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Thursday - November 24, 2016
Wednesday - November 23, 2016
Tuesday - November 22, 2016
Monday - November 21, 2016
Sunday - November 20, 2016
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Stranger of Sword City

2016-11-14

Stranger of Sword City Review

Forgottenlor survived Stranger of Sword City and returns to tell us why the Wizardry-esque JRPG hits all the right notes.
» Continue reading the article...

Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem

2016-11-02

Wolcen: An Early Look

Aubrielle takes an early look at Wolcen, the gorgeous new ARPG made in CryEngine.
» Read the article

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Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom
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Recently Released

Dec: Void Pyramid
Dec: Fated Souls 2
Dec: The Dwarves
Nov: Final Fantasy XV
Nov: Disgraced

Expected Releases

Dec: Expect the Unexpected
Dec: Diluvion
Dec: Sierra Ops
Jan: Shock Tactics
Jan: Hate Free Heroes

Thursday - November 24, 2016

Guido Henkel - When text generation isn't enough

by Silver, 23:07

Guido Henkel maintains a blog and has written a three part series about text generation in RPGs and how it adds depth to the narrative. (P1, P2, P3) Guido has worked on RPGs such as Planescape Torment and the Realms of Arkania games.

One of the key elements in your toolbox when developing role-playing or adventure games is a smart text generation stage that allows you to intelligently create dynamic text strings on the fly so that you can embed item names, monster names, character names and other things right in the text. Simple enough, right? Well, perhaps not as you shall see.

Even in today's world of high-end RPGs, we still frequently see text output such as this:
Sword taken!
Acquired item: Sword

I may be over-simplifying this right now for illustrative purposes, but these impersonal, one-fits-all text snippets are the result of over thirty years of trying to avoid one basic, underlying problem-grammar in text generation.
Dynamic text generation adds depth to your narrative

See, in order to keep things a bit more interesting, the designers could just as well have picked a different sentence and made it look like this
Samwise picks up the sword and gives it a quick look-over before stowing it away.

or at the very least, in the fashion of old text adventure games, add an article to the respective words.
You pick up a sword.

Naturally, the requirement for longer text changes with each game. Some clearly keep text short as not to get in the way of gameplay, but games that rely heavily on text are better served with more verbose string generation. It is much more in line with the narrative storytelling that classic role-playing games were striving for, and it would create a whole lot more depth, wouldn't it? It would, no doubt, and it was one of the key ingredients that made the Realms of Arkania games such a rich and incredibly detailed experience. So why aren't more developers doing it? Are they truly so afraid that people don't like to read? Hardly. If any audience in the computer game world is willing to read voraciously, it is role-players and adventurers.

General News

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

Details

Jupiter Hell - Greenlight and Concept Art

by Silver, 22:28

Jupiter Hell has 19 days to get 30K. In the latest update the game is on Greenlight and they show off some concept art.

In important news, Jupiter Hell is now on Steam Greenlight! Please go upvote us on Greenlight if you want to see the game on Steam. And tell all your friends to upvote us too! And your mum, of course.

We have high hopes of getting on GOG.com with a DRM-free version too - vote here!

[...]

What's next?

In upcoming updates we'll have more info on character progression, tactical vs strategic challenges, engine design, a Roguelike Radio episode about Jupiter Hell and much more. In the meantime don't miss out on our regular development livestreams on Twitch where you can see more of how the game is built and ask Kornel questions directly.

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Hellhunter - Whats Next?

by Silver, 21:13

At the Ballistic Interactive forums they discuss the next steps for Hellhunter which looks increasingly likely not to fund.

As everyone noticed, crowdfunding was a no go, but the support so far has been amazing!
Rest assured, this will not stop Hellhunter!

Below you can see our next plans of action and follow along to help us through the journey.

  • 2nd Crowdfunding - it already proved as a poor option, and the worst part is, it’s full time work that stops us from developing the game.
  • Publishers - we’ve already had several offers from big names, we can’t mention specifics due to legal stuff. But we can say that while that means a bigger game & lotsa cash, it also means a watered down Hellhunter for greater profit.
  • Private Investor run - we’ve received mails by fans who want to send their original pledges. While we’re still looking into the legalities, we’re thinking of something similar to kickstarter, that actually doubles your investment, it will likely be private.
  • Early access - Greenlight has opened the possibility of early access. It has pros and cons, but it also means development freedom, and implementing a lot more cool stuff, from extra jobs/enemies (shapeshifters, yokai, etc) to deep rpg skill system.


Regardless of which route will be taken, you can subscribe to the mailing list to be notified on launch - http://www.hellhuntergame.com

We’re posting it here in respect to all our hardcore fans who supported us so far.
We take your opinions very seriously, so we’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Wasteland 3 - Interview @RedBull

by Silver, 21:04

Redbull interview Brian Fargo and Chris Keenan about Wasteland 3.

"I like the concept of you starting off alone and trying to survive with all the elements against you, so you don't get the luxury of having your squad around helping to save your ass," starts Fargo. "The thing with role-playing games is that at the start, we're already asking you to spec out a guy before you really understand what's best. And it compounds the problem when we're asking you to spec out four people before you know what's best. So, for all those reasons, we really liked that, from both a psychological perspective and also from a gameplay perspective."

Keenan agrees, and the team have been watching Twitch streams to see how the players actually enjoyed the game. "It seemed like there was a group of people who were used to that old-school character creation right off the bat, with lots of stats and numbers, who you could tell just immediately loved," he says, but there were other people who were more apprehensive to that creation system, and Keenan offers a solution. "What if we give the player a little bit of a sense of the world so they can start to feel it out and then building that stuff up afterwards so they can really make it count?"

It's an interesting idea, but the concern must surely be that this strays from what fans of Wasteland are used to. Keenan is aware of that worry and is quick to calm fears. "You'll still create your party," he explains. "You'll have your initial character, and then you will certainly come across a wide range of NPCs throughout the world. But you will be able to adjust the stats of other party members."

After spending time in Arizona for Wasteland 2, Fargo is happy to tell us how the new setting, Colorado, fits into the lore. "The idea was that the Rangers [the dominant faction in the Wasteland] wanted to expand their territory and bring law and order not just to Arizona, but to the rest of the States. And Colorado was interesting because NORAAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) is located there, too. So it seemed like an obvious place to go."

Switching the arid deserts of Wasteland 2 for the cold weather of Colorado means that the radiation suit you needed to stay alive is now going to be replaced by protection from the cold, but there's still a world map in play, it's just that inXile isn't quite sure how it will work yet. Keenan explains: "There will be some amount of overworld travel as you move through. Whether it looks like the old world map is up for debate," while Fargo insists that the team are currently experimenting. "But the idea of a world map goes all the way back to Wasteland 1 and the original Fallout series, and that's not something we want to deviate from." So the game won't be Skyrim sized, then, but Keenan insists that "we still want you moving between locations and feeling like you're outside a local space."

Wasteland 3

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

Details

Gamescom - Vampyr, ELEX, The Guild 3 and Battle Chasers @ RPG Codex

by Hiddenx, 20:23

Just before 2016 is over the quick reporters from the Codex have penned the next part of their Gamescom 2016 report -> link.

 

Gamescom

Details

Skyrim - Special Edition Review @ RPGFan

by Hiddenx, 20:09

RPGFan has reviewed the Special Edition of Skyrim:

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

"Perhaps more so than any other RPG by Bethesda Game Studios, Skyrim does a superb job of making sure that you have a genuine presence in the game’s world."

I’m not exactly sure of when I realized that three hours had flown by since I loaded up my save file, but I do know it was somewhere between my helping of a man with a necromancer problem and my fleeing from the lair of an angry mountain troll that I had happened to come across during my travels. Not even my potion of invisibility, which I had created in a happy accident while randomly mixing ingredients in order to increase my alchemy level, could help me avoid this fearsome foe. Just as quickly as the encounter had started, it was over, with the troll proving victorious. As my High Elf character Ysmin took her last breath and I was confronted with a loading screen, I finally remembered that I wasn’t actually in the land of Skyrim—this was just a game.

[...]

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition has a lot going for it. It’s a game that’s full of interesting story content, secrets to discover, a gorgeous soundtrack, mods to enhance the already wonderful experience, and offers up plenty of fun to be had...provided you’re either a Skyrim newcomer or are looking to revisit a game you no longer own. The pretty scenery and addition of mods just aren’t enough new additions to justify the price tag for those who already own the game on last-gen consoles, but there’s a high chance that those looking to see what all the fuss is about will quickly become obsessed with it, and those who already beat the game but are looking to revisit it will find that it’s an experience that’s just as captivating as they remember it being.

Score: 82%

Skyrim

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

Details

Wednesday - November 23, 2016

The Dwarves - Interview @ Wccftech

by Hiddenx, 23:29

Wccftech has interviewed King Art Games about The Dwarves - the RPG will be released on December 1:

Action RPG The Dwarves To Last 15 Hours, Sequels Depend on This One’s Success

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Last year we interviewed KING Art Games right in the middle of their Kickstarter campaign for The Dwarves, an action RPG based on the first novel of the best-selling series created by Markus Heitz.

The game is heavily story based, as you would expect. Its gameplay has a tactical flair in that you can pause combat at any time to plan your next move, which should come in handy given the chaotic battles we’ve already seen in the trailers. Gamers will be able to choose between a roster of fifteen playable heroes, each one coming with an individual set of skills.

The Dwarves is now set to be launched on December 1st for PC (Windows, Mac, SteamOS/Linux), PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We reached out to KING Art Games in order to find out more information on the game’s development and features ahead of the upcoming launch.

[...]

If the game succeeds, are you planning to create a sequel based on the second novel by Markus Heitz? If so, would that be funded via Kickstarter again or not?

Of course, we would love to do a “The Dwarves 2” as well. The following books really push the story forward to new and interesting conflicts and we would love to build upon the Dwarves 1 formula. But it all depends on the success of the upcoming Release of “The Dwarves” on December 1st.

How long will it take to complete The Dwarves on average, according to your estimate?

Around 15 hours on medium difficulty on the first playthrough. But we got many optional quests and there are different ways to get to the end. It really depends on how you play it.

[...]

Thanks Stefano!

The Dwarves

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

Details

Hellhunter - Kickstarter: 3 days to go

by Hiddenx, 21:21

Hellhunter needs a home run to reach the Kickstarter goal:

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Hellhunter is a supernatural investigative hunting RPG, where you assume the role of a freelance hunter building your career towards uncovering the ultimate terror.

However the identity & characteristics of your target aren’t revealed, you must investigate while being hunted by them yourself! Based on your deduction you determine which tools to use (e.g. UV bullets against shadows) in an epic showdown at the end of each level.

Death lurks in every corner. Do you have what it takes to become a hellhunter?

Thanks Farflame!

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

General News - Todd Howard Interview

by Silver, 20:30

@Gamebanshee Glixel has an interview with Todd Howard in which he discusses Skyrim and the developers 'do whatever you want' attitude among other things.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has sold 30 million copies, which makes it a hit on the scale of Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, Mario. They joked about the game on an episode of NCIS. You can't get more mainstream than that. What did that kind of success mean for you as a creator?
Each of our games has found a larger and larger audience, which we never take for granted. A lot of us have worked together for 10, 15, 20 years - in many respects, making the same game. Skyrim was kind of this tipping point. It seemed to hit an audience that we had never had before.

It didn't change us. But it did make us aware that some of the things we do speak to people who don't traditionally play games, or don't traditionally play role-playing games. They make it their own experience, and that was what was most important to us. Putting somebody in a world where they can do what they want. I think that's what's special about video games as entertainment.

Of all your games, I feel like Skyrim is the one that gets closest to delivering that experience, which you talk about a lot. It's a game with a lot of "verbs" for the player, a lot of different ways to approach situations, lots of multi-part side quests that feel just as important as the main quest.
I think that's true. The game has really good flow. When I sit down and play it again, even I get kind of lost. It's giving you choices at a nice pace.

In 2012 you said the design document for Skyrim was a Conan action figure. Really?
I'm looking at him on my desk right now. We start with tone. This is it. This is the tone.

[...]

Are there Skyrim mods that you wish were part of the main game?
There are really simple ones where you go, 'Duh, we should have done that.' There's one that adds fast travel markers when you own a house. That's like a 10-minute thing that we probably should have done. There's a really popular mod that makes the cities open, so you can just walk in. We didn't do that, originally, for technical reasons on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

There are also ones that we like that rebalance the game. On the surface, it seems like it makes it harder, but can make it a bit more interesting for people who have played it a lot.

Is there any part of Skyrim that you would fix?
I think if you look at our worlds and our environments, they're really rewarding. I think on the character side, how the NPCs react to you is still not quite where we want it to be.

There really isn't a part of the game where we can't say, "That could be better."

General News

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

Details

Torment: Tides of Numenera - Glaive Class Trailer

by Silver, 20:24

A new video for Torment: Tides of Numenera which explores the Glaive class.

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Torment: Tides of Numenera

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

Details

GOG - Black Friday Sale

by Silver, 19:54

GOG has a black Friday sale with deals and bundles until Sunday, November 27, 10:59 PM UTC.

Deals and Bundles up to 85% Off | Get LIMBO on GOG Connect!
Get your shopping carts in position and flex your clicking fingers: Black Friday has come to GOG.com early this year! For the next five days let the spirit of Black Friday guide you and take advantage of the special deals and bundles.
In total sync with the sale's signature palette, Playdead's INSIDE and LIMBO are making their much-anticipated debut in the sale, with LIMBO at 80% off and also available on GOG Connect!
For those looking for something more colorful, thousands upon thousands of Cossacks 3 in brilliant outfits are proudly marching this way with their -10% banners held up high.
But traditionally, Black Friday is about the spectacular deals, so here are some of the highlights:
-Shadow Warrior 2 25% OFF
-Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition 50% OFF
-Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 75% OFF
-S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Series up to 75% OFF
-Kerbal Space Program 40% OFF
-Grim Dawn 40% OFF
-Day of the Tentacle Remastered 33% OFF
Time to clear out those pesky wishlists!
The Black Friday specials last until Sunday, November 27, 10:59 PM UTC.
LIMBO will be available on GOG Connect until January 1, 10:59 PM UTC.

GOG

Details

Satellite Reign - Review @Indigo Gaming

by Silver, 11:26

@Indigo Gaming reviews Satellite Reign and asks if its the majestic return of Syndicate or a cash grab.

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In this episode of Cyberpunk Curated, Indigo takes a look at Satellite Reign, the spiritual successor to Syndicate and Syndicate Wars. This game was started and developed as a spiritual sequel to the original Bullfrog games by Syndicate Wars veteran Mike Diskett.

Satellite Reign

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

Details

General News - Top 15 Upcoming RPGs

by Silver, 11:21

@GamePressure have presented their top 15 upcoming RPGs.

Elex

This summary wouldn't be complete without a mention of the team at Piranha Bytes, which has been working on a new project for quite some time now. Elex contains elements characteristic of fantasy, science fiction, and even post-apocalypse, and has a good chance of serving the players an experience completely different from any other production. The action takes place on the planet Magalan, which was hit by a meteorite not long before the events shown in the game. The event spawned two major side effects: almost complete destruction of the resident civilization and the appearance of the eponymous new substance. Elex helped the remaining survivors arm themselves in new weapons and endowed them with magical abilities - its dubious charm, however, lies in the fact that extended usage leads to the degeneration of the body.

Four groups fight for absolute control over the new resource, each of them intending to use it for different purposes. The Albs, who, due to the aforementioned downside to using elex, have lost their humanity, display very imperialistic tendencies and act like unscrupulous machines. Opposing them we have the Berserkers, living in harmony with the nature, the Clerics, who possess highly-advanced technology despite rejecting elex consumption, and the independent, free group of Outlaws - we can definitely see some similarities to the first Gothic and its world, divided into three warring factions. The player will play as an amnesiac Alb general betrayed by his comrades. From the very beginning, the game will give us a free hand, allowing us to complete interesting quests and join one of the factions while we try to figure out what provoked the hero's kinsmen to such a disgraceful act.
...

General News

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

Details

Tuesday - November 22, 2016

Torment: Tides of Numenera - The secret great RPG of 2017?

by Hiddenx, 21:52

RPG Site thinks that Torment: Tides of Numenera could be the secret great RPG of 2017:

Torment: Tides of Numenara could be the secret great RPG of 2017

The early half of 2017 is packed with tons of titles that RPG enthusiasts have their calendars circled for. Persona 5 is making perhaps the largest splash in April, Dragon Quest VIII is releasing on 3DS. You've got a new Kingdom Hearts and old Kingdom Hearts, Tales of Berseria, Platinum's take on Nier, Ni-Oh, Digimon, Horizon: Zero Dawn, and even a PC release for Disgaea 2. Phew.

But please don't sleep on Torment: Tides of Numenara. If you've got any space left. Or days on your calendar.

Perhaps you are like me and you've heard whisperings of a new game in the Torment now-franchise. Maybe you've played Planescape: Torment and you've been following the title since the initial Kickstarter campaign got funded in March 2013. (We'll forgive the estimated delivery date of December 2014) and have already made a pledge. Maybe you've played some of the stellar entries in the genre in recent years such as Larian's Divinity Original Sin, or Obsidian's Pillars of Eternity, or even the recently released Tyranny and you're looking for the next thing in line. Or maybe you have no idea at all what to think of  Tides of Numenera. I'm here to help you get caught up.

[...]

Torment: Tides of Numenera

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

Details

Deus Ex: MD - Soundtrack Dec 2nd

by Silver, 21:05

@DSOGaming The soundtrack for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be available come December 2nd.

So, Square Enix and Eidos Montreal announced today that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's soundtracks will be available on CD, digital stores and streaming services on December 2nd.

[...]

As the press release reads:

“Michael McCann returned to compose music for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, joined by award-winning artist Sascha Dikiciyan (aka Sonic Mayhem) and composer Ed Harrison, who bring their talents to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Breach soundtracks, respectively. The soundtrack will come in 2 different editions: a standard and an extended 2-CD version including 14 additional tracks. Co-produced by Sascha Dikiciyan and executive audio director Steve Szczepkowski, the albums were mixed by Sonny DiPerri and mastered by Dave Cooley.”

Deus Ex: MD

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

Details

Conan Exiles - Early Access Jan 31st 2017

by Silver, 20:54

@Gamebanshee Conan Exiles early access date has been announced as January 31st 2017. Funcom has released a video to show off gameplay.

Very soon gamers on both PC and Xbox One will get to journey to that very age in Funcom’s upcoming open-world survival game ‘Conan Exiles’. Starting January 31st 2017, players on PC will get to unleash their inner barbarian in Early Access. Soon after, Xbox One players too can jump into the fray as ‘Conan Exiles’ hits the Xbox One Game Preview program in the spring same year. Inspired by the great Robert E. Howard stories, ‘Conan Exiles’ will have players fighting to survive, build, and dominate their enemies in a vast and treacherous open-world in both single- and multiplayer.

To celebrate today’s announcement, Funcom is releasing a brand new trailer showing how the game looks in action. This is the first ‘Conan Exiles’ video released in almost six months and shows the results of the hard work the developers have put into both graphics and gameplay since June.

“The open-world survival genre is ripe for Conan’s conquest,” says Game Director Joel Bylos. “If there ever was a world that can truly test your strength and skill, it is the brutal and savage world of Conan the Barbarian. ‘Conan Exiles’ is not just an empty sandbox, it is a world rich in history where you must discover the secrets of ancient civilizations as you struggle to build your own.”

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Funcom

Details

Tyranny - Review @ TechRaptor

by Hiddenx, 20:53

TechRaptor writer Robert Grosso has reviewed Tyranny:

Tyranny Review- Sic Semper Tyrannis

Being evil is hard, because what makes you evil is simply your approach to a problem. After all, the perspective of what is considered good and evil is often how a story is framed; players tend to focus on the “good side” without much thought, and games that provide a degree of choice to their narratives often go to the extremes of each ideal; saintly good or cartoonish evil being the choices to emphasize a binary morality to them.

Video games often glorify “evil” with rebellious anti-heroes, passionate freedom fighters, or altruistic rule breakers all the time too, but what does it really mean to be truly evil, in the sense that your beliefs, your convictions are shaped by the circumstances you find yourself? What sacrifices do you make to your morality in the face of the greater good being against the law? This is the question Tyranny, the latest RPG from Obsidian, grapples with, and while providing a fair representation of evil beyond evil’s sake, it ultimately misses the mark in reaching its full potential.

[...]

Score: 7/10 - Very Good

Tyranny

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

Details

Dungeon Rats - Key Giveaway

by Myrthos, 17:58

Pladio is offering a key for Dungeon Rats, so if you can't get enough of trying to win stuff at RPGWatch, you can have a go at this one.

And here are Da Rulez:

  1. You need to be registered at RPGWatch before the 22nd of November 2016, to be able to participate.
  2. You need to reply to this news posting.
  3. If you are banned, you cannot participate anymore.
  4. Everybody fulfilling the first three rules, gets one ticket for the raffle.
  5. If you have a ticket, for every year that you are registered at RPGWatch you get one additional ticket (we base this on months, so if you registered before December 2006, you get 10 additional tickets, If you registered in December 2006, you get 9 additional tickets).
  6. If you have a ticket, for every 500 posts you have (at the moment of posting the reply), you get one additional ticket.
  7. There will be only one winner.
  8. If your name is drawn in the raffle, the Steam key will be sent to you via PM.
  9. The giveaway will last until Friday the 25th of November.

Dungeon Rats

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

Details

Grim Dawn - Roguelike dungeon Port Valbury

by Silver, 12:14

@PC Invasion New Content will be coming to Grim Dawn as part of the v1.0.0.7 update in December. Port Valbury is a Aetherial-themed roguelike dungeon with new bosses and lore. The update will be free for all owners of Grim Dawn.

A once proud and prosperous city with a booming port and trade network, Port Valbury has suffered greatly under the influence of the Aetherials. Even before the Grim Dawn was fully unleashed upon Cairn, their agents had begun working on undermining the population and throwing the city into chaos.

The city's mayor, Khallos Strune, could not have suspected the schemes happening right under his nose, and when he began to realize that one of his advisors, Councilor Van Aldritch, was not using his position to the best interest of the citizenry, it was already too late. Port Valbury, as countless other settlements across the Erulan Empire, was doomed.

Grim Dawn

SP/MP: Single + MP
Setting: Fantasy
Genre: Hack & Slash
Platform: PC
Release: Released

Details

Mass Effect: Andromeda - The Tempest

by Silver, 11:20

@Game Informer they report on the new 'Normandy' known as 'The Tempest' in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Areas of Interest

During our trip to BioWare's Montreal studio, we got a limited virtual tour of the Tempest. The team wasn't ready to show off every corner of the ship, but we saw some of the major areas, like the bridge, the galley, the garage, and the Pathfinder's quarters. You can seamlessly travel between these locations, with no loading screens or painfully slow elevators to hold you back.

The bridge will be a more regular destination than it was aboard the Normandy. You still can drop by to talk to the pilot (a salarian), but handling navigation is your most common task there. Instead of going to a galaxy map in the middle of the ship, you stand on the bridge and stare out at the stars in front of you as you select your destinations.

After passing through an elliptical corridor (similar to one seen on the Normandy), you are in the galley. This area has more of an atrium-like feel, with windows offering a nice view and stairs leading up to a seating area on a second level. One of the most conspicuous objects in the galley is a holographic interface that allows Ryder to modify skill-point distribution, which is how you change your abilities between missions.

Farther back is the garage, which is where the Nomad (your Mako-like vehicle) is parked. Any visual customizations that you've made to the vehicle, like its paint job, are visible as you look down on it from the upper part of this tiered area.

The Pathfinder's quarters is Ryder's personal space. BioWare tells us that players will have some control over the décor here, and the room gets more of a moved-in feeling as the game goes on. You might see various mementos in this room, like reflections of your progress in the critical path, or simple souvenirs like a rock.

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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

Details

Shadow Tactics - Demo on GOG

by Silver, 05:29

Daedalic Entertainment have released a demo of Shadow Tactics on Steam and GOG ahead of a release on December 6th. The game is a Commandos like game with a Japanese setting and involves assassins sneaking around between enemies.

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About: Japan - Edo Period; 1620. Five highly specialized assassins fight for the Shogun in his war against conspiracy and rebellion. Take control of this deadly team and sneak through the shadows between dozens of enemies. Choose your approach when infiltrating mighty castles, snowy mountain monasteries or hidden forest camps. Set up traps, poison your opponents or completely avoid contact. You decide!

  • Play as five different characters with unique strengths and weaknesses
  • Find dozens of ways to take out your opponents
  • Plan your moves carefully and execute them with precision
  • Conquer seemingly impossible challenges where you are outnumbered ten to one
  • Jump from roof to roof and climb large buildings to attack the enemy from above
  • Choose from three difficulty levels to match your skill
  • Explore beautiful environments of Japan in the Edo era

Non-RPG General News

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

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Monday - November 21, 2016

Mass Effect: Andromeda - New Approach to Romance

by Silver, 23:21

@Game Informer they look at how Mass Effect: Andromeda will move romances forward compared to the original trilogy.

Moving Forward From The Trilogy

BioWare is trying to evolve what it has previously done with romances; the team has learned from the original Mass Effect trilogy, and is taking those ideas in more interesting and believable directions. "We've built on it [from the trilogy]," Walters says. "We had a strong foundation for how [romance] was working. For me, typically in the trilogy it was a bit formulaic. You'd talk to them and then get to that one point in the game where there was no going and back and romance was going to happen. That's not real life. There should be some people who just want to hop in the sack immediately. There should people who are interested in a long-term relationship. There are people who aren't interested in romance at all."

This means more mature situations and dialogue, as Walters notes the first Mass Effect spent a great deal explaining the lore of the world and the different races through the characters than focusing on their individual personalities. "I think we've moved beyond just doing info dumps on characters," Walters says. "It comes back to the circumstances. That is what we should be talking about. What are those people actually thinking right now? I think that's the mature aspect of it. Let's not ignore everything that's going on just so we can have a moment to say, 'I love you.'"

Andromeda's Varying Relationship Types

The team wants romances to feel legitimate, not like an artificial game mechanic. Different characters want different things from their romances, whether it's physical or emotional, and Walters states that some romances can happen early in the game, while some characters may take longer to let their guard down. He also confirms that BioWare got rid of what he refers to as "the hard line," where you're trying to fit in romances before you reach a certain point and it cuts off the opportunity for a romance to occur.

Walters says the team wanted to make romances more varied than previous entries. "Just because someone has a romance doesn't mean they have a longer relationship arc with you," Walters says. The team even re-envisioned what a romance looks like. As Walters says, "Think of the relationship moment with Garrus in Mass Effect 3 where you [shoot bottles off the Citadel]. Does it always have to be, 'Get someone into the bed?' or can it be, 'Let's go have a bros' moment or a friends' moment.' I think once [our writers] started to think in those terms, it expanded what those scenes could be like. But if you want to get down to the sex scene stuff, we got aliens, alien environments...we keep coming up with unique places to have some interspecies relationships.'"

Walters says the writing team has worked hard to make sure characters are unique and fun to get to know. "The [characters] that aren't romanceable should have just as interesting and in-depth an arc as the ones who do," he says. "That's one thing we did to make it feel more natural. We have to check ourselves because we know the fans want romances, so the obvious thing is to make [everyone] romanceable, but that's not real. We're trying to find the balance between 'yes, it's a game,' but we want to make these characters as believable as possible and the situations as believable as possible."

Mass Effect: Andromeda

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

Details

Xanadu Next - Review @ Destructoid

by Hiddenx, 23:21

Destructoid has reviewed the Action RPG Xanadu Next:

Review: Xanadu Next

[...]

At first sight, Xanadu Next feels like it’ll feature a simple story, as it focuses on a nameless former knight and his childhood orphanage buddy Charlotte’s journey to uncover the mysteries of Harlech Island. Underneath the basic objective lies a tale that revolves around the legendary swords known as the Dragon Slayer and the history behind the ancient kingdom of Xanadu. Of course, people will have to work hard to get the best out of this lore.

[...]

Xanadu Next may not look as good as Falcom’s other 2005 and 2004 titles, but its strengths lie in how it creates an action-RPG with many convenient features. The wide array of skills grants players the chance to experiment in battle and Harlech Island is filled with many secrets that expand on the title’s narrative, such as ancient tablets and scriptures. While its mechanic where you need keys to progress sounds like a chore, the idea that every area is connected to the main town makes the whole thing go smoothly.

With the length ranging from 10 to 15 hours, Xanadu Next packs the right amount of content anyone who’s in the mood for a title that mixes action-RPG and puzzle elements. Like with many games that revolve around obtaining a legendary weapon, the Dragon Slayer is a blade that’s worth wielding.

Score: 8/10

Xanadu Next

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

Details

Jupiter Hell - Game Design

by Silver, 23:15

Jupiter Hell is almost half-way with 22 days to go. The latest update focuses on game design and story.

Game Design in Jupiter Hell

Game design is perhaps the most important element of roguelikes. With the constant replays that the genre offers the base game mechanics must remain engaging and interesting, and the game must still offer challenge and the feeling of reward.

Jupiter Hell stands very heavily on the shoulders of DoomRL, which was widely praised for its fast and fluid gameplay. Unlike many traditional roguelikes, DoomRL had a simple interface that let the player mow through many enemies with ease. Challenge came in the form of optimal tactical decisions and resource management, rather than remembering obscure key-presses or spending lots of time scumming for the best items.

To ensure that we get this right for Jupiter Hell we have defined 6 pillars of game design ethos that run through all of our decision-making:

  • Replayability - If it gets boring after 100 plays, then remove it or change it or make it skippable. It doesn't matter how cool the idea was at first, it must stand up to multiple replays. This also means the game must fluidly restart, so that once you die you get right back into the action without any annoying menus or story fluff.
  • Balanced Randomness - Random shouldn't mean unfair. No sudden deaths, no insta-win items, no impossible situations. This means putting constraints on the generators and doing a huge amount of playtesting to get the balance right. We'll also have multiple difficulty levels and challenges to push even the best players to their limits.
  • Meaningful Choices - If everyone always chooses option A over option B then option B needs to be removed or replaced. There will be no "better" path or strictly "best weapon in the game". If players aren't arguing over which is the best build then we've done our job wrong. It also means choices can't be boring - level ups and weapon upgrades should not mean +3% to a stat, they should change the way you play.
  • No Grinding - There will be zero opportunities to do repeated actions for limitless rewards. No item hoarding (inventories are limited), no scumming enemies for xp (it'll get capped), no resting for HP recovery. Jupiter Hell is not allowed to be boring!
  • Accessibility - The whole user experience has to work with ease, even for the newest players. Simple controls, pick-up-and-play interface, no need to mess around with manuals or tutorials (the game will have both, but the aim is not to need them). Accessibility also means working for everyone, and to that end we'll have customisable controls, multiple input methods (mouse, keyboard, joypad) and support for screenreaders in ASCII mode so that blind players can still fully enjoy the game.
  • Dynamic Flow - The pace of the game must be just right, allowing smooth and seamless flow throughout. Decision-making must come easily, without having to dig through menus. There should be no slow moments, no backtracking, and the player will be pushed forward throughout the game so that they never feel bored. This also applies to other game elements - dynamic soundtrack, adaptive animation, zero loading times. The game as a whole allows a satisfying run (ie a glorious death after having lots of fun) within 20 minutes, and completion within 2-3 hours, though actually reaching that stage will involve many attempts! We look forward to seeing what speedrunners can achieve.

Following these pillars will help us make sure we have a game that is rigorously designed and fun to play. We also take specific inspiration from well-designed games like Brogue, DCSS and FTL, with the fun of Doom thrown into the mix.

Some people asked about progression across games. Jupiter Hell will not have a system like Binding of Isaac or Rogue Legacy, where you can carry over upgrades or get benefits for future plays. This is a conscious design choice to avoid what can feel like scumming across multiple games to get the optimal run. Every character is equally likely to die in Jupiter Hell :) However we will have some tracking across games, such as multi-game achievements, story discoveries and potentially new character classes and starting position unlocks.

Of course a big part of the design will involve consulting with players. Alpha backers in particular will get a lot of opportunity to input into the content of the game, but if you want a significant voice into the design elements of the game then Inner Circle members (‘Supporter of Chaos' tier and above) will be in a very unique position to do that. They will get builds of the game from the end of the Kickstarter and access to internal design discussion forums.

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Steam Hammer - New Kickstarter

by Silver, 22:51

Steam Hammer is a new sandbox, steampunk RPG now on Kickstarter and Steam early access.

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kickstarter - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...
steam store - http://store.steampowered.com/app/530560
facebook - https://www.facebook.com/SteamHammerGame
twitter - https://twitter.com/SteamHammerGame
twitch - https://www.twitch.tv/steam_hammer_
web and forum - http://steamhammer.us/

Steam Hammer is the first steampunk-based hardcore sandbox RPG.
You’ll get to join epic battles, hijack airships and seize forts. Free PvP for 64 players with a non-target combat system.

You can make modular buildings and unique steampunk equipment: steam motorcycles, military airships and even flying leviathans! Create and customize your own steam mechanical and bionic weapons. Use terraforming abilities to modify the terrains around you.

Technocrats from the Victorian Empire with all their might and steam-powered artifacts are at war with the Acribian rebels who keep the secrets of morphing mechanisms and living flesh. Each race has its own unique crafting system, weapons, equipment and architecture. There is also an open class system with various skills to develop.

Stay alive on the Acribo islands, reveal all their mysteries, harvest priceless celebrium, develop your technology, fight and conquer!

Craft your Glory, craft your Victory, craft your Steam Hammer!

Kickstarter Games

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

Details

Fallout: NV - The Frontier Trailer

by Silver, 21:13

Fallout New Vegas mod 'The Frontier' has released a trailer. Thanks Drithius!

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EDIT: Since people seemed to be confused, this a FREE mod for Fallout: New Vegas

Welcome back to the Frontier’s newest trailer!

Join us on Discord and discuss about the Frontier. Ask questions, talk to the devs, provide ideas, hang out… all are welcome!

Discord: https://discordapp.com/invite/010HuEO...

Follow us at:
Official Website: http://www.falloutthefrontier.com/ (Under construction)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FalloutTheFr...
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FrontierDevs
VAP Power Squad:
http://www.elijahlucian.ca/
Michael La Manna:
http://www.mlamanna.com/

Fallout: NV

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

Details

Chris Avellone - Interview P2 @Sugerbombed

by Silver, 11:10

@Sugerbombed Part 2 of a 3 part series interview with Chris Avellone has been released. You can read part 1 here. This part focuses on New Vegas, his thoughts on Pete Hines' and Bethesda's marketing abilities and they ask him about quest design.

SB: Now onto New Vegas. Since you designed New Reno in Fallout 2, how did you and the other developers go about differentiating New Vegas from it? And what influence did you take from it (New Reno)?

CA: I don't know if there were any conversations on differentiating New Vegas from New Reno, the level designers for the city might know (I don't know if they played Fallout 2). BTW, New Reno wasn't solely mine, I inherited the design from the Troika guys before they left Black Isle, so I had that template to build on (the crime families, the Enclave, jet production, etc.) The worst parts of New Reno you can blame me for, don't blame the Troika guys. ;)

Looking back the only thing I regret in New Reno is that I should have cut out one of the crime families (four was too many with everything else that was going on) and made Myron more systemically valuable to the party (his combat build and crafting abilities weren't helpful). Cassidy ended up being a better companion for systemic considerations, even with his heart condition. I did a post about companion design based on this learning experience a while back on the Obsidian forums, but I don't know if it's still up there (Obsidian locked me out of my profile after my departure, and they've refused to delete my account). The companion system design principles are not being used in recent Obsidian titles, so it may have been removed.

SB: For you when you look back on New Vegas, which turned 6 years old last month, what part of the game or what particular moment are you most proud of?

CA: I enjoyed working on the DLCs, but the proudest moment isn't mine - it was when one of the level designers Jessica Johnson got the Robobrain sequence in Old World Blues where it becomes self-aware working - and it worked great. Jessica has since moved on to other things - she was part of the mass layoffs, unfortunately, along with a number of other designers I wished we could have kept.

General News

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

Details

Drakensang: TDE - Orkensturm Mod announced

by Hiddenx, 00:20

Farflame spotted that Lord Demon is working on a new Drakensang mod. Its from the turbulent time of Orkensturm (orc storm - big orc invasion). Here are few images of new orc models done by modders.

Drakensang: TDE

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

Details

Tyranny - Review @ Gamepressure

by Hiddenx, 00:11

Gamepressure has reviewed Tyranny:

Tyranny Review – an RPG full of contrasts

As we wait for the sequel to Pillars of Eternity, Obsidian Entertainment gives us Tyranny – a game where we play as the Big Bad’s loyal agent. This short-term project features numerous ideas and mechanics, but only some of them pay off.

Tyranny is a project from Obsidian Entertainment that appeared almost out of nowhere. After the success of Pillars of Eternity we expected the devs to be hard at work on a continuation. The veterans of RPG development, however, have picked up a side job – they've returned to an old project, buried deep in their archives for years after it almost sank the company in 2012. For Feargus Urquhart's team it was all about sentiment – settling some scores with the past by digging up the world and the story of a game that could've been an Xbox One launch title but ultimately led only to mass lay-offs and financial instability of the company.

It seems that by releasing Tyranny so suddenly, Obsidian itself has submitted to the tyranny of the new era, with its growing popularity of classic role-playing games and the market which abhors vacuum and demands regularity. It’s clear that the product, which was conceived as an escape from larger, epic RPGs, is a game whose premise was formulated centuries ago and was finished quickly in-between other big titles. Tyranny is a patchwork of all kinds of mechanics and ideas – while some of them may spark some enthusiasm, others will raise nothing but doubt.

[...]


After all is said and done Tyranny remains a proposal that will be controversial among fans of the genre. An ambitious, unique plot is being sold in a package with a lot of mediocre ideas. Delight born in the first hour is killed in the following acts, when the game begins to put too much emphasis on combat, which seems to be only a cheap filler in place of some truly interesting content. This lack of consistency is visible on many levels, which may worry when we are talking about a game coming from the veterans of the genre. Now the question remains, what lessons will Obsidian learn from this – we shall see after the release of Pillars of Eternity 2.

Score: 7/10

Thanks Farflame!

 

Tyranny

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

Details

Sunday - November 20, 2016

Castle Torgeath - Update 0.9.9D is now available

by Hiddenx, 20:21

The Early Access dungeon crawler Castle Torgeath: Descent into Darkness got an update:

CT 0.9.9D Update is now available!

Hello everyone!

In this update, we wanted to deal with some of the things that people have been wanting in the game. The largest one is auto-saves. In addition to that we also added Rogue mode, a Hard difficulty, and added additional tutorial information. We also brought back character customization.

The most impactful addition in this update is auto-saves. Auto-saves in our game generates a save file which is overwritten each time an auto-save occurs. These saves happen based off a time interval which is set by the player or when you stop playing the game. The time interval can be set to five, ten, or thirty minutes. Auto-saves can also be turned off for those who want the added challenge.

The second important addition is our new difficulties. We added a new tab in the options menu called Difficulty. This tab is basically where auto-saves and difficulties can be controlled. The three difficulties are Normal, Hard, and Rogue. Normal is the default setting which was what the game was at since our last update. Hard is like normal except the enemies are harder to fight and take down. Rogue is similar to Hard difficulty but forces auto-saves only. You cannot see any other saves when in Rogue. You also are not able to manually save or change difficulties outside of the main menu while in Rogue. These changes should add a new level of challenge for players that want to push themselves further.

There are a handful of other requested things that were added. Character customization makes it’s return bringing a wide variety of options allowing you to make the player your own. The player can change his hands, shirt, sleeves, and sword. He can also change the color of his hands, sleeve, and shirt. We also added the ability to get out of any menu by pressing the escape key. Lastly a handful of improvements were made to combat including the extension of melee weapon hit ranges. These new improvements and additions should make for a better gaming experience.

[...]

Castle Torgeath

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

Details