GameBanshee - All News
Thursday - April 17, 2014
GameBanshee - Ossian Studios Interview
GameBanshee's BuckGB interviewed Ossian Studios to talk about the developers latest RPG The Shadow Sun, and the dropped Scars of Betrayal project.
GB: The overall reception to The Shadow Sun appears to be quite favorable, with a Metacritic score currently hovering at 81 and an iTunes profile page filled with 4- and 5-star reviews. Are you happy with these results, and has it helped pique any publisher interest in future Ossian-developed games?
Alan: We had many of the big mobile publishers contact us back in 2010/2011 about partnering up to do The Shadow Sun. Given our past experience with publishers cancelling our projects, I was rather unenthusiastic at the idea of working with a publisher for TSS. This was our chance to be in complete control of our game. Who knows what the future will bring, but we do enjoy our autonomy as a small indie developer.
GB: As an iOS title first and foremost, The Shadow Sun has clearly been optimized for touch-capable devices. Have you considered porting the game to the PC, and if so, would it require a lot of reworking to the control system to allow a keyboard and mouse to be utilized effectively?
Alan: We’ve had that discussion numerous times here. It’s not so much the control issue to support keyboard, mouse, and gamepad, as those could be addressed. It’s more the case that we designed TSS as a mobile game in 2010 and made certain decisions to suit that, such as a smaller world, shorter dialogue line lengths to fit on the iPhone screen, lower poly characters, and limited VO. So it would take significant work to upgrade the game for the PC, and in the end may not be worth it.
GB: Before working on The Shadow Sun and somewhere between Darkness over Daggerford and Mysteries of Westgate, you also worked on an expansion pack for the original The Witcher called Scars of Betrayal. How did that project come about, exactly? Did CD Projekt RED approach you to develop the add-on?
Alan: Working on The Witcher franchise with CDPR was a great experience - they are such down-to-earth and passionate people. How it came about was that we were demoing Darkness over Daggerford at GDC 2007 because we’d won the Best RPG Mod award for our mod at the IGF, and Marcin Iwiński walked up to me to introduce himself. He said that BioWare had recommended Ossian Studios as a good developer to make post-release content for RPG games. Marcin was interested in creating additional content for The Witcher (a game that wouldn’t be released for another 7 months), in the same way that the Premium Mods were made for NWN. We were excited about the idea and by the end of 2007 we had entered full production for Scars of Betrayal.
Monday - July 01, 2013
GameBanshee - Cyclopean Interview, Artwork, and Character Generator
Gamebanshee has an interview with Scott Jäeger on the canceled Iron Tower Studio RPG Cyclopean.
GB: How did you hook up with Iron Tower and start the project?
Scott: I began lurking around the Iron Tower forums in 2007. I’ve always been a fan of Lovecraft and also a bit of an English nerd. I started to think about how an old fashioned, turn-based RPG, with a setup like Age of Decadence, would work with Lovecraft’s sort of horror. I wrote The First Mate’s Account (appended at bottom), which would act as an uncovered bit of flavor text for a quest, and sent it to Vince to ask his opinion. More and longer stories followed –some meant to tease a game event or location, others which were standalone stories in their own right– and Vince invited me to post them. Initially, I had hoped that I could contribute as a writer, modeler or animator (I also have a background in 3D modeling and character animation) to AoD or Iron Tower’s next project.
The stories became popular and I began to hash out how the rules to a full-fledged game would work and how the player’s chosen Background would integrate into the story. There were folks on the forums, and the internet at large, who were clearly losing their minds at the idea of a serious Lovecraft RPG and I got a really positive response to everything I shared.
GB: Why did you ultimately decide to cancel the project? Did Vince have plans to roll more people onto your project as AoD inched closer to completion?
Scott: Vince, Oscar and Nick all offered their assistance once AoD was published, but as Lead Developer I would still need to find committed artists, programmers, etc. to form a team. I knew Iron Tower would have other projects, presumably a follow-up to AoD, and of course Dead State. These guys can’t clone themselves to work full time on Cyclopean.
Attempts to recruit artists and programmers over the course of a year-and-a-half were basically a complete bust. Getting someone talented to volunteer their time on such shaky grounds is understandably a very hard sell. Folks like the Iron Tower team and all the talented people who signed up for Dead State on nothing but a promise are 1 in 10,000.
Vince asked me that rather than cancel the game, I declare a hiatus and maybe come back to it later. Although I had already made up my mind, I let it sit fallow for six months, but I couldn’t in good conscience leave everyone hanging when I had no hope to revive it in the future. At the end of the day what I want is to contribute in the areas I’m talented, not to be lead developer. I wasn’t (and still am not) ready to make that kind of commitment. Writing is my thing, not project management.
GB: Would you ever consider restarting the project? Or was the cancellation more than a matter of resources?
Scott: It’s not a matter of financial resources, but human resources. Basically the project had a lead writer (me), but no dedicated artists or programmers, and no lead developer.
Tuesday - February 26, 2013
GameBanshee - Brother None is Leaving Gamebanshee - to join InXile
Brother None, aka Thomas Beekers, has left the building - ehm - Gamebanshee. In a post
at the Gamebanshee site, he explains why:
You may have heard that I have joined inXile as a line producer, working on the production and community end for both Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera. I'll be doing a lot of day-to-day grind stuff to perfect internal and external communication, get the Torment Kickstarter perfected, work on sorting through the backers of Wasteland 2, and doing public communication and community stuff for both titles. The sad thing of it is that this creates a conflict of interest situation for my work here at GameBanshee that I'm not entirely comfortable with. Even if I avoid writing about anything inXile-related, there's still too great a chance of bias seeping in when I'm looking at other games in the RPG genre. I'd certainly like to keep writing about games, but this kind of colored commentary does not fit the standards GameBanshee sets for itself. For that reason, I'm hanging up the hat as a "video game journalist" (or reviewer, rather).
Saturday - February 02, 2013
GameBanshee - GotY 2012
GameBanshee has announced their Game of the Year Awards for last year. Some examples include:
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - Best Character System
Inquisitor - Best Story/Writing
Darksiders 2 - Best Graphics
Mass Effect 3 - Best Sound/Music
Wasteland 2 - Most Anticipated for 2013
Saturday - July 07, 2012
GameBanshee - Penny Arcade Adventures Ep. 3 Review
We haven't really followed Penny Arcade Adventures but GameBanshee writes in with a review of the latest episode, which has switched from Hothead Games to Zeboyd. It's a positive review overall - provide you like jRPG-styled combat:
Since combat is almost all to do in the game, it's important that it's good. Fortunately, much like prior Zeboyd releases, Episode 3 has some very satisfying turn-based battles that recall the best of old-school JRPGs, and even improve upon them. There are a number of unique and interesting mechanics that put a new spin on the tired formula through what are ultimately some pretty simple changes.
For instance, in most RPGs, you start out with MP or mana... but in Episode 3, characters start battles with none, and gain 1 MP per turn (which can be bolstered with items and abilities). Meanwhile, enemies gain in attack power the longer the battle goes on. Since special moves, later on, are just about the only ones you'll want to use, combat becomes an interesting decision-making process of managing MP across four characters, and planning in advance how to best use your abilities and the time available before enemies become truly deadly. While it can be tempting to spam default attacks, usually patience will win out in the end... though this varies quite a bit based on class load-out.
Coincidentally, the Rampant Coyote has an interview with Zeboyd Games on indie development.
Wednesday - January 04, 2012
GameBanshee - GotY 2011
GameBanshee has announced their Game of the Year 2011 awards. I'm not going to spoil them all, but Drakensang: The River of Time, Frayed Knights, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and The Witcher 2 are some of the category winners.
Wednesday - February 02, 2011
GameBanshee - GotY 2010
I forgot to post GameBanshee's Game of the Year Awards, so head on over. They cover a number of different categories: Best Story/Writing (Alpha Protocol), Best Graphics (Age of Conan: Rise of the Godslayer), Best Sound/Music (Mass Effect 2), Best Expansion/DLC (WoW: Cataclysm), Most Anticipated (Witcher 2), Indie RPG of the Year (Din's Curse), Hybrid of the Year (ME2) and RPG of the Year (F: NV).
Tuesday - August 31, 2010
GameBanshee - 10 Year Anniversary Giveaway
Congratulations to GameBanshee, who have achieved their 10th anniversary - I know I've used their excellent walkthroughs more than once. To celebrate, they let us know they have a giveaway all week long. RPGs, MMOs, t-shirts and other goodies are all on offer.
Wednesday - April 28, 2010
GameBanshee - Defense of the Ancients Editorial
GameBanshee writes in with an editorial on the RPG-flavoured Defense of the Ancients competitive multiplayer RTS play and games that have been inspired by it, such as Demigod.
Friday - February 05, 2010
GameBanshee - GotY 2009
Gamebanshee publish ther GotY list; the overall winner is Dragon Age: Origins with Drakensang: The Dark Eye being the runner up. Demon's Souls wins best graphics and Hybrid of the year.
First announced in 2004, the originally non-subtitled Dragon Age had a long time to build up expectations. BioWare's releasing of a few RPG-lite titles in the interim – Jade Empire, Mass Effect, and Sonic Chronicles – only served for people to clasp to Dragon Age as a "last hope" of another great cRPG from the company. BioWare played into these expectations, calling this game the spiritual sequel to their seminal work, Baldur's Gate II.
With expectations built up that high, it was easy for Dragon Age: Origins to fall a little short. And in a few elements - most noticeably the lack of character advancement options, the occasional filler combat, and the arguably mediocre soundtrack - well, it did. But despite a handful of shortcomings, the game excelled on many fronts that are crucial to a party-based role-playing game - and it did so without sacrificing a whole lot to today's rampant "consolification" trend. It's our opinion that Dragon Age: Origins is BioWare's strongest title since Baldur's Gate II, and it could even be argued that it rivals their former masterpiece in a few areas.
Wednesday - August 05, 2009
GameBanshee - Crate's Title to use Titan Quest Engine
Remember Crate Entertainment and Black Legion? Crate was formed by ex-Iron Lore vets and initially announced a sci-fi action/RPG. GameBanshee writes in to say they have news Crate will be using their old tech from Titan Quest, with Black Legion put on hold to focus on what sounds like a fantasy title:
Crate Entertainment has licensed the Titan Quest engine from Iron Lore. THQ owns the rights to the TQ IP, so we won't be making a TQ2 anytime soon but we are developing a new game for PC that will offer similar ARPG gameplay but in a darker fictional setting. Right now we have no outside funding and are operating as a privately funded indie-developer. So if we continue in this manner, the scope will be somewhat reduced from TQ in terms of total art assets but we're developing gameplay systems in a new way that will allow us to actually have more depth in certain areas.
GameBanshee - Retro Roleplaying, Arcade Style
There's been a bit of a retro start to the week with Wizardry and Battlespire popping up, and now GameBanshee writing about arcade emulators such as MAME and the games available:
So once the system is up and running, what can you do with it? For RPG enthusiasts like myself, an arcade cabinet actually has a lot to offer, as there are literally hundreds of role-playing games across the many platforms that can be configured in the aforementioned frontends. The most prominent of these is MAME, which actually features several action RPGs within the 8000+ games it currently supports. Among these are Cadash, Crossed Swords, Dungeon Magic, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara, Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom, The King of Dragons, and The Super Spy. There are also many other fantasy games with very light RPG elements, including Dark Seal, Gauntlet Dark Legacy, Gauntlet Legends, Magic Sword, and the Rastan trilogy. And although they wouldn't typically be considered RPGs, the Daphne-powered laserdisc games Dragon's Lair and Dragon's Lair II: Time Warp are most likely fondly remembered by Dungeons & Dragons fans that spent any time in arcades during the 80's.
Thursday - March 19, 2009
GameBanshee - Mars Interview
GameBanshee has an interview with the newly-announced studio Spiders and about their Mars project. Spiders was formed by ex-Monte Cristo devs, who split after Silverfall and their new studio is pursuing a scifi action/RPG:
GB: Your first project is an action RPG set on a futuristic, colonized version of Mars. What was the inspiration for such a unique backdrop, and why did you decide to stick with the action RPG genre?
Jehanne: The history of Mars is long, we first decide to create a post-apocalyptic game as we were a little tired by the usual fantasy settings, but we want it different of what gamers are used to. And one important idea came from the gameplay itself: we wanted to use sunrays as something’s mortal, so we thought about doing our game onto a planet where atmosphere was not enough to block the gamma rays. And all the rest came from it. Of course some references came from books like the one of Philip K.Dick, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ray Bradbury etc. we’re fans of. And they helped us to create a coherent universe that is very unusual in video games. I really hope players will like it as we do.
Concerning the action RPG genre, well, we had ideas concerning it we were not able to do on Silverfall and add-on for different reasons, and we were really thinking that the genre could evolve into something new on console. And of course we love this kind of games! These three reasons lead us to go again for an action RPG, but you’ll see that it’ll be a completely different experience of what we’re generally used to with this kind of games.
Wednesday - January 21, 2009
GameBanshee - Game of the Year Awards
GameBanshee has kicked up their 20008 awards with Fallout 3 winning the ultimate spot and Diablo III taking out Most Anticipated. Fable II gets a couple of nods including story/writing and King's Bounty comes away with Best Hybrid.
Thursday - July 24, 2008
GameBanshee - What an Old RPG Can Teach Today's Designers
The title says it all - GameBanshee has an op ed piece titled What an Old RPG Can Teach Modern Designers, with Might & Magic as the primary example(s):
Secondly, this game had big rewards. When you completed a quest, your characters received a full ox load of experience, money, and items. Not just a reward, but big enough rewards that really meant something. In today's RPGs, a completed quest will typically net you a small amount of experience that’s just enough to feel like you’re making progress toward the next level. Answer me this - why do many people enjoy starting new brand characters in RPGs or MMOs? There are gameplay changes, sure, but it’s also because of the quick, extensive reward system that’s usually found early in the game. You literally start out at zero with only a couple of skills, but very quickly gain levels and get new skills.
Now, of course this couldn't continue indefinitely or there'd be an overabundance of skills, abilities, or what have you. But if you make rewards diverse, and have big payoffs, you'll get more satisfaction. Why has Diablo II held such a strong addiction for so many years? It was because at any time, you could get rewarded huge. That's what we need more of. Big or eventful rewards when accomplishing something.