Hinterland - Announced
Though not a standard CRPG, this might be worth a look. Tilted Mill (Children of the Nile, Ceasar IV and formed by ex-Impressions devs) has announced a new RPG-with-sim-aspects called Hinterland to be released next month or so for $20 via download:
July 11, 2008 – Tilted Mill Entertainment -- independent developers of strategy, simulation and role-playing games – today announced Hinterland, a new PC project for release later this summer. In Hinterland, you build up and lead a small village, populated by simple townsfolk struggling to survive and prosper in the wild back country of a medieval fantasy world. Leading small parties of adventurers drawn from the ranks of the townspeople themselves, you undertake quests outside the village, seeking to conquer various foes, and collect treasure, magic items and knowledge which will, in turn, fuel your village. As your village becomes stronger, you’ll forge your own weapons, manufacture magic items and potions, and tame the wild land. Loot, Level and Build in the Hinterland!
“Hinterland is about ordinary people struggling to overcome their hostile and mysterious environment and building a better life for themselves in a world of fantasy and folklore” said Chris Beatrice, founder and president of Tilted Mill Entertainment. “There are no mighty armies clashing here, just small parties of three or four adventurers, with you at their head, where acquiring your first real sword is a big deal! In Hinterland you’ll experience tactical party-based combat and role-playing, where every split-second decision matters, as well as the strategic planning, building and ‘life simulation’ gameplay our team is known for. Smaller games like Hinterland allow us to focus more on innovation, risk taking and quality of game-play – it’s fast-paced and highly replayable without sacrificing the complex and interesting mechanics of classic RPG and strategy games.”
Hinterland will be available later this summer for under twenty dollars, through digital download. For more information, please visit www.tiltedmill.com/hinterland
PR aside, here's a snip from a dev diary on the official site:
Hinterland is all about having a good time, in a tight coherent setting, where you manage yourself, a few followers, and the village that you need to lead to peace and prosperity. Every game will be different, and will contain RPG elements of item management and leveling, tactics of choosing which villager to bring with you on adventures, and strategies of how to invest your resources. You won’t just have to worry about preserving your own skin - should your village get destroyed, you lose. Your village has personalities in it as well. As few as a dozen or as many as twenty citizens populate the typical village, so you will know each and every one of your characters. Times are tough, good steel is hard to come by. No one knows much about fighting ogres… when you get your first rusty sword, should you hock it to a merchant, or hand it over to Farmer Jack- because it'll be better than a pitchfork when you're roaming the land and it starts to go down!
...and just for good measure, a mini-Q&A from Tom Chick:
TC: On the feature list, "party-based tactical combat" implies the game breaking out into turn-based battles. Is this the case? If not, how will battles work? Is it hands-off Majesty style fighting?
CB and JF: Play follows your character continuously, so when he/you are in the village, you can interact with the village. As you move outside the village you encounter enemies and other characters and creatures. Combat can happen anywhere – the village can be attacked, you’ll discover hostile lairs in the countryside, etc. You directly control only yourself throughout the game, and some of the fun comes from the fact that you don’t directly control any of the folks on whom your success is dependent (which is entirely the case in [city-builder] games). Your success in combat depends largely on which followers you bring with you, and how you equip them. Because your party is only a maximum of four characters (including you), what you do tactically with yourself is extremely important-- and no, you do all of your fighting and should you flee, your party flees with you. But the really interesting context for combat is not just about deciding who is going to be best to bring, in terms of combat victory, but also thinking about what happens if you lose that guy. In a village with a dozen people, each person’s specific capabilities are critical.
Source: Blues News