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Saturday - April 29, 2017
Friday - April 28, 2017
Thursday - April 27, 2017
Wednesday - April 26, 2017
Tuesday - April 25, 2017
Monday - April 24, 2017
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Picture Watch

Project Zomboid
Box Art

Poll Watch

In what age group are you?
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31.43%

Between 40 and 49
37.14%

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17.14%

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5.71%

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Recently Released

Apr: Lurking
Apr: Expeditions: Viking
Apr: Onyx
Apr: Flatspace IIk
Apr: Grimoire Chronicles

Saturday - April 29, 2017

Phoenix Point - Alien Living Guns and Synedrion

by Hiddenx, 01:14

A Fig-update for Phoenix Point - learn more about alien guns and a third race:

All Work and (Some) Play

Howdy Rangers,

Wow, we are closing in on our funding goal very rapidly. There have been a lot of questions about the game so we are going to update the FAQ heavily over the next few days.

There are also some very interesting discussions on the Phoenix Point subreddit.

Alien Living Guns

The alien living guns are genetically engineered creatures which can be used by human soldiers. The mystery as to their origin will form the basis for some very special missions.

FAQ update: The chitin armor and alien living guns will be made available as part of a DLC which will ship 3 months after game launch. Fig backers can get exclusive early access to these items at game launch for a discounted price. They are available with the Luxury Digital Edition and above.

Synedrion

The third faction to be presented in our updates is a radical, techno-ecological group. They possess advanced tech and some unique approaches to the alien menace - but they are not easy to deal with.

[...]

Thank you for rhe info, henriquejr!

Phoenix Point

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Unknown
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Wasteland 3 - Fig Update

by Hiddenx, 01:06

Some new ideas for Wasteland 3 are getting implemented:

All Work and (Some) Play

As we go deeper into pre-production and the Colorado wasteland continues to take shape, we want to keep showing you some of the unique areas our writers and level designers are developing. Below, we have a few (spoiler-free!) details on the Stanley Hotel, a Colorado locale that inspired Stephen King's The Shining as well as our own writer, Colin McComb. He's been working with the rest of the team on the design of the zone, and we're ready to share how it fits into Wasteland 3. Additionally, we have a new concept render from the Bischoff brothers. We continue to use these pieces to flesh out our art direction, so we're excited to share them with you.

Speaking of art, let me briefly touch on some of the progress our team has been making in that department. We've mentioned in the previous updates that a huge focus for us during preproduction is prototyping our systems and engineering needs. Art has similarly been hard at work on figuring out Wasteland 3's aesthetics and pipelines, and our technical artist, Joey Betz, has also been developing tools and algorithms for snow.

For example, Joey has been working on slope based algorithms, which basically tells the engine to take our snow materials and only "paint" them on the top of objects (like cars, roofs, etc.), thin out based on the steepness of the slope they're on, and not appear at all on the bottom. He has also implemented a nice wetness algorithm, which works out melting snow on different surfaces. These subtle tech solutions are huge strides for us, as they allow our artists and level designers to do a great deal more with the many snow-heavy areas we are creating.

[...]

Thanks, henriquejr!

Wasteland 3

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Dungeons Of Aledorn - Development Update

by Hiddenx, 00:59

Henriquejr spotted Kickstarter update #27 for Dungeons Of Aledorn:

On our way to beta

Hello friends of oldschool RPGs and fans of Dungeons of Aledorn. After some weeks of silence, we bring you fresh information from development. As always, you can see some new graphic art and we will show you a little bit of level and game design. So, let’s start with visuals.

Story will bring our heroes into the shadows of ancient trees of Dark Forest. As you can assume by it’s name, this won’t be bright woods full of colourful birds and cute friends of Bambi, but a deep dark forest with gloomy atmosphere. That is in hands of our visual artist Daniel Nezmar and his first version of Dark Forest is on screenshots below.

[...]

Next point is town Voland in the night. You can take a look, how day and night system works in current version. In older videos, you could see earlier versions, but our programmers were working on improvements, so now everything looks much more real and natural. This not final version for sure but even now we can say that locations looks pretty in night and lights and shadows can make neat romantic or scary scene. On screenshots you can see, how it looks when you take a walk around a Voland when night is up and street lights lit on.

[...]

Dungeons Of Aledorn

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Friday - April 28, 2017

General News - The Future of Dialogue

by Hiddenx, 09:12

Henriquejr spotted this editorial about the the future of dialogue in games on PC Gamer:

The future of dialogue in games

The challenges of writing dialogue that's both fun and functional, and how dev tools can lead to better writing.

It’s the stuff of a thousand RPGs: you’ve braved the Barren Pass and crossed the Aching Plains and now, hours since you last spoke to a coherent NPC, you’re finally standing before a city teeming with literally tens of characters, each bursting to tell you at length about the history of their people.

Getting to discover the politics and personalities of a new location should feel like a reward, but the same formulaic text dump from city to city can make you feel awfully weary. Being NPCsplained at with screeds of exposition and feeling you’re taking little meaningful part in it all, game dialogue can make you want to run back into the hills.

[...]

The form must be functional

When Chris Avellone—writer and designer of games from Planescape: Torment to Fallout: New Vegas and recent free agent—writes dialogue, he thinks about it performing three fundamental things. First, the conversation needs a purpose. If it’s with a merchant, then they need to provide that service, and quickly. 

Second, the dialogue needs to be aware of the narrative happening in the nearby area as well as the overarching story. "If the Enclave is encroaching on a community in Fallout, even a simple merchant can say, 'If you’ve come for supplies, you’d best hurry, won’t be much left after the Enclave arrives.’ That tells the local narrative, and the larger narrative."

And third, dialogue has to be as aware of the player’s actions as possible. "If you’ve just wiped out the Enclave, then you’d script the merchant’s opening node to something else: 'Hey, you’re the one that kicked the Enclave’s ass. Anything I have in stock; for you, half off.’"

[...]

General News

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Unknown
Genre: RPG
Platform: Unknown
Release: In development

Details

Expeditions: Viking - Review @ BigBossBattle

by Hiddenx, 08:59

BigBossBattle has reviewed the tactical RPG Expeditions: Viking:

Review | Expeditions: Viking

The CRPG genre has been seeing something of a resurgence lately, with prominent titles such Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, and Torment: Tides of Numenera cropping up like it’s going out of (or, rather, coming back into) style.

[...]

Expeditions: Viking will take you a fair bit of time to complete. Between the main story, side quests and chatting to as many characters as possible, it took me quite a while to even leave Denmark. But it’s a game that never overstayed it welcome, that has a certain charm I didn’t even experience in Pillars of Eternity. Its themes come alive due its roots in real history, making this an experience that’s truly about adventure and discovering (what once was) the unknown. Expeditions: Viking is a game I’ll be coming back to, and has certainly earned its place in Valhalla.

 

Expeditions: Viking

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Historical
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Lurking - Now Available for FREE Download

by Corwin, 03:49

Here is the developers own introduction to this FREE RPG:

Hello. This is developer OKLABSOFT. Wanted to put the word out about our first effort, Lurking RPG, which is available for free download on Itch.

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Lurking is a cRPG in the early Ultima style. Some strengths of the game include full party creation for up to five characters, a classless skill-based system for characters, exploration and story focused in a large (300x300 tile) world with underworld and town maps, keyword based conversations with NPCs, and an open world that does not corral you along a path to the end.

Some weaknesses have been identified through player feedback: a weak combat system, a UI that is a bit rough around the edges, and some balance issues with combat.

Many who have contacted us have thoroughly enjoyed this game and we welcome feedback as we work on our sequel, Lurking II: A Madness.

It is free so please check it out: https://oklabsoft.itch.io/lurking

Thank you! And happy adventuring. -OKLABSOFT

Lurking

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Unknown
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Thursday - April 27, 2017

Phoenix Point - Discussion with Julian Gollop

by Silver, 22:42

@UnstableVoltage they talk to Julian Gollop about Phoenix Point.

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I talk with Snapshot Games CEO and creator of the original X-Com about Phoenix Point - his new X-Com style, Lovecraftian inspired tactical strategy game, currently up for funding on fig.co

http://www.fig.co/campaigns/phoenix-p...
http://www.phoenixpoint.info
Background music by John Broomhall

Phoenix Point

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Unknown
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Victor Vran: Overkill Edition - Launch on May 30

by Hiddenx, 18:04

The Victor Vran: Overkill Edition will be released on May 30:

Victor Vran Motörhead Through the Ages Trailer

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Enter the world of “Motörhead: Through the Ages”, a wild tour through the mythos of the loudest band in the world! Harness the powers of the immortal Motörhead to defeat deadly new adversaries in three demon-infested worlds intertwined with the songs of the band.

Victor Vran: Overkill Edition

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Torment:ToN - Review @ GiN

by Hiddenx, 09:34

GiN has reviewed Torment: Tides of Numenera:

Torment: Tides of Numenera offers Deep RPGing, Fantastic Worlds

This small piece of dialogue from the turn based role-playing game Torment: Tides of Numenera encapsulates what I love about it. It is both poetic and atmospheric. It is a true computer role-playing game (CRPG) that concentrates on story rather than just an endless supply of re-skinned targets.

[...]

The measured pace of this game makes room for deeper thought rather than the frantic emotions a first-person shooter elicits. In that way, I think Torment: Tides of Numenera is greater than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t have the graphics of a Grand Theft Auto but its images are dreamy and artistic rather than hyper-realistic. Its audio is moody rather than modern and its gameplay recalls strategic pen and paper RPGs instead of the real-time combat in most modern games.

If you like games where you must think deeply and act consciously, buy Torment: Tides of Numenera. It is not your normal game, and is much better for it.

Torment:ToN

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Technofantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Archmage Rises - Business Woes

by Hiddenx, 09:10

Some financial troubles explained by the Archmage Rises devs:

Video Update #19: Business Woes

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We said we'd give you honest updates, so this week's update is about some of the business and financial challenges behind the scenes. Short summary: despite the risk to the current funding of the game, we are continuing on and looking for alternate sources.  We want to get this game done, and done right.

Archmage Rises

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor - Roadmap

by Hiddenx, 09:02

Here's the new roadmap for Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr:

Acolytes!

In the last few weeks we were quieter than usual, as we were hard at work on a next update for Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr. It took a bit longer than expected... and we get that such a long wait between updates can be a bit frustrating. But don’t panic! A panicking Inquisitor looks very unprofessional.

For several reasons, we decided to merge the smaller patches and the bigger upcoming content update, which meant no smaller fixes were released.

The new content patch will change a large portion of the game, yet again (but this was expected), causing smaller and bigger problems (some of which are expected, others being trickier), and well... one thing leads to another, addressing one corruption reveals another treachery... you know the drill.

During the development of this update while adding more content, we decided to include more fixes and changes according to player feedback as well. There were many, and by looking into all the problems, the game slowly becomes more wholesome.

So, what’s next?

Currently, we’re reworking the Assassin class to introduce her properly into the game, this is our main priority. Also, we’re working on implementing more star systems and levels, slowly completing Tier 1, so we can have a solid foundation to move forward. These are the bigger changes, but there’s plenty more which we’ll include in the next changelog.

Rest assured that the quiet time this month was not wasted, and Inquisitor – Martyr again became bigger, it grew not only in size, but in depth as well.

We’d also like to confirm that the Roadmap will change because of the developments during this month, and we’re adjusting milestones accordingly. For now, this doesn’t affect most of the soft dates, as some things were brought forward, others are still under development... we just have to rearrange some things to make the Roadmap more up to date and accurate.

The good news is that after this tough milestone we can see the road ahead of us much better, and that your contributions and feedback proved to be very helpful during development. We’re trying to be very clear about what we’re working on, and hopefully this post clarifies things a bit.

We’re still on the right track towards our goal: delivering a huge and memorable Action-RPG with as much polish and content as possible at its release date.

As for the next update (including the new class, the Assassin), the wait is coming to an end soon.

We hope you’ll like it, but until then let us know if you have any more questions or additional feedback. Report all heretics and enjoy the purge!

Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Regalia - About Levant

by Hiddenx, 08:49

Who is Levant? Learn more about him in this Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs video:

Levant - Departed & Displeased

loading...

Levant may have departed but is still displeased!
Forced to roam unknown lands in a time he doesn’t belong in, this ancient knight is forever bound to his sturdy armor. But why?
For better or for worse your paths cross and LEVANT joins your cause!

Regalia

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: J-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Expeditions: Viking - Release Day

by Hiddenx, 08:39

The historical tactical RPG Expeditions: Viking will be released today:

Expeditions: Viking

Get ready for an adventure in history! Logic Artists, the makers of Expeditions: Conquistador, are pleased to bring you Expeditions: Viking.

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Prepare for a grand adventure

As the newly appointed chieftain of a modest Viking clan, you’ll have a village of your very own. But to carve your name into the runestones of history you’ll need great strength, and great wealth to grow your village’s prosperity and renown. There is little left to be gained from the Norse lands and so you must set your sights on the the seas to the West, where tales speak of a great island filled with treasure ready for the taking.

Seek your fortune

Your trusted huscarls will follow you to Valhalla if that be the order of the day, but you’ll need more than loyalty to leave a legacy that will be remembered for a thousand years. Now assemble a worthy band of warriors, build a ship, and seek your wealth and glory across the sea. Britannia awaits in Logic Artists’ Expeditions: Viking.

Main features:

  • Create your very own Viking chieftain! Carve out your character from our unique character system, where stats, skills, and abilities define your character’s role.
  • Raiding or Trading? Vikings were known not only as violent warriors, but savvy tradesfolk. How will you find wealth, with the carrot or the stick?
  • War and Politics: Side with various factions be they Norsemen, Picts, or Angles.
  • Reputation: Be mindful of your choices, the stories of your actions may bring others to fear you, but will they trust you?
  • Step into the pages of history: In a beautiful and visceral telling of the Nordic history.

Expeditions: Viking

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Historical
Genre: Strategy-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Wednesday - April 26, 2017

Phoenix Point - There is no 'Plan B'

by Silver, 23:27

@GamesIndustry Julian Gollop says he is betting it all on Phoenix Point.

...
"There is no Plan B. We do not have an alternative plan," Gollop said. "This is an all-or-nothing, make-or-break decision for the studio. But I'm pretty confident we're going to do quite well."

Much of that confidence came from Fig's Backstage Pass program, which allows a group of investors with previous experience on the site an early peek at campaigns and the chance to back them early. The Phoenix Point campaign tested particularly well in this program, with about 30% of people who checked out the campaign going on to back it. That confidence appears to have been well-founded. Within a single day of launching, the game is just over 60% of the way to its goal, with $309,000 in pledges and investments.

"We had approached publishers and investors," Gollop said of the decision to crowdfund the game. "We looked at every possible opportunity we could think of, and for various reasons, we turned down a couple of these other offers. Some of the interest we got from some big publishers was there, but ultimately they didn't want to go ahead with the project, so coming back to crowdfunding seemed like a logical step for us. We would be in control of ownership and the IP in particular for the long term."
[...]

Phoenix Point

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Unknown
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem - The Quest System

by Hiddenx, 19:14

Learn more about the quest system of Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem in this development update:

Work In Progress: Quests system

Hi everyone ! My name is Hadrien and I am Gameplay and Rendering programmer here at Wolcen Studio, but you may know me as Nyhlus on the game’s Discord and our Steam forums. I have worked on Wolcen : Lords of Mayhem for over a year now, and I’ve created several features that changed the way you play, like the rotating Passive Skills Tree (PST) or the Resource Opposition System (ROS). Yeah, I’m the guy putting acronyms everywhere. And today’s feature is not really different, because I call it the NQM and it will change your whole experience of Wolcen in the future : the New Quest Manager.

You probably feel like me on this : Wolcen current quests are not that cool. They are too short and not very interesting, and that’s not what we want you to experience. We want the open-world to be challenging, rewarding and immersive, and this usually comes with solid quests that bring you hours of fun gameplay without repeating themselves too much. Such quests surely are a challenge to script, but we also needed a robust system that would be easy to maintain and to debug, because quests bugs can be really annoying and quite hard to fix. So a few months ago I started the development of the NQM, along with my colleagues from the Environments department who started to work on the new version of the open-world, and together we tried to design a system that would be super-powerful and easy to setup at the same time.

The implementation on my side was a bit tricky and needed a lot of strictness, because the world state had to be precisely saved and loaded depending on your progression inside each available quest, and data management needed to be handled carefully but I made it through with a lot of testing. Creating the system also required a global rework of the quests User Interface, so as to show different windows for rewards, tracking objectives and accepting / declining quests. This has been achieved by my colleague Lucas, the UI-Master of Wolcen.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Acaratus - Release Date: May 25

by Hiddenx, 19:07

The tactical turn based RPG Acaratus will be released on May 25:

Acaratus Announcement Trailer

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Acaratus is a tactical turn-based rpg set in a medieval steampunk world where you build your own mecha units (aka battle suits).

You customize them to your play style by adding attachments and building a deck of ability cards. Then explore the vast randomized world map and fight it out on gridbased battles! It’s a mashup between Heroes of Might and Magic and Hearthstone.

Acaratus

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Steampunk
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Drox Operative - 75% off this week

by Silver, 13:51

Drox Operative and its expansion are 75% off on Steam this week. The offer ends 2nd May.

 

Drox Operative

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

GOG - Cooperation with Ars Technica

by Myrthos, 10:00

GOG and Ars Technica have started a cooperation. What the cooperation exactly entails is not completely clear, but for starters they are giving away free copies of The Witcher.

Giving away a game is just the first thing we're doing. Over the next few months, we're going to be testing out some cool integrations between Ars and GOG—most of it's under-the-hood stuff, but based on the talks we've been having with the GOG folks, it should be pretty neat.

Additionally, GOG has agreed to open up its archives to Ars and give us access to the developers who worked on many of the big games of the last 30-plus years, which ought to make for some excellent write-ups and stories. We're also looking forward to running a story or two on the complex methods GOG has had to employ over the years to excise copy protection and DRM from old titles, often without access to the original source code.

There's more, too—lots more. We'll announce additional initiatives over the next few months, so stay tuned folks!

GOG

Details

Pillars of Eternity II - Development Update

by Myrthos, 09:28

The latest update for Pillars of Eternity II shows that the slacker backer option has been extended to this friday in order to try an achived the 4.75M$ stretch goal, for which still $6K is missing. Furthermore the soundtracks belonging to the Deluxe editions of POE and The White March are available for download now and there is more information about character and environment art, VFX, programming and new cloth physics.

In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire we've upgraded to a new cloth solution for capes, robes and other garments using the cloth physics in Unity 5. The improved pipeline lets us add more cloth items to the game, as well as have good cloth simulation across all platforms - including Mac and Linux. Great! Well... it wasn't all great... Game development is never easy, and there's always a problem or an unforeseen issue. And with our new cloth, we soon ran into a problem with it, as we couldn't get it to work on our full-screen paper-doll characters that are shown in our Inventory, Character Creation, and Level-up UI. As we implemented capes, we found that Unity only has one physics "world", and our paper-doll characters exist in a separate scene from the rest of the game - but they share the same world as the rest of the game. When the game world is paused, the cloth sim in paper-doll would be paused as well, completely still and non-animate. We couldn't find a way around it. This was unacceptable of course, and we needed to find a solution. Our solution sounds crazy, but the only choice we had was to write our own cloth simulation for paper-doll. Thankfully, it didn't have to be as efficient or fancy as Unity cloth, as we only show a single character in paper-doll. Our solution uses a simple verlet-physics sim to get a stable physics simulation that was is fast and was easy to implement. The results are shown on a Vithrack character - hopefully you can agree that the simulation looks close-enough. In addition, we are exploring leveraging this system for flails and other dynamic simulations too!

Pillars of Eternity II

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Underworld Ascendant - Progress Report

by Silver, 03:44

Underworld Ascendant progress report for April.

Underworld Ascendant Progress Report

The last few months have been very productive and it's clear we're onto something. There's much left to do, but we're making steady progress, and tapping into player-authored gameplay in exciting new ways.

That all feels particularly salient right now, since last month marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of Ultima Underworld's release - an event which, by some accounts, is regarded as the birth of the "immersive sim."

Our goal is to create a logical, deeply interactive world where the player is inspired to tap into their creativity and enjoy the magic of experimentation.

Last month, we started out testing the latest build of The Challenge of Ishtass with our System Shock 3 and VR teams. As often happens with initial rounds of testing, it was immediately clear that while we knew how you could have fun in the game, it wasn't readily apparent to the uninitiated player. Since our goal has been for the player to be able to dive right in and quickly start experimenting and have fun, that was vital for us to nail. That meant readability and player feedback for picking up objects, the nuances of melee and ranged combat, and more.

From there, we did five more rounds of testing (from casual players to the Boston Indie Games Group, from devs at The Molasses Flood to Warren Spector), each time getting a little closer. The team was super focused and made solid progress each day, so we'd iterate, test, review, and repeat.

Over time, it became apparent that spells were where people were having the most fun, but they still weren't clear exactly on how they worked so they couldn't get to the more improvisational possibilities using combinations.

We put solving that problem squarely on lead designer Tim (Thief, System Shock) Stellmach's plate. It was a tough challenge, but within a few days he had the featured spells working clearly and reliably, so players could really start tapping into their creativity.

It was a pretty intense few weeks, but, whew!, it was fun. It's great working with a team of folks who have such a wealth of experience and can sort difficult issues in short order. There are still many hurdles left for us with Underworld Ascendant, but we came out of our recent milestone with a lot of confidence that the team can tackle any problem that comes our way.

When do you get to play? Next month we'll be announcing plans for rolling out the build to backers, after we complete another round adding more interactable objects and improvisational elements to the world.

We can't wait to hear what you think and see what unique, creative solutions you come up with. In the meantime, expect new shots and video soon...

A Peek at Combat, Stealth, & Magic

We don't want to spoil the fun of discovery in The Challenge of Ishtass, but we can tell you that you'll be presented with a bevy of options for combat, stealth, and magic.

Here are a few:

  • The player can use a LONG SWORD to perform a light quick chop, a slow heavy swing that can damage multiple opponents, and parry to deflect oncoming attacks. All are useful, because while the LIZARD MEN have clear tells for their attacks, they're tough and engage in group combat.
  • Using a LONG BOW, the player can launch FLINT ARROWS to attack or distract enemies or WATER ARROWS to put out torches. The Lizard Men use STUN ARROWS to momentarily stop the player in his or her tracks, which can be particularly troubling while you're attempting to engage in swordplay or escape... the MIND CRIPPLER
  • Some of the available skills include HEAVE to pick up and throw heavy objects (which can provide cover for projectiles, interrupt attacks, and damage foes), STEALTH STEP when crouched, STEALTH SIGHT to gauge visibility based off light levels, or MAGIC SIGHT to view magic-recharging streams of mana.
  • One of the more fun featured spells is GRAVITATE, which allows the player to raise objects and assemble them into useful shapes, like a bridge to cross a chasm. (We've also seen players manage to weaponize it in a number of interesting ways...)

The Challenge of Ishtass is where we first introduce player choice in the game, where you learn there's not a "right" selection of skills, ability, and equipment, only "yours." And that you must then use your wits to apply those selections with opportunities on the battlefield, in order to stack the deck against difficult opponents.
[...]

Underworld Ascendant

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Prey - Crafting the Story of Prey

by Silver, 03:11

Arkane share Chris Avellones contribution to the story and characters of Prey.

...
"It probably took a year before we actually came up with the narrative of the 60s, along with the all of the history and layers that became the pillars of the game," Colantonio says.

"It was a long time before we were even creating dialogue," Bare adds. "We initially focused on structure with level designers, motives, objectives, backstory with the artists. And then we were just grinding on our one-page synopsis over and over to get it refined."

Enter Avellone

Along the way, Arkane looped in some outside voices as well. Harvey Smith, who was now fully focused on Dishonored 2 at Arkane's Lyon studio, helped come up with a rationale for the existence of the Typhon aliens. Austin Grossman, an award-winning writer who worked on System Shock along with Dishonored and Dishonored 2, helped refine some of the early ideas in the original synopsis, including how main character Morgan Yu would uncover his missing memories. And then the team reached out to industry legend Chris Avellone (Fallout 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance) to join the writing team - which was a dream come true for Ricardo Bare.

"Before I was even in the games industry, one of my favorite games of all time was Planescape: Torment," Bare says. "There were several other games I really liked that had kickass characters as well. I later realized they were all written by the same guy." Bare met Avellone for the first time when they were on a panel together at PAX East in 2013. "It was a cool fanboy moment for me," he smiles.

The admiration was mutual, and Avellone jumped at the chance to work with Arkane. Colantonio initially reached out to Avellone, but he was busy at the time - something Avellone wanted to rectify as soon as his schedule cleared up. "I dropped Raf a line and asked if he'd still be interested in working together," he says. "It was a quick conversation, and things went from there to visiting the studio, seeing the pitch for the game, the pillars - both for the game and the studio's approach to development, which shows in their titles - and dissecting the design docs."

Avellone also looked forward to reuniting with his former PAX co-panelist. "I already knew Prey's lead designer and lead writer Ricardo Bare from previous narrative gatherings and I'd read his work and enjoyed it. (Among his many talents, he made dwarves terrifying in his novel Jack of Hearts.) So working with the two of them and the Arkane crew seemed like a great opportunity - and it was."

[...]

Prey

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Shooter-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

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Tuesday - April 25, 2017

Phoenix Point - Interview @ Rock Paper Shotgun

by Hiddenx, 19:33

Rock Paper Shotgun has interviewed Julian Gollop at the start of his crowdfunding campaign for Phoenix Point:

The original X-COM (UFO: Enemy Unknown), Julian Gollop tells me, “succeeded in spite of itself”. I asked him how he felt about the game now, twenty three years after its initial release, and particularly about the way it’s often placed on a pedestal. He didn’t expect it to be a success and certainly didn’t think he’d be making a game heavily based on its legacy almost a quarter of a century later.

Yet here we are. The crowdfunding campaign for Phoenix Point, a sci-fi horror strategy game about an alien onslaught, has just begun. Gollop is back where many people feel he belongs, and this time round he seems extremely confident in his game’s design.

[...]

And that, I think, is the major difference between Phoenix Point and other XCOMs and XCOM-likes past and present. It’s intended to be a game in which systems interact, overlap and allow players to observe them and react to them, while encountering factions and entities that make up and are reacting to those same systems. In that way, it has much in common with my beloved but flawed X-COM: Apocalypse and I can’t help but see it as a continuation of some of the ideas in that game. It’s about time.

The most enticing loose thread I find to pull on involves a game that never saw the light of day. As we talk about the long wait for more XCOM-like games, Gollop tells me about a project he pitched at MicroProse immediately after UFO: Enemy Unknown.

“It was set in the 1930s and you controlled a team of occult investigators. Portals were being opened bringing paranormal entities in the world, and you had to fight all kinds of different supernatural creatures. And Nazis.”

The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense: Enemy Unknown? Maybe once this next alien threat has been repelled.

 

Phoenix Point

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Unknown
Genre: Tactical RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

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Shiness - Review @ Twinfinite

by Hiddenx, 19:21

Twinfinite has reviewed Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom:

Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom Is a Fresh But Flawed Take on the ARPG

In recent years ,the idea of a traditional RPG has evolved and matured. As the public became more self-aware in what they like and respond well to in games, RPGs began to take on more serious and darker tones with an emphasis on exploration and an open world. But in yearning for a lighter time filled with experimentation and cringe-worthy cheesy dialogue, Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom was born. Shiness takes many of the things people loved about early 2000s RPGs and mixes in some modern twists for a game that can be both intensely fun and furiously aggravating at the same time.

Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom takes place on Mahera, a planet where even tiny, chubby teddy bear engineers know a surprising amount of martial arts. Our main character is Chado, a young martial artist from race of bear-like people known as Waki. Chado and his engineer friend, Poky, crash land on Gendys Island during their search for magical lands that are said to contain the power of life. Through a series of slapstick-style mishaps, Chado and Poky get caught up in the middle of a war where they befriend foes and seek to take down sources of Dark Shi.

[...]

Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom is a rare gem that captures the feeling of early PS2-era RPGs such as Dark Cloud and Grandia II while bringing it’s own brand of modern to the table. The game certainly isn’t perfect and the technical cracks most definitely show, but the things it tries to do well, it succeeds. Shiness’s combat is some of the most fun I’ve had with battle systems in a very long time and the feeling of laughing at poorly delivered jokes is something that will always work for me. Shiness is a game that would have seen big popularity if it had come out on the PS2. It’s for the crowd that desires a return to those old days only if for 40 or so hours and, unfortunately, I don’t see it landing much with anyone else.

Score: 3.5/5

Shiness

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: J-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

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Cosmic Star Heroine - Review @ Pixelkin

by Hiddenx, 19:15

Pixelkin has reviewed Cosmic Star Heroine:

Cosmic Star Heroine Review: A Modern Classic RPG

We’re supposed to “reach for the moon” in our goals. That way if we fall short we’ll still land among the stars. That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense given that the nearest star is several light-years farther away than our moon. But the point is sound.

Zeboyd Games’ moon is represented by classic, beloved 90s Japanese RPGs such as Chrono Trigger, Suikoden, and Phantasy Star. It’s a big reason I backed the game on Kickstarter several years ago. To take on some of the best RPGs in gaming with an indie budget and two-person development team is a daunting challenge. While Cosmic Star Heroine falls short in some ways, it still lands among the stars as one of the best games I’ve played this year.

[...]

The Takeaway

I encountered a few annoying bugs that caused me to get stuck in the environment, or stop responding (without freezing up) in the middle of combat. The game has since been patched and hopefully all these issues will be cleaned up. Despite a few bugs and my disappointment with the story, I loved Cosmic Star Heroine. The art style is perfect, and it provides a catchy soundtrack, unique combat system, and memorable companions. Even without the nostalgia, Cosmic Star Heroine is a solid RPG that proves that sometimes the old ways are best.

Cosmic Star Heroine

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: J-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

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Krai Mira - Extended Cut Review

by Hiddenx, 19:11

Gamespew has reviewed Krai Mira - Extended Cut:

Krai Mira: Extended Cut Review

The desolate wasteland of Krai Mira returns with this new edition. While it boasts more content than before, it doesn’t really change the experience enough. Krai Mira: Extended Cut offers old school RPG fans something to enjoy, but isn’t inviting for casual fans.

The core game has not been altered much with this new edition. Fans of early Fallout and Wasteland games will again feel at home, however. You have one main quest to follow and what you do outside of that is your call. There’s quests, encounters, loot, and exploration. The Krai Mira: Extended Cut now allows players to continue their adventure after completing the main quest. While the game showcases a fair amount of change, it doesn’t shift the game enough to benefit casual RPG fans. It continues to be a gift for die hard genre fans, but the numerous issues present in the base game, although somewhat accounted for, still linger.

[...]

Krai Mira: Extended Cut, unfortunately, feels more like a big patch than a fresh take on the game. Which, it kind of is because if you have the base game, this version is just a simple download. As the title states, this is more extension than improvement. The core of the game has not changed enough to make it feel completely welcoming, though that is not to say the improvements aren’t noticeable. Lazy writing, persistent UI difficulties/problems, AI bugs and some combat balancing are enough to scare away most players, but underneath the surface, classic RPG fans still have the same enjoyable experience with a little extra game to explore. It’s definitely worth the free upgrade for owners of the base game, but Krai Mira: Extended Cut isn’t an RPG you need to play. It’s good fun, but not enough to keep you interested if you don’t live for these type of games.

Score: 7/10

Krai Mira

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

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RPGWatch Feature - Hellpoint Interview

by Myrthos, 17:04

Farflame got in touch with Cradle Games to talk about their Dark Souls inspired RPG, Hellpoint, to discuss working in AAA development, working in indie development, their reasons for starting their own studio and the game.
Hellpoint is trying to get funded on Kickstarter, aiming for 50K Canadian dollars and is halfway that amount at the moment.

RPGWatch: What do you like or don't you like about contemporary RPGs? What are your favorite RPGs (aside from Dark Souls)?

Marc-André Jutras: In the Souls-like genre, mine is definitely Bloodborne. In the wide RPG genre, it is hard not to like Fallout 3 New Vegas or Skyrim. On the older RPGs, I believe the one I spent the most time on is Chrono Trigger.

I have a ritual when I play a new From Software game; I solo every boss alone, without summoning any help. A kind of me versus the game challenge. Makes the game longer, but then I can claim to have really beat it on my own.

Mat Boudreau: I don't like that most RPGs as they make more money tend to catch what I call the "Budweiser" syndrome, in that they start to taste more generic to become more mainstream. So, I get bored easily, I need a stronger brew.

My RPG will always be Earthbound. I was a kid and I created a table top game with Earthbound to play with friends. I must have scratched and sniffed the back of the strategy guide until it went blank (Shroom!! was just disgusting but I kept scratching, hehe), and the game actually taught me English! I think I'll start a new game again soon, I do that every 5 years or so. Okdesuka!

Hellpoint

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

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Evils Doom - Unofficial PC Update

by Silver, 06:38

@IndieRetroNews reports on Evils Doom which was an unreleased Amiga dungeon crawler which has now been updated to work on Windows.

...
As we said before according to some sites it was due to bugs that Evil's Doom became a victim of software piracy, after the beta version was sent to magazines, the first cracks appeared and the developers cancelled the game and left the Amiga. It wasn't until much later a French Amiga programmer by the name of -meynaf- not only fixed most of the bugs but gave it the translation work over as well. Although it was still very fiddly to get to work on most Amiga systems and even the previous PC launchables ( containing emulation/rom ) in 2014, wasn't the best either.

So now we look towards The Company.PL for our dungeon crawling fix, as this dungeon crawler known as ' Evil's Doom ' with its Hi-Res GFX (640X512) with 256 colors, hand drawn artwork, character designs and conversations, and inclusive brilliant intro with a fabulous tune. Has been packaged together in a PC launchable file that includes an improved TC Engine v2.6, improved game speed, as well as with the very latest available patched up Amiga game files that also works on Windows 10.

General News

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Unknown
Genre: RPG
Platform: Unknown
Release: In development

Details

Underrail - Jet Skis

by Silver, 02:17

Underrail is set to get jet skis with the expansion content according to the latest development update.

Since the expansion takes place on Black Sea, naturally you will need a way to travel between all the small islands, bays and between far shores. You will be able to do this on a dozen of different jet skis, ranging from super light racing jet skis to mini-destroyers, which you can further customize under the hood by installing better engines, batteries and suspension systems. The models themselves differ way by the combat cover, durability, stability, speed, damage resistances, as well number of and maximum size of a parts you can install into them; some vehicles can have multiple engines and/or batteries. Also, some jet skis will have special attacks or abilities.

Once you get to the Black Sea it won't take long for you to get a hold of the most basic "junk jet", but to get the quality stuff, both in terms of the jet ski model and the parts, you'll have to spend a fair amount of charons at a specialized shop in Core City. You'll also have to decide what are the most important characteristics of jet ski for you, as no one model will be best at everything.

While riding a jet ski you'll be able to use most of your weapons, abilites and utilities. The most notable exceptions are sledgehammers and sniper rifles, which are not available while driving. Also, short range melee weapons (fist weapons and knives) and unarmed attacks, though still performable, will suffer significant penalties. When an attack is aimed at you, it has a chance of hitting the jet ski instead (or in case of AoE attacks, a percentage of the damage hits the vehicle), depending on the cover it provides, in which case the damage is tested against its resistences and the amount that penetrates those is deducted from the vehicle's durability. If the durability reaches zero, the vehicle is destroyed and you die (you never learned to swim).

That's it for now, guys. Let us know how all this sounds and I hope you're looking forward to some naval battles with pirates and worse things.

Underrail

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Monday - April 24, 2017

Star Control: Origins - Brad Wardell Interview

by Hiddenx, 20:16

GamingBolt has interviewed Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, about Star Control and more:

Riding The Cutting Edge Of The Technology Wave – An Interview With Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock

Surfing the crest of the tech wave.

Stardock is a company that pushes boundaries of technology in video games. The company, known for its compelling and highly addictive PC science fiction games, has pushed the benchmarks of graphical technologies before numerous times, and is looking to do so again going forward. This is the rare company, in other words, that can deliver on style and substance, both.

So naturally, when you get the chance to talk tok someone from a company like that, you want to ask them everything that you can. And that’s what we did, when we got the chance to engage Brad Wardell of Stardock in an exclusive interview some time ago.

Okay, so to begin with, would you like to introduce yourself for our readers?

Sure, I’m Brad Wardell, I’m the President and CEO of Stardock, we’re located out here in Michigan. And we’ve been in business since the early 1990s,we’re one of the early game development studios still around. We’ve made Galactic Civilizations, Sins of a Solar Empire, Ashes of the Singularity, Offroad Trading Company, and lots of other great stuff.

[...]

Okay, so Star Control: Origins- now this one I actually don’t know much about, I know that you’ve announced it for PC and consoles, but we haven’t heard much more about the game. What can you tell us about it, and when can we expect to start hearing more about it? 

Sure, so Star Control was a really popular series back in the early 1990s. And it was one of the few action adventure games- some describe Mass Effect as a remake of Star Control, so to say, where they try to blend RPG and adventure and action all together in a single game. Some years ago, when Atari filed for bankruptcy, we were able to pick up the rights to the Star Controlfranchise, and we decided to make a new one. So a lot of the time since has been spent building up our studio in Maryland, hiring up people who can do right by this reboot. In terms of when people will start hearing more about this? I’d say probably Summer or Early Fall is when we’ll start ramping up. What we don’t want to do is show too much and then people are disappointed- so we want to see we show it in a state so people can really see where we are going.

[...]
Thank you for the info, Farflame!

Star Control: Origins

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Sci-Fi
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC
Release: In development

Details

Sunless Skies - Roadmap

by Hiddenx, 20:03

Here's the new Sunless Skies roadmap - thumbs up for using Agile Software Development:

Sunless Skies roadmap

Below you’ll find the roadmap for the production of Sunless Skies. Like many developers, we work in 2-week periods called ‘sprints’. This roadmap will allow you to see which general features we’re working on from now until Early Access (we’ll update it with more sprints once we enter Early Access!).

There are a few important things to note:

  • Whilst the tasks and features have been outlined and planned ahead of time by our producer, Lottie, game development is quite a fluid process.
  • Some tasks turn out to be more complicated than anticipated.
  • It is also very rare, for example, that we would complete a huge component of the game, like all combat, art or writing, within just two weeks. Large features will be developed across multiple sprints.
  • Time for polish at the end is also key. Since game development is iterative, production schedules are basically set as a skeleton of what needs to be achieved. Once we start getting player feedback, we can confirm what is working and what isn’t, make adjustments, and then flesh everything out with final art, prose, audio and animation.

Once a sprint is completed, we’ll update the information below to reflect more specifically what was accomplished, and link it to the individual development blog, in case you’re curious to know more!

KICKSTARTER – EARLY ACCESS ROAD MAP

last updated 19 April 2017

Sprint 9 – Traveling Through the Reach: APHELION Part I
ART: initial UI pipeline set up, initial locomotive designs
CONTENT: initial region work on The Reach
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: beginning mechanics on hunger/death/fuel/time, procedurally generated movement through the game world

Sprint 10 – Traveling Through the Reach: Part II – APHELION Part 2
ART: terrain pipeline
CONTENT: Port: Traitor’s Wood
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: implementing fuel/hunger, initial work on Terror, beginning character progression

Sprint 11 – Traveling Through the Reach: Part III – BIG BANG
ART: beginning art and animation greyboxing
CONTENT: vessel classifications
GAMEPLAY & DESIGN: combat AI specifications for tactics, error report capturing, hold management

Sprint 12 – Combat in the Reach: CHROMOSPHERE
(Extremely hot red part of planetary atmosphere. Our first heavy combat sprint!)
Terrain, AI combat behavior, player movement prototyping, commissioning first sound effects

Sprint 13 – Combat in the Reach: DARK MATTER  
(The mass that explains all the astrophysics we can’t explain. First part of combat complete and first bits of audio.)
Player combat mechanics, initial work on difficulty settings, adding environmental features in-game

Sprint 14 – Populating the Reach: EXOGENESIS 
(Theory that life originated elsewhere in the universe and was then transported to Earth. People of the Reach!)
Welcoming a new artist and designing denizens of the Reach (crew, vessels, beasties)

Sprint 15 – Populating the Reach: FORTUNE
(Dante’s personified cosmic intelligence responsible for Earth. People/denizens/character sprint.)
People of the Reach continued, character creation and character progression, closed-beta preparation

Sprint 16 – Enriching the Reach: GANYMEDE
(Jupiter’s largest moon, and the ninth largest object in our solar system. A smorgasbord of tasks all aimed at enriching the environment of the Reach.)
Closed-beta begins, audio, legacies, scouts and taking player feedback from the beta

Sprint 17 – Enriching the Reach: HYPERGALAXY
(A usually spiral galaxy surrounded by smaller satellite galaxies, like the Milky Way and Andromeda. Smorgasbord fleshing out the outlines of the Reach.)
Early Access tutorial work, shop functionality and bug fixing

Sprint 18 – Out of the Reach: INVARIANTTHEORIE
(Einstein’s preferred term for special relativity. Fine tuning the Reach!)
Bug fixing, preparation for Early Access and our first look at a new region (Albion)

Sprint 19 – Out of the Reach: JANSKY
(A unit of spectral irradiance; a big bright burst of light. Heading towards Early Access fast!)
Creating a responsive world, galaxy-wide game mechanics, and prioritising tasks to be finalised ahead of Early Access

Sprint 20 – Out of the Reach: KEPLER
(Planetary motion and celestial physics. Now it’s time for Early Access to begin!)
Smuggling implementation and finalising the Reach for Early Access

Thanks Farflame!

Sunless Skies

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Steampunk
Genre: Roguelike
Platform: PC
Release: In development

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