Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire
Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Review
Maylander checks out the successor to Pillars of Eternity to see if it is a better game or not.
» Continue reading the article...
West of Loathing
West of Loathing Review
Find out if playing a supernatural comedy western with stick figures is something for you.
» Read the article
Wednesday - August 15, 2018
Rune - Early Access in September
PC Gamer reports that Rune is going to Steam Early Access this September.
Human Head Studios announced today that the open world Viking RPG Rune, the game that lets you use hacked-off limbs as crude (but probably really funny) weapons, will go live on Steam Early Access in September.
Release: In development
Arkane Studios - Taking a Break from Dishonored
@segmentnext Arkane will be taking a break from Dishonored for awhile.
Despite the critical acclaim that Dishonored 2 got, and the big reaction to the standalone expansion “Death of the Outsider”, Arkane Studios has announced that they will be taking a break from Dishonored games for a while, so the next game likely won’t be coming out anytime soon for you big fans.
Dishonored has, for the past few years since its debut in 2012, been telling us the story of a number of special individuals in a hostile and oftentimes frightening and eldritch world as they are given the power to take revenge on those who wronged them by a being known as the Outsider.
Queen's Wish - August Update
The August update for Queen's Wish details progress so far.
Queen's Wish August 2017 Update!
Here is the first monthly update for Queen’s Wish development! We’ve been hard at work on the new game, and it is moving along.
Spiderweb games are developed in three phases. First, we work on the game engine and system. This takes 3-5 months, depending on how much of the game is new. In Queen’s Wish, almost everything is new.
Then we write the game world, which is about six months. Then 2-3 months of porting to Windows and testing. Then we ship! (And then move on to the ports to mobile.)
What We Did Last Month
We are still grinding our way through the first phase: the main engine.
On the technical side, we spent a while porting our code to a new, powerful game engine called SDL. In this case, the engine is the layer between my game and the computer itself. The game engine we used before was way out of date. This engine is completely current and should support lots of cool stuff, like 64-bit Windows and mouse wheel input.
Then we worked on making the game playable. This involves a million things. Training window. Inventory window. Fully fleshed out combat code. We are trying to get a basically playable game, so that I can see how much of the stuff I’ve been assembling in my brain for the last two years actually works.
Finally, I scripted the statistics for all of the creatures, abilities, and items. This is tons of painstaking work and takes forever, but the game is now full of critters to fight and treasures to look for.
We have sent out messages to the design assistants, and we’re getting some great stuff back from them. There are some terrific ideas in there, and I’m really excited.
If you got a signed, singed Certificate of Absolution, watch out for the survey asking for your name, address, and other info. We’ll be sending it out soon.
What Is Next
The game isn’t fully playable in a near-final sense yet, but it’s getting there. By the time the next update is out, we should be able to have full combats, and a lot of the world system stuff (like dressing up your fort, mining resources, and wandering the outdoors) should be in.
It’s a good start, but we have a long way to go. It can be demoralizing when I sit down in the morning and look at the To Do list. Then I pick the quickest job to do, do that, and move on to the next job. We’ll get there eventually.
And that’s where we’re at. See you next month!
- Jeff Vogel
Queen's WishSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Tuesday - August 14, 2018
THQ Nordic - Announces Jagged Alliance: Rage!
Jagged Alliance: Rage! has been announced by THQ Nordic.
Jagged Alliance: Rage! coming this fallJagged Alliance: Rage! is the first game to be published by HandyGames, the latest family member of the THQ Nordic network. HandyGames will act as an independent publisher, focussing on small and mid-sized projects or 3rd-party indie games.
Jagged Alliance is back – With a new take on turn-based tactics, adventure elements and the well-known quirky mercenaries!
Set 20 years after the first Jagged Alliance, this spin-off lets you experience a road trip into a jungle hell to test your mind and body to the limits!
This time it’s just you and a few allies versus an entire island ruled by a drug overlord and his crazed army.
Constantly on the brink of breakdown, faced with dehydration and no support from home, you lead a team of seasoned mercenaries against vastly outnumbering armed forces.
Use tactical brilliance and guerilla tactics to destroy their structures and strengthen the island’s population to take back what is rightfully theirs.
Do you have what it takes to rise to old glory?
- 2 Player online co-op modeDeep turn-based tactical gameplay mixed with adventure elements
- Choose a variety of tactics ranging from stealth to brute force
- Strong character personalities with own skills, desires and personal conflicts
- Rage skills: Unique character abilities that get more powerful over the course of the battle
- Powerful Commanders coordinate enemy troops on the battlefields
- Face terrifying experimental drugs and use them to manipulate your enemies
Phantom Doctrine - Released and first Reviews
Phantom DoctrineSP/MP: Single + MP
Wildermyth - Character Driven Tactical RPG
Wildermyth is described as a character-driven, procedurally-generated tactical RPG. You lead a band of unique heroes as they grow from reluctant farmers into legendary fighters.
About This Game
The Yondering Lands are wild, filled with beauty and magic, but also rife with threats that lurk and muster. Meet your heroes before they are anyone, and grow them into a roster of legends who shape the course of their own Yondering, and the worlds that come after. Forge new stories in Wildermyth where any tale has the chance to live forever.
Bring Your Adventuring Shoes
Explore the wilderness, claim mysterious sites, and fight back against an oppressive enemy.
Thrive in tactical turn-based combat with deep and surprising advancement opportunities.
Invest in the stories of heroes through dialogue-rich events, relationships, and personal quests.
From Longshot to Legend
Meet dynamic characters, all generated with life histories and personalities.
Guide these heroes as they enjoy triumph and love, or as they endure rivalry and loss.
Preserve the memory of your favorite heroes to live on as legends, and join your story again.
Unique as a Thing That's Just Very Unique
Take advantage of procedurally generated maps, characters, and challenges, to tell memorable stories.
Choose to let defeated characters die in a deed of epic heroism, or live to fight on.
Evolve your plans and strategies as unpredictable moments alter your world.
Yakuza 0 - Patch 1 Back
Patch 1 for Yakuza 0 has been re-released after the initial patch had some issues.
THE PATCH IS BACK! Patch 1 re-launches 13 August
13 AUGUST - SEGA DEV
Hi Yakuza fans,
We're officially re-launching Patch 1 which addresses the following issues:
• Fix for crashes on boot and in cutscenes/gameplay.
• Fix for crash when using Staminans to gain consecutive Heat abilities during Chapter 10 Fight.
• Fix for crash in Pocket Circuit mini-game after selecting a rematch with an opponent.
Thank you to everyone who fed back on our beta branch version. Your continued patience and support have been greatly appreciated. We're continuing to work on the other issues some of you are experiencing and will have more information for you soon.
Best, SEGA Dev
Yakuza 0SP/MP: Single + MP
Archmage Rises - Monster Patrols
A new update for Archmage Rises focuses on the monster patrols you will face in game.
This week we answer some fan questions, first one on my health by Will Sama and then one about race by Marc Schwartz. Then we dive into the work I've done on monster patrols and how encounters work when they collide with the player.
As usual the tasks are taking longer than expected because there are so many systems to consider. A seemingly simple thing like the player and monster entering the same hex has a number of factors to consider: Race of the monster, terrain, time of day, automatic player skill checks that happen in the background. It all, hopefully, results in pen & paper style decisions that plays quickly.
Progress since last update:
- Fixed fonts issue on map, town names and travel times disappeared due to outdated text control
- Added smarter location loading using caching, so if the player goes to a new hex it doesn't match the cached one and is displayed. This solved bugs and improves performance
- Greatly improved Encounters: graphics, fonts, alignment, added room for 6 player options
- Patrols impact NPCs correctly now
- Monster patrols now interrupt player movement. This was difficult as the player movement is on a separate thread coroutine that has to be interrupted
- Fixed combat callbacks being executed before combat even began, that really messed things up turns out it never worked these last 4 years...
- Added patrol recruitment algorithm that slowly increases the size of each patrol and number of patrols evenly
- Added ability to run away from monsters encounters. If successful free to move elsewhere. If fail, monsters gain surprise against player
Added ability to hide/sneak around monster encounters. If successful free to move elsewhere or enter combat with enemies surprised. If fail, monsters gain surprise against player
Archmage RisesSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Bard's Tale I - The Classics Return
An update for The Bard's Tale IV advises backers that The Bard's Tale Trilogy will be here soon and how to get your key.
The Classics Return
Back in Time!
Paul here with a quick check-in regarding Tuesday's release of the remastered The Bard's Tale Trilogy. Both the Krome and inXile dev teams are excited to finally get this into your hands. It's appropriate that The Bard's Tale and Back to the Future both came out in 1985, as we're taking a cue from Huey Lewis and going "Back in Time!"
Here's how the process will work.
- Starting Tuesday, backers at the $20 reward tiers and above will receive an email from CrowdOx asking you to specify either a Steam or GOG key for the game. Remember to keep an eye on your spam/filter folders in case it ends up there.
- Soon after you make that selection, you will receive another email - the latest edition of your Digital Fulfillment email, this one now containing your chosen code.
- Once you receive the code, you can follow these instructions on how to redeem it for Steam and GOG.
A few things to remember:
- The Bard's Tale Trilogy is currently Windows only and contains the first volume. The latter two volumes, along with the Legacy Mode, arrive later in the year.
- Please keep in mind that we have tens of thousands of backers to send keys and emails to. It will likely take a little while for the full list to be processed, so don't panic if your digital fulfillment email does not arrive right away. We appreciate your patience.
- You must have completed your CrowdOx survey and confirmed your pledge in order to get your rewards. 93% of you have, but if you haven't done so yet, or aren't sure, we encourage you to first check your email to see if you have received your pledge confirmation email from CrowdOx. If you haven't, then you can follow these instructions on how to have CrowdOx send/resend your survey so that you can access it and confirm it.
- Only backers at the $20 and above will be receiving a remastered trilogy key.
Finally, the original games are very challenging. We encourage you to band together to pass along advice and discoveries, whether on the Steam or GOG forums or our own official forums. I think that I can safely speak for many older players that while we fondly remember having to figure stuff out on our own, it certainly would have been nice to have the internet back then to help with some things!
From the developer side of things, we're really looking forward to seeing the kinds of best practices, suggestions, guides, and personal preferences you develop as you visit the games for the first time or if you're a returning playing "getting the band back together." Either way, have fun going back in time to 1985!
Bard's Tale ISP/MP: Single-player
System Shock - August Update
System Shock remakes August update announces that the block-out of Citadel Station has been completed. Screenshots can be seen at the link.
Hello backers! It’s Stephen from Nightdive with this month’s update. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This update is going to brief as we enter into the final stages of our “Adventure Alpha” milestone
We also have some exciting news to share - During Daniels stream the final BSP was carved out for the medical deck and the block-out was completed! System Shock is a massive game and now that the entirety of the original map has been translated into UE4 the real fun can begin!
While Daniel finished the blockout Jonathan has been busy placing the original (albeit updated) SS1 textures. Here are some comparisons with the original game.
System ShockSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Sword Legacy: Omen - Released
Sword Legacy: Omen has been released with a 20% launch discount.
Welcome to Broken Britannia
"Before Arthur's Golden Age, our realm was lost, shattered and decadent; kingdoms torn apart by blind selfishness. A broken Britannia, void of hope."
The lord of Mercia has been assassinated, your love kidnapped and home is no more. As Uther, the disgraced Knight Commander, you must lead your misfit band of companions throughout quests riddled with trials. Forge uneasy alliances to acquire the mythical Excalibur sword and defeat the sinister power-obsessed duke of Wessex.
Prove your worth as a tactician by exploring all five realms and dangerous locations, such as a frozen fortress hiding a dark secret, an ancient abbey turned into a hideous torture chamber and the mystical island of Avalon. Survive ambushes and rescue those in need by making use of each hero's abilities to solve puzzles and vanquish your foes. It is up to you define the fate of Britannia... But at what cost?
Combat in Sword Legacy: Omen is always a challenge. As a strategist, you will need to plan your course of action with four heroes at a time. However, be ready to adapt and improvise because results always change based on the chosen abilities and chances of landing an attack.
- Tactical Combat: Learn the importance of strategic positioning and unleash powerful skill combos with your party.
- Free Exploration: When not in combat, investigate the environment, find documents, collect treasures, solve riddles, and uncover secrets.
- Party Customization: Adapt heroes to your play style, manage your team and progress by unlocking over 70 unique passive or active skills.
- Hordes of Enemies and Unique Bosses: Fight a variety of vicious mobs and face powerful monsters in grueling battles, such as crowds of plague-ridden victims, twisted knights and a flesh-hungry dragon.
- Stress System: Use all your might to become victorious, but deplete your willpower and witness your heroes falling prey to panic.
- Interactive Environment: Study your surroundings and perform clever deadly moves by blowing up explosive barrels and pushing enemies off edges.
- Old-School Art Style With a Dark Twist: Relive the beautiful aesthetic of classic animations fused with grim visuals inspired by graphic novels.
- A Different Take on a Classic Myth: Experience the Arthurian legends as never before, as famous characters and locations are revamped in a mature storyline of vengeance, honor, conspiracy and alchemy.
Sword Legacy: OmenSP/MP: Single-player
Genre: Tactical RPG
Plague Tale - Interview
Plague Tale is an adventure game with some stealth and action elements set during 14th century France. The developers were interviewed by Gamingbolt who asked about the gameplay features, progression mechanics and other things.
There’s a plague afoot. Rats swarm the streets, the houses and the town. There’s no practical escape from them… except the light. In Asobo Studio’s A Plague Tale: Innocence, you take the role of Amicia, a young girl who is trying to find safety in the dark recesses of 14th century France, for her younger brother Hugo, away from the rats who eat everything in their path, and away from the human threat: the Inquisition. Solving puzzles, and using the rats against your enemies to get to safety is your only hope for survival.
We had a chance to sit and talk with David Dedeine who is the creative director of Plague Tale: Innocence, and asked him some of our questions.
You obviously must have been aware that many players would fear that this game could be looked at as one large escort mission. What steps have you taken to make sure that that doesn’t happen?
The mindset is to take this as an opportunity. We really believe that it’s the strength of the game. We are basically playing with this feature, giving it more context more situation. Hugo will never be a backpack. He has its own behavior, his own feelings. Hugo will just take Amicia’s hands. It’s not something we forced to use on her to do most of the time, Hugo will instinctively go to Amicia and have her protect him because he’s just five.
But any moment you can ask him to stay somewhere, or to follow you. Basically, if you believe you don’t realize how dangerous something is, basically ask him to follow you. That very simple tool generates a lot of different situations. For example, if you ask Hugo to stay somewhere, and he stays too long, or if you’re out of his sight for too long, he will panic, he will shout, he will call for Amicia, and that will probably attract guards, for example. It basically forces Amicia to manage the environment around Hugo, or create a time window to do what she has to do. There are some very cool gameplay elements near the end. We have all these things to fix right now in the game, but this aspect, to me, works pretty well.
Non-RPG General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Opinion - Quality over Quantity
NBC News argues that games don't need to be long to be worthwhile.
The debate about the length of games has been around almost as long as the games themselves. Before save files and more powerful consoles, gametime was artificially lengthened by repetitive, difficult obstacles that required perfect timing and memorization. By the mid-90s, longer games were shipping on multiple discs to accommodate the lengthy narratives. With every passing console generation, advances in technology allowed for bigger, longer, more epic adventures. A user could easily spend more than 100 hours in the nuclear wastelands of the “Fallout” series or finding shrines in “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.”
“Adding in filler or repetitive content in order to hit a certain playtime was a practice I didn't love from the big games I'd worked on,” said Sam Barlow, writer and director of the 2015 indie hit “Her Story.” Instead, he wanted to make an experimental game that was approachable, accessible, and free of unnecessary fluff.
Monday - August 13, 2018
Unavowed - Review Roundup
Unavowed has been well received by a number of outlets.
I grew to accept whatever happened. And that’s one of Unavowed’s biggest strengths, built upon a strong script and gameplay flow that allows for plenty of breathing room. I really felt comfortable with the ending that I got, and learned about the possible benefits that can come by playing the game a certain way (or not). And although I made up my mind not to go back on any of my decisions, I’m pretty curious to see what can come out of a fresh playthrough of the game, now that I have a certain amount of knowledge of what could possibly happen.
Unavowed has been compared to a Bioware game without combat, and that’s a fair comparison. Like in Mass Effect you will find yourself talking to your companions after each mission in order to find out about their lives and whatnot. And there’s also the fact that some of the missions have to do with them directly. And taking different companions to any mission will change how we get to the end of it. For example, in the beginning of the game we will see a ghost, but we’ll be unable to communicate with them for the time being.
The writing is at its best when it deals with the personal life of your companions and the NPCs you meet along the way. While the plot itself has some interesting moments, the motivation of a particular central character didn’t feel very developed. There’s an element of surprise that works fairly well, but the exposition at that point wasn’t very convincing. It’s not that the writing is bad; it’s that it lacks subtlety, especially when it comes to moral dilemmas. Gray morality feels more like a gimmick than a proper reflection of reality.
Overall, Unavowed is one of the best point and click adventure games to be released in the current generation. The high-resolution graphics, along with the strongly written dialogue, excellent puzzle design and emotive soundtrack provide the ingredients for a modern classic that will be very difficult to duplicate. If you have always wanted to be like the Winchester brothers or the Scooby gang in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Unavowed is the closest experience that you will get in the world of video games.
Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - Ep. 2 - Combat Customization
'Behind the Odyssey' video series part 2 focuses on combat customization.
Watch the second episode of "Behind The Odyssey!" In this episode, our developers discuss new combat innovations, custom fighting styles, and special abilities!
If you are in the mood watch some mission gameplay from IGN
Alexios agrees to aid the legendary physician Hippokrates in this exclusive mission gameplay from Assassin's Creed Odyssey.
Assassin's Creed: OdysseySP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Previews
Shadow of the Tomb Raider has been well previewed with some new screens and video available as well.
Explore underwater environments filled with vast caverns and deep tunnel systems in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Worthplaying has some new screenshots
Monstervine previewed the game:
“One of the things that was really important for us is to really explore the inner conflict or what she’s experiencing … we needed to have something that was familiar to her that she can trust,” said Senior Game Director, Daniel Chayer-Bisson.
At times, their relationship will come to a head, as Jonah tries to balance between supporting Lara and standing up to her when he feels her actions are reckless. “Jonah I feel a lot of ways, really fights to remain an equal partner on this journey,” said Lead Writer, Jill Murray.
“She’s definitely less vulnerable than she’s ever been. In Tomb Raider 2013 she was thrown into this situation where she was being very reactive,” Chris Johnston, brand manager at Crystal Dynamics, in an earlier interview with GamesBeat. “In Rise of the Tomb Raider she became more proactive. She went on her first expedition. In this game, this is the most capable and calculating Lara players have ever seen in the modern version of the series. Other words like ‘obsessed’ and ‘driven’ are ones we use quite frequently.”
"However, what was interesting about that was we tried to do a stealth experience and we realised very early on that Tomb Raider ... it's all about movement in combat. It's even, in fact, in classic Tomb Raider when you would lock-on and circle-strafe around the enemy, you were always rewarded for keeping your movement because this is Lara; she's athletic, she's acrobatic. So very early on when we were trying to figure out what is jungle stealth combat, it's not just waiting in a tree forever - you will be found, right? So we try to create challenges, enemies, ingredients that encourage the player to move."
Non-RPG General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
We Happy Few - More Reviews
Here is a bunch of reviews for We Happy Few that range from very positive to very negative.
- Attack of the Fanboy, 3.5/5
- IGN, 7.3/10
- GameInformer, 7.75/10
- Games Radar, 4/5
- Gamespot, 4/10
- Gamingtrend, 6.5/10
- Hardcore Gamer, 3/5
- PC Invasion, 5/10
- PCGamesN, 5/10
- The Sixth Axis, 6/10
- We Got This Covered, 3.5/5
- Windows Central, 4.5/5
We Happy FewSP/MP: Single-player
Steam - Dropping XP and Vista Support
Allkeyshop reports that Steam will drop Windows XP and Vista support come January 1, 2019.
Valve has just announced that its digital distribution platform, Steam, will be dropping support for Windows XP and Vista starting next year. This means that come January 1, 2019, the Steam client will no longer launch on the said operating systems.
Thanks Capt. Huggy Face!
Bethesda Softworks - Legal Threat Against 'New' Resale
@Eurogamer Lucky Day shared this news about Bethesda blocking a 'new' resale of The Evil Within 2.
Overnight Polygon posted a report about Bethesda threatening an individual with legal action for selling a sealed copy of The Evil Within 2 on Amazon Marketplace.
The legal firm acting on Bethesda's behalf - a company called Vorys - took issue with an individual's labelling of The Evil Within 2 as "new", insisting the individual, a man called Ryan Hupp, was not an authorised reseller and therefore his selling a "new" copy was unlawful.
It seemed like an overreaction by Bethesda, so I asked Pete Hines, senior vice president of marketing and communications, about the issue at QuakeCon 2018 today.
"He's not trying to sell a secondhand game, he's trying to sell a new game," he told me. "He was listing the product as if it was new. All we're saying is if it's a previously owned product, you have to sell it as a previously owned product - you cannot represent it's new because we have no way to verify what you're selling actually is new.
Deus Ex: MD - 85% Off
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is 85% off on Steam for the next 14 hours.
About This Game
The year is 2029, and mechanically augmented humans have now been deemed outcasts, living a life of complete and total segregation from the rest of society.
Now an experienced covert operative, Adam Jensen is forced to operate in a world that has grown to despise his kind. Armed with a new arsenal of state-of-the-art weapons and augmentations, he must choose the right approach, along with who to trust, in order to unravel a vast worldwide conspiracy.
Buy Deus Ex: Mankind Divided now and receive the following bonus content FREE:
- “Desperate Measures” extra in-game mission
Covert Agent Pack (Intruder Gear, Enforcer Gear and Classic Gear + 1 Praxis Kit + 1000 Credits)
Deus Ex: MDSP/MP: Single + MP
Fallout 76 - Gameplay Video
@DSOGaming Fallout 76 has a new gameplay video which demonstrates the character customization system.
At QuakeCon 2018, Bethesda presented a new gameplay video for Fallout 76 that focuses on its character customization system. In Fallout 76, players will wake up in a vault and they will be able to customize their characters (like in previous Fallout games, though the system has been improved in various ways).
Fallout 76SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Let It Die - Coming to PC
You're tasked with climbing a tower packed with monsters and traps, starting off with no armour or weapons and gradually building a powerful character. The focus is melee combat, but you'll also grab flamethrowers, crossbows and other projectile weapons.
Sunday - August 12, 2018
Fallout 76 - Will Have Private Servers
PC Gamer reports that Fallout 76 will have private servers but it looks like they will be online only.
Will Fallout 76 get private servers?
Yes! At QuakeCon 2018 on August 11, game director Todd Howard confirmed again that private servers are part of the plan. "That is definitely something that we are doing. We are committed to it. It's not just having a private server, it's being able to mod it," he said in a Q&A panel. "It's something that, given the online nature of it, is going to be very, very complicated, but we're committed to it and we've been starting to design what that system is going to look like. It's a complicated problem but one that we're one-hundred-percent committed to solving."
Fallout 76SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Pillars of Eternity II - Beast of Winter Reviews
Pillars of Eternity II DLC reviews for 'Beast of Winter'.
In this video, we took at look at the first paid DLC for Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire, Beast of Winter.
The Sixth Axis reviewed the DLC also:
Harbingers’ Watch is effectively an iceberg in the centre of a tropical archipelago. Think of it like the dark horse of the family, like a goth in The Brady Bunch. You are summoned to this place by a letter from the followers of Rymrgand, who is the titular Beast of Winter, and also a God of famine, plague, and entropy. A lovely fellow no doubt and one who tends to take the form of a minotaur. You’ve been chosen by them because chaos tends to follow you around, and with chaos comes destruction, which is what they really, really want to befall them.
Pillars of Eternity IISP/MP: Single-player
The New World - On C&C and Storytelling
An update for The New World highlights the importance of choice and consequence for the game.
As you probably know by now, Choices & Consequences are more than just a feature for us. It’s the foundation on which the game is built and a concept we’ll continue exploring and evolving as long as we stay in business. The reason it’s so important to us –and hopefully to you – is that the players need a steady stream of choices to craft their own tales and it is the consequences that give meaning to those choices and alter the tale.
AoD was our first attempt at C&C and I’d rate this attempt at 6/10. We did many things right and – predictably - we did many things wrong. We also learned quite a lot in the process and we hope that The New World will take C&C to the next level, offering a less restrictive and more engaging experience.
Essentially, there are 3 types of choices:
- Multiple quest solutions to let you handle quests in a manner fitting your character. Keep in mind that you will not be able to handle every situation (aka side quest) with brute force or clever words, so some exceptions will apply, but you will be able to beat the game with combat, stealth, or diplomacy.
- Taking sides in various conflicts, big and small, thus leaving your mark on the gameworld and defining your character through actions (aka role-playing). These decisions aren't based on skills but on your opinions, allegiances, beliefs, past decisions, etc. It works best when there’re plenty of double- and triple-crossing opportunities, like going to kill Lorenza in one of the assassins quest in Maadoran and letting her talk you into killing Darista and Gaelius instead, which affects your options with Hamza when you run into him in Ganezzar.
- Big Decisions that alter the story (i.e. branching), affect the gameworld, and have far reaching consequences.
Since Big Decisions are appropriately rare (you can’t alter the storyline every 5 min) and multiple quests solutions are often determined by your build, the meat of the game is taking sides in conflicts, which is a lot more complex than pointing at some ruins and saying ‘there be monsters’.
First and foremost, the player has to give a damn. Obviously, it’s a very subjective criterion and a major risk factor, especially in a non-fantasy game. Fantasy, ancient mysteries, sword & sorcery hold a certain, deeply engrained appeal. The sci-fi does not, unless it’s reskinned fantasy. However, since we can’t do much about it, we’ll put these concerns aside for a moment and focus on things that are actually within our control:
- The conflict should be properly designed, meaning it should have a past and a future. The player should see how the conflict came to be, all the factors that led to it, and how the events might unfold after the player’s interference.
- Since the player will take sides, both sides should have strong positions and offer compelling arguments. The player should feel that he/she is doing the right thing. Whoever the player sides with are the good guys fighting the good fight, the other side automatically becomes the evil that must be stopped (i.e. good and evil shifts with perspective).
- Since the player will take sides, both sides should have strong positions and offer compelling arguments. Unlike in a traditional or reskinned fantasy setting, there is no "good" or "evil" faction; every faction presents the upsides to its strategy, and players will be able to see the downsides as well. Once you pick a side, other factions' beliefs become obstacles that amplify the downsides to your faction. As Mark Yohalem said it, “in a world where you can only make an omelet by cracking eggs, they keep trying to knock eggs out of your hand on the floor, mess with the heat on the stove, or slosh the pan.” Players shouldn't feel like paladins, but they should feel that they’re doing the right thing under the circumstances.
- Handling the conflicts in different ways must have different consequences, ideally ripple-effect style. The player should see the short-term consequences (hooray, we won!) but not the long term effects as the player wouldn’t have all the info (especially on the first playthrough) to consider all the angles. Well, Luther could hardly imagine that his fiery proclamations would eventually result in a bitter divide and a 30-year war…
Now back to the above-mentioned concerns:
We don’t expect everyone to like the conflicts and the themes we offer to explore, but we hope that our core audience would enjoy and appreciate the attention to details. Unfortunately, hope is not a very reliable tool, so we have to seek feedback to make sure we stay on the right track.
Since I talk to Mark Yohalem (the developer of Primordia who’s currently working on Fallen Gods, one of my most anticipated RPGs) quite often, I casually dump my files on him every chance I get. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I praise him, he praises me, everyone’s happy. It’s not like that at all. While I do praise his work and think that his Fallen Gods updates are really awesome, he is merciless, relentless, and tenacious in his criticism. You guys should see him tearing into my work like a fucking chainsaw. It’s a sight to behold.
Recently I did manage to score some positive points and I’d like to share them with you:* * *
A few weeks ago, I had the painful pleasure of reviewing a small dialogue from The New World. I say “painful” because I adored The Age of Decadence and had managed, despite its very public development, to go in without knowing much about its story or setting. Every time I learn more about TNW, I’m taking a usurious payday advance against when I finally get to play it in a few years. Sure, it’s fun to have a little something now, but I’ll be destitute when the release roles around.
And now I get to offer the same bitter pill to you, dear reader, because Vince asked me to share my analysis of the dialogue for this update. This is doubly brilliant, since it not only lets Vince put up a long-winded pretentious discussion about narrative themes while maintaining his own laconic reputation, but also will make his future posts seem even more practical and modest in contrast to this one. Given that Vince is basically a real-life Miltiades, I’m not sure why I keep following him into these alleys…
The dialogue at issue is a quest and mirror-quest where the player meets Lord’s Mercy, a gunslinging lady at the head of a gang of toughs. Mercy is currently in the employ of one Jonas Redford, the owner of a brothel and the de facto boss of the Pit. A powerful outsider gang, called the Regulators, was recently brought into the Pit to help keep out another faction, The Brotherhood of Liberty. But now the Regulators are themselves trying to take over the Pit, and their leader Jeremiah Braxton (erstwhile Faithful Gunner of the Church of the Elect) is hoping to take down Jonas. (Anyone familiar with the television show Deadwood should have an immediate sense for Jonas and the interlopers trying to give him the boot.) The player winds up on one side or the other of this conflict and needs to either make sure Mercy stays loyal to Jonas, or flip her to Braxton’s side.
At the outset of my conversation with Vince about the mechanics of the dialogue, I gave him my thoughts on what I understood the dialogue’s themes to be. (That’s because Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing persuaded me that when the writer knows what thematic significance a dialogue has, it helps him keep the dialogue lean and focused.) Now, with a little bit of editing, I share my thematic assessment with you.
- The struggle over the Pit is, like in Deadwood, basically a story about frontier independence being swept away by powerful forces from back in “civilization.” Also, as with the overrunning of Greece by Rome (or any other of a hundred historical examples), it's about how the shortsightedness of internal factions in inviting outside powers leads to all the insiders losing their stature.
- This struggle is taking place against the backdrop of a failing colony ship, so there’s also an undercurrent that as the world breaks down, power can perversely become consolidated into a few factions’ hands because the middle-class prosperity and law-and-order that maintain individual freedom are lost.
- Jonas is a stalwart of the frontier/insider old guard: a rough and ugly man, but ultimately an exemplar of rugged/ruthless independence. Braxton represents the more sophisticated, more cultured, more connected, more powerful, more modern outside/civilized strength.
- Being a Badass Lady, Mercy already starts halfway off third base in terms of player sympathy. She values her Word, her God, and her Gun, which is to say, she's an All-American Hero. Given that she's an All-American Hero, she's naturally on the side of rugged independence, which is where we find her.
- The effort to flip Mercy to Braxton is thus about the prostitution of Lady Liberty to wealth and power, no? It's Arthur Miller’s Death of a Gunswoman in one short act. (Ironic that her prostitution should entail abandoning a pimp in favor of a churchman, but life is rich with such little ironies.)
- Conversely, the mirror interaction with Mercy is a matter of saving her from such prostitution.
- Because a huge part of AOD's appeal, and I think TNW's appeal, is the squalid bargaining the player is tricked(? enticed? invited?) into carrying out, it's excellent that the interloping powerful faction should be in many ways more appealing than the local independence faction because that lets the player think, for a while, that he's doing the Right Thing when helping Braxton and the Wrong Thing in helping Jonas. And in neither case does he come off clean, since it's not like Jonas is George Washington and of course Braxton is a straight-up warlord.
- So, with this set-up in mind, helping Braxton to subvert Mercy’s loyalty to Jonas should be about humiliating Mercy and/or undermining the values that are important to her. It’s about getting her to trade her code of ethics for blood money, cheap status, or personal safety. Logically, helping Jonas to keep her loyal should be about the flipside, but in order to make it work within the bleak message of AOD/TNW, Braxton’s men should have an opportunity to point out what kind of scum Jonas is. Ultimately, the proviso to “fight for the American dream” given by The New World is “on behalf of an aging pimp who beats his whores and slits kids’ throats.” The game is set at a point where the gangrene has gone too far—mutilation, death, or mutilation followed by death are the three options for the colony ship. There’s neither a Flood nor a Redeemer coming.
- If I'm right on these themes, I think the dialogue could use just a little bit more length (probably one more node's worth) so that you have more room for Mercy to waver and falter. And rather than having her persuaded in a way that makes her decision seem increasingly reasonable and confident, I would do it in a way that makes her seem increasingly weak and fearful, or at least compromised. My suggestion would be that the two roleplaying paths you’re offering the player (other than just fighting Mercy) are:
(1) You establish an awful Et tu, Mercy? in which you show that even the steely-eyed, gang-leading, gun-slinging, hand-over-the-quickdraw-holster, views-the-scripture-like-Sam-Jackson-in-Pulp-Fiction-before-he-goes-soft lady can be bent and broken by the shabby corruptions of the world.
(2) You carry out the grim work of convincing a good woman to lend her gun to a petty pimp so that he can keep the Pit as his fief, which is really another way of saying that we are doomed to have at best the devil we know. And, of course, having bumped off the Protectors and having lost a good swath of his own gunmen in the process, Jonas has simply exposed the Pit to domination by some other outside faction down the road.
(3) You might also offer a “player is also naive” path in which he persuades Mercy to side with Braxton because he’s a Good and Noble Man in contrast to Jonas, leading to the inevitable discovery that actually Braxton is simply a better class of bully bastard.
Ultimately, I think this early quest will pull of the neat trick of simultaneously establishing that the player is a free agent capable of tilting the balances of power in a world of deadlocked factional struggles and establishing that there isn’t really room in this setting for a “good guy with a gun” to drive out the bad guys. After all, Mercy is the good guy with a gun, and at the end of the day, she’s just a trigger lady for one or another of the bad guys.* * *
You can convince Mercy to join your cause, whatever this cause might be. If you aren't much of a talker, you can kill her (either in a more or less fair fight or via stealth assassination) to weaken your enemies. Alternatively, let Mercy convince you to side with her when she makes her own play for power (she will help Jonas defeat Braxton, then you'll help her take out Jonas). Thus, the outcomes are:
- The meddling carpetbaggers are defeated, the Pit remains independent ... but virtually defenseless. Now that the Regulators are gone, the Brotherhood
mightwill surely come knocking on their door again.
- The Regulators take over, bringing much needed law & order. Being a realist, Braxton knows that he must make an alliance with a major faction. The question is which one but we can leave it up to you. It will be relatively easy to make a deal with the Protectors of the Mission, the hardest with the Church as you'd have to convince Braxton to make amends and do some groveling for the greater good.
- Lord's Mercy takes over. Maybe now is a good time to tell you she's an Old Testament kinda woman. Her God is a vengeful God and said so Himself in the Good Book. He's all fire and brimstone to His enemies, never thinking twice when it came to righteous retribution. If that’s what her name means, Mercy does her best to live up to it.
Hopefully, this update will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of quests, conflicts, and themes. Your comments, questions, and complaints are always welcome.
The New WorldSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Phantom Doctrine - Preview @ Yogcast
Phantom DoctrineSP/MP: Single + MP
Sword Legacy: Omen - Preview @ SplatterCatGaming
Sword Legacy Omen Gameplay Impressions - Arthurian Xcom Strategyloading...
Sword Legacy Omen gameplay with Splat! Let's Play Sword Legacy Omen and check out a new strategy game where you'll take Uther Pendragon and an assorted cast through a tactical adventure!
Sword Legacy: OmenSP/MP: Single-player
Genre: Tactical RPG
We Happy Few - First Reviews
The first reviews for We Happy Few are out now:
Fandom - Score 3.5/5
Destructoid - Score 5/10
NukeTheFridge - Score 7/10
This is where We Happy Few shines brightest. The dialog and character barks in this game are second-to-none. They are funny, human and uncannily realistic. As someone who grew up in England, I felt I recognized many of the fussy, indignant, precious, hilarious and kind people who I met in this game. But I suspect the feeling translates to all peoples.
Perhaps this is what makes We Happy Few so unusual. It is beautifully, carefully written. The words that come out of this game are better than anything I can recall in even the best narrative adventures. The script has clearly been elevated to a place of prime importance. It’s been honed by writers and actors working together to create a coherent universe that’s as frightening as any hellscape dreamed up in more lavish fantasies. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to play, you’ve found it.
We Happy FewSP/MP: Single-player
Saturday - August 11, 2018
Edge Of Eternity - New Screenshots
@DSOGaming Edge of Eternity has some new screenshots.
Midgar Studio and Playdius have shared some new screenshots for their upcoming JRPG, Edge of Eternity, and shared some new details about it. Edge of Eternity is centered on a solid combat system, an ’ATB, strengthened by tactical movements on a combat grid and possible interactions with the environment that open rich and varied events during battles.
Edge Of EternitySP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Code of the Savage - Funded
Code of the Savage has funded on Kickstarter.
Funding goal reached!!!
Thank you everyone! Yesterday we passed the initial funding goal of $5500 AU. I have been humbled by all of your support and generosity.
Kickstarter GamesSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development