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Picture Watch

Blackguards 2
Box Art

Poll Watch

Name Our Place in Realms Beyond
Eald Waecce
5.8%

The Watcher's Guild
7.25%

The Watching Eye
4.35%

The Watchers' Rest
52.17%

The Watchers' Place
1.45%

The Watchhouse
7.25%

The Vigilant Watcher
1.45%

The End-of-Watch Tavern
10.14%

The House of the Lost Souls
2.9%

I know a better name
7.25%

Vote

Saturday - February 16, 2019

Hazardous Space - Version 1.0 Released

by Silver, 08:59

Hazardous Space is a Roguelike 2D turn-based action game with RPG elements and has recently reached version 1.0.

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A dangerous survival adventure in space station labirynths. Turn-based combat, character progression, the atmosphere of impending threat. Collect and modify weapons, stock up on ammunition and first-aid kits, use your brain and think two steps ahead. Between you and the exit from the station - a horde of enemies who know nothing about fear or mercy.

Features

Unravel Mystery of the Wanderer Station

The "Wanderer" station is full of secrets for you to uncover. Perhaps, that's how we will find out what happened there and how the arrival of Max is connected with that. Or maybe not only that. The main thing to survive!

Whole Station of Labyrinths and Traps

If you think that the layout of the premises in the future will cease to be the fruit of the maniacal misanthrope's sick mind - you are deeply mistaken. Max will have to wade through the mazes, crowded with traps, enemies and other surprises. A simple straight path is for wimps!

Craft System and Resource Management

From rusty knuckles to super-mega-blaster - feel like a master gunsmith! And do not forget about your battlesuit: it makes you strong, dexterous, skillful - demanding energy instead. Lots of energy. Tons of energy!

Wide Selection of Weapons

If the enemy is unresting - provide him with the eternal rest! For this, there's a whole arsenal of various weapons at the "Wanderer" station. Grenades, machine guns, brass knuckles, pistols... Not enough? Each weapon can have an elemental damage module!

Hordes of Diverse Enemies

Zombies, mutants, mutant zombies, monsters from laboratories, zombie monsters from laboratories ... Max and you are not going to get bored!

High Replayability

Have you explored the station, remembered the compartments' layout, taken notes of the traps and stashes? Here's a new walkthrough for you! Each new attempt feels like the first time, cause the levels are generated procedurally.

Story:

It's 2115. Something terrible has happened on board the research space station Wanderer, and the former space marine Max Carnage becomes an unwilling participant in these events. To survive, he will need to remember his military past.

Thanks Farflame!

General News

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

Details

Outward - Interview @thexboxhub

by Silver, 08:47

The developers of Outward were interviewed by the XBOX Hub.

Are there any benefits to passing things down to the next generation of your family? Or is it simply a way of introducing a new-game+ type affair to the game?

The legacy system is not something we are detailing much at the moment as I want to see how quickly the players will get it and start using it, but I can say that essentially yes, it serves the purpose of a New Game + type of experience.

Often in games that bring magic into combat, we find that later on the magic aspects simply reach near overpowered levels. Is this the case in Outward and if not how have you ensured that traditional combat and magic remain fair and equal?

Magic in Outward comes at a very real cost of permanently sacrificing maximum health and stamina. The reduction of stamina is especially painful as it means less dodging, sprinting or attacking. Equipment that increases magical power also offer less protection against physical attacks. Moreover, magic is very resource intensive, usually requiring to use up magical components. Overall, there are situations in which mages are better and others in which warriors are better suited. It is also possible to play a hybrid character. What matters is always whether or not you are well prepared before heading down into combat, and this is true for both approaches.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Outward

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

Details

Mad Princess: The Great Gladiators - Now Available

by Silver, 08:37

TheGG reports that Mad Princess: The Great Gladiators is now available on DLSite. The game is described as a gladiator role-playing game.

January 11th, 2019, Tokyo – The English translated version of independent developer Atorasoft’s gladiator role-playing game “Mad Princess: The Great Gladiators” is now available for sale on DLsite and is planned to be released on Steam.

Developer Comment:
“YOU, the player, will not be restricted by a single story. In this RPG you can enjoy a ‘free-scenario’ where you are at liberty to adventure and play as you please.

The battle and exploration controls are straightforward, allowing the player to enjoy the content many times in a smooth and hassle-free manner.
We sincerely hope you enjoy our game!”

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

General News

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

Details

The Outer Worlds - Play Your Way

by Silver, 06:35

GameInformer talked with Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarksy about how The Outer Worlds lets you play your way.

While the story does have choices and characters at different places along the good/evil spectrum, The Outer Worlds isn’t necessarily about picking a moral alignment and sticking to it. ‘It’s not “here’s the good choice, here’s the bad one,’” Cain says. “Instead, it’s like, ‘You could this or this. This will cause X, this will cause Y. You decide what you care about.’”

“But it’s not always extreme gray areas,” Boyarsky clarifies.

“What if the more evil choice has an obviously better outcome?” Cain says. “What if more people are saved by the evil choice? But it’s evil! But the result is better! Is it a worse choice? I don’t know if you can solve morality with arithmetic, but there are some things in the game where you’re like, ‘I am not sure if this is bad.’”

[...]

The Outer Worlds

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

Details

Pillars of Eternity II - Survey on Turn-Based Mode

by Silver, 06:33

Obsidian wants your opinion on the turn-based mode for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Fill out the survey if you are interested, before February 21st 2019.

In case you haven't heard, we released a new and completely free combat system to Deadfire last month!

While it's still in its beta form and we are thankful for any and all feedback you may have given us so far, we hope you might be able to take a few minutes to fill out the following survey regarding Deadfire!

The survey will close on February 21, 2019, so please don't wait!

Also, we'd love it if you'd share the survey with any friends who are also fans of ours.

As you are the backbone of our Deadfire audience, we value your time and thoughts immensely, and your completion of this questionnaire would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much for participating, and for being a fan of Obsidian.

Pillars of Eternity II

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

Details

Friday - February 15, 2019

Underworld Ascendant - Player Journey & Gameplay Improvements

by Silver, 19:27

Update 2 for Underworld Ascendant has been released.

Update 2 - Player Journey & Gameplay Improvements

Underworld Ascendant
Update 2 Build Notes


Thank you for your continued support of Underworld Ascendant!

We have been hard at work on Update 2 and have focused our efforts on the overall structure of the Abyss, the player journey, AI and other gameplay improvements. We believe these changes will significantly improve the overall player experience, especially when starting a new game.

We hope you enjoy this update and please continue to provide your feedback.

The Stygian Abyss renovated

  • The world is now a series of interconnected levels, accessible through The Grand Staircase. Updated quest flow now focuses on important narrative quests that highlight both new and refined story and content, while allowing the player to freely explore the environment and optional side-quests.
  • As a result of this major change, we highly recommend that you start a new game to experience it. That said, if you want to start from where you left off, your old save games will still work and you will start at a roughly similar place in the new story progression.

Player experience improvements highlights

  • Updated enemy patrol paths and lighting pass in all levels to enhance tactical stealth gameplay, and enemy population overhaul/refinements on all main quests.
  • New and streamlined story elements along main critical path, with supplemental story elements moved to explorable space.
  • The Vault of Nyx, the final level encounter, gameplay and clarity improvements.

Meta Game updates

  • The Doom Counter has been refined to better ramp the type and difficulty of creatures that appear, and now allows players to complete the game without having to set it back more than once in an average playthrough.
  • Players no longer need to gain Faction Favor or Influence to trigger the final encounter of the game, though Faction Favor still provides benefits in trade.
  • New games can now choose a difficulty level. All old save games will be treated as “Normal” difficulty.

Save Game System

We made some additional enhancements and refinements to the save game system based on your feedback:

  • Players can now use F5 to quick save and F9 to quick load said quick save.
  • Players are now asked for confirmation if they are about to overwrite an existing save.
  • Clarity pass on the text in the Save menu to improve usability.
  • Also a load game panel clarity pass. It will also now show difficulty of each save game.

AI

  • Updated enemy patrol paths and AI behavior models to improve their reaction to player actions
  • Enemies will no longer do more than one in-combat emote in a row, which makes them much more aggressive.
  • Enemies will flee less often than before.
  • Animuses now alert all nearby undead when they are being attacked.
  • Lizardmen casters will no longer cast while on the ground or getting up.
  • Lizardmen will now be more aggressive.
  • Better wandering for deep slugs and rats.
  • Skeletons will no longer attack torches that damage them. Also reduced torch damage radius for when creatures walk by them.
  • Enemies now have more personality in their idle time.

Loot and Items

  • Standard trunks are now smaller to reflect that they don’t hold treasure on the level of the mighty Typhon chests. Removed the sparkly “treasure” effect when you open a trunk. Celebrations are for actual treasure chests.
  • Trunks that are too low-level to hold much loot will now (rather than being so empty) have more filler items such as pots, which will sometimes contain coins.
  • Clarity pass on item descriptions to make it easier to understand what they do.
  • Magical items now have a different color name so they stand out more in your inventory.
  • Player’s speed percentage is now listed in the inventory screen so you can tell if items you have equipped are slowing you down (or speeding you up).
  • Item tooltips for equipment that improves the wearer’s armor percentage now include a notation about that.
  • Updated Aelita’s trade menu to make it easier to understand how much silver you will get for a trade, and how much silver Aelita has available to trade.
  • When you mouse over an item, it will be compared to the same type of item you have equipped, if any.
  • Right clicking on items in your inventory behaves the same as double clicking. This also applies to trade where it will move it to/from the offer table.
  • When moving a stack of items within their inventory, the player is no longer prompted to pick how many they like to move. To see that pop up, hold down shift and click on the stack of items.
[...]

Underworld Ascendant

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

Details

Anthem - Live Action Trailer

by Silver, 18:58

DSOGaming reports on a live action trailer for Anthem.

Electronic Arts has collaborated with Oats Studios and Neill Blomkamp for a live-action trailer for Bioware’s upcoming multiplayer title, Anthem. This trailer showcases a story of survival set in the world of Anthem, decades before the events of the game, and looks absolutely phenomenal.

[...]

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Anthem

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

Details

Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Character Design

by Myrthos, 10:16

On IndieDB the complete character design development blogs (four in total) have been posted for Vagrus: The Riven Realms.

The vast majority of the characters you see revealed are enemy characters, even if sometimes they can be allies in the game for short periods of time (or versions of them, anyways). Although Events will involve these enemy characters often, you will mainly see them as shown in the artwork in turn-based combat. All of them have their unique combat skills and synergies with other enemies.

The other category is Companions. Companions in Vagrus are full-fledged, named characters with varied backgrounds, skills, alignments, and personalities (for example, Javek or Sedarias). Each of them can join your comitatus and do various things for you:

  • They can fight for you in combat. Each of them have combat skills that you can use to defeat your enemies. Their stats and skills can be upgraded using your own Insight, essentially levelling them up. With each level up, you can give them new perks and improve their combat skills.
  • Each companion has their own personal storyline you can follow. These stories can go in different directions, eventually upgrading the companion and driving the overall narrative. You can also talk to them at camp and learn more about them, their goals, dreams, past, and so on.
  • Companions can also fill special roles in the comitatus, becoming what we call Deputies. Essentially, Deputies are your officers and most trusted traveling companions. Each of these positions can be filled by a single available Companion and the filled position provides you with passive and active boons. For example, having a Companion as a Scout Master gives you bonuses to Movement Points, raises the chances of successful scouting and improves the quality of information gathered from scouting.
  • Each Companion and Deputy position also allows you additional choices in certain Events you come across, widening your chances to successfully navigate these stories.

Vagrus: The Riven Realms

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

Details

Edge Of Eternity - Plains of Solna

by Myrthos, 10:05

Plains of Solna is the second chapter of Edge of Eternity, which is currently in Early Access. Plains of Solna will be made available on March 6th.

The Plains of Solna is the second out of the four major expansions currently announced for the game early access. It will add hours of new story content and massively expand the game world. Edge of Eternity is currently in Early Access and will fully launch and come to consoles next year.

  • The Plains of Solna - Chapter 2 update highlights:
  • The tale continues: Hours of new story content await as Daryon and
    Selene confront both the ghosts of their pasts and decade-old rivals as
    they try to reach the Priestess' elusive master, Alpharius
  • Explore the parts of the world: Visit new landmarks like the Lighthouse and the Cave and discover new areas that will double the size of the game world to 18.000 square m2
  • Ride a Nekaroo: The cute companion Nekaroo makes its debut and can carry you through the world
  • Many more surprises: New monsters, new weapons, new quests, new characters... and a few surprises along the way.

The Plains of Solna update will be released for free for all owners of the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity.

Edge Of Eternity

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

Details

Grimshade - Gameplay Trailer

by Silver, 09:50

A new gameplay trailer for Grimshade.

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Grimshade is a turn-based role-playing game inspired by JRPG of the 90s, featuring a tactical combat system and a grim story of war and personal choices.

Grimshade

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

Details

Blue Bottle Games - Announce Ostranauts

by Silver, 09:35

Blue Bottle Games, the makers of Neo Scavenger, have announced noir spaceship-life simulator Ostranauts. The game is due late 2019.

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Ostranauts is a detailed simulation of owning and living aboard a spaceship, in a solar system where honest living is a slow death sentence. Set in the NEO Scavenger universe, where Earth has suffered cataclysmic collapse, the rest of the System lives on in a state of capitalistic dystopia.

Players will create their captain, build or customize their starting ship from the spoils of their career history, and find ways to keep their motley crew in line, fuel in their tanks, food on their plates, and the debt collectors at bay.

Detailed Custom Ship Design

Players can build their ship, in any shape, from functioning modular parts. The parts have physical properties, interact with each other, and can wear out over time.

Crew Needs

Crew members have physiological and emotional needs, ranging from basal needs like food, water, oxygen, and temperature, to more esoteric needs like privacy, security, intimacy, and esteem.

Systems Management

Ostranauts is a detailed simulation, with many interdependent systems. Players will have to manage supplies, emotions, power grids, finances, security, social ties, and more to keep their enterprise alive, both literally and figuratively.

Crew AI

Each crew member runs an AI that is constantly making choices based on their current needs and past experience. If one colleague is consistently comforting, and another threatening, an AI will seek out the former when they need security.

Rich, Drip-Fed Lore

Just like in NEO Scavenger, the game is rich with hidden lore for those who want to seek it. Colonies and factions have long histories. Everyday products have brands and marketing. Unexplained phenomena have rumors echoing through the media and hidden files. And for those that don't care, it doesn't get in the way.

Hard-ish Science

The tech-level in Ostranauts is near-future, but plausible. There is no faster-than-light travel, no sound in a void, no dogfighting, nor force fields. On the other hand, some ultra tech exists for the purposes of aesthetics and storytelling. E.g. fusion efficiency, cooling, and shielding are enhanced. FTL texting is possible (albeit expensive and low-bandwidth). And the unexplained supernatural events seen in NEO Scavenger are not limited to Earth.

Low-Stress Controls and Pace

The challenge of Ostranauts is in the decisions it presents, not the player's endurance or reaction time. It plays in real-time with pause and fast-forward, to allow players to play at their own pace (similar to other management sims). Players should be able to take a break when they need to, and resume later. Similarly, players can fast-forward if they get bored, with the game auto-stopping when something requires the player's attention.

Original Soundtrack by Josh Culler

Josh Culler, composer of the haunting NEO Scavenger soundtrack, is back again with an all-new body of work, specifically crafted for Ostranauts.

Modding Support

Most of the game's data is in plain-text files for easy access. Modders who want to make their experience more unique will be able to edit a wide variety of game data.

Blue Bottle Games

Details

Thursday - February 14, 2019

Phantom Doctrine - Patch 1.1

by Hiddenx, 21:36

Henriquejr spotted update 1.1 for Phantom Doctrine:

Greetings, Agents!

We are back with another patch for Phantom Doctrine, this time introducing Update 1.1!

You will finally be able to alter the foundations of your spy agency by meddling with our declassified parameter sheets, and include some of your own ideas, based on a guide we've put together for you. Update 1.1 also includes additional Investigation Board content, improved support for ultrawide resolutions, minor improvements and bugfixes listed below.

As always, we sincerely hope that you'll enjoy the new possibilities, and the entire Team wants to express its gratitude for your ongoing support. Stay vigilant, Agents!

Mod support

  • A plethora of game parameters can now be accessed and modded via .csv files to provide new gameplay experience with Phantom Doctrine
  • Custom agent portraits can be loaded into the game
  • Standard enemies can have their outfit presets changed
  • You may modify images, texts and parameters of the existing sidestories or even create your new sidestory events to add some interesting context to the main plot
  • You may modify all in-game text or create your own localization, however, it will be a bit more tricky


All the details concerning modding and localization can be found here.

Improvements & added content

  • Additional variants of Investigation Board snippets and new satellite photos
  • Improvements to the already available names and surnames for Agents of various nationalities, and addition of new ones for more variety
  • Cabal and Beholder Agents were subject to some body engineering treatments and had their stats balanced
  • The Point of Interest popup on the World Map now displays the maximum number of Agents that may embark on a given Assault Mission
  • Agents carrying bodies have been trained to open and close doors on demand
  • VFX tweaks for weapon muzzle flashes and explosions


Bugfixes:

  • The "plant explosives" mission type is now always loaded with the appropriate non-story levels
  • Bargain ability Damage Threshold tooltip is now consistent with the actual boosted value (50DT instead of 200DT)
  • Alt-tabbing while having the gamepad selected as the primary input device no longer causes the game to receive additional input from the mouse
  • Workshop’s crafting assignment button states should now be more consistent with other facilities
  • Tiles no longer guarded by enemy units after the effect of the Distract ability fades are not marked as dangerous anymore
  • Fixed: The issue of agents being sometimes blurred out in the Forger’s Agent Customization screen
  • The game can now be launched also in 3840x1080, 3440x1440 and 2560x1080 resolutions, providing proper access to the Main Menu
  • All loading screens should be now properly displayed in ultrawide resolutions
  • All Investigation Board files and snippets regardless of the chosen language are now properly displayed and accessible also in the 1280x1024 resolution
  • Fixed: A rare occurrence in which enemy agents who were supposed to enable the CCTV systems were not only disabling them, but also hijacking the game camera altogether, resulting in a softlock
  • Various text and localization fixes

Phantom Doctrine

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

Details

Enderal - Forgotten Stories released

by Hiddenx, 20:58

The Skyrim mod Enderal - Forgotten Stories is now released on Steam:

Enderal: Forgotten Stories

Feature List

  • An open world with its own lore and hand-crafted, detailed and diverse landscapes – explore deserts, heathlands, forests, jungles, mountains, and more.
  • An unconventional story with believable characters and psychological undercurrents.
  • German and English voice acting by professional voice over artists.
  • Multi-faceted, believable characters with own ambitions and motivations.
  • Overhauled gameplay with classes, experience points, survival mechanics and challenging combat.
  • An overhauled skill system with classes and new special abilities.
  • A housing system allowing the player to design their own homes.
  • 30 to 125 hours of expected playtime.


Added in Forgotten Stories

  • Two "crafting classes" that utilize alchemy and enchanting for combat – use potions to shapeshift into a werewolf as the Lycantrope, use enchanting to craft spirit companions as the Phasmalist.
  • Improved performance and stability for a smooth experience.
  • Twelve new sidequests and two non-linear guild questlines: Work your way up the Golden Sickle, Enderal's merchants guild and infiltrate the ranks of the Rhalâta, the enigmatic cult ruling the Undercity.
  • Reworked and improved crafting, spells, and much more.
Thanks porcozaur!

Enderal

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

Details

Kickstarter Games - Crossroads Inn

by Silver, 11:28

Crossroads Inn is a real time management sim set in an original fantasy world of Delcryson. The game is currently on Kickstarter and already has a Steam page.

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In Crossroads Inn, you play as an owner of a tavern located in the heart of a fantasy land of Delcrys. Your tavern is situated directly next to borders of three powerful kingdoms, on the crossroads of the biggest trade routes. You face quite a challenge - how to survive in these difficult economic conditions and transform this run-down dive into a prosperous business? How to make your tavern become the topic of conversation not only for juicers and drunkards, but also rich men and nobility?

You will be able to freely build and expand your tavern,  offer services for the guests, manage the workers, fight for prestige and renown. Only you can decide, if you want to create a natty harbor for scheming “Seers” and exquisite aristocracy, or a nasty den for thieves and assassins from the “Aviary”.

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

RPGWatch Feature - Vigilantes Review

by Myrthos, 11:19

Here is Forgottenlor's take on Vigilantes, which he found to be competent, but limited in scope.

The new X-COM (2012) showed that there was a market for turn based tactical games, and since then a number of indie developers either inspired by the remake of such classics as the original X-COM and Jagged Alliance have tried their hand at tactical games with varying degrees of success. Vigilantes is one of the latest of those attempts. To its credit Vigilantes tries something a little different, as its cast of protagonists aren't soldiers, but a small group of private citizens who have declared war on the gangs which have control of their city. Vigilantes avoids the apocalyptic mood that runs through a lot of tactics game, preferring a pulp fiction approach with a set cast of characters. Vigilantes was made by a small dedicated indie team, who managed to put out an extremely competent game, but one limited in scope.

Vigilantes

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

Details

Tokyo RPG Factory - Announce ONINAKI

by Silver, 11:06

Action RPG ONINAKI has been announced for Switch, PS4 and PC.

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Players assume the role of a Watcher named Kagachi, doing battle by “manifesting” the souls of Daemons, which act as the classes found in traditional roleplaying games.

Each Daemon has its own unique weapons and skills, and players can shift between them in real time to gain the upper hand in battle. Moving between the Living World and the realm of the dead known as the Beyond, Kagachi must save the souls of the Lost, as the story of life and reincarnation in this wondrous kingdom unfolds.

ONINAKI is coming to Nintendo Switch this summer.

Tokyo RPG Factory

Details

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - Release Window Trailer

by Silver, 09:33

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will release Summer 2019 for PC.

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Launching Summer 2019!

Igavania is back in Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night - a 2.5D sidescrolling gothic action RPG from the godfather of the genre, Koji Igarashi.

Fight, Craft and Explore as you battle endless demons and race to save yourself, and the world, from the encroaching darkness.

Discover multiple playable characters, branching ending paths, tons of bosses, the biggest Igavania castle ever, and hundreds of spells, weapons, enemies, loot and cosmetic customizations!

Oh btw: we got celebrity voice actors like David Hayter (Snake – Metal Gear) and a live orchestra soundtrack composed by the legendary Michiru Yamane…just saying…

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night

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

Details

Druidstone - Randomness

by Silver, 06:57

A new update for Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest focuses on randomness.

Randomness

First of all apologies for the long break since the last blog update. Unfortunately the realities of game development, or really the crunch mode where we have been for the past months, has meant that we had to sacrifice updating the blog in order to concentrate fully on development. Now as we are gearing towards beta and finally the launch, we’d like to get to blogging more often… Well, let’s see how that goes!

Ok, that thing sorted out, let’s talk about today’s subject, which is randomness as a game design concept and how it affects Druidstone. Randomness can be found in many places and in many forms in a game. For example, are levels fixed or randomly generated (tried that, didn’t work for us)? Are combat values such as hit chance, damage, damage reduction and so on random numbers or fixed? Are enemies in levels randomized? What about loot drops and items? Is enemy AI based on random behavior or do they follow strict deterministic rules? Each of these questions can be answered independently, so you end up with a design space with a large number of different combinations, each with their own feel and effect on gameplay.

Even if it would be feasible to test every possible combination (it’s NOT), it’s not clear cut which particular combition is the best. So at this point it’s the job of the game developer to put the game designer hat on and apply some good game design principles… which usually really means making “intelligent guesses” based on the game designer’s preferences and experiences!

One interesting thought experiment is how far can you push on the extremes. What if everything was purely random? That would probably be a very chaotic experience, and a poor match for our goal of making a deeply tactical game. A more appropriate question in our case would be: what would a game without any random factors be like, where everything except the players input is basically predetermined? On the surface several games seem to be like that. For example, games like Into the Breach (an absolute masterpiece btw!), chess and Solitaire seem to have no randomness. But looking deeper even these games have randomness. In Into the Breach enemy moves seem to be randomly determined, which leads to surprising moments. In chess the decisions of the opponent, how he or she moves the pieces, while not necessary determined by a random process, provide unpredictability for the other player. In Solitaire the deck of cards is in a random order. The point of randomness in games is to produce unexpected events because unpredictability and being surprised is fun. I believe all games have some sort of randomness built in. If they don’t they cease to be games and become pure puzzles. In fact, a definition of a puzzle could be “a game without random elements” (this definition is problematic though: defining a game is even harder problem).

Ok, what does this all got to do with Druidstone? Hold on, we are getting there! For Druidstone the most important design decisions we have to make regarding randomness are:

1. Are the levels fixed or randomly generated?
2. Combat values (hit chance, damage, etc.): fixed or not?
3. Fixed or random loot?
4. Should enemies follow strict rules or be based on random numbers?

There are others but I think these are the most important ones, which have the biggest impact on gameplay.

Random level generation we have already scrapped and this has been covered in previous blog posts.

For the combat rules, we have actually tried both random and fixed variations. The initial design, following our initial gut feeling, was to make combat values, like damage and to-hit, randomly varying like in most RPGs. But once we tried constant values and set hit chance to always be 100%, the nature of the combat changed. Most importantly combat without random modifiers support planning and tactics better and using hero abilities in combos is more practical because you know the outcome of your actions. Druidstone does not have an initiative system, so you can activate your heroes in any order and interleave actions of your heroes any way you want. This combined with the no random numbers approach to combat rules turns the battles into sort of mini-puzzles, which we find more interesting than statistical approach. Using your limited resources and abilities becomes an integral part of solving these puzzles. For example, the thought process while playing could be “Ok, gee, there’s no way I can defeat that Dark Knight with high armor value… Hmm… maybe if Leonhard first charges and pushes him to Oiko’s range, then Oiko can teleport the Dark Knight on that trap, which explodes at the end of heroes round. But wait! To do that Aava needs to clear these critters first because they are blocking Oiko…” And so on. Written like this it may sound complicated, but with aids such as visualizing the outcome of attacks, enemy statistics being open information and being able to see enemy reaches, it becomes intuitive and natural.

[...]

Druidstone

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

Details

Wednesday - February 13, 2019

System Shock 3 - Still Publisher Interest

by Silver, 20:27

VG24/7 reports that there is still publisher interest in a System Shock 3.

Update: VG247 reached out to Otherside Entertainment for comment on the ongoing development of System Shock 3.

“Thanks for reaching out and for your concern,” studio director Warren Spector said via email. “That being said, I’m not sure how concerned you ought to be. Tumultuous times are pretty common in the game business – tumultuous isn’t so bad! We parted ways with Starbreeze (amicably) which means we are in the process of lining up a new publishing partner. Happily, given the pedigree of System Shock and the progress we’ve made so far there’s already a lot of interest.

[...]

System Shock 3

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

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Metro Exodus - Reviews

Non-RPG General News

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

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Assassin's Creed: Odyssey - February Update

by Silver, 19:54

Wccftech reports on what the February update for Assassin's Creed: Odyssey will contain.

Ubisoft shared all the details on the planned Assassin’s Creed Odyssey February update. These include the awaited New Game Plus mode, a level cap increase, a new episode of the ‘Lost Tales of Greece’ story and several new items. Check out the full lowdown below.

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[...]

Assassin's Creed: Odyssey

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

Details

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus - Update 1.1.3

by Silver, 11:56

The latest update for Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus sees Linux and MacOS support. Additionally the Unity Engine has been updated.

1.1.3 + Mac OS X + Linux + Unity Engine

Great news! Mechanicus is now fully supporting MacOS and Linux.

Unity Engine update

Not groundbreaking, but if it's better... then it can't be worse, right?

Patch 1.1.3 - the clean up servitor

There have been some none critical bugs just scrapping-up our precious code for some time now. It's probably fair to say that this patch deals with a fair share of those issues.

As you may or may not know (still new fans every day :steamhappy:) you can find all Patch notes in our ChangeLog[docs.google.com].

What's Next?

We'll be really secretive about the details right now, but here's a Necron Skeleton outline for you.
- An update that will deliver a custom difficulty challenge for all
- more content! (Troops, a discipline, environment and more)
- more polishing... because we can!

Another Thank YOU

Thank you all for the kind words you still keep sharing with us. We just can't get over how much you all appreciate the game we have created and we cannot be more satisfied.

Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus

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

Details

THQ Nordic - Acquires Warhorse Studios

by Silver, 10:06

@DSOGaming THQ Nordic has acquired Warhorse Studios who were responsible for Kingdom Come: Deliverance.

THQ Nordic/Koch Media announced that it has acquired award-winning Warhorse Studios, the studio behind Kingdom Come: Deliverance. Warhorse and Koch Media have also announced that the title has sold over 2 million copies across all platforms by now.

[...]

THQ Nordic

Details

Encased - White Swan Station

by Silver, 03:26

A new update for Encased looks at White Swan Station.

Encased Kickstarter Update #30: White Swan Station

Posted by Dark Crystal Games (Creator)

CRONUS Foundation was actively exploring, and exploiting, the Dome right up until the Incident. Thanks to Blue Wing’s efforts, roads traversed the sands, settlements blossomed, and research complexes arose alongside the mysterious edifices of the Forefathers. Some of these facilities subsided deep underground, a strange predilection of the ancient race.

Some even survived the Incident, and a few survived more or less intact.

Bunkers. Who among us fans of the post-apocalyptic genre doesn’t like a bunker? Preferably ancient, dilapidated, and abandoned. Or on the contrary, well maintained and populated. Encased provides plenty of options - for every taste.

In such locations one may stumble upon rich rewards. Or perhaps run into trouble. Or reveal a secret of the ruined world. Or all of the above!

White Swan Research Station is just such a place.

*** ***

Soon after the Incident, local scientists decided they had the brains and the resources to go it alone. The head of the base, Vera Dammerung, overrode the complex’s security systems, drove out the Blacks and the Silvers, and imposed severe restrictions on access.

However, it is still possible to penetrate the station. If the guy manning the intercom buys your story, or you are a genius at persuasion, or convince them you make a better ally than enemy - the main gates will swiftly open. The point is not to overdo it. Scientists typically avoid physical conflict, and the guards here are all automated, robotic - which means they are ever vigilant and have no concept of mercy.

But you can also rely on cunning and ingenuity. There is a second, hidden entrance within a labyrinth of nearby caves. If you successfully navigate those narrow stone passages, bypassing the traps and defeating your opponents, in the deepest recess of the caverns you will find a back door to the bunker. However you will likely have to do some talking there as well.

But it's worth it. A handful of former White Wing employees have something else to offer: crazy theories, stories of academic squabbles, violent struggle, and a massive cover-up... In other words, a run-of-the-mill scientific community, multiplied by a high-tech sci-fi future, flavored with the grim spirit of the post-apocalypse.

For example, you might try to solve a dilemma for two former colleagues. They each accuse the other of villainy, deceit, sabotage and -more seriously- coffee theft. But dig deeper and you’ll find out there’s more, and not much of it related to science (yes, a woman is involved, one with a good old-fashioned dark past).

Having earned the favor of the bunker’s inhabitants, the hero will gain access to rare, experimental equipment, as well as upgrades made possible with the assistance of certain specialists. The station scientists will also buy advanced relics at a good price. Speaking the language of RPGs, White Swan is a hub for high-level weapons and armor, and interesting quests.

[...]

Encased

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

Details

Tuesday - February 12, 2019

Phoenix Point - Interview @ PC Gamer

by Hiddenx, 19:30

PC Gamer has interviewed Julian Gollop about his new game Phoenix Point:

Phoenix Point is X-COM creator Julian Gollop's vision of a grand strategy game

We speak to the creator about how his new turn-based game is coming together.

The permafrost has melted, unleashing a terrifying alien virus. An eerie mist rolls across the planet, compelling people to wander into the ocean, where they emerge as hideous, mutated monsters. The world is a mess, and in turn-based strategy game Phoenix Point, it’s your job to clean it up.

“When the game starts in 2047, most of humanity has been killed, abducted, or transformed into alien monstrosities,” says lead designer Julian Gollop, who is best known for creating the original X-COM series. “But there are a few isolated groups that have managed to survive.”

“The Phoenix Project organisation you’re the leader of is very diminished,” he says. “You’re being attacked on all sides by various different powers. But out of the ashes of the devastation of the virus, which comes to be known as the Pandora virus, there comes a number of charismatic leaders who claim their factions will be able to rebuild the world and make it better.”

Julian Gollop has been making strategy games for decades, from Laser Squad and Rebelstar Raiders in the ’80s, to bringing the legendary X-COM series to the world’s attention in the ’90s. That’s the old X-COM, with a dash after the X, rather than Firaxis’ recent (and equally superb) reboot, XCOM. But Phoenix Point seems to be bigger, grander, and more ambitious than anything he’s done before, and I ask what inspired him to start the project.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Phoenix Point

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

Details

Slay the Spire - Review @ Polygon

by Hiddenx, 19:24

Polygon has reviewed the turn-based deck-building rogue-like Slay the Spire:

Slay the Spire is my favorite game to lose

When all else fails, inspect your deck

Overcoming the odds and learning from constant failure are at the heart of roguelite games. Victories are few and far between, and the fun is found in the struggle to adapt to an ever-changing game. When I started playing Slay the Spire, a deck-building roguelite now available on Windows PC, I assumed the game would follow the same sort of progression. However, after 10 hours, I learned that mastering Slay the Spire doesn’t come through learning the game’s systems, but rather by dismantling my assumptions about how it all works.

In Slay the Spire, I play as one of three unique characters, in order to fight my way through a randomly generated map filled with battles, treasure chests, and RPG-like encounters. Combat is similar to that of a turn-based RPG, but instead of selecting attacks and spells from a menu, I draw cards from each character’s specific pool of cards. These cards allow me to attack, defend, cast spells, or use special abilities. Each character has their own set of cards, making their play styles radically different.
[...]
Roguelites teach their lessons in often devastating ways, and Slay the Spire is no different. Each new run can feel punishing and, at times, unfair. It wasn’t until I learned how to trim the fat and come up with counterintuitive deck ideas that I really started falling in love with the game. Now that I have a few tricks up my sleeve, I can’t wait to experiment with them further until I get that perfect run

Slay the Spire

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

Details

Tangledeep - Review @ GWW

by Hiddenx, 19:20

GWW has reviewed the Rogue-like Tangledeep:

Tangledeep Review - GWW

Every once in a while a game will come out of nowhere and surprise me with its deep mechanics, addicting gameplay, and unique art style. Tangledeep came as a surprise but it’s a game I couldn’t have been happier that I accidentally stumbled across this. Tangledeep is a  rogue-like RPG with randomly generated levels that are hard to get into due to all the different mechanics the game throws at you. But once you get the hang of its mechanics and its world you will not want to step away from Tangledeep.

After a frustrating couple of hours and multiple failed attempts, I was ready to give up on Tangledeep. I am the type of player that likes action RPGs so I decided to give Tangledeep another try. This time around I took my time studying the menus, took my time studying the characters and was cautious with the decisions I was making. I was taking my time reading the conversations I was having with the NPCs at the beginning of each run. I realized I was playing Tangledeep all wrong. I was trying to play the game more like a slasher than a turn-based RPG roguelike and that’s where I went wrong. Tangledeep requires you to be methodical, it requires you to calculate every move and to think ahead of time. It reminded me of a lot of chess where every move counts. The more I progressed the more confident I grew where now I knew how to take care of business when the going got hard.

[...]

Tangledeep is a frustrating yet rewarding experience that I cannot recommend enough for people that want a deep RPG roguelike game. Once you get past the steep learning curve you will find one of the best RPG games I have played in quite some time and this is a game that no RPG fan should sleep on. Starring Tangleep may seem like a daunting task but it’s a task that if you start it will be hard to put down.

Tangledeep

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

Details

Anthem - Launch Trailer

by Silver, 11:47

The launch trailer for Anthem which releases February 22nd.

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Unleash your power as you suit up in one of four javelins and take on a world full of danger. Team up with friends to overcome the toughest challenges you can find.

Anthem

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

Details