RPG General News - All News
Tuesday - September 30, 2014
Gabriel Knight Remake - Preorders Available
Pinkerton Road Studio today announced that Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers will be released on October 15th. You can also pre-order the game now.
Jane Jensen’s Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition Coming to Steam, GOG and Other Online Retailers for PC & Mac
Pinkerton Road Studio today announced that the highly-anticipated Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers® 20th Anniversary Edition, a modern remake of one of Sierra ‘s greatest adventure games of all-time, is expected to be available for purchase on PC and Mac on October 15th, 2014.
Licensed from Activision Publishing, Inc, overseen by original series creator Jane Jensen, and developed in partnership with leading indie team Phoenix Online Studios, this high-definition update of the adventure game classic Gabriel Knight adds brand new puzzles and scenes, gorgeous new high-res backgrounds, a remastered soundtrack, and more New Orleans flavor to the beloved original story, plus exclusive new behind-the-scenes material including original concept sketches, articles and brand new audio interviews with Jane Jensen and members of the original Sierra development team to provide a more complete view on the Gabriel Knight series than has ever been available before.
Preorders are now available at Steam, GOG.com, the Phoenix Online Store and more at 15% off the $19.99 retail price, and include the pre-order exclusive soundtrack by Robert Holmes.
In anticipation of the release, starting on October 6th, Pinkerton and Phoenix will be running a “10 Days of Gabriel Knight” countdown with a host of new assets releasing daily, including screenshots, music downloads, cutscenes from the game, and a brand new Gabriel Knight short story by Jane Jensen—the first new addition to the official Gabriel Knight canon since 1998!
Hailed by Adventure Gamers as one of the most well-written games ever and given an Honorable Mention in the AV Club’s Top 100 Games of All Time, Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers 20th Anniversary Edition invites players to relive the classic voodoo murder mystery that’s captivated generations of game enthusiasts for two decades. In the game, players will take on the role of roguishly handsome Gabriel Knight, a struggling author and owner of a bookstore in New Orleans, who is investigating the Voodoo Murders for his new book: a series of savage ritual killings surrounded by voodoo trappings. But his search into the dark underbelly of New Orleans will reveal far more than who’s behind the killings, as Gabriel is drawn to the beautiful and aloof Malia Gedde, learns the secrets of his family history, and must comes to grips with his own destiny if he’s going to survive.
“It’s been a dream to be able to work on Gabriel Knight again, and I’m so exciting to bring it to a new audience. I think it looks amazing and it has all the classic gameplay,” said Jane Jensen, creator of the series.
“Gabriel Knight is the reason why I became a developer. It was a groundbreaking game that showed the power of Jane Jensen’s storytelling,” added Cesar Bittar, CEO of Phoenix Online and producer of the project. “
The honor of working alongside Jane in remaking one the most beloved adventure games of all times is definitely for me a golden opportunity, but also a huge responsibility, and we are doing our very best to ensure old fans and new will be thrilled by the results and ready to play as a Schattenjäger once again.”
More information is available at www.GabrielKnight20th.com
Saturday - September 27, 2014
Sacred Tears - High Quality Doujin JRPG
I was sent a press release with information for a new JRPG game game called The Sacred Tears TRUE from Nyu Media, and AlphaNuts. Here in the information, and new video.
THE SACRED TEARS TRUE DEBUTS ON STEAM TODAY!
English language debut of the high quality doujin JRPG with innovative gameplay and a ton of heart!
Nyu Media is delighted to announce that the doujin JRPG The Sacred Tears TRUE made its English language debut today on Steam for PC (Windows), priced only $9.99.
THE CITY ADVENTURE IS HERE!
The Sacred Tears TRUE is a doujin RPG that blends the best of the JRPG genre with innovative and fun game elements, plus high quality art and music in one honest-to-goodness gem of a game.
Seil and his childhood friend Seana are neophyte thieves in the Thieves Guild of Genoseed City. By day they work at their private investigation agency, “Millionaire”; by night they undertake missions across the city on behalf of the Thieves Guild. Sacred Tears TRUE is the story of these young thieves and their pursuit of dreams and adventure.
Sacred Tears TRUE brings both traditional JRPG elements and fresh and unique features such as a deceptively simple but deep card battle system, redistributable skill points, graphics by Takashi KONNO (Shichinin no Bukiya), and music by Hiroyuki Ojima (Accel World, When They Cry anime) and Shimotsuki Haruka (Atelier Iris, Ace Attorney Orchestral Performance)
Each of the 48 chapters in Sacred Tears TRUE comprises of a single mission or case. Each chapter is a standalone episode, but as the game progresses, the world and characters are further explored and the main dramatic story arc plays out.
- Quite simply one of the best ever doujin RPG and a must-have for any JRPG fan!
- Fresh and engaging characters, stories, and drama – from comedy to romance to political intrigue.
- Traditional and new JRPG features, including a unique card battle system, redistributable skill points, and multiway system!
- Outstanding replay value: 24 main story chapters and 24 side chapters!
- Chapter (5–30 mins each) format for easy play!
- A treasure trove of beautiful, high quality character art by Takashi KONNO!
- An exceptional original soundtrack by Ojima Hiroyuki & Shimotsuki Haruka!
Sacred Tears TRUE releases for the PC (Windows) priced $9.99 on Steam on September 25th, followed by the Humble Store, GamersGate, Desura and other leading digital distributors from the following week.
The Sacred Tears TRUE homepage: http://SacredTearsTRUE.com
Opening movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCAuVK_LgJU
Battle gameplay sample: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_fvKLgkCZM
CRPG Book Project - Warren Spector Interview
Mr. Warren, in 1998 you wrote an article for Game Developer magazine, where you argued that RPGs were betraying their role-playing roots by focusing only on “statistics or exploring randomly generated worlds of crate-filled buildings”. That was sixteen years ago, do you think things have changed since? Has any recent game impressed you in that regard?
WS: I think things have changed some, but not enough. We’re still stuck in a world of character classes and traditional RPG statistics. I like to think that games like Deus Ex made a bit of a difference, changing the way people think about RPG’s but maybe I’m fooling myself.
To my mind, the Thief games from Looking Glass did a great job of putting players in the role of an intriguing character without any of the classic RPG tropes. More recently, I thought Deus Ex: Human Revolution did a pretty good job.
One of the biggest challenges in editing this book has been deciding what games to include. Over the years the “RPG” term seems to be more and more used as synonym precisely to those “statistics”, with even games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield claiming to have “RPG-elements” in the form level-ups. As a side-effect, this led to games with no stats, such as Thief and the first System Shock, to not be considered RPGs. What are your thoughts on that?
WS: I don’t think I’d include Call of Duty or Battlefield as RPGs. However, that isn’t because they lack stats. I think games that have no stats can be the ultimate roleplaying games. They force players to adopt a role instead of depending upon rolls (if you see what I mean).
RPG’s should be defined by character and interactions, not by levels and stats.
Thursday - September 25, 2014
RPGWatch - Leonard Bedner Interview
I had the chance to ask a few questions of Leonard Bedner who goes by the name of Challseus in the Neverwinter mod community. So if you have time to spare give a read.
Couchpotato: Can you talk about how Atari handled the whole process for paid mods when you worked at Ossian Studios? I recall Darkness over Daggerford, and Mysteries of Westgate both had problems.
Leonard Bedner: I joined Ossian Studios at the tail end of development for Darkness over Daggerford, so I wasn't privy to many of the details surrounding Atari's abrupt cancellation of Bioware's Premium Module initiative. But the rug was seemingly pulled from under our feet with nothing we could really do about it. At that time, about a year's worth of work had already been done on the game, so it made sense to continue work on it and release it to NWVault for free. Looking back, I believe that helped Ossian, because we gained more fans than we would have if we had sold it via the Premium Module program.
As for the pain that was the development of Mysteries of Westgate, I was there from start to finish, and I remember it quite well. Shortly after DoD was released in late 2006, I took some time to myself to release "Cry The Beloved" a few months later in October. After that, I had a month to myself to recuperate, then I began receiving the design documents for what would become MoW. For me at least, development started in earnest in late November/early December.
Now, throughout 2007, things went pretty well. Then towards the end of the summer, I was CC'd on a bunch of different emails discussing this server side authentication solution Atari wanted. I didn't think much of it, because hey, it was a digital download only game. I got that.
I don't remember the exact date, but around late August/early September, I was done with my main development. I was then tasked with creating the cutscenes in game that would become part of the intro movie that Alan would later put together. From my perspective, the release of the game was imminent. Then, it began...
For whatever reason, excuse after excuse began to come from Atari over what was going on with the server side auth check. One day, it's "We're not sure how we're going to implement it", then, it's, "We've hired a contractor to write the net code, should only be another few weeks", and after a few weeks, it's "We had to bring a more experienced person on board, sorry, going to take longer".
From my perspective, it just seemed like we were a lower priority to them, and since the company was obviously in disarray, no one was thinking about us. I mean, this went on forever. Think about it. I finish development in late 2007, and it doesn't come out until 2009? During that time, not one, but two expansions came out from Obsidian!
Dealspwn - Drew Karpyshyn Interview
Dealspwn has started a new article series about interactive narratives in games, and their first interview is with Drew Karpyshyn. He talks about KOTOR and Mass Effect.
Back when I first started thinking about this whole Interactive Narratives idea, the first certainty would be that Knights of the Old Republic would be my starting point. It stands as arguably the best game that BioWare have ever made, is a game I attempt to play through at least once every 12-18 months, and back at the 2004 Game Developers Choice Awards it won three major prizes: Game of the Year, Excellence in Writing, and Best Original Character (take that, meatbags).
I think we can all agree that it's pretty damn good.
Naturally, therefore, my first port of call was Drew Karpyshyn, lead writer on KOTOR and the first two titles for the also-critically-acclaimed space opera that followed as BioWare sought to create a universe that was all their own in Mass Effect. After a spot of email swapping, difficulties in aligning schedules, holidays that fell at inopportune times on both sides, we finally managed to get a little exchange going, and I fired over a number of questions to him about how he got into the business of writing interactive fiction, and his experience working with such a massive IP as Star Wars, before comparing that to building something from scratch with Mass Effect.
Wednesday - September 24, 2014
Magicmaker - A 2D Sidescrolling RPG-Platformer
Magicmaker, the ultimate spellcrafting/wizard-security-guard adventure, is now available on Steam, GOG, and Shiny Loot for only $9.99!
Magicmaker is powered by an amazing Spellcrafting system that can make nearly anything. Have you ever wanted to shoot poisonous lightning lasers? Throw freezing fireballs? Build turrets that fire waves of miniature suns? Or summon hordes of adorable jelly minions? How about firing lasers that shoot exploding black holes that suck out your enemies' life force?
Because you can totally do all of that in Magicmaker.
Magicmaker is a 2D sidescrolling rpg-platformer with a spellcrafting system that can make nearly anything. With 2,193,360 different combinations, you can be the wizard you've always wanted to be!
Magicmaker also has randomly generated levels, lots of customization options, and a robecrafting system similar to the spellcrafting for passive abilities.
You're a young wizard with no job, a huge rent payment due, and a certificate from 3-week cheesemaking course. But the World of Magic has all kinds of opportunities for magic-users! Just brave the perilous journey to the legendary WIZARD TEMP AGENCY down the street and take whatever career the Job Placement Spell picks for you.
And it thinks you'd make a great Security Guard!
That's right! Now you're a wizard security guard for Dörwall Community College, the preeminent wizarding school of the Greater Dörwall Metropolitan Area. Go on adventures, protect the students, do your co-worker's jobs for them. Maybe save the world, but only once you're off work.
Please look forward to Magicmaker, and to your ultimate spellcrafting/wizard-security-guard adventure!
Monday - September 22, 2014
IncGamers - Jane Jensen Interview
TM: I suppose the most obvious question to start with, then, is: why remake Gabriel Knight? It was extraordinarily well-received and lots of people have very fond memories of it, so… why remake something that’s still so beloved?
JJ: Well, the original game was released in 1993. It’s very low-resolution – the characters are cute little blobs, and it really doesn’t impress a modern market. I guess our old fans still play it, but there aren’t too many new people that have adopted it.
Ideally, we’d like to bring back the Gabriel Knight franchise. We’ve been talking to Activision and we thought the best way to approach it was to redo the first game, which was basically like a pilot episode; it shows how Gabriel Knight becomes a Schattenjager. And from there, we might be able to proceed with new episodes.
TM: So was introducing new people to the franchise the primary reason for the remake, then? From what I understand this isn’t just a graphical update – you’re changing some of the puzzles, too.
JJ: We’ve added some new puzzles and some new scenes, and a couple of the older puzzles were changed as well, but it’s mostly the original gameplay with some additional material.
TM: Out of interest, which of the older puzzles were changed? I remember with not-much-fondness the clock puzzle in Grandma Knight’s house, amongst other things. Most of them were fine, and logical, and great! That one, though…
JJ: [Laughs] Well, that one hasn’t changed!
On… Day Six, I think it is, you sneak into Mosely’s office, and the original puzzle involved distracting the cops with a beignet vendor. It was sort of a silly sequence, and by that time in the game I felt like the mood should be much more serious and scary. So that puzzle has been revised, and we’ve added a new cutscene in there. How you get into his office is a brand-new puzzle sequence.
We’ve also added some exteriors to try to increase the feeling of being in the French Quarter of New Orleans, as a lot of the original game’s rooms were interiors, so we’ve added some nice exterior shots. Little things like how you get the snake scale at the crime scene has changed, too.
Friday - September 12, 2014
General News - New Game Sales
Here are a few more game sales this week I decided to share. So up first we have a new Kalypso Humble Bundle with the usual pay what you want with added extras.
Kalypso is back to bundle again! It was almost one year ago when Kalypso Media came to bundle town on a mission to share their unique brand of strategy games with the masses. We missed them dearly and are elated to bundle with them again and share more of their catalog with you. Pay $1 or more for Grand Ages Rome - Gold Edition, Imperium Romanum - Gold Edition, Airline Tycoon 2 and Disciples III: Gold Edition. Beat the average price to also get Tank Operations: European Campaign, Patrician III and Patrician IV. Pay $9 or more to get everything plus Omerta: City of Gangsters and Port Royale 3.
The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning: Collection is 75% off for $9.99 till September 15th.
The minds of New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston have combined to create Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, a new role-playing game set in a world worth saving. Build the character you've always wanted and continuously evolve it to your style of play with the revolutionary Destiny system. Choose your path and battle through a master-crafted universe featuring some of the most intense, responsive, and customizable RPG combat ever.
And once again two versions of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim are 75%off on Steam.
The next chapter in the highly anticipated Elder Scrolls saga arrives from the makers of the 2006 and 2008 Games of the Year, Bethesda Game Studios. Skyrim reimagines and revolutionizes the open-world fantasy epic, bringing to life a complete virtual world open for you to explore any way you choose.
Den of Geek - Big Name RPGs & MMO Route
Den of Geek's writer Laura Hardgrave has a new article that asks the question why do big name RPGS always need to go the MMO route? Here is a short sample.
An unfortunate fate tends to follow the RPGs we love. Game developers often see their big, successful franchises as opportunities to balloon them into massive multiplayer online games that could go on for years. This might be World of Warcraft disease (and honestly, it must sound so enticing to follow in that phenomenon's footsteps), or it might be a simple desire to let fans romp around for years in a setting that constantly generates revenue, but it keeps happening. Cool RPGs are cool, but do the MMORPGs based on those franchises suffer?
Let’s write a quick list of the most recent candidates—Star Wars: The Old Republic, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and finally—The Elder Scrolls Online, Zenimax Online Studio's MMO take on Bethesda's award-winning fantasy RPG franchise.
The statistics tend to agree: lots of people love Star Wars, Final Fantasy, and The Elder Scrolls. So obviously, the MMORPGs based on these licenses are pretty popular. Despite a rocky start, FFXIV (especially, this one -- boy, oh boy, have they turned this one around) and SWTOR seem to be holding their own among their set franchise audiences, but ESO? That’s another story altogether.
Cheat Code Central - Is Metacritic Important?
Metacritic is important to those who like to see numbers next to whatever is being reviewed, but it also can be helpful for gaining insight on the opinions of both critics and amateurs on a given game, movie or TV show; which can help towards an informed decision before committing to one.
It’s interesting to see two sets of scores for a given piece of media, but you’ll need to know when to personally draw the line on taking reviews from that website seriously, especially since some of the user comments can be absolutely unhelpful. Word of advice would be to not take Metacritic scores entirely seriously, and to not use it as a prime source.
So after reading the article do you agree with the writer?
Wednesday - September 10, 2014
GamerHubTV - Various Video Interviews
GamerHubTV has a bunch of new video interview posted in the last two days. So instead of posting them all separately it's easier to just put them in one news-bit.
So enjoy as all the news today is tiring me out.
Yager developer Jan Eric Lauble discusses co-op gameplay and new zombie bosses in this exclusive Unreal Engine 4 gameplay interview from the Deep Silver booth at Gamescom 2014.
Gearbox and 2K Australia discuss what's new with Borderlands The Pre Sequel in this exclusive gameplay preview interview from Gamescom 2014 in Cologne.
Ubisoft developer Erwan Le Breton discusses what's new in the long-running Might & Magic Heroes 7 game in this exclusive gameplay preview from Gamescom 2014
ArenaNet developer Devon Charver discusses the latest content for NCSoft and ArenaNet MMO Guild Wars 2 and how eSports is evolving with this game in this exclusive gameplay interview from Gamescom 2014.
MMORPG.com - PAX Prime 2014 Awards
MMORPG posted their award list for PAX Prime 2014, and what will matter to most of us on this site are the games that won. Here they are straight from the site.
Most Anticipated: Middle-earth: Shadows of Mordor
Just when you thought you’ve had enough of the Lord of the Rings games, Warner comes along and produces something completely different. Shadows of Mordor offers a very new take on the Tolkien legend and brings in a new character, new story elements and a much more adult theme on the world. This game is harsh, evil, and deep. You are not just jumping on shields and shooting orcs in Mordor, it is a much darker affair than that. We saw the game at a demo on Thursday before the show began and then watched as thousands lined up to play it on the show floor. This action RPG breathes new life into the series and players will be rewarded with a much needed fresh take on Middle-earth.
Best RPG: Pillars of Eternity
Throwback games seem to be all the rage lately and Pillars of Eternity takes a classic look back at the days of the CRPG's past. If you were a fan of games like Baldur’s Gate or Icewind Dale you are going to love Pillars of Eternity. After a strong kickstarter campaign we now got to see a solid playable build on the show floor. Fans who got in early have been waiting in anticipation for this beautifully rendered world to come to their computers. No, it's not really the Infinity Engine, but it's as close as you can come with more than a few modern touches to make PoE a world all its own.
Best Indie RPG Darkest Dungeon
Once you pass the huge booths and big publishers at PAX you get to the Indie Game section. At both PAX East and PAX Prime this section of the floor was mobbed with people. Darkest Dungeon remains a beacon in the indie game movement with a small team and amazing artwork. The strong gameplay and deep story in this title make it an RPG to watch for next year's releases. Adding even more feature for PAX Prime the team showed off new classes, new abilities, and the town section of the game where players can try to relax from the horrors they witness when dungeon crawling.
Tuesday - September 09, 2014
Mark Morgan - Interview @ Timespace
Timespace has a new interview with the man behind the music of many RPGs Mark Morgan who talks about synthogy, spectrasonics, and surfing.
You went to the Berklee School of Music to continue your piano training and to learn composition but left after a few months. What did you do next?
After being in school for a minute I had this intense desire to play out more. I spent a couple of years playing in clubs and doing sessions, which then led to me spending most of the ‘80s on the road playing with different bands. In 1986 after touring with them I was asked to become a member of the Starship which I did till they disbanded in 1990...
Your music has very much an experimental and minimal approach – what instigated this style?
I’ve always been drawn to art with a minimalist aesthetic. Even as a kid I found myself on an emotional level being inspired by incomplex styles and experimental ideas. Besides the music I studied and listened to growing up I do think that architecture played a big part in forming that minimal approach.
The music for the video game Wasteland 2 was one of the most recent projects you worked on, how would you describe the finished soundtrack?
It’s very ambient and in some cases almost noise-based but also has a sort of a trance element. To capture the dark bleak atmosphere of the game the emotion was derived using sound and texture as opposed to traditional methods. Even the action music has that cold vibe but they do slam as well.
What other projects have you been working on recently?
I’m working on two games, another InXile project “Torment: Tides of Numenera” and “Stasis‘ from South African-based indie company The Brotherhood. I have also been doing some programming on a TV mini series ‘Under The Dome” with composer Snuffy Walden.
Sunday - September 07, 2014
Richard Garriott - Dragoncon 2014 Interview
Richard Garriott & Star Long where interviewed in a new video on at Dragoncon 2014, and talked about both their old and new games.
During Dragoncon, Richard Garriott & Starr Long invited me upstairs to talk about both their old and new games, as well as space poop, the death of game consoles, low-fi graphics and the morality police. Details within!
Friday - August 29, 2014
Twinfinite - Recent PC JRPG Trend
Mike Geib has a new article on Twinfinite about the latest trend with JRPG gamesfinally being released on the PC in the west again. I hope the trend continues.
Though some of you hate JRPG's some of us do not.
This quote comes from Manga: the Complete Guide by Jason Thompson (a great reference if you’re a fan); its context is a brief discussion on manga (Japanese comics) based on video games. The book itself was published in 2007, and its claim was quite true at the time. Japanese PC games, largely consisting of visual novels and a few RPGs, have never had a place in the U.S.
And now? What a time to be alive! Thanks to a number of factors this is no longer true and some great gems from the East are finally making it to the West. Given the history, however, can we expect this trend to continue?
Of course, we’re not just talking about the visual novels and dating sims that the Japanese are so fond of playing. Though they too are rising in popularity, their niche will always be relatively small. On the other hand, there are more than a few RPGs that hit Japanese PCs almost a decade ago that are only now making it to Western desktops.
Sunday - August 24, 2014
Entertainment Fuse - The 4v1 Co-op Trend
Entertainment Fuse has a new article about the new 4v1 Co-op trend in multiplayer gaming in the next couple of months. Bioware has joined it with Shadow Realms.
Will this new trend last? Well, it will depend on the success of the first wave of games attempting it. There’s a lot of hype right now around Evolve specifically and a lot of positive coverage about it coming out of industry events. If this game hits like people are expecting it to you can bet that we’ll see a lot more developers to take a shot at it. Hell, I bet there’s plenty of games going into development right now to capitalize on this trend.
Saturday - August 23, 2014
Jennifer Hale - Interview @ Nerdist
Jennifer Hale did a new interview on the Nerdist, and talks about how science influenced her on Mass Effect, and more games that I wont list.
Nerdist: Some of the recent games you’ve been in, especially Mass Effect and BioShock Infinite, seem to be on the more science side of science fiction. Does an enthusiasm for science draw you towards these roles?
Jennifer Hale: I’ve always loved science, but the truth is that I’m lucky to have the work that I do and I’m happy to have it. I seem to be suited for those roles. I used to read a lot as a kid. I had no friends, I hung out with my dog and I read all the time, so you can guess how popular I was. I used to always ask a million questions. My dad is a microbiologist and my mom was an academic, so I was raised around a lot of academics.
But I love science because I love the possibility of what can be.
N: Does that sense of wonder help you get behind games in the realm of possibility like Mass Effect?
JH: I like all that science because it just raises the level. In Bioshock [Infinite] I used to get caught up in listening to Ken [Levine] talking about the quantum physics aspects of the whole thing—I could have done that all day. I don’t know a tenth of what he knows but I could still listen and ask questions all day. I think the thing that resonates the most is the thing that is unnamable and unquantifiable, which is when people walk up to me or any of us on the team and say, “This changed my life.” That to me is the measure of success right there.
Friday - August 22, 2014
Heroes of Steel - A New Classic RPG
The Trese Brothers sent me an e-mail about their new game called Heroes of Steel. They desribe the game as a classic RPG with a mix of exploration, and turn-based combat.
The game is avaiable on Steam for $11.99.
Heroes of Steel is a tactical turn-based RPG in which you lead a group of four unique characters, each with their own talents, special powers, and abilities on their quest through the world of Steel. Engage in tactical combat with the ferocious, devious, and magical enemies who threaten humanity's last settlements. You must decide how to develop each character’s individual strategy in order to build a powerful and dynamic team capable of triumphing over the impossible odds. As you traverse the sprawling world of Steel, your party will face a myriad of challenges, battles, extensive mazes and fearsome enemies of all varieties.
Tuesday - August 19, 2014
Seven Dragon Saga - TSI's New RPG Game?
Thanks to the RPG Codex I have news about TSI's new RPG called Seven Dragon Saga.
So, the Tactical Simulations Interactive countdown we reported about last week expired today. In its place, came...another countdown, this time 15 days long. Perhaps realizing that was a bit silly, the TSI folks quickly altered the countdown's website. There's still a countdown, but now something of the nature of the game that will be announced has been revealed there - a reference to something called Seven Dragon Saga. What is Seven Dragon Saga, you ask? Evidently, a pen-and-paper roleplaying game developed by the people behind TSI, an additional SSI veteran by the name of Keith Brors, and a non-SSI vet named Gil Colgate. The latter two also work for MMO developer Cryptic Studios, so I guess this is more of a hobby for them. But don't take my word for it, check out the game's website.
A blog post by David Shelley explains:
"Seven Dragon Saga (SDS) is an unpublished paper and pencil fantasy RPG, which and I my friends have been developing for many years. I may a convert it to a single player computer game in the near future, so I thought I would talk about some of the choices we made and the reasoning behind them. I’m hoping the insight into our processes may help others who want to tweak their favorite system or even create their own.
My friends and I are all designers and engineers in the computer game industry, so we approached things from a technical perspective. The system is designed to model many of the cool effects seen in anime and wuxia (foreign martial arts) films. So the feeling is over-the-top fun, but still balanced to provide challenge and interest."
An additional post explains the system's design philosophy:
"SDS falls squarely in the simulation category of RPGs, meaning that we have detailed rules covering most aspects of play. Considering our background as computer game designers and engineers, I suppose it isn’t surprising we came down on that side. We find narrative games, where rules are simpler and adjudicated by the GM at play time are fun, but they favor those who can talk best, or manipulate the GM best. Several of our core players are deliberative and structured rules help them get the best out of their characters.
Of course, we have to fight the temptation to create a new algorithm, or create rules which only a computer would keep track of. In a computer version we can have plenty of conditionals, and take into account more variables, but it drains the fun from tabletop play.
We once allowed players to build their attacks from a lot of components (armor piercing x2, extra damage, extra target, etc.), but the min-maxers stopped play to evaluate every situation, and the casual players stuck to the one technique they could remember working. Slow play, big advantage to the min-maxer. Now we allow a single Stunt to modify attacks during the turn. It adds a bit of color and flexibility, without confusing things. And in a computer version we can automate the selection process and give the player just a few attack styles for a given situation."
You can view all of the system's rules and details on the website, including a brief overview of the campaign setting. Now, how all of this weirdness will come together in the form of a nostalgic Gold Box-like CRPG? That remains to be seen.
Wednesday - August 13, 2014
Sierra Studios - Revived From the Dead
Adventure game loves rejoice as defunct developer Sierra has been reborn, and has plans to resurrect King’s Quest . Here is the press release.
The Epic Return of King’s Quest and Geometry Wars 3 : Dimensions
Headline the List of New, Fan-Favorite Titles Planned to Launch Under the Sierra Brand
Köln, Germany – August 12, 2014 – With a renowned history that’s served as the origin for many nostalgic video game characters, worlds and experiences, Sierra™ continues on today in a return to form that fans of great games will love. A part of Activision Publishing, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (Nasdaq: ATVI), Sierra ’s focus is on indie studios developing innovative, edgy and graphically unique games, including new IPs and contemporary reimaginings of beloved Sierra classics. Headlining Sierra ’s slate of indie games is an all-new King’s Quest™ experience in 2015, and a new G eometry Wars ™ game planned to launch this holiday season. Additionally, the Sierra team is well underway exploring other indie projects to potentially launch later this year, and in 2015 and beyond.
In development by the beloved and quirky studio The Odd Gentlemen (The Misadventures of PB Winterbottom), King’s Quest is a fully reimagined version of the fan-favorite Sierra game fit for both the old and new generation of King’s Quest players. Huge fans of the original King’s Quest series, The Odd Gentlemen are crafting a charming new adventure with an awe-inspiring art style, engaging puzzles, and a wondrous interactive narrative brimming with humor. In the new story, King Graham – revered as the greatest adventurer to ever live – shares his life’s adventures with his curious granddaughter, Gwendolyn. It is through these tales that Gwendolyn discovers the true greatness of her grandfather. King’s Quest is expected to make its heralded return in 2015.
Today’s news about the future of Sierra was met with excitement from its original founder, Ken Williams. “We’re very proud of what we created all those years ago with Sierra Online, and today’s news about carrying Sierra forward as an indie-specific brand is very encouraging,” said Williams. “We look forward to seeing Sierra ’s independent spirit live on, and are especially excited to see what The Odd Gentlemen will do with King’s Quest.”
Sierra began in 1979 with a single 8-bit Apple II microcomputer, and founders Roberta and Ken Williams’ love for storytelling and new technology that drove a revolution in the adventure game genre, and forever changed the industry. Today, a new wave of independent artists and entrepreneurs are using the same inventive attitude and latest tech to create amazing gaming experiences, and that’s where Sierra comes into play. With the popularity of digital platforms like Xbox Live, PlayStation Network and Steam, the new Sierra will cater to the unique needs of each indie studio, ranging from aiding in game development and first party relations, to PR, marketing and digital/retail distribution. Sierra will help foster today’s talent to create amazing video games as it has so many times before.
“ Sierra ’s goal is to find and work with talented indie developers working on their own amazing projects, or passionate about working on great Sierra IP, and leverage our expertise to aid them in bring these fun and exciting experiences to gamers with the level of visibility and awareness they deserve,” said Bob Loya, Sr. Director of External Development. “In addition to Lucid Games and The Odd Gentlemen, we’re in talks with a large number of other indie devs, and can’t wait to share more details with fans in the near future.”
The first title set to launch under Sierra is Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions from the team at Lucid Games. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is an exciting new evolution of the fast-paced, frenetic Geometry Wars gameplay fans love, and will introduce full 3D action and both cooperative and competitive multiplayer for the first time in the franchise. In addition to a full single-player campaign with 50 unique challenges and over 10 battle modes – five of which are brand new to the series – Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions features dynamic and persistent progression, offering players a consistently new experience each time they play. Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions is planned to launch later this year.
“Thanks to Sierra , we’re planning to release Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions on more platforms than ever before,” said Pete Wallace, Studio Head, Lucid Games. “We’re thrilled to work with the indie team at Sierra to bring the next generation of Geo Wars gameplay to our passionate and loyal fans, and look forward to seeing you all online!”
For the latest information on Sierra , including additional details on King’s Quest and Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions, be sure to check out the official Sierra website at www.sierra.com.
Tuesday - August 12, 2014
Memory Leak - Warren Spector Interview
Memory Leak interviewed Warren Spector this week to talk about his new teaching career, and his views on the game industry of today. Here is a short sample.
The open structure of the levels in Deus Ex is still very unique. What was the level design process like for that game? What did the development team find challenging about creating those spaces?
Creating levels for Deus Ex was a bit more complex than other games I’ve worked on, for sure. Instead of just planning a single path through a level, the designers had to conceive of several. We had to make sure there were combat and stealth-oriented paths as well as ones that allowed significant character interaction. It was almost as if each level was actually three levels! And beyond that, designers had to take into account, as much as possible, how players might exploit our simulation to come up with paths we never even intended. It was a lot of work most developers don’t have to worry about.
How has the game publishing business changed since you started developing games? What do you wish modern game publishers would do differently?
You don’t have time for me to answer this! Everything’s changed since I started developing games! At this point, no one knows what business models or distribution methods will work. It’s a frontier out there – a wilderness. If I knew what was going to work I’d probably just do it!
If you only had one paragraph to advise a young person just starting a career in game development, what would you tell them?
Learn to write some code. (In other words, do as I say, not as I do!) You don’t have to be great, just reasonably knowledgeable. Games are software and it’s crazy not to acknowledge that, no matter what your discipline might be.
Sunday - August 10, 2014
Xsolla - The Declining Retail Market
The Xsolla Blog has another interesting article this week about the declining retail market, and why digital is superior. Here is a small sample of the post.
Wrapping this post up we can tie all the advantages to one major concept: Giving the developer control over how their game is sold. While you are still dealing with a storefront like Steam, you have far greater control over your game compared to the retail space.
There is no worry about a store putting your game on the back aisle or maintaining inventory when it’s all handled digitally. This has also made it a lot easier for developers to sell games on their own sites which weren’t possible or viable five+ years ago.
Digital stores are far more open to games that aren’t aimed at the mainstream. Titles like Hotline Miami or Binding of Isaac would not have been accepted in retail stores due to their strong content but were welcomed on Steam.
The rise of the digital market has been one of the biggest shifts in the Game Industry. And Stardock is correct about how it is taking over the retail market. It will be interesting to see just how far things go by the end of the decade and what capacity the retail market will be at that point.
Saturday - August 09, 2014
TSI - New Studio Founded by SSI Alumni
Tactical Simulations Interactive or TSI for short is a new RPG developer funded by a few veterans from SSI. They sent over a new press release with more information.
Introducing TSI – Tactical Simulations Interactive
New independent video games studio formed by SSI alumni, aiming to bring back the “Gold Box” RPG experience for a new generation
August 8, 2014 - Los Angeles, USA /… Tactical Simulations Interactive (TSI), a new independent video games studio with old school RPG sensibilities, has been established by Strategic Simulations Inc. veterans Paul Murray and David Shelley, and company President David Klein.
Drawing on their experience at SSI, the team at TSI aims to provide the next step in meaningful player experiences in the same way that SSI's ‘Gold Box’ titles did during the 1980s and 1990s.
David Shelley takes on the role of Producer/Lead Designer, while Paul Murray serves as Technical Designer at TSI. The team was integral to the international success of Strategic Simulations Inc.’s genre-defining RPGs, such as Curse of the Azure Bonds, Pool of Radiance, and Wizard's Crown.
David Shelley, Producer/Lead Designer, TSI said:
“Tactical Simulations Interactive is a return to providing the player full control of their party, with a focus on creating immersive and unforgettable story experiences, exciting exploration, meaningful social/political choices, and robust tactical combat.”
The Gold Box series of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons RPGs were produced by SSI between 1988 and 1993 using the same game engine, provided a quality game experience that was “true to tabletop” and allowed players to create, customize and control a full party with tactical combat. They earned the Gold Box moniker because of the gold boxes that they came packaged in, with the series also acting as a precursor to RPG classics like Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment and Neverwinter Nights.
Tactical Simulations Interactive will reveal more details about its debut title in the near future. To keep updated, visit:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/TSIGames
Friday - August 08, 2014
Spellcrafter - A New Turn-Based Tactical RPG
Developer Jujubee S.A. sent out a press release for their game called Spellcrafter. It's now available on Steam Early Access with a 20% discount.
Here is a new video and a short description of the game.
Magic is not an art or religion. Magic is a craft.
Experience an amazing and unforgettable adventure set in a dark fantasy universe!
Spellcrafter will be an RPG game with deep tactical turn-based combat and a unique spell casting system. Explore the magical world, collect gold, interact with NPCs, take quests and make moral choices! Recruit heroes, assemble and summon powerful troops and send them into battle!
The unique feature of Spellcrafter will be the spell casting system. The game will recognize the sign you draw on the screen and will automatically choose the appropriate spell from the spellbook. If you won't remember the correct sign you will be able to consult the spellbook, but beware! Reaching for the spellbook will take additional time and the quicker you cast your spell, the more powerful it will be!
Saturday - August 02, 2014
Aliens, Trolls and Dragons - About Sci-fi, Fantasy and VR
It is a game
which is set to mix fantasy with sci-fi in an intriguing third-person action title, with full support for the Oculus Rift VR head-mounted display (HMD).
A quote about where the idea from this game came from:
VRFocus: Aliens, Trolls & Dragons has an intriguing premise, where did the idea come from?
Jakub Kisiel: The idea of putting a cosmonaut armed with modern weapons against medieval warriors (and monsters!) is not really new. Since I can remember, every once in a while I ran to books and films about it. Hard to be a God by Strugatsky brothers, Disney's The Spaceman and King Arthur, Outlander, even Avatar - they all tell about clash between sci-fi and medieval/fantasy. Aliens, Trolls & Dragons is heavily inspired by all those stories.
A quote on why he decided too blend VR support and a thirdperson shooter:
VRFocus: Why did you decide to mix VR support with a third-person shooter? Jakub Kisiel: I added VR cameras to my TPP controller prototype, just from curiosity. The result was surprisingly fun to play. Everyone else was making VR FPP demo's, so I though, why not, I'll just make a short game in TPP. The short answer would be: I'm mixing TPP with VR because it's fun for me. Also, the key part of being an indie developer is freedom to try new things.
Thursday - July 31, 2014
Agarest: Generations of War 2 - Status Update
Developer Ghostlight posted a new udate for the port of Agarest: Generations of War 2. If your not famaimiar with the series the game is a tactical role-playing game.
Currently most of the work on this one has been on the technical side of things as our programmers have been busily rewriting and replacing the original PlayStation® 3 libraries ready for the PC version – no small task! Until this process is complete we’re not able to fully run the game on PC, so as you might expect I haven’t managed to get my teeth into this one much yet - but I can’t wait! I have, however, been spending quite a bit of time working on a new control method for the PC version. Adapting the controls hasn’t proved too troublesome a task, aside from the battle system which still needs a little more thought given to it. As you may be aware, Agarest 2 has a different, much faster paced battle system compared to the first two games in the series and it’s proving a bit harder to nail down a mouse & keyboard replacement for the battle wheel. There’s still plenty of time to work on improving the system though, and we’ll hopefully have it sorted as we go into early testing - I’ll be looking forward to feedback on the control system from our Beta testers.
Wind Child Black - A New JRPG Game
Save a young girl from an ancient sorceress!-A gypsy farm girl, looking for her lost sister.
-An eager young soldier, looking for the approval of his father.
-A noble pirate, looking for justice for his people.
-A hyperactive beast girl, looking for the key to her past.
-A lovelorn immortal, looking for the answers to her abandonment.
Five souls, brought together in a simple rescue mission, to find and save one lone girl, find themselves pulled into something so much bigger than they had anticipated, so much larger than they know. Why are they opposed at every turn by an ancient sorceress? Why are they stalked by a vengeance-minded killer? How are the four greatest heroes in all of history connected? And is anyone who they say they are? Or who they believe they are?
As they explore a land founded by heroes and haunted by its tragic past, they will come to learn that they are more connected then they had believed.
Once they were strangers. Circumstances made them companions. The journey will make them friends. Destiny will make them heroes.
Wednesday - July 30, 2014
Polygon - The Days of Owning Games Are Over
Ben Kuchera shared an opinion article on Polygon about how the days of owning games are coming to an end due to progress, and how your children won't care.
We may complain about this in the comments, but the reality of the situation is that this is the future we've built. We support this new age of limited ownership, of products that exist at the pleasure of the publishers and developers. We spend money on games and services, we prop up the minimum viable products that we like and support their ongoing development. We talk about convenience when we buy digitally, and we worry about things like pre-loading so we can play the moment the game is out, but we're ultimately discussing impermanence.
The stacks of NES games that I can still put in my system to play, the PlayStation One games that still work on my first-generation PlayStation 2, these are all relics for a time that has passed. We're not buying anymore, and EA is showing us the next step towards our rented future. This future comes with benefits, and we may save some money, but let's also understand what we're giving up, and why.
This is the way forward; the way of the future. Your kids won't mind that they don't own their games, they won't know any other reality. The rest of us will worry about what it all means, as we pay for the next piece of content that will blow away like sand the moment the Xbox Two is released, or will fade from memory as we hook up our PlayStation Fives.
RPGamer - The Modern JRPG: Shark or Panda?
RPGamer is back to talk about the extinction of JRPGs in a new podcast.
We tackle the notion of evolution within a game genre via a pair of related metaphors about rare animals. Whether or not JRPGs have to change in the face of "extinction" is left up in the air.
Tuesday - July 29, 2014
Crowntakers - A New Turn-Based SRPG
Kalypso's digital-only label Kasedo Games announced a new turn-based strategy RPG called Crowntaker. Here is the video of the announcement.
In an ever-changing world, heroes are the only constants. In our new turn-based strategy RPG Crowntakers you’ll face a land troubled by misdeed; where the king’s abduction has thrown a once peaceful land into turmoil. Being the chosen one elected by the king himself through one of your dreams, you embark on an adventurous journey to free him from the hands of the evil duke and go down in history as the kingdom’s greatest hero.
Crowntakers combines turn-based strategy with RPG elements and takes you at the behest of the crown into a medieval fantasy world full of challenging encounters and epic adventures. With its randomly generated world, Crowntakers offers a varied gaming experience every time you set out to fight evil. As a hero on a mission, you’ll embark on challenging quests, gather vital resources and finally banish evil from the world.
Encounter more than eight diverse and procedural environments ranging from mountain passes to shadowy castles. Hire nine individual mercenaries with unique class skills like the archer, wizard, scout and others to tale on bandits, wildlife and malevolent knights on a hexagonal battlefield.
Crowntakers is to be released in the last quarter of 2014 for Windows PC, Mac, SteamOS; as well as for iOS and Android tablets.
Mass Effect IV - 10 New Things We Learned
If you want to read another list of information about the next Mass Effect game then head on over to whatculture for a new list they posted this week.
Forgetting the disappointing ending of the third game, playing through the Mass Effect trilogy in its entirety is one of the best, most absorbing video game experiences out there. With greatness comes equally great expectations though, and the hugely anticipated Mass Effect 4 has a tremendous amount to live up to.
EA and BioWare have been very tight-lipped about Mass Effect 4, with only speculation and the occasional dropped hint to go by, until now. San Diego Comic-Con International is the largest convention of its kind in the world, and it often features some big video game announcements among its various talks and panels.
BioWare held their very own panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, and it was primarily used as a platform to discuss the next Mass Effect game. While a huge amount of new details weren’t discussed, some interesting titbits were revealed, and certain things that have until now only been hinted at were confirmed.
This list looks at ten new things we learned about the next Mass Effect game through the BioWare panel. From protagonist details to the general direction of the new title, the future of the Mass Effect series is now just that little bit clearer.
Majestic Nights - 1980's Season One on Steam
Majestic Nights is an episodic role-playing-thriller set in an alternate 1980s where all conspiracy theories, past and present are True.
It's the bright and brash 1980s... a world crammed with hidden intrigue and sinister plots, government cover-ups and alien sightings, CIA experiments and a truth that definitely is out there... a world which needs a fast-talking loose cannon right about now...
With fast, light mechanics, the game has been developed to engross players in a shadowy world of conspiracy with an over-the-top 1980s aesthetic. Players will use wits, stealth and sometimes even a little force to investigate, explore, and acquire ever more clues for their big string-covered wall of conspiracies.
Season One of Majestic Nights takes place over six chapters, which work as a complete story or as standalone experiences. ‘Chapter Zero', a prologue to the series, will be made available for free. Each subsequent chapter of the core series will carry a small price, or players can purchase a season pass.
PS. Don't shoot the messenger, its just news.
Monday - July 28, 2014
Indie Gala - Store Sale + Monday Bundle
The Indie Gala has a new monday bundle with two indie "RPGs" for $1.69 each.
Quest Run is a short simple J-RPG to be enjoyed for what it is. Mixed reviews but too simplistic for most.
Also a few more non-RPG's for sale both in the store and in the bundles.
Friday - July 25, 2014
RPGamer - The First Law of JRPGs
Since JRPGs are not well liked on the site I thought I would post a new article from RPGamer called, "The First Law of JRPGs". So read on my fellow watchers.
I'm no scientist, but I know the first law of thermodynamics states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but is actually transformed from one form to another. Over the last generation of consoles, I often heard people proclaim that JRPGs were dead. That statement always gave me pause, because I was still enjoying a good number of Japanese RPGs. If I was still playing these games, they couldn't be dead, right? I could have just dismissed those people as wrong and moved on, but instead I decided to dig deeper to determine where this sentiment was coming from. What I found was that while the JRPG was still very much alive, for some people it had changed into something they were no longer familiar with.
From the days of the NES and SNES, Squaresoft was a heavy hitter in the JRPG arena. If you say the name Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger, or Secret of Mana, most people know what you're referring to. If you were a Sega fan, you likely knew of Shining Force, Lunar, or Phantasy Star. These early days of console RPGs were very formative for many RPGamers. Those who came to love JRPGs during the PS1 or PS2 era were met with more Final Fantasy games, but also series like Persona, Suikoden, Kingdom Hearts, and Wild Arms. These games are just a few of those that highlight nearly two decades of fantastic JRPGs.
Thursday - July 24, 2014
Epiphany Games - Majestic Nights: Season One
Epiphany Games sent out a new press release for their episodic RPG game called Majestic Nights: Season One. Here is a short teaser, and more infomation.
Epiphany Games announces Majestic Nights: Season One
On this day 40 years ago, the Apollo 11 was making its way back down to Earth, shortly to land in the Pacific Ocean… or so They say...
Sydney, 23rd July 2014 – Epiphany Games announces the debut season of its RPG series Majestic Nights, an episodic role-playing-thriller set in an alternate 1980s where all conspiracy theories, past and present, are True.
You play as Cardholder: an intelligence operative who may or may not have been present at or even responsible for many of the biggest conspiracy events in history; and Cal, a humble Private Investigator whose own past is shrouded in secrets unknown even to herself.
“What people don’t understand about the moon landing is that all the conspiracy theorists are totally correct,” said Morgan Lean, CEO of Epiphany Games. “People walk around knowing all the facts and yet not seeing the Truth. So if the only way to package the actual reality of the situation is as entertainment, then it’s our responsibility to do exactly that!”
With fast, light mechanics, the game has been developed to engross players in a shadowy world of conspiracy with an over-the-top 1980s aesthetic. Players will use wits, stealth and sometimes even a little force to investigate, explore, and acquire ever more clues for their big string-covered wall of conspiracies.
“We wanted to create a game which was simple to play and just let people dive into the story,” said Sam Jensen, Lead Designer. “The story and the world are the forefront of this game – they’re the star of the show and we want everything the game does to support that.”
Season One of Majestic Nights takes place over six chapters, which work as a complete story or as standalone experiences. ‘Chapter Zero – Sunset After Dark’, a prologue to the series, will be made available for free. Each subsequent chapter of the core series will be paid, and season passes will also be available.
Check out the Steam page, listen to a sample track from the soundtrack or view the official web site for more information.
Wednesday - July 16, 2014
Shack News - How DLC Lost Its Way
Shack News is hosting a new opinion article on the topic of DLC, and why it has lost its way. Here is a brief sample of the article to get you interested.
Downloadable content was a concept so full of promise. Those of us who remember the early days of DLC can recall the high-minded ideals of the proposition. Play more of the games you like and stave off unnecessary sequels in the process! It sounded like a win-win for gamers and publishers alike. Years later, as the concept has slowly become standard practice, DLC announcements are generally met with a shrug. Why don't we care anymore?
Empyrios - A New Tactical SRPG
Developer Creoterra has annouced their new tactical strategy RPG game called Empyrio. As usual here here is a short decription of the game.
Empyrios is our upcoming tactical strategy RPG set in a fantasy world that we have lovingly crafted. The core focus is on combat between two squads, which takes place on a hex grid in turn based fashion. There are over 50 uniquely designed environments full of obstacles and varying terrain, each requiring a completely different strategy to defeat your enemies.
Monday - July 14, 2014
Aliens, Trolls & Dragons - A New Action/Adventure Game
Kobold a small developer from Warsaw, Poland Sent news of their new game called Aliens, Trolls and Dragons. While not an RPG some of you might be interested.
Aliens, Trolls and Dragons is a Third Person Perspective, Action/Adventure game with native Oculus Rift support (and also on standard monitors). It will be released as a single player experience on PC and Mac in a form of episodes. The first one is expected to ship this Fall. Aliens, Trolls and Dragons will be heavily story driven. It’s essentially a clash between science fiction and fantasy. You will have a chance to test advanced technology and weapons against warriors and monsters living on a planet, that strikingly resembles what we know from fantasy stories. Story: It is the near future. Thanks to rapid progress in the field of spacecraft propulsion, we were able to reach distant planets and discover intelligent life. The aliens very much resemble us, their civilization is comparable to our medieval times. A manned mission is sent to the planet, but the lander crashes because of unknown reasons. The wreck is looted and the crew is captured and taken by the locals. You are the chief security officer of the landing party and your job is to fix all this mess.
They also have a new thirteen minute video preview.
Friday - July 11, 2014
Grim Fandango - Update For Various Platforms
As many of us here are into adventure games and probably also likes Grim Fandago, I found that I should mention this. On Twitter yesterday, Double Fine confirmed this:
Reap your heart out! We're pleased to announce Grim Fandango will also be available on PC, Mac, and Linux alongside PlayStation 4 and Vita!
The rise of the "console" exclusive is one of the stranger video game marketing terms in 2014. Microsoft and Sony don't consider the PC to be a competing platform, so the companies often announce games as a "console" exclusive, even if it's coming to other platforms--i.e. PC, Mac, Linux--at roughly the same time
Quest For Infamy - Now Available for Purchase
Quest For Infamy is a role-playing adventure game where you assume the identity of Mr. Roehm - a scoundrel who is on the run from his latest scrape. When he is stuck in the Valley of Krasna for a bit, he decides to take on some work to pass the time. He finds himself in the middle of Kingdom in tubulence - as he becomes embroiled in a power struggle between several ambitious residents of the Valley.
Make yourself some money to move on with, and try and avoid controversy as you bide your time before you can leave the valley. Defend yourself from monsters and brutes who would do you harm! Build a reputation for yourself - and you just might find yourself not avoiding trouble, but on a quest for infamy!
Wednesday - July 09, 2014
Hand of Fate - A Collectible Card ARPG
Hand of Fate, an Action RPG, Collectible Card Game Hybrid Available on Steam Early Access
BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND - July 8, 2014 - Defiant Development sees days of gaming in the cards for action RPG and collectible card game fans, as the Kickstarter-funded title Hand of Fate is now available on Steam Early Access. The finished game will be coming to PS4 in Q4 2014 and PS Vita in Q1 2015.
In Hand of Fate, players collect equipment, items, artifacts and enemies as in-game collectible cards in a card based RPG; then play their deck, bringing to video game life a beautiful 3D world in which gamers make difficult decisions. Sometimes their choices have unexpected consequences and players must crush their foes utilizing a third person action-adventure combat system. The more bosses a player defeats, the more cards they obtain.
Players must tread with caution as Hand of Fate incorporates rogue-like elements. If a gamer dies before defeating a level’s boss the player must start from the beginning of that stage in their next play through. Each subsequent play through is unique as levels are procedurally generated via luck of the dealer’s draw.
Inspired by tarot cards and fantasy games, Defiant Development seamlessly blends tabletop card gaming with their favorite videogame genres.
“Hand of Fate combines the furious fast-paced action of button mashers with fantasy and role-playing elements that anyone who has ever picked up a 20 sided die will recognize,” Morgan Jaffit, Director, Defiant Development, explains. “Anyone who falls in the cross section of PC gamer and board or card game enthusiast will have more fun playing Hand of Fate than a Game of Thrones fan reading the manuscripts of the two unreleased books.”
The Early Access build of Hand of Fate is now available for PC, Mac and Linux on Steam at a discounted price of $25 USD, with the final release planned for Q4.
Monday - July 07, 2014
Matt Chatt - Robert Sirotek Interview #5
Matt Burton continues his interviews with Robert Sirotek in this final episode of the series talking about Stones of Arnhem, Wizardry 8 and the legalities involving Sir-Tech.
Wednesday - July 02, 2014
Quest For Infamy - New Podcast & AMA
For those of you waiting to play Quest For Infamy after it has been delayed I found a new podcast on Just Press Start with Co-Producers Steven Alexander & Shawn Mills.
The developers will also be hosting a new Reddit AMA.
Tuesday - July 01, 2014
Return To The Underworld - A Paul Neurath RPG
Paul Neurath the Founder and CEO of OtherSide Entertainment announces his new RPG called Underworld Ascension in this new press release.
RETURN TO THE UNDERWORLD
Games Pioneer Paul Neurath Forms OtherSide Entertainment and Announces its First Game, UNDERWORLD ASCENSIONTM
July 1st, 2014 – Boston, USA – OtherSide Entertainment, a new independent games studio, today announced its formation. Fronted by game pioneer Paul Neurath, OtherSide Entertainment revealed that its first title, Underworld Ascension™, will mark the return of the groundbreaking and long fallow Underworld franchise.
Paul Neurath, Founder and CEO of OtherSide Entertainment, is renowned for his creative direction spanning three decades, notably leading the development of such classic franchises as Thief™, System Shock™ and the acclaimed Ultima™ Underworld.
Underworld Ascension marks both the series and Paul Neurath’s return to his RPG roots, with OtherSide Entertainment aiming to innovate and revitalize the fantasy genre in the same way that its predecessor did in 1992. “With Underworld Ascension,” said Neurath, “we are excited to be bringing back the Underworld franchise, making it more vital than ever before.”
The original Underworlds transformed the traditional dungeon crawl into a truly immersive experience. Players felt as if they were actually walking through the great underworld halls; and encountering a living community of underworld dwellers.
Ultima Underworld inspired a generation, and its influence is still seen today in titles as diverse as Deus Ex™, The Elder Scrolls™, and BioShock™.
OtherSide Entertainment will reveal more details on Underworld Ascension in the months to come. To keep updated, visit our website at www.othersideentertainment.com.
Monday - June 30, 2014
Matt Chatt - Robert Sirotek Interview #4
In this installment Matt Barton talks with Robert Sirotek about Douglas Bradley's Bane of the Cosmic Forge, Ian Currie's Jagged Alliance, and how Hollywood screwed up the games industry. We also chat about why Sir-Tech left the industry in the face of massive consolidations.
Sunday - June 29, 2014
Sherlock Holmes - Crimes and Punishment E3 Trailer
As many of us here are adventure fans also, I'll post this E3 trailer from the new Sherlock Holmes games being developed by Frogwares. Here's a quote about the game:
Each of the six investigations in Crimes & Punishments is packed full of suspects who you will be able to identify using the clues gathered at the crime scenes or from the information gleaned during your interrogations. However, although every case may generate a number of potential suspects, you'll still have to determine the real perpetrator of the crime by an astute deduction of the chain of events based on all the evidence you have collected during your investigation.
Thursday - June 26, 2014
Spellcaster - Recently Announced Game on Greenlight
Never saw this one before, but Spellcaster a turn-based tactical RPG game from Jujubee is awaiting your vote on Steam Greenlight!
Spellcrafter, the recently-announced turn-based tactical RPG game from Jujubee got submitted to Steam Greenlight and is awaiting your vote to get onto Steam! If you want to play this awesome game on your PC (Windows/Linux) or Mac, help the Jujubee Team make it happen and cast your vote now:
Experience an amazing and unforgettable adventure set in a dark fantasy universe!
Spellcrafter will be an RPG game with deep tactical turn-based combat and a unique spell casting system. Explore the magical world, collect gold, interact with NPCs, take quests and make moral choices! Recruit heroes, assemble and summon powerful troops and send them into battle!
The unique feature of Spellcrafter will be the spell casting system. The game will recognize the sign you draw on the screen and will automatically choose the appropriate spell from the spellbook. If you won’t remember the correct sign you will be able to consult the spellbook, but beware! Reaching for the spellbook will take additional time and the quicker you cast your spell, the more powerful it will be!
The game will be divided into 3 acts. Each of them will tell a part from a compelling and magical story about the nature of reality, power and morality. You will be able to choose from three races and play as human, control necromancer forces or fight for the elves. Each act will feature 3 levels with a different setting.
Spellcrafter will be released as a Premium Game (no IAPs, no F2P mechanics). Coming to PC (Windows/Linux) and Mac in Q3 2014!
Here is a trailer of the game.
Tuesday - June 24, 2014
The Division - Claims to be an RPG
Dualshockers brings news that The Division, which as far as I know is a shooter, is claimed to be that, but also a RPG according to the devs.
Reading through the article shows little evidence of that, but I guess we have brought you news on games that weren't much of a RPG either. I thought I just share this with you and leave the game alone after that.
Monday - June 23, 2014
Matt Chatt - Robert Sirotek Interview # 3
Matt Barton has posted the third part of his video interview with Robert Sirotek the co-founder of Sir-Tech. This time they both talk about Wizardry 1-5.
Robert Sirotek, co-founder of Sir-Tech, returns this week to give us the
behind-the-scenes stories of the first five Wizardries. How did the
collaboration between Andrew Greenberg and Robert Woodhead work out? How
did Brenda Brathwaite work her way up from hot line operator to game
designer? And what was up with the insane difficulty of Wizardry 4?
Thursday - June 19, 2014
Quest For Infamy - New Release Date
Phoenix Online Studios announced today that Quest For Infamy has been delayed to July 10th. Here is the information provided on the games website.
Quest For Infamy Release Date
The release of Quest for Infamy, the Quest For glory inspired Adventure-RPG, has been moved to July 10th. So what does this mean to you, the gamer? It means Quest For Infamy will ship with an extra dose of enhancements, polish 20% more squashed bugs!Then you can finally return to the glory days of role-playing and adventure with this humor-filled fantasy epic, styled in the vein of classic PC RPGs, where you play the charming villain.
Blending turn-based combat and spellcasting with puzzle solving and adventure, players can choose from three character classes, brigand , rogue, or sorcerer, each with unique storylines and adventuresA spiritual heir to yesteryear's heroic quests, adventurers are invited to explore a world of hand-drawn wonder, as they wind their way through trap-infested dungeons, battle slavering beasts with swords or custom-made spells, and steal entire towns worth of treasure from unsuspecting townsfolk. Being bad has never felt so good!The nostalgic throwback will be available on PC & Mac at launch on July 10th, with Linux and mobile releases to follow, on GOG.com, Steam, the Phoenix Online Store and other online retailers.
Wednesday - June 18, 2014
Heroine's Quest - New Patch & Patreon
Crystal Shard has two new posst on Indiedb. The first post is about a new patch for
Heroine's Quest. Here are some of the details of the patch.
Heroine's Quest v1.2.1 is now available for download. This is an updated version based on feedback and bug reports. Unfortunately, due to engine limitations, saved games from v1.1 are not compatible with this version. However, the hqrecord.dat file which contains your records can be copied over.
For over a decade, Crystal Shard has created freeware adventure games (e.g. A Tale of Two Kingdoms), action puzzle games (such as SubTerra) and most famously the adventure RPG Heroine's Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok. These games are completely free; they are a labor of love that we enjoy sharing with the world, and to us they're literally priceless.
Since the release of HQ:THoR, many people have said that they would happily donate money to support us in creating more quality games like this. Therefore, I've started this Patreon campaign for our fans. This is a system that allows you to help the creators you love (such as us!) by donating a small amount of money per month; you'll be a Patron of the Arts. It's up to you how much, and you can cancel at any time; this is to support us in creating more quality computer games. In return, we will give nice rewards to our patrons, such as monthly online design sessions, beta access, or even your own cameo in a future game.
Source: RPG Codex
Matt Chat - Robert Sirotek Interview #2
Matt Barton has posted the second part of his video interview with Robert Sirotek.
In part 2, Robert talks about Wizardy's creation, evolution, and
reception. We also chat about copy protection (and the benefits of
piracy!) and Richard "Lord British" Garriott. Who influenced whom?
Tuesday - June 10, 2014
Humble Weekly Bundle - German Edition
This week's Humble Bundle German Edition includes among others the critically acclaimed indie games Tiny & Big, Beatbuddy and Giana Sisters + add-on. There are a couple of RPGs too: The medieval life simulation The Guild 2 Collection can be considered an RPG, and ironically both Spellbound's Gothic 4 Arcania and Piranha Bytes' Gothic clone Risen can be found in the middle tier for ca. 3.84$.
Only two days left. Even if you already have the games, head over to the Humble Bundle site to watch the funny trailer.
Dragon Warrior IV - Review @ Press Start
Press Start to Begin has reviewed the more than two decades old game Dragon Warrior IV. Here is a snippet on the story.
Good lord was this good. The first four chapters had their own small stories, all of them tied together with the main overarching plot in really fun ways. It gave the player a unique understanding of what was going on, as they saw small pieces of everything. Kidnapped children. The disappearance of everyone in a castle. The death of an alchemist. The theft of a gold bracelet. When it all came together, everything made perfect sense. It all focused on the return of evil and the quest to stop it.
Every other Dragon Warrior game is linear, with the hero clearly having a goal in mind. This game does not follow an exact linear progression thanks to the chapters. Imagine it. In the first chapter, Ragnar is trying to find missing children. In the second chapter, Alena quests around her father’s kingdom, trading a golden bracelet for a “kidnapped princess” and ultimately ended up fighting in a tournament to save a princess from marrying a monster. Chapter 3 had Taloon questing for the most powerful sword in the land, turning out to be the Zenithian Sword. Chapter 4 had Maya and Meena questing to avenge the murder of their father, one of the greatest alchemists of the world. And Chapter 5… well.. that’s when it all comes together.
Matt Chatt - Robert Sirotek Interview
Matt Barton interviewed Robert Sirotek to talk about the origins of Sir-Tech.
In this episode, I begin my interview with Robert Sirotek, one of the co-founders of Sir-Tech. In this first installment, we chat about how Robert got his start and the origins of Sir-Tech. There's a castle involved!
Wednesday - June 04, 2014
One Tap Quest - Play a RPG in Seconds
Rock Paper Shotgun takes a look at One Tap Quest, in which you only have to click once and see the game finish in less than 45 seconds. Apparently it is a RPG and the RPS editor got hooked on it.
One Tap Quest really is played in seconds. You click once, your ant man scuttles into action, and anywhere between five and 45 seconds later, the deed is done. As your character progresses through the area, he slays monsters, levels up,and – if you aim him well – comes into contact with all sorts of handy pixelated items. Swords and shields give you an insta-level, blue scrolls teleport you back a bit, and beer splits you into a party of three. Those sorts of things.
The goal, then, is to become sufficiently powerful to make it past various tiers of monsters. The game randomizes them to a degree, but they’re basically in sequential order. So sure, you might be able to make it all the way to the castle by sneakily skirting the level’s edges, but a dragon or what I believe to be either a minotaur or an evil loaf of bread will slaughter you with ease upon arrival. Leaping backwards is often beneficial, as it lets you take out more monsters and gain more experience.
Tuesday - June 03, 2014
General News - Hoarding RPGs
Andrew Barker at RPGFan penned an article on how he used to complete every game he had in the past, but now finds his backlog rising, which will probably ring true for many of you.
He also goes somewhat into the reasons behind this.
Why is this? Cost is definitely a factor. Computer games, especially on Steam, can often be bought in large numbers for very little cost during sales – not to mention those Humble Bundles! Many of these purchases will be spur of the moment, and actual interest in playing a particular title may wane. Console games are typically more expensive, so less frequently bought, and I know I want to feel my money was "well spent."
Perhaps it's the nature of hoarding games and building a library on virtual platforms that is the biggest contributor. I've been slowly making my way through my Steam games, but with daily deals and seasonal sales, there's always something new to buy. For those of us who were playing games in the 90s, the Pokémon collecting mentality likely bleeds over into other areas of our lives.
For me personally, I'm down to only around 30 games left in my backlog to beat. But that's after a couple of years of focus on what I already own, and buying less than I used to. Among the rest of the RPGFan staff, we have a couple who are fairly on top of their RPG backlogs, though others have 50% or more of their RPGs still to beat. Again, the completion rate among console games is consistently higher than on Steam.
Saturday - May 31, 2014
Tales Of Aravorn - A New RPG Game
Tales Of Aravorn: Seasons Of The Wolf is the next game from Winter Wolves Games. The developer has two other games called Planet Stronghold & Loren the Amazon Princess.
Welcome back to Aravorn!
In this role-playing game, set in the same fantasy world as the award-winning Loren the Amazon princess, you'll play as Shea or Althea, twins from the far-away village Ninim. In just the course of one year, you will experience many storylines and sidequests; situations and events where your own choices influence the very end of the game.
The twins' tale starts on a day like many others, when one of the siblings finds a young wolf and decides to take it with him/her. Thus begins the long journey which will take the siblings from the ice-shrouded Ninim to the desert-wrapped city of Dingirra to the storm-shrouded port of Shacklesplit. Explore the-corruption riddled halls of Dingirra, and contest with the crimelords who claim it as their own domain. Sail the high seas, battle mighty pirates, and discover their hidden treasures!
Thursday - May 29, 2014
Ghostlight - Bringing Elminage Gothic to PC
I found news on a website called Gaming Enthusiast that Pubisher Ghostlight will be releasing a new Japanese dungeon crawler called Elminage Gothic on Steam.
Ghostlight have recently announced that they will be bringing the classic Japanese dungeon crawler, Elminage Gothic, to PC. Elminage Gothic, originally known as Elminage Gothic: Ulm Zakir to Yami no Gishik, is the 4th entry in Starfish SD’s popular Elminage series of dungeon crawlers, originally released in Japan for PSP in 2012 and on 3DS in 2013.
Not only will this release mark the first time the Elminage series has been brought to PC but this will also be the first western release for Elminage Gothic. As neither the PSP version nor the 3DS remake have been localised before.
Some may remember the original Elminage game, which Ghostlight released in Europe last year on PSP. The game is currently available on PSN but the boxed release was a highly exclusive offering, with one of the smallest, if notthe smallest, PSP print runs ever. Only 300 very special limited edition physical copies were ever manufactured!
For those of you who enjoyed it, Elminage Gothic offers the same classic old school dungeon crawling experience but adds a darker, more gothic twist to the game’s theme and art style. It features multiple character classes, hundreds of stunningly designed monsters, creatures and demons, well over 80 hours of gameplay and it even goes right down to including the traditional “THAC0” system.
Ghostlight have said that they’re aiming at a late summer release and that the team are still in the early stages of the translation and conversion process so the content of these screenshots may be subject to change over the coming weeks. Ghostlight are working closely with the team at Starfish SD to offer increased resolution of the original artwork as well as a host of additions for the Steam release including mouse and keyboard support and of course Steam Trading Cards.
Monday - May 26, 2014
Acaratus - A New Episodic Turn-based RPG
Acaratu is a new episodic turn-based RPG from indie Swedish developer Nodbrim Interactive. They released a new video, and describe the game as the follwing.
Acaratus is an online episodic turnbased tactical rpg set in a medevil steampunk world. The game combines fast paced tactical gameplay with customizable mechs and a CCG element to make the battle more intense!
So as you see it's an online game so you have been warned.
Monday - May 19, 2014
Stasis Labs - Games Re-Imagined as Isometric
The developers of the funded game Stasis have created a few screenshots of what a few released games might have looked as 2D isometric RPGs.
The games include Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite, Assaassin's Creed 4, Crusader: No Remorse, and Blade Runner. Just visit the following link for the images.
Saturday - May 17, 2014
Groupees - Eschalon: Book 1&2 Bundle
Thanks to Gorath we have a new link for a new bundle on Groupees where you can purchase Eschalon: Book 1&2. They also mention our review of Book II.
Wednesday - May 14, 2014
Sidewalk Atlas - Won't You Be My NPC
We were sent in a link for a new RPG music song from Sidewalk Atlas. I know I usually don't post about music , but give a listen it's not that bad.
An original song for those who have loved and lost... a close video game character ;) Free download at http://sidewalkatlas.com/npc
This is just a demo, but if people like it we might record it for our 2nd album (which we're currently recording). For now it's just nice to share it with other people that might be missing their favorite video game characters. *sigh*
Tuesday - May 06, 2014
Bravada - Scheduled for Release
Bravada is a game from the indie developer Interbellum that is scheduled for release on the 14th of May. It is a turn-based party RPG in which you play a young dwarf without a beard. He is brave though and dreams about adventures and heroic deeds. One day he actually goes on a long and dangerous journey in search of his much desired beard. During the game you control a group of units each with their own specialities and features. Units can get levels and transform into other forms by your choice.
Some additional information is avilable in this short article on RPS from last year.
Moving as a one, you control your squad’s formation and direction. They then attack in an order based on speed, with a togglable pop-up showing who will go when. Standard level ups, class choices and equipment are present, but take on a new light in the wake of other mechanics. Do you want a range character with less damage, allowing it to support from the middle of the pack? Or do you need a tank, that can be put out as a scout and absorb some hits? Normal peasants can pick a role when they reach certain milestones, while the main character gets to increase his stats.
What’s really interesting is the ankh system that gifts the ability to clone of one of your party whenever another dies. This is just one of many items that keep the game fresh as you progress. It may sound a little dull, but it’s faster paced than you might imagine. You’re always progressing forward, but moving characters around your formation is vital. Letting the pace get ahead of you is a fatal mistake too – this is not a walk in the park and misusing items or poorly managing health will lead to death.
Monday - May 05, 2014
Matt Chat - Interview with Chuck "Chuckles" Bueche
Matt Barton interviews Chuck Bueche about his earliest games for the Apple II and Richard Garriott whom he has known since highschool.
OnlySP - How Do You Add Immersion In Games?
OnlySP writer Nathan Hughes has posted an article where he writes about his views on how to add immersion to games, and uses RPG games as one example.
Recently, I’ve found myself dipping back into some of my favourite RPG games. I was surprised to find myself going back to the genre so soon after logging a lot of hours into Dark Souls 2, but getting “immersed” into a world is something I constantly find myself doing. When you’re stressed out with life, work or whatever, breaking away from reality is something I support because you’re focusing your frustration and stress into playing a game. Games can serve to be almost therapeutic and the level of immersion they provide can certainly help you unwind or focus your energy. But most of all, immersion serves as an impactful addition that can deliver a thrilling experience like no other. Let’s discuss.
Tuesday - April 22, 2014
Matt Chatt - Brenda Romero Interview #5
Seems Matt isn't done interviewing Brenda Romero as he released the fifth part today were they talk about teaching, and learning with video games.
In this episode, Brenda talks about using videogames and board games to teach kids about history. Then she talks about how crazy it is that hardly any of us--including pro game developers!--knows anything about the people who actually made our favorite games. Thankfully, there's always Matt Chat
Wednesday - April 16, 2014
Agarest: Generations of War - Steam Top Seller
Ghostlight sent out another a press release for Agarest: Generations of War Zero with news the game is selling well on on Steam. They also remind everyone you can now pre-order the game at a cheaper price.
Ghostlight set to release Agarest: Generations Of War Zero, prequel to Steam #1 Top Seller!
BRAINTREE, UK – 15/04/2014
Following hot on the heels of the #1 Steam top selling SRPG Agarest: Generations Of War, Ghostlight are proud to announce its much anticipated prequel, Agarest: Generations Of War Zero! Available for pre-purchase now, the prequel will be released on Steam this coming Thursday, bringing an enticing blend of in-depth strategy and epic multi-generational storytelling to PC!
Anyone pre-purchasing the game will receive a healthy 20% discount meaning the game will be just $15.99 down from $19.99.
Here are just some of the exciting new features in Agarest: Generations of War Zero:
- Numerous graphical improvements - including the addition of stunningly animated character portraits
- Vacation Days - improve the bonds with your party and unlock bonus items, costumes and locations
- New Races – a variety of new races are now available for your partyEnhanced Towns – with more interactivity and additional areas to explore
- Card Skill System - customise the main character’s battle style and skills
- Extra Mode – a new hard difficulty unlocked by players who have cleared the first game, also allowing access to the world map, items and all characters from the original game.
And that’s not all. There are also new PC exclusive features such as cloud saving, a full revamp of how DLC is managed within existing saves, plus the ability to decide which direction the controls are to be offset.
To mark the release of Agarest: Generations of War Zero Ghostlight have also slashed the price of the original Agarest: Generations of War from $19.99 to just $14.99.
Friday - April 04, 2014
Agarest: Generations of War Zero - Pre-Orders
Ghostlight sent our a press release with information you can now pre-order Agarest: Generations of War Zero, Here are the details.
Ghostlight opens pre-orders for Agarest: Generations of War Zero on PC and announce early bird discount and release date.
BRAINTREE, UK – 03/04/2014 - Ghostlight have today announced that Agarest: Generations of War Zero, the prequel to Compile Heart & Idea Factory’s best selling JRPG Agarest: Generations of War will be released on the 17th April priced at just $19.99. In addition, Ghostlight have also stated that pre-orders for the game will go live on Steam later today.
According to Ghostlight, anyone who pre-orders Agarest: Generations of War Zero will receive a 20% discount, dropping the price to a bargain $15.99.
Like its predecessor, Agarest: Generations of War Zero brings its mixture of in depth strategy and epic multi generational storytelling from console to PC.
Those who enjoyed the first game in the series will be pleased to know that some great new features have been added to Agarest Zero.
The new Vacation Days allow you to get to know your party members better and unlock bonus items and locations by visiting various places in the towns. Not only that but as you build your relationship with the rest of your party you will unlock new costumes for them to wear.
In addition some of you may have noticed that the original conversations in Agarest: Generations of War were a little static. Not any more as the Motion Portrait system brings them to life with subtle animations which really help to immerse you in the games world.
With various other changes such as improved graphics and a brand new card system to allow you to customise your starting character this is an upgrade you won’t want to miss.
With so many improvements Laughing Jackal couldn’t help themselves and also brought new PC improvements such as cloud saving (which has also been added to Agarest very recently), the ability to decide which direction you wish the controls to be offset in and a big request that we met was a revamping of the DLC menu. Agarest: Generations of War Zero now gives you more control over how the DLC is managed. You can now pick and choose how it is added to your existing saves.
More on Agarest: Generations of War Zero:
In a time long forgotten, the gods of darkness and light fought in a savage battle across generations, ravaging the land they had created. A deadlock ensued leaving the Scarred Mountains to divide the continent between the sworn enemies.
With wounds running so deep, the balance could not last forever and soon the darkness would arise to face its foe once again. In this most pivotal installment of our epic tale, we take you back to that most ancient of battles revealing the story of events preceding Agarest: Generations of War...
...While patrolling the mountains, Sieghart, a young officer loyal to the armies of light, meets a strange girl. This chance meeting will change the world...
- Watch the story unfold as you battle hordes of creatures in more than 80hrs of compelling turn-based combat.
- Utilise the tactical new Card Skill System to shape the combat style of your uniquely created hero.
- Featuring stunning new and beautifully animated character portraits, displaying a variety of emotions.
- The innovative Soul Breed System returns! Choose your bride to determine the strengths and fate of the world’s next heroic generation of warriors.
Wednesday - April 02, 2014
Unsacred - A New Sacred ARPG
Thanks to Avantenor for sending the the following news, and I'm sure many of you will be excited. It seems former Sacred devlopers from Ascaron are making a new ARPG.
The game is called Unsacred and the developers are raising money on Papal, and the games website. Unfortunately that is all the information I have has all the news sites with information are in German.
Welcome to unsacred (working title).
We are pleased that you, from wherever you come from, you have found us. We are the ones who eventually made SACRED. Those who have registered significantly our concerns to SACRED 2 and did not want to hear - or could. That is past. Not always glorious, not always honorable. But the vision is never died. And in the years that have passed since then, we have a never lost sight of: a common idea. We call unsacred (working title) and it will be the game that we want to make and will make. For this we need your help. Live the dream with us, help us to let him become a reality. It may be that many of the sounds that we tell you about here, for one or the other almost fantastic. But to be honest: When we have taken SACRED attack, the voices sounded very similar. Prepare yourself your own to figure it out and come back. You will find at this point constant updates.
At this point, imagine our team members in the course of our project and tell you a little of what their responsibilities are in unsacred (working title). Our current development team is a mix of "old warriors" and new faces, which are connected by a common goal. Friends, companions, faithful fans of the first hour. We cover the entire development history of SACRED rich and thereby to the early beginnings of ARMALION, the game (the older ones among you will remember), from which then eventually became SACRED. From this age eg Franz Stradal, Marc Oberhäuser, Ralph Roder and Norbert Becker is one of the party. Peter Hann, whose graphics capabilities many of you are still likely to know from Sacred 2, is also included with. As consultants, we are old SACRED greats like Michael Bhatty to the side that will ensure that our new universe which is what you want as a player and fans and what we dream of for years. Everything will be fine!
So if anyone here is fluent in German, and can translate better than Goggle. It would help us all allot. I hope the game will at least be better than the new Sacred III.
Tuesday - April 01, 2014
Shadowrun Online - Available on Early Access
Cliffhanger Productions sent a new press release with information their game Shadowrun Online is now on Steam Early Access. I don't know if any of you are interested though.
So read the news-bit or not it's your choice.
Shadowrun Online Available Now on Steam Early Access
March 31, 2014 – There is blood on the streets of Boston, Megacorporations are at each others' throats, a dark secret has been unveiled, and a dragon has awoken. It's a great time to run the shadows...if you manage to survive.
Shadowrun Online launches today on Steam Early Access with a prequel to the upcoming campaign. This early prequel offers players an introduction to the combat of Shadowrun Online through PvP and four missions. New content and features will be added regularly with opportunities for players to directly influence development.
Set in a dystopian 2075, when man meets magic and melds with machinery, you and your friends will take on the riskiest jobs to face the most treacherous enemies. Live your life on the edge, fight corporations and gangs, and stay alive in the most dangerous job of all; Shadowrunner.
Based on one of the world's most successful pen-and-paper RPGs, Shadowrun Online is a turn-based MMO with class-free character-creation, magic, hacking, combat galore, and numerous unique features, including a world-campaign that evolves based on the collective actions of the players.
Sunday - March 23, 2014
General News - Grid Cartographer 2
You may remember me mentioning a small program that allows gamers to make maps for RPG games called Grid Cartographer. The developer David Walters sent news that version 2 is now available.
Here are the changes from version one.
Grid Cartographer 2 is an RPG map making tool
It's the perfect companion for table-top roleplaying dungeon design or for mapping classic games like Wizardry, Might & Magic, Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master. Why not download the free edition using the links above and give it a try?
The main new features in v2 are:
* Completely rewritten user interface with tabbed toolbars and a scrolling palette of brush types. The interface was built with touch screen in mind so the Android version will be practically identical.
* Improved custom tiles support. I've replaced the old tileset system with one that uses individual images. This is much more user friendly and also convenient in that it allows for individual tiles graphics to be updated and removed more easily.
* You can also make use of a simple two layer system to draw custom tiles as both ground and feature items.
* Added support for diagonal walls which will aid mapping games like System Shock.
* Finally I've added an option to automatically add matching pairs of stairs or ladders on the floor above or below where you place one. This makes it much easier to track the entry points into a new floor.
A new license costs $12 with an upgrade of $5 for existing customers and a special offer (until the end of April) where owners of both the Android and desktop versions can get a v2 key for free.
Friday - March 21, 2014
General News - Stop Being Scared!
In a speech at GDC2014 BioWare Montreal's gameplay designer Manveer Heir had a talk about "Misogyny, Racism and Homophobia: Where Do Video Games Stand?" and received a standing ovation for it. In his talk he wants the indstry to demolish the many stereotypes that exist in video games and accept "a social responsibility to mankind".
One of his statements is: it's "very cynical" to assume the audience isn't capable of embracing a gay hero or heroine, or "more exclusive women protagonists in games that aren't glorified sex objects and actually have personalities beyond supporting the men in the game".
More to be found on this topic at the summary of it that Eurogamer made.
Thursday - March 13, 2014
Shards Online - A new Sandbox MMO RPG
I received a new press release about a new MMO RPG called Shards Online. It's being developed a by a new studio called Citadel Studios. Here are the details.
AAA Online Game Veterans Form New Indie Studio
Citadel Studios Brings 40+ Years of Development Experience to New Sandbox RPG Codenamed “Shards”
WASHINGTON, March 11, 2014 – A veteran team of online gaming experts today announced the formation of Citadel Studios, a new independent video game development company focusing on multiplayer role-playing games for PC. For the past six months, Citadel has been heads down working on their first project, codenamed “Shards,” and is ready to give the world a sneak peek. With Shards, Citadel is taking inspiration from their previous work on the grandaddy of RPGs, Ultima Online - they’re creating a truly next-generation online game that will enable players to customize their experience, and change the face of player collaboration forever.
Learn more about Shards and the Citadel team:
● View the official teaser: http://shardsonline.com
● Check out the studio: http://citadelstudios.net
Citadel was founded by game industry veterans Derek Brinkmann, Chris Ondrus and Tim Cotten, whose collective credits range from RPG classics like the Elder Scrolls series, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer Online, to AAA titles in the NASCAR and Madden franchises. Derek, Chris and Tim have seen online games evolve from their earliest days through the introduction of free-to-play, mobile, MOBAs and other modern multiplayer genres. With a full understanding of the genre’s history and modern development, Citadel’s goal is to create something like nothing else on the market.
“We left our soul-crushing, corporate jobs to make the games we’d actually play,” said Derek Brinkmann, founder and CEO of Citadel Studios. “As we started our first project and experimented with concepts, we discovered ways we could share our passion for creating living worlds with gamers themselves. Ultimately the community will dictate what Shards becomes, because we’re not just providing a game but also a platform for players to express their creativity.”
Based on their own personal passion for the genre, Citadel is ignoring the modern online gaming imperative to squeeze every last cent from every player. Set in a richly-imagined universe with deep lore and environments ranging from the familiar to the surprising, Shards will give players more power than ever before, without constantly asking them to take out their wallets.
About Citadel Studios, Inc.
Citadel Studios is an independent online game developer located in Washington D.C. Founded in July 2013, the studio is made up of some of the top RPG developers in the industry, collectively drawing from 40+ years of experience on titles such as Ultima Online, Warhammer Online, The Elder Scrolls and Dark Age of Camelot. Inspired by classic online games and armed with modern AAA prowess, the team is working on an online sandbox RPG, codenamed Shards. By empowering communities to customize their experiences, Citadel aims to take the multiplayer genre out of the “sandbox” and into the playground. To learn more, visit http://citadelstudios.net.
Sunday - March 02, 2014
Heroes of Might & Magic III - Retrospective
The official webpage for Might & Magic has a retrospective for Heroes of Might & Magic III. I know we have fans of the game so enjoy a look back at the games development.
The Tale of Heroes of Might & Magic III
The video game industry is a relatively small and tight-knit community, and most of the opportunities for the games I’ve developed came to me through someone I had previously known. Heroes of Might and Magic III was no exception.
I first met Jon Van Caneghem, the founder of New World Computing and chief designer of most of its games, in 1994. We were both speakers on a panel about “The Art and Craft of Game Design” at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Jon was familiar with some of the games I had worked on in the past, such as Disney’s “DuckTales” and Harlan Ellison’s “I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream”, and suggested that we should work together sometime.
That opportunity came three years later when New World Computing contacted me about becoming director for a new sequel in the Heroes of Might & Magic franchise. It was an exciting proposition but also a somewhat daunting one – Heroes of Might & Magic II, which was released the previous year, had just been named the sixth-best PC game of all time by PC Gamer magazine. What could I possibly do for an encore?
That is precisely the question I was asked by Trip Hawkins, president of The 3DO Company, which had recently purchased New World Computing. Trip made it the habit of personally interviewing every key employee joining the 3DO family (in my case, it was a phone interview, since I lived in the Los Angeles area, where New World was located, whereas The 3DO Company was based in the San Francisco area), and he wanted to know what I brought to the party.
Monday - February 24, 2014
Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction - Will the RPG Exist?
3DRealms and Interceptor Entertainment are working on Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, which is said to be an action RPG. Then again it might never be realized as Gearbox has filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms to stop it from being made, or to become part of the benefits. The game's site AllOutOfGum was apparently featuring a counter that counted back to the 25th of February, but at the moment there is no counter anymore. Here is the article from Joystick with more details:
Gearbox Software filed a lawsuit against 3D Realms (3DR) and Interceptor Entertainment, accusing the studios of unauthorized use of the Duke Nukem property and alleging violation of trademarks held by Gearbox. The lawsuit points to 3D Realms' recent reveal of Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, which features a teaser site with a timer counting down to February 25.
"Apparently, after selling its Duke Nukem IP rights to Gearbox in 2010, 3DR sought to privately convince others that the sale never happened," the complaint reads. "The result is the unauthorized development effort that reportedly exists between 3DR and Interceptor."
Among the documents filed in the suit is a breach statement issued by Gearbox stating that 3D Realms infringed on Gearbox's intellectual property in addition to a statement signed by 3D Realms CEO Scott Miller and Duke Nukem co-creator George Broussard that acknowledged the infringement. In a statement filed to Joystiq, Gearbox Software said, "As the filing shows, 3DR's wrongdoing is both admitted and unfortunate for everyone who cares about Duke Nukem."
3D Realms filed a lawsuit against Gearbox in June 2013 for alleged unpaid royalties for Duke Nukem Forever, and later issued a public apology and withdrawal of the lawsuit in September 2013. Gearbox took over the development of the game in September 2010 in addition to acquiring the rights to the brand from 3D Realms.
Saturday - February 08, 2014
RPGSite - Upcoming RPGs of 2014
If your interested in finding out about most of the RPGs coming out in 2014 visit RPGSite. They have a five page list sorted alphabetically, and list all platforms.
Whether you're into Western RPGs, Japanese RPGs, dungeon crawlers, hack-and-slash, beat 'em ups, tactical, strategy, or whatever else you can think of, this year will have a wide assortment of games to indulge yourself with in each of these categories.
We are planning a whole week of articles in order to evenly divide out this list of 100 - yes, 100 - RPGs.
I tried to find and post every single RPG that I could find that has either been confirmed for 2014, is seeking a full rleease in 2014 (in regards to games currently on services like Steam's Early Access or in an alpha or beta state), or slated to appear later this year.
The dates listed are their earliest confirmed dates, either being for Europe or North America. Note that we will be going through these titles in alphabetical order, and all release dates are obviously subject to change.
Friday - February 07, 2014
Dreamlands - A Book By Screeg
No something we normally report about, but our forum member Screeg has published his first novel! Very indirectly, it's the result of his failed attempt to get a Lovecraft CRPG off the ground, since that led to him having a collection of short stories, which led to his novel Dreamlands.
Isaac Sloan, the dissolute scion of a once wealthy family, is nearing the end of his credit when he receives an urgent summons from his estranged uncle. In Arkham, he will learn of the dying man's double life, and of long forgotten enemies newly roused.
Join Isaac Sloan as he parts the veil separating the pedestrian world of early twentieth century New England from an uncharted land of riddles and horrors. In that mysterious realm called the Dreamlands, he will become enmeshed in a struggle against the servants of an incomprehensible entity.
Matt Barton - What are Your Favorite Roguelikes?
Matt Barton has a new article on his webpage asking about your favorite Roguelikes.
I’ve been having a lot of fun playing all manner of Roguelikes as I gather footage for my interview with Glenn Wichman. I knew there were lots of them, but I’m frankly stunned at the productivity of the roguelike community. Most of us have probably heard of the major roguelikes–ADOM, Angbad, Crawl, ToME, Larn, and, of course, NetHack, but that’s just scratching the surface. Roguebasin lists over 800 in 25 subcategories!
Thursday - February 06, 2014
ReRoll - A New Open World Survival RPG
ReRoll is a new open-world survival RPG being developed by a studio called PIXYUL. According to the website they are veterans from Ubisoft Montreal and Electronic Arts.
To keep it short they need your money to make their game a reality. Here is the announcement video, and a few game details.
THE SHIT JUST HIT THE FAN
The world, society, order, everything is going down the drain and fast. Flashing your credit card at your groceries cashier will not get you food.
To survive, you will have to develop skills that you did not need prior to this melt down.
Before being able to hunt, capture or grow your own food, you’ll have to scavenge or steal what’s around. That means constantly looking over your shoulder while doing those rounds. Because, the last thing you want is to be on the receiving end of somebody arrow or bullet. Worst, being chased by those weird mutants that are just getting more aggressive as days goes by.
Tuesday - February 04, 2014
RPGamer - Best of 2013
RPGamer have made their list of the best RPG's in 2013 known. There is a total of 19 categories and somewhat console oriented. The best RPG is Fire Emblem.
After reading this all I can say is: Where the hell is ours?!?
Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction - A New ARPG?
Yes you read the title correct it looks like we might be getting a new Duke Nukem ARPG. The developer seems to be Interceptor Entertainment who developed Rise of the Triad.
PC Gamer has more information on the game.
A teaser website for a new Duke Nukem game has appeared at alloutofgum.com, referencing one of The King's cheesiest and well-known one-liners. A countdown clock indicates that more information will be revealed on February 25, though just a little bit of online snooping has already uncovered some details.
The website first went live with a secret message written in an alien language, which has since been decoded. It references an alien species named the Kyrr, which appear to be the canon fodder this time around. It also revealed the name of the game, Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction, and that it will release on PC and PlayStation 4. It will be built in the Unreal engine. The most curious bit of information is that Mass Destruction will be a top-down action role-playing game, with experience point and tech trees.
I'll update the story later this month.
Matt Chat - Glenn Wichmann Interview
Matt Barton posted the second part of his interview with Glenn Wichman.
In my second installment with Mr. Glenn Wichman, we talk about Rogue's development, commercial release, and then his subsequent releases including Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Toxic Ravine, and Mombasa.
Thursday - January 30, 2014
Matt Barton - Crowdfunding Video
Matt Barton has a video about his new crowdfunding project.
For five years now, I've been providing folks like you with in-depth historical retrospectives and interviews with industry legends and pioneers. Many of you have supported my efforts by donating with Paypal. However, now there's a better way--Patreon!
Patreon is essentially a Kickstarter-like system, but instead of a one-time payment, you pay a small amount per episode or release. You only pay when I release a new episode, and you can set a monthly cap to ensure you don't go over your budget.
Like Kickstarter, Patreon supports all manner of goals and rewards, so you'll get more stuff depending on how much you give.
As always, thanks for your time and support, and please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions about my Patreon page.
Yoshinori Kitase - Interview @ EDGE
EDGE interviews Final Fantasy Director Yoshinori Kitase on defining JRPGs.
Over the past decade, many of Square Enix’s best-known designers have left the company – and none more high profile than Hironobu Sakaguchi. He joined Square in 1983 as a part-time designer, going on to become its director of planning and development, and ultimately its US president. Yoshinori Kitase, one of Sakaguchi’s protégées, is among the few remaining staff from the glory days when the company established and expanded the Japanese RPG blueprint. He’s worked on titles such as Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VII and Square’s high-profile collaboration with Disney, Kingdom Hearts. Today, he pilots the Final Fantasy brand – Sakaguchi’s creation and a series that has sold more than 100 million units to date. It’s one of the most senior creative positions in games, but holding it was never Kitase’s goal.
Kitase has been at the frontline of industry change. “In the beginning, the atmosphere was one of a small university arts or technology club. Today, it’s a market with Hollywood-scale productions. When I first joined Square, the view of games from wider society was one of a niche subculture; it was underground and impenetrable.”
Kitase’s interest in making games more approachable stems from what he saw at this time. “My father would complain that he had no idea what was going on when I played RPGs at home after school,” he says. “This made me want to make games something that those watching the screen next to the player could also find interesting. That’s one of the reasons I’ve pushed 3D CG graphics and voice acting.”
While Kitase feels that there is still a great deal of work for him to do in helping games to become truly mainstream, he is less interested in his own legacy than that of those who follow: “I would like nothing more than for the next generation to aim to produce famous creators like Kurosawa or Spielberg – people who leave their mark on entertainment history.”
Monday - January 27, 2014
Matt Chat - Glenn Wichmann Interview
Matt Barton talks to Glenn Wichman, one of the creators of Rogue, the game that started the roguelike genre.
Sunday - January 26, 2014
Mark Morgan - Interviews
Mark Morgan the composer for the music of Wasteland 2, Fallout, and Planescape: Torment was interviewed by two sites this week.
The first interview is from PC Gamer.
Mark Morgan may not be as "instantly recognizable" as composers like Jeremy Soule, Jack Wall or Jesper Kyd, to name just a few, but to a certain subset of gamer nerd-dom he's easily the equal of any of them. He has more than a dozen titles to his credit in a career that began in 1995 with Dark Seed II, but there are three in particular--Fallout, Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment--that established him as one of the most unique and memorable talents in the business.
The second interview is from Game Informer.
Mark Morgan's ethereal, electronic music-influenced game scores have helped convey the emotion in such games as Fallout: New Vegas, Planescape: Torment, and Need for Speed: Shift. He's currently working on Brian Fargo's much-anticipated Wasteland 2. We spoke to Morgan about his background, influences, and composition style.
Saturday - January 25, 2014
Windforge - A 2D Building Block RPG
Snowed In Studios has sent out a new press release for their RPG game Windforge.
WINDFORGE COMING TO STEAM MARCH 11 AFTER SUCCESSFUL KICKSTARTER
Ottawa, ON –Snowed In Studios is pleased to announce that WindForge is available for sale as a pre-release at www.windforgegame.com and will be launched on March 11, 2014, on the Steam Store.
WindForge received the green light from the Steam Community on January 7, 2014.
The game has been partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, which ran from November 6 to December 6, 2013, and was successful thanks to the backers who got behind the title to contribute just over $50,000 to complete the game.
This financial contribution allowed Snowed In Studios, who offer work-for-hire game development services, to continue production and bring their first original title to market as planned.
'We had a difficult choice to make, to keep working on the game with the help of the WindForge community or to shorten production and launch the game in the fall. Running the campaign takes time and resources and we were not sure what was the right thing to do, given the statistics on how many Kickstarters fail,' says Jean-Sylvain Sormany, the president of Snowed in Studios. 'We literally did not know if we made the right decision or not until the very last minute. We met our goal with only 62 seconds on the clock, so it was pretty tight!'
The pre-release version of the game, which was made available to backers in December, is now available for sale on the studio’s website: http://windforgegame.snowedin.ca
WindForge is an RPG that allows players to build their own airships and explore the hostile skies. It mixes 2D-shooter action with the freedom to create and explore.
Agarest: Generations of War Zero - PC Release
Ghostlight announces the PC release of Agarest: Generations of War Zero.
PC release for Agarest: Generations of War Zero
BRAINTREE, UK – 23/01/2014
Ghostlight have today announced that following on from their successful PC release of Agarest: Generations of War on Steam last year, they will be bringing the game’s prequel, Agarest: Generations of War Zero to PC via Steam in the first quarter of 2014. As with the first game in the series, the PC port will be handled by developer, Laughing Jackal, whose Vita title OMG HD Zombies is expected to be released on Steam next month.
For the PC version of Agarest: Generations of War Zero, Laughing Jackal will be adding full mouse and keyboard support, maintaining full gamepad support, adding Steam achievements, taking advantage of the higher resolutions that PCs can offer and making a number of other user interface changes to ensure that PC gamers receive the best gaming experience possible.
Ghostlight have also provided a trailer for the PlayStation 3 version of this title.
In addition to this news Ghostlight have also revealed on their blog that they are currently in the process of signing two new Japanese titles to bring to PC.
Ghost Control Inc - A Turn-Based Strategy Game
Application Systems sent out a press release for a their game called Ghost Control Inc.
GhostControl Inc. - ghostly strategy game - shipping. Needs Greenlight support. Manual and demo available.
Application Systems announces the launch of GhostControl Inc. for Mac/PC/Linux. Manual and demo of the game are completed as well.
The Steam Greenlight campaign is looking for more votes here:
The demo can be downloaded here:
Also available from that link is the latest game update to version 1.0.7
and the "Guide to ghost hunting in the 21st Century" as a PDF. It
helps explains how to avoid the most popular disasters in a 32 page nutshell.
The game is available directly from us and on ESD platforms like the
Windows Store, Desura, Gamers Gate, Indiegamestand, macgamestore
right now. All current buying choices can be found here:http://www.application-systems.co.uk/ghostcontrolinc/buy.html
About GhostControl Inc.
Manage a team of ghosthunters and free London from paranormal terror
in turn-based battles. Develop your own strategy and build your business well.
Let's be honest - a ghost in your house can be a real pest. For
centuries we have accepted hauntings as unexplained phenomena which
we can do little to stop. Side affects of living in a haunted home
can include sleepless nights, headaches, smog everywhere and in some
cases even physical damage in the house.
Enough is enough, with your help we intend to put an end to these
paranormal pests. Build, manage and develop your own team of talented
With the income from your team's work you can equip them with some
amazing gadgets, but manage your budget with care not everything is
as useful as it may appear. Hunt your customers ghosts down -
property damage should be kept to a minimum. Take on the ghosts,
follow the map, take in the lovely sites and stunning landmarks.
Friday - January 24, 2014
SpiderDuck - The Year of Turn-Based Strategy
SpiderDuck has a new article about turn-based strategy games.
Gaming has trends that seem to change each year whether that be the Year of the Bow (well, couple years as some of those games ended up getting pushed) to a year full of rogue-likes or rogue-lites...honestly, who the hell comes up with these terms? These trends come to us from both mainstream big budget releases and small independent studios. Looking at the games that have been announced this year, I noticed a trend of turn-based strategy games that are both high profile and from the relatively unknown. A lot of these titles are available now whether it's early-access or a full release. I've put together this list of the ones that I've had the opportunity to check out.
Tuesday - January 21, 2014
Frogwares - Call of Cthulhu Adventure Game
I know this newspost is about an adventure game, but since many os us here likes adventure games. And some of us like the Call of Cthulhu universe, I find this newsworthy here.
Frogwares, the company behind the Sherlock Adventure games, announced yesterday
that the company
Together with Focus Home Interactive, we are happy to announce the development of Call of Cthulhu - the new video game based on the pen-and-paper role-playing game featuring H.P. Lovecraft mythology. Recognized as a true classic, Call of Cthulhu continues to delight players after almost 30 years since its release. We are aiming to continue this tradition and to present our very own contribution to Lovecraftian heritage with a video game.
You can view the announcements here along with some screenshots of the game.
Sunday - January 19, 2014
Matt Barton - What’s wrong with Matt Chat?
Mat Barton has a new post on his blog asking what is wrong with his show.
Since my last post, I’ve been thinking more and more about what I’ve been doing “wrong” with Matt Chat, at least in terms of building an audience. Many folks have pointed out, and I think correctly, that with the caliber of guests I have on the show–and I’ve been maintaining that for years now–the show should be doing much better. There are countless guys out there doing simple reviews and let’s play type videos who are simply obliterating my views and subscriber lists.
Friday - January 17, 2014
General News - Kickstarter & Early Access
Everyday I come across a few articles about Kickstarter and Early Access. Seems every one has an opinion so instead of posting multiple news-bits consider this a roundup.
Venturebeat - "How Early Access and Kickstarter are a double win for developers"
So can Early Access and Kickstarter become the ultimate co-op experience? Kickstarter won’t be fading away anytime soon. It still offers a number of unique options that prospective developers can use to manage expectations via tiered donations and rewards, enabling them to get a head start on funding without sharing anything playable. Then, when they do have something they believe is good enough to share, Early Access might be another avenue they may choose to explore as an additional tool in aiding development — if they make the cut to be included on Steam, that is. Early Access could also change in other ways in much the same way as Steam has over the years, offering more options for developers and gamers in the future
GeekenStein - "Why Buying Into an Alpha is a Bad Thing"
When a game is in alpha it is still a long way from being finished, yet people will still pay $30 for it. We are encouraging bad business practices by developers and publishers, making it less of an issue if a game is unfinished. So if you really love a title and want to help with its development, then by all means buy into the alpha if the price isn’t too ridiculous, but don’t buy an alpha if you are even slightly unsure about it.
Gamasutra - "Now we own you: Another caution for crowdfunded content"
If we as content creators are to accept a world of alternative funding models and direct relationships with our players, readers, the consumers of whatever it is we create, we also have to accept the eventuality that someday it will be we, the small purveyors, who are responsible to their high expectations, for better and worse. Who will become the receptacle for the chronic disappointment we associate with a fanbase always very aware of what it is spending.
It's terrifying -- but solvable, surely. We'll learn new rules, new expectations, and new norms for how to create, communicate, deliver, adapt. Change is complicated, but there's no growth without it.
Digitally Downloaded - Mobile RPGs Editorial
Digitally Downloaded has notified me of a new article on their site that talks about mobile RPGs, and why they won't become the default platforrm for RPG development.
The major studios will almost certainly never adopt a "mobile first" strategy for RPG development. The genre is notoriously expensive to work with as it requires lengthy development cycles, high production values, and lengthy narratives that require an order of magnitude more work around level design, voice acting and art than your standard 4-hour FPS.
The genre is one that is nearly tailor-designed for the premium $60 price point because it's impossible to get away with cutting corners in the development process and fool consumers. They expect an exchange of $60 for a deep, varied quest of 50 hours in length or longer. Just look at what happened to Dragon Age II when EA and BioWare tried to get away with a short development cycle on it.
Given that no major studio would be crazy enough to release an iOS game at $60, consoles and the PC will remain the first platform for major studio RPGs into the future. The iOS ports, should they ever come, will only be after the developer has sold as many $60 copies as possible. It seems inevitable that premium RPGs will start to land on iOS, and we've seen this delayed release model work before; XCOM enjoyed a second lease of life for $20 on iOS after a solid run at $60 on console and PC. But mobile will never be the lead platform for "blockbuster" RPGs.
Wednesday - January 15, 2014
Alexander M. Freed - Game Narrative Editorial
Viewpoint Characters in Video Games
On a basic level, we can break down point of view “characters” (who aren’t always characters, as we’ll get to) in video games into three large, messy categories: total ciphers, fully defined characters, and player-influenced characters.
Empathy and Sympathy
Knowing how much players care about and empathize with different types of viewpoint characters, we can consider what this means for how players relate to non-player characters.
So how can we apply this knowledge when designing game stories? Consider what characters and character relationships are most important to your game, and how that affects your viewpoint character (and vice-versa). If you want the core of your story to be the developing relationship between your viewpoint character and a non-player character, your easiest approach will likely be with a fully defined protagonist… but easiest isn’t always best, and other approaches are possible and rewarding if you’re mindful of the challenges. If your story is largely about the emotional struggle and development of a non-player character, it’s very likely you don’t want a player-influenced viewpoint character–again, unless you’re very sure of what you’re doing and confident you can meet the challenges.
Tuesday - January 14, 2014
Strategy Informer - The Year of the RPG
Strategy Informer is the latest site to call 2014 The Year of the RPG, and gives a few examples of the RPGs to be released next year.
As a huge RPG fan (it’s now my favourite genre thanks to Call of Duty blandifying the FPS) I was highly disappointed by the turn-out in 2013. As console development costs sky-rocketed and release dates slipped only a handful of notable RPGs turned up. If we’re ignoring MMOs and Point-n-click Action RPGs (which we are in this whole article) there was only really Shadowrun Returns, Dragon’s Crown, Ni No Kuni and Tales of Xillia, apart from a few notable remakes like Persona 4 and Baldur’s Gate II and smaller titles like Van Helsing or Mars: War Logs. Thanks to slippages however 2014 is now absolutely bursting at the seams with quality RPGs. Shall we have a look? Hold on to your wizard stick.
Games.on.Net - Unfinished Games
Games.on.Net talks about the dishonest practise of unfinished games, and why developers must do better in 2014.
Over the past year, a host of titles released in such poor states that some of their stench even crossed platforms. Battlefield 4 launched broken across every single console, and at most, barely serviceable on its host platform. SimCity was unplayable for weeks after its launch, with eight months worth of patches required for the title to be feature complete. The War Z blatantly lied to consumers about its state, abusing Steam’s light-handed approach to the content of their store, but not before fleecing thousands from unsuspecting patrons. Hell, they’re still at it, even after a name change. But what’s more painful than the act of simply being dishonest is how carte blanche developers feel about dropping faulty product on their trusting audiences.
Sunday - January 12, 2014
Mass Effect 4 - Editorial @ GamingBolt
GamingBolt has a new article with their opinion on what direction Bioware needs to take for Mass Effect 4.
What has made Mass Effect aficionados particularly garrulous in recent times is the announcement of the new mass Effect game. Of course the game would see the departure of our beloved Commander Shepard and yes, that can’t really be helped. But what everyone is fervently hoping is that Bioware reincarnate Mass Effect 4 in the way they did the first game of the series. Of course the developers showed shrewdness over the years with every subsequent title in the series but concurrently, they forgot what was that had made Mass Effect such a good game.
Bioware has a lot to learn yet and simply put, they only need look around a bit. One of the most important reasons for the success of the Mass Effect series was its characters, a number of which had been with Shepard through thick and thin and it’ll be justice undone if Bioware deprives Mass Effect followers of embarking on a new journey minus all the characters they have always come to associate with the series.
Falcom’s Ys Series - Editorial @ 2DX
2DX has a new article with information on Falcom’s ARPG underdog Ys games. Now before I get why post about this some of the games are on the PC.
So, what is Ys about?
Ys takes place in a fantasy version of our world. Each game (except Ys Origin) stars red-headed amnesiac adventurer Adol Christin. He’s the Link of the Ys games since, well, he swings a sword, attracts the attention of distressed maidens, and says little about the fantastic events around him. Yes, he’s a mute protagonist, but Adol surrounds himself with characters with plenty to say as he ventures from one mysterious continent to the next. Stories are usually basic fantasy fare — ancient evils awaken all over the place and Adol happens to be the chosen one to stop it — but they’re earnest and executed well enough to be charming.
Gameplay offers frantic, fast-paced arcadey action combined with the RPG genre’s stat, equipment and ability progression. You’ll find magic, armor, and hit points next to the action genre’s usual cache of moves like jumping, evading, and dashing at breakneck speed. Ys games are challenging affairs with brutal boss fights and amazing synth-rock-orchestrated soundtracks by composers Ryo Yonemitsu, Mieko Ishikawa, Yuzo Koshiro (of Streets of Rage, ActRaiser and Etrian Odyssey) and Falcom’s famed sound team, the JDK Band.
Seriously. Famed! Like Final Fantasy and Zelda, the Ys games have enjoyed entire CD collections and arranged albums dedicated to their wonderful music. In fact, the music is what got me into the series.
Okay! In honor of the latest Ys game, Memories of Celceta, here’s a chronological rundown of the games in the series so far, a brief history lesson for each title, how you can get your hands on them and how much you can expect to plunk down to enjoy them.
RPG Slayer - 2014 is The Year of the RPG
A site called RPG Slayer has a new article with ten reasons 2014 is the year of the RPG.
In what may be the first article of its type to be published in 2014, this top ten list seeks to argue one simple truth: 2014 is the year of the RPG. It isn’t a difficult argument to make, but it’s an important one to keep on the forefront of our minds as the months roll by. After all, the role-playing game offers a unique escape into the unknown–a deep sense of emotional investment that is largely absent in other genres.
Some would say an RPG is made (or unmade) on the integrity of its story and characters. This is just the beginning of what may be considered a rough definition of the genre.
Much of the media would be quick to label the Legend of Zelda series as role-playing games, but we have to be careful in drawing the line between fully fledged RPGs and games that simply feature elements of the genre. Titles like Zelda, and more recently, Destiny, would fall into the latter category.
Why should we even waste time in throwing up walls between genres? To my mind, such an act would serve to prevent the dilution of elements that must remain intact in order to amount to something greater than their parts. One of these elements in growth–pure, unadulterated growth of one or more characters as directed by the player. This is usually accomplished through the allocation of skill points, either in the accumulation of abilities or the distribution of stat points. Skill points, then, are usually obtained through some sort of leveling mechanic: grinding monsters, completing quests, crafting items, etc.
We could, with some confidence, define RPGs as story-heavy games that allow the character to grow, become better and impact the world in the sense that it reacts to and is shaped by the choices made. The following RPGs are arranged in no particular order.
Thursday - January 09, 2014
Worldsfactory - Best RPGs For 2014
Worldsfactory has a new article about the best upcoming RPGs of 2014, and calls next year a golden age for gamers.
For the gaming industry, 2013 was an exciting year with the release of next-gen consoles and a slew of ground-breaking new titles. Looking ahead at what we can expect from 2014, it appears safe to predict this next year will go on record as one of the best year’s in history for the RPG genre. From Kickstarter kings to long awaited, highly anticipated sequels, we’ve taken an in-depth look to bring you this lineup of Western (North America and/or Europe) releases in 2014. Due to the sheer volume of games slated for this year, we couldn’t include them all or risk publishing a small novel rather than a feature article.
Therefore, we picked those upcoming RPGs that right now seem more promising to us. We listed them below in alphabetical order, highlighting their sub-genres and why they’re generating unique interest. At any rate, this will be a Golden Age for RPG fans.
Tuesday - January 07, 2014
Matt Chat - Dink Smallwood Interview
interview with Seth Robinson. This time he talks about his Indie RPG Dink Smallwood.
In the third and final installment of my interview with LORD designer Seth Able Robinson, we chat about Dink Smallwood. Then we talk about Seth's other projects, which include Funeral Quest, Novashell, Tanked, and Teenage Lawnmower. We also talk about the game dev biz and how to break into it.
*Note*: The footage from Dink Smallwood in this video makes it look choppier than it is during actual gameplay. It's actually much smoother.
Saturday - January 04, 2014
The Matt Chat Blog - My CRPG History
One of the favorite things I like to ask my guests on Matt Chat is about their gaming history. What games did you play that sealed your fate as a lifelong gamer? I could talk about that for awhile, actually–because some designers admit to (really) not liking games very much anymore. My guess is that they’re into it mostly for the technical challenge of making them or the economic challenge of selling them. But anyway, on to my own CRPG History!
Tuesday - December 31, 2013
RPGamer - RPGs By The Numbers
RPGamer has a new article with data on all RPGs released in 2013 on every platform.
It's amazing how much context plain raw numbers can provide. Above all of the speculative conjecture that can be provided by "analysts" and "industry insiders," the only data we really have to indicate how good or bad a year has been is historical data. For the unaware, I work for the Canadian government in statistical analysis and labour market development. Numbers are my bread and butter, when I'm not writing for this RPG haven. To that end, I wanted to take this opportunity to detail 2013 in numbers alone.
As with last year's feature, the intent of this article is to examine trends. The game list that was compiled sought to record every RPG release of the year, but there is always a chance that one or two were lost in the cracks. It's more important that the overall movement of the datasets are examined. As with any review of data, white noise is always present when you examine information at a granular level; the impact of overall trends is more important than each singular game recorded. That said, if you wish to examine the dataset you can click HERE.
There were some pretty visible trends this year. We've seen roughly 250 RPGs released throughout the world, with at least 114 only being released to Japanese markets. Sadly, that means that Western audiences have missed out on 45.6% — almost half — of the RPGs released this year. Some of those games are bound to be localized at a later date, but this is a fairly clear indication by the market that the West isn't nearly as lucrative. Perhaps, the West might even be seen as a niche marketplace for the genre.
Matt Chat - Seth Robinson Interview
interview with Seth Robinson.
Seth returns this week to talk about his epic BBS door game, Legend of the Red Dragon. We then chat about his take on Tradewars, another door game called Planets. We end with a discussion of LORD II, an ambitious sequel that failed to make the impact of the original.
Monday - December 30, 2013
NYTimes - Exploring Meaningful Violence
The NY Times has a new article about violence in video games. Nothing new really but the writer has a valid point.
“Boring” isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind when one thinks about violence. And yet that’s exactly how I felt about so much of the shooting, maiming and torturing in the video games of 2013. As I nodded off amid my 40th gunfight in the first-person shooter BioShock Infinite, I had to ask: Am I desensitized to video game violence, or is there something more going on here?
Last year, I wrote that I’d like to see more games embrace the concept of specific, personal violence. So many games dehumanize enemies, letting us cleave through hordes of bandits and aliens while feeling nothing for any of them. The moment we put a name and a face to a character, violence against him or her becomes specific and personal.
This year, I’ve found myself more interested in how video games are violent than why they are. What makes the violence in one game more meaningful than it is in another? BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us, two of of the most talked-about action games of 2013, tell stories of a man and a young woman fighting through dangerous territory, killing dozens of nameless bad guys. So why am I bored by combat in BioShock Infinite but exhilarated by The Last of Us?
Sunday - December 29, 2013
Telltale Games - Industry Ignores Story
Telltale Games Co-Founder & CEO Dan Connors thinks the rest industry ignores story. You can watch him express his opinion in this new video on Bloomberg TV.
Telltale Inc. Dan Connors discusses his company’s releases for 2014, the future of gaming and how it became a $20B business with Pimm Fox on Bloomberg Television’s “Taking Stock.”
Saturday - December 28, 2013
ModDB - Best Indie Games & Mods of 2013
The ModDB awards for best indie game, and best mod of 2013 was annouced today.
Thursday - December 26, 2013
Giant Bomb - Carpenter's Best Games for 2013
Giant Bomb asked John Carpenter about his six favourite video games this year.
These are some of his answers:
1. ASSASSIN'S CREED IV: BLACK FLAG - Classic ASSASSIN'S CREED gameplay, awesome world, fabulous game.
2. FAR CRY 3 - Magnificent open world adventure
3. THE LAST OF US - Great characters make this a classic
You can read the rest of the story here.
Tuesday - December 24, 2013
Forbes - The Best RPGs of 2014
Forbes brings us their list of the best RPGs that are awaiting us in the new year or year after that. It's a big list, here are a few, which are on it.
The Witcher 3 - Geralt of Rivia’s final chapter, the third in CDP RED’s Witcher series is the fist to take an open-world approach to gameplay. The game itself promises upwards of 100 hours for all content, some three-dozen different possible endings (or end-states for the world at least) and an overhauled combat system.
Dark Souls II - Still perhaps my most-anticipated game of 2014, the sequel to FromSoftware’s magnificent Dark Souls is landing in March. From what little I’ve played the game stays very true to its predecessor, though we won’t really know for sure until we’ve had time to really sink ourselves into the dark world and brutal combat of the game.
Destiny - While it may not be an RPG in the strictest sense, Bungie’s “shared-world shooter” has many trappings of an RPG. The game looks like a lot of fun, either way, and is one of the games pushing multiplayer in a whole new direction, away from “massive” and toward something more intimate.
South Park: The Stick of Truth - Unless it’s delayed forever, someday we’ll get our hands on the first real South Park RPG. Written by the show’s creators and developed by the old-hands at Obsidian, this should be, if nothing else, the funniest RPG to hit shelves next year.
Monday - December 23, 2013
Happy Holidays - The RPGWatch Staff
The entire RPGWatch Staff wishes you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Matt Chat - Seth Robinson Interview
interviews Seth Robinson the developer of Indie RPG Dink Smallwood.
This episode features Seth Robinson, the developer of Legend of the Red Dragon (a BBS Door game) and Dink Smallwood, a satirical CRPG.
Saturday - December 21, 2013
Obstructed Views - Top 5 ARPG Combat Systems
A site called Obstructed Views takes a look at what they think is the top 5 RPG combat systems. With all the turn based talk going on lately consider this a counter argument.
Action RPGs have become more and more popular over the years. It’s gotten to the point where most RPGs released are action orientated. However many of them ignore the action aspect in favour of a more stat driven experience. Today I’ll cover my personal top 5 action orientated combat systems released in an RPG.
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?