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Expected Releases

Jul: Immortal Planet
Jul: Startrail HD
Aug: Hero-U
Aug: InSomnia
Aug: Luckless Seven

Wednesday - July 26, 2017

Skyrim - Orpheus (Gothic Setting)

by Hiddenx, 16:26

Orpheus is a Skyrim Mod that continues the Gothic storyline:

Orpheus

Today I wanted to present to you one of biggest projects ever made for skyrim. The mod is called Orpheus. It'll be a mod set in the universe of the famous German game, Gothic. It'll be total conversion of the game so you'll be able to see a lot of famillar things from Gothic implemented into the mod. The story starts a couple of years after death of the main hero. You'll be able to visit famous location from Gothic 1 and 2. The storyline itself will be based on the fall of the Myrthana. Scattered towns of the kingdom are weakened after the civil war, but that's not the the most prevalent danger. Massive hordes of orcs have started roaming and pillaging lands of Nordmar. Your story begins when you're caught by orcs and forced to sail with them to the nearby islands of Khorinis, where you wait for execution. The game will run on skyrim engine with a couple of tweaks and fixes. We"ll do our best to recreate the dark climate of Gothic.

[...]

Thank you for the info, Farflame!

Skyrim

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

Details

KING Art - RTS Survey

by Hiddenx, 16:18

Farflame spotted this interesting RTS survey from King Art:

Iron Harvest RTS Survey Results

In April 2017 we conducted our big real-time strategy game survey among RTS fans. Over 15,000 players told us what they like, what they don’t like and what they want to see changed. These are their answers.

[...]

KING Art

Details

Demiurgos - Kickstarter Update

by Hiddenx, 12:58

Update V: Interface walkthrough, Objectives & Great Persons

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In this update we want to talk some more about the general interface of the game and show you a number of the things we did not have time to present in the preview video.

Among others this includes the Great Persons Encyclopedia, the Skill System and the Books, Newspapers and Notes tab.

 I hope you like our ideas and our approach.  If you have any suggestions or further questions you are - as always - welcome to comment.

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Hero-U - It Takes a Team

by Hiddenx, 12:47

Corey Cole explains why you need a team to make a game and why Hero’s Quest became a humorous one:

[...]

Why So Serious?

Look at the original Hero’s Quest (before it became Quest for Glory) team, for example. You would never know it now, but Hero’s Quest started out as a serious high fantasy game. There was no mention of humor or comedy in the original description. What changed? The team.

First came the art. Lori envisioned a beautiful medieval town in a pastoral forest setting. We got the forest, but the artist assigned to the town took Lori’s crayon and pastel sketches too literally, so Spielburg had a much more “cartoon” look than we intended. The characters also had simplistic, cartoon-like designs. Admittedly, it was hard to make them more realistic in 16 colors and relatively low resolution – 320 x 200 pixels on many displays.

While Lori and I debated how to handle this, programmer Bob Fischbach scripted the first prototype of a forest scene. Since our documentation didn’t say anything about how to handle incidental objects such as trees, Bob came up with several amusing messages including a few puns.

Yes, Bob wrote the first puns in Hero’s Quest; I just took the punishment and ran with it. After all, I went to school in Punsylvania, so it was a natural fit.

That solved our dilemma with the cartoony art style. Instead of trying to write a very serious game that would have been spoiled by the unrealistic backgrounds and characters, we redefined the game concept to be a tongue-in-cheek, humorous take on role-playing, but with a serious underlying story.

[...]

Hero-U

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

Details

XCOM 2 - Inside Look: The Hunter

by Hiddenx, 12:36

This video for XCOM2 expansion War of the Chosen explores The Hunter:

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen - Inside Look: The Hunter

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Get an in-depth look at one of the Chosen tasked to take on the resistance: The Hunter.

XCOM 2

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

Details

ICY - Frostbite Edition Release: August 11

by Hiddenx, 08:50

Daveyd spotted that the ICY: Frostbyte Edition will be released on August 11:

SURVIVE THE WHITE WASTELAND
ICY is a narrative-driven post-apocalyptic survival RPG set in a new Ice Age, where your life and the lives of your followers depend on every decision you make. Create your own character, using a detailed stat system that influences your abilities to hunt, travel, scavenge, communicate and lead, then begin a journey of survival across the White Wasteland.

It is up to you to take on the responsibilities of leadership and guide your newfound nomad family in their fight for survival. Do not take your role lightly, for each decision you make, each word you speak, ripples through the life of your community.

Take heed, for you and your clan are not alone in this frozen world. In addition to the elements and the wildlife you encounter, there will be loners and bands of miscreants to deal with. Decide carefully on whom to trust and how to react or the snow covered landscape will become your icy tomb.


FEATURES

  • Experience an intense story of survival in a unique post-apocalyptic new ice age setting.
  • Influence the plot with your choices, with numerous shades of morality that lead to multiple endings.
  • Lead a group of survivors, each one with different needs, values and ideals.
  • Scavenge for items and hunt for food while facing the challenges of starvation, illness, harsh elements and other bands of survivors.
  • More than 400 pieces of detailed hand-drawn artwork that portray the bleak and dire landscape of the frozen world.
  • Customize your character by choosing how to distribute attribute points among 9 different skills that affect your abilities and experience through the entire game.
  • Enjoy the new combat system offering a mix between a classic turn based combat system and a trading card game.


A COMPLETELY REMASTERED EXPERIENCE
After nearly two years since the original release of ICY, Inner Void Interactive and Digital Tribe Games are proud to release ICY: Frostbite Edition, a completely remastered edition of the game. We worked to improve every lacking feature of the original ICY, recreating the game from scratch in Unity 5.Thanks to the exhaustive feedback received from our community and the experience we gained from the original game, we have improved ICY’s formula in many different ways to let it offer a real survival RPG experience in a cold post-apocalyptic world.

  • A new combat system was developed: deeper, more exciting and more challenging than the original one.
  • The survival experience was overhauled in order to offer more variety.
  • A crafting system was introduced, allowing the player to create new items.
  • The original plot was improved and new quests and characters have been added to create a longer and more satisfying experience.
  • The UI was completely reworked to be clearer and better looking.

 

ICY

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

Details

Tuesday - July 25, 2017

THQ Nordic - Gamescom Lineup

by Silver, 23:12

THQ Nordic has announced its gamescom 2017 lineup and it includes two unannounced IPs, one of which is an RPG set in a post apocalyptic setting with kung fu stuff.

THQ Nordic announces its gamescom 2017 line-up

July 25, 2017

It's that time of the year again... THQ Nordic to present its biggest line-up so far at the Koelnmesse, Cologne, from 22nd August.

Vienna, Austria, July 25th 2017: Gamescom, one of the world's biggest gaming conventions, is upon us and THQ Nordic is happy to announce its biggest line up so far. This year, during the event in Cologne, Germany, THQ Nordic will present a total of eight games, with two yet to be announced.

The short breakdown: Journalists and players alike can look forward to playing a near-to-final version of ELEX, the open world RPG from Piranha Bytes. Coming to PlayStationTM4, Xbox One and PC on October 17th.

Battle Chasers: Nightwar was nominated for the "Best RPG of E3" award and is shaping up nicely for its multi-platform release on October 3rd. For the first time, you can get your hands on the game on the Nintendo Switch.

The multiplayer beta of SpellForce 3 is now running and has already seen thousands of players contributing providing valuable feedback to the development process. At gamescom, the focus will be on SpellForce 3's deep single-player campaign.

First-person underwater shooter Aquanox: Deep Descent will show its campaign for the first time to journalists and players alike.

For The Guild 3 you cannot only expect to see an improved version and advanced gameplay, but we will also have a surprise announcement to make.

The recently announced cooperation with Bugbear Entertainment for Wreckfest allows the game to make a pit stop at gamescom where it will show off a raft of new content for upcoming updates.

The first new announcement is a brand new original IP. This open world RPG is set in a unique universe and will be a post-apocalyptic kung-fu fable.

The second new announcement is a new instalment of a well-known, mysterious and horrific IP.

THQ Nordic will be in gamescom's Entertainment Area, Hall 8, Booth A011. All the games revealed above will be fully playable during the show.

THQ Nordic

Details

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel - Out on August 2

by Hiddenx, 20:47

The J-RPG The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel will be released on August 2:

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

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Among the nations on the Zemurian continent, the mighty Erebonian Empire has been quick to outwardly stake its claim militarily; yet politically, ugly bouts of internal conflict between the upper class and commoners attempting to rise to power have been steadily intensifying day by day. The Noble and Reformist Factions have been none too kind to one another over the years, and tensions between the two only stand to worsen if compromises aren’t made in the very near future.

Rean Schwarzer, like any other citizen of the Imperial Nation, is no stranger to these rising conflicts: the class system has been deeply embedded into the hearts of every Erebonian since the days of old. As a seventeen-year-old student preparing for his new life at Thors Military Academy, however, he notices that his crimson uniform differs from the standard ones issued to his peers—typically green for commoners, and white for nobles.

Enter, Class VII of Thors Military Academy. For the first time in the prestigious academy’s history, rank means nothing and skill means everything. With nine hand-picked students of various backgrounds and abilities, Rean included, Class VII readies itself to dive deep into the political quagmire that threatens not only them, but the Empire as a whole.

Taking place on the same continent as the fan favorite Trails in the Sky offshoot of Nihon Falcom’s storied The Legend of Heroes franchise, Trails of Cold Steel (Sen no Kiseki in Japanese) is the first in the series to tread Erebonian soil and explore the inner political conflicts of this oft-mentioned powerhouse nation in detail. Delve into the expansive lore that has become synonymous with the series, enjoy school life and bond with fellow students to earn new abilities in battle, take advantage of speedy, tactical turn-based combat with the newly-developed “ARCUS” system, and uncover dramatic events that stand to change everything these two opposing social classes stand for.

KEY FEATURES

  • A World Rich in Depth for Veterans and Newcomers Alike
    The events of Trails of Cold Steel are expertly told so that longtime Trails veterans and casual RPG fans alike can equally enjoy its detailed, highly nuanced storyline.
  • New Link System Adds Depth to Combat
    Take advantage of the Combat Link System by bonding with your allies throughout the school year, netting you a variety of combat benefits including healing, guarding and more.
  • A Sleek Update to a Classic Growth Mechanic
    Trails of Cold Steel streamlines the classic “Orbment” magic system from previous titles with new “ARCUS” units, allowing for more ready access to abilities and quicker customization.
  • Experience the Game as Never Before
    50% more lines of English voice-overs have been added to the PC release, bringing a fresh experience to even those who have played it before on console.

The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel

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

Details

Prevent The Fall - Patch 1.19 is live

by Hiddenx, 20:18

With Patch v 1.19 a new talent system, consumable inventory items, shrines, and new Hard and Epic difficulty levels among other additions are introduced to the dungeon crawler Prevent The Fall:

v1.19 Patch is Live

The 19th patch since Early Access is one of our largest patches. It took a bit longer to wrap up, but we introduced a lot of changes and new features in this patch. The biggest feature introduced in this patch is the new Talent System. We also introduced a handful of other new changes including improved blocking, strafing, rolling, new energy system for attacks and abilities, potions, new difficulty options, and a new shrine buff system along with a handful of other tweaks and bug fixes.

To start let's look at the new Talent System. Instead of the skill points that were rewarded each time you level there are now new talent points. This are spent on a talent tree split into 3 sections: Defense, Melee, Magic. The existing stats (strength, intellect, etc) are now in the talent tree so be sure to spend points on the stats as they will be reset back to 1 as a result of this patch. Along with being reset they now have some level limits as well, so if you are level 8 you will not be able to max out the stats (the last hoop for that is at level 16).

Beyond just adding the existing stats 47 total talents were introduced in this patch touching most of the systems in the game. You can now choose to upgrade different combat areas to reduce magic cost, buff pets, break parries and blocks more often, better blocking and parries, less energy rolling (along with a new armor buff), and a wide variety of other adjustments including new stun and bleeding options. You will not be able to max all talents at level 20, but talent tomes were also added that are rewarded as treasure for those interested in that pursuit. Existing players should have talent points set that correspond to their existing level so be sure to check out the talent window by pushing “T” or from the Talent Button in the system Menu.

Talents are the largest change in this patch, but it is just the starting point. Blocking, strafing, and rolling have been improved in this patch. You can now move around while blocking and rotating toward the target to block is now much easier. Strafing was fixed removing some issues with the camera making it a much more useful option, and rolling received a similar improvement so you will roll the direction the camera is facing so if you roll backwards you will roll backwards in a logical fashion that one would expect. Rolling also now has a short armor bonus that will reduce damage that can be improved via a talent.

To go along with that even more combat changes were introduced. Energy was also adjusted in this patch adding energy requirements for regular attacks and abilities. If you run out of energy you can still do regular attacks, but abilities will not fire much like magical abilities. To go along with this change the amount of energy the player has was tweaked and energy is now increased by Dexterity instead of Stamina. Energy and magic regeneration time was cut in half so you should have to wait less for the regeneration to kick in. Also, players can now do critical attacks. There is a small chance with both melee and ranged attacks that can be increased via talents.

To go along with all of that we also introduced potions with this build. There are 3 extra slots to the right of the abilities on the hotbar that can be used to store potions. Potions have a 30 second cooldown, but will provide a boost of health, magic, or energy. Potions can be purchased at the vendor or can be found as rewards. Usage of potions is done via the 7-9 keys on a keyboard, holding the trigger button and using the d-pad (up, left, right) on a gamepad, holding the “grip” button on vive and pressing up, left, right on the trackpad, and holding the grip (bottom trigger) on the rift and pushing up, left, right on the analog stick. To add an item to the hotbar in VR you have to drag it there.

Next up we introduced 2 new difficulty options: Hard and Epic. Balance is still very much a work in progress even more so after this most recent patch, but this will increase the difficulty of the game by adjusting NPC damage and health along with adjusting regeneration rates. Some more tweaking is most likely to follow, but it should provide a bit more challenge.

Lastly, new monuments or “shrines” were added to many dungeons. They will provide a buff that should last the remainder of the trip through the dungeon. The buff provided depends on the dungeon.

[...]

Prevent The Fall

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

Details

Harebrained Schemes - Sued for Copyright Infringement

by Silver, 13:11

@SidAlpha Harebrained Schemes is being sued for copyright infringement over Battletech images by Harmony Gold.

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Harebrained Schemes is being sued by Harmony Gold, the Distribution rights holder for Robotech over an alleged copyright infringement. The Battletech and Robotech war over likeness rights has waged for close to 25 years. Now, perhaps the age old question might finally be answered once and for all.

Harebrained Schemes

Details

Mistborn - Canceled

by Myrthos, 09:22

There has not been a lot of news about Mistborn: Birthright, which probably was a sign as the latest news is that the project has been canceled and the rights to the game have been returned to Brandon Sanderson. TechRaptor found the info on the game's Facebook page.

First, we can now definitively say that this project isn't going to happen. Please know that it's not for a lack of effort. Even as a publisher, the video game industry isn't easy, and sometimes the best will in the world isn't enough.

Second, I want to thank all of Sanderson's fans who reached out with their feedback, encouragement and support over the years. It was truly a great experience to be adopted as part of the Cosmere community.

Lastly, I would like to thank Brandon, himself. He was a patient, great business partner, who produced an amazing story for the game. I still hope he finds a way to release the details or reuse it in some fashion.

Mistborn

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

Details

Arkane Studios - Harvey Smith on memorable universes

by Silver, 07:18

@GamesIndustry Harvey Smith of Dishonored fame offers advice on how to create memorable universes.

Arkane Studios: "Lots of people have done elves and dwarves. F*** that"

Dishonored creative director Harvey Smith offers advice on how to create a distinct and memorable fictional universe

It's the dream of almost every creator to forge a world that people instantly recognise.

While few gaming realms are as instantly recognisable as Star Wars' galaxy far, far away or J.K. Rowling's wizarding world, there are still franchises set in universes that can be identified by millions of people from a single screenshot, item or phrase.

One of the most prominent examples from the past five years is Bethesda's Dishonored. The series' blend of steampunk and the supernatural sets it apart from any other franchise, thanks in no small part to the vision and leadership of Harvey Smith, creative director at Dishonored developer Arkane Studios.
harvey

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz earlier this year, Smith offered the following advice for creating a distinct world.

"Raymond Loewy, a designer in the '50s, once said what people want is something very familiar but different enough," he explains. "Something new but not too new, not too familiar. That's a tricky combination.

"When you're making something you want to be recognisable, if you find yourself doing exactly what has been done before you need to put a twist on it. We constantly talk about that - bone charms, on some level, are just a system of perks but they work differently. They don't just modify an existing power, they do something different. What's their place in the main world, since most people aren't magic-using assassins?

[...]

Arkane Studios

Details

Copper Dreams - Overview of Ticks and Tiles

by Silver, 05:15

The latest on Copper Dreams explains how actions will play out in combat. Head to the link to see the system in action.

...

Overview of Ticks and Tiles

As we mentioned in the last update, the gameplay wasn't feeling as impactful towards the goal of being able to react to enemy turns on the fly. There also wasn't a way to clearly visualize these elements. It was competent on paper and execution - turns for players/NPCs just take a variable amount of time on the combat bar to execute, however, wait times, lack of clarity of predicting enemy turns and not wanting to get stuck in a long turn during combat was hampering player actions, encouraging you to play too carefully. There was the promise of reactivity in turns, but gameplay and use of time just wasn't allowing it. Ticks, tiles and shorter phases allow the player to have the intel to make more calculated and reactive decisions.

The ruleset we had described in our original Kickstarter pitch has been a difficult one to find just the right gameplay for. The original idea had the essential premise of the turn-based model with just staggering turn order. Players and NPCs took turns when they were able to, and these took various amounts of time to perform and recover from, and could be temporarily interrupted. These actions were all displayed on a single timeline.

What we've implemented instead is a solution that replaces the general idea of ‘time' with chunks of time for actions we call ticks. We also brought back tiles to quantify distance, in the pursuit of clarity.

Ticks are represented by a quarter second of gameplay, but are abstract in that longer animations can play-out during these, or multiple hits shown off individually. So behind the scene, these play out like regular turns where gameplay they appear as more linear time.

Importantly, on a bar with other combatants these are super easy to compare. If an enemy is targeting you with a pistol and takes 3 ticks to aim, and 4 to recover from, you have the insight to know to start running and to attack after their bullet is airborne, as it obviously won't follow you. So with ticks, you can quantify how long your action will take compared to your enemy's actions, allowing you to plan your moves and have the payoff of dodging and taking cover.

In Turn Mode, which can be toggled whenever you want and is automatically turned on in combat, after any action you take recovers, the world pauses for you to take another turn. We've somewhat reformatted the UI to make this snappier, and there's no longer a confirm button for using an action. Once selected, your actions cannot be interrupted or changed, so gameplay is quite a bit quicker.
[...]

Copper Dreams

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

Details

BioWare - Cancelled Bioware RPGs

by Silver, 02:28

Unseen64 explore unreleased games. With this video on Bioware RPGs they look at Jade Empire 2 and Revolver.

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► ► You can read more about Jade Empire 2, Revolver and other cancelled games in the book "Video Games You Will Never Play", available on Amazon & Createspace: https://www.unseen64.net/2016/09/19/v...

► Thanks to ItsaDogandGame for the voice over! You can check his channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/ItsaDoga...
[...]

BioWare

Details

Monday - July 24, 2017

Fallout: NV - One For My Baby

by Silver, 21:56

PCGamer looks back at Fallout: New Vegas. In particular one quest titled 'One For My Baby' which captures the 'heart' of the game.

How one quest captures the heart of Fallout: New Vegas.

If Fallout 3 welcomes you into the post-apocalypse with open arms, Fallout: New Vegas is its sarcastic, passive-aggressive cousin. Everyone in the game has an angle, and the only thing standing in the way of the house winning is your growing series of dubious decisions. This spirit of hard-edged humor and escalating choice is perfectly encapsulated by a single quest.

The setup

Looking at the giant dinosaur statue named "Dinky," and the broken No Vacancy sign hanging from the settlement's single motel, you might assume Novac is a pit stop on your path to New Vegas proper. After going through Primm and Nipton, two towns filled with conflict and moral chaos, you finally have a place to rest. That all changes when you meet Boone.

A former NCR sniper, Boone is a man isolated both literally and figuratively. Every night, he walks up a set of narrow red steps leading to the giant dinosaur's mouth. Guarding Novac against this somewhat goofy backdrop, he spends his vigil watching the wasteland through Dinky's faded white teeth-all the while wondering which of his estranged neighbors sold his wife Clara into slavery while he was on patrol.

[...]

Fallout: NV

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

Details

Divinity: Original Sin II - Insane Dialogue Branching

by Silver, 21:44

Swen Vincke tweeted about Divinity Original Sin II's insane dialogue branching.

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I walked into the office on a rainy afternoon and spotted one of our awesome scripters making the type of branching dialog that makes d:os 2 such a complex game to make. I should probably follow up with a video from the writer's face when she sees it :)

Divinity: Original Sin II

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

Details

Pyre - Reviews

by Hiddenx, 20:30

Here are the first reviews for for the party-based RPG Pyre that will be released tomorrow:

EuroGamer:

Dazzling and mysterious, this ambitious party-based RPG is a masterpiece.

Kotaku:

Pyre is interesting enough to play multiple times, but it can also be played just as a one-on-one sport. In the game’s versus mode, which pits you against either an AI opponent or against a friend on your couch. In the story, there’s a lot of narrative pressure to do well in the rites. Against another person, I was a bit freer to just enjoy banishing my enemies, or passing the ball down the court, or flying over an aura blast. When I played against Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo in the office, he banished me just as I was about to score on him and I shouted, “you motherfucker.” Pyre is good in many ways. It’s even good enough that it made me call my boss a motherfucker.

GameSpew:

I wouldn’t be surprised if we never see another game quite like Pyre, and that’s perfectly okay. Simply describing its spectacularly outlandish battle system doesn’t do it justice; upon playing it, it doesn’t take long to realise that it works – and that it works incredibly well. Pair that with a wonderful cast of characters, a riveting story, and enthralling music and visuals, and you have nothing short of a compelling game that demands your time and attention. If you are at all curious about Pyre – and you should be – then you owe it to yourself to check this one out.

The Verge:

Pyre is a mishmash of a game. Its world is culled from multiple influences, and the core of the experience feels like two very different titles stuck together. But, as with Supergiant’s past work, it all comes together in a very satisfying way. It’s an adventure where it only feels natural that you’d spend as much time poring over ancient books as you do throwing a magic orb around an arena, and I enjoyed chatting with swamp witches almost as much as I did turning them into powerful warriors. I may not know how to say “boomshakalaka” in harpy, but I know what it feels like to dunk over a massive demon.

 

 

Pyre

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

Details

The RPG Scrollbars - A Farewell Dip Into The Archives

by Hiddenx, 20:12

The last edition of the RPG Scrollbars takes a look back into RPG history:

The RPG Scrollbars: A Farewell Dip Into The Archives

It is said that the greatest test is that of time. Actually, I’m not sure if anyone’s said that, except me just then. But that’s fine. I’m sure everyone will remember. Anyway, in the final edition of The RPG Scrollbars, let’s take a look back to see what the people of the past said about what was the present but is now, by the laws of causality, in fact that past. With some help from the magazine archives at archive.org, natch.

Let’s start by seeing what was going on back at the launch of cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer, and long-time distinguished competitors PC Zone. PC Zone started at by far the better time, in April 1993, just in time for Ultima Underworld 2. PC Gamer meanwhile had to make do with the largely forgotten Shadowcaster, one of a long series of Raven’s patented ‘take an engine and make a fantasy game out of it’ games. In this case the engine was Wolfenstein 3D, and it was really more of an action game than an RPG. It did however have a truly fantastic gimmick – unlocking the ability to take the form of assorted monsters. Weirdly, shape-shifting remains a fairly underutilised mechanic.

“The first thing you think when you see Shadowcaster is ‘Uh-oh, looks like Origin had better watch out. You see, this is a game that gives its own Ultima Underworld games a serious run for their money. In fact, this is a game that knocks back 12 pints of lager and a curry, then pounds its own chest and sings “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough,” at the entire RPG fraternity.”

I’m reminded of the time PC Format reviewed Descent using the three words ‘Better. Than. Doom.’ But the point of this isn’t to go back and mock old reviews for being wrong or overly-enthusiastic. Maybe that PC Format one. But in general, the curse of reviewing is that you have to hit a game hard and fast and write while the iron is hot, making it easy to both be more critical than some games deserve, or get over-excited. And Shadowcaster was exciting, especially compared to the likes of fellow reviewer Dark Sun: Shattered Alliance, which prompts a bit of a snooze just for the streamline ‘SSI and TSR team up once more to bring us another of their computerised AD&D games’. (Flicking through this issue though, I think my favourite little detail is that Street Fighter 2 of all games gets a third of a page next to a slightly mean review of Privateer, while the most 90s titled game of all time, Yo! Joe! gets a half-pager.)

But what of Underworld 2?

“Tankard of ale or bonk, sire?” was all you used to get from women in Role Playing Games. That and “Help! Help! I’m crap. I’m wearing a white dress and I need to be rescued!” Of course, that was the old days, when men were men and women were buxom serving wenches with low-cut dresses.”

Indeed. How far we’ve come since… uh… 1993. And how modern those complaints are, at least to anyone who doesn’t remember things like Unreal creator Tim Sweeney’s 1992 Jill of the Jungle’s third part, the satirical but pointed “Jill Saves The Prince”.

[...]

Thank you, Richard Cobbett!

Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Details

Nihon Falcom Corp. - All Games on Steam

by Hiddenx, 19:58

Techraptor reports that Nihon Falcom wants to port all their games to the PC platform:

"We Want All of Our Games on Steam"

Earlier this month, TechRaptor had the chance to interview Toshihiro Kondo, the president of Nihon Falcom – the developers of both the Ys and Legend of Heroes series. We’ve got our full interview coming up soon, but one specific answer to one of our questions stood out from the rest, more or less confirming that the company hopes to release all of their titles on PC, in one way or another, going forward. The translation for Kondo-san’s answer was provided by NIS America.

TechRaptor: It’s been said that Ys VIII’s PS4 release was made to target the west, though it and a few other “modern” Falcom titles are all receiving PC ports lately. Has Falcom been actively pursuing PC versions for more recent releases in the west?

Toshihiro Kondo: We have no hesitation about releasing games on Steam. Rather, given that we don’t have a large staff, we mainly have to rely [on] partners to help us realize a PC port. When we first started releasing games on Steam, we were initially unsure of whether or not players would want to play our older games. However, as we gradually released games on Steam and saw the very positive reaction that was much greater than we expected, we feel like we want all of our games that come out to [release] on Steam.

[...]

Nihon Falcom Corp.

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Iron Tides - Early Access launched

by Hiddenx, 19:53

The Viking Sim Iron Tides has been released as Early Access on Steam:

Iron Tides

In Iron Tides, you are a Chieftain who survives the anger of the gods. The fury of the sea is against you in an experience designed to challenge your mind. With your steadfast crew, engage in quick turn-based battles and take every piece of loot your ship will hold.

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Game Features:

  • A World Without End: Explore a hand-crafted ocean full of danger and chance encounters. Choose your battles carefully and stay vigilant.
  • Diverse Battlefields: Keep your wits about you as you fight the various denizens of the Iron Tides across broken ruins, ancient temples, and the decks of warships.
  • Encounters Upon the High Seas: Explore dusty ruins, bribe corrupt enemy garrisons, and haggle with lost merchants. Build your own story through narrative encounters with multiple solutions. Will you take the effort to plunder statues when your warriors only want food?
  • A Place to Call Home: After a successful voyage, return to your stronghold of Norhaven. Purchase newly available wares, recruit new warriors, and plan the next raiding season.
  • No Two Vikings Exactly Alike: Each viking has four abilities drawn from a pool of seven. In addition, each warrior has a unique, procedurally generated upgrade path, allowing for a diverse range of possibilities.
  • Dead Warriors Live Only In Memory: The halls of Valhalla sing with glory as each Viking meets their end. Unfortunately for you and your crew, your lost warriors will not come back and help on the next raid.

Non-RPG General News

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

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Sunday - July 23, 2017

Indiegogo Games - Radiation Age

by Hiddenx, 10:04

The post apocalyptic tactical RPG Radiation Age is now on Indiegogo:

Radiation Age - A post apocalyptic tactical RPG

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Radiation Age is a tactical RPG game set in a post–apocalyptic world, in which you take control of one of the shelter's inhabitants. While traveling the world, you will face many hard decisions that can significantly influence the course of the main storyline.  The key elements of the gameplay are the proper management of available heroes and their abilities, clever use of structures present on the map and knowledge of the surrounding.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Indiegogo Games

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

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Tower of Time - New Screenshots

by Hiddenx, 09:58

Farflame spotted some screenshots for the real time strategy RPG Tower of Time on Neptune games:

Tower of Time: Classic RPG Gets new Screens Showcasing some of its Fantasy Environments

Event Horizon has released the first screenshots of the Early Access version of the real time strategy RPG Tower of Time

With the Steam Early Access release of this new, promising real time strategy RPG called Tower of Time, Event Horizon developers and their digital artists decided to experiment and see whether they could recreate some lovely scenes inside this mysterios world filled with treasures and creatures.

According to Event Horizon’s guys, Tower of Time is a classic RPG with a unique real-time combat system where tactics are as important as equipment: players can explore the Tower, buried underground for millennia, and uncover the history of times long gone and the mystery of why your land is dying.

[...]

 

Tower of Time

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

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Dark Souls - Remembering why it is important

by Hiddenx, 09:48

Gaming Bolt thinks Dark Souls is an important game and needs a remastered version:

Remembering Why Dark Souls Is Important (And Why We Need A Remaster)

Dark Souls’ success cannot be understated.

It’s actually hard to believe, but it has been six years since the original Dark Souls. From Software’ unassuming follow up to their PS3 exclusive cult hit game Demon’s Souls launched in 2011, a few months ahead of the launch of the uber anticipated The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim.  And while it was backed by a far larger marketing campaign than Demon’s Souls had been, it was still largely expected to be an under the radar release. Especially given the fact that RPGs at that point in time were still a niche genre, and games that enabled player agency, or actually challenged them, were considered anathema, most of the residual sales left after the usual Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, and FIFA were expected to go to Skyrim, and that was going to be that.

But something wonderful happened instead- along with Skyrim, Dark Souls went on to be a wild success, a far bigger one than anyone had anticipated. And much like Skyrim would go on to influence the next five years of game design, Dark Souls, too, left a lasting, indelible mark on the direction that game design take from then on. The success of Dark Souls was important, and is the reason that we are not in a market today where games like The Order receive good reviews and great sales- it was important, because it showed developers that not only could they trust the players to think for themselves and make their decisions for themselves and even fail for themselves, but that there was a thirsty, ravenous market for games that offered them just this.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Dark Souls

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

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Ghost of a Tale - Hands On Preview

by Hiddenx, 09:39

The XBoxHub checked out the Early Access game Ghost of a Tale:

Ghost of a Tale Hands-on Preview

[...]

As for the gameplay, the current build of the game is roughly representative of about a third of the overall game. Nevertheless, there is still enough on show to get a general feel of things. Unfortunately, the feeling it gives off is one of hope that the full release won’t be full of as many fetch quests as the current preview build. To find your wife, you need to escape the prison, and this is done by avoiding guards and completing a vast amount of fetch quests, none of which are particularly difficult… with only a couple bringing any type of puzzle into play and nothing which delivers any really engaging difference to the experience.

My time with Ghost of a Tale had me playing through the Jail, Courtyard and Sewer areas, which, as I mentioned before, make up about a third of the overall game. Whilst they may have you going backwards and forwards, completing quests and avoiding the rather foolish guards at present, it must be said that each area looks incredible. The level of detail present is enough to give off a true feeling of the area represented and it goes without saying that when final release rolls round, this is certainly going to be an impressive aspect of the game.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Ghost of a Tale

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

Details

XCOM 2 - Inside Look: The Templar

by Hiddenx, 09:34

This video for XCOM2 expansion War of the Chosen explores The Templar:

XCOM 2: War of the Chosen - Inside Look: The Templar

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Get an in-depth look at one of the new Resistance Factions joining the fight against ADVENT: The Templars.

Thanks Farflame!

XCOM 2

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

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Pillars of History - Interview & Kickstarter

by Hiddenx, 09:21

Mrozie interviewed the devs of Pillars of History - a historical RPG with an early medieval Balkans setting. The game is on Kickstarter right now:

Interview on Enklawa Network:

An action-RPG adventure on Balkans in 8th century. Creators of the Pillars of History answers our questions

For the first time I heard about Pillars of History a few months ago. A Bulgarian developer called Tritan Studios caught my attention with a concept of action RPG based in times of First Bugarian State, which puts a lot of pressure on historical accuracy and education of history. Currently Pillars of Eternity is trying to raise funds on Kickstarter, so it's a great time to learn more about this promising game. Bozhidar Bakev, one of co-founders of Tritan Studios, agreed to answer some questions about this promising game.

Michal Mroz: As of now Pillars of History is fairly unknown to our readers. For a smooth start, can you describe your game in a few sentences?

Bozhidar Bakev: Pillars of History is a RPG game, based on the early Medieval History of Europe and the Balkans in the 8th century. The game is a next-generation type of hybrid between entertainment and education. While enjoying the game, the player will learn a lot of interesting historical facts. Of course the action, that is a major feature of every RPG will be strongly represented.

Pillars of History offers a realistic journey through the lands of the Eastern Roman Empire (known as the Byzantine Empire), the First Bulgarian State, The Avar Khaganate and numerous Slavic Tribes in the flesh of a full-scale RPG game.

The player will be able to embark on a fascinating journey by choosing one of the four unique characters, or he/she may create his/her own character. Each of the starting 4 characters has its own storyline, so the players are presented with plenty of replayability options.

[...]

Kickstarter:

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Welcome to 8th century Eastern Europe. A time of endless turmoil, diplomatic trickery and bloody wars. The great Byzantine Empire is forced to repel the Arab hordes, who managed to lay siege to the mighty city of Constantinople. Along the Danube River the incoming Bulgars formed an alliance with the Slavic tribes and established a new state. The raiding Avars were pillaging the lands, while the diminishing numbers of Illyrians were struggling to keep their identity.

You are blessed or cursed to be born in that hostile and yet amusing world. Your journey begins in the rural areas of the Balkan peninsula as you bear the heavy burden of proving your valor before your people and fighting for your survival. Your heart is brave and your mind is clear, and you can’t stand the sloth of all the people around you who are confined in their daily chores.

You crave more! You desire adventures, perils and unknown lands. The blood of your proud ancestors runs through your veins, so you pick up the family sword and while you put it in its sheath you can hear the terrified screams and sense the blood dropping on your hands.

You have to cross the vast lands of the Balkans looking for your fortune, while absorbing the historical knowledge gathered for centuries, and if you fail to do so you will be doomed. If you fail to learn the lessons taught by history, you will die in vain.

Armed with a sword, a couple of waterskins and some pieces of dried meat, you set off, not knowing what’s ahead. Pay attention to every act of yours, because history honors only the brave. Heed the call of history!

Thanks for the Info Mrozie and Farflame!

Pillars of History

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

Details

Saturday - July 22, 2017

Vigilantes - Version 18

by Hiddenx, 11:14

Version 18 of the tactical RPG Vigilantes has been released - here's the Kickstarter update:

Update 28: Version 18 Released!

Hello,

Hope you're having a nice weekend! Version 18 of Vigilantes is now available for download. Version 18 represents one big, final push to deliver a number of features we felt would substantially benefit Vigilantes.

The emphasis has been on features which enhance the game's tactical depth. Now you can set ambushes with overwatch, delay your turn to outmaneuver opponents, and punish enemies attempting to disengage with attacks of opportunity. Furthermore, characters can now sustain injuries, which reduce stats, and can be healed by time, by Doc, or D.I.Y. healthcare.

An ally relationship system has been added, which provides stat bonuses to allies who approve of your actions, along with a reputation system, which, depending on how much chaos you cause, will determine how some NPCs react to you, and the ultimate outcome of your crusade against crime in Reiker City. Finally, we've added hand drawn portraits for most of Vigilantes' characters, 2 new maps, and fixed a number of bugs.

It's been a busy, intense 3 weeks and 6 days. If you'd like to get more detail on the additions and improvements, you can find out more in the below development video:

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Version 18 is the final version in which features will be the key focus. That's not to say we absolutely won't add any more features, but rather, that in order to deliver the best experience possible, we need to shift the focus to balancing, tweaking existing features, adding content (weapons, perks, characters and maps), improving the level of polish and fixing bugs.

As always, if you'd like to chat about any aspect of Vigilantes, I'd be happy to.

All the best,

Daithi

 

Vigilantes

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

Details