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August 24th, 2009, 23:47
Virtual Frontiers announced an episodic RPG about a week ago titled Pioneering, set in the American Old West in 1770s. It's great to see a different settings but they don't give much away on the gameplay, other than broadly comparing to Fable or Oblivion. The first episode is apparently set to go very soon and here's the PR text:
New Game Set to Bring the World of the American Frontier to Life on PC

For Immediate Release

Today HuntersofKentucky.com is pleased to announce the upcoming release of a new episodic adventure set on the old American West, Pioneering. To be released in September exclusively on PC, Pioneering: Episode One is a first person RPG/Adventure game set on the early American frontier during the period of the American Revolution. Utilizing open world campaigns and multiple routes to completion, Pioneering immerses players in the world of the wildest of wests, bringing to life one of the most dynamic and complex periods in American history:

“In the mid-1770s, as war broke out between Great Britain and thirteen of its American colonies, settlers of European descent began to surge beyond the Appalachian Mountains, the previous limit of Anglo-American settlement in North America. Settling upon lands which the King of Britain had previously reserved for the Indians in 1763, the settlers helped to spark an Indian War on the frontier which came to dominate life in that region. Enraged by this invasion of their lands, many of the Indian tribes residing in the Ohio Valley allied themselves with the British in order to repel the region of the settlers who moved into the region. Tribes such as the Shawnee, Miami, Wyandot, Cherokee, and Delaware fought a long, protracted campaign against this wave of settlers, fighting as much for their own independence as anything else. For their part, the settlers were also fighting for their freedom – freedom from renting lands and dependence upon others, and in many cases, freedom from the British Crown.”

Pioneering is an RPG set during the American Revolution, in the chaotic world of the early frontier. Players control a settler who has recently arrived on the frontier who must attempt to prosper by achieving a number of life goals - these can be gained by purchasing property, marrying, or completing certain missions. There are three ways to win this game - gain enough life goals, horde a large enough amount of cash, or gain a high enough conscience level. Cash is earned mainly by in the wilderness, whilst life goals are earned through marriage and property ownership. Conscience is affected by conflict, adding an extra dimension to the game that sees players actively engaging with the historical world in which they are partaking.

Episode One of Pioneering is set for release this September exclusively on PC as a digital download with subsequent episodes due throughout 2009 and 2010. Each episode contains a single open world campaign with a number of missions and routes to completion. Over the course of the next few months three episodes are planned for release with more planned in the coming year. A retail release of Pioneering that collects several episodes together to form a complete gaming experience is also being planned for 2010.

Pioneering is an exciting, new historical adventure game with one eye firmly focused upon presenting a gaming experience that does not exaggerate or parody the period on which it is based. TV and film have not been used as inspiration. Rather, historical documents and actual history is the basis of this unique gaming experience. For more information on Pioneering please visit http://www.huntersofkentucky.com
…and from their FAQ:
Q: Is this an educational game?

A: No, or at least it is not intended as such. Pioneering plays in a similar way to games such as Fable II and Fallout 3 that emphasise open world environments and differing routes to completion. For example, a major component of Pioneering is the property purchasing system that allows you to earn money from rent but, more importantly, give "life goals". Along with certain missions and marriage, property purchasing is essential to complete the game, but is is also possible to complete the game by gaining large amounts of money or a very high conscience level - completely ignoring the acquisition of property. That said, the game contains a number of historical facts and quotes that give much greater context to the gameplay and certain issues attached to the e…More information.
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August 24th, 2009, 23:47
That's a seriously dated looking engine. You can see the sky box plain as day.
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August 25th, 2009, 05:30
I like it when unique rpgs come out and this one seems interesting.
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August 25th, 2009, 05:44
I think this might be interesting .. will keep an eye on it.
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August 25th, 2009, 07:15
Sounds cool, but those graphics look pathetically outdated.

Never heard of the developer…
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August 25th, 2009, 07:46
it sounds like a unique RPG but reading this description it appears to be a modern American (Kentuckian?) perspective on the French and Indian war, a perspective that didn't exist at the time.

Its the time when American and Canadian history held (almost) no distinction. I say almost because Canada typically begins its history with the French Colonization and the Voyageurs which converges with the British colonial history in America with the Battle of Champlain on the Plains of Abraham.
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August 25th, 2009, 07:46
Getting interested. I'll be keeping an eye on this one in the future.
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August 25th, 2009, 15:48
I don't mind when a PR text doesn't tell me about the gameplay, but I hate it when a review doesn't. All too often, a review will talk about the story and the graphics and even the music, but ignore the actual mechanics of gameplay, which is easily the most important feature to me. Is it turn-based or "real-time." And if it's real-time, since I most sincerely suck at that, is it something a (very) fumble-fingered adult can play, or do you have to be a hyperactive 12-year-old who played these games in the cradle? I mean, I CAN play the Elder Scrolls games, and even Mount&Blade, as bad as I am, but the exact mechanics of gameplay is critically important to me.

Sorry to go off on a tangent like this (since, obviously, it doesn't have anything to do with this particular post), but your comment set me off. It's a pet peeve. In this case, the game might be interesting - I like the change from the standard magic and elves storyline - so I'll be interested to find out about the gameplay.
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August 25th, 2009, 19:17
Reminds me of Frontier 1859 (http://www.frontier1859.com/mmorpg)
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August 25th, 2009, 21:00
The basic idea sounds very interesting (a cRPG set in the American Revolution), but the rest… ugh. I get a really serious vibe of severely constipated edutainment here. I hope I'm wrong, but this one gives me the heebie-jeebies.
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August 25th, 2009, 22:46
Please, PJ. If any RPG should be set during the American Revolution it should be a jRPG. Imagine how awesome the history could be! You'd have George Washington as a dragon fighting some sort of evil lich sorcerer King George III with Benedict Arnold as a wererat and Ben Franklin replaced with some sort of weird cat girl.
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August 26th, 2009, 11:00
And the redcoats would be giant robots with lasers. Sounds good to me…
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