 in total.
Over the past year, I've received several e-mails about whether I might Kickstart a sequel or a remake to the award-winning hit role-playing game, "Betrayal at Krondor." Over the years, it's still the game I am the most contacted about, and the title which seems to have been the most beloved by fans.
Following the release of Betrayal at Krondor, John and I had designed an unreleaesd sequel to BAK called "Thief of Dreams". Due to some unfortunate politics between the upper management of Dynamix and our parent company Sierra Online, it never was placed into production, a mistake they later regretted bitterly. "Betrayal at Krondor" became one of the highest grossing games ever produced by Dynamix, and won numerous best RPG of the year awards.
Earlier this year I chatted both with John Cutter, the original producer and my co-designer, and of course Raymond E. Feist who owns the universe in which Krondor was set. Unfortunately Midkemia is tied up for the foreseeable future, but there's really nothing that prevents us from creating another Krondor-like game with the same great gameplay, the same great storytelling, and with the same creative team behind the original. Imagine BAK now with better graphics, a fully orchestrated score, a next-generation puzzle system, and lots of cool enhancements to the original combat system. Would that be a game you'd like to see? Are you willing to go in to help us make it happen?
Today we're asking all of you to throw down and show your love for BAK. Help us gather at least 5,000 signatures of fans who will pledge to either give $200 apiece, or raise $200 from among their friends, to go towards the production costs of a "spiritual" sequel to Krondor. There is no money obligation right now. All we want is proof that there are enough die-hard fans out there who really want this game. If you can meet that goal, we will initiate a Kickstarter drive to make it happen. Right now, it's all up to you.
Wednesday - September 19, 2012
The Top 12 Video Game Soundtracks @ Forbes
Fastfritz sends in The Top 12 Video Game Soundtracks Of All Time at Forbes. Though not an RPG list, it is dominated by RPGs. Dragon Age: Origins and Arcanum make the list among a sea of jRPGs.
Thursday - September 13, 2012
R.A.W. - October Release
R.A.W. is another game crowding into the October release schedule with Focus announcing an October 4th launch. From Blue's:
Focus Home Interactive announces release plans for R.A.W. Realms of Ancient War, saying Wizarbox's action/RPG is coming to consoles next week, and that the Windows PC edition will follow on October 4th. They also offer a new video to show off co-op gameplay from the hack-and-slash game, saying: "In this great adventure meant for playing together, friends may join any time in the game to lend a hand in assaulting monster hordes of growing strength! Cooperative play maximizes team strengths and optimizes all attack tactics. While a Warrior distracts the enemy in melee battle, the Wizard is free to cast his most powerful spells in safety! Good coordination will be required, as the monsters in cooperative mode will be stronger than the monsters of single player mode!"
Source: Blues News
Monday - September 10, 2012
General News - Mix and Create Your Own RPG Bundle
During the next 3 weeks you can create your own bundle of indie RPG's for a low price at Gamersgate, by selecting from 24 RPG's such as Telepath RPG: Servants of God, Devil Whiskey, Dark Scavenger and Cardinal Quest.
Tuesday - September 04, 2012
General News - The Evolution of Stealth
Gamespot talks to Warren Spector (Thief, Deus Ex), Harvey Smith (Dishonored) and Patrick Redding (Splinter Cell) to dsicuss in what way stealth in video games has evolved over the years.
Thursday - August 30, 2012
Steam Greenlight - Now Open
Steam has launched Greenlight, a system for the community to vote on what games should be released on the platform. As CountChocula points out, that means a bunch of RPGs are now vying for attention on Greenlight.
I haven't really had time to look for undiscovered classics but I see Underrail, NEO Scavenger and other promising indies in the list.
Wednesday - August 29, 2012
10 Upcoming Action-RPGs @ Forbes
Forbes has kicked up 10 Upcoming Action-RPGs To Keep An Eye On, Part 1. It's a reasonable list that surprisingly includes Inquisitor alongside Torchlight II, Path of Exile and more:
Inquisitor’s developer, Cinemax, spent ten years in development prior to being released in Europe. Three years of English-language translation later, the game is set to release this September in North America. For any RPG fan with time on their hands, the 150-hour game boasts 5,000 pages of text and a dark Medieval setting in which you hunt down wicked heretics and criminals whilst battling innumerable foes.
It may not be for the feint of heart, however. Torture plays a major role in the game, with your character privy to a suite of torturer’s tools. Also, the sheer size of the game is intimidating to say the least. How the gameplay itself will be I can’t say, but I’m very much intrigued.
Tuesday - August 14, 2012
General News - Don Daglow on how failure is a tough sell for American audiences
Don Daglow (original Neverwinter Nights and much more) has told GDC Europe the American education system has removed failure, resulting in students that can't handle difficult challenges. Controversial, obviously, but here's a snip:
While traditional education systems teach students to try to succeed and learn from their failures, he said, the American education system has evolved to the point that failure has largely been removed from the equation entirely. "The idea of failure has been dramatically reduced," he said, noting that American students don't "fail." Rather, they are "challenged," a concept that Daglow believes European developers should keep in mind when trying to design games that will succeed in the American market.
The concept of failure as an inducement to try again and succeed is difficult for many Americans to accept. Many will blame their failure on the game itself, instead of recognizing their mistake and trying again. The key to breaking through to an American audience, he said, is encouragement, individuality and grabbing the player's interest as quickly as possible. "If you think of the best James Bond movies, the first ten minutes is an experience all unto itself. You're on this joy ride," he said, "don't wait to entertain people."
Avantenor points out this German article that covers the subject in more depth. Let's keep the racist retorts in the comments on this subject to a dull roar, please.
Thursday - August 09, 2012
Caribbean! - Interview @ RPS
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an interview on Caribbean!, the pirate-y game being made with the Mount & Blade engine:
RPS: Is the game a sandbox or is there a plot to follow?
Souslov: Sandbox all the way! Frankly, making a plot-driven campaign wasn’t really our cup of tea. Considering how much time and efforts it eventually consumed, we wonder why didn’t we dump the idea straight away and implemented siege artillery instead. So, adventures in the Caribbean are fully open-ended. We do plan to implement a few short story arcs involving several quests each though, to flesh out the world.
RPS: How complex is the integration of naval combat into the Mount and Blade engine?
Souslov: Too complex. Actually, we spent a year and a half doing just that. Might have to do with our limited brain capability, but even the unlimited capability of the modding scene couldn’t solve the issue adequately yet. In the end, we’ve got some priceless assistance from the Turkish team, and the desperation of our own has pushed us forward. There was a time we were almost about to cancel the project, but eventually the solution was found and the bloody frigate started sailing and ceased neighing.
Tuesday - August 07, 2012
Warhorse - Overkill Design
Dan Vavra from Warhorse Studios writes about his obsession with design details - and the overkill that can result. As ever, Dan is an interesting read. First, an example of the problems he sees using an FPS design and the problem of waves of enemies with unlimited ammo:
Of course you can set the enemies so that they run out of ammo. But then you have to think and program for what will happen when they run out – will they run away, beg for help, take a new weapon from a corpse, jump on you with a knife or maybe all of that together? This is all extra work, but when someone finally does it, I’m convinced that gamers will cry out in joy. Just remember the plaudits for the first Medal of Honor, where precisely these kinds of things happened –enemies threw grenades back at you, hurled themselves at you when you got too close and generally did things never seen before. Coincidentally, the concept of this game was not the work of a game designer, but that of the filmmaker Steven Spielberg. We all know what happened to this franchise after Steven sold it to EA don’t we? What is sure is that nobody invested much into the AI after that.
So, on to Dan's struggle with their RPG:
For instance, a while ago I started to plan the legal system of our game. I didn’t want to end up like all the other RPGs, where you are either executed for stealing a pair of socks, or nobody notices the piles of dead bodies you have killed in the town square. I wanted to create a system where the NPCs will adequately react to the player’s misdemeanors and crimes.
The moment the design document reached thirty pages and I was about to consider ways of preventing the player from killing off an entire town so cunningly that nobody saw him in that and therefore nobody would arrest and prosecute him and, at the same time, so that the handful of survivors in the middle of the pile of corpses wouldn’t act as if nothing was happening, it occurred to me that I might have crossed a line and I was beginning to get entangled in something that was not in the plan at all. In some RPGs, they don’t worry about even much more important things and when something happens, the resolution of which makes my brain beginning to melt, the game simply stops working. My colleagues in the office had funny expressions, but they didn’t try to stop me, so I persisted, though significantly concerned that perhaps I was creating something that was absolute overkill, which we’d throw out in the end and instead do what all the others do, because the result is entirely inadequate to the efforts invested in the attempt of a perfect solution to the problem.
Thursday - August 02, 2012
GamersGate - RPG Sale
SveNitoR sends word of GamersGate's Summer Sale, which currently features RPG week, with dozens of titles on offer.
Monday - July 30, 2012
Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead - Announced
Headup and Silent Dreams (Grotesque Tactics) announce their next game: Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead. I like the inclusion of a fixed camera, personally.
The most famous Holy Avatar returns to the screens with his very own game!
Headup Games and Silent Dreams announce Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead
Dueren, 30th July 2012 – Headup Games and the indie studio Silent Dreams are making the continuation of their successful collaboration public today. Following the success of the press- and community-praised Grotesque Tactics franchise with Grotesque Tactics: Premium Edition and Grotesque Tactics 2: Dungeons & Donuts, Headup Games and Silent Dreams will release a spin-off of the popular irony-peppered fun-RPG in September of 2012. Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead will be released in September of 2012 exclusively for PC.
To get a bit of relaxation after the last big battle of Grotesque Tactics 2: Dungeons & Donuts Holy Avatar decides to take a trip off-the-cuff with his Guild of Maidens on a Caribbean island, his recently purchased “Holy Island”.
After a rather ungently arrival on the beach they made a gruesome discovery: numerous dead maidens, horribly mutilated, are scattered all over the path to the inside of the island. The Guild of Maidens is afraid that something horrible happened in the maidens camp on the island. Holy Avatar – secretly happy about this twist – is going to investigate what exactly happened with a part of his group, looking for new adventures, not knowing what kind of scale this disaster has already taken and what hazards are waiting for him and his companions inside the dense woods and caves…
Next to new optics that were redone from the scratch with fresh Cel-Shading graphics and an overly colorful and more friendly look, Silent Dreams especially reacts to the community’s suggestions and demands.
As part of this, Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead is introducing a fixed camera which will provide you with a clear overview over the events of the game. Zooming in and out naturally will still be possible, as well as the feature of moving the camera over the whole map. From the technical point of view the game in general was matched to the endemic Caribbean flair. In this measure the HUD now was provided with a tropical design, as well as the character portraits which got a general overhaul.
And the steel drum-marked Caribbean soundtrack will carry over the comforting Southern Sea feeling to the player.
Publisher Headup Games who holds the worldwide rights to releasing and distribution and developer studio Silent Dreams will release Holy Avatar vs. Maidens of the Dead in September of 2012. The exact release date will be announced soon.
Sunday - July 29, 2012
General News - Miscellaneous Roundup
Having a heavy real-world work schedule, I've fallen behind on a number of links and submissions on the fringe of our coverage. Here's a miscellaneous grab-bag to clear the slate.
- For our Italian readers, La Maschera Riposta sent in reviews of Risen 2 and Diablo III.
- Miles sends word of Harmonia, an "online tactical RPG, a fusion of the real-time stratagy and roguelike genres. Think Shining Force + Warcraft + Nethack". Youtube videos here.
- Shadow of the Game is an "experimental RPG" that apparently plays like a point-and-click adventure. Beta registration is open, if this is your thing.
- The Indie Mine sent in a review of THORG: The Hidden-Object Roleplaying Game - puzzle game with some RPG elements.
- Daniel notes that Aldorlea Games (Laxius Force) has announced a new indie jRPG titled Moonchild.
Wednesday - July 11, 2012
R.A.W. - Overview Trailer
Source: Blues News
Sunday - July 08, 2012
Nuclear Union - Interview @ RPS
Von Paulus points out Nuclear Union, a post-apoc, third-person, party-based RPG from Best Way and 1C. There's a teaser trailer at the official site and Rock, Paper, Shotgun has an interview from a week or so back:
RPS: I understand that the game is third-person and party-based. Does that mean you can pause the action and move between characters?
Romanova: The game features active pause allowing the player to think thoroughly and realize the tactics for enemy interaction, as well as assign orders to the party members. We are still thinking about giving the player a possibility to control the party members and it looks like we will only allow indirect control.
RPS: How are the three characters controlled? Is it something like Mass Effect 3, or is it more direct? Can you manipulate individual inventories and so on?
Romanova: The player will control the party members by assigning orders. It is possible that we will add some combat tactics commands to the HUD. But these are just plans. The group will be using one inventory. And the player will be taking care of it.
Monday - July 02, 2012
ADOM - Crowd-funding Campaign to Resurrect Developmement
Ancient Domains of Mystery (ADOM) creator Thomas Biskup has turned to IndieGogo to raise funds to resurrect ADOM development, which has laid dormant since 2002. The team is seeking $48k over 60 days to create new stable versions, improve the UI and so on.
ADOM is one of the most successful roguelike games ever created, with downloads in the millions and many more every day. ADOM was the first roguelike to add a true role-playing experience to the roguelike genre, and boasts a brilliant mix of story, exploration, and intensely strategic and flexible combat. ADOM was in development from 1994 until November 2002, when the last build was released. ADOM is still part of the roguelike conversation, even after ten years of frozen development. [...]
DEATH OR GLORY - I NEED YOUR HELP!
If this Indiegogo campaign is successful in reaching the funding goal, you will see a new release of ADOM, version 1.2.0. Here are some of the things you can expect:
- New stable releases for all supported platforms (Windows, Linux, MacOS, Amiga, NetBSD, FreeBSD; Android and iPad/iOS are going to be stretch goals). Operating systems have evolved since 2002 and compatibility is becoming a serious issue.
- Bug fixes for every bug we can find
- Game balance patches
- More elaborate interaction for many things that are currently only handled superficially
- UI improvements to bring ADOM up-to-date with the progress the roguelike genre has made, to be decided upon based on recommendations of players in the forums (e.g. colored message, some kind of auto-exploration and others)
- A series of magical statues distributed across the dungeons
- A roster of new named random boss monsters with special powers
- Exciting new graphics for the title screen and some quest-related events
- Audio for sound effects and music for the game areas and important events
- A freshly revised manual
Monday - June 25, 2012
Dragon’s Dogma - Ships 1 Million Copies, Capcom sees new franchise
Capcom has released a press release that states 1 million copies have been shipped for this game; it also states that Capcom plans to make Dragon's Dogma their next franchise with DLC and sequels. Courtesy of GameBanshee, a quote from the press release:
Capcom Co., Ltd. (Capcom) is pleased to announce that worldwide shipments of "Dragon's Dogma" for the "PlayStation® 3" and Xbox 360® have surpassed one million........."Dragon's Dogma" is part of Capcom's basic strategy of establishing game franchises through the creation of new brands.
Sunday - June 24, 2012
Warhorse - A Lesson in Cartography
Dan Vavra from Warhorse has a new blog post about map size and scale in RPGs, pointing out some of the resulting absurdities from the "compression". The article also reveals that Warhorse plan to use real-world locations for their CryEngine 3 RPG and discusses some of the compromises they face. First, a lengthy snip from the intro:
You are Krutor, a wild barbarian from the land of Morkroch. You have travelled a very long journey, across high mountains to the famous imperial city of Lhota, the capitol of the world and largest agglomeration in the known universe, whose fame touches the stars.
The city consists of precisely fifteen buildings (one of which is the imperial palace); the town is inhabited by 30 NPCs, including Emperor Lojza, Archmage Lotrando and all of the members of the guilds of thieves, mages and warriors.
You visit the emperor, who sits alone in the throne hall, and he assigns you with an quest. The land is terrorised by an evil dragon from hell and Lojza is powerless. He has sent an entire imperial army against it, but the monster has killed all five soldiers. Now, he needs a hero like you! You have to find and climb the mystical mountain, Lohen, on which no human has ever set foot, and behead the dragon.
You accept the quest and set out from the town gate. The mystic mountain Lohen is precisely 150 metres from the gate and is about 50 metres high. All of the inhabitants of the city are either retarded, blind or crippled if they have not managed to notice it for centuries. After an approximately 30-metre walk to the mountain, you come to ‘no man’s land’ and are attacked by bandits. During another 120m walk to the peak, you also notice an ancient fortress Rumloch, a secret dungeon of doom and a bandit hideout. At the peak of the mountain, you kill a one-hundred-metre dragon by beating its foot with a rusty sword and drinking potions. Then, you rob the corpses of the imperial army (all five) and on the way back to the castle are killed by a wild boar.
Welcome to an average RPG.
...and a little bit on their approach:
I went through many dozens of castles, strongholds and small towns, and with each I studied its history. I ended up with about twenty places which looked promising and I began to investigate them in more depth. In the end, I selected two locations where events had taken place that almost surpassed my expectations, and to my great joy I discovered that they are mentioned in immediately two novels which take place in the same period as our story and in whose immediate vicinity there are many interesting places and beautiful wild nature. Besides that, the fates of the people who lived there directly offered themselves for inclusion in our story.
Unfortunately, those places were about twelve kilometres away as the crow flies from one another, which is really a lot. Such a large landscape is beyond our realisation possibilities and moreover it would be completely unentertaining to play. If we were to keep to reality, we would have to create tens of kilometres of empty forests. If we planted them with something that was not in them, we would negate the reason we are sticking to reality. The time had thus come to make compromises.
Dragon's Dogma - Review @ GameBanshee
Earlier in the week, GameBanshee posted a review of the console RPG, Dragon's Dogma. There's no score as usual but the overall result is positive, depsite heavy criticism of the quest design and storytelling:
I feel it's a testament to Dragon's Dogma's strengths that, despite the fact that I value quest design, multiple solutions, and meaningful non-combat gameplay very highly in role-playing games, I still enjoyed my time with the title a lot. Ultimately, Dragon's Dogma is a title that does almost as much wrong as it does right, but as long as one appreciates what it does well, it's an extremely satisfying experience. While Capcom might have had problems writing a narrative worth its salt or decent quests, it crafted a world deserving to be explored and experienced, with plenty of fun moments to offer, and offered a genuinely interesting and deep action combat system to the players. If that sounds appealing to you, it's certainly well worth a try.
Friday - June 22, 2012
General News - Richard Garriot Interview @ The Critical Bit
The Critical Bit sent word that they interviewed Richard Garriot where they discuss his upcoming successor to Ultima Online – an MMO for mobile and social platforms tentatively called “Ultimate RPG”. Gariott also talks about his design philosophy, the challenges he’s faced with publishers, and where he thinks the game industry is going.
Thursday - June 21, 2012
Nuclear Union - Announced *Updated*
A new post apocalyptic RPG published by 1C named Nuclear Union has been announced according to IGN. It also comes with a video.
Scheduled for launch sometime in 2013 for PC, Nuclear Union is a role-playing game with an open progression structure. You’ll have a defined end goal, but the way you accomplish it is up to you, and you’ll be able to go back and freely explore any discovered territory. Gameplay be presented from a third-person perspective and though battles will take place in real-time, you do have the ability to pause the action to better line up your aim. You’ll also be able to recruit certain characters encountered on your adventures and travel with one at a time, and can issue basic commands to them during combat.
Playing as one of the pilots who bombed the United States, expect to encounter mutated monstrosities, bizarre anomalies and to defend yourself with Soviet prototype weaponry, including specialized assault rifles and tripe-barreled sub-machine guns.
Update: This is part of the press release we received today:
CELEBRATE THE DAY WE CRUSHED CAPITALISM
Our Union is even stronger 50 years later!
Pobedograd, Soviet Union – June 22, 2012 – Every child knows the glorious story that lead to today. When the Capitalist Alliance lead by the Americans refused to allow our defensive screen in Cuba, in 1962, and then attacked us with nuclear weapons. However our Motherland and the Soviet Forces were better prepared than the dogs knew. We leveled them, and half the planet, to show our sickle is sharp and the hammer hits hard indeed!
While the Americans celebrated that they reduced Moscow to rubble, our air defenses kept the city from becoming ash. Almost the entire planet surface was contaminated by their bombs, but it didn’t matter as we had moved underground days before. The Soviet Union did what we have always done, survived. The country underwent a massive evacuation of the most important citizens, leaders and industries to a pre-built network of specifically equipped bunkers.
It’s 50 years later, 2012, and our glorious capital city, Pobedograd (Victory City), is a beacon of hope. It’s time to go outside again brothers and sisters, time to see what has become of our Motherland and her proud cities and towns. Grab a weapon and join us!For more information as it becomes available please go to: www.nuclearunion.com / www.facebook.com/nuclearunion.
Gothic vs. Arx Fatalis - Battle of the Games @GOG
Battle of the Games, day 4 pairs two of the best RPGs of the early 2000s against each other:
Gothic vs. Arx Fatalis!
Of course this means both games will be on sale tomorrow. That's the perfect opportunity to register through our banner and grab the free Ultimas from a couple of days ago. ;)
Sunday - June 17, 2012
The CRPG Addict - "LOLCRPGS"
A week or so back The CRPG Addict wrote about humour in CRPGs, which is an interesting subject. Here's a snip:
1. The dialogue of HK-47 in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. The homicidal droid insists on calling humans "meatbags," although he refers to you as "master"--except when he slips.
2. Minsc's dialogue in Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate II, particularly the latter. This is a perfect example of humor that grows from characterization. What might otherwise just be "goofy" becomes funny and endearing when you learn Minsc's story, alignment, and approach to life. ("Eh? He is like a bad penny, this one. An armored, deep-voiced penny of most sinister evil!")
3. Many of the throw-away "scenes" in Skyrim, including one that includes a bed, a copy of The Lusty Argonian Maid, and a potion of fortify one-handed.
Friday - June 15, 2012
Dark Souls - Comments from Namco
It's hard to get a good grip on what Dark Souls for the PC will actually play like with the dev team being adamant this is a straight console port with no optimisation for the PC. PC Gamer has some comments from Namco Bandai that suggets the raw power of some PC setups might alleviate the frame-rate issues at least:
Will it be worth putting up with poor performance to access the new areas? Saguchi suggests that the severity of the port problems will vary depending on the power of the player’s machine. “While the game hasn’t been tweaked itself, because it’s very difficult to tweak, but for people who play on the PC, which is arguably a lot more stronger format to work off of, it does improve the framerate issues,” he said.
“I think it’s really inherent on the person’s setup in terms of what kind of power the game can use. So it’s a little bit more difficult to determine, it really kind of shifts along with the processor that you’re selling.”
“It’s definitely going to be better than the console version,” he added later. “It’s just that in terms of what PC gamers are maybe looking at in terms of what they usually play, it may not match up.”
Thursday - June 07, 2012
Dark Souls - PC port "having a tough time"
I suppose From Software is being honest - which is more than can be said for many game producers - but it's hard to get excited about Dark Souls when From Software themselves sound so unenthusiastic.
A new article at Eurogamer quotes Producer Daisuke Uchiyama, saying From Software is having a "tough time" porting to the PC and they won't be fixing the framerate problems:
"To be completely honest, we're having a tough time doing it due to our lack of experience and knowledge in terms of porting to PC. First we thought it would be a breeze, but it's turned out not to be the case. We're still developing right now - we're crunching right now.
"In Japan there's not much of a PC market and we haven't really taken into consideration that audience before. That's one of the reasons why we haven't been able to step up on the PC platform until now."
Uchiyama went on to confirm that it hasn't fixed the frame rate problems that had hobbled certain parts of the game on consoles.
"In terms of the frame rate for say, Blighttown, From Software sincerely apologises for that happening [in the console version]," he said.
"In terms of the PC version, the quick answer is no, [we won't be fixing the frame rate problems]. Because we wanted to get the PC version out as soon as possible, it's more strictly a port from the console version. We haven't been able to step up into doing any specific optimisation for PC.
"However, in exchange for that, we have prioritised adding new content for both original players and new players."
Friday - June 01, 2012
Dark Souls - Screens, Box Contents
VG247 has screens and the box contents of the Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition. The boxed version essentially looks like a Collector's Edition, with soundtrack, Making of DVD and artbook.
Thursday - May 31, 2012
Dark Souls - Steam, extra content on consoles
Eurogamer reveals there will be a Steam version of Dark Souls and the implication seems to be that version will use Steamworks, rather than GFWL. It looks like the retail box edition, however, will use GFWL.
The extra content developed for the PC-only Prepare to Die Edition will be released as DLC for consoles, according to IGN.
Source: Blues News
Friday - May 25, 2012
DARK - Teaser Trailer
A 1-minute teaser trailer for DARK, the vampire stealth-action-RPG-lite, has been released.
Source: Blues News
Monday - May 21, 2012
Game of Thrones - Social Game Announced
I don't know if we'll cover this in the future but we received the following press release announcing a Game of Thrones social game for Facebook:
DISRUPTOR BEAM PARTNERS WITH HBO® & GEORGE R.R. MARTIN ON UPCOMING GAME OF THRONES SOCIAL GAME
Game of Thrones Ascent to Bring the Story of the Hugely Popular HBO Series to Fans on Facebook for the First Time!
May 21, 2012 (Boston, MA) – Disruptor Beam, a game company that brings together fan communities and online games, has today announced a license from HBO Global Licensing to produce a new social game based on the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning series Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones Ascent, a story-driven game that will bring the fantasy world to life for millions of people, is currently in development by Disruptor Beam for future release on Facebook. Fans can follow the progress of the game and receive updates related to its development, including learning how to participate in the upcoming beta program, by visiting Disruptor Beam’s website at http://www.disruptorbeam.com.
Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song Of Ice and Fire, mixes political and sexual intrigue as seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros.
In Game of Thrones Ascent players will lead the life of a noble during the time of upheaval as portrayed in the books and the series thus experiencing a new type of game that unites both story and strategy. Players will claim their birthright by choosing which of the great houses they’ll swear allegiance to, securing their holdings, developing their lands and personal reputation, and assigning sworn swords to quests--while forging alliances with new friends and much more!
Wednesday - May 16, 2012
Dreadline - Interview @ RPG Codex
We haven't introduced Dreadline yet, so let's start with that. A "a Diablo/Freedom Force mashup, but faster and with more blood!" action/RPG from Eerie Canal, formed by ex Irrational and Harmonix devs, the premise is certainly interesting. Check out a teaser here and this early question from RPG Codex's interview covers the core concept:
Dreadline's premise - controlling a group of monsters who travel through time to kill those who are already doomed to die in history's calamities - definitely makes it stand out, as does the look. What were the main inspirations behind the game's unique concept and art style?
BB: Steven is a huge Edward Gorey fan, which explains a lot of the look. We are also trying to bring the creepy look of '70's animation, which I don't think has been represented much in video games. Cartoons like The Hobbit and Watership Down were terrifying!
The concept just came from us throwing around ideas for a few weeks. We all generally have dark senses of humor, and this concept really cracked us up. We knew we were on to something right away.
AD: Yeah, Steve already has a pretty distinct drawing style, mix in Edward Gorey, Quantum leap, and Ancient aliens and I think you'd arrive at the same place.
Monday - May 14, 2012
Warlock: Master of the Arcane - Now Available
Svein writes in to say Paradox' TBS game Warlock: Masters of the Arcane is now available. The fantasy Civilisation meets Masters of Magic set in the Majesty universe can be grabbed at GamersGate and Steam for $19.99.
Saturday - May 12, 2012
DARK - Official Press Release
We've already touched on DARK via a German website reveal but here's the official English announcement:
DARK Comes Out of the Shadows - Kalypso Announces New Third-Person Multi-platform Game
Bracknell, UK, 10th May, 2012 - Kalypso Media is pleased to unveil DARK, an exciting third-person stealth-action game for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft and for Windows PC. DARK - developed by RealmForge, creators of the award-winning Dungeons - puts players in the role of a vampire out to discover the secrets of the mysterious global GeoForge Corporation. By making the most of powerful vampire skills, stealth and lethal combat abilities, players will engage and destroy their enemies, while moving silently through a stylized futuristic cityscape. The treacherous techno universe of DARK is rendered in gorgeous cel-shaded graphics with gameplay that tests the players’ ability to master both stealth and combat. DARK is slated for a global release in early 2013.
DARK is a stealth action game with RPG elements that lets you slip into the role of the ultimate killer… a vampire. Stalk you enemies from the shadows then use powerful vampire abilities to attack and silently dispatch them! The exciting story of DARK immerses you in a world full of blood and darkness in which the hunter can become the hunted at any time. As you unravel the mystery behind the global conglomerate that seems omnipresent and all-powerful, continually improve your character by developing powerful skills to aid you in remaining unobserved, or make quick process of those unfortunate to take too keen an interest in you.
Features of DARK:
- Stealth and action combine as players walk the world in darkness and silence, attacking their unsuspecting foes with supernatural fury
- Use powerful vampire abilities and hard-hitting melee attacks to defeat dangerous enemies - turn into a puff of smoke and disappear, or close with your foes in an instant!
- Powerful and intelligently controlled AI enemies mix the fantastic with the real-world. Battle police and elite special forces along with ghouls and other vampires
- Castles, museums, skyscrapers, nightclubs and more are rendered in stunning 3D cel-shaded graphics, beckoning the player to explore - but beware, powerful enemies hide everywhere
- RPG element mix with a compelling story – players will build up their skills through successful evasion and combat, while advancing the story through conversations with NPCs
Wednesday - May 09, 2012
Dark Souls - Sells 1.19M in NA and Europe
For the amount of noise about Dark Souls I'd have thought the numbers would be bigger. Anyway, Joystiq reports the title has sold 1.19M units across NA and Europe - with the 300k or so in Japan, that makes around 1.5M in total, which was enough to give Namco Bandai a strong bottom line.
Path of Exile - Public Stress Weekend Announcement
Although we already covered this briefly, Grinding Gears sent us the press release for the Path of Exile Public Stress Weekend, which offers the opportunity to play the new Shadow class:
Play Indie Action RPG Path of Exile’s latest Class the Shadow this Weekend
AUCKLAND, New Zealand – 9 May 2012 – Indie Action RPG Path of Exile has announced its latest character class, the hit-and-run trap-laying Shadow. Although currently in closed beta, Path of Exile is opening its doors to everyone for two days with a public test this coming weekend. Supporters can also pre-purchase credit for the game’s ‘ethical microtransactions’ and receive a permanent beta key.
The Shadow is a hybrid dexterity and intelligence class, a professional assassin exiled after getting on the wrong side of a former client. He employs deadly traps and spells against opponents, finishing off survivors with quick dagger strikes while darting in and out of combat.
In Path of Exile, any class can use any skill, weapon or trap, allowing for a huge variety of possible character builds. The Shadow is particularly well suited to traps and fast weapons like claws and daggers.
Using Path of Exile’s support gem system, the Shadow can turn any spell into a trap or remotely detonated mine. For instance, the Shadow can link a Frost Wall skill gem with a Remote Mine support gem to create a Frost Wall Mine which they can place to strategically trap enemies.
The first chance to play the Shadow character will be in this weekend’s public stress test. The Path of Exile Beta servers will open for public access at 5pm PDT on Friday, May 11. Public access will end at 11:59pm PDT Sunday night, May 13. A full FAQ about the public weekend is available at www.pathofexile.com/publicweekend.
Borcanu also points out the v0.9.9 Patch Notes, which are rather lengthy.
Monday - May 07, 2012
Path of Exile - New Class, Public Stress Weekend
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has revealed the sixth character class for Path of Exile. Here's a snip on the Shadow:
Lurking in the darkness, the malevolent Shadow silently stalks his prey with dagger readied. Grinning with anticipation, he follows his target towards the deadly traps he has planted in advance. Already, his subtle spells work their dark magics, heightening his senses and dulling his targets. The trap springs, and his surprised, mutilated victim barely has time to utter a final, desperate gasp before the blade punctures his lungs, stealing away both breath and life.
They have also announced a Public Stress Test Weekend coming up:
The Path of Exile servers will be open for public access from 5pm Friday (May 11) to 11:59pm Sunday (May 13), Pacific Daylight Time for our second Public Stress Test Weekend. Our new character class, the Shadow will be available for everyone to play. We look forward to seeing you there!
Friday - May 04, 2012
DARK - Vampire RPG Revealed
Sir_Brennus points us to an article at German site GameStar revealing a new vampire action/RPG to be published by Kalypso. According to my Google-fu, DARK sees the character Eric Bane waking up in a vampire bar with no memories and the player has to investigate Eric's past. The game uses a cel-shaded look for its contemporary setting and is due first quarter 2013.
Thursday - May 03, 2012
Dragon's Dogma - Preview @ GameBanshee
GameBanshee serves up a preview of Dragon's Dogma for consoles:
Truth be told, I had many doubts about Dragon's Dogma's depth as a role-playing game before trying the demo, and I came away from it with the same exact doubts. As it is, it's difficult to gauge how interesting the experience as a whole will be, whether the game will hold up when exploring its promised vast world map, or just playing through its allegedly 30-40 hours long critical path. What I can say is that the demo provided an enjoyable experience and points to a game with undoubted potential. Arguably, it won't please those that found Skyrim too action-focused, or frowned at Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and its God of War-like combat, but for those that don't mind fast-paced action in their RPGs, Dragon's Dogma is a title worth keeping an eye on.
Dark Souls - What We Want @ IGN
IGN lays out what they would like from the PC release of Dark Souls. In practice, the article goes through the issues PC gamers will likely have with Namco's "straight port" approach, offering existing comments from the company. I don't think there's anything new but, if you haven't been following this closely, might be worth a catch-up on the issues:
Few things scream "straight port" louder than a lack of control configuration options or the appearance of in-game messages advising players to "Press Start" or "Hold LT". With Dark Souls' extensive move-set, alternate weapon load-outs and multiple spell and item slots it's a perfect candidate for the hotkey-heaven that is a keyboard or gaming mouse. The occasional finger acrobatics required by the console version could be eliminated to ensure that the game's firm-but-fair difficulty level stems from its impeccable level design, rather than the challenge to recall the correct control input in the heat of the moment.
Again, Miyazaki appears to have poured cold water on extensive work being done in this area, "Since it's a straight port from the console version we strongly recommend that players use a game pad, but as it's a PC version we will support keyboard, even though that support will be minimal."
R.A.W. - New Video
A new video showing off the Wizard class for Realms of Ancient War has been released. Here's an excerpt from the press release and head to RPS to watch the video:
While the Warrior excels in hand-to-hand combat, the Wizard is talented at long range attacks, where he decimates entire armies with devastating spells. The Wizard masters the natural elements and can unleash lightning, torrents of flames, tornadoes and waves of pure energy... as long as his mana pool is full. However, such tremendous power has a drawback: the Wizard is the most fragile of the heroes, and he will not stand very long should the enemy reach him!
Monday - April 23, 2012
Dragon's Dogma - Preview @ Destructoid
We haven't really been following Dragon's Dogma, though we probably should - it's a shame there's no PC port. Ovenall sends in this preview at Destructoid and the game certainly sounds worth a look:
They had me at open-world where you'll travel to kingdoms as the fated one to slay the dragon and save the world. I love that sh*t, even if I've just played a few games that sounded much like that recently. But it makes sense that another Western-style RPG is being attempted, especially after the wild success of games like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Kingdoms of Amalur, and The Witcher 2. There's still a bit of room left for more in this genre space, especially when new, standout ideas are involved.
These Western-style RPGs are really hot these days, so much so that Eastern developers are now trying their hand at the genre. Most recently, From Software's Souls franchise made a bloody splash, with the punishment of Dark Souls still fresh in gamers' minds. Now Capcom takes up sword and shield, suiting up members of the Devil May Cry and Resident Evil development teams to go into battle with their own open-world quest fest, called Dragon's Dogma. And it's gooooood.
Friday - April 20, 2012
Wasteland 1 - Playable in a Browser
Ball_Breaker writes in with an interesting one - a site called DOSDose allows you to play Wasteland (and other old games) via Flash on a browser. Word from Ball_Breaker is "It supports mouse usage and a sensitivity slider also".
Tuesday - April 17, 2012
Dark Souls - PC Details @ VG247
VG247 sheds more light on the Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition after talking to From Software producer, Hidetaka Miyazaki, at the recent Namco Bandai Global Gamer’s Day in Las Vegas. Many will be disappointed in the details - it seems this will be a straight port with little effort to take advantage of the PC platform:
First up, support for a keyboard and mouse will be included but minimal, with Miyazaki recommending use of a game pad and confirming that the menu and inventory screens will remain unaltered. Graphic options will be similarly sparse, which Miyazaki attributes to Namco Bandai requesting that the game be a “straight port”; this may even rule out optimisation in areas such as Blighttown and New Londo Ruins where the developer’s technical achievements on console were not able to quite match that of their artistic vision, resulting in frame-rate issues.
Sadly, a PC port also brings with it the inevitable rise in the threat of piracy. With seemingly little being done to deliver a PC version that takes full advantage of the host platform’s strengths, the threat of piracy will not be combated by enticing potential pirates to pay to receive added value extras and so Namco Bandai will have to instead rely on DRM measures.
In related news, Edge Online reports the decision to use GFWL is not final.
Thursday - April 12, 2012
Dark Souls - Official PC Site, August Release
Namco Bandai has launched a site for the PC release of Dark Souls. The game will officially be known as Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition and a website banner says it will be released on August 24th - head over to check out a new video and explore the site.
RPS notes this will be a GFWL title, for those who like to know these things.
Source: Blues News
Sunday - April 08, 2012
Dark Souls - Confirmed for PC
A post on the Neogaf forums confirms the rumour that Dark Souls is coming to the PC, as can be seen on the cover of German magazine PC Action posted at GamingBolt. The original poster claims the magazine article says there are new bosses for the PC version but "everything else is 1:1".
Source: Blues News
Saturday - April 07, 2012
Path of Exile - Donate for permanent access to the Closed Beta
Grinding Gear Games now have the donation page they were talking about during the stress test weekend.
We’re looking to kickstart Path of Exile and we need your help.
We’re a small game studio in New Zealand composed entirely of Action RPG fans. For the last five years our focus has been on designing an online game with maximum player choice and strategic freedom. Following the public stress test weekend, we received hundreds of requests for the ability to donate for permanent access to the Closed Beta.
Path of Exile is completely free to download and play. We never intend to charge for content or access to the released game, but we are happy to offer early Beta access for those who support us during this important time. In order to fund the development and continued expansion of Path of Exile, we offer a range of ethical microtransactions that allow you to distinguish yourself in the world of Wraeclast without receiving any gameplay advantage. We are completely opposed to the concept of “pay2win”.
On this page, you can pre-purchase Points used to buy cosmetic microtransactions. Every purchase comes with a Closed Beta key so that you (or a friend) can start playing immediately. In addition to the Points, we offer a wide selection of exclusive rewards such as in-game pets, shipped copies of the game, its soundtrack, posters and even the chance to help design a Unique item that will be added to the game.
Thank you very much for your support!
Friday - April 06, 2012
What Makes RPG Combat Good? @ Joystiq
In his weekly RPG column at Joystiq, Rowan Kaiser asks What makes role-playing game combat good? I thought the article missed the obvious answer and goes for "responsiveness" instead:
Responsive pace means that when you press the button to have something happen, that thing happens quickly. In Jagged Alliance 2, one of the greatest tactical RPGs of all time, you click your mouse and you immediately see what happens. Your choices register instantly. Or, in games like The Elder Scrolls: Arena and Daggerfall, your sword follows your mouse when you hold the attack button, and you see the effect instantly. On the other hand, there are games like Anachronox, a fascinating Ion Storm homage to Japanese classic Chrono Trigger. Anachronox does extremely well at setting a tone for the game with interesting characters and narrative, but its sluggish combat is a major drawback and renders the game extremely frustrating in battle-heavy areas.
Wednesday - April 04, 2012
Nyrthos - New Screen
A new screen for the rather pretty 2D browser-based RPG Nyrthos was released on twitter a couple of days back.
Thursday - March 29, 2012
Dungeon Master - Chaos Strikes Back PC Port
With Grimrock around the corner, thoughts of Dungeon Master are on people's minds. RPS points out a crazy project that took the Atari ST version of the sequel to Dungeon Master, Chaos Strikes Back, disassembled it and ported it to Windows, Linux and OSX. An awful lot of work - but there you go.
If you’re wondering why someone would be mad enough to do that for a game that was actually released on PC, it’s because peculiarly, its first sequel, Chaos Strikes Back, never was. And thus the necessity for such an astonishing amount of labour. Which means both are available. Although if my 11 year old self is anything to go by, it was impossibly difficult.
Tuesday - March 27, 2012
Path of Exile - Free Beta Weekend
I finally have internet access fully restored...now to catch up on a mountain of newsbits.
Grinding Gear Games writes they will be holding a free open-beta weekend for the promising action/RPG, Path of Exile this weekend. Here's the press release:
Indie Action RPG Path of Exile opens up its Beta for This Weekend Only
AUCKLAND, New Zealand – 27 March 2012 – Grinding Gear Games, the New Zealand developer of the much-anticipated action RPG Path of Exile, have announced that its Beta will be open to the public for stress testing this weekend: March 30-April 1.
The game has previously been in a restricted Closed Beta test, and this public stress test will be the first opportunity for many patient fans to play Path of Exile.
The Path of Exile Beta servers will open for public access at 5pm PDT on Friday, March 30. Public access will end at 11:59pm PDT Sunday night, April 1. A full FAQ about the Public Weekend is available at http://www.pathofexile.com/publicweekend.
Featuring its own dark, gritty take on the Action RPG genre, a unique skill gem system and a complex passive skill tree, Path of Exile is on track to enter permanent Open Beta within a few months. PvP combat and cosmetic purchases are planned for the Open Beta.
“We’re really looking forward to getting feedback from the wider gaming community,” says Chris Wilson, Grinding Gear Games’ co-founder. “We’ve arranged a number of interesting events for the public weekend, and we’re looking forward to meeting you in game.”
Players participating in the stress test weekend will be ranked on a ladder web page, showing who has gained the most experience. A separate ladder is available for players playing in 'Hardcore' mode where characters are removed if they die. Developer-run events, such as two hour ladder races and competitions to full-clear areas first, will occur throughout the weekend with details posted on the Path of Exile website.
All of Path of Exile’s current content may be played during the public stress test weekend, including the upcoming 0.9.8 Beta patch, which adds new skills, improved social features and numerous balance improvements.
To take part in this Beta, sign up for an account at www.pathofexile.com.
Key features of ‘Path of Exile’:
- Completely free to download and play
- A persistent online world capable of supporting hundreds of thousands of players
- A dark and gritty game world rendered from a fixed 3D perspective
- Randomly generated levels and items for extreme replayability
- Online ranking and ladders for every game mode
- Visceral combat with dozens of combinable skills
- Battle in PVP tournaments for worldwide recognition
- Dynamic skill system
View the trailer at www.youtube.com/grindinggear
HD trailers are available from www.pathofexile.com/video
Wednesday - March 21, 2012
Why Puzzles and Exploration Should Drive Story-Telling @ Forbes
Forbes.com has a piece titled Why Puzzles and Exploration Should Drive Story-Telling In Role-Playing Video Games, Not Just Quests. I think the auhor has a valid point, though clumsily explained in the actual article. About the "useless" books in Skyrim:
What if instead of these thousands of useless books, each volume you encountered contained something actually vital to the progression of the game? Keep the spell, skill, recipe and quest books, but ditch the rest. No more useless books at all.
Obviously we’d need quite a lot fewer books, but since books in Skyrim are just irritating props at the moment this would hardly detract from anything.
And what if inside these books were pieces of larger puzzles? Maybe you’d find one clue in a book you find early on in your travels, and then four hours later you find a second clue (or the beginning to a separate puzzle) in a dungeon somewhere