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Poll Watch

Are you excited about the 2018 games?
Absolutely not
2.2%

Not really
23.08%

Somewhat excited
39.56%

Oh yes!
35.16%

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Sunday - July 22, 2018

Black Geyser - Kickstarter Overview

by Silver, 10:26

Retcon Raider summarized what is known about Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness.

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Today I thought we'd take a quick look at another crowdfunded cRPG that I recently backed. Today I thought we'd talk about "Black Geyser", by GrapeOcean Technologies.

It's a party-based isometric cRPG inspired by games like Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale, set in an original fantasy world cursed by dark gods. Black Geyser features a real-time-with-pause combat system, and a particularly heavy focus on world reactivity!

I did back Black Geyser on Kickstarter, but I'm not otherwise associated with Stoneshard or Ink Stains Games in any way. I just love talking about interesting new retro RPGs!

[...]

Black Geyser

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

Details

Divinity: Original Sin II - Interview with Michael Douse

by Silver, 10:20

Metro interviewed Larian's director of publishing Michael Douse about Divinity: Original Sin II and the marketing angle is explored also.

GC: It is always about the marketing. I’m a big fan of turn-based strategy games, especially XCOM – which your combat has something in common with, and I foolishly imagined it was going to be a big mainstream hit when they got it working so well on consoles. But of course it was a mild hit at best. But it seems with your games they should be much more successful than they are too, much better known…

MD: We’ve done a lot of data crunching, so we know what our market cap is on each console and PC. I think we’re about halfway through our market cap on PC, we can get another one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half million players I think on PC. But it’s true. And these kind of challenges, on how to communicate the game on many, many different levels, and dealing with the fact that people think it’s a CRPG when it’s really a co-op board game. All of these kind of things are a challenge.

And we’re growing, we’re successful, we’re not desperate. So working these things out with this kind of safe level of iteration, and growing as a publishing team and growing as a developer, it’s really a privileged place to be in. Because we’re not scrambling, we’re just listening and we’re watching and sort of growing. So I completely agree.

An interesting point about XCOM compared to CRPGs is we actually have more people who are XCOM players than we do that are Pillars Of Eternity players. So those parallels are really there, the data shows us that those parallels are there. But the most difficult thing, and I’ll tell you this, is trying to explain to publishing people why the game is such a success. It’s not the players.

The players, if you put it in their hands they have a great time, but people who look at this and go, ‘Well, why is this a success?’ They can’t work it out, and they don’t realise that it’s closer to a game like XCOM than it is Pillars and all of these kinds of things. So these are the greatest challenges. It’s more on the business side than it is on the community side.

The community really have our back. It’s really, really fun to work with everyone on that.

[...]

Divinity: Original Sin II

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release: Released

Details

Shadow of War - Free Demo

by Silver, 09:54

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War now offers a free demo. Additionally the game recently removed its marketplace and revised its end-game to be less grindy.

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Play Middle-earth™: Shadow of War™ for FREE with our all-new demo! Links to all platforms available at www.ShadowofWar.com! Build an army of unique Orc followers and lead them in a fortress assault deep in the heart of Mordor. Take down the overlord and replace him with your own ally! Your new overlord will follow you into the full version of the game once you purchase.

Shadow of War

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

Details

CrossCode - Releasing September

by Silver, 09:10

CrossCode will release sometime in September with a more definitive date coming in August.

 

CrossCode: About the Release, Gamescom and Discounts

Hello everyball!

We have a small update outside of our usual schedule for you!

About the Release

Things are more or less fixed now.

That’s why we’re happy to announce:
CrossCode 1.0 will be released in September 2018!!

We’ll have a bigger announcement with the exact release date around the beginning of August with all the bling and shing, but September is locked-in for sure!

Gamescom 2018

We will once again attend Gamescom in Cologne, Germany! We won’t have a booth, but will be strolling around as visitors on Tuesday (Business day) and Wednesday! If you want to meetup and maybe get a CrossCode sticker, let us know, best via Twitter (DMs are open) or in our Discord Server.

To Hell with Hell Loyalty Discount

Finally: Thanks to your publisher Deck13 we have a little Loyalty Discount for To Hell with Hell!
This means that any owner of CrossCode on Steam will receive a 10% discount (in addition to the current 20% discount) for To Hell with Hell! Just in case anyone is interesting in helping out Natasia down there… in hell. It’s a classic Bullet Hell rogue-like crawler with juicy pixelart still in Early Access!

And that’s all for now! More details in August!

CrossCode

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

Details

Stardew Valley - Multiplayer Update August 1st

by Silver, 09:06

Stardew Valley will be updated with multiplayer August 1st.

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The Stardew Valley multiplayer update comes out on August 1st, 2018 for PC, Mac & Linux! Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch multiplayer updates coming soon.

Stardew Valley

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Modern
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Banner Saga 3 - The End of a Saga

by Hiddenx, 07:24

Arnie Jorgensen and Zeb West from Stoic Studio discuss the ending of the Banner Saga trilogy:

End of a Saga: What Stoic learnt from the Mass Effect finale

Studio co-founder and ex-BioWare dev Arnie Jorgensen joins producer Zeb West to discuss ending the Banner Saga trilogy

Trilogies in the games industry are often just a series of loosely connected stories rather than a single cohesive narrative, typically an excuse to go on one adventure after another until there are no adventures left and the whole thing can be rebooted.

In essence, the games industry rarely takes advantage of the trilogy format in a traditional sense: to tell one epic story.

Of course, a trilogy is nothing without a conclusion which often leads developers and publishers alike to keep pushing. Every great saga is judged ultimately by how it ends, and there's likely not a person working in the industry today who doesn't remember the carnage which ensued following the conclusion of Mass Effect 3.

With the narrative-focused Banner Saga series set to conclude next week following the launch of its third installment, indie developer Stoic is in the precarious situation of having to actually deliver a satisfying conclusion to a project six years in the making; a prospect so terrifying that most developers either stumble at the last hurdle, or keep running until there are no games left to make, and the series simply collapses under its own weight.

It's a reality which has not failed to dawn on the team, the founders of which were working at BioWare's Austin studio during the Mass Effect 3 debacle.

"Being on the inside of the studio, even though we weren't directly working on the game, we were even more cognisant of what was going on and where maybe there were some missteps, and we really took that to heart in our own game," Stoic co-founder Arnie Jorgensen tells GamesIndustry.biz.

"Here's the point: if people play our game and they say: 'Finally someone nailed it. They finished an epic and I feel like it was a satisfying ending for my playthrough. My personal playthrough'... it really feels satisfying for the player. We focused on that with the Banner Saga 3, really trying to make sure people feel that way and we hope we did it."

[...]

Banner Saga 3

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

Details

Bard's Tale IV - Beta Review

by Hiddenx, 06:59

Hammeh checked out the beta version of Bard's Tale IV:

The Bard's Tale IV: Barrow's Deep - UNWRAPPED! [Beta Review]

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The Bard's Tale IV:Barrows Deep Closed Beta is here , and it's a bar brawlin' taste of RPG fun! Join me for Unwrapped as I share my first impressions/review of The Bard's Tale 4, exploring it inside-out!

Bard's Tale IV

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

Details

Saturday - July 21, 2018

Xenonauts 2 - Preview @Christ Centered Gaming

by Silver, 13:06

Xenonauts 2 has been previewed by Christ Centered Gaming.

So far, there isn’t much to judge for the morality of this game. All you have is the little bit of combat present in the demo which, while being a big part of these types of games, is not the only focus. As for what is present, the game can be a bit violent. Now, this is pretty abstract with it being a TBS game, but you are going to have people dying. This style of game is almost impossible to play without suffering any casualties. That doesn’t just include your soldiers either. There are missions with civilians on them and the aliens will actively try to kill them. Anything killed, unless they are really exploded, leave behind a corpse on the ground. Units shot also leave behind pools of blood. Another moral thing to consider is that the enemies you are fighting are aliens, although this time around they appear to be more alien looking than human, like they were in the first game.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Xenonauts 2

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

Details

Underworld Ascendant - Screenshots

by Silver, 11:49

Worthplaying previewed Underworld Ascendant and showed off many screenshots.

We saw a slice of the gameplay, but it wasn't enough to get a feel for it. For combat, we saw some evil skeletons that I could thwack with a sword, but there was little feedback. It's unclear how the combat will function in the final game.

Likewise, the spells felt unfinished. For example, there's one spell that is a soul bind, which can either dominate enemies or chain them down, depending on whether they're spiritual or physical. The spell felt very iffy and difficult to use, and after some experimentation, I focused on the more reliable abilities instead. I had more luck with using fire, but the fire mechanic was still being refined, and setting something alight was an inconsistent process. It was fun to smash my way through a door rather than having to hunt for a key.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Underworld Ascendant

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

Details

Fallout: NV - Fallout: New California Mod Ramps Up

by Silver, 10:51

@PC Gamer Fearing that Bethesda may cease and desist their mod the makers of Fallout New California ramped up production recently. However Bethesda have said they intend to take no action.

Update: A representative from Bethesda commented on the Fallout: New California mod. Here's the full statement:

"The great thing about modding is that people can build mods about whatever they want. We don’t foresee an issue with this team’s work, and we wish them well in their development."

Original story: 

Fallout: New California is a Fallout: New Vegas mega-mod that introduces a totally new storyline complete with 12 possible endings and some 16,000 lines of voiced dialogue. It's been in development for over five years, and last month the mod team behind it announced it'll officially release later this year on October 23. However, as the mod team explained in a recent Facebook post, New California's production is shifting into overdrive now that Fantasy Flight Games has announced an expansion to Fallout: The Board Game, also called New California, the existence of which could threaten the mod's release.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Fallout: NV

SP/MP: Single-player
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: RPG
Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Release: Released

Details

Kingdom Come - Documentary Trailer

by Silver, 10:44

OnlySP reports that a documentary about Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be available July 24th.

The documentary—produced by OnlySP’s friends at Gameumentary—takes a look at Warhorse Studios’s medieval RPG, with interviews from director Daniel Vávra and executive producer Martin Klima. The feature-length documentary will be available on July 24, 2018; check out the trailer below.

[...]

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Thanks Farflame!

Kingdom Come

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

Details

Alien Shakespeare - Narrative RPG on Kickstarter

by Silver, 10:36

Alien Shakespeare is a narrative RPG set during the post-apocalypse, which takes place in an abandoned theme park.

About

Alien Shakespeare is a narrative RPG that takes place on the Globe Theatre, an abandoned theme park planet (think of it as a Disney film set during the Post-Apocalypse.) Like Telltale Games, Alien Shakespeare will have the player's decisions drive the plot forward. Our goal, however, is to create a story where the player has more of an impact on the narrative.  

The funds raised through Kickstarter will help us develop the game and pay our talented cast and crew for their time. It will also cover taxes, backer rewards, business expenses and Kickstarter processing fees.

IMPROVING THE 'TELLTALE FORMULA'

Because of their focus on creating compelling stories and unique characters, Telltale Games has received critical acclaim for their work on the Walking Dead, Batman, and the Wolf Among Us (just to name a few). These games, however, follow a very formulaic, straightforward path.  

To highlight this formula, let’s look at a scene in the Wolf Among Us where Sheriff Bigby (aka the Big Bad Wolf) confronts the Woodsman at a bar. No matter how you play the game, there will always be a fight that breaks out at the end of the conversation. Even if you play as a diplomatic, non-violent character and convince the Woodsman to not fight you, another character will randomly decide to attack you so that the sequence of events will play out as scripted.  

There is a very practical reason why Telltale Games uses this approach. It saves money by requiring fewer game assets and locations compared to a branching storyline.  However, it creates the sense that the player's decisions doesn't have that much of an impact on the overall story. 

We believe that Alien Shakespeare will be able to improve on the Telltale formula by introducing the following:

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Cyberpunk 2077 - First Official Screenshots

by Silver, 09:34

DSOGaming have the first official screenshots for Cyberpunk 2077.

CD Projekt RED has released the first official screenshots for Cyberpunk 2077. Cyberpunk 2077 is an open world, narrative-driven role-playing game set in the universe of the classic pen & paper RPG system, Cyberpunk 2020.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Cyberpunk 2077

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

Details

Kingmaker - Releasing September 25th

by Silver, 09:26

A new update and a release date for Pathfinder: Kingmaker of September 25th.

Dear Pathfinders!   

We have an official release date: September 25! The game is now up for pre-order on Steam and GoG and will be sold as a physical version by selected retail outlets.

We're sorry it's not the August release many of you had hoped for, but we'd like to use the extra time to apply an additional layer of love and polish for the release version. It'll be worth the wait - we promise! 

We're almost here, everyone! Thank you all so much for getting us there!

There's also a little teaser trailer to celebrate our release date. Behold:

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[...]

Kingmaker

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

Details

W40K: Inquisitor-Martyr - Review @ Indian Noob

by Hiddenx, 00:08

Indian Noob checked out Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr:

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr Review (PC) Noobreview ::
A Purge Gone Wrong

If there is one franchise no one can say has too few video games under its belt is Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000. From RTS to 4X4 to FPS to MMO, Warhammer 40K has seen it all. Some of it good, some- not so much. Yet the ARPG genre popularised by Diablo remained an uncharted territory for the Emperor’s champions. That is, up until Neocore Games came up with the awkwardly titled Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr. Let’s see how it did, shall we?

Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr is an Action Role-Playing Game developed and published by Neocore Games. After spending a bit of time in Steam’s Early Access program, Martyr was relased for Microsoft Windows on 5 Jun, 2018 with PS4 and Xbox One versions releasing on August 23.

[...]

VERDICT

It’s hard to recommend Warhammer 40,000: Inquisitor – Martyr at it’s current state and pricepoint. I can’t help but feel that Martyr would have been way more comfortable being something akin to Relic’s Space Marine. There is still a chance that Neocore can change the game around with the planned content updates. But right now, if you are not a die-hard 40K fan who doesn’t mind shelling out full price, there are better ARPG alternatives that offer much more, at a lesser cost.

Score: 6/10

W40K: Inquisitor-Martyr

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

Details

Friday - July 20, 2018

Kingmaker - Meet The Companions

by Silver, 15:11

A new Steam update for Pathfinder: Kingmaker introduces the companions.

Dear Pathfinders,

Pathfinder: Kingmaker was made possible thanks to the help and support of our community and our backers on Kickstarter. Over the past year, we have shared stories and updates about the game's characters, as well as a closer look at the core mechanics, visual effects and many other behind the scenes details about our game and the people working on it.

Our community has grown considerably since our Kickstarter days. Not everyone who knows about Pathfinder: Kingmaker today was around during our crowdfunding stage. We are happy to welcome a lot of new members in our community, who have missed our early updates. And that's why we'll be posting retrospective updates over the coming days, which will give everyone a chance to catch up on what has been revealed about the game thus far.

In our first retrospective update we're giving you the opportunity to get a closer look at ten of the companions, who will join you on your quest to conquer the Stolen Lands. They are:
Valerie, the Brevic fighter
Ekundayo, the grim ranger
Jubilost Narthropple, a humble servant to no one
Octavia, the gleeful half-elf with a talent for magic and sleight of hand
Regongar, the meanest magus on this side of the Inner Sea
Amiri, the iconic barbarian
Harrim, the brooding cleric of Groetus
Tristian, favorite of the Everlight
Linzi, your personal chronicler
Nok-Nok, the goblin companion, who started out as a stretchgoal

Keep your eyes peeled for more retrospective updates in the coming days!

Hail to the Kings!
Owlcats

Kingmaker

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

Details

Dead In Vinland - Interview Matthieu Richez

by Silver, 15:01

GOG interviewed Matthieu Richez about Dead in Vinland.

What were your references for Dead in Vinland, for the atmosphere, world and game design?

It wasn't particularly straightforward. We were somewhat inspired by our previous game, Dead in Bermuda. During production we read Vinland Saga a lot, and I know that it was a great source of architecture and Viking gear reference for our AD because the manga series is well-regarded for being historically accurate. I was told after the game released, but for certain characters and the dialog tone I was perhaps subconsciously inspired by the Kaamelott series by Alexandre Astier and by the many Terry Pratchett novels I read when I was young. We were also inspired by Darkest Dungeon for the combat, especially in terms of animation techniques because the mechanics are quite different if you study them.

In terms of game design, what was the most difficult aspect in Dead in Vinland?

We added a lot of layers to the management, and the most complicated aspect is that all the gameplay elements — and even the dialog — have an effect on each other. For example, making the combat easier will mean that the player will have more loot, and that his characters will be less injured, and so they won't necessarily need to be healed, so they can go and find more resources during the day… Basically, changing a single value somewhere can have huge repercussions throughout the game. And to evaluate this, we needed to do several days of test sessions. I remember in the last week before release, I increased the chances of contracting certain diseases by 1%, and it made the game totally unplayable!

[...]

Dead In Vinland

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

Details

Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #5&6: Combat

by Silver, 14:31

The dev diary #5 for Age of Wonders: Planetfall focuses on tactical combat. For dev diary #6 the focus is on tactical combat mechanics and units!

Hello everybody! Today's Dev Diary is about the basics of tactical combat. Just like in Age of Wonders 3, combat is a very important part of playing Planetfall and one of the biggest challenges we had was keeping the feel of AoW3 combat whilst developing a system that is more focused on ranged combat than melee combat.

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A group of marines approach a Psi-Shrine guarded by Spacer pirates

Accuracy and Hit Chances
One of the first things we decided was that we needed to bring hit chances back into the game, having ranged weapons always hit makes combat feel stale and predictable, while the chance of an attack failing adds a level of excitement and tension. It also allowed us to add more gameplay to the combat environments, long range attacks would have their accuracy reduced, as would attacks on units behind cover. The terrain now has different height levels, and shooting at a unit that's lower than oneself grants a bonus to accuracy. Units can also deploy smoke screens to protect their units in areas without cover.

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Aya Sashimi, a Vanguard hero, takes a pot shot at a distant Dvar walker.

One issue is that many people really, really dislike missing attacks. To help fix this every attack has a chance to Graze a target instead of missing it. Grazing shots do half damage, and any special effects attached to the attack are either weakened or disabled entirely. The chance of a graze happening is up to 25% of the chance to miss, so:

Code:

Chance To Hit | Chance To Graze | Chance To Do Nothing
90% | 10% | 0%
75% | 25% | 0%
50% | 25% | 25%

This gives the player more of a sense of control, since if a shot is good enough it's guaranteed to do something, only the most reckless and ill-advised attacks have a high chance of achieving nothing at all.

Overwatch and Staggering

Overwatch was another feature that we decided early on to add. Units in overwatch guard an arc of hexes in front of them, and the first enemy unit to act or move in one of those hexes will get shot at. Melee units get a special type of multidirectional overwatch which they enter even if they attacked during their turn, giving them a free attack against any unit who tries to move past them or shoot them at point blank range.

In order to counter overwatch, we added the Impact system. High Impact attacks, such as explosives and melee attacks, can Stagger the units they hit, knocking them out of overwatch and allowing your own units to act safely. Staggering will also knock units out of guard mode, and reduce their action points, limiting their options in their next turn. Stagger a unit enough times, and it will not be able to act at all!

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A group of troopers are ambushed by a Spacer rocket attack

Quick Q&A

When this Dev Diary was announced, I got an awful lot of questions and requests for explanations, far more than I could fit in today. So, I've picked a few of the most interesting questions to answer:

Will some races (such as space dwarves) be able to drop turrets and deploy them during battle?

The Vanguard specialize in drones and autonomous robots, their engineer unit can deploy a turret while their T4 specializes in launching various types of drones in combat to provide defensive and offensive support.


Will there be the possibility to burn battlefields down, effectively creating fire barriers?

The Promethean specialize in weapons that leave areas of the battlefield on fire, providing area denial abilities. They can also mod their units to be immune to this fire, or even gain buffs from it, allowing them to reshape the battlefield to their advantage.

PheonixWalker.png
The Promethean Phoenix Walker can set large swathes of the battlefield alight, and regenerates health while standing in flames

Are there any insta-death abilities, like disintegrate in AoW3?

There are indeed! For example, the Plasma Disintegrator Module is an end game mod for laser weaponry, allowing attacks to strip armor and giving a chance to insta-kill tier 1 and 2 units.


What formula will be used to calculate damage?

AoW3's damage formulas use flat damage reduction, which does not cope well with the wide range of damage values we need for this game, so we're using a formula that reduces damage proportionally.

I = Incoming damage
D = Actual damage taken
R = Damage resistance (sum of shields, armor and elemental resistance)

D = I x 0.9^R

The formula also has diminishing returns; the first few points of resistance reduce damage by roughly 10% each, but as more is stacked, this decreases rapidly. The difference between 10 and 11 resistance is only 4%.


And that's it for this week. In next week's dev diary we'll be taking a closer look at tactical combat mechanics and units!

Age of Wonders: Planetfall

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

Details

THQ Nordic - Announces Gamescom Lineup

by Silver, 13:31

Dualshockers reports that THQ Nordic have announced their Gamescom 2018 lineup.

Today THQ Nordic announced its lineup of games that will be presented at Gamescom 2018.

The publisher that took THQ’s mantle in semi-recent times will have a rather diverse range of titles, starting with the first publicly playable appearance of Darksiders III. More playable games will include Biomutant, Generation Zero and Fade to Silence.

We’re also getting to see Wreckfest and Townsmen VR.

On top of that, there will be two unannounced games that the publisher isn’t disclosing just yet.

[...]

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THQ Nordic

Details

Bethesda Softworks - Interview @The Guardian

by Silver, 05:05

The Guardian interviewed Pete Hines and Todd Howard about the future of Bethesda.

Bethesda is revered for these gigantic worlds that set out a banquet of options for the player. But from Fortnite to League of Legends, many of the most popular and profitable games around in 2018 are competitive multiplayer games, which has led to speculation about the future of the expensive single-player experience that Bethesda is known for. This year’s Fallout 76 is an online game that throws people together to cooperate or clash – not the lone player experience fans expect.

Nonetheless, Hines is bullish about the future of epic single-player adventures. “Well, we keep doing it,” he says. “There was a lot of hand-wringing around [2017’s] Prey, but we just announced a huge update. Rage 2 is a giant single-player game, [the next Doom game] Doom Eternal is single-player, and Wolfenstein: Young Blood is single-player. Single-player is still a thing; it might continue to grow or evolve, but it’s part of who we are, and we still think there’s room to be successful. That doesn’t mean that we should keep doing things the way we did five or 10 years ago – we’ve got to continue to change how we approach it.”

Howard acknowledges players’ fears about the diminishing prominence of single-player games. “It’s understandable. That would be my fear too,” he says.
[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Bethesda Softworks

Details

Thursday - July 19, 2018

Valkyria Chronicles 4 - Opening Cinematic Trailer

by Silver, 15:24

The opening cinematic trailer for Valkyria Chronicles 4.

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Valkyria Chronicles 4 Opening Cinematic Trailer (2018) PS4/Xbox One/Switch

Valkyria Chronicles 4

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

Details

SP: The Fractured but Whole - Bring the Crunch

by Silver, 11:47

South Park: The Fractured but Whole has some new DLC coming July 31st called Bring the Crunch.

Bring the Crunch DLC Launch Date Announced!

Today, Ubisoft® and South Park Digital Studios announced that Bring the Crunch, downloadable content for South Park™: The Fractured But Whole™, will be available on July 31. From the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, and developed by Ubisoft San Francisco, Bring the Crunch adds a whole new story campaign and “Final Girl” superhero class to South Park: The Fractured But Whole.

In Bring the Crunch, your newest buddy, Mint-Berry Crunch, aka Bradley Biggle, aka Gok-zarah, has just arrived from his home planet of Kokujon with the tremendous power of mint and berries. Meanwhile, an idyllic summer at Lake Tardicaca turns into a nightmare when the camp counselors go missing. With the fate of summer camp in jeopardy, Fastpass sends out a Coonstagram distress signal. Team up with FastPass, Doctor Timothy, Professor Chaos and the newest member of the Coon & Friends, Mintberry Crunch, to save summer camp.

Players will also be able to embrace the new “Final Girl” class and overcome insurmountable odds to survive. This superhero class brings new combat tactics and traps to take down spooky enemies. After saving Lake Tardicaca, players will be able to bring their new powers and buddy to the rest of their superhero adventure.

SP: The Fractured but Whole

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

Details

Wasteland 3 - You Reap What You Sow

by Silver, 08:37

A Fig update for Wasteland 3 shows us The Garden of the Gods and how combat is being implemented. Thanks to you!

You Reap What You Sow

Wasteland Turns 30

Hi everyone, 

Paul here with the latest from Wasteland 3! First off, please join me in wishing the original Wasteland a Happy 30th! As many of you know (particularly those of you who helped crowdfund Wasteland 2), it has been a long and winding road for the series, and we couldn't be happier that we're here making a new Wasteland game. 

We're celebrating the anniversary in a few ways, and one of those was by sharing with you the first piece of Mark Morgan's music from Wasteland 3, titled "Frozen Waste". We hope you enjoy it! If you haven't heard it yet, check your email inbox for a download link from CrowdOx! We sent it out a few weeks back.

Another way that we're acknowledging the Wasteland legacy is by continuing to work toward fully realizing our vision for Wasteland 3. On that note, you may remember around this time last year we shared an update with the team huddled together in New Orleans, planning the way forward as the game moved from pre-production to production. This past week, the team met again in NOLA for another milestone - they played areas on the critical path, taking notes on all elements of the game so they can refine their work toward future builds. Were the story beats hitting? Was the co-op clicking like we want it to? Were the audio and visuals helping to tell the story when and how they needed to? These and many other questions were on the table, and the team took the time they needed to answer them. 

Now, we've got a few treats for you - a quick early look at one of the locations in the game (and some discussion on combat) courtesy of George Ziets and Eric Schwarz, as well as a Q&A with the team!

Garden of the Gods first look

Ziets here with a little setup on the Garden of the Gods.

In the real world, the Garden of the Gods is a park in Colorado Springs, famous for its towering red rock formations.

In our post-apocalyptic version of Colorado, the Garden still exists, but now it’s the site of an eccentric science project. The aim of the project is to grow crops at the tops of the rock towers by collecting and focusing sunlight, since food production is a major challenge in frozen Colorado. (You can see the solar collectors and other devices in the image below.) Until recently, the experiment was going well.

Then, just before the start of the game, Colorado Springs was infiltrated by the Dorseys, one of the savage Plains gangs who’ve declared war on Colorado. The Dorseys hold a particular grudge against Colorado Springs and its leader, the Patriarch – their ancestors were one of the Hundred Families who founded and built the city.

The Dorseys follow a bastardized version of the local religion, believing that by destroying the last vestige of America, they can bring about the “Final Deluge” that will renew the world. During their attack on Colorado Springs, a group of Dorseys took hostages and are now holed up in the Garden of the Gods. It’ll be up to the Rangers to root them out, recover the hostages, and avoid crippling the city’s food supply in the crossfire.

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Implementing Combat

Eric here to do a dive into how I approached combat design in the Garden of the Gods - and more generally, throughout the rest of the game. Just a disclaimer that I'll be talking some specifics about combat encounters below, but keep in mind that these details may change before final release as we continue to tweak and tune the game.

When I begin with the design of combat in a location, I will use the story, characters, and other details of a scenario as a starting point. Who are these people? Why is the player fighting them? Are they an organized force of mercenaries, some killer machines gone rogue, or a bunch of punks? What kinds of weapons do they use? Do they have any special abilities? Do they rely on animals or robots to help them out? I try to factor it all in when it comes to conceptualizing the gameplay, as I've found it's often the best way to start building the encounter. It's always a collaborative process between the higher-level narrative and gameplay vision, the level designers working on each scene, and myself on the gameplay systems end.

In the case of the Garden of the Gods, the area is inhabited by the Dorseys that George discussed above. When you encounter them in the game, they've only been in the Garden a short time, so haven't had a chance to set up permanent fortifications. Although this is a relatively early-game location, I still wanted the Dorseys to be enough of a threat to deter a completely fresh team of Rangers. They dress in animal skins, and use mostly conventional weapons geared towards the outdoors - improvised bladed and blunt weapons, sniper rifles, assault rifles, handguns, and occasionally, larger machine guns and grenades. However, these early Dorseys aren't necessarily experienced soldiers either – they're bloodthirsty fanatics – so that means they don't have access to military-grade equipment, heavy armor, and they don't fight using lots of advanced techniques.

Once I've got a sense of what types of weapons the enemies will use, what their abilities are, and what their place in the game world is, and have spent some time building the NPCs in a sandbox test scene, I'll start working on the individual encounter design. The easiest way to start is to simply play through the level, getting a sense for the overall flow – where is the player likely to visit, and in what order? I generally try to scaffold the individual fights so that players get introduced to a specific enemy faction or type, and then we build up from there over the course of the scene. Having a good introduction not only makes the scene flow and play better for players, but it also lets us as designers ramp up the challenge and complexity.

That said, we always want to do what we can to give you more than "just some guys" to kill. In each location, I try to vary things up by using turrets, environmental objects like explosive barrels, elevation like watchtowers and cliff ledges, hostile robots, and more. In the case of Garden of the Gods, the Dorseys are not a brand-new enemy when the player encounters them, but as it's a few hours into the game, we want to start ramping up the complexity and difficulty of the encounters.

For instance, the first fight against the Dorseys is a mid-sized group with a mix of weapon types, and players are able to approach from a couple of different routes: they can either take the frontal assault, or look around to find a way up to the high ground overlooking them for a tactical advantage. The second, larger group the player finds later on has set up tripwires to keep out any pesky intruders, but observant players might be able to find a flanking route. They're also backed up by a mini-boss who makes use of pets – ones which the player might be able to turn back on their master, provided they have the right skill set.

Last, but not least, cover placement is a big part of combat design. Wasteland 3 uses a cover system just like Wasteland 2, and many design points inform how cover gets arranged, including the enemy weapon types, whether a location is indoors or outdoors, and the kinds of tactical opportunities we want to provide. The environment also contributes to how we design the layouts of our combat spaces. In an outdoor space like Garden of the Gods, you probably aren't going to find many heavy fortifications, but there's plenty of more spread out, natural cover, like rocks, snowbanks, and tree stumps that have you leapfrogging from point-to-point. Additionally, most cover in the game is destructible, so the type and relative strength of cover is also a factor for players to consider. All of these produce different combat dynamics.

That's just a taste at the kind of process we have when building combat in a scene. Of course, we continue to iterate from there many times over for just about every fight in the game, and we'll be balancing and polishing everything throughout development.

Q&A

Hi all, Paul here again for the rest of the update. Thanks to those of you who submitted questions and thanks to the team for taking the time to answer these! 

Q: Could there be an update concerning the multiplayer portion? I'd just like to know how the homebase would be shared - companions, items? Are we playing separate squads that impact each other or two halves of a whole? If wanted, can I load up and walk through the whole game with my friend, or will there be times we can't be in the same location at once?
A:
When playing multiplayer, your party is split between both players, with each player controlling a number of Rangers. The details may change as we continue to play and iterate, but right now, players can freely allocate party members between one another, with the only requirement being that each player must have a minimum of one player-created character in their party.

Q: What will the Rangers look and sound like in dialogue? Will I see my cool Rangers with their custom appearances close up, "Mass Effect" style? Will the Rangers be voice acted? If so, will the player have a number of voice packs to choose from, or will it be more like "You are Troy Baker, deal with it"? Can the player choose which Ranger is speaking? Can they change which Ranger is speaking mid-dialogue like in Wasteland 2? Or is there a permanent "spokesman"?
A: For regular conversations, you will see your party members from the normal top-down camera view. For cinematic conversations, we're still experimenting, but at this time we're not planning on voice-acting your player characters during conversations. Different party members will be able to speak during conversations, but we've streamlined the interface so that you don't need to pick a specific character - the game will pick the most appropriate character for each line if you meet the requirements. Of course, the companion NPCs who join your party will be able to interject during conversations as well, and they might sometimes surprise you with their insight.

Q: How will vehicle combat work?
A: You'll be able to use your vehicle to fire on enemies, as well as a mobile cover point you can place to maximize your tactical advantage. There's more to vehicles, of course, but we'll talk in more detail in a future update.

Q: I know it's early days yet as far as fleshing out characters go, but do you have any favorites or characters that really stand out?
A: Our characters are continuing to take shape. While we can't talk too much about many specific ones just yet, you can expect to see a commanding presence from Colorado's leader, The Patriarch, as well as a bunch of our various faction leaders and companions. The writing and design team have had a lot of fun trying to add all sorts of personality quirks and moments throughout the game.

[...]

Wasteland 3

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

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Call of Cthulhu - October 30th Release Date

by Silver, 08:33

Call of Cthulhu will release October 30th on Steam and is now available for pre-order at 10% off.

About This Game

Call of Cthulhu, the official videogame inspired by Chaosium's classic pen and paper RPG, brings you deep into a world of creeping madness and shrouded Old Gods within Lovecraft's iconic universe.

1924. Private Investigator Pierce is sent to look into the tragic death of the Hawkins family on the isolated Darkwater Island. Soon enough, Pierce is pulled into a terrifying world of conspiracies, cultists, and cosmic horrors.

Nothing is as it seems. Sanity is an irregular bedfellow, all too often replaced by whisperings in the dark. Strange creatures, weird science, and sinister cults dominate the Cthulhu Mythos, intent on realizing their mad schemes to bring about the end of everything.

Your mind will suffer - between sanity and psychosis, your senses will be disrupted until you question the reality of everything around you. Trust no one. Slinking shadows hide lurking figures… and all the while, the Great Dreamer prepares for his awakening.

Call of Cthulhu

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

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Wednesday - July 18, 2018

The Making of Wizardry - Robert Woodhead Interview

by Silver, 14:10

USGamer has a history of RPG series. This months entry explores the creation of Wizardry with Robert Woodhead.

Why do role-playing video games work the way they do? The answer to that question often boils down to, "Because Wizardry did it." But why did Wizardry do those things in the first place? To hear Wizardry programmer Robert Woodhead tell it, that answer amounts to, "Because of PLATO." 

Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord debuted in the fall of 1981, the second wildly influential computer role-playing game to debut that year on Apple II. Richard Garriott's Ultima had shipped a few months earlier with its grab-bag approach to the genre. Ultima combined first-person dungeon exploration with outdoor travel from town to town presented with a god’s-eye viewpoint. Ultima also included all kinds of odd anachronisms, including time travel and an outer space shooting sequence brazenly lifted from the finale of Star Wars, but its biggest influence was undoubtedly Garriott’s time spent shaking dice in Dungeons & Dragons. 

Wizardry took a different approach. Designed and programmed by Robert Woodhead and Andrew Greenberg, it consisted of nothing but dungeon-diving. The game was viewed entirely through the first-person wireframes seen in Ultima’s dungeons (and Akalabeth before that). It had no overworld. A town at the mouth of the dungeon—navigated entirely through menus—allowed players to shop for gear, rest at inns, and save their progress. There was no wandering around to gather clues from random townsfolk. There definitely was no space combat. There was only the dungeon, consisting of 10 floors of monsters, tricks, and traps, each level spread across a labyrinthine 20x20-space grid. 

[...]

Wizardry 1

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

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KotOR - Retrospective @ Techraptor

by Myrthos, 13:04

Techraptor looks back in history to the game that was released 15 years ago, Knights of the Old republic.

The movies were always the primary focus for original fans. For those who grew up in the shadow of Star Wars, however, it sometimes comes from the unlikeliest of places, like a video game. Many games have been made for Star Wars before, but very few take a gamble to allow the player to play in the sandbox of the Galaxy Far, Far Away. For many, that nostalgic memory is strongest with one of arguably the best Star War games ever made, the classic RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Now celebrating its 15-year anniversary, Knights of the Old Republic was unique as it was one of the few points in the Star Wars fandom to not focus on the current or future events of the films. It instead looked back to the far past—over 4,000 years in fact—to an age where the Empire never existed. LucasArts at the time was expanding, thanks in part to the success of 1999’s The Phantom Menace, and was looking to increase production on Star Wars media into new territories with video games.

Enter BioWare, who at the time in 1999 were in early talks with LucasArts for delivering a game. In 1999, BioWare was a rising star on the PC market after the success of Baldur’s Gate. The faithful adaptation of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Rules, along with their team working on two concurrent projects—Baldur’s Gate II and Neverwinter Nights—gave them enough clout to correspond with LucasArts, who asked the company to help co-develop an RPG.

KotOR

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

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Fallen Gods - Mappa Mundi

by Silver, 11:05

The latest update for Fallen Gods is rather large but interesting and is titled Mappa Mundi.

You walk in the gloom of old firs, lost in thought, the world still but for your shuffling steps, the low-growing rowan blown by the breeze, and far-off birds softly purling. When at last you shake loose from this wood-spell, you find the path long gone, and the day’s last span is spent in merely getting back.

Fallen Gods is a game focused on exploration. While that includes mechanical and narrative layers of exploration, the first and most basic layer is simply walking the land, seeking opportunity and avoiding danger.

The promise of a wonder-filled world to explore is one of the great pleasures of fantasy novels and RPGs. As civilized pleasures go, this one has a long pedigree: medieval maps purporting to depict the real world, such as the Hereford Mappa Mundi, look much closer to a Might & Magic map than what we would find in a contemporary atlas. In fact, even modern tourist maps retain some of this breathless excitement, a kind of simultaneous streamlining and exaggerating of the world to emphasize “points of interest” and tantalize the traveler with the adventure to be found at them.

This “point of interest” concept is, literally, used to describe map features in RPGs and strategy games. As I discussed in the “Days of Yore” update, one of the key inspirations for Fallen Gods was the old board game Barbarian Prince, a single-player board game that used a large, hex-celled map. And you can see such “points of interest” here: the Ruins of Pelgar at the end of the Lost Road beyond the Kabir Desert; Branwyn’s Temple at the crook of the Nesser River; the town of Angleae that sits just south of the pass leading into the Dead Plains. Even a jaded and weary old timer like me still feels a certain tug of wanderlust when looking over that map.

Very early incarnations of Fallen Gods had a hex map (using some free-for-use tiles) that looked quite a bit like an uglier version of Barbarian Prince. But the addition of the wonderful Daniel Miller to the team meant that we could do better than that. And, as Arnold Hendricks himself discovered when making the jump from his board game to the cRPG Darklands, pixel art can create a more natural feel to the world: it looks like a land in which you’re adventuring, rather than a map over which you’re moving a token.

But while Darklands’ pixels furnish an attractive landscape that underscores the game’s well-researched realism, they seemed to lack a certain pizzazz when I first played the game. The reason, I think, is that I had spent formative childhood years playing console RPGs, and Chrono Trigger’s beautiful world maps had left a lasting impression on me.

So, with Fallen Gods, the impossible marching orders I gave Dan were to create hex tiles (which are useful for defining the game’s rules for world generation, movement, and the like) that fit together into a seamless pixel art world with distinctive points of interest. I’m pretty sure I used some word as unhelpful as “pizzazz,” perhaps with a wave of a hand. Dan, busy with his bowl of greasy phở (nothing but the best for our artists!), merely shrugged.

And then gave us this:

[…]

Fallen Gods

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

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