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Saturday - August 19, 2017

Children of Zodiarcs - Review @ Gamespace

by Hiddenx, 07:16

Gamespace has reviewed the tactical RPG Children of Zodiarcs:

Our Review of Children of Zodiarcs

We don’t see them around as much anymore, but tactical RPGs are still alive and well; just far fewer in number. Every couple years, I still go back and play Final Fantasy Tactics or the original Disgaea for a trip down memory lane, and every now and then a pleasant surprise pops up here in the present to scratch that itch. This year, that appears to be Children of Zodiarcs from Cardboard Utopia and Square Enix, and it’s a very welcome addition to the tactical RPG genre. Our Children of Zodiarcs review…

Life In Lumus

The fictional world of Lumus is one that’s seen better days. Much of the populous has fallen victim to the corruption and greed of corruption of nobles who play their political and economic games in praise of the almighty wealth that lines their pockets. But, with a drought upon the lower classes all it takes it a spark to ignite a flame. That flame comes in the form of Nahmi and her allies as they wage a hit-and-run war on the Toran Empire who enforces the boot-to-neck mentality against the people.

[...]

To Build A Fire

While far from perfect, I do hope that Children of Zodiarcs is going to be its own spark-to-kindling to reignite public interest in the genre. We have no shortage of RPGs, but tactical RPGs have always been the least recognized, overlooked, and as time went by their releases slowed from a slow drip to barely a trickle. The card and dice system goes against the traditional norms, but ultimately it gives the game more character that allows it to stand out not just for itself but shows the genre is still capable of doing new things and still very much worth paying attention to. Now, if they could just get that mess of a story under control…

SCORE: 8.0

PROS: 

  • Blends the old school tactical RPG formula with a new card and dice system

  • difficult enough to challenge but not overwhelm

CONS: 

  • The story is a mess littered with translation errors and odd dialogue choices

  • no feeling of comradery among party members

Children of Zodiarcs

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

Details

Friday - August 18, 2017

Druidstone - Dev Update #3

by Silver, 23:50

The Druidstone developers are back from summer break and have tweaked the camera angle to make it more isometric.

Dev update #3

Summer vacations are over and we are working hard on Druidstone!

Before the summer vacation we had quite a productive week. Some of the contributions were already mentioned in the last blog update, but a couple of things did not quite make it to the blog post.

First: we implemented grass rendering. What a difference does it make! My desk is facing away from the window, and of course we keep the window blinds closed like proper geeks do. To calm my nerves and induce lucid dreams of childhood summers in the Finnish forests, I can just stare at the wind blowing through the Menhir forest. Aah, lovely, I can feel my blood pressure dropping!

Second: Petri tweaked the camera angle a bit. It's not exactly isometric (or axonometric), as it has perspective projection, but the world is now rotated 45 degrees around the vertical axis. This makes it possible to move the camera a bit closer by default, which brings out the detail in our models, making everything look great. But don't trust just my word for it, see the screenshot down below.

After the vacation, we have introduced a bunch of new monsters, restructured the whole game - acts are gone - and rewritten artificial intelligence. But more about this later!

Cheers,
Jussi

Druidstone

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

Details

Fell Seal - Kickstarter: September 26

by Hiddenx, 19:30

A Kickstarter campaign for Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark will be launched on Sptember 26:

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark - Trailer

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Trailer for Fell Seal, a Tactical RPG inspired by the great classics of the genre!
20+ classes, 200+ abilities, story focused!

Our Kickstarter is coming on September 26th!

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark

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

Details

Trails of Cold Steel - Preview @ GameSpew

by Hiddenx, 19:13

GameSpew has reviewed The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel:

Review: Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel Makes a Valiant Leap to PC

I’ve always bounced off Japanese RPGs – especially when they’re heavily influenced by anime.

It’s hard for me to pin down exactly why that is, but it’s something to do with how painfully innocent they are. I’m too resigned to the horror of the world to accept the naive worldview that anime stories sometimes rely upon. The cutesy, bright and cheerful characterisations just burn holes into my retinas with how sugary and twee they are, and from a narrative perspective JRPGs have a tendency to break the players’ immersion by over explaining every single plot strand to the point of insulting your intelligence. I like to call it death by exposition. That being said, it’s not that they’re bad games or anything, it just boils down to what your introduction to RPGs were.

My RPG adolescence was filled with games like Fallout and Deus Ex. So when it comes to JRPG games… I just come from a different world altogether. With that in mind then – yes, I was worried about playing Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel. In the opening prologue the dialogue seemed to drag on forever, the gameplay was streamlined and on rails, and the combat was insultingly simple. It seemed like it was going to represent the things I loathe about JRPGs. But after spending quite a lot of time with the game I actually think it just about manages to get away with it. But not by much.

[...]

Trails of Cold Steel ticks a lot of boxes of what I dislike about JRPGs, but despite my issues I’m more than happy to say that I enjoyed my time with Class VII and would happily recommend it to anyone looking for a genuinely well made, if slightly limiting, JRPG. I have some serious reservations with the storytelling, and the often cringe-inducing anime tropes are enough to make you want to rub salt in your eyes, but Trails of Cold Steel still manages to be an impressively entertaining ride. This is a game with a long, arcing story that takes some awkward, colourful teens through their turbulent teenage years with a fun and vibrant world to explore, charming characters to befriend and a turn-based combat system with a surprising amount of depth once you look beneath the surface.

Score: 70%

Trails of Cold Steel

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

Details

Vigilantes - Version 19

by Myrthos, 18:44

Version 19 of Vigilantes brings us amongst others: better pacing, interrogations and armor mechanics.

Hope you're having a nice weekend. Vigilantes version 19 has just gone live. This update is somewhat different from previous releases: rather than committing a considerable chunk of time to building new features, we've emphasised tweaking existing features, balancing and bugs fixes. If you'd like to get a detailed run down of the changes, you'll can find out more in the below development video.

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Vigilantes

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

Details

Underworld Ascendant - 505 Games is Publisher

by Silver, 13:25

Otherside Entertainment announced that Underworld Ascendant will be published by 505 Games. There is a development update about Fort Evidius which shows off some screenshots here and a press release about the publishing deal also.

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505 GAMES TO PUBLISH LONG-AWAITED FANTASY RPG UNDERWORLD ASCENDANT

Indie Publisher Partners with the Talented Team Behind Iconic Underworld Franchise to Bring Next Generation of Their Esteemed Series to Fans Worldwide

CALABASAS, Calif. - Aug. 17, 2017 - 505 Games, a subsidiary of Digital Bros. S.p.A., announced today a partnership with development studio OtherSide Entertainment to publish fantasy RPG Underworld Ascendant, the next-generation sequel to the landmark Underworld franchise. The deeply experienced team at OtherSide studio - helmed by industry legends Paul Neurath (Ultima Underworld, Thief) and Warren Spector (Deus Ex, Epic Mickey) - has worked on many leading game franchises, which collectively garnered more than 200 awards and earned over $3 billion in revenues. Their current project, Underworld Ascendant, was first revealed on Kickstarter, where fans clamoring for the return of the storied masterpiece raised more than $850,000 for its creation.

"It's another big moment for 505 Games, having the opportunity to partner with this talented team on such an iconic brand," said Neil Ralley, president of 505 Games. "Ultima Underworld is among the greatest PC RPGs ever made, and we look forward to what Paul, Warren and their team will accomplish with the next generation of the franchise."
[...]

Underworld Ascendant

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

Details

Shenmue 3 - Will be Published by Deep Silver

by Silver, 10:37

Shenmue 3 will be published by Deep Silver.

New Partner!! & gamescom 2017 Update #3

Hello Everyone,

We have a major announcement today concerning our new publishing partner, and follow up details for gamescom.

Deep Silver Partnership Signed

The Shenmue III project has signed a global publishing contract with Deep Silver, the game division of the German company, Koch Media. Game fans may already be familiar with Deep Silver, as they are a trusted brand who has helped many Japanese game titles find their audiences around the world.

We are proud to have gained a wonderfully reliable partner to make sure Shenmue III reaches all its fans all over the planet.

Please see the press statement here.

(To be released at 4pm August 17th JST)
[...]

Shenmue 3

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

Details

General News - Doom 2 Recreated in Diablo 2

by Silver, 10:22

@PCGamer Doom 2 has been recreated in the Diablo 2 engine. It has being dubbed Doomiablo by its creator DolloM.

It might not be fun to play, but it is damn fun to watch.

For those who still get motion sickness from Doomguy's blistering sprint, here's a fairly awkward solution: play Doom 2 as an isometric ARPG ala Diablo 2! Someone has made a tentative effort to make such a thing happen, and the video above shows how it looks.

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[...]

General News

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

Details

Darkwood - Released

by Hiddenx, 01:51

The survival horror RPG Darkwood has been released:

Darkwood provides a new perspective on survival horror.

Scavenge and explore the rich, ever-changing free-roam world by day, then hunker down in your hideout and pray for the morning light.

  • Survival horror from a top-down perspective that is terrifying to play.
  • By day explore the randomly generated, ever-sinister woods, scavenge for materials, craft weapons and discover new secrets.
  • By night find shelter, barricade, set up traps and hide or defend yourself from the horrors that lurk in the dark.
  • Gain skills and perks by extracting a strange essence from mutated fauna and flora and injecting it into your bloodstream. Watch out for unexpected consequences…
  • Make decisions that impact the world of Darkwood, its inhabitants and the story you experience.
  • Meet eerie characters, learn their stories and decide their fate. And remember - don’t trust anyone.
  • As nights go by, the lines between reality and nightmarish fantasies begin to blur. Are you ready to step into Darkwood?

Thanks henriquejr!

Darkwood

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

Details

Thursday - August 17, 2017

Pyre - Review @ Gizorama

by Hiddenx, 19:12

Gizorama has reviewed the Indie RPG Pyre:

Beautiful Purgatory – Pyre Review

If I was cast into The Downside, condemned to perform the rites of Pyre, I think I’d have a pretty good time. It’s all adventures in a wagon with your mates and throwing a ball about. Supergiant Game’s latest title is yet another unique genre hopping game that explores a twisted new world of lore, ritual, and redemption. You’re a ‘Reader’, an oddity and an outlaw in the world of the commonwealth, and so you find yourself exiled in the Downside. Able to read the Book of Rites handed down by the Scribes, you help a ragtag group of masked wanderers to participate in a series of trails known as the rites, to prove themselves worthy and ultimately gain their freedom.

[...]

Pyre is a beautiful and unique party based RPG. Supergiant Games have shown time and time again that they’re happy to do their own thing in the world of gaming, and as a result Pyre is clearly the game that they wanted to make, no compromises. It’s not the flowing narrative of Bastion or Transistor, instead it’s the choices you make that define your experience.

Score: 4.5/5

Pyre

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

Details

Shadows: Awakening - Announced

by Myrthos, 16:42

As expected, the next game in the Heretic Kingdoms saga has been announced by Kalypso.

RETURN TO THE HERETIC KINGDOMS! SHADOWS: AWAKENING ANNOUNCED

New tactical action RPG coming to PC, PlayStation®4 and Xbox One, set for full debut at Gamescom 2017

Bracknell UK, 17th August 2017  Following on from the teaser released last week, Kalypso Media is excited to announce Shadows: Awakening, a new action RPG with real-time tactical combat that heralds the return of the Heretic Kingdoms saga. In this dark fantasy adventure, players will assume control of the Devourer - a feared demon summoned from the world of Shadow that possesses the ability to absorb the memories and personalities of acquired souls and materialize them as their puppets in the world of mortals. By combining the powers and abilities of these vanquished warriors, players will embark on a vast 40+ hour adventure across two very different worlds, engaging in action-packed real-time tactical combat, as well as tackling challenging puzzles, collecting valuable loot and equipment, and completing a wide variety of quests. But be warned - consuming so many powerful souls has a cost - such strong personalities cannot easily be supressed, and players will have to manage the relationships with the voices in their head as they struggle to maintain their identity.

Shadows: Awakening heralds the continuation of the Heretic Kingdoms saga, last seen in Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms. Long-time fans and legacy players of the PC version will remember that the long-awaited 'Book 2' sequel never materialized. Kalypso Media and Games Farm are therefore excited to reveal that Shadows: Awakening will not only bring the story of 'Book 2' to life, but will also combine it with the original storyline, making Shadows: Awakening not a sequel, but a full and completed experience; improved and re-worked to take full advantage of today's console and PC technology. Additionally, owners of the original Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms will no doubt remember that they were promised 'Book 2' free of charge. Kalypso Media and Games Farm are happy to confirm that they will uphold their promise to reward these long-time fans - with all owners of the Steam and GOG versions of Shadows: Heretic Kingdoms eligible to receive Shadows: Awakening as an update to their existing game, completely free of charge.

To celebrate the announcement of Shadows: Awakening, Kalypso Media is pleased to share a full gameplay trailer to give players an idea of what awaits them in the shadows..

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Shadows: Awakening is the new adventure in the Heretic Kingdoms saga. After the members of the secret council known as the Penta Nera are assassinated, their souls are consumed by the Devourers – evil demons which possess the ability to absorb the memories and personalities of the souls they acquire and materialize them as their puppets. Re-emerging into the mortal realm once again, the demonic Penta Nera continue their quest for power and immortality, but at what cost?

Shadows: Awakening is a unique, isometric single-player action RPG with real-time tactical combat. You take control of a demon summoned from the Shadow Realm – the Devourer – to consume the souls of long-dead heroes and embark on an epic adventure with challenging gameplay, a gripping storyline and enchanting graphics. Do you have the focus and wits to master the world of the Heretic Kingdoms? Gather your party, control powerful heroes and use their skills to your advantage. But who is in charge... the demon, or the souls that it has devoured? It's up to you to either thwart a major threat and save the world, or to plunge it into complete disaster...
 
Features

  • Extensive Gameplay – 40+ hours for a single playthrough, but with substantial options for replayability.
  • Two Worlds – A parallel universe inhabited by ghosts and spirits; seamlessly switch between the Shadow Realm and the mortal plane and witness a gripping storyline in a world full of myths, destinies and legendary creatures.
  • Real-Time Tactical Combat – Combine the skills of your various characters to maximize the effects of your devastating skills and spells.
  • Unique Party System – multiple characters in one demon, each retaining their own personalities. Internal dialogues, rivalries and communication between the characters enriches the gameplay experience and narrative.
  • A plethora of different characters – Choose from 3 heroes, each with their own stories, personal quests and dialogues. Consume the souls of 15 playable characters, each with their own unique skillsets, like Kalig the Bandit King and Evia, Daughter of Fire.
  • Synergy System – The complex talent system intuitively combines skills from your characters to create a variety of new gameplay possibilities.
  • Challenging Puzzles – Challenging puzzles are scattered throughout the game, from the rustic towns to the deepest dungeons.
  • Crafting and Looting System – Expanded crafting and looting system will let you use rewards to configure the ultimate adventurer.
  • Fully Voiced – All dialogues are fully narrated, including actors like Tom Baker.

Shadows: Awakening

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

Details

Spellforce 3 - New Cinematic Trailer

by Myrthos, 16:33

A new cinematic trailer for Spellforce 3 is now available. Together with that news there is also information about the collectors edition.

Fantasy RTS/RPG gets new cinematic trailer and collector's edition

Munich/Vienna, August 17th: Today THQ Nordic released an all-new CGI trailer for SpellForce 3, the real-time-strategy meets role-playing fantasy game launching this winter on PC. The trailer offers a recap of the events, narrated by voice actor Doug Cockle, leading up to the newest iteration in the franchise, while providing a glimpse of the battles to come. You can watch it here:

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THQ Nordic also announced a limited collector's edition for the game. Starting today, the SpellForce 3 Collector's Edition can be pre-ordered for $129.99 in North America and €129,99 in Europe. The package will include the game, an exclusive artbook, the game's official soundtrack, a Godstone amulet and an 8-inch figurine of Sentenza Noria, a seasoned commander and spymaster of the Royal Army that acts as the mentor for the player. The Collector's Editon can be preordered now here.

Spellforce 3

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

Details

Kingdom Come - New Story Trailer

by Myrthos, 16:30

A new story trailer for Gamescom has been released by Warhorse Studios for Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

New Trailer: Kingdom Come: Deliverance - Born from Ashes

After a devastating mercenary attack on Silver Skalitz, Henry finds himself in a desperate situation. His parent's dead and his home destroyed he joins ranks with Sir Radzig to gain the training he needs to get his revenge. Where will his path lead him?

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Kingdom Come

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

Details

Stellar Tactics - New Gameplay Trailer

by Myrthos, 10:06

A new gameplay trailer has been made available for Stellar Tactics showing many of the new additions and changes to the game.

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Stellar Tactics

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

Details

Prey - Trial Available

by Silver, 05:24

Bethesda announced that the Prey demo will turn into a trial meaning that progress will be retained should you choose to purchase the game.

Prey - PC and Console Trial

Don't miss the mind-bending sci-fi adventure that some critics are already calling the "best game of 2017." If you're a PC gamer and haven't yet played Prey, now you have the perfect opportunity. Starting today, the critically acclaimed game from the masterminds at Arkane Studios will be available as a PC trial for the first-time ever.

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Also today, Prey will shift from a demo to a trial on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. That means anyone who wants to test out Prey ahead of a purchase can retain their progress along with any Trophies/Achievements earned during the trial.

Recently, Arkane Studios also released update 1.05, which addresses more than 30 fixes to a range of issues, including the screen-tearing that has affected a portion of the PlayStation audience. Check out the patch notes for a full list of all the fixes in Update 1.05.

In Prey, you awaken aboard Talos I, a space station orbiting the moon in the year 2032. You are the key subject of an experiment meant to alter humanity forever - but things have gone terribly wrong. The space station has been overrun by hostile aliens and you are now being hunted. As you dig into the dark secrets of Talos I and your own past, you must survive using the tools found on the station, your wits, weapons, and mind-bending abilities.

Prey

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

Details

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates - Release Date Announced

by Silver, 02:01

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates will be released onto Steam October 4th.

RELEASE DATE & WRITER ANNOUNCED!!!

READY FOR A DIP IN THE CANALS OF NEW YORK CITY?

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates to Rise onto Steam on October 4

Neo-Victorian RPG from Coin Operated Games Reveals Author/Cartoonist Paul Noth as Story Writer

Auburn, New Hampshire - August 16, 2017 - Coin Operated Games announces today that its upcoming Neo-Victorian RPG Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates, will be coming to PC via Steam starting on October 4, 2017. Developed by a team of industry veterans from such influential companies as Crytek, Creative Assembly, Codemasters and Digital Reality, Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates is a top-down isometric RPG that takes place in an alternate industrial New York circa 1911.

... water is everywhere but none of it to drink...

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates depicts a troubled New York in which the entire city is flooded by rising oceans and the citizens now face a new threat: the fresh water pipes have stopped and there is no water to drink!

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates features an original story penned by renowned writer/comic artist Paul Noth, a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, where his work has appeared regularly since 2004. He created the Emmy-nominated animated series "Pale Force" for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and was animation consultant for Saturday Night Live. He's also developed shows for Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Nickelodeon, and his trilogy of middle-grade novels will be published by Bloomsbury, starting in April of 2018 with "How to Sell Your Family to the Aliens."

"After writing for different media throughout my career, I'm very excited to be working with Coin Operated Games to write their video game script," said Paul Noth. "The world that has been created in Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates is amazing and truly unique, so I'm thrilled to be able to develop a story set in this new world."

Although set in a fictional, alternate history, the game pays homage to historic accounts by adding authentic items such as patent medicines including poisons or tonics made from dangerous ingredients. Many of the games' objectives and side quests will tie directly into the experiences that someone in the 19th century would have. The game's authenticity reflects scenes from New York circa 1900, while tying the storyline to current day themes such as global warming and the rising of the oceans.

"We are very honored that Paul is working with us on the storyline for Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates," said John Randall, Creative Director of Empyre. "He is a world class writer, and has been invaluable to us with helping to shape the direction of our games' signature Neo Victorian story and experience."

Currently in development by Coin Operated Games, Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates will be available via Steam on October 4, 2017. More information will be shared in the coming weeks once the waters die down...

For more product information visit:

Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Empyrethegame-272522026282358/

Twitter at https://twitter.com/EmpyreTheGame

YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/EmpyreTheGame

Empyre: Lords of the Sea Gates

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

Details

Wednesday - August 16, 2017

Hero-U - Alpha Testing

by Silver, 23:56

Hero-U has a new kickstarter update which announces Alpha Testing.

Mysterious Events in Hero-U

There are mysterious forces behind Hero-U. It is not obvious who is actually financing the school, or why. As for the greater society of Sardonia, we don't spell it out in the game, but obviously Thief and Rogue are not the only professions. However...

Even though Shawn is a poor young man with an overworked single mother and apparently no connections, someone is looking out for him. Maybe more than one "someone". That results in an invitation to audition for the Thieves' Guild, and then a mandatory "invitation" to Hero-U.

Nothing happens by coincidence. The existence of the school, and the fact that it's built on a "haunted" old castle, is also not a coincidence.

Players will learn something about these mysteries in Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption. Other stories will be developed in future games of the series, and some of it will stay locked in our "Game Bible" as background for all of the games and game events.

Equally Mysterious Hero-U Game Development

It would be wonderful if making a game was like turning on a light switch, or even like taking a collection of Legos and turning them into a stunning model.

Actually, it *is* a lot like that, only there are about 600 models to put together... or maybe 6000. The mystery is that we can even put so many distinct pieces together to create one coherent game.

Every week, Hero-U creeps a little closer to being a complete, fun game. Along the way, JP and Al continue to draw, paint, model, and animate the game. Joshua, Cidney, and our secret programmers move between bringing the game to life and squashing bugs.

For a little more about the importance of each team member to every game we've made, and to Hero-U in particular, I posted an article to the Hero-U blog, http://hero-u.com/it-takes-a-team/.

Ryan Grogan has recently returned to the team to help us finish the music and soundscape to make Rogue to Redemption sound as amazing as it looks.

Josh Mandel and Lori alternate between tickling your funny bones and writing moments of suspense, drama, and tenderness. Yes, they're both still writing game content as we get feedback on parts of the game that need more direction or energy.

The story of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is a difficult balancing act as we strive to make Shawn O'Conner a hero even though he'll always be a rogue. Developing the game is like juggling hundreds of spinning plates at a time. Only when every one of them is in balance will the game be complete. After almost five years of development, it's all coming together.

Now it's time to begin outside testing and find out how much more still needs to be done.

Alpha Test Time

There are a lot of steps involved in getting a game to outside testers. We've developed our own built-in bug reporter that catches both software errors and player reports. Once they appear in our testing database, we do "triage" on them and assign them to specific team members to fix.

Another step is contacting and working with backers. I'm starting out with a small subset of our Alpha Test level backers to be our first guinea pigs, er, brave testers. Once we have the reporting tool adequately tested, I'll expand that by stages to all 350 Alpha Test backers. We are asking each tester to sign a Beta Test agreement similar to the ones used by Electronic Arts and other major game developers. We don't want anyone revealing the mysteries too soon!

Once our first testers have looked at the game in sections, we'll put everything together for a full Beta test accessible to all 2000 backers who chose a Beta Test level. This will be a full, feature-complete game, but it will probably still have some rough edges. Waves of Beta tests will continue until we are satisfied that Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption is ready for release.

The initial test build includes the first few weeks at Hero-U. We've disabled the second half of the game and all combat areas. Over the next couple of months, we'll gradually open up additional areas of the game for testing. We'll move from Alpha to Beta testing once we've revealed the entire game.

As always, keep your information current at https://hero-u-adventure-role-playing-game.backerkit.com and watch your email for your alpha or beta test invitation.

From Mystery to Discovery

This has been an epic game development process, and even when the game is tested and released, there will be much more to come. We will keep posting updates and stay in touch with the Hero-U community. Then it will be time to begin work on Hero-U: Wizard's Way and the rest of the series.

Like the Starship Enterprise, once we complete our five year mission, there will be new ports, new destinations, and new crew to take us all where no one has gone before.

Speaking of which...
[...]

Hero-U

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

Details

General News - The Future of Immersive Sims

by Hiddenx, 20:37

PC Gamer thinks that the immersive sims sub-genre is in danger:

The uncertain future of games like Deus Ex and Dishonored

Immersive sims have been held up as the pinnacle of PC game design, but recent sales may mean the genre is endangered.

Warren Spector is stuck in Prey. The director of Deus Ex, who has worked on many games since labeled "immersive sims"—in fact, he coined the term in a post-mortem of Deus Ex —has been playing the modern games inspired by classics like Thief and System Shock. But he hasn't finished Prey yet. Or, as he puts it: "The crew quarters are kicking my butt."

He's enjoying it though, just as he enjoyed the other recent immersive sim from Arkane Studios, Dishonored 2. "I thought they were both excellent examples of what I think of when I say 'immersive sim,'" Spector says. "They removed barriers to belief that I was in another world and they let me approach problems as problems, rather than as puzzles. I'm really glad Arkane exists and that they're so committed to the genre. Without them I'd have fewer games to play!"

Spector's not the only one who'd mourn their loss. Arkane is still around, but there's this uneasy feeling in the air that there's now some reason to worry. Not about Arkane, necessarily, but the immersive sim in general, this genre held up as the shining example of PC gaming at its most smartest and most complex. None of the last three big-budget immersive sims—Prey, Dishonored 2, and Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided—have broken a million sales on Steam.

It's always been a niche genre, defined by player freedom, environmental storytelling, and a lot of reading diary entries. How long can they be propped up by the fact that some designers really like making them?

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

General News

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

Details

Journey's End - Dev News

by Hiddenx, 19:32

Farflame spotted some news about the 3d side scroller RPG Journey's End on ModdDB:

Devlog #2 - Cameras

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Welcome back, Journeyers!
Today, we bring you a number of engine improvements. Most of these updates aren't super exciting from a player's perspective, but they're really important to making the game look and feel great!

[...]

General News

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

Details

Undertale - Review @ Screen Critics

by Hiddenx, 19:25

Contrary to IGN Screen Critics feels that Undertale is overrated:

Why I Feel Undertale is Overrated

Undertale is an adventure RPG styled game for the PC that has been extremely popular and loved for quite some time now. However, I have always questioned what makes this game so great compared to the other RPG titles out there. There are some issues I have personally found with the game that leads me to believe it is overrated for what it is.

My first issue with the game is the fact that it is considered an RPG despite the way the gameplay is. There are two routes a player can take within the Undertale: the Genocide route and the Pacifist route. Genocide is when the player kills every monster they encounter, and Pacifist is when the player spares every monster they come across. However, if the player takes the typical RPG Genocide route, there are consequences. I have a problem with this because a typical RPG would be for a player to defeat every single monster they encounter. However, Undertale punishes you for playing this game as a true RPG. Why consider this a true RPG if the player is punished for playing the game through as a typical RPG would be played?

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Undertale

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

Details

Warren Spector - Devs must define Success for themselves

by Hiddenx, 19:21

Warren Spector told Gamesindustry:

Devs must define success for themselves

Ahead of his keynote address at Pax Dev, the Deus Ex and System Shock designer warns that it simply isn't enough to "make a fun little game"

Like many entertainment sectors, the world of video games is a business. But it's a business ultimately driven by passionate and creative individuals. And that matters... a lot.

It's especially important to OtherSide Entertainment's Warren Spector, the industry veteran famous for designing Deus Ex, among other classics. Spector will be giving the keynote address at PAX Dev later this month (a conference that excludes the press), and he spoke with GamesIndustry.biz about the message he aims to deliver to his fellow developers.

At the heart of Spector's talk, called "Developer, Know Thyself", is the notion that creators shouldn't let the commercial side define their success. Moreover, developers should be making games that actually mean something to them.

"The big point I'm trying to make is that it isn't enough just to think, 'Oh I'm going to make a fun little game.' For the sake of developer sanity and also for the medium itself we need to be thinking a little bigger than that, and really think [about] what success means.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Non-RPG General News

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

Details

Beyond Good & Evil 2 - 7 Quick Facts

by Hiddenx, 19:12

Farflame spotted seven quick facts about Beyond Good & Evil 2 on Cultured Vultures:

Beyond Good and Evil 2: 7 Quick Facts You Should Know

A game of almost startling ambition, Beyond Good and Evil 2 is promising a lot of wild things.
They say good things come to those who wait. If you saw Michel Ancel’s reaction to the long-awaited unveiling of his Beyond and Good Evil 2 at E3 2017, you should know that a lot of patience goes a long way. There were many reveals over the three day bonanza of jumbled “exclusive” terminology, awkward YouTuber appearances, and vague promises, but not much else on display caught the attention quite like the almost mythical sequel to a cult classic getting its first exhibition after so many years of waiting.

[...]

  1. Beyond Good and Evil 2 will be a prequel
  2. Beyond Good and Evil 2 will feature character customisation
  3. Crew dynamics will be important in Beyond Good and Evil 2
  4. There will be no loading times in Beyond Good and Evil 2
  5. Beyond Good and Evil 2 features procedural generation
  6. Beyond Good and Evil 2 will have online co-op
  7. Beyond Good and Evil 2 will have plenty of RPG elements

[...]

 

Beyond Good & Evil 2

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

Details

THQ Nordic - Announce Black Mirror

by Silver, 12:31

@PCGamer THQ Nordic have announced a reboot of the gothic horror adventure Black Mirror.

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"Even players unfamiliar with the previous games in the series can also enjoy Black Mirror," so reads a statement from THQ Nordic. "The major difference between the new and old Black Mirror, apart from the modern graphics of course, will be a new gameplay element: interaction with vision-like apparitions."

Speaking to that last part, said vision-like apparitions will help players learn more about the past of the protagonist's family as the game's eerie atmosphere echoes the style of Edgar Allan Poe and HP Lovecraft. 

Not much more to go on for now, however Black Mirror is due November 28, 2017. More information can be found via its official site.

THQ Nordic

Details

RPGWatch - Maintenance - Finished

by Myrthos, 10:33

Update: Maintenance has been completed.

We will be performing some maintenance today at 13:00 CEST / 7 am EDT / 9 pm WST.

It should not take long in theory, but as has happened before theory is failing sometimes and it might take up to an hour.

RPGWatch

Details

Vaporum - Development has Finished

by Myrthos, 09:34

The devs of Vaporum announced that the game is done. Normally that is accompanied with a release date, but not in this case as they are still working with some PR people on gaining momentum before the game is released, which might be somewhere in September.

We are very sorry for not posting for a while about the project, but the amount of focus we put into the game instead of writing about it was time well spent!

The game is done!

You can expect an announcement about the release date in the coming weeks.

These past two years have been a rollercoaster ride for us. We’ve fought on many winning fronts and it looks like the fight is nearly over. There are just a few slain foes who are here and there sticking out the fingers from their coffins:

  • Fixing a few remaining bugs.
  • Balancing the game difficulty.
  • General polishing of the game.

These are basically done, but we are still vigilant to possible issues that might come at us from the dark depths of quality assurance.

We are also preparing the PR for the release in cooperation with pros in the field, which is, really, a new experience for us. We want to make sure everyone who might like our game will get to know about it — this is something you can help us with by sharing information about us.

There is a lot of organizational stuff that has still to be taken care of and since there are just 4 of us in the team + some help from external contributors, we ask for your patience. We are aware that we are hugely behind schedule, but we are planning to release the game ASAP, and September looks like a promising estimation.

Thanks Hurls!

Vaporum

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

Details

ICY - Released

by Myrthos, 09:30

Daveyd reminded us that ICY: Frostbite Edition has been released on Steam a few days ago.

ICY: Frostbite Edition is now available! Press on install and download it, we are eager to know what you think about it!

Bugs have been squashed! Mechanics have been improved! The game changed a lot!

You can find a massive changelog clicking here![www.innervoid.net]

The game has currently a 25% discount.

ICY

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

Details

Larian Studios - RPG Player Survey Results

by Myrthos, 09:27

The results of the Larian Studios RPG player survey are in. It is a PDF that can be found on Google Docs.

One of the things that I noticed in it was that the majority of responders don't think co-op is that important in a game (it is listed twice, so not sure what to make of that) and that there is a preference for story-rich games with a focus on character progression and tactical combat. So, that would be Original Sin without co-op?

Thanks Hurls!

Larian Studios

Details

Pillars of Eternity II - Update 39

by Myrthos, 09:17

Here is a new update for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, which contains a summary of things that have already been reported before, via blogs and social media.

We're back with another episode of 'From the Feed of the Director.' This time we have a few surprises for you, as we look into our internal Obsidian blogs and pull out only the juiciest insights. You'll also get some information on some of the things that Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Game Director, Josh Sawyer, has shared on social media as well, for the gadfly-types among you.

In this video (all footage is work in progress) :

  • "This ship's wheel is too damn big!"
  • Bombs of the Deadfire - to throw or not to throw?
  • Guns Work Best When You Line Up and Everyone Shoots at Once, by Ulysses S. Magran
  • Dancin' and barfin'
  • Yes, Josh's cat is in the game again

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Pillars of Eternity II

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

Details

Tuesday - August 15, 2017

West of Loathing - Review @ Bleeding Cool

by Hiddenx, 17:21

Bleeding Cool has reviewed the Western RPG West of Loathing:

This Paper Town Ain’t Big Enough: We Review ‘West Of Loathing’

I really love playing games that don’t take themselves too seriously. Not so much to the point of breaking the fourth wall (with some exceptions who get it right), but at least taking whatever genre they have and making fun of the idea while also making it an interesting game. The Kingdom Of Loathing was one of those games where you got to play an RPG in a stick-figure world where it poked fun at the genre and some of the absurdity of it, but also gave you a great adventure to embark upon. Asymmetric has now created a sequel of sorts called West of Loathing, which I happily got to play for review.

[...]

West of Loathing is one of the best indie titles of the year, hands down. It’s an awesome experience and made me want to go back and play it again, choosing a different horse and side character. Even with its flaws, this was a fantastic experience with great replay value, as no two adventures can be the same once you make the early choices. I loved playing it so much that I didn’t care how many hours I spent glued to the screen. I highly recommend it both for the humor and the gameplay. West of Loathing is a must for RPG fans, and something so simplistic in nature that casual gamers will enjoy it, too.

Score: 10/10

 

West of Loathing

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

Details

Undertale - Review @ IGN

by Hiddenx, 17:14

IGN reviewed Undertale - and it got a perfect 10:

Undertale Review

Undertale’s clever understanding of the RPG mindset and fantastic writing make it an unforgettable experience unique to games.

I finished my first playthrough of Undertale in stunned silence. My journey had begun with dumb puns and silly puzzles, but the end affected me in a way I never expected. That’s kind of Undertale’s specialty — playing with our expectations of what an RPG should be, subverting them, and using them to drive a story unique to what games can do. Its strong writing, integration of gameplay with storytelling, and acute understanding of its audience all build to something that surprises at every turn.

[...]

The Verdict

It's hard to express just how much I adore Undertale without spoiling anything significant, but that's what I love about it. It tells its story in such a dynamic way, and with such a great understanding of the RPG player’s mindset, that it couldn’t have been told in any other way. It's a masterfully crafted experience that I won't forget any time soon.

Score: 10/10
It might not be pretty, but Undertale is absolutely a work of art.

 

Undertale

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

Details