Forgottenlor checks out the cold world of the Frostbite edition of ICY.
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Dungeons of Chaos
Dungeons of Chaos Review
Forgottenlor reviews a game that takes us back in time to the good old days.
» Read the article
Wednesday - February 14, 2018
Trails of Cold Steel II - Released
The next part of the Legend of Heroes series is available for the PC: Trails of Cold Steel II
Peace is but a Memory.
In the wake of the Noble Faction’s occupation of Heimdallr, civil war has broken out across Erebonia. The provincial armies, loyal to the aristocracy and the Four Great Houses, have claimed many of the nation’s great cities in the name of the Noble Alliance. The Imperial Army, called back from the four corners of the Empire, has only just begun its sweeping counterattack.
After Rean managed to escape Trista with Celine and Valimar, he awakens in the mountains near his hometown uncertain what fate befell his friends, who bravely threw themselves in harm’s way to buy him time to flee.
Though the road will not be an easy one, Rean decides to take up his sword again, journeying across Erebonia with his Divine Knight, Valimar, in search of his friends from Class VII and a way to end the conflict before its price becomes far too dear…
Taking place on the same continent as the fan favorite Trails in the Sky offshoot of Nihon Falcom’s storied The Legend of Heroes franchise, Trails of Cold Steel II (Sen no Kiseki II in Japanese) is a direct sequel to Trails of Cold Steel, picking up one month after the decisive collision that changed the fate of the entire nation of Erebonia. The speedy, tactical turn-based combat with the newly-developed “ARCUS” system returns with all the bells and whistles together with the new Overdrive mode, new means of transportation both across the land and sky, new allies, new dangers, and a renewed sense of hope as Rean tirelessly works to right the wrongs that have led the country to disarray.
- A Direct Sequel that Remembers the Past
Clear data from Trails of Cold Steel carries over into Trails of Cold Steel II, granting players bonuses, and most importantly, remembering the many relationships cultivated during time spent at Thors Military Academy, allowing for more personalized conversations throughout the story.
- Take to the Land and Sky in New Modes of Transportation
Fast travel isn’t just for Trista anymore; a personalized airship now allows players to swiftly choose and descend upon both familiar and foreign destinations alike—and on land, horseback riding not only returns, but players can now customize and utilize Angelica’s orbal bike for fast transportation across the map.
- The Link System Returns with a new Overdrive Mode
Bonding with allies continues to pay off with the Combat Link System, netting a variety of combat benefits including healing, guarding, and more, and the new Overdrive mode allows linked characters to attack up to three turns in a row for new strategic battle options.
- Experience the Game as Never Before
50% more lines of English voice-overs have been added to the PC release, bringing a fresh experience to even those who have played it before on console. New features for this release include ultrawide aspect ratio support, turbo mode, and an instant resume feature that allows players to launch directly from Steam to their most recent save.
Trails of Cold Steel IISP/MP: Single-player
Ni No Kuni 2 - Mastering the Music
@Gematsu Ni No Kuni 2 has a new behind the scenes video focused on the game’s score.
The video takes viewers behind the scenes as composer Joe Hisaishi and the Tokyo Phiharmonic Orchestra bring the world of Ni no Kuni II to life through music.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is due out for PlayStation 4 and PC on March 23.
Watch the video below.loading...
Ni No Kuni 2SP/MP: Single-player
Platform: PC, PS4
Release: In development
THQ Nordic - Acquires Deep Silver parent Koch Media
@Gematsu THQ Nordic has acquired Koch Media which means THQ Nordic now has access to the Metro and Saints Row IP.
“Koch Media has a long history of profitability despite losses incurred from some less successful game releases,” THQ Nordic CEO Lars Wingefors said in the press release. “THQ Nordic is convinced that the development studios of Deep Silver as part of THQ Nordic will successfully deliver at least four ongoing AAA game projects including Metro Exodus as well as the next Volition Studio AAA release and the next Dambuster Studio AAA release, together with a number of other game development and publishing titles.”
My Time At Portia - Winter Festival Part 1
New content has arrived for My Time At Portia called 'The Winter Festival'.
New Content Available Now - Winter Festival Part 1Greetings, Portians!
Just last week we teased the first content update for My Time At Portia, dubbed the Winter Festival update, with a release date of early March. Surprise! We’re actually releasing some of this update today!
The new update is available right now, and brings a lot of new content, adjustments and fixes to the game. Bear in mind that this is not the full Winter Festival update. There’s lots more to come in March!
So, what will you be able to experience in My Time At Portia starting today? Check the full patch notes below!
- Six new missions.
- The first Winter Solstice mini-game - Hotpot!
- New house decoration items.
- Wallpapers and floorings now available in the A & G Construction store.
- Players may now change the wallpaper and flooring of their house.
- A new story quest to use Ack as a helper around the workshop.
- One additional hairstyle for both male and female characters.
- A recovery machine in the Research Centre to recover relics by using data discs.
- New character! Siwa, and his house in the desert.
- New toy! The Bubble Wand.Other additions
- Added level 20 equipment models.
- Added the ability for players to get a discount on acupuncture when you have high relationship points with Phyllis.
- Added the ability for players to get a discount in store when you have high relationship points with Gust.
- Added the ability for players to increase critical damage values when you have high relationship points with Arlo.
- Added an in-game guide that is triggered the first time players find relic pieces.
- Added the ability to add more than one piece of raw material into the fire powered generator at the same time.
- Added the ability to interact with Mint, who will leave after the player fixes the bridge. He will be back, though!
- Added feedback from the dummy when Arlo takes the fighting exercise with him.
- Added one additional background music track in Hazardous Ruins.
- Added the ability for players to use consumable items in the shortcut bar by pressing the numeric keys.
- Added the Holiday Guide.
- Added a DeeDee stop near the Portia Bridge.
- Ability to interact with the slot machines using a controller.
- Added Chinese voice acting for Remington.Adjustments
- Adjusted the drop rate of relic pieces.
- Adjusted the reaction of NPCs after interacting with them (they'll pause before they turn to leave).
- Optimised attack animations
- An overloaded fire powered generator will no longer power off, but reduce the production speed instead.
- Concealed NPC name and all mission-related icons when they're sleeping.
- Changed the walking path of Emily when she has items that she helped collect; she will wander around in front of the house.
- Changed the frequency of NPCs who travel to Portia town.
- Changed the available time period for Day of the Bright Sun to 10 AM - 2 PM.
- Players can now date or otherwise interact with Ginger near her house.
- Removed all Madcrabs around the rest stop.
- Adjusted the damage output of the Rat King’s continuous attack.
- Adjusted the distance of Chemical Dropout’s continuous attack.
- The desert will now be uncovered after building the bridge.
- Adjusted McDonald’s attack.
- Adjusted how relationship points are calculated when gifting items during festivals and birthdays.
- The game will now properly check the ability to create a save file upon starting a new game.
- Adjusted the visible border of the Abandoned Ruins.
- Befriended NPCs will now attend wedding ceremonies.
- Adjusted rain visuals for low end hardware configurations.
- The player’s headwear (if equipped) will automatically be hidden when getting a haircut at the Barber shop.Fixes
As always, should you encounter any issues, please report these in our Report a Problem forum, and for any general discussions, head on over to the discussions forum. Be sure to join the conversation on Discord, Twitter or Facebook as well.
- Players can no longer be killed by enemies during conversations.
- Fish should no longer starve to death when fed properly.
- Fixed the crash caused by the ‘The Bassanio Lift’ mission.
- Fixed the conversation error with Addit after the ‘Saving the Tree Farm’ mission.
- Fixed an issue related to the ‘Bassanio Lift’ mission.
- Fixed an issue where followers would be pulled into sparring.
- Fixed some bugs related to the Day of Bright Sun.
- Fixed a potential issue when the player is holding three newly caught fish.
- Fixed an issue where players were unable to properly move around the
- Barber Shop.
- Fixed textures in Hazardous Ruins level 4 rooms.
- Fixed issues relating to Hazardous Ruins.
- Fixed an issue that could occur when meeting a new NPC for the first time.
- Fixed an issue that could occur when entering the Abandoned Ruins.
- Fixed an issue that could prevent loading of save files.
- Fixed an issue that might prevent players from initiating the fishing mini-game.
- Fixed an issue with the display of grass.
- Fixed issues with certain trees around Dr. Xu’s clinic.
- Fixed an issue related to the Portia Bridge mission.
- Fixed an issue related to fishing thread toughness skill not functioning properly.
- Fixed an issue related to written letters appearing incorrectly.
We want to thank you for your continued support for My Time At Portia, and can’t wait to hear what you think of the update!
My Time At PortiaSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Frontiers - The State of Frontiers
Frontiers is a Kickstarter from long ago. Our last news post was from 2015 however the game is still in development and has received an overhaul, which you can read all about in this rather long Kickstarter update.
End of Year Update
Strap yourselves in - this is going to be a long update! We've got almost 6 months of development to cover, and I think you're going to be surprised by how much has changed in that time.
The State of FRONTIERS
As you all know, FRONTIERS has undergone an overhaul. It's now keeping pace with the latest Unity version (currently using 2017.3.0f3).
After upgrading to Unity 2017 many, many pieces of the original architecture became irrelevant, as they were in place to overcome Unity 4.x limitations. With those limitations gone I could remove a great deal of complexity, and with it, a great number of bugs. So what does that actually look like, in concrete terms?
Let's start with the first big change - the new Item system, which spearheaded the game's new look. The new look will probably be controversial (as would any major change made so long after release) but after reading I'm sure you'll agree that it was necessary.
State of FRONTIERS: In Conclusion
FRONTIERS is in a pretty decent place, given the risk of upgrading at this stage. This overhaul has enabled me to incorporate all the things I've learned from the other titles we've worked on. It always felt a little unfair that all the games you guys didn't back would benefit most from the early failures on this project. So I'm glad I can bring that knowledge full-circle.
Summarizing all these changes and going over all the ways I've saved work for myself has been energizing - it's easy to forget how much I've actually accomplished given how stressed out I've been these past months.
Release: In development
Arakion - Launching Soon
Arakion: Book One will launch sometime in February.
News | Launching Soon and Testers
16 January - Lavidimus
Arakion is full steam ahead ever closer to launch! The launch window right now is looking likely at the end of January or early February. I'm waiting for a few more pieces to fall in place and then Arakion will be ready to go!
In the meantime, Arakion is always looking for more testers. So if Arakion is something you think you would enjoy testing, email me at [email protected] and I'll get you an invite to the Discord channel! I'll also begin posting updates more frequently now that we're closer to launch, so be on the lookout!
Have a wonderful day,
Release: In development
The Sinking City - Concept Art
Bloody Disgusting reports that Frogwares have shared some new concept art for The Sinking City.
[Exclusive] Frogwares Drops Concept Art for their Lovecraftian Game ‘The Sinking City'
It's been a while since we've heard from Frogwares in regards to their open world Lovecraft-inspired game, The Sinking City. While they're still very much working away at the game, Frogwares decided to drop us a line to give us an exclusive look at some of their concept work. The images include a fishing harbour, an underwater monolith, and (because Lovecraft) a portal "that may or may not exist in the physical world" that leads to another realm.
Tuesday - February 13, 2018
Iron Tower Studio - Taking Care of Business
Iron Tower Studio wrote an article on the business side of making their games which makes for interesting reading.
Taking Care of Business - 2018
Even though we worked on our first game for more than 10 years (mainly due to inexperience and working part-time), I count 2016 as Year One. Before that we were a Fellowship (of the RPG) and now we're a Business with multiple revenue streams. In a Fellowship, hoping for the best is a sound business strategy: you're working on your first game and hope it will do well. Then the game is out, it does great (meaning it doesn't fail outright, which is as great as it gets these days, especially if you're an indie with a shoestring budget), your Fellowship gets upgraded into a Business, gets its own IRS number, and you face an existential question that has plagued mankind ever since we crawled out of caves:
The goal is to make more RPGs, of course, but:
We'll work full-time from now on, meaning we'll have to rely on the first game's revenues to pay for the second game's development. We'll make the second game twice as fast, but twice as fast still means 4-5 years, which sounds about right considering that full-scale RPGs take 3-4 years for proper studios with proper budgets, which means that:
We'll have to boost our revenues with a short-term project (expansion or spin-off), which means that we'll have to make a small-scale game that sells. Easier said than done these days.
Our second full-scale RPG should be different enough to dodge the dreadful ‘more of the same' stigma while keeping the design core intact, be better than the first one (meaning the design flaws must be fixed and the design core expanded), AND sell more than the first one. Now that we figured out what we want, all we need is a genie to grant us these 3 wishes.
To chart through these treacherous waters, we need to know what works and what doesn't (aka a frame of reference when it comes to business decisions). Unfortunately, such info isn't really available, so indie developers have no choice but to sail without maps or compass, doomed to learn from their own mistakes in an industry where your first mistake might be your last. Thus we turn to SteamSpy's data and achievements, reading them the way people used to read the tea leaves and entrails (and just as accurately).
Essentially, this article is part 1 of our business diary to be posted over the years. Hopefully, someone might find it interesting. Ideally, other developers will share their own stories and contribute to the indie knowledge base.
The Age of Decadence (our first full-scale RPG)
We released it in Oct 2015 and I'm happy to report it's still selling and still being mentioned favorably here and there (which is why it's still selling, I assume). We've sold 126,295 copies to-date at an average rate of $13.51 per copy. The price reflects not just the discounts during the sale events but the regional pricing as well, which is an equally strong factor.
Year by year it goes something like this:
2013-2014 (Early Access & Direct Pre-Orders): 13,124 copies - $320,157 - $24.39 avg.
2015: 20,771 - $472,869 - $22.76
2016 48,798 - $620,914 - $12.72 (50% discount is introduced in March)
2017 43,808 - $293,714 - $6.70 (75% off on sale events throughout the year)
The moral of this story is twofold:
First, the number of copies sold never tells you the full picture. In 2017 we sold twice as many copies as in 2015 and almost the same as in 2016 but got less than half of 2016's revenue.
Second, 95% of what you sell is sold during the sale events so your sale price (lowered further by the regional pricing) becomes your effective price during that year. It's also worth noting the increase of copies sold as we increased the discounts. 73% of copies were sold at 50-75% off.
In January 2018 we reduced the price from $29.99 to $19.99 to boost non-sale sales and mainly to see what happens (i.e. gather more data).
Dead State (the first joint project)
In late 2009 we partnered up with Brian Mitsoda to work on Dead State, a zombie survival RPG. We had the engine (Torque engine upgraded for some serious RPG work), the tools, and experience, so it made sense to offer it to developers lacking the tech base and explore this 'business model'. Brian would handle the design, writing, and scripting, we'd handle programming, art, and animations. Our thinking was that by the time AoD hits the final stage, when the focus is mainly on quests and scripting, our programmer, artist, and animator would be able to switch to Dead State without affecting AoD. Of course, it didn't work out quite like that, but we did deliver and learned quite a lot in the process.
As indie developers we were excited to hastily implement things the moment we could (only to be forced to redo them a few months later), but Brian followed a more structural and organized way of game development. Since that's not something any of us was ever exposed to, it was a very useful practical lesson. Unfortunately, working on two projects at once put quite a strain on the team, so it's not something we'd ever do again. While theoretically we can hire and train another team and let them handle joint projects as it's certainly a profitable venture, it's a very different business model that would eventually turn us into project managers rather than game developers.
Since we can't disclose the financial aspects of this project, they aren't included in the revenues posted in this article.
Iron Tower Studio
Elder Scrolls Online - Dragon Bones DLC released
The first ESO-DLC of 2018 is out now - the Dragon Bones DLC:
Ancient monsters rise to plague Tamriel anew in Dragon Bones, The Elder Scrolls Online's newest DLC game pack. Check out everything you need to know about this new adventure and Update 17 in our launch article!
We are thrilled to announce that the Dragon Bones DLC game pack and Update 17 are both live on PC/Mac. This new adventure and base-game update includes:
- Two new dungeons: Scalecaller Peak and Fang Lair
- The Outfit System
- Home Storage
- A new Level-Up Experience
- Combat improvements
- Two new Battlegrounds: Deeping Drome and Mor Khazgur
This new DLC is available free-of-charge for all ESO Plus™ members or for purchase with crowns from the in-game Crown Store. The Update 17 base-game patch arrives free for all ESO players. Want to celebrate the release of Dragon Bones with us? Download the official wallpaper.
Elder Scrolls OnlineSP/MP: Single + MP
Sunless Skies - Interview
MCV interview Failbetter Games about Sunless Skies and whether early access 'curiousity' is dwindling.
The game has also been hit by several changes to Steam's marketplace, which is affecting Early Access games negatively.
"Valve has reduced the exposure Early Access titles titles tend to get on the platform, very sensibly," Myers mentioned. "It's very sensible, probably as a way to protect people from problematic early access games, ones that end up not getting finished."
However, Myers says there also seems to be less interest from the public with regards to getting stuck into an Early Access game. "Players have sated the curiosity that initially seemed to motivate a lot of players to back Early Access projects, in terms of going through the development process," adds Myers.
"Now, players are more likely to base their purchasing decision on whether or not they think it's the right time to experience the game."
For Sunless Skies, a game with a heavy narrative focus, Myers posits that a lot of players could be waiting for the game to be complete before they throw themselves in rather than experiencing just a small part of it.
It's a tough blow for Failbetter, and has unfortunately seen them part ways with several members of staff, delaying the game past its initial launch date. Work on the game continues, rapidly, and both Myers and Flynn say there's no risk the studio won't deliver.
Sunless SkiesSP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Kingdom Come - Review Roundup
GameWatcher 8 / 10.0Hardcore Gamer 3.5 / 5.0PCGamer - 84%PCGamesN - Review in Progress
Divinity: Original Sin II - Designing Drama
Gamasutra talked to the Systems Designer behind Divinity: Original Sin II's combat system.
The trouble with armor
DOS2’s combat design is a close evolution from 2014’s Divinity: Original Sin, but Larian Studios knew the original had some issues. The team liked the depth of its combat, but felt that it tipped the balance too far towards chaos. The problem was with its armor system.
Armor had the chance of blocking status effects, meaning that if you planned to knock a bunch of enemies out with a stun attack, you didn’t know for sure it’d work in every case. “The good part about this was that every encounter felt different, so when you started a fight it felt fresh. Things went wrong and right in very different ways,” says Pechenin. “But at the same time it really prevented long-term planning, because you didn’t know how many people you’d stun, so you couldn’t predict what you’d do next turn, and because of this you just wouldn’t think about the next turn.”
So one of the big changes to DOS2’s combat design was to its armor system. Rather than absorbing a proportion of incoming damage, armor completely negates it. There are two armor types: physical and magic, which negates any magical attack, including negative status effects. But as these values take damage they’re whittled down, and once gone, the character is left open to losing HP and vulnerable to status effects.
So far, so deterministic, but Larian wanted attacks to retain a ‘spicy’ feeling. The solution was a small variability in incoming damage which may entirely knock armor out, or it may not. “So there’s still some RNG there and you don’t know exactly how things will turn out, but you have a high chance that things will go as you want them to,” says Pechenin. “But at other times the game will throw a curve ball at you and make you scramble to find a new plan.”
Divinity: Original Sin IISP/MP: Single + MP
Encased - On IndieDB
Dark Crystal Games has chosen a working title for their post apocalyptic CRPG. Encased has been listed on IndieDB.
You know, in here is much better than in jail. Yesterday we looted an abandoned warehouse and next couple of months we will feast like kings. I feel great under the Dome, except for one thing: I've written so many letters, pity I can't send them.#gamedev #postapocalyptic #rpg pic.twitter.com/rWaOuNodtz— Dark Crystal Games (@DarkCrystal_HQ) February 12, 2018
- What: A modern tactical role-playing game about adventures and survival in a special zone left from an ancient race of unknown origin, the spiritual successor of renown isometric RPGs of the early 2000s.
- Title: working title - Encased.
- Status: the end of pre-production.
- When: early access in 2019.
- Who: Dark Crystal Games - indie-studio from St. Petersburg, Russia. Now we have six permanent experienced developers who worked on such games as Divinity: Original Sin (DOSEE and DOS2), Life Is Feudal: Forest Village, Leviathan: The Last Day of The Decade, and also indirectly related to such games as King's Bounty: Legions, Braveland, and others. We are going to build up the backbone of up to ten people, and at the peak attract fifteen-sixteen.
- Why here: to let the world know about us. Communicate. Answer the questions. Get feedback.
Website - in development, at the moment the most not active resource.
The forum - just started to develop, but it is fully functional and we follow it.
Vkontakte - the most interesting resource for the Russian-speaking part of the community. It is actively updated.
Twitter - very actively updated, and all publications are in English.
Facebook - updated, all publications in English, not so active.
Bard's Tale IV - Collectors Box Cover Survey
Brian Fargo is asking on Twitter which collectors box cover you prefer for the Collectors Edition.
Bard's Tale IVSP/MP: Single-player
Genre: Dungeon Crawler
Release: In development
Monday - February 12, 2018
Divinity: Original Sin II - Review @ GiN
GiN has reviewed Divinity: Original Sin II:
Divinity: Original Sin 2 is Best PC RPG in Years
I realize that I am really late with this review, given that Larian Studios released Divinity: Original Sin 2 in late September. I have an excuse, though it’s a poor one. I started with this series playing the original Divinity title, and was very underwhelmed. With that one, the first town was extremely confusing as to which direction you were supposed to travel, with certain death and overpowered monsters in every other direction. Plus, the characters were flat, and the story was forgettable. So when I started playing Obsidian Entertainment’s Pillars of Eternity, it was so good that I forgot to go back and give Original Sin 2 a try.
Only, here is the thing, as good as Pillars of Eternity is, Divinity: Original Sin 2 is so much better. In fact, having dived deeply into the main campaign, I can confidently say that I know how I’m voting for RPG game of the year. Divinity: Original Sin 2 captures the magic of PC RPG gaming in a fantastic way. The world is gorgeous. The combat is balanced and extremely tactical. And the storyline is interesting, with engaging main characters and even a great supporting cast.
Divinity: Original Sin IISP/MP: Single + MP
Kingdom Come - Launch Trailer
Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be released tomorrow - here's the launch trailer:
Kingdom Come: Deliverance - In Nomine Patrisloading...
Brothers in Gaming – Forget your former life and embrace your new vocation. The service of RPG's– obedience & endurance of all discomfort. These are cornerstones and succor of our Game.... which on this day... shall become your own. Accept your new adventure.... play it with honor....and welcome..... to Kingdom Come: Deliverance!
Kingdom Come - The Future of Time Travel Technology
Kingdom Come: Deliverance has an interesting promotional video.
Introducing KC:D-1403 – The first ever scientifically approved, completely 30% risk-free working time machine. Experience the past in your present!
Attack of the Earthlings - Released
Attack of the Earthlings is a turn-based tactical game that released on Steam recently.
About This Game
Attack of the Earthlings combines turn-based combat and stealth in a dark comedic single player campaign, where you the player, take control of the native alien race to defend your home world from the invading humans.
SERIAL DRILLERS FROM OUTER SPACE
Galactoil, a comically dysfunctional energy corporation, are hell-bent on harvesting the known universe for energy and will drill anything in its incessant quest to line its pockets with profit. However, their latest foray into energy exploration on Planet X13, has placed them into a bit of a pickle. The Swarmers, the native insectoid species, have another idea - to eat all the workers!
THE PERFECT SWARM
You take control of the Swarmers, a highly aggressive insectoid species, who must convert human flesh into alien muscle, upgrade their units and even find the time to gatecrash a birthday party.
To put a stop to the invasion, the Swarmers must plan attacks carefully. Take control of unsuspecting workers, set traps, emerge from vents and hiding spots to take your human prey by surprise, and assault in groups to kill multiple enemies at once.
EAT THEM FOR GAINS
The more earthlings killed, the more corpses can be consumed and transformed into new units with specialized roles and unique abilities. The flesh of their own workers is the key ingredient to developing a successful alien insurgency against Galactoil.
BECOME THE MATRIACH
Voice actor and Vine extraordinaire, SungWon Cho A.K.A ProZD (A Hat in Time, Paradigm), lends his brilliant voice to X13 mining operation Regional Manager Dennis Dickinham; a man both massively unqualified and massively overpaid. A gregarious fellow who finds joy in everything, be it catching a few rounds of golf with the boys or rerouting power from sickbay to the massage chairs in the boardroom, Dickinham's a delight to be around! Just never, NEVER utter the phrase "bad idea" in his presence.
The game also features an original soundtrack by composer Mikolai Stroinski (Vanishing of Ethan Carter, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Blood & Wine). Both of whom you can hear in this brand new sneak peek video below:loading...
Non-RPG General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
FF XII: The Zodiac Age - Review
Rock Paper Shotgun checked out Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age:
Wot I Think – Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age
There’s a race of beings in Final Fantasy XII called the Bangaa. They have the snout of a crocodile, the squat of an ape and the arms of an entire gymnasium. Their ears are colourful leathery drapes, their lips adorned with piercings and trinkets. One of them, a shopkeeper called Migelo, resembles a rehabilitated Watto. Others are menacing bounty hunters. But they all have strange voices. Not otherworldly or fantastical, I mean strange in the sense that the voice actors can’t decide between a Scottish, Jamaican or West Country accent, and often speak as hackneyed villains. In a lot of ways, these scaly people encapsulate how I feel about this late-to-the-PC-party JRPG. They are both good-looking and incredulous. Flawed works of biological art that I can’t help but like, even when my better judgement often says “no”.
It’s difficult to describe the joys of a Final Fantasy to those who only see the flashing colours and bright numbers, the sewer levels and the prison escapes. The twelfth incarnation holds few surprises and its age shows. You are tasked with killing a fetch quest of rats within the first half an hour. That fifteen – sorry, XV – of these monstrosities of language and graphics have been brought into existence is sometimes baffling. And yet to me playing a Final Fantasy game is still a happy experience, like putting your sticky fingers deep into a pick ‘n’ mix of sugary JRPG nonsense. Here’s the liquorice katana. And look, a strawberry crystal. I will probably feel sick after this, because there’s always too much in this bag. But will I stop scoffing these chocolate chocobos? No.
FF XII: The Zodiac AgeSP/MP: Single-player
Sunday - February 11, 2018
Mount & Blade II - The Empire
The current Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord dev blog describes the Empire, three factions and their conflicts:
Dev Blog 08/02/18
Greetings warriors of Calradia!
For the next feature in our blogpost series on Bannerlord's factions, we shall look at the Empire. Because the Empire is in some ways the centre of gravity of the game, we're going to divide this blog into two parts. At the start of the game the Empire is divided into three factions engaged in a civil war. But before we describe the three factions and what they stand for, let us look at how the conflict started....
A thousand years ago, the Calradoi were one of a dozen tribes living in the hill country between the southern sea and the Battanian woods. Over time, they subjugated their neighbours, forcing them into a confederation of city-states. Perhaps they were slightly fiercer than the others, or just lucky, or perhaps it was the one tradition that set them apart - the Calradoi had no kings. Ever since the hero Echerion slew the tyrant Cypegos, the institution of the monarchy was banned, in theory at least. There was an assembly of free citizens that met occasionally, a senate of elders (in practice the largest landowners) that sat permanently, and - when it was absolutely necessary - supreme command could be invested for a short time in the person of an emperor, a title that back then meant little more than the right to lead an army.
From their heartland in the hills the Calradoi began to spread outward. As they did so, their political traditions – never written down – began to change. Soon, the army was in the field more years than not, and gradually the emperors stopped retiring at the end of campaigns. The senators meanwhile moved to the conquered provinces and acquired great estates. The capital moved from place to place, and the assembly of the people was called wherever the emperor desired. In practice, this was usually an army camp where his veterans could be relied upon to shout down any opposition. The question of succession was always a potential crisis. Usually, the emperor nominated an heir, the senate ratified his choice, and the people (meaning the army) acclaimed it. But this did not always happen smoothly, and then the succession was settled on the battlefield of a civil war.
Mount & Blade IISP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Pillars of Eternity II - Quirky Lore
PCGamesN likes the quirky lore of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire:
Pillars of Eternity II's quirky lore makes its world irresistible
From a distance, the first Pillars of Eternity could seem a little dry - drenched in pretend history then baked to resemble the best RPGs of the ‘90s, it is akin to a tea-stained map in an elaborate school project. To an extent, it had to be that way as the game promised to Kickstarter backers in 2012 was a return to what they loved about Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, and Planescape: Torment.
There was no room for the wild, creatively unrestrained colour of Divinity: Original Sin II, nor the weird communist world order of Obsidian’s own Tyranny. Pillars of Eternity’s nation of Dyrwood was born when designer Josh Sawyer flipped a map of the Dalelands in the Forgotten Realms - of Dungeons & Dragons - and stuck a bunch of new labels on it.
Obsidian tasked themselves with recreating the feeling of decades of D&D lore. On top of that, perhaps they considered that, in Baldur’s Gate, the shelves of Candlekeep library were filled with books referencing the stories of RA Salvatore and Ed Greenwood.
Pillars of Eternity IISP/MP: Single-player
Release: In development
Beast Quest - Release Date: March 16
OnlySP reports that the Action RPG Beast Quest will be released on March 16:
Beast Quest Set to Bring High Fantasy Bestseller to Life Later This Year
Maximum Games has teamed up with Torus Games to bring Adam Blade’s bestselling book series Beast Quest to life as an action-RPG.
The children’s novel series has been well received by many readers, who praise its creative creatures and well-developed world building. The story of the game adaptation will take place across the first four books in the series, as hero Tom journeys to free four enslaved beasts that are being forced to harm the land of Avantia.
Beast QuestSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Neverwinter Nights: EE - Signup for the Beta
From the Recap: You can now signup for the NWN: EE beta on Steam:
February 9 Livestream Recap
Today’s livestream with Beamdog CEO Trent Oster and Studio Director Phillip Daigle revealed two big updates for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition - new character models and news about the NWN:EE beta on Steam! They also shared news about the open beta for the upcoming 2.5 patch for Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition and Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition.
Missed the stream? It's on YouTube and Twitch!
- Throughout the coming week, we will be rolling out early invitations to the NWN:EE beta on Steam. If you hop over to our special Discord channel you will be able to request a Steam key. Invitations will be limited on a day-to-day basis. On Feb 16, we plan to email all Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition Head Start owners beta keys.
- Activating a Steam key doesn’t disable your Beamdog version. When the beta is over, beta Steam keys will deactivate and Head Start owners will be supplied full NWN:EE steam keys for all NWN:EE content purchased.
- The NWN:EE beta on Steam will support the Steam Friends List. It’s as easy to use as you could think: on your Steam overlay you choose the Friends List and invite a buddy into your game, without any port-forwarding on your router.
Neverwinter Nights: EESP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development
Egress - Announcement Trailer
Farflame spotted a trailer for the Lovecraft Cyberpunk Action RPG Egress:
Egress - role-playing BattleRoyale with an intense hardcore Souls-like combat system. Choose your hero with unique abilities and become the last survivor!loading...
- Alternate universe, combining the Victorian era, Lovecraft's mythology and Retrowave
- The multi-level City. Explore streets, houses and sewer tunnels
- Heroes with unique abilities, weapons and the opportunity to become stronger
- Hardcore Souls-like combat system based on melee attacks and dodges, ability combinations as well as strengths and weaknesses of the characters, their roles and equipment
- Solo or team-up modes
Fear Effect: Sedna - Development finished
The development of the tactical action game Fear Effect: Sedna is finished:
Development finished! More news soon.
We are very happy to announce that Fear Effect Sedna has finished development and we would like to thank you all on Kickstarter for your support...
Console builds are done. Bugs are gone. Ratings are finalised. Contracts are being signed. Legal requirements are being resolved. Builds are being submitted. Store images are being created. Dates are being set.
We also want to let everyone know the demo of Fear Effect Sedna is no longer available on Steam. We really appreciate all the feedback, comments and bug reports from all of you. The demo really no longer represents the final game and we’re very excited for you all to play it properly.
Understandably, most replies to this might be “When is the release date?”
We can’t say this day, on this month. We can’t say that we’ll be telling you the release date really soon. We can’t say that there’s a file on this computer called “FE_Sedna_Trailer.mp4".
What we can say is - make sure you're following the Facebook and Twitter accounts for Fear Effect, Sushee, Square Enix Collective and Forever Entertainment to make sure you stay up to date.
Speak to you all (very) soon.
Non-RPG General NewsSP/MP: Unknown
Release: In development
Witcher 3 - Saving Slavic Folklore
Hyper explains how games like the Witcher are saving Slavic folklore:
How video games like The Witcher are saving Slavic folklore
Video games like Thea: The Awakening and The Witcher 3 are using Slavic folktales to tell new and compelling stories
Folktales from the Slavic countries (primarily Central and Eastern Europe) form one of the richest and most diverse mythologies in the world. Traditional Western European fairy tales may have become watered down and sanitised over countless retellings and interpretations, but Slavic mythology still retains its bite.
If you caught the recent TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, you'll have some idea of how sharp this bite can be. The show, like the novel it's based on, prominently features the Slavic god of darkness, Czernobog, who lives with the Zorya sisters (representing the evening star, the morning star and the midnight star). The character is violent, funny and morally ambiguous; a long way from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
But such appearances of Slavic folklore in popular media are rare. Unlike the Western fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, which have become subsumed into our consciousness through animation and film, you're unlikely to see Slavic spirits and monsters in a cartoon musical. The lack of written source material means there's also a distinct possibility we could lose this rich and diverse mythology.
But this rich folklore is finding a suitable home in the nascent medium of video games, an interactive artform that chimes with the ambiguous shades of Slavic storytelling.
Witcher 3SP/MP: Single-player
Saturday - February 10, 2018
Spellforce 3 - Adds Mod Support
Spellforce 3 will have mod support.
The critically acclaimed RTS/RPG SpellForce 3 gets a new, powerful map editor today. Players can not only create maps with the same tools as the development team, they can also use an extensive scripting tool to create their very own missions and custom maps, with unique rule-sets. You want to set up a MOBA-kind-of-map, where you only command heroes, while automated armies fight each other? Or do you prefer a Horde mode, fighting ever stronger waves of enemies? You can create them, you can make #MakeRTSGreatAgain.
This is the first step of the modding implementation for SpellForce 3. The map- and scripting editor will come with a detailed tutorial and glossary, to make the modding opportunities as accessible as possible to everyone. The modding tools are available now and can be downloaded directly via steam. Of course they are free for all owners of SpellForce 3.
Spellforce 3SP/MP: Single + MP
Beamdog - David Gaider Farewell
Creative Director, David Gaider has left Beamdog according to the Beamblog.
Today, Beamdog bids farewell to our Creative Director, David Gaider.
Dave came to Beamdog during interesting times. Since then, he has been teacher, mentor, and friend to many on the team. We've seen Dave conjure new worlds we'd love to play in, and spin stories in places already close to our hearts. Someday we will share the fruits of his labour!
Most lasting, Dave has built a creative team that will shape the stories Beamdog tells in the years to come. He has freely shared his incredible wealth of storytelling and narrative design experience with the developers, designers, and artists around him. We've all learned a lot from Dave and we hope he picked up a trick or two from us as well.
As fans of Dragon Age, KoTOR, Baldur's Gate, and many of the other incredible worlds Dave has helped create, we're excited to find out what's next (come on, give us a clue Dave!) be it a new game, novel, or whatever else it is you choose to create.
We'll certainly miss your lunchtime stories. Best of luck Dave!
Cyberpunk 2077 - First Commercial
New details of Cyberpunk 2077 have surfaced courtesy of a somewhat bizarre source - Vodafone. As part of a joint campaign with Spanish newspaper El Pais on the future of technology, the European telecoms giant spoke with Mike Pondsmith, the author of the pen-and-paper RPG on which Cyberpunk 2077 is based.
The news comes to us via Spanish YouTuber and Cyberpunk fan Madqueen, who helpfully provides English captions on the interview. You can watch her video above, or alternatively, can get auto-translated English subs on the original Spanish version here. Either way her channel has a ton of great Cyberpunk content, so do consider subscribing.
Cyberpunk 2077SP/MP: Single + MP
Release: In development