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Thursday - April 13, 2017
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Thursday - April 13, 2017

Torment:ToN - Interview @ RPGCodex

by Hiddenx, 22:16

Our friends at the Codex (who can be real drama queens sometimes) are talking with inXile Entertainment again:

RPG Codex Report: A Codexian Visit to inXile Entertainment

Ever since Techland canceled our interview with Brian Fargo last year, our relations with InXile have been strained, to say the least. And now that it has been a month and a half since the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera, it's quite clear that the game has not been a success. It may not be a coincidence that shortly after its release, we received an entreaty from inXile PR representative Jim Redner. Jim told us he was seeking to make peace with the Codex, and that he was willing to hear our demands. Our initial proposal was a humble one - a reveal-all AMA with George Ziets, probably the only person at inXile who still has our community's trust. To that Jim responded with a counter-proposal - an in-person visit to inXile, to be followed by an AMA with several of Torment's developers. That was an opportunity we couldn't pass up, and so a couple of weeks ago we dispatched our secret agent in Southern California to inXile's headquarters in Newport Beach. Today, we'rehappy to present the report of his visit to Brian Fargo's court.

[...]

Kevin Saunders left before the end of production. Can you talk about why he left and how his departure affected production?

Brian: I can’t talk about an employee’s specific performance, but what I can do is to provide you with a factual history of things. Kevin left the project in late 2015, right? At that point, we were roughly two years into production. At that point, we’ve gotten the first pass of combat. The story was not yet at first pass. No abilities or weapons were in outside of the alpha systems. And so, at that time, if we had gone along that route, the game would not be done until the year 2018. I could not afford to stay on that path. I had to change what we were doing.

And, to talk about scope, the product was wildly over scoped. Even today, after we made the “cuts,” the original specification for the game was 600,000 words. You know how many we are at now? It’s 1.6 million words, probably a world record for a single player game. I think the only games that have more word count is MMOs done over a long period of time.

[...]

Did the fact that InXile was taking on several different projects – Wasteland 2, Director’s Cut, Wasteland 3, Bard’s Tale 4 - at the same time affect Numenera's production? Why did you decide to take on so many projects at the same time, given this risk?

Brian: The majority of the entire company was on Torment, that was very much the case. Maybe we could’ve moved the start time up a couple of months while we were doing Director’s Cut things. Maybe. But overall, they had the lion’s share of the resources of this company.

I’ve been involved in a lot of products before as you know, and whenever we’re doing something different or innovative, they’re messy behind the scenes. Fallout 2, behind the scenes, was a mess. Planescape: Torment was a mess. The original producer for that project was replaced. So this drama is part and parcel of development. I’ve been involved in very few products in which it was straight forward. The only times it was straight forward was, for example, Icewind Dale, where all the systems were in place, we knew what it was, it wasn’t that deep as a product – and by the way, it was one of my favorite games – but it was very straight forward, you knew exactly what you were doing, all the systems were in place.

When everything’s place, it can become more like that, but whenever you’re trying to innovate in any way, it’s always very messy. I’ve never been on a product where it was run perfectly and you know everything. There’s a great book called Creative Inc. by the founders of Pixar, in which they talk about how every Pixar movie starts off as a piece of shit. Those were his words. It’s basically a mess and it’s a false goal to try and make production perfect, because when you do that, production will not be perfect and you’ll have a dry product. So I think there is messiness that comes with the territory.

They’re messy. We could go back thirty years to talk about how all the different products were messy. From Stone Keep to Battle Chess to Descent, they all had some drama behind the scenes. You know, in production you could have a lead programmer quit in the middle, and you could lose two months because you have to train a new person to take over their code. Think about the cost of losing two months and what that would do. That didn’t happen in this particular case but I’ve had it happen before. You can’t just swap people out easily.

[...]

Torment:ToN

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

Details

War of Velana - Now on Kickstarter

by Hiddenx, 20:48

The tactical RPG War of Velana inspired by the 16 bit era is now on Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight:

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War of Velana draws from the tactical combat, world exploration, and interaction of the Shining Force games. Unlike other tactical games, Shining Force wasn't simply grid battles connected by menus. They let you search and discover items and secrets in the world like many non-tactical RPGs. You could actually talk villagers and shop patrons, not just their menu systems. The duality created a feel unlike anything else, and that's what we strive to present.

With that spirit in mind, we took some parts from other classics as well. In combat, if an ally falls, they aren't permanently dead or removed from battle, but turn into a tombstone. This gives you a chance to revive them and return them to the fight, very much akin to Final Fantasy Tactics.

If you do not revive a unit within a few turns, their tombstone will crumble, which removes them from the battle. On easier difficulties, you can pray to the Goddess to return units to the party. On harder difficulties they will be gone forever.

Try our Alpha demo for Windows! You must download both the .exe and the data folder for the demo to work. (You don't need to download the readme) Please message directly us with any build issues or bugs! (we've found a lot of them and are already working on a new build)

 

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Tanzia - EA Release Date: April 27

by Hiddenx, 20:37

The Action RPG Tanzia will be released as an Early Access version on April 27:

Early Access roadmap:

  • The first EA build will feature all but the last few chapters.
  • The last chapters will be released during Early Access.
  • We'll do small in-between updates in case of bugs.
  • Players will be able to keep playing after reaching the end of each build, if they want to level up, buy gear, or finish sidequests.

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About Tanzia
Become the greatest shaman to ever lob a fireball. Retrace the steps of your Akazi ancestors to prevent your island home of Tanzia from being overrun by an ancient evil. Your elders will guide you, but it is up to you to master your skills and live up to your family’s legacy. An old-style RPG made with modern tech and set in a unique world, Tanzia combines elements of favorite classic action-adventure RPGs in an open 3D world full of magic and monsters. 

Tanzia's story design was developed in collaboration with Kevin Saunders (whose previous work includes as a senior designer on Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, lead designer on Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, and project director on Torment: Tides of Numenera).

Tanzia

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

Details

Moonfall - Released

by Hiddenx, 20:24

The 2d-Action RPG Moonfall is now available on Steam:

About the Game

Moonfall is a hand-painted side-scrolling 2D action RPG beat'em up set in an industrial gothic universe named Terra Nihil. It tells a story of a once small Empire at the peak of its glory attained by a mysterious element called Lunarium that suddenly experiences a surge in attacks from so-called Savages, aboriginal tribes living outside its borders.

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Features

  • Beautifully hand-painted 2D graphics full of details and dark atmosphere.
  • 3 classes with unique active and passive abilities. Gaining experience points by killing monsters and completing main and side quests.
  • Action-packed combat system using different skills to provide a diverse choice of dealing with battle clashes. A suitable strategy is the key to success as lingering for too long among some enemies can lead to a premature death.
  • 13 open-ended and fully explorable levels with elements of the metroidvania genre, variable content of quests, boss fights and notes expanding the lore.
  • Over 80 unique items constiting of swords, axes, daggers, armors, helmets, boots, rings and so on with their own atributes.
  • Over 60 enemies divided into two categories - common and elite.
  • Multiplayer arenas, defend mode and cooperation as a free update in the future.
  • Immersive orchestral soundtrack with catchy melodies and melancholic ambient.
  • Full Xbox 360 and Xbox One Controller support.
  • Achievements and trading cards.

Moonfall

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

Details

ELEX - The Ruins

by Hiddenx, 20:15

Farflame spotted another ELEX-screenshot on WoE:

"Reestablishing a functioning infrastructure is unnecessary. All of our strength is focused on the extraction of Elex."
-Announcement of an officer

-> World of Elex

ELEX

SP/MP: Unknown
Setting: Post-Apoc
Genre: Action-RPG
Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Release: In development

Details

Middle-earth: Shadow of War - Interview

by Hiddenx, 20:11

TSA has interviewed Kevin Stephen, Studio Head of Monolith Productions about the Shadow of Mordor sequel Shadow of War:

Kevin Stephen On Nemeses, Fortresses And Naming Middle-earth: Shadow Of War

More-dor.

After the success of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, a sequel was never really in doubt, and Monolith and Warner Bros. have now revealed what they’ve been working on for the past few years. This is Shadow of Mordor taken much, much further, with a Nemesis system that now affects how the world evolves, raising your own army, and so much more.

[...]

TSA: Obviously, one of the biggest things in Shadow of Mordor was the Nemesis system, and I think a lot of people saw this as something that would influence where other open world games, a little like how Arkham Asylum’s combat proliferated. We haven’t really seen that happen, though, why do you think that is? Is it time? Complexity?

Kevin: My theory is just that it’s really hard to do.

Well, I have a few theories. I think the key one is that it’s hard. It took us a long time to build the system and we were very focussed on it. […] I also think that the fact that time always moves forward in our game means that if somebody goes, “OK, we’re going to do this,” and starts thinking about what they need to make it work, it’s a bit more complex than some people think and how your game systems really need to support it.

That’s probably the key reason, but I also think that designers don’t like to copy other designers, so there’s some ego involved too. Even if they want to do it, there might be people pushing back and saying they can do their own thing.

But I don’t know. I don’t have insight and a game could be announced tomorrow that has something like the Nemesis system – they wouldn’t call it that, I’m sure. It would be great to see other games do something similar.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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

Details

Mass Effect: Andromeda - ME Games Ranking

by Hiddenx, 20:02

PCGamesN has ranked all Mass Effect games:

A definitive ranking of all the Mass Effect games, from worst to best

Thanks to the recent launch of Mass Effect: Andromeda, there are now even more ways to be wrong when it comes to ranking BioWare’s space opera and dating sim series. The last thing anybody wants is to be ostracised by society for having a criminally misguided opinion.

[...]

4 - Mass Effect: Andromeda

[...]

3 - Mass Effect

[...]

2 - Mass Effect 3

[...]

1 - Mass Effect 2

[...]

Farflame wants to know if the Watchers agree :)

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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

Details

Non-RPG General News - Frostpunk Revealed

by Silver, 13:09

@GamePressure takes a long look at Frostpunk and finds its an intriguing new title from This War of Mine developer 11 bit studios.

....

The age of ice and steam

You want some cold facts? Well, I suppose we can safely assume that Frostpunk will be a unique mix of various genres and mechanics: we can notice RTS mechanics, elements of survival, social and urban management, as well as decisions that will influence the lives of individuals and the fate of the entire society. As the devs themselves have said:

"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel; we want to combine the existing genres in such a way that we get something original."

Contrary to what you might be expecting, the game isn't set in the future. It depicts an alternative vision of the 19th century. After a cataclysm has almost wiped out humanity from the face of the earth, it's the players' task to preserve the lives of a handful that survived the disaster. The devs promise that the players will be able to explore the reasons behind the Armageddon - was it a divine punishment, or simply a natural phenomenon?

The technology that will become our lifeline will be based on steam and ice. We really like this idea, as it seems more than plausible to use this unlimited resource offered by a world covered in ice. The 19th-century-ish technology of Frostpunk will have us melt ice to get water and steam, and steam-powered engines will in turn enable us to warm the dying residents. As to the stuff we will do in the new game from 11 bit studios, we can only wonder: resource acquisition and crafting? Perhaps some mining and metallurgy, who knows? What we do know is that our main task will be to efficiently manage the city, make the right decisions, provide for the residents, and... sacrifice individuals in the name of survival of the collective.
[...]

Non-RPG General News

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

Details

Wednesday - April 12, 2017

Zombasite - Patch 1.011

by Hiddenx, 20:27

Patch 1.011 for Zombasite has been released. This patch makes healing potions weaken infection, improves identification bonus, improves monster respawn system, and fixes a bunch of other minor issues. The changes are listed here.

Zombasite

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

Details

The Man Came Around - On Kickstarter

by Silver, 14:01

@PCGamer The Man Came Around is on Kickstarter and comes with a free demo. The game itself is a survival rpg which explores the themes of fascism and repression. The goal is for 10K euros and has made close to 4K already with 28 days to go.

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As mentioned there, Occida is The Man Came Around's fictional settings that's said to be the "most powerful nation of the world", but has been "shaken by mass protests met by brutal repression". An internal war has broken on between activist group The Many and the government, which has in turn forced the country into a dictatorship. 

From here, you assume the role of five nomad citizens aiming to cross the North Border to freedom. Naturally, this proves no easy feat as you're forced to manage scarce resources, make life-threatening decisions, and battle both the heavily armed guards scattered across the mountain and the elements themselves.

[...]

Features :

  • Political fable: The story explores how a democratic system can fall, ruined by special interests. And asks the crucial question: How could it happen?
  • Moral Choices: Sacrificing a member, making shady deals or letting innocents die in order to survive ... Those choices will impact the story.
  • Group Survival: Permadeath for the characters! It's up to you to finish the game with five or only one survivor.
  • Trauma System: Stress and guilt will impact your characters' psyche.
  • Interactive Narration: Let your choices change the story. Replay to discover all possibilities.
  • Lost in a Maze: Explore a labyrinthine world full of secrets.
  • Unique Graphic Style: 2D handcrafted speed painting.

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Snowbird Game Studios - Lays off Most Staff

by Silver, 11:58

@Gamasutra Due to the poor reception of Eador: Imperium Snowbird Game Studios has layed off most of its staff.

Russian indie studio Snowbird Games announced last month that most of its staff is being let go in the wake of a poor reception to its most recent game, Eador: Imperium.

It's bad news for the developers who worked there and almost certainly bad news for the studio, which was founded in 2011.

In a blog post, the "new administration" stated that Snowbird's main investor dismissed the dev team due to "unsatisfactory results" and "slow development rates" on the studio's recent games.

Since then, the company has published plans to patch at least one of those games, 2015's Blood & Gold! Caribbean (pictured).

"The new administration has factually no complaints against the old development team," reads the post. "A very complicated and content-heavy project was based on the outdated technology. The problem in this case lies with the management who took decision regarding the game’s concept and its engine."

The post also promises to offer players a "brand new project" and a Blood & Gold! spin-off game (or "farewell project") developed by a third party, ORGS Studio, at some point in the future.

Snowbird Game Studios

Details

General News - Bayonetta released on Steam

by Silver, 11:15

Bayonetta, a hack n'slash game, has been released on Steam and runs well according to Eurogamer.

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After years of hoping and waiting, Sega has finally delivered the goods - Bayonetta is now available on PC. The pitch is simple enough: this is the original game without any of the flaws inherent to the console versions, and with PC's ability to scale up resolution. To say it runs smoothly on a vast range of hardware would be an understatement - we could hit something approaching a locked 1080p60 on a 1GB Radeon HD 7770, a budget GPU when it was released way back in 2012. On more recent graphics hardware, the only way is up.

Let's start with the options - as a game designed specifically for consoles of the past, we didn't expect much in the way of detail settings but there are a few tweakables of note. You can adjust texture and shadow quality as you see fit and the game even reports VRAM usage based on your current settings. Well, at least it tries to report it - the numbers are significantly lower than those registered by monitoring tools like MSI Afterburner. There isn't a tremendous difference between the options available, the exception being dynamic shadow quality, which varies dramatically based on how you set it.

So, what's new over Xbox 360? Ambient occlusion is a new addition, and MSAA up to an impossible-sounding 16x is also featured - though curiously, this does not appear to work whatsoever on any settings we tested (and it's the same with control panel-enabled hardware MSAA). However, anisotropic filtering is present at a low level on Xbox, but this can be dialled up to 16x on PC, representing a pleasant improvement. There's also an HDR option - but this refers to the original in-game lighting system, it doesn't represent any kind of support for HDR displays. Regardless, this game is so light on resources, you can dial everything up to the max and scale up further from there in terms of resolution, and that's where you get your anti-aliasing - via downsampling.
[...]

General News

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

Details

RPGWatch Feature - Mass Effect: Andromeda Review

by Myrthos, 06:35

Maylander reviewed Mass Effect : Andromeda on our forums and we have done a carbon copy of that post and turned it into an RPGWatch review (obviously with his approval).

The game starts well over 600 years later, as the human ark arrives in the Andromeda galaxy. You play one of two twins: The male or female daughter of Alec Ryder, the human Pathfinder. Both twins are part of his team. The Pathfinders, and their teams, are responsible for making sure planets are hospitable before new colonies are founded there.

The general idea, and overall concept, is mouth watering to science fiction fans, especially fans of series like Star Trek. However, most Mass Effect fans were still quite careful with getting their hopes up. It's been five years since the release of Mass Effect 3, a game that, despite having quite a few great moments, ultimately had its reputation marred by the terrible ending. Mass Effect: Andromeda is actually the opposite: Its problems begin at the start, or even before the start, as a lot of negative attention was drawn towards certain animation issues and cringe-worthy, "teen movie" style dialogues seen in the intro.

The criticism is valid, as the first few hours, the ones typically seen during the trial, really could have used some work. The first step to any Mass Effect game is to create a character, and that's where the first problem pops up: It's terrible. There are no two ways about it. It is possible to create something resembling a decent looking human being, but it's hard. It probably took me 20 minutes to finally create a character I found acceptable. Normally, I'd consider that sort of thing nit-picking, but in Mass Effect we all know that we'll spend a lot of time in cinematic dialogues, during which you get a close up of the main character whenever he or she speaks, making the appearance quite important.

The original thread that followed Maylander's review on our forum has been moved to the news section and linked to this article now.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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

Details

Pillars of Eternity II - Factions Part 2

by Silver, 02:05

Pillars of Eternity 2 reveals all you need to know about the Royal Deadfire Company and the Vailian Trading Company.

Factions of the Deadfire, Part II

If you missed our previous update, we introduced two of the four main factions: The Príncipi and Huana. This week, we'll be going into detail about the Royal Deadfire Company and Vailian Trading Company.

Royal Deadfire Company

(Abbreviated as RDC in some text locations)

The Royal Deadfire Company is based in the aumaua nation of Rauatai but have expanded their empire's reach to their ancestral homeland in the Deadfire Archipelago. While they are interested in the harvest of precious resources from the region, the RDC have a long-term goal of conquering the archipelago and making it an extension of their empire. The Rauataians believe that the native Huana culture is inferior to their own and treat the Huana people accordingly. In contrast to the Vailian Trading Company, the RDC is organized like a naval force. Their titles and behavior reflect that view of the world.

Philosophy and Goals - Rauataians as a cultural group have a long history of trade and conquest. The more hawkish personalities in their government have made steady progress towards a more aggressive "best defense is a good offense" stance in the world, and the leadership of the RDC comes from that mindset. They have flourished through a mixture of intrepid exploration, aggressive conquest, and relentless engineering of their hardscrabble homeland. They believe that through organization and engineering, they can bring civilization to Deadfire.

Relationship with Other Factions -

  • Vailians/VTC - They are deceitful, flamboyant, and frivolous, emphasizing form over function. Their pretty words cannot be trusted. Their preference for polymaths over specialists suggests impatience, which can never lead to true mastery.
  • Huana - They are super disorganized and (seemingly) passive - it's why they haven't flourished like the Rauataians. They were fractured by the disaster that drove the Rauataians away, and rather than establish a strong nation, most of them drift from island to island chasing seasonal resources. They don't solve problems, so they're beholden to them. What they need is some good ol' Rauataian civilization to set them straight.
  • What looks like adaptability to the Príncipi looks like haphazardness to the Rauataians. Like the Rauataians, the Príncipi had to leave their homeland. But rather than establishing a stable country (like their cousins in the Republics), they remained shiftless and aimless, living on ships and in driftwood towns that are one squall away from destruction. They are like children who refuse to grow up.Resources - Rauatai is known worldwide for its cannons. Gunpowder likely originated there, and they still trade in it as well as raw saltpeter. Those latter two items are the primary staples of their trade economy.

[...]

Pillars of Eternity II

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

Details

Copper Dreams - A Cyberpunk Horror Future

by Silver, 01:31

Copper Dreams is getting a ruleset upgrade which will reflect its cyberpunk horror future themes. The full Kickstarter update of the new combat system can be found here. There are plenty of videos demonstrating combat and tables for the new rules.

...

Movement and Combat Upgrades

Pathfinding returns, now with multi-locations during combat as well as automatic vertical navigation for you and NPCs!

The increasing focus to deliver simulation is what has evolved the ruleset and gameplay. It's of tremendous help being able to adapt these ideas to a bronze-age game and a futuristic one, we can pop these characters in to either universe and see how things would make sense. GURPS became an increasingly influential rulebook, and while things are wholly different in application, we hope to capture that spirit within the systems in the game.

We finished off combat iterations the past few months by enhancing the way players target and roll-to-hit with it, which ultimately led to an overhaul of the ruleset. You can now aim anywhere and roll under your skill with the item to determine how successful you were to getting to your target. All item or skill usages use that model now. Allowing you to aim for things in the environment that we don't outright tell you can make for more interesting puzzles or interactivity. Lights for example can all be shot out now:

[picture here]

With a 3d world, thrown objects that bounce around, it seemed fitting to give the player some agency on where they are actually shooting. You no longer only attack targets, but can also attack anywhere you want, including where you expect targets to be as they are moving. If you do attack targets you can select which body part you'd like to try to shoot, and you'd track that body part until you fire or it's no longer visible. Aiming for anything allows you to lead targets on the move or temporarily unseen (and thus unable to be targeted), or precise location to lay down cover fire for more than one target that might end up down the middle of a hallway or something.

Distance modifiers are no longer just static distance markers as with the original Challenge Target, but influenced by reference points around the projected line starting with nearest to the character attacking. This is all in-code in the game, but that sight-line checks for any nearby objects starting at the character and moves down to the actual target. So the idea for this is if you you have a reference for a target really far away, you can get visual bearings by aligning your shot with any nearby objects. For example aiming a burst fire into a clearing near the side of a building you hear an enemy running into would have that building act as the distance check, not the potentially infinite space behind it.

The crosshair for melee path for slash/thrust or your projectile line is your ideal hit location, and you roll to attempt to hit that location, regardless of or if you have a target in mind. Success means you hit that target precisely (in 3d space), and failure means you deviate it from a variable amount, so it's considered a potential failure in most cases.

Wound penalties and visuals

Another way of indicating health status for player characters and enemies, we're adding various states of wounded movement and idling. In the alpha you'll be limping around if you've taken on particular Greater or Mortal wound, which acts a visual that you're damaged as well as an indicator that your movement speed has been reduced.
[...]

Copper Dreams

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

Details

Tuesday - April 11, 2017

Middle-earth: Shadow of War - More Gameplay

by Hiddenx, 23:03

Monolith showed IGN some Shadow of War gameplay:

Shadow of War: Minas Ithil Gameplay Walkthrough in 4K

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Monolith gives us a first look at gameplay within the walls of the human city, Minas Ithil.

Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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

Details

The Surge - Boss Battle

by Hiddenx, 22:54

PCGamesN have taken a look at the first boss of The Surge:

The Surge | P.A.X. boss battle gameplay

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Thanks Farflame!

The Surge

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

Details

Mass Effect: Andromeda - The Dialogue System

by Hiddenx, 22:46

Gameinformer discusses the dialogue system of Mass Effect: Andromeda:

Is Mass Effect: Andromeda’s New Dialogue System Better?

Spoiler warning: We discuss some minor plot points that occur during the first half of the game. Read at your own discretion.

The original Mass Effect trilogy put us in the shoes of the revered Commander Shepard, giving us agency in making decisions for this hero through a binary morality system categorized as paragon and renegade. With Mass Effect: Andromeda, the newest installment in the series, BioWare introduces us to a new hero and a revamped dialogue system that is meant to be less restrictive and more open-ended. 

Is this new system effective? How does it change the Mass Effect experience this time around? Editors Joe Juba and Elise Favis discuss its ups and downs.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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

Details

Planescape: Torment EE - Review

by Hiddenx, 22:42

The Zero Review has checked out Planescape Torment: Enhanced Edition:

What Can Change the Nature of a Timeless Classic?

Enhancements, remakes and remasters are an aspect of gaming that, to me, are simultaneously commonplace and incredibly peculiar. For some titles, I understand it. Age of Empires II isn’t a title as readily accessible as it once was – the original title not being available for digital purchase anywhere – and the constant stream of new content and features justifies it as a worthwhile update. For other games, I often question whether or not the update was necessary. Such is the case with Heroes of Might and Magic III¸ where not only is the original game available on GOG, but the improvements are so meager (not to mention that the original game has more content, since the HD version doesn’t include the two expansions), that the HD remake is almost entirely pointless. On paper, Planescape: Torment – Enhanced Edition seemingly avoids all of these pitfalls. How many new things can you add before the hardcore fans – particularly the ones who still have some baggage vis-à-vis Beamdog’s practices in the past – feel as if the essence of the game is gone? How much tinkering with the formula is too much tinkering? How do you make the game feel like a justifiable purchase and not something that is merely a lazy cash grab? The solution was seemingly to hire the original game’s lead designer, Chris Avellone, and have him spearhead the whole thing. That’s how you wind up with Planescape: Torment – Enhanced Edition, a game that doesn’t stray far from its core formula while offering just enough to be considered worthwhile.

[...]

It’s classic Planescape: Torment, just made better with a slew of improvements. It might not be worth it if you’ve already got a modded copy, but I would be remiss not to recommend this everyone else.

Thanks Farflame!

Planescape: Torment EE

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

Details

The Mandate - Not Coming to You Anytime Soon

by Myrthos, 19:18

The development team of The Mandate has shrunk in size given the publishing woes they are having and the lack of funding because of that. According to their most recent update, there still is a small team working on the game and they are asking for your feedback. If you want to have the game finished as soon as possible, answering that you don't want any of the things mentioned in the questionnaire, could help. Although that might not be the game you want to play.

In March we went through difficult times, the team size was reduced to only a core team since January, as consequence of the still ongoing negotiations with our publisher about the remaining funding. We have been working on securing more fundings since the end of 2016. It is still a work in progress and we will follow up with you in upcoming developer's updates when we have managed to close a deal.

Despite having a smaller team, we have focused our efforts on improving the space combat.

Within this context we would like to invite you to answer this survey:

https://goo.gl/forms/8cllWWWhLbvnd1yT2

so we can collect more feedback from your side for our next iterations of space combat. The other aspects of the game will remain in our vision for the Mandate. Because of team size constraints, we can only tackle one big chunk at a time. Crew and missions aspects of the game had to be put on hold temporarily, but once space combat is more advanced, resources will be reallocated to work on these aspects of the game.

The Mandate

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

Details

Impact Winter - Delayed until May 23

by Hiddenx, 11:41

The survival adventure Impact Winter will be released on May 23:

Stuart Ryall, Co-Founder and Designer at Mojo Bones, explains the reasons for this short slippage:

“Unfortunately IMPACT WINTER will now release a little later than expected, hitting Steam on 23rd May 2017. Why the delay? Well, the truth is, IMPACT WINTER has become a LOT bigger than we first expected: a pretty complex beast with lots of different systems and mechanics. Everything is in place, but one of our main priorities in the run up to release has been making sure that the initial stages of the game aren’t too overwhelming and that the overall experience is evenly balanced. Given the scope of the project and our team size it’s taking a little longer than expected. Ultimately, it’s all in aid of giving everyone the best experience possible which is the No.1 priority. On the flip side, we’ve had some really positive feedback from our playtest sessions and the game is shaping up to be something unique, and definitely a lot more than we envisioned all those years ago.”

We thank you for your patience, and see you in the Void on May 23rd!

Impact Winter

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

Details

Planescape: Torment EE - Release Day

by Hiddenx, 11:37

Today's the release day of Beamdogs's Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition:

The original Planescape: Torment was released in 1999 to widespread critical acclaim. It won RPG of the Year from multiple outlets for its unconventional story, characters, and amazing soundtrack. Since then, millions of Planescape: Torment fans have enjoyed exploring the strange and dangerous city of Sigil and surrounding planes through the Nameless One's eyes.

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Discover an incredibly rich story and a unique setting unlike anything else in fantasy. Defeat strange and alien creatures, engage in rich dialogue, and explore the dark and dangerous Planescape setting in this 50+ hour RPG classic.

This is Planescape: Torment like you’ve never seen before.

Story

"What can change the nature of a man?"

You are the Nameless One, a hulking figure covered in scars and tattoos collected over the course of countless lives—none of which you can remember, but are now coming back to haunt you. You are prodded awake by Morte, a floating skull and keeper of secrets, to embark on an adventure taking The Nameless One from the dirty streets of Sigil into the mysterious Outer Planes and even into the depths of Hell itself.

Portals riddle the planar metropolis of Sigil, providing access to anywhere in existence, but only if you have the proper key. Known as the "City of Doors," Sigil is a neutral ground where demons, devas, and races from across the multiverse gather under the watchful shadow of the Lady of Pain, the city's enigmatic ruler. This is a place where the word is mightier than the sword, where thought defines reality, and belief has the power to reshape worlds.

In your search for answers, you'll find companions matching the bizarre nature of the planes: a chaste succubus who can kill with a kiss, a confused crossbow-wielding cube, a suit of armor animated by a spirit demanding JUSTICE, and more. With these companions and others at The Nameless One’s side, you will explore worlds in search of answers, all to discover that some destinies cannot be escaped and some memories cost more than an even an immortal can bear.

Features

  • Enhanced Planescape: Chris Avellone, Lead Designer on Planescape Torment, has partnered with Beamdog to curate gameplay updates, bug fixes, and enhancements to best capture his original vision for the game.
  • The Planes Await: Planescape is a setting you've never experienced before, filled with strange magics, strange adversaries, and Dungeons & Dragons locations from across the multiverse.
  • Conversations to Remember: Encounter personable items, philosophic undead, and rat hiveminds while walking the planes with the strangest collection of allies ever seen in an RPG.
  • Pick Your Path: Character creation is just the beginning. The Nameless One can change his class, alignment, and even gain new abilities based on your choices.
  • Remastered Music: The full Planescape: Torment soundtrack has been remastered in-game to add more depth to Sigil and the multiverse.
  • 4K Interface: Sigil has never looked this good! The interface of Planescape: Torment has been rebuilt in high definition with tons of new convenience features.
  • A Planescape For Today: The Enhanced Edition includes modern features such as tab highlighting, area zooming, combat log, quickloot, and more!
    Play It Your Way: Enable Enhanced Edition features as you desire or turn them off to experience Planescape: Torment in its original glory.
  • Cast Comprehend Languages: Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition is available in English, French, Polish, German, and Korean. Note: Korean translations are text only with voice-overs played in English.

Planescape: Torment EE

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

Details

Shock Tactics - Release Day

by Hiddenx, 11:23

The turn-based strategy RPG Shock Tactics will be released today:

Shock Tactics is a single player turn-based sci-fi strategy game with tactical combat, exploration, squad management and base building. It is inspired by the space western style of Firefly and tactic games like Jagged Alliance and X-COM.

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You are a trailblazer for the first wave of the free Space Pioneers that are exploring an ancient alien homeworld. In their centuries-old struggle with the dictatorship of the Imperial Consortium, this planet is the first real hope of finding a new home for their people.

  • Challenging squad tactics combat: Lead your strike team against smart enemies that employ a large array of tactics. Know your enemy, build a strategy, rule the battlefield.
  • Exploration is key: The world map is full of mysterious landmarks containing alien technologies and ancient secrets that you can unravel to become strong enough to tip the balance of fate.
  • Procedurally generated world map: You never know what you will find when exploring the world. This makes strategic decisions unique for each game session and leads to a high replayability.
  • Strike team progression: Harness the power of the alien artifacts, unlock unique abilities and build your group of soldiers into a fierce strike team as you explore the planet.
  • Base building: Expand your base with structures to build advanced weapons, develop sophisticated healing capabilities and research alien technologies.
  • An immersive story woven into the open world: You are dragged into the struggle for the New World’s future while trying to stay alive in the middle of an escalating war between the Space Pioneers and the Imperial Consortium.

Shock Tactics

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

Details

Cosmic Star Heroine - Release Day

by Hiddenx, 11:19

The J-RPG Cosmic Star Heroine will be released today:

ABOUT THIS GAME

Alyssa L'Salle was one of the top secret agents at the Agency of Peace & Intelligence on the Planet Araenu. But when she uncovers a horrible conspiracy, she has to go rogue in order to save the day! Can Alyssa save the galaxy when everyone (and everything) is out to stop her!

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Features:

  • The best of classic and modern RPGs!
  • Brisk pacing that respects your time! Save anywhere!
  • No separate battle screen! Battles take place directly in the areas that you explore!
  • 2D visual style straight from the height of gaming's 16-bit era!
  • Animated cutscenes reminiscent of the Sega CD & Turbo Duo era!
  • Soundtrack by HyperDuck SoundWorks (Dust: An Elysian Tail, Precipice of Darkness 4)!
  • Over 100 minutes of music!
  • Multi-character combo techniques!
  • Innovative turn-based combat system that focuses on flow & strategy!
  • Your own spaceship! Recruit new agents to help your home base grow!

Cosmic Star Heroine

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

Details

Sacred Fire - Funded!

by Silver, 07:04

Sacred Fire has funded and with two days still to go there is time for a stretch goal of further character customization.

100% Funded! Thank you! You did it!

Thank you! You did it! Sacred Fire is funded and it's all thanks to you.

Every single one of you made it possible.

It seems to me like it was yesterday, but we launched the campaign already 25 days ago. It's been 4 weeks filled with hard work, little triumphs, anticipation and not so much sleep. :)

And it was all worth it. There's over 1,100 people who want to see Sacred Fire becoming a reality. We're humbled and thankful.

What's amazing, there's still 3 days to go. So what's next?

It's not just about the stretch goals. The bigger success the campaign is, the easier it is for us to attract talent and partners. This will leave us with more time to make the core experience better, work on polish and balance and add choices and replay value.

We are looking forward to making a great game for you.

We've made a big step in creating a strong and dedicated community. We are excited to see there are people who appreciate innovation and storytelling. Thank you for your feedback, we couldn't have wished for a better community.

Let's make Sacred Fire the best it can be!

To recap, here's the next stretch goal to further enhance Sacred Fire experience.

One of Sacred Fire's strengths is its unique visual style and focus on character creation. It's the deepest and most thought out design aspect of Sacred Fire, as it allows you to develop your own playstyle and create your own hero. So our first stretch goal expands this fundamental part of the game and gives you even more self-expression options with focus on variety of:

  • colors, outfits and hairstyles,
  • faces, scars and paint patterns,
  • jewelry and more awesome beards.

So how far can we go?

The story is yours to tell. :)

Your very happy poetic team,
Andrej & Martin

Sacred Fire

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

Details

RPGWatch Feature - Planescape: Torment EE Key Giveaway

by Myrthos, 05:07

We have received 4 keys from Beamdog for Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition that we would like to give away to our visitors.

Here are da rulez:

  1. You need to be registered on RPGWatch before April 1st
  2. You need to have at least posted once on the forums of RPGWatch
  3. If your account matches the first two requirements then you need to add a reply to this news post/thread stating that you want a key
  4. The winners of a key from the interview (JDR13, Maylander, Pessimeister, HellRazor and Acleasius) are excluded of winning a key again

We will announce the winner on Friday the 14th of April, untill we do, you can still participate.

Planescape: Torment EE

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

Details

KotOR - New Game in the Works? (Rumour)

by Silver, 00:15

@PCGamer A new Star Wars: Kotor could be in development. It is just a rumour at this stage however.

Here's a rumor, courtesy of industry insider guy Liam Robertson, that BioWare Austin, which was originally created to develop the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, is now in the early stages of work on a new Knights of the Old Republic game. Robertson revealed the info, based on his anonymous sources, as part of his Patreon-exclusive podcast last week, the good bits of which were then shared with the rest of us by The Star Wars Game Outpost

“I’ve learned now that [BioWare Austin is] pretty much now exclusively working on Star Wars games and they’re going to be doing that for the indefinite future,” he said. “What they’re currently working on right now—and I have this on good authority—is a sort of remake/revival of Knights of the Old Republic. I don’t know when this is set to come out, but it has been in development for a little while now.” 

The game apparently began as a remake of KOTOR but has now evolved into its own thing, although what exactly that "thing" will ultimately be isn't nailed down yet. Roberston described the project as "sort of like wiping the slate clean," in order to embrace the new Star Wars canon.
[...]

KotOR

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

Details

Monday - April 10, 2017

General News - Japan learned to love the PC again

by Hiddenx, 23:26

PCGamer talks about the return of Japanese games to the PC platform:

How Japan learned to love PC gaming again

From 2010 to 2017, Japan has embraced the PC. Developers talk about the challenges they overcame to make it happen.

Dark Souls changed everything. There were Japanese games on PC before Dark Souls, of course, some celebrated like indie darling Cave Story, some infamously messy, like 1998's trapezoid box Final Fantasy 7. But Dark Souls was different. It hit all of videogames like a bomb: on impact we reeled at how boldly it embraced challenge and obfuscation and how badly we had missed this particular flavor of Japanese game design. And then came the shockwave: that design seeped into the brains of players and designers and it stuck, driving a wave of games big and small inspired by the popularity and sales of this strangely new, strangely old game. PC gamers wanted in. 90,000 petition signatures later, FromSoftware said sure, we'll bring it to PC.

Dark Souls came to PC a year late and half broken, and neither of those things ultimately mattered. Today nearly three million PC gamers own Dark Souls, and that demand was a sky-piercing beacon for Japan: a whole lot of people in the West own PCs, and we want to play Japanese games on them.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

General News

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

Details

General News - Saving World Quests

by Hiddenx, 20:13

Richard Cobbett of Rock Paper Shotgun talks about the 'world quests' (filler content) and how to make  them fun again:

The RPG Scrollbars: Saving World Quests

Previously in this column, somehow not taken up by the industry as of yet, I suggested that the word ‘quest’ was being somewhat damaged of late by the fact that it can be anything from ‘Kill the Great Red Dragon’ to ‘bring me some orange juice.’ I advocated a system where instead, tasks were split between two basic categories – what used to justifiably be called ‘quests’, and the more prosaic ‘shit to do’. I realise now though that I missed an important third category, World Quests, named because scattering mostly pointless crap everywhere is much easier than actually filling an open world.

[...]

General News

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

Details

CRPG Book Project - Release #5

by Hiddenx, 19:57

Felipe Pepe just released version #5 of his CRPG book:

The 5th release of the CRPG Book is here! 450 pages showing over 250 RPGs, plus mods, dev quotes & more! All free! -> download

CRPG Book Project

Details

Druidstone - Development Update

by Hiddenx, 19:34

Xian spotted the dev-blog of the isometric RPG Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest. It is developed for Windows by Ctrl Alt Ninja, a group of game designers, programmers and artists who have previously worked on the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock games.

Introducing Druidstone

All is dark. Your mind is floating in the endless reaches of the great void. Barely visible, mist and dim fading stars in the far distance are the only things you can discern. Then, suddenly something in the darkness stirs… “Your time has not yet come” a deep resonating voice booms. A bright light flashes so intensely that it pierces your mind!

You hear the rustling of autumn leaves. You open your eyes and see an ancient pillar of stone covered in pulsating runes. You are standing in the center of a stone circle in the middle of a clearing somewhere in the Menhir Forest. A woman with skin of purest white steps forward and smiles at you. Her eyes glow blue, like distant galaxies. “What took you so long?”

Welcome to the Druidstone dev blog! This blog is about the development of a fantasy roleplaying game called Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest which we have been working on since fall 2016.

In the world of Druidstone, the druids of the Menhir Forest possess a great power: the power of reincarnation. When a druid passes on, through some mysterious process his spirit is able to return from the great void back into the world of living and to his former self.

But with every reincarnation the world itself seems to change: where there was only a thicket of bushes in the forest before, there may be a trail or a shrine of stones now. The ancient ruins in the forest change place and the tunnels and their inhabitants beneath the ground are all different. Even stranger, the denizens of the forest do not seem to notice this at all.

Druidstone is set in a vast procedurally generated forest filled with exciting locations to explore and of course encounters, the meat of every RPG. You will meet interesting non-player characters such as the insane Red Priests who worship a being called Oghmu and the mysterious Traveller. You fight deadly bosses and explore ruins and dungeons in an open-world single-player game. Some of the encounters are friendly but many can lead into conflicts which are resolved using a tactical, turn-based battle system on a two-dimensional grid. The game features roguelike elements, so that when you die the game begins anew with different levels and encounters. Some of the encounters even react to you being reincarnated, so even by dying you can gain deeper understanding to the mysteries of the Menhir Forest.

Even though there are random elements in the game, at the heart of Druidstone is an overarching storyline and key encounters which give structure to the game and avoid it being just a gauntlet with random monsters to kill. In fact, we can’t wait to tell you the epic story we have in our mind! In addition, there are the stories you create as you explore the almost infinite space of procedurally generated content.

 

Druidstone

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

Details

RPGWatch Feature - Planescape: Torment EE Interview

by Myrthos, 17:26

With the help of some of our members we have asked Beamdog a couple of questions about the Enhanced Edition of Planescape: Torment that is scheduled to be released tomorrow.

JDR13: I read that the EE version will include some content that was dropped/cut from the original release of PS:T. How much did you guys have to improvise to finish the restored content? Was there significant debate over the things you chose to restore?

Alex: Chris Avellone requested to personally proofread all of the text from the original game in order to make some grammar and style corrections. Other than the adjustments that Chris made, there are no other content changes or additions in PST:EE. Instead, we focused on making the game run properly on modern devices, recreating the user interface in native 4K, adding Steam Achievements and introducing a number of quality of life improvement such as zooming, object highlighting, journal searching, quickloot, combat log etc.

Maylander: Were you nervous about changing anything in Planescape: Torment? I know you already worked on Baldur's Gate, which has a bigger audience, but Planescape: Torment leans more heavily on its writing and overall tone. It carries the game to a much greater extent.

Alex: As the Project Lead, I defined the vision of PST:EE long before production and development started. The goal of the Enhanced Edition was to deliver the canon Planescape Torment experience to modern devices, without altering any narrative or gameplay aspects of the original. Therefore, you won't see any new companions, quests, areas, races, classes, kits, items or spells in PST:EE.

Planescape: Torment EE

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

Details