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Friday - December 15, 2017
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21:18
Steam Sale
Saturday - June 19, 2010
Wednesday - June 16, 2010
Sunday - June 13, 2010
Wednesday - June 09, 2010
Wednesday - May 26, 2010
Monday - May 24, 2010
Friday - May 14, 2010
Monday - May 10, 2010
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Tuesday - March 16, 2010

Friday - December 15, 2017

My Time At Portia - Early Access January

by Silver, 23:28

@PCGamer My Time At Portia is coming to Steam Early Access January.

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My Time At Portia is a breezy, whimsical crafting sandbox that calls to mind the likes of Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing. It’s idyllic and bright and I want to start building my workshop there right now, escaping the chilly Scottish winter I’m trapped in. Unfortunately, like the rest of you, I’ll need to wait until January 23, when the game launches on early access. In the meantime, we’ll have to content ourselves with a new, but brief, trailer.

[...]

General News - Inon Zur Interview

by Silver, 23:14

PCGamer interviewed Inon Zur and asked him how his approach to Baldur's Gate, Dragon Age and Crysis differed.

Inon Zur is a multi-award winning composer who has spent the majority of his career writing videogame scores. His resume boasts the likes of Baldur's Gate 2: Throne of Bhaal, Dragon Age: Origins, Prince of Persia and Crysis, among a long list of other game projects.   

After cutting his teeth on 2001's Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel, Zur went on to compose the ambient orchestral arrangements for Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, and Fallout 4—the latter of which is now being visited and revisited following the launch of Fallout 4 VR.

 

I recently caught up with Zur to chat about his career, what inspires him to write music for videogames, and how he approaches each project differently. 

PC Gamer: You've worked in television and film, but the majority of your work has been with videogames. What was it that first attracted you to games?

Inon Zur: Videogame score is very unique and a different process than movies and TV. Since the music cannot be locked to a picture (cinematics and cut-scenes being the exceptions), it has to carry a strong signature that can represent what’s going on in the game without hitting specific points. This is challenging, but the creative process is more open and the freedom to write a piece of music that has no boundaries or limitations is very rewarding. 

I also feel that many of the producers and audio directors in the game industry value the music very much and are willing to invest in a high level of production, like recording live orchestras and so on. This is what I’ve found in the scoring for games world and this is why I like to work in this medium so much.

Do you play videogames yourself—what has your relationship with games been like over the years? 

I love games, although I don’t have enough time to play them since I have to score them. I will, however, usually play the games I’m working on to get the feel of the gameplay and to make sure the music does what we want it to do.

[...]

General News - Chris Avellone Interview

by Silver, 22:12

Chris Avellone was interviewed by GamesTM and asked about his career, the games industry as a whole and what challenges he expects to face in the future.

[...]

What do you think has been the biggest change in the games industry since 2002?

VR’s reared it head, but I’ve only worked in that space for a short while compared to others. Still, I’ve found it hard to gauge the success of a VR game vs. the genres I normally write for. There is a lot of financial support for VR, but I’m not sure where the tech and games will go in the next few years, although I can say I certainly love writing for them, it’s a much different interaction experience (in a good way).

Crowdsourcing was also a huge change – this, combined with digital distribution, allowed access to specific groups of fans (usually numbering much, much less than AAA fans) who were willing to support a smaller game that publishers might not see equal value in. I don’t blame publishers for this, and I understand why they wouldn’t pursue or fund such projects, but the arrival of an alternative to seeking a publisher and interacting with your players and Backers directly was big for the game industry, and especially the RPG industry (thanks to Tim Schafer and Brian Fargo for kicking it off).

How has technology changed the way you work?

Google’s work suite and Hangouts/Skype/Discord has made working with remote teams or teams composed of developers living across the world (like the FTL/Subset developers – one in London, one in Seattle) much easier. You don’t always need to relocate to an office to be hired to work on a title, and the freeform nature of that has several advantages. Some companies are often willing to hire a talented junior, but not with relocation fees or visa issues as part of the package, which can trap people in areas where there is little or no outlet for working in games – but being able to work remotely helps avoid those issues. (I work for a number of European and Asian companies via remote, and it’s pretty painless. Plus, many of those same companies have several offices across the globe as well.)

In terms of sharing technology, Google has changed the way I work a lot, I like its commenting feature, ability to assign tasks within documents for follow-up, and for Hangouts/Skype meetings, I love the ability to easily collaborate on docs while the meeting is taking place, which streamlines things. (We did this a lot on Divinity: Original Sin II.) Slack has also been a good standard for establishing “project chat” on projects, and I use that often as well.

[...]

Monday - December 11, 2017

General News - How to create isometric Maps

by Hiddenx, 19:50

Senior Environment Artist Paul Fish tells us how isometric environments are made:

How Isometric Environments Are Made?

Environment artist Paul Fish talked about his experience building detailed maps for popular role-playing games.

Introduction

My name is Paul Fish, I am originally from Minnesota but I have been living in southern California for almost 15 years and have been working professionally as an Environment Artist in the games industry since 2007.  I’ve worked on a variety of titles during my career including Fallout: New Vegas, South Park: The Stick of Truth, and Torment: Tides of Numenera.  I’m currently working as a Senior Environment Artist on Wasteland 3 at inXile Entertainment.  I started playing games at a very young age but it wasn’t until I was in high school that I really began to take an interest in how the games I played were made.  It was around that time that I started tinkering with level editors and dabbling in 3d modeling software.  After high school, I moved to southern California to pursue my education and career as an artist.

[...]

Farflame spotted this article on 80 Level - Thanks!

Thursday - December 07, 2017

General News - Overlooked RPGs

by Hiddenx, 20:56

PC Gamer made a list of often (not at RPGWatch!) overlooked RPGs:

Overlooked RPGs that are worth playing today

Great games that didn't get enough love.

Few genres have as rich and varied a history as the noble RPG. We love a good, long, talky adventure, preferably with a nice leveling system with a little bit of crafting, alchemy and, if we're especially lucky, a lovely cloth map. But not every RPG is born equal, and games deserving of recognition and success sometimes sink into obscurity. Perhaps they came out at the same time as a blockbuster competitor, perhaps they had flaws that put players off, or just looked ugly.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Tuesday - December 05, 2017

Bionic Battle Mutants - 50% off on Steam

by Silver, 12:24

Bionic Battle Mutants is a turn based tactical game currently 50% off on Steam. You build a team of cyberneticly enhanced super mutants and fight your way through the Deathzone of the outlaw planet Cerberus 7.

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About This Game

Cyborgs, mutants and pin-up girls! Bionic Battle Mutants is an old-school styled turn-based tactical battle game. Lead a team of imprisoned space-criminals to fight for their lives as modern gladiators on prison planet Cerberus 7! 100% Indie from enthusiasts for enthusiasts! Fine tuned tactical gameplay and hand-drawn artwork in the spirit of Jagged Alliance, Fallout Tactics and U.F.O.

Featuring highly customizable characters, an elaborated crafting system and the atmosphere of 80s and 90s popculture, it offers a radioactive gaming experience.
Prepare your team in the hideout for deadly mutliplayer matches: Choose from a plentora of fighters and improve them with self-crafted weapons and armors, bionic limbs or performance-enhancing drugs. With genetic mutations, you can enhance your fighters even further to be feared close combat grappler, snipers or allrounders to die in the post-apocalyptical prison of the Intergalactic Cable Network!

On the detailed, hand-drawn battlefields, you'll have to choose the position of your team and use coverage wisely, then show what you got with your arsenal of modified weapons and grenades.
There are three ways to win a match: Eliminate your opponent's team, collect more loot than them or destroy their beam station to dispel the enemy team to the deserts of Cerberus 7.
You'll need the right strategy and balance of firepower, close combat and swiftness to get to your goal.
Watch out! This game enforces straight confrontation without compromise. Only the best will survive on Cerberus 7!

Fact-Sheet:
- 21 missions in Solo-Campaign
- Very tactical PVP-Mode
- Innovative gameplay for turnbased action that prevents idle time in PVP
- Highly modifiable characters and equipment
- Extensive crafting-system
- Steam tradingcards

Sunday - December 03, 2017

General News - Star Control future is in question

by Silver, 07:29

@DogarandKazon Stardock and the original creators of Star Control 2 are feuding which means lawyers.

"THERE WERE MANY GREAT BATTLES... AND SOME OF THEM INVOLVED LAWYERS."

December 01, 2017

Unfortunately there appears to be a growing legal conflict between us and Stardock. We started out confused at what Stardock said and did. We tried to be reasonable and settle the problem quietly, but now after months of debate we are flat out mad! First, a little background information on just our side of the story:

  • In 2013, Stardock bought a limited set of Atari's assets at a bankruptcy auction -- primarily the name and trademark Star Control® and certain original aspects of Star Control III, like the space cows. It's our opinion that Atari's rights to publish our earlier games terminated over a decade before the auction and we contend that Stardock has zero rights to our games, including any code and other IP we created.
  • As far as we can currently tell, we have no relationship with Stardock that lets them sell the three earlier Star Control games without our permission, either bundled with their other products or separately. That permission has not been given.
  • Despite what Stardock's Brad Wardell has recently said, including in this Ars Technica article, our games' universe has absolutely no connection, hyper-dimensional or otherwise, with Star Control®: Origins. (Note: We really don't like other people putting our names in their diagrams without asking us first.)

Stardock now seems to think that not only can they use our aliens, ships and narrative without our permission, but thinks that we cannot make a sequel to The Ur-Quan Masters without their permission -- this is where we got really, really angry.

When we started Ghosts of the PrecursorsTM we were looking forward to spending our time on fun, creative work, not fighting a legal battle to protect ourselves and our work. We have nothing but respect for the talented, passionate developers working on Star Control: Origins, but we apparently have a BIG problem right now with Stardock's management. We've been waiting 25 years to make Ghosts of the Precursors for our fans and we certainly won't let this stop us. Go! Go! Go!

Saturday - December 02, 2017

General News - 9 Games Like XCOM

by Silver, 12:19

MMOBro lists nine upcoming games that are like XCOM.

[...]

Fort Triumph

I’m pretty excited about Fort Triumph. Their feature list reads like “Fantasy XCOM + Divinity: Original Sin”. As in Original Sin, there’s a big tactical emphasis on using the environment to gain advantages, with possibilities like burning a tree to topple it onto an enemy. Characters come with their own personality traits and look like they’ll be fairly unique. The visuals are certainly more cartoony than XCOM. I’m sure it’ll turn off some but the quality of the art style is definitely high. Despite a more family friendly look, Fort Triumph isn’t straying from stressful gameplay or permadeath that makes it an XCOM like game. The campaign itself challenges players to overcome a dynamic series of events and quests that change each playthrough based on randomness and player action. The depth of long term strategic options Fort Triumph remain unclear but exploration is poised to play a big role.

Developer Quote: “These are exciting times to be a turn based tactics lover, for sure. Looks like we’ll have a double challenge in 2018 – developing on schedule AND playing all of these great titles.

As for Fort Triumph – all adventurers are welcome to try a fresh tactical demo (0.6.3) going live later today on Steam and give us your feedback and suggestions!”

Release Date: Q4 2018

XCOM Similarity: 80%

Price: $20, you can pre-order Fort Triumph here.

Zodiac Legion

Repel invading enemies until you can take the fight to them. Use small parties of soldiers to infiltrate, scout, explore, and sabotage the enemy. Deploy covert op squads alongside primary military forces. Research magical powers and technologies to equip your parties with the strongest of weapons. Does this all sound familiar? Zodiac Legion feels the most conceptually similar to XCOM of the fantasy games. The only thing it’s really lacking is a cover system. However, the game makes up for that on the customization side with artifacts imbued with the power of the zodiac. I expect conquering these sites of power to act as a late game challenge necessary to felling the opposition. Legendary equipment is something I miss in base XCOM (though Grimy’s Loot Mod adds it to XCOM 2) so these artifacts an exciting prospect. Unfortunately, the developer has only tweeted out a handful of times since the last blog post in May. I wouldn’t expect this until 2019 at the earliest. It’d be better late than never though.

Developer Quote: “We definitely want the strategic layer to have the organic feel of the older X-COM, where aliens would launch missions according to an agenda that the player had to adapt to. X-COM also made setbacks more common, but much easier to recover from. Still, we also think that the abilities and varied objectives of the recent XCOM add a lot of variety and tactical nuances to the formula.

The combat system itself is also inspired by games such as Mordheim, Heroquest, and Descent: Journeys in the Dark.”

Release Date: 2019

Similarity: 80%

Price: Unknown. Currently unavailable for pre-order.

[...]

Friday - December 01, 2017

Raji: An Ancient Epic - Has a Demo

by Silver, 13:04

PCGamer reports that Raji: An Ancient Epic now has a playable demo.

[...]

Raji stars, well, Raji, a young girl cloaked in red on a mission to save her brother from demon lord Mahabalasura. As Nodding Heads explains on the game's Kickstarter, its stunning world its based on Hindu and Balinese mythology and uses hand-painted scenes as the basis for its art. To get the look just right, its developers actually visited Rajasthan and Bali for reference. 

 

You can really see that authenticity in the demo. The introductory level—or at least what I assume to be the introductory level—is set atop a crumbling, overgrown temple, all budding moss and collapsed stone. Areas are punctuated with elaborate murals, towering statues and stained-glass aisles, a thick cloud blanket bobbing in the background.

[...]

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Brandish 2: The Planet Buster - JRPG Translated

by Silver, 12:59

PCGamer reports on Brandish 2, a JRPG which originally released for the PC-98 and has now received a fan translation.

Japanese RPG developer Nihon Falcom has been making games since the early 1980s, and almost all of its games started on one Japanese PC or another. But until just the past few years, only the occasional console port ever got an English localization. Most recently, Falcom's Ys and Legend of Heroes games, translated by XSeed, have found success on Steam (with four games released in 2017 alone). And now another Falcom game is finally playable on PC in English, though not through an official localization—24 years after it was released on the PC-98, Brandish 2: The Planet Buster has a fan translation.

Brandish is an action-RPG series with one particularly odd gimmick: turning rotates the world around your character, rather than rotating your character within the world. It's a jarring, instant snap as you can see in the video below.

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Wednesday - November 29, 2017

General News - The Curse of Space Station 13

by Silver, 13:21

Eurogamer examine the role playing game Space Station 13 and explain why follow-up attempts have been met with repeated failure.

[...]

What sets Space Station 13 apart is the coming together of a huge number of systems and mechanics. The engine the game is built upon, the "super old and super crappy" BYOND engine, as it has been called, lets players interact with pretty much any object or being on the station, and you'll get different results depending on the context. Here's a simple example: use a crowbar on another player and you'll attack them. Use it on a floorboard and you'll pry it up.

Adding to the complexity are four states of "intent": help, disarm, grab and harm. Each affects the interaction. For example, use an empty hand on another player with the help intent enabled and you'll hug them. Use an empty hand on another player with the harm intent, however, and you'll punch them.

Behind the basic graphics is a game engine that simulates everything from station power to atmosphere, chemistry to biology. Research and development stations require resources and the patience to click through endless menus. There are multiple departments on the station, including Command, Security, Engineering and Medical. If you're working in Security, you need to enforce the law and respond to emergencies. If you're in Medical, you need to keep the crew healthy, research diseases and even create clones for dead players.

The spanner in the works is the player chosen by the game to act as the antagonist. Usually the antagonists have secret objectives. Kill everyone, perhaps. Escape. Sabotage. Steal. That sort of thing. This means most rounds end up in some sort of chaos. The station may even end up destroyed. But that chaos, that drama, is all part of the fun.

In the video below, one of the best let's plays of Space Station 13 I've seen, YouTuber ShitoRyu95 assumes the role of the station chaplain and is designated the traitor. He has two objectives: steal a chief medical officer's jumpsuit, and hijack the emergency shuttle by escaping alone. None of the other 14 role-players aboard know this. The chaplain must somehow go about his business, avoiding suspicion while setting up his masterplan via dastardly misdirection and intimate knowledge of Space Station 13's inner workings. It's a fantastic watch, and gets to the heart of how Space Station 13 is in essence a big simulated sandbox with complex rules - and where the gameplay emerges from the rules.

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Star Ocean - 4K & HD Remaster

by Silver, 11:34

Star Ocean: The Last Hope has been released on Steam in 4K and full HD.

About This Game

From the creative minds of Square Enix and tri-Ace, STAR OCEAN - THE LAST HOPE takes place at the very beginning of the Star Ocean series.
This action-packed RPG takes players on the epic journey of mankind's last stand, with exploration and battle across some of the most mysterious, dangerous and fantastical worlds of the universe.

Earth has been decimated by World War III and now humanity must turn to the stars in search of a new home. Explore the galaxy on your quest, make allies and enemies among the alien races you encounter and uncover a danger so great that it threatens all of creation.

  • Spectacular New 4k and Full HD Visuals
  • Exhilarating Real-time Battles

A universe of adventure and danger await in the great Star Ocean!

Sunday - November 26, 2017

General News - About SP Games @ Venturebeat

by Hiddenx, 02:37

Daniel Vavra, the creative director and cofounder of Warhorse Studios, talks about the future of single player games:

Single-player games withstood World of Warcraft. They’ll survive PUBG, too

With the recent cancellation of Visceral’s single-player Star Wars game, shifting focus of big publishers on multiplayer games and more than stellar success of cooperative multiplayer games like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, gamers are starting to ask questions. Are single-player story-driven games dead? Do players want them contrary to what some big publishers say? Do they have big commercial potential? Is multiplayer the only future of gaming?
[...]

Alien: Isolation Devs -New IP

by Hiddenx, 01:58

Video Gamer reports that the devs of Alien: Isolation are starting a new IP:

Alien: Isolation developer looking to hire for new IP

Creative Assembly, the studio behind the fantastic Alien: Isolation as well as Halo Wars 2, is currently in the market for artists and designers to help with the development of a new IP.

[...]

That aforementioned core game experience, and more specifically the systems, is the responsibility of the lead systems designer, who will be looking after 'weapons, movement, abilities, gadgets, health and other underlying gameplay systems.'

Some of the above sounds a bit RPG-y, but at the same time we can't take much from these job descriptions other than Creative Assembly is in fact making a new game, which is nice.

Thanks henriquejr!

Friday - November 24, 2017

Tokyo Xanadu eX+ - JRPG Coming to Steam

by Silver, 21:25

DSOGaming reports that the JRPG Tokyo Xanadu eX+ will be released on Steam December 8th.

Aksys Games has announced that Nihon Falcom’s action JRPG, Tokyo Xanadu eX+, will release on Steam on December 8th. The Steam version will support 60FPS along with new scenarios, new playable characters, new modes and more.

In Tokyo Xanadu eX+, players assume the role of a high school student Kou Tokisaka who encounters the nightmare realm known as the Eclipse.

Tokyo Xanadu eX+ promises to offer 40+ hours of gameplay. Players will be able to talk to characters, build relationships and forge alliances. Players can also upgrade their equipment, play mini games and train in dungeons.

[...]

Thursday - November 23, 2017

Forza Developers - Making an Open World RPG

by Silver, 20:13

PCGamesN reports that the developers of Forza are making an open world RPG as yet unannounced and have hired some notable developers who have worked on other big open world projects.

The developers of Forza Horizon have hired developers from Grand Theft Auto V, Metal Gear Solid, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, ahead of a new open-world action RPG. The new project from Playground Games will be the team’s first ever non-racing project.

 

The newest addition to the new project is Sean Eyestone, who previously worked on Star Wars Battlefront II, having spent ten years working at Kojima Productions where he worked on MGSV.  Other recent hires include Will Kennedy, who worked as a senior designer on both the single and multiplayer iterations of Grand Theft Auto V, and Juan Fernandez di Simon, who was senior designer at Ninja Theory during development of Hellblade.

[...]

Tuesday - November 21, 2017

General News - 15 Top RPGs

by Hiddenx, 16:22

Farflame spotted a Top 15 RPG list on PC GamesN:

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
  • Pillars of Eternity
  • Torment: Tides of Numenera
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Planescape: Torment
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines
  • Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn
  • Mass Effect 2
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
  • Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2
  • Shadowrun: Hong Kong
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Deus Ex
  • Dark Souls
  • Divinity: Original Sin 2
  • Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls

 

Sunday - November 19, 2017

Walking Heavy - Review @ IGR

by Hiddenx, 11:58

Indie Game Reviewer has reviewed Walking Heavy - an isometric stealth/shooter with strong RPG elements:

Review – Walking Heavy

Walking Heavy is, on the face of it, a basic isometric stealth game, elevated by its presentation. Its graphics are simple, but elegantly so, conveying a wealth of information while also creating a real sense of place with little more than square buildings and a few ambling stick figures.

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The story, such as it is: after a long holiday, you’re back on the job, eliminating rival drug suppliers whose trade in a new product, “Hype.” They’ve been interfering in your boss’s good old fashioned cocaine trade. Each procedurally generated level, then, opens with your train arriving in another indistinguishable British suburb. Find your man, sort him out, and make it back to the train station before the coppers find you, and Bob’s your uncle.

[...]

Simple but tense stealth action, grimy British neighborhoods, and gritty ambient music? Can’t go wrong, and the developer is already at work adding new game modes to increase its lifespan. Give Walking Heavy a butcher’s, and you’ll be proper chuffed.

Score: 4/5

Thursday - November 16, 2017

The Sinking City - City Generation Demonstration

by Silver, 08:54

DSOGaming report on Frogwares demonstration of city generation which will feature in The Sinking City which is a lovecraftian open world detective game.

Frogwares has shared a video showing the City Generator tech demo for its upcoming Lovecraftian game, The Sinking City. With this tool, Frogwares is able to generate a rich, visually varied, open-world city in merely a few moments. What’s really cool here is that when The Sinking City releases, Frogwares is planning on sharing this tool with everyone.

As such, theoretically, players will be able to create their own cities with this tool. And if the game is open to more mods, it will provide an experience that extends beyond the game. Hear that EA? No need for microtransactions or anything like that.

[...]

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Monday - November 13, 2017

Spire of Sorcery - Coming to early access 2018

by Silver, 00:05

Spire of Sorcery is described as an original mix of strategy and RPG. It is being designed by Alexey Bokulev who authored turn-based strategy Eador. Genesis and digital board game Gremlins, Inc. The game is due to release on Steam early access 2018.

About This Game

In this original mix of strategy and RPG designed by Alexey Bokulev (author of turn-based strategy Eador. Genesis and digital board game Gremlins, Inc.), you will:

  • expand and upgrade your magic spire, balancing the needs to research, craft and defend;
  • choose and teach your disciples, discovering their personal traits and collaboration capacities when matched in parties and sent on quests;
  • explore the vast open world stretching from the Empire to the Distorted Lands, seeking new knowledge, resources and sources of power - as well as establishing relations with the locals.

But above all else, you will try to survive: the troops of the Inquisition are roaming the land, hunting for runaway mages; and dwellers of the lawless wild, human and not, are on the lookout for easy prey.

Yet your most powerful enemy is neither of those. It is the time itself - the approaching death from old age. Only one thing can save you: the elixir of youth. Several ancient manuscripts mention it in passing... There must be a way to learn the formula. There must be a way to obtain the ingredients... Before it's too late.

[...]

Thursday - November 09, 2017

Cogmind - Released on Steam Early Access

by Silver, 20:02

Cogmind is a science fiction roguelike that is available now on Steam early access or direct from the developers website.

ABOUT THIS GAME

Experience sci-fi tactical combat and exploration in a procedural world that combines traditional roguelikes with an immersive modern interface like no other. Build yourself from components found or salvaged from other robots. Attach power sources, propulsion units, utilities, and weapons to become a slow tank bristling with weapons, or a fast-moving flier zipping past enemies before they even have time to react, or a stealthy sword-wielding assassin/hacker, or whatever else you can come up with from the salvage you find. The situation can quickly change as you lose components and rebuild yourself from enemy remains. You are the Cogmind. Discover what that means as you explore a living, breathing world ruled by robots.

KEY FEATURES

  • Build and modify a unique robot from parts found, or enemies defeated
  • Dynamic character development without XP/grinding
  • Dozens of robot classes, each with unique behavior within the ecosystem
  • Procedurally generated world combined with hand-crafted content
  • Seven different animated endings to uncover
  • ASCII evolved: Most advanced terminal interface ever
  • Thousands of particle effects and SFX
  • Fully destructible environment

PROGRESS

Although currently in Early Access, Cogmind is mostly complete. There are over two-dozen map types, nearly a thousand items, thousands of sound and particle effects, multiple plot lines, hundreds of hand-made locations and encounters, thousands of lines of dialogue, and seven different animated endings to discover. That said, there are many plans to continue expanding the world with features and content, so for now we'll just call it EA :D

(Cogmind has been in full-time development for over four years.)

[...]

Thanks screeg!

Wednesday - November 08, 2017

Odd Gods - Interview with Developer

by Silver, 21:10

PCGamer interviewed Gil Maclean who is director of Inn Between Worlds and asked about Odd Gods.

...
Which is about time-traveling kids from the '90s. Was Bill & Ted an influence? Is that a thing you're referencing?

GM: To a degree. I love Bill & Ted. In Bill & Ted they travel through time and collect famous historical characters to join their party, to save the world. That's cool, but for us that's not actually authentic to the '90s. In our game there is no chosen one. You're not a prophesied hero, you are literally just a kid from the '90s and you have to struggle as they fall through space-time portals and visit alternative realities. 

You do collect historical characters along the way, you can meet people but it still ties back into our main theme. Subcultures in the '90s were pretty rebellious, so each historical timeline you visit has a twist on it. The basic twist is the other guys won, the rebels won. In the demo you travel back to the mid-1700s and you've got a Scottish Jacobite rebel, he's a well-trained musketeer. In the real timeline they lost, the English won. In Odd Gods they win that battle and they take over the UK, which is now a Scottish kingdom. Ditto one of our other characters...

The Spanish conquistador?

GM: There is a Spanish conquistador. He's a rebel as well. He was part of Cortez's crew going to the Americas very on. He was actually quite an ethical man, his brother was a priest, he actually didn't want to slaughter these people and take their gold. He rebels, joins the Incans, helps them against the Spanish. The Incan Empire survives. 

Our musketeer, we're still choosing a name but it might be Sabine. Sabine, she's a female musketeer, she comes from a timeline where Louis the Sun King was assassinated by his own sister Louisa, the Sun Queen, and they instituted a reign that was still an aristocracy but they did introduce some more freedoms for serfs allowing them to purchase land and actually improve the economy. They remained in power.

[...]

Tuesday - November 07, 2017

Darkmere - Action RPG from the Amiga

by Silver, 13:40

@IndieRetroNews Darkmere is an action RPG from the Amiga that has been repackaged to be playable on modern PCs.

A bit of a slow news day to start Monday so kick it up a notch here's a lovely game you might want to play, and that's Darkmere ( Prequel to Dragonstone ), which was released way back in 1993/4 developed by Zero Hour Software and published by Core Design. This game classed as an action adventure RPG that has very decent Amiga graphics and a dark overtone, has since been packaged together with an emulator by Gamesnostalgia and can be launched on a PC or Mac without having to be set up!

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Freaky Awesome - Roguelite about Mutations

by Silver, 13:19

@IndieGames Freaky Awesome can be described as a hectic action Roguelite about power altering mutations. You can play solo or in co-op on Steam.

Freaky Awesome tosses the player (and possibly up to four on- or offline co-op pals) into a randomly-generated factory, having them deal with an array of sickening mutants as they look for their dog. As enemies are defeated, each leaves behind a puddle of waste that players can pick up to heal themselves. However, each one of these they touch has a chance to mutate them, giving them different powers like throwing their own head to damage enemies, or creating vicious little clones of themselves.

[...]

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Odd Gods - 90s style isometric RPG

by Silver, 09:16

Odd Gods is a 90s-style RPG about the 1990s. An isometric tactical role playing game about subcultures, music, spacetime travel, and facing your pop culture demons.

Features

  • There is no chosen one. A grungy, low fantasy story set at the end of the 1990s.
  • Classic 'isometric' camera on 3D characters and scenes.
  • ​Colourful, 'low budget B-Movie' Art style
  • Subculture class system based on 1990s archetypes (Skateboarders, Goths, Ravers, Jocks, Nerds etc).
  • Music Genre 'alignment' system (Mainstream, Alternative, Underground).
  • Party-based turn-based combat system ('Same Phase' system with no RNG, no % to hit, just tactics).
  • Narrative features branching paths and multiple endings.
  • Hand-crafted exploration, narrative and combat content. No level-scaling, no procedural generation, no random encounters.
  • Original subculture soundtrack recorded with period instruments (where possible).
  • 90s-era difficulty. Odd Gods is not a game for the faint of heart, but the system is 'fair'. Friendly fire is on by default. No bullet sponges. Permadeath, mostly.
  • Take modern weapons back to older eras (Ancient, Medieval, Early Modern) and vice-versa, but keep an eye on your ammo count and penicillin, for example.
  • .... No elves, no magic swords, orcs, or any of that guff.

Estimated length: 12hrs including side content:
(a) we're a small indie studio and don't have the capacity for more
(b) we actually want players to finish the game.

Monday - November 06, 2017

Sands of Space - In Development

by Silver, 20:51

@Indiedb Sands of Space is a turn based RPG set in an alternative future of the 1980s. Active space exploration in progress. Many planets are inhabited, and some have already been abandoned.

 

Hey!

1. Speech bubbles added! NPC shows random phrases now!
2. Added path highlighting and path cost. I mean it's in combat mode of course.
3. Dialogs! We have a dialogs! But UI will be modified in a future, but functionality now working properly.
4. Added action pie menu! Do you likes pies?
5. Combat mode improvement - now you can hit the enemy throught a window, glass etc. Yeah!
6. Barrels now are explosive and it's your friend in combat. Just hit them and it will show the holy fire!
7. Fixed bugs. You really don't want to know what it was.

Just check it out on this video:

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The Crown Stones Mirrah - Demo Available

by Silver, 01:54

@IndieRetroNews The Crown Stones Mirrah is a Metroidvania type game based on an RPG book called 'Spiritum o Reino dos Mortos.' The game currently has an indiegogo campaign with a demo available here.

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I know some of you don't like the term 'Metroidvania', a cross between Metroid and Castlevania, but how about if the game is of a similar type but is also inspired by Demon's Crest and even Blackthorne, would you be interested? Well if you are, this is ' The Crown Stones Mirrah '; a very gory looking action platformer that doesn't just have lovely pixelated graphics but is inspired by an RPG book called "Spiritum o Reino dos Mortos", with the game set in the same universe of that book.

[...]

Saturday - November 04, 2017

.hack//G.U. Last Recode - Released

by Silver, 10:15

The .hack//G.U. Last Recode has been released on Steam. The package is made up of Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption, fully restored and remastered.

ABOUT THIS GAME

Log back into the .hack//G.U. trilogy and return to "The World," as Haseo tracks down Tri-Edge in .hack//G.U. Last Recode, now with enhanced graphics, improved gameplay, and brand new modes!
This collection includes all 3 original .hack//G.U. titles, Rebirth, Reminisce, and Redemption, all fully restored and remastered. As well as an all new exclusive 4th Volume: .hack//G.U. Reconnection.

• 15 years of .hack - Celebrate the 15th anniversary of the beloved global cross media franchise that first released in 2002

• Fully restored - Graphically enhanced gameplay and cut scenes now in 1080p and 60fps

• Improved system features - Enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience for new and old fans alike.

Friday - November 03, 2017

Shogun no Kamigami - Feudal Japan RPG

by Silver, 21:30

On Square Enix Collective there is an action rpg called Shogun no Kamigami which is set during feudal Japan.

Gameplay

Imagine if Monster Hunter meets Princess Mononoke?

The game starts in your village. This is your safe place where you can access to all the main possibilities such as the forge, the spell instructor or simply choose your mission, where the battle begins. This is a customizable place where you can also invite your friends.

Fighting Kami is the main goal of this game. There is plenty of them, huge bosses who need a good preparation before the confrontation. Learn their pattern, learn their weakness. Use all your equipment, your tools, your spells at your advantage. Sometimes, you’ll also have to use the environment as a weapon: find the best spot to fight them, lure them where the situation is optimal.

The only way to be stronger is to have a better equipment, that you need to forge with resources gathered in the wild and on a Kami. You can craft small items like grenades and traps to help you in the fight, but the real progress is through your weapons and armors. To access to better equipment, you’ll also have to upgrade your village.

Story

Shogun no Kamigami is based on a historical period of Japan : the Sengoku Jidai. This times were complex and a lot of Clans fought to unify the country under their banner. Our story revolves around Oda Nobunaga, who aims to become the Shogun, the unifier of Japan. You’re going to meet his path several times in your adventures, considering him as an enemy or an ally is up to you.
But he’s not the only historical figure you’re going to encounter : Hirate Masahide, Hattori Hanzo, Muramasa, Ikoma Kitsuno and most of the other characters are based on real stakeholders of History.

Mixed to the historical facts, the story also include folklore and fantasy. Kitsune, Tengu or Yokai are real in this universe and play their role in the common life. But the most important creatures that you will encounter are of course the Kami, these powerful deities, masters of the elements.

Along your journey to protect your village from Kami and War, you’ll find various cutscenes and other elements that will help you take a side and discover the true nature of Oda Nobunaga’s plans. But who’s that strange white shape in the shadows ?

[...]

Tuesday - October 31, 2017

Ghosts of the Precursors - Podcast with Creators

by Silver, 08:30

Gamewisdom talked to Paul Reiche and Fred Ford about Starcon 2s creation and the plans for Ghosts of the Precursors.

Creating Star Control 2 with Paul Reiche and Fred Ford

This week on the cast, I had a chance to sit down with veteran developers Paul Reiche and Fred Ford - Makers of Star Control 2, one of my favorite games of all time. With the announcement of their sequel, we talked about the design of Star Control 2, and their plans for Ghosts of the Precursors.

[...]

Wednesday - October 25, 2017

Unsouled - Interview with Developer

by Silver, 11:44

Unsouled is a 2D-action RPG in the style of Onimusha 2 (2002). The gameplay is focused on fast-paced, stylized combat with destructible environments. The developer was interviewed recently about the game by indiegraze.

As a 2D action RPG, Unsouled focuses on fast-paced, highly customizable combat. I chatted with developer Jinsub Jung on the focused nature of his project and the challenges he faces as he pushes ahead.

Erik Meyer: Unsouled excels as a fighting game in which the player character absorbs the souls of enemies to advance. Unlike games that try to include multiple other elements (like crafting, abundant NPCs, and sidequests, etc), the game stands on its well-developed combat system and engaging play. As an indie developer, how has this specificity helped you develop a unique project, and what do you see Unsouled gaining for its tight focus?

Jinsub Jung: Various games have been tried to add compelling elements to action games. Sometimes they have succeeded, but most of them come up short. Sometimes, I feel changes are made reluctantly to extend game playtimes.

Unsouled is intensively focused on "me" as a game player. Since I am indie-game developer, I can get rid of elements that I hate and concentrate on the "action" itself. Because of this, Unsouled does not have the path-finding and puzzle elements which I find boring; even where options like that exist, they should focus on spicing combat up. Only one thing I want to show through Unsouled is obvious. Fun comes from the action.

EM: You mention the inspiration of games like Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny, albeit as a pixel game. Can you speak to the overall playthrough experience you're aiming for, the combination of aesthetics, game feel, and satisfaction on the part of the player? What do you see Unsouled evoking that adds to the corpus of indie games?

JJ: I played Onimusha 1 and 2 for between 100-200 hours when I was teen; "il-sen" (Onimusha's counter action) gave me the best catharsis I have ever experienced. The game stands as an action game pinnacle, and I want to reproduce that feeling with 2D action game. I even thought to create a 3D game, but I do have not enough experience to take that on, so I dropped it.

The other thing that drives me is combo action from 1 on 1 fighting games.

Personally, I am from the generation playing 1 on 1 titles like Street Fighter, Tekken, and Virtual Fighter; I still dream of attending EVO one day. (I've played SFV for more than 400 hours, and my rank is around 5000, my grade is Diamond.)

With this accumulated knowledge and experience, I tried to implement the "action fitted" fighting game combo style with Unsouled. Most action games' combo designs are getting easier to use, such as one button activating critical arts.

Unlike this trend, Unsouled is designed needing accurate input and timing to successfully land combos. Super play with counterattacks and stylish actions with chain combos are the best things Unsouled can provide. I would be satisfied if people remember my game, saying, "It implements advanced action well."

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Monday - October 23, 2017

General News - Putting the Role in Role-Playing

by Hiddenx, 20:28

Josh Sawyer talked about the role in role-playing at the Game Industry Conference October 6th, 2017 in Poznan, Poland:

What Are We Talking About?

  • The importance of characters and their roles.
  • What is a role?
  • How do we make space for roles?
  • Case studies: Icewind Dale, Fallout: New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity
  • How to best represent roles in games.

Thanks Farflame!

Saturday - October 21, 2017

General News - About Roleplaying

by Hiddenx, 08:56

Jeremy Peel of PCGamesN describes how he learnt to roleplay:

How I learned to start roleplaying somebody other than myself

A blank page is intimidating. Ask any writer and they will say the same. But, back in the day, that was one of the first things an RPG would present you with. During character creation, Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights - with one eye on their D&D roots - would throw you a ‘biography’ screen to fill with pertinent details about your new personality. ‘Go on,’ it seemed to say. ‘If you’re going to roleplay, then you might as well do it properly’.

I remember making a couple of half-hearted teenage attempts - something something rogue, something something tragic past - before becoming accustomed to leaving BioWare’s generic blurb untouched. I know I am not alone in this: our very own Phil has roleplayed every RPG he has ever played as a Caucasian man with brown hair. Named Philip.

Which is to say, a lot of us have never really roleplayed very much in roleplaying games - to the point that the name of the genre has become a slightly silly misnomer. Where on the tabletop you are required to come up with all your own dialogue, CRPGs provide you with framework enough to coast through 100 hours without ever really deciding on who you are.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Monday - October 16, 2017

General News - Thinking outside the Loot Box

by Hiddenx, 19:50

RPGFool spotted an article about the current game creator - consumer relationship on Gamesindustry:

Thinking outside the loot box

Business model innovation is necessary despite the friction it causes - but the industry needs to recognise when it's overstepping a line

When future historians of videogames come to write their accounts of the 2010s, I sincerely hope that they don't forget to mention the creativity, artistry and innovation that has blossomed in this decade - but I already know that won't be the main focus of the chapter.

If the present decade of the industry's development is ultimately remembered for anything at all, it will, sadly, be the often ugly tug of war between game creators and consumers over how to make game development pay for itself. An optimistic perspective might speak of the flurry of innovation in business models that we've seen in recent years; a more realistic one would point to the frequency with which the industry has ended up at loggerheads with its own consumers over various business tactics.

The standard narrative that's become embedded in the consciousness of many consumers - especially, unfortunately, those whose primary source of information is YouTube, where this narrative is absolutely prevalent - is that game companies are grasping and avaricious, and spend more time sitting around plotting new ways to gouge money from set-upon consumers than they do actually making new videogames.

[...]

Figuring out how to make enough money from games to meet their accelerating development budgets is undoubtedly tricky; it's a delicate and ongoing negotiation between game creators and consumers, and each side steps on the other's toes or elbows their ribs every now and then. It's important, however, that the industry not become hardened to the complaints or concerns of its own consumers.

The background noise of people who irrationally despise the commercial aspects of an industry they claim to otherwise love should not deafen game companies to genuine warning sounds that suggest a mark is being overstepped.

Saturday - October 14, 2017

Jeff Vogel - On Old Games & Remasters

by Silver, 11:00

@Gamasutra Jeff Vogel decided to tell the story of Exile 3/Avernum 3/Avernum 3 Ruined World.

Old Games, Remasters, and the Joy of Owning Your Work.

by Jeff Vogel on 10/13/17 10:24:00 am Expert Blogs Featured Blogs

It's weird to see over four years of my life just sitting there in a lump.

I've been making my little indie games for a living for 23 years. Being a greybeard in such a weird and young industry comes with special privileges.

For example, while some of my peers are getting around to remastering their old games, I am remastering our most popular game, Avernum 3: Ruined World, for the SECOND time. It is only when you rewrite the same material twice that you really test your discipline and integrity.

Writing indie games has become miserably competitive lately. Most new games, even promising ones with a lot of work in them, are sinking without a trace. Yet, thanks to the grinding tedium of rewriting the same game again and again, I have a fighting chance of my business surviving enough to write cool new stuff.

So I'll tell the story or Exile 3: Ruined World/Avernum 3/Avernum 3: Ruined World. (Also on Steam.) There are things to learn here for any young person who thinks, "I wanna' make cool things (not just video games), and make a living doing it."

[...]

Thursday - October 12, 2017

Star Ocean 4 - Coming to PC this November

by Silver, 22:54

DSOGaming reports that Star Ocean 4 is coming to the PC November 28th however it is unclear if this is a worldwide release.

Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope Remaster is coming to the PC on November 28th in Japan

Square Enix has announced that a remastered version of Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope is coming to the PC on November 28th. This remaster version will hit Japan first, and there is a brand new trailer for it that you can watch below.

Star Ocean 4 PC will allow players to completely remove the UI and take screenshots. It will also feature trophy and Steam achievements.

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Tuesday - October 10, 2017

Ghosts of the Precursors - Star Control 2 Sequel

by Silver, 07:15

Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III are making a sequel to Star Control 2 called Ghosts of the Precursors. OMG!

Creators of Star Control II - The Ur-Quan Masters

Updates from Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III

LAUNCH FIGHTERS!

October 09, 2017

It was almost exactly 25 years ago that we released Star Control II® -- The Ur-Quan Masters for DOS PCs. We poured our hearts into the game, blending our love for classic science fiction, Spacewar!-style action gameplay and our own quirky sense of humor. We had tons of help from many talented friends and collaborators, but even so getting the game across the finish line was a herculean effort -- both the exciting, hydra-fighting kind, as well as the exhausting stable-cleaning kind. Pretty much ever since then, fans have been politely asking us to create a sequel, sometimes begging for a sequel, even threatening us if we don't make a sequel. Our answer was always, "We really want to do this, we just need to wait until the time is right" -- kind of like Cthulhu awakening, but less end-of-the-worldy. Well, the stars have finally aligned -- we are now working on a direct sequel to Star Control II® -- The Ur-Quan Masters, called Ghosts of the PrecursorsTM.

This is a passion project for us and we have committed to dedicating some of our own time to creating a true sequel. We are early, early in development, but rest assured, the game will include genuine Ur-Quan, Precursors, Super-Melee, Umgah, VUX, Supox, THE ULTRON!, Druuge, Arilou Lalee'lay, Orz, Androsynth, Rainbow Worlds, Ilwrath, Syreen, Mmrnmhrm, Yehat, Shofixti, Spathi (including the ever-terrified Fwiffo), Umgah, Melmorme, Chmmr, Earthlings, Mycon, THE MARK II!, Slylandro, Utwig, Thraddash, Zoq-Fot-Pik, VUX Beast, Pkunk, the Keel-Verezy, and of course all new alien races to discover, befriend ...and/or be annigilate... I mean annihigate.. Damn! Well, you get the idea.

Deus Ex 3: Insurrection - Cancelled Ion Storm Sequel

by Silver, 06:39

Unseen64 has some video of the cancelled Deus Ex 3: Insurrection from Ion Storm

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What happened to the original Deus Ex 3 by Ion Storm? Two Deus Ex sequels by Warren Spector and Ion Storm were cancelled in mid '00s. For more details: https://www.unseen64.net/2015/04/16/d... As you may have heard, Deus Ex is a popular first-person action-RPG originally conceived by Warren Spector. There are currently four games in the main series: the first two were developed by under Spector’s watch at Ion Storm, while the third and fourth games were developed by Eidos Montreal.

But through a feature on Eurogamer back in 2014, it was revealed that Ion Storm actually worked on two alternative versions of the third installment - called Deus Ex: Insurrection and Deus Ex 3, respectively.

Deus Ex: Insurrection’s setting saw America falling into bankruptcy in 2027. Other rising superpowers, including China and Russia, were trying to take advantage of this situation and were bankrolling insurgents on US soil, while the European Union attempted to bring the US under its jurisdiction.

This first, third Deus Ex was to take place 25 years before the events of the original game, and saw you playing as Blake Denton, father of the first game’s protagonist, JC Denton.

Sunday - October 08, 2017

God Eater 3 - Coming to the West

by Silver, 23:38

Game Informer reports that God Eater 3 is coming to the west. Platforms have yet to be announced.

Bandai Namco has announced God Eater 3, a new title in the action-RPG series. The game's brief first trailer (below) features the same tactical weapon-switching that's become a staple of the series, as well as the big ol' bosses (named Aragami). The plot involves the main character breaking free from comically thick handcuffs in order to continue their mission of killing giant baddies with their transforming weapons, called God Arcs. The official press release also hints at a growing conflict within the God Eaters themselves.

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God Eater 3 has been announced by Bandai Namco during an event in Japan. Here's the sequel's announcement trailer.

Saturday - October 07, 2017

General News - Restoring the Classics

by Hiddenx, 20:18

PC Gamer reports about games that have been restored by modders:

How modders are restoring the classics

For as long as there’s been a mod scene, people have tried to ‘restore’ parts of games that, for whatever reason, were never finished. In recent years, some of the efforts have become truly colossal. A few, like the KOTOR II Restored Content mod or the standalone Stalker: Lost Alpha, are deemed essential by some fans.

Vampire: The Masquerade—Bloodlines launched in a sorry state owing to a troubled development. Yet smitten with its ambition, fans have turned it into a beloved RPG. One fan is Werner Spahl. “I first took notice of unused assets when I installed an early version of the Unofficial Patch, at that time created by Dan Upright,” says Spahl. “When I took over from him I started looking for other lost content, especially when I became aware of how unfinished Troika was forced to release the game.”
[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Friday - October 06, 2017

General News - Niche games from Eastern Europe

by Silver, 12:08

Gamasutra has an article on the phenomenon of 'hardcore realism' games from Eastern Europe and what drives it.

...

Others stumbled into the hardcore survival subgenre more by accident. Alexander Dergay, CEO of Belarusian studio Aterdux Entertainment and one of the minds behind fantasy RPG Legends of Eisenwald fell into the industry after playing a game that changed his life” 

 “In 2007 I played a game called Discord Times. After I finished the game, I felt like something important had left my life and I tried to look up who the developers were," says Dergay. "And I found they were in my home city in Minsk, and then I just wanted to meet them and talk to them. To kind of add some more value to my worth, I decided to pretend to be an investor who was interested in making a sequel to that game.” 

Certainly an unconventional approach, but Dergay was welcomed by the team, even after they found out he wasn’t an investor in the traditional sense. Dergay threw all of his money into creating Legends of Eisenwald, eventually turning to Kickstarter when the team found themselves strapped for cash.

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Aterdux Entertainment's tactical RPG has a very deep combat system

“We kind of struggled in the beginning financially, but then as we went on to early access and then we released the game, it didn't become an instant bestseller that we had hoped, but I think it would have been much more financially successful if we were more experienced and were able to shorten our development time,” Dergay says.

[...]

Thursday - October 05, 2017

General News - Flawed Characters are Fun

by Hiddenx, 00:36

Rock Paper Shotgun asks the question

Could RPGs be more fun if they let you be more flawed?

I’ve recently started playing with a new Dungeons & Dragons group, drafted in after one of their numbers upped and left town. It’s my second time playing table-top D&D, after a splendid stint a couple of years back with Jim Rossignol (late of this parish) DMing, and it’s a properly good time. And what I’ve learned is that it becomes a much better time the more flaws you introduce to your character. Which got me thinking: wow, do PC RPGs not follow that rule at all.

I am very much an amateur when it comes to real-world D&D. I’ve learned my way around a D20, but it’s something I came to late and am still getting the hang of. So it is that reflecting on the previous game I was involved in, I’ve realised how wrongly I’d approached the whole thing. I was trying to win the game.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Wednesday - October 04, 2017

Abandon Ship - Exploration Gameplay

by Silver, 23:25

@PCGamesN Abandon Ship is a Strategy RPG game featuring sailing ships.

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Abandon Ship, an FTL-like strategy RPG all about sailing the high seas, is shaping up very nicely. We’ve gotten a look at combat against pirates and sea monsters in previous trailers, but now it’s time to look at exploration. By which I of course mean having dope naval battles amid volcanic eruptions.

Exploration mode is how you’ll progress the game, sailing to find new events and new ports. Each area is surrounded by a massive picture frame, with gates to new locations opened by completing events. Though the main story will push you toward particular locations, you’re otherwise free to explore however you want, and there are loads of unique missions tied to totally optional areas.

[...]

Monday - October 02, 2017

Asura - Now with Free Expansion

by Silver, 04:18

@Gamebanshee Asura has added a free expansion called Vengeance so the game is now called Asura: Vengeance Expansion.

Asura: Vengeance Expansion Released

Ogre Head Studio's Asura is back with a vengeance, or more precisely, a free Vengeance expansion that adds a new game mode, a particularly hard difficulty, and plenty of new rooms and items to this action-RPG steeped in Indian mythology. And what's particularly noteworthy here, is that the expansion is free for everyone who owns the base game. Alternatively, you can now purchase the updated game on Steam, GOG, and Humble Store for $9.99 or your regional equivalent. And if you do so before October 6, 2017, you also get a 15% discount on top of that (on Steam and GOG only).

And if you'd like to see Asura: Vengeance in action, you can watch this new trailer:

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GOKEN - Released

by Silver, 00:45

GOKEN is an indie action RPG that has recently been released on Steam.

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-Game Overview-

  • Seamless open-world game mechanics
    While the game features a rather old school "quarter view" mechanic, the map transitions and event scenes, even the combat is all seamless as can be to enhance the overall gaming experience.
  • Real time strategic action battle system
    Utilizing 2 primary attack buttons, users can assign different weapons to each button to create a unique combo that fits the users need as they go. Monsters, bosses and stage gimmicks can require a specific type of weapon at times creating opportunities for users to strategize their best route of approach.
  • Customizable Tattoo system
    Utilizing "tattoos", users are given specific points upon leveling to get the protagonist inked as a form of powering up so it could be built to one's own. Raising MAX HP and Stamina, learning new and special moves are just a few of many ways players are able to customize their character depending on their play style.

Wednesday - September 27, 2017

Dark Devotion - Demo Available

by Silver, 04:59

@PCGamer Dark Devotion is a side scrolling indie RPG with a demo now available.

Dark Devotion looks kind of like Castlevania, but here's the thing—as soon as one of its dungeon doors slam shut behind you it's locked for good. Only the hub space of Filthblood Shelter, where friendly characters like Bones the blacksmith hang out, can be revisited. The rest of Dark Devotion's temple is a series of paths with no doubling back. At no point do I find a blue grappling hook and realize now I can reach that blue ledge in level three. 

It's still in development but there's a demo up on itch.io right now, and that's what I'm playing. As a templar who starts out armed with a sword, shield, and bow, I've been drawn to this temple for reasons that are vague (the creators are French and have flagged the translation as something they're working on), but since there are skeletons, swinging blade traps, and treasure chests in here it's pretty obvious what to do. 

Reaching a ledge, I kneel to look down and see a pit full of spikes. It's a very Prince of Persia moment. A diving roll puts me past the trap and onto what should be safe ground on the far side. Then a woman with clawed hands attacks me, each of her blows bouncing off my shield and pushing me back, until I slide right into those spikes. "YOUR DEVOTION HAS FADED," the death screen tells me.

[...]

Tuesday - September 26, 2017

General News - Terra Invicta

by Silver, 23:59

RockPaperShotgun talked about Terra Invicta and asked Pavonis Interactive their plans for it.

Long War devs' next game is XCOM at a galactic level

We already knew that Pavonis Interactive, the team behind the RPS-approved, game-changing Long War mods for XCOM and XCOM 2, were working on a complete new game of their own, but seeing as Long War 2 has been in the wild for a while now, I thought I’d catch up with ’em about Terra Invicta. This takes the essential XCOM concept – humans fending off an alien invasion – then expands it to a grand strategy scale.

“It’s a little like what you might imagine the XCOM spokesman’s job to be,” Pavonis head John Lumpkin tells me, “trying to unify Earth’s nations against an alien threat.” And then it moves to cover the entire solar system.

Long War? More like longest war.

Lumpkin couldn’t talk about what, if any, direction we can expect Long War to take in the wake of the XCOM 2’s hectic but mostly very good new expansion pack – see our War Of The Chosen review for more on that – but he was able to reveal that “we’re now able to devote some resources to developing Terra Invicta.”

They’ve been quiet on that front for the past 18 months, but with the hardest work of Long War 2 out the way, they’re now working on it earnest. “Right we’re prototyping some key game systems,” says Lumpkin. “We’re hoping to have some things to show off early next year.” Which is good news, seeing as there’s nary of whiff of even a single screenshot right now.
[...]

Monday - September 25, 2017

Age of Gladiators II - Released

by Silver, 21:10

Age of Gladiators II has released on Steam and is an rpg strategy game set in 3000AD during the rebirth of the gladiatorial games.

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ABOUT THIS GAME

Age of Gladiators II is a single-player strategy game set in 3000AD; a violent and unpredictable future where the gladiatorial games have surged in popularity throughout the known galaxy.

Hire scouts to scour the planets for potential prospects - once you have recruited your gladiators through the draft, scouting, missions, trades, or waiver wire acquisitions, you will need to manage their morale and personality while equipping them for battle on the harsh combat environments of various worlds. Recruit support staff, upgrade your headquarters, collect bounties, research technologies, build your headquarters, partake in side missions, and manage the wealth and reputation of your empire as it grows each day.

As your fighters win battles and increase in level, it will be up to you to decide how to focus their abilities by spending attribute, weapons, and expertise points. Compete, trade, and interact with other in-game owners as you fight through fifty-nine grueling, regular season battles in order to reach the playoffs, vying for the chance to etch your name for all eternity on the coveted Blood League championship trophy.
Build your story. Build your empire.

Features:

  • Eight different species with their own specific combat bonuses and abilities.
  • Control your gladiators with the new 3D isometric combat system, where fights can have hundreds of different outcomes. Utilize dozens of different combat styles and abilities -employ unique species abilities, combat stims that increase physical stats, and special equipment such as force fields, weapon jammers, armor shredders, nano-leeches, and more.
  • Construct a headquarters to your exact specifications in order to maximize the efficiency of your operation. Medical bays, training centers, cloning tanks, cybernetics labs, weapons ranges, equipment workshops, and more.
  • Gladiators are born with their own dynamically generated physical attributes (twelve in total), weapon specialties, and personalities. It is up to you to draft the best prospects from the academy, make astute trades with competing owners, or hire scouts to scour for fringe fighters on nine different worlds.
  • As your gladiators level up, they gain points to spend on their attributes, weapons training, and expertise. Expertise allows you to build and customize your fighter according to their appropriate strengths. Weapons training allows you to specialize your gladiator with a specific weapon (pistol, carbine, or rifle for ranged sharpshooters, or 1-handed sword, 2-handed sword, or axe for melee brawlers). The physicality of your gladiators will increase or decrease with age, depending on if they are in their prime or declining.
  • Track the progress of your recently-drafted gladiators in the Rookie League, carefully developing and preparing them for their eventual promotion to the deadly Blood League. You could have the next unstoppable superstar in your farm system!
  • Clone dead fighters back to life or fit them with cybernetics if they are grievously wounded.
  • Be sure the check the bounty board. An opposing gladiator in the arena may have a price on their head, yielding millions of credits in payouts if they are killed in battle.
  • Manage your gladiators carefully - their morale, greed, injuries, fatigue, weapons training, and more must be taken into account before sending them to battle.
  • As your gladiators gain glory from battle, they will become more widely recognized and adored by the crowds. Win enough battles and they may even get voted into the Blood League hall of fame after they retire (or die).
  • Become a mogul outside of the arena. Purchase property for fame or businesses through which to further increase the efficiency of your operation.
  • Purchase, recruit, draft, trade, or claim fighters off the waiver wire.
  • Rob credit shipments, kidnap enemy fighters, assassinate your debt holders and more with the proactive mission system. Increase the odds of success by sending reliable gladiators on the mission as well. Lawfully aligned gladiators will only partake lawful missions, while criminally-inclined gladiators will assist in unlawful activities.
  • Engage in five different branches of research: combat, medical, weapons, armor, and scouting.
  • Search for deals on weapons, armor, combat stims, special equipment, and credit loans on the marketplace.
  • Hire staff such as scouts, doctors, trainers, weapons techs, and armor techs to help your gladiators achieve victory. Assign your superstars or promising prospects to trainers for individual grooming; or accelerate the healing of your wounded by providing them expert medical care from your hotshot doctor.
  • Strive to become the wealthiest individual in the known galaxy. There are quick and underhanded ways to make money, but your reputation and fighter's morale may suffer as a result.
  • Receive taunting messages from opposing bosses as well as various other messages from your fighters, staff members, and different characters as you progress through the game.
  • Rename your gladiators in order to increase your attachment toward them.
  • Bet for or against your gladiator based on the odds generated by bookmakers in-game.
  • Fight purses and betting is based on the hype associated with each match. The greater the hype, the more lucrative the fight purse and betting market will be - but the opposition will also be tougher.
  • Each game is dynamically generated and different each time.
  • Play as many seasons as you want. Build your story. Build your empire.

Sunday - September 24, 2017

The Crown Stones: Mirrah - On Catarse Crowdfunding

by Hiddenx, 10:21

Hipgnosis spotted a crowdfundig campaign for theMetroidvania The Crown Stones: Mirrah:

The Crown Stones: Mirrah

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The Crown Stones: Mirrah is a Metroidvania-styled retro game which has great influence from old games like “Castlevania”, “Demon’s Crest”, “Blackthorne”, among others retrogames that have always inspired us. However, it has different mechanics as well as some elements from new generation games, like “Dark Souls” for example, game that inspires us a lot by its difficulty and dense atmosphere.

Saturday - September 23, 2017

General News - The Art of Turn-Based Battles

by Silver, 10:43

@Gamasutra Felipe Pepe shares his opinion on the art of turn-based battles in RPGs.

The Art of Turn-Based RPGs I: Menu-based battles

...

Action Order:

Ok, so the game is Turn-Based... but who goes first? Well, it depends.

In traditional Turn-Based games, each character has a turn. Turn order is usually decided by initiative/speed, and sometimes a very fast character can have more turns than a slow one. You can see this in games like Final Fantasy X, Temple of Elemental Evil, Fallout 1 & 2, the Gold Box games, etc.

Some games - especially tactical ones such as X-COM, Disgaea or Jagged Alliance 2 - instead alternate between a "player turn", where you control all characters and attack, followed by an "enemy turn", were the opposing force does the same. This elevates the risk & reward: you can coordinate your attacks and deal a lot of damage, but then you'll have to endure the enemy doing the same.

However, a few RPGs use instead a Phase-Based system (aka "We-Go"), where you and your opponent give orders to all characters and then the actions are executed all at once.

This is a more chaotic system, that requires some gambles. Let's say you are facing a strong monster and one that is near-death: how many characters should attack the near-death one? Just one? But what if the attack misses? Several? But if the first attack kills, then the others might be wasted...

Initiative is also key. If one of your characters is dying, a fast monster might kill him/her before your slow Cleric can cast a healing spell - will you take the gamble, or order the Ninja to use a healing item?

This system was used mostly on older RPGs, such a Bard's Tale and Wizardry, but lives on in modern Wizardry clones, such as Etrian Odissey, Stranger Of Sword City or Elminage: Gothic.

In 1991 Final Fantasy IV introduced the ATB (Active Time Battle) system, where characters can act as soon as their ATB bars fill up. This remains the quintessential JRPG combat system for a lot of people - especially since it was used in several of Squaresoft JRPGs in the 90s, including FFVII:

Final Fantasy X-2 expanded upon the concept, adding bonus damage when the player chains attacks together. Final Fantasy XIII added more flexibility: you could quickly execute weaker attacks, or wait for it to charge further and unleash stronger ones - a useful choice when trying to keep a combo up:

Bravely Default elevated combat turns into a resource. Characters can skip turn to save them for later, attacking several times at once or using powerful attacks that take several turns to execute. They can also spend more turns than they saved, which will force them to helplessly stand still for a few turns.

Grandia, on the other hand, made the turn order itself interactive - characters "race" each other on a timeline to select an action. Each action takes a certain time to be executed, and you can try to interrupt an enemy's attack, delay it or quickly prepare a defense before it lands. This system was later used in games like Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 & 4 and Child of Light:

Nowadays many gamers are familiar with the Persona series, where hitting an enemy with elemental magic he's weak to will negate his turn and leave him exposed. But the Turn Press system in the Shin Megami Tensei games goes much deeper. During your turn you get a certain number of points to use - and each action will consume some of those points.

However, Critical hits or exploiting enemies' weakness consumes less points than normal, while a miss will consume more points. And if you screw up big - like using a spell the enemy can absorb, you lose ALL points and your turn will end.

It's an elaborate system, that requires you to know each enemy and their weakness, then exploit those to make your turn last as long as possible.

[...]

Tuesday - September 19, 2017

Forbidden Unit - Just the Beginning

by Silver, 02:08

Forbidden Unit has not reached its Kickstarter goal but this is not the end of the project.

Future of the project

Hello our dear RPG enthusiasts!!!

Firstly we want to THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts for your support and interest in the game. You are awesome!!!

We are nearly at the end of our campaign, and despite the fact, not everything happened as we hoped, it is not the end of the project by any means. In fact, it is more like the start of the second phase of development. We now understand what could be done better as far as presentation, media communication, and community building goes. We have also got great feedback and tips from you, and we clearly see there is a lot of interest for the game.

What will be next

We will stop campaign now, but we will still provide you regular updates showing game mechanics in detail and give you latest news about development and state of the game. So stay tuned!!!

Our next big goal is to complete playable demo. After that, we will send it to YouTubers and possibly go on Steam Direct with it. Aside from RPGCodex and RPGWatch forums, our plan is to make own forum/channel where we could post news and be in touch with all of you in one place.

Once all of this will be done, we will possibly prepare relaunch of the new campaign on KS. In terms of time, we are looking approximately at the horizon of half year (or slightly more). We will be very glad if you will stay with us and try to support us once again when the time comes. Your help ideas and opinions are very important for us, so we may turn on you with a survey to help us build the game and our campaign in the future.

Despite the fact we didn't reach the final KS goal, our campaign brings many positive things. Firstly we have learned many things and identified main issues that prevent us from reaching the goal. We gathered important contacts, presented the game to the public, and got the attention of people who like what we do and are willing to help us achieve our goals.

Every single backer was really important. Considering the fact that game wasn't very well visible, covered by many gaming sites and didn't have massive marketing. A significant percentage of people who visit our campaign, decided to support us, which is incredible. You gave us a lot of energy, and fuel to continue working on the game.

Last two months was kinda hectic, so right now we need to catch a breath, and after that, you may look forward to new materials :)

Best Regards, Tom, Skipi and Otus. Chainless Games

Sunday - September 17, 2017

3030 Deathwar Redux - Launch Trailer

by Silver, 12:13

3030 Deathwar Redux, an open world, space exploration RPG has launched on Steam.

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Published on Sep 13, 2017

3030 Deathwar Redux - Version 1.0 out now! On Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/464... On Humble: https://www.humblebundle.com/g/3030_d... Open World Space exploration, boarding stations and derelicts, talking to people and trading on stations, tons of missions and an exciting plot are what await you in this genre-twisting Experience! A fusion of Elite-style space exploration, frantic and fast-paced combat, and a healthy dose of Lucas Arts-style comedic adventuring, 3030 Deathwar Redux sets you free to roam the entire galaxy, after a mysterious War left planets uninhabitable and the remaining stations on quarantine lockdown. Help freewheeling space pilot John get back on his feet in a huge open world, and pilot your own course through the game's dizzying array of missions, stories and features. Music: H.E.A.T by The Kyoto Connection http://www.thekyotoconnection.com/

Regions of Ruin - EA on October 5

by Hiddenx, 09:36

TechRaptor reports about an upcoming sidescrolling RPG: Regions of Ruin

 

Regions of Ruin Hits Early Access October 5th

If you’ve been wondering what a 2D sidescrolling action take on Kingdom would look like, it appears that there may be an answer for you in the upcoming Regions of Ruin.

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In Regions of Ruin you play as a dwarf who is trying to rebuild his race’s settlements. As you travel, you need to find people to help you build up this settlement, typically by doing quests for them and then bringing materials for them to use to build it up. Quests often involve exploring areas, slaying foes, and acquiring things folks need as you try to return your race to the glory days of old.

[...]

Tuesday - September 12, 2017

Project Daedalus - Announcement

by Hiddenx, 09:03

GabrielMP_19 has spotted a new dungeon crawler in the making: Project Daedalus:

From Mazes of Karradash to Project Daedalus

The first two chapters of Mazes of Karradash got good reviews from the critics and from a lot of players. It would have been a logical choice to develop a third chapter of the series, another dungeon crawler with the same setting and gameplay.

Instead, we have decided to use the experience learned with MoK just as a starting point, changing the atmosphere, rules and so much more.

Project Daedalus will not be Mazes of Karradash 3. The gameplay is much deeper, the fantasy setting has been replaced by a horror theme and the topics covered in the story will be much more mature. It will be a darker game.

Undoubtedly many of the features of MoK will also be present in this new dungeon crawler, such as perma-death and the ability to gradually improve any new characters by unlocking new weapons, better attributes and more.

And then there is the one that maybe is the biggest difference: Project Daedalus will be available for Windows PC, so expect a full CRPG this time.

[...]

Sunday - September 10, 2017

General News - Chris Avellone Interview

by Silver, 03:55

Chris Avellone was interviewed recently at RPGamer about what he has been up to.

Johnathan Stringer (RPGamer): You left Obsidian around two years ago now, could you catch readers up on what you have been up to since then?

Chris Avellone:
Sure - also, wow, two years - so I've been doing a lot of things, a good amount which got announced this year all at once, even though I'd been working on them for a while.

I helped Arkane Studios with Prey - although to clarify, I didn't write the story, I helped with the supporting cast, lore, history, and other parts - Ricardo Bare was the lead writer and lead designer, and he's a great designer to work with. Also, the FTL folks (Subset Games) reached out to me to ask if I'd help with world lore and pilot personality design/voices for their new title, Into the Breach, which is promising to be at least as fun as FTL, even at an early stage.

I worked with Larian on Divinity: Original Sin 2. My work with them is largely done, but I'd definitely work with Swen again, he's very driven, and his energy is contagious. In addition, Beamdog reached out to me to help with the Planescape: Torment: Enhanced Edition, and they gave me a chance to fix a lot of my stupid errors I couldn't when the title first came out many years ago, so that was both a nostalgic and humiliating trip down memory lane.

There's been other projects as well - I still work with inXile, I also got to work on a WW2 title, Burden of Command, I've done lore and world design for Alaloth, and the System Shock Reboot (this isn't Warren Spector's SS3, it's Night Dive Studios) - and they let me get to write SHODAN, so I'm happy about that. Also, I get to work with a lot of ex-Obsidian folks, some who left years ago and went cross-country and others who were hit during one of the rounds of layoffs. Being able to work with them again is nice - it's like getting the gang back together.

I did - and am still - working on other unannounced projects, some big, some small, but all of them interesting. We recently finished the Kickstarter campaign for Pathfinder: Kingmaker, which was a success, and how that came about was a surprise - Owlcat reached out to me to ask if I'd want to work on a Pathfinder RPG, which was something I'd been interested in doing for a while. It's really surprising no one's tried to make a single-player Pathfinder CRPG before, it's a great franchise.

[...]

Thursday - September 07, 2017

Elderborn - Gamescom Gameplay

by Silver, 13:14

@IndieRetroNews Elderborn gameplay was revealed at Gamescom. Elderborn is an action rpg in the vein of Dark Messiah of Might and Magic.

Although I am a massive fan of grid based dungeon crawlers, sometimes I like to put them aside and play games such as Skyrim or the much older kick and slasher 'Dark Messiah of Might and Magic', but there's one game shown off with new footage that caught my eye today that's very similar to those games, and that's Elderborn developed by Hyperstrange. If you like free movement, the slashing of enemies with weapons in hand, and the exploration of dungeons and caves then read on!

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[...]

Wednesday - August 30, 2017

Dead Monarchy - Dev Diary 1

by Silver, 14:37

Dead Monarchy is a medieval, turn-based, survival simulator RPG currently in development.

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Greetings fellow gamers, this is the first development blog update that explains the combat mechanics up to this point in time. Keep in mind, things will change due to player feedback and internal testing.

Website and forums are up to, so if your interested see you there!
https://dead-monarchy.com/
RPG Codex Thread:
http://www.rpgcodex.net/forums/index....

Tuesday - August 29, 2017

Dishonored 3 - Won't Star Emily or Corvo

by Silver, 16:32

@GameRant Dishonored 3 will have a new protagonist according to Harvey Smith.

The latest expansion of Dishonored 2, Death of the Outsider, is the last chapter of the era that begun when Jessamine Kaldwin lost her life at the beginning of the first game. With the story of Corvo and Emily finally coming to its conclusion, Arkane Studios creative director Harvey Smith confirms that this is likely the last time we will see the deadly duo in action.

Although a sequel to Dishonored 2 has not been officially announced, Smith commented that he hopes that there will be more games in the series, even if they're likely to feature a whole new cast.

[...]

Rune Ragnarok - Announcement Trailer

by Silver, 16:21

@Gamers Adventure HD A new open world RPG called Rune Ragnarok has been announced. The game is a sequel to the original Rune.

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Rune Ragnarok Announcement Trailer (Open world RPG)

Subscribe :https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLcr...

Follow Gamer's Adventure HD for more

Twitter : https://twitter.com/_gamersad_

Ragnarok is "set in a dangerous Norse universe during the end of days" and places players "in the middle of an epic battle where gods, beasts, and the last remaining humans struggle to survive" according to Human Head Studios' press release.

The original Rune was a third-person action adventure game taking place during a war between Norse gods Odin and Loki where you played a Viking named Ragnar

Monday - August 28, 2017

Children of Morta - Hack n'Slash Due Next Year

by Silver, 15:05

@RockPaperShotgun Children of Morta is a hack n'slash game due 2018.

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Children of Morta
 [official site], the pretty hack-and-slash that hit Kickstarter in 2015, is coming out for real in the first half of next year. It’s about the Bergson family, adventurers that guard Mount Morta and take it in turns to leave the house to hunt for loot and slay monsters.

They all have unique combat styles to master: some fire magic spells, other wield two swords, for example. Expect looting, upgrading, and procedurally-generated dungeons and temples. An early build is available to the Kickstarter backers who helped raise a combined $109,000 for development, and they are all saying nice things about it in their Steam reviews. A promising start, then.
[...]

Friday - August 25, 2017

Secret of Mana Remake - Due February

by Silver, 14:14

Secret of Mana Remake will release on Steam February 12th.

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The memorable adventure of Randi, Primm and Popoi is reborn in the new "Secret of Mana"!

Embark on an action-packed, worldwide adventure in this 3D remaster.

Available on 15th February, 2018 for Steam, PS4 and PSVita!

Like what you see? Then be sure to follow us:
Twitter - https://twitter.com/square_enix_eu
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/squareenix
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/squareenix
#SecretofMana

Thursday - August 24, 2017

Rule with an Iron Fish - Released

by Hiddenx, 19:41

The Adventure RPG Rule with an Iron Fish has been released:

Rule with an Iron Fish

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Become the greatest pirate captain that ever fished! Add more pirates to your burgeoning island town! Listen to all their nonsensical complaints! Fish in ludicrous locations like swamps, active volcanoes and the sky! A relaxing experience set in a charming, whimsical world. Come catch all the fish!

Wednesday - August 23, 2017

General News - The Good Life

by Silver, 04:35

The Good Life was announced at Gamescom with this debut trailer. The game features cats and will be a daily life RPG set in a happy town where strange things happen at night. The game will launch on Fig September 2nd.

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The Good Life first trailer for Backstage Pass Only.
A completely new mystery launched by creator of Deadly Premonition...
(c) 2017 White Owls Inc. All Rights Reserved.

[...]

GAME DESCRIPTION

At night, the town's residents turn into cats. Why does this happen? Is this why everyone in town is so happy? No one seems to remember what they do at night. Naomi is here to find out what's going on in Rainy Woods. The townspeople aren't the only ones who get to roam around at night as a cat - Naomi does too! Once the sun sets, you'll get to explore Rainy Woods and collect clues and important items connected to the events of the story. The town becomes a very different place at night, as certain secret paths, rooftops, and attics can only be accessed by cats.

Tuesday - August 22, 2017

Phantom Doctrine - XCOM for Spies

by Silver, 14:34

PCGamesN report on Phantom Doctrine, an alternate history thriller that sees you lead the Cabal. There are some screenshots at the link.

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Features

  • A rich alternate history plot anchored by historical events and characters, bringing the chillingly relevant Cold War reality to life from a unique point of view.
  • Next-generation turn-based combat: Unprecedented flexibility of movement and actions, variable overwatch modes and assault-oriented Breaching ability
  • Expanded battlefield: position assets around the world and call for assistance in the middle of battle when you need it most. Just remember, the enemy can bring their own reinforcements, heavy weapons or even air support and their toy box is much bigger than yours.
  • Knowing is half the battle: scout mission locations ahead of time, infiltrate with undercover operatives and improve your odds. Elite enemy agents with their own agenda are always ready to spring their own ambushes.
  • Go loud or go home (stealthily): fully-fledged stealth gameplay with silenced weapons, silent takedowns and cutting-edge Cold War era security technology. All this makes completing entire operations clandestinely a viable option.
  • Run your own counterintelligence organization: recruit subjects of top secret government experiments, operatives of the world's secret services, KGB & CIA included, or even criminals. Manage a global operation, securing weapons, resources and contacts. Command from a distance or go hands-on to fight for the real stakes.
  • Actively pursue the truth: research cases, locations and individuals in Investigation Board gameplay mechanics to uncover new missions, resources and technologies.
  • Employ technology ruthlessly to your advantage: learn from the enemy or research your own methods for brainwashing, interrogation, body engineering and chemical enhancement.
  • Customize your operatives and then do it again once they need a new identity: forge documents, change appearance, retrain them for lethal effect and send them back into the fray.
  • Replayable, modular campaign with an array of mechanics to ensure unique and markedly different playthroughs: generated character names and backgrounds, modular and algorithmically populated maps, randomized intelligence snippets.
  • A highly replayable, story-driven campaign with meticulously designed and adaptable maps.
  • Two stories to choose from: a KGB counterintelligence operative or a CIA wet work commando who have to come to grips with the truth and challenge the conspiracy, with an additional New Game Plus protagonist.
  • No mission too big, no mission too small: enter a bustling government facility undercover to assassinate a target with surgical precision or mount a heavy frontal assault on an enemy staging base. With optional objectives closely linked to a mission's complexity and opportunities like loot and intelligence to collect, there are decisions to be made at each step.

Friday - August 18, 2017

General News - Doom 2 Recreated in Diablo 2

by Silver, 10:22

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

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

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

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[...]

Wednesday - August 16, 2017

General News - The Future of Immersive Sims

by Hiddenx, 20:37

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

The uncertain future of games like Deus Ex and Dishonored

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

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

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

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

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

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Journey's End - Dev News

by Hiddenx, 19:32

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

Devlog #2 - Cameras

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

[...]

Tuesday - August 15, 2017

General News - Stop Being an Indie Game Developer

by Myrthos, 12:30

In an article on gamasutra the author writes about the need for indie game developers to start running a business if they want to make any money of their game development effort.

Wake up! Releasing your game, the actual pressing the release-button? it's not going to make you any sales! Maybe, just maybe, 1 out of all the readers of this article will be creating a game that goes big.. but that would be asking for a lot.

I've seen developers pressing the Steam release button, some even make this a bit of a clumsy, live streaming event where they aren't really sure what the steps are to releasing the game on Steam, and that it then takes some time for the game to show up.

Pressing that button, is not magically gonna give you sales or even eyeballs on your game. It will be on the "new releases" list for MAYBE a few hours, if you're lucky, cause you'll be "promoted" to the second page in no time.

Same goes for releasing on iOS or Android. There is no big fanfare or huge event or cheerleaders clapping for you. The store entry for your game changes it's database field "released=no" to "released=yes" and that's it!  There are no crowds lining up to buy the game that instant, nobody cares!

This is not a bitter representation of the process either, this is just really all it is. Funny thing is that I told a bunch of developers in the days/weeks leading up to their release: hey, the game won't sell much if you don't tell people about it (it might not even sell copies if you DO tell people about it). But most just ignored that, because "you never know"..  .. nope, I do know.

So stop dreaming: releasing games isn't magical, and selling games isn't done by releasing it.

Monday - August 14, 2017

3030 Deathwar Redux - Launches Next Month

by Silver, 13:52

@RockPaperShotgun 3030 Deathwar Redux is a retro open world space adventure RPG which will launch from Steam early access on September 13th.

...
3030 Deathwar Redux [official site], like the original, is an open-world RPG combining adventure game with 2D Elite-style exploration and combat. The new version provides "an extended adventure, with more characters and content, graphical enhancements, balancing and gameplay changes, a smoother experience and tons of other improvements," developers Crunchy Leaf Games say.

The range of things you can do in its 30 star systems sounds pretty impressive. If you want to take on simple delivery jobs to save up money for a better ship, you can. Or you can fire up the boosters and hunt down some derelict ships, space walk into them and nab the loot. It reminds me a bit of Freelancer in that regard.
[...]

[...]

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About This Game

3030 Deathwar Redux is an Open World Space Adventure with a twist!

A dead body is found by his crew, then his new ship gets impounded by the cops, something is going on... probably related to a missing freighter with a large cargo of gold bars. Now, John Falcon, a freewheeling space pilot, tries to get back on his feet. But where to start?

* Take on some local delivery jobs and get a better ship?
* Downsize to a Jetsuit and go shooting space-junk for quick money?
* Focus on finding the missing gold shipment before the local gangs and salvage teams?
* Go punch that damn mechanic who sold you a stolen ship?
...and what is this mysterious 'Taoist' group you keep hearing about?

Maybe just take a break and go travelling inter-stellar, in an Open World of more than 30 star systems.

Features
* Open world space exploration and frantic combat with afterburners blazing
* Board Stations, visit the bars and talk to an array of space scum
* Ghostly Derelict Ships to find on your Star-Map, spacewalk into, and salvage valuables
* Large variety of fun Jobs and Missions, with exciting Side Quests
* Diverse ships to buy and upgrade for Performance, Defence and Combat
* Get a fuel-scoop and refuel from the corona of a sun without frying yourself!
* Find Pirate Stations & begin a life of crime, attack innocent traders, steal cargo from traffic
* Get a large cargo ship and go Asteroid Mining for metals, or haul Goods between systems
* Hidden wormhole shortcuts, Comets, Unique Stations and other secrets to find
* An intriguing Main Plot Line... and much, much more!

The Redux version adds: an extended adventure, with more characters and content, graphical enhancements, balancing and gameplay changes, a smoother experience and tons of other improvements!

Friday - August 11, 2017

General News - A Starflight Remake in the Works?

by Hiddenx, 21:32

OnlySP thinks a remake of the space adventure Starflight is in the works - based on a tweet by Brian Fargo:

Enigmatic Tweet Hints at Remake of 1986’s Starflight

On August 8, InXile CEO Brian Fargo sent out a tweet that may pique the interest of gamers, teasing a possible remake of the classic 1986 EA title Starflight.

While Fargo’s tweet indicates that InXile is not developing the purported remake, it serves as a strong implication that someone else is.

Old-school gamers may remember Starflight, an adventure role-playing game once available for the IBM PC, Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Macintosh, and Sega Genesis. Set in the year 4620, the game’s plot revolves around a starship captain exploring the reaches of the galaxy. The non-linear game allowed players to choose their own path through the story, making it one of the earliest sandbox games ever released.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Wednesday - August 09, 2017

General News - Open Worlds Are Rubbish

by Silver, 14:22

Strat-Edgy Productions talk about what works and what does not with open world games.

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Open worlds are rubbish, and they need to evolve to survive. What is the natural evolution of open words? What is the nature of the open world experience? Is it a playground? Is it a content delivery system? How do you use the open world in an RPG?

Let's take a look at Oblivion, Gothic 2, and Final Fantasy 15 and try to figure out why a game Like Mafia 3 fails to deliver an entertaining experience, and GTA 5 manages to deliver on more than it needed to.

Let's answer all these questions shall we?

Tuesday - August 01, 2017

Solstice Chronicles: MIA - Released

by Silver, 08:50

Solstice Chronicles: MIA was recently released on Steam and is best described as an action RPG featuring tactical shooting.

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About This Game

Description
Solstice Chronicles: MIA is a tactical shooter in which players control the difficulty by managing their threat level through special skills.
Universe - the Red Solstice
The Earth was overrun by STROL virus. What little was left of man kind colonized Mars, and established a society ruled by powerful corporations. But Mars isn't welcoming, and a violent storm threatens to tear the colonies apart. In a race against time, both the corporation and insurgents will stop at nothing to find the cure and reclaim the Earth. As the virus inevitably spreads through Tharsis colony, the players must fight the mutants, the storm and the odds to find the cure before it's too late.
Story
In a dead colony, a corporate marine is left far behind enemy lines. With an unlikely help of an insurgent drone, he faces the battle for survival against an army of murderous, mindless mutants... and worse things.
Challenge
We from Ironward want to take a different approach to twin-stick shooters. We learned that tactics can be great in our first game The Red Solstice, and we're trying to add a bit of that tactic into Solstice Chronicles: MIA, we feel that if players prepare themselves, the reward will be much more satisfying.
Features

  • Master fluid twin-stick combat to blast through waves of mutants on Mars.
  • Use your drone's abilities tactically, weighing the risk and reward of decisions that drastically change the threat you face.
  • Decide between scavenging for supplies and upgrades in the face of the oncoming menace, or pushing forward, potentially unprepared for the enemies still to come.
  • Decimate the mutant onslaught with upgradeable weaponry, including shotguns, rocket launchers, and more, as well as special Heavy weapons, like the autocannon and flamethrower, which will obliterate everything in their path.
  • Develop your own skill tree from across four classes--Assault, Demolition, Hellfire, and Terminator--to become the ultimate instrument of destruction.

Monday - July 31, 2017

Rat Simulator - Released

by Hiddenx, 20:41

Do you want to roleplay a rat? Farflame spotted a Rat Simulator on Steam:

Rat Simulator is a survival stealth role-playing simulator game set in a suburban neighborhood where you play as a rat to spread the plague across the neighborhood in order to build a rat's paradise.

No longer do you need to wonder what they get up to when humans are around, as this state-of-the-art computer simulation models the complete rat experience. As a rat, you'll get to steal food, wreck havoc and create chaos whenever you feel like it. This terrifies the humans who fear you and will fight back by calling pestmen to exterminate you.

Mess is yours to make in this survival stealth role-playing simulator, as you experience the life of a hunted rat fighting to drive out those pesky humans!

Key Features

 

  • Infection - Infect 9 unique houses with the plague in the suburban neighborhood, but watch out for the inhabitants who are out to stop you in your tracks.
  • Stealth Gameplay – Avoid detection from humans while spreading the plague, else you'll feel the wrath of the pestmen who are out to kill you!
  • Destruction – Create chaos in the houses where you'll get to destroy precious objects such as plates, glasses and vases much to humanity’s dismay. Or maybe you just feel like making a mess out of their houses by throwing their fragile possessions everywhere.
  • Boss Fights - Defeat the leader of the pestman crew to claim the suburban neighbourhood as your own territory.
  • Rat Paradise – Save rats who are trapped in houses and then call upon your fellow rats to infect new houses in the neighborhood!
  • Enhancements – Your experiences empowers your abilities and you'll get to select upgrades in order to boost your rat capabilities.
  • Poisoned Food – It's all fun to spread diseases to the humans, and after all you'll get the house to yourself if they die to the plague, right?
  • Annoy Humans – As a plague bearer, you'll get to temporarily stop the humans in their tracks as they drop to the ground when shot with poison.

Sunday - July 30, 2017

General News - A brief History of MMO Games

by Hiddenx, 02:50

Henriquejr spotted this arcticle on PC Gamer:

A brief history of MMO games

By creating worlds for thousands to play, MMOs are as impressive as they are audacious. We explore the genre’s best.

When sci-fi ’s first writers imagined virtual realities, they’d never have guessed the ease with which we could access them. With just a few clicks of a mouse, we can step into online worlds filled with adventure. We populate fictional cities, we create digital cultures and we tell stories together while exploring strange new horizons. 

MMOs are defined by their immense scope. They take the basic foundations of roleplaying games and stretch them over massive worlds where countless players coexist together. Whether you’re diving into dungeons, hawking goods in a market or plotting the downfall of a rival guild, MMOs are at their best when they inspire us to be social. Here, I’m going to explore the history of this genre by touching on ten of its greatest examples. These are the games that pioneered online roleplaying, building the template that all others would conform to. Some of these worlds have diminished with time, but their legacy continues to shape the genre.

[...]

Thursday - July 27, 2017

Lost Sphear - Followup to I Am Setsuna

by Silver, 12:55

@DSOGaming Lost Sphear is a new RPG from Square Enix that follows on from I Am Setsuna. Polygon captured some 15 minutes of gameplay footage from a demo. The game is expected to release January 23rd 2018.

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Check out 15 minutes of gameplay from the demo for Lost Sphear, Square Enix's charming new RPG and the follow-up to last year's I Am Setsuna.

Wednesday - July 26, 2017

New Dragon Age Game - Expectations

by Hiddenx, 22:16

PC Gamer has some expectations for a new Dragon Age game:

What we want from a new Dragon Age game

Bioware's epic fantasy RPG series is returning, and we're hungry for more.

Something new is being made in the Dragon Age universe. We don't know if it's going to be another huge hundred-hour RPG or something a little different. We do know that Sunless Sea's Alexis Kennedy is involved in some capacity—here's hoping for a little Sunless Sea oddness in the new game.  Naturally, when news slips out of a new entry in a big series we start to comb over our experiences with the games we've played so far. Then, wishlists start to form. What should go? What would we like to see more of? Why is Dragon Age 2 definitely the best one? Here's what we want from a new entry in the series.

Better combat

I don't expect BioWare to reprise Origins' combat—that just isn't how big publishers make RPGs now, for better or worse. It would be nice to see a little more fine tuning when it comes to customising your party's tactics, though, which was streamlined in Inquisition with a system that wasn't quite as intuitive or useful as Origins' was. Origins let you program very specific conditions for when your characters use abilities. I'd like to see the next game offer that mastery. Players who want an easier time of it can just carry on playing Dragon Age like an action game, which is honestly how I've played it since the first game came out.

I don't mind that too much—Inquisition is more than serviceable as an action game and I can only see BioWare getting better at that in the years since its release—but offering more optional ways to strategise would please some parts of the series' fanbase.—Samuel Roberts  

Less extraneous sidequests

We thought Mass Effect Andromeda would learn this lesson from Inquisition, but it sadly didn't. Low quality fetch or grind quests may pad out an open world, but they also slow down the structure of the game's story, and some players may obliged to complete all of them before moving onto the best parts of the game. Inquisition had that in particular—hence Phil's cry to leave the Hinterlands in Inquisition.

I love the open world environments of Inquisition, and the party banter is so good that you enjoy the sense of journey, and the tension that comes when you know a dragon fight is approaching. But you can have that sense of journey without tasking the player to do a bunch of extra stuff.—Samuel Roberts

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Friday - July 21, 2017

Kingdom Hearts 3 - May Come to PC

by Silver, 14:23

@DSOGaming Kingdom Hearts 3, an upcoming action RPG from Square Enix, may come to PC but nothing has been confirmed at this stage.

Now here is something really interesting. In an interview with Famitsu, Kingdom Hearts III Director Tetsuya Nomura said that Square Enix will consider bringing this new Kingdom Hearts game to other platforms once the game releases on PS4 and Xbox One.

As Nomura stated, the team is dedicated on these two versions right now. Still, once the game has been released on these two consoles, Square Enix will consider bringing it to other platforms. What other platforms? Nomura did not clarify but we can safely assume that he’s referring to two: Nintendo Switch and PC.
[...]

Monday - July 17, 2017

General News - Dan Abnett: Story should be the Spine of your Game

by Hiddenx, 19:33

Farflame spotted an interesting article about story-writing in RPGs on Gamesindustry:

Dan Abnett: “Story should be the spine of your game”

The best-selling novelist and writer for both comics and video games discusses the increasing importance of a solid narrative

[...]

While Abnett believes the quality of current games writing is "high, with a great deal of imaginative and clever new approaches being devised" - especially within the indie space, he observes - the author also warns there are some major challenges to overcome and a lot of room for improvement.

"The sheer popularity of the biggest games - although not all of them - tends to force over-simplicity in story," he tells GamesIndustry.biz. "[There's] the notion that if the visuals are amazing and the action plentiful, you can get by on a very rudimentary story. The same criticism might be levelled at blockbuster movies - the whole notion that a big 'wow factor' can excuse lapses in logic, continuity or even sense. That underestimates badly the interest and involvement of many players."

[...]

Monday - July 10, 2017

The RPG Scrollbars - The Many Faces Of Villainy

by Hiddenx, 19:08

Richard Cobbet looks at the evil side of RPGs:

The RPG Scrollbars: The Many Faces Of Villainy

Not only does a great hero need a great villain, villains are usually just so much more fun. Whether it’s the tortured lost soul who can only find peace by destroying the universe or the cheery psychopath looking to see the world burn, it’s no wonder that many of the greatest films of all time have been defined at least as much by the baddie as any individual scene. Darth Vader, the Terminator, Norman Bates, Dracula… villains get people excited. A great villain lives forever, death be damned.

[...]

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Monday - July 03, 2017

Code Vein - New Gameplay Trailer

by Silver, 14:22

@Gamer's Adventure HD Code Vein is an action RPG set in a post-apocalyptic dystopia and based on vampire lore.

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Code Vein is an upcoming action role-playing video game being developed and to be published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows. The game is set to be released in 2018. It is set in a future post-apocalyptic dystopia with a vampire thematic.

The gameplay is expected to be based on vampiric lore including "gifts" from the consumption of blood, and other supernatural abilities.

My Time at Portia - Simulation RPG Game

by Silver, 14:12

My Time at Portia is a Simulation RPG game in the vein of Stardew Valley. Download the demo here.

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This is the trailer for My Time At Portia's first alpha build release. The build can be downloaded on our website at http://portia.pathea.net. My Time At Portia is a simulation RPG game that takes place in a world far into the future where humans are few and relics are everywhere. The player receives a broken down workshop and goes from there. Enjoy!

Saturday - July 01, 2017

Burden of Command - WWII Tactical Leadership RPG

by Silver, 01:04

@RockPaperShotgun Burden of Command is a WWII tactical leadership RPG which is due to release sometime in 2018.

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World War II Tactical Leadership RPG -- Coming 2018
More information at: http://www.burdenofcommand.com

[...]

Project Lead Luke Hughes is keen to stress that there are no ‘right' answers on the BoC battlefield and that issuing an order is not the same thing as executing an action. When I asked him to explain how the game will go about modelling the chaos of war, he said this:

"The game is designed such that everything that happens in BoC happens on a probability curve. Which is a fancy way of saying that while normally for any given ‘event' (firing an MG, giving an order, rallying the men, making a move or an interactive fiction decision, etc.) what you expect to happen happens, the dice are always being rolled for a disaster (e.g., the gun jams, the men panic, an order gets lost) or an unexpected success (critical hit, a squad auto rallies...). Further, as a battle progresses and the natural friction of war occurs through suppression and injury, command and control will start to break down. That is, suppressed units will tend to ignore orders, or not receive them, or implement them only minimally (crawl towards the MG rather than run).

Put one last way, while in a typical tactical game like XCOM we're all used to the chance to hit being probabilistic, in BoC even the chance to follow an order is probabilistic. In the face of this pervasive chaos it is the leaders who play a critical role in overcoming the chaos and turning your intentions into actions. Chaos is central to the battlefield and BoC, and leadership is its central anecdote.The good news about chaos is that it tends to create good stories (‘There I was all my units suppressed, no hope, then out of the blue Lt Stern stood up in the face of fire, rallied his men and overcame the enemy position. Sadly he was wounded in the final assault.")"

Thursday - June 29, 2017

General News - The Swords of Ditto

by Silver, 14:32

@DSOGaming The Swords of Ditto is an action rpg from Devolver Digital due to release sometime early 2018.

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Players will become one of the legendary heroes of the Island of Ditto and battle through each unique legend alone or alongside cooperative companion. Each legend becomes their own as every success and failure are recorded in the tomes of Ditto and have an effect on subsequent adventures. Heroes will also be able to find the monuments and even loot from the adventurers that came before them to take along on their crusade.

The Swords of Ditto is currently planned for an early 2018 release.

Enjoy!

Wednesday - June 28, 2017

General News - Mike Laidlaw Interview

by Silver, 12:41

The 1099 interview Mike Laidlaw of Bioware about how Dragon Age is made and the probability of Jade Empire 2.

On this week's episode, the creative director of Dragon Age, Mike Laidlaw, joins host Josiah Renaudin to discuss how the team at BioWare creates such massive open worlds. Mike explains the different roles he's played at BioWare, the struggles of even starting a five-year AAA project, what a linear Dragon Age (similar to Uncharted) would look like, how he deals with Dragon Age reviews, and the possibility of a Jade Empire 2.

Tuesday - June 27, 2017

General News - Interview with Rebecca Heineman

by Silver, 04:42

ShanePlays interviewed Rebecca Heineman about Bard's Tale I-III Remastered, gets an update on Dragons of the Rip and talks a bit about Dragon Wars. Burger's interview starts around 16:30. Podcast version here.

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Monday - June 26, 2017

Realm Grinder - Released

by Hiddenx, 19:39

You can get the Clicker Strategy RPG Realm Grinder for free on Steam now:

About Realm Grinder

Grow your kingdom, build alliances, and explore one of the deepest idle RPG's ever!

Use your money and influence to grow your kingdom from a single farm to a huge realm that earns wealth even while you're not online! In Realm Grinder, the player is given an incredible array of choices in how they build forge their new kingdom.

KEY FEATURES:

Choose to align yourself with a dozen different factions, each of which has their own distinct play style. Will you align with the elves, who reward tapping for treasure, or the demons, who give massive bonuses to the most powerful structures?

Further fine tune your strategy by choosing unique upgrades, buildings, and spells to invest in.

Continue to unlock new and exciting systems like new factions, research, reincarnations, excavations, and way more. Months and months of unique content!

Achievement hunters will be delighted with the broad range and depth of the achievement system. And it's not just eye candy! Many strategies rely on collecting trophies in order to boost certain upgrades.

Sunday - June 25, 2017

General News - Spirit AI

by Hiddenx, 09:02

PCGamesN talked with Dr. Mitu Khandaker, creative director at Spirit AI - they are creating an engine to engage with digital characters:

Natural dialogue with NPCs is closer than you think

I mean, dialogue trees are fine, I guess. Your character asks a question, the NPC gives a response, you learn what you need to, and for a moment it almost looks like a conversation. But they’re hardly perfect. Playing through Mass Effect: Andromeda, I was reminded how interrogative they make me feel: “YES BUT WHY ARE YOU OUT HERE STUDYING THE REMNANT?”

They can also make conversations feel like passive lore-dumps. Real people don’t tell you their life story at your first meeting, and thank God, because it can get pretty boring. I wish an NPC would turn around and tell me “the mating rituals of my culture are none of your business. And no, we won’t bang, okay?”

These are among the problems that Spirit AI are trying to fix with their Character Engine. It aims to achieve something that will still feel like a distant dream to many players: natural-seeming conversations with AI characters, in which you use text or even voice chat to speak, and they answer as a real person would, creating their dialogue on the fly.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

 

Friday - June 23, 2017

General News - The best Sidequests

by Hiddenx, 20:53

Henriquejr spotted an article about the best sidequests on PC Gamer:

The best sidequests in PC gaming

Sometimes good things happen when you stray from the beaten path.

Stepping off the beaten path in any given game can open up a whole new world. Main story lines are fine, but side quests often contain better writing, funnier jokes, and more interesting mechanics. Sometimes they’re so good that when the credits roll, the distractions and detours burn brighter in your memory than the central journey itself. With that in mind, here’s a list of the best side quests on PC. Don’t blame me if you suddenly have an urge to reinstall that RPG you sunk 100 hours into five years ago. Oh, and leave your own suggestions in the comments below the story. 

Oasis, Fallout 3

“I had you brought in here to ask one simple favour. Would you kill me?” It’s one of my favourite lines from Fallout 3 within arguably its best side quest. Tucked away in the corner of the grey wasteland is Oasis, where flourishing plant life obscures a tragic tale.   

At the centre is Harold, a mutant with a tree growing out of his head. It’s grown so large that Harold is rooted in place, and he wants you to end his miserable life. But killing him will destroy this pocket of calm, stopping any chance of it spreading life to the rest of the world, and end the hopes of his followers. So what do you do? It’s a great opportunity to role-play, and the writing is superb whichever option you choose.   

The Harper Hold Quests, Baldur's Gate 2

Bioware’s 2000 RPG remains one of the best in the genre, and it’s largely down to its side quests. The Harper Hold quests are a perfect example: complex, fiddly at times, but ultimately rewarding. It’s all about the characters. Two of the best from the first Baldur’s Gate—Xsar and Montaron—return fleetingly (one dies, the other is turned into a bird), and most of the tale centres around Jaheira, and ties in with her excellent romance story.

It’s really, really long but you don’t have to pay too much attention. There’s splices of action—mainly fighting the Harpers—followed by days of downtime, and then suddenly a character will pop up on your travels to move the quest forward. It’s not something games do much nowadays, sadly.

[...]

Wednesday - June 21, 2017

.hack//G.U. trilogy - coming to PC

by Silver, 11:29

RockPaperShotgun reports that Bandai Namco is bringing to pc the .hack//G.U. trilogy of games. They were originally released on ps2 as single player action rpgs.

...
Bandai Namco say that these remasters boast "updated 1080p, 16:9 widescreen picture, and 60 fps frame rate, gameplay balance changes and additional features to be announced in the upcoming months." Expanding a little, they say Last Recode will have "enhanced battle balance and game pacing to provide an optimal experience as well as a new Cheat Mode allowing players who want to just enjoy the story to start the game with full stats."

I've not touched the transmedia world of .hack myself, so here's over to Bamco for the official word:

"[. . .] the world of .hack focuses on the mysterious events surrounding a wildly popular in-universe massively multiplayer role-playing game called The World. .hack//G.U. begins after the events of the original .hack series with players assuming the role of Haseo as he tracks down a powerful Player Killer named Tri-Edge who killed his friend's in-game avatar Shino, and put her in a coma in real life.

I'm a big fan of ‘if you die in the game, you die in real life' premises but I suppose I could settle for comas.

Friday - June 16, 2017

General News - A Plague Tale: Innocence Trailer

by Hiddenx, 17:43

Here's the E3-teaser trailer for A Plague Tale: Innocence:

A Plague Tale: Innocence

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Wednesday - June 14, 2017

Ashen - Due 2018

by Silver, 03:34

@PCGamer Ashen is an action RPG about a wanderer in search of a place to call home. The game is due to release 2018 on Steam.

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According to its site, Ashen is an open-world, non-linear game with "high risk combat" and "passive" multiplayer. "People you meet out in the world are players with their own agendas," the site says. "It will be up to you to decide how to deal with them."
[...]

Monday - June 12, 2017

General News - Roguelikes Developers should Study

by Silver, 13:56

@Gamasutra Stefanie Fogel writes about 7 roguelikes that every developer should study and take some influences from.

...

Moria -- Building a world one kill at a time

Moria was first coded in VMS Pascal in 1983, and is now available to play on a profusion of platforms.

A roguelike based on J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Moria is notable for a mechanic called "monster memory." As you battle enemies, the game records information about them. It would track how many times a monster was killed, what type of attack it has, and what levels it could normally be found on. If the player is killed, that information carries over into a new game via a save file. "Moria's monster memory was really unique, and brought out that roguelike tradition of subsequent plays making the world more rich," says Dwarf Fortress co-creator Tarn Adams.

The concept of transferring permanent information between saves would go on to influence other roguelikes, like Cellar Door Games' 2013 platformer Rogue Legacy, adding a little persistence to a genre built on impermanence.

Takeaway: Adding a little permanence to a procedurally generated world can enhance it.

Invisible Inc. -- A stealth roguelike that works

Hack-n-slash combat and randomness through procedural generation are both hallmarks of the Roguelike genre. Stealth games, on the other hand, generally rely on predictability and avoidance. Players are supposed to be patient, study enemy patterns, and avoid combat. So, you would think the two genres would mix like oil and water. But, Short thinks Klei's 2015 release Invisible Inc. is a great example of how the two can work well together. "I used to think that stealth gameplay couldn't really be procedurally generated in a satisfying way, due to the importance of pacing and "outsmarting" enemies, but Klei proved me completely wrong," she says.

"Invisible Inc. is a beautiful example of how its algorithm takes apart the optimal player experience and figures out which pieces can be modular," she adds. "In this particular case, stealth is broken down into various obstacles to overcome, and the game loop adds pressure between maps, along with new tools that expand your repertoire. In some ways, it is a very classical roguelike, and in other ways a visionary masterpiece that might shine the way for future procedural content that seems like it ‘just can't be done.'"

Takeaway: If that crazy game idea you have seems like it "just can't be done," it probably can be done.
[...]

Saturday - June 10, 2017

General News - RPG Dream Team

by Hiddenx, 08:48

PC Gamer has listed some of the best party members in RPGs:

The RPG dream team

The definitive list of the best squad mates around.

We love squad RPGs here at PC Gamer. We never shut up about them. We argue endlessly about who the best Mass Effect and Dragon Age companions are. We defend our positions vigorously in the great Ashley vs. Kaiden debate. After hundreds of hours of adventure, great game companions leave a strong impression.

So we started thinking about what makes a great RPG party. You need a variety of roles. You need a variety of moral perspectives. You need top banter. You can’t just throw a bunch of fan favourites together because you end up with a horde of witty rogues yammering over one another. 

After some debate we’ve put together this list. Some of the choices are a bit left field, but it’s a collection of heroes from a variety of games that would be great fun in an RPG together. Let us know your own dream teams in the comments.

[...]

Wednesday - June 07, 2017

General News - Rumor: New Bethesda RPG

by Hiddenx, 01:15

Farflame spotted this rumor at Gamepressure:

Rumor states that Bethesda is to announce Starfield, a sci-fi RPG set in the Fallout universe, at E3 2017

A person who claims to be a Bethesda employee claims that the studio's next big project is Starfield, a sci-fi RPG set in the Fallout universe. The game is reportedly going to be announced at E3 2017.

We know for a fact that Bethesda Softworks wants to show off a couple of new games at this year’s E3. The most recent rumors, however, name specific titles of these projects. According to an alleged Bethesda employee, who has become a source of an interesting leak on 4chan, one of them is the previously announced virtual reality version of Fallout 4. The other—and note that this is nothing more than a rumor—a sci-fi open world RPG named Starfield. The game is to feature space travels, hub worlds, and multiple randomly generated planets. It is said to bear similarities to sandbox games, like Minecraft, but with gameplay characteristic of Bethesda’s works.

[...]

Friday - May 26, 2017

MidBoss - Released

by Silver, 06:31

MidBoss has been released on Steam. The game is described as a kill your enemies, possess their bodies, and take their abilities as your own, turn-based procedurally generated death labyrinth.

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Welcome to Midboss! In this episode the monsters in the dungeon are making fun of us! It's time to show them who's boss!

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It's a tough life being an imp, you have to herd rats and all of the other monsters are just mean to you for no reason!

But now, the lowly imp can get revenge. In Midboss you can possess the other monsters and steal their abilities, until you gain your rightful place as the top dog in the dungeon!

******

Midboss Website: https://midboss.net/
Midboss on Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/561...
Midboss on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KitsuneGamesCom

Monday - May 22, 2017

General News - The History of RPGs

by Myrthos, 10:46

Richard Cobbett has made a comprehensive overview of the history of RPGs, breaking it down into a number of sections.  Here is the part on Baldur's Gate:

Baldur’s Gate beckoned players in with beautiful graphics, a heavy focus on story, and some of the genre’s most beloved characters. It looked fantastic, thanks to the Infinity Engine’s method of displaying worlds. Huge rendered maps with overlaid sprites allowed for exquisite detail without the predictability of tiles. It wasn’t just D&D reborn, but a new start for the genre. RPGs were finally cool again. 

Replayed now, it’s the complexity that jumps out. Baldur’s Gate was based on AD&D Second Edition, and it doesn’t hide the fact. It wants you to know its dice rolls. It wants you to know terms like THAC0 (“To Hit Armour Class Zero,” aka, the likeliness of a hit landing). It often pushes you to areas you’re not ready for. Roll a mage and wander to the first real fight in the game—an ambush at the Friendly Arms Inn—and watch as a single hit lands like an anvil to the face. 

It was still an RPG of its time, rooted, for all its attempts to welcome new players, in the designs of the past. It was BioWare’s first RPG, and the company hadn’t even formed with a plan to make them. The founders had intended to start a medical software company, before deciding games would be more fun. Previous releases were mech game Shattered Steel and comedy shooter MDK 2. Even Interplay, the publisher, had only moderate hopes for Baldur’s Gate. Two million copies later, BioWare was the new cool kid in town.

Friday - May 19, 2017

Jeff Vogel - Too Many Words? (Yeah, Probably.)

by Silver, 13:42

Jeff Vogel shares his thoughts on words in RPGs and thinks there are too many of them.

My whole career has been based on writing very story-heavy games, with lots of words. Our company, Spiderweb Software, is small. We can't afford fancy graphics, so we have to rely on words. Interesting, quality words.

We're currently remastering the series with our most loved story and our bestest words. We also finished a new series, which had a lot of words which I suspect weren't as good because it didn't sell as well. Now we're planning a whole new series, and we need to figure out how many and what sort of words to cram into that.

We have a lot of decisions to make, so I've been thinking a lot about words in games. I have made a number of observations.

For Reference

A decently sized novel contains about 100,000 words. The Bible contains about a million words.

My wordiest and most popular game, Avernum 3, which I am now remastering, had about 200,000 words. At its release, people talked about how very, very, many words it had. Yet, by current standards, it is very terse.

In comparison, one of the best-written RPGs in recent times, The Witcher 3, had about 450,000 words. For The Witcher 3, "best-written" means "One really good storyline and many, many other storylines that were basically OK." (To be fair, I think the Heart of Stone DLC was really well-written.)

[...]

Wednesday - May 17, 2017

Chris Avellone - Teases mystery game

by Silver, 01:46

Chris Avellone is hinting at an upcoming game. Something cryptic about Kings and human nature.

Sunday - May 14, 2017

Runic Rampage - Unleashed May 17th

by Silver, 12:29

@IndieRetroNews Runic Rampage is a dungeon brawler featuring a bloodthirsty dwarf which will release May 17th on Steam.

Have you ever wanted to do a bit of dungeon brawling, smashing up the place and everything around while playing as a Dwarf? Well soon you will be able to, as Electrocosmos's ' Rune Rampage ' is coming to Steam for PC, MAC and Linux 17th May. In the game you play as Grimbard, the last champion of the dwarfs on a quest to collect the missing rune stone fragments, to bring peace to the kingdom and to find the truth about your kingdoms downfall.

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Wednesday - May 10, 2017

Assassin's Creed: Origins - Open World RPG?

by Hiddenx, 19:43

OnlySP reports that there is a rumor that Assassin's Creed: Origins could be an RPG like Skyrim:

Assassin’s Creed, the iconic parkour-inspired stealth-combat series sporting in-depth historical fiction, is rumored to return in 2017 after breaking its annual release cycle in 2016.

After the last two titles in the series—Unity and Syndicate—did relatively poorly in comparison to the franchise’s previous titles, Ubisoft decided to take a break from producing Assassin’s Creed games in favor of supporting the debut film of the same name. With E3 lurking ever-closer, rumors that the next installment are picking up speed. Originally, rumors suggested the working title for the new game was Assassin’s Creed: Empire. However, further leaks have suggested the final title is Assassin’s Creed Origins.

As the name implies, the story of Origins is rumored to involve the original assassin’s guild within the brotherhood. In addition, speculation points in the direction of two main characters, a man and a woman—similar to the protagonists in Syndicate.

If the possibility of an imminent return of an Assassin’s Creed game is not exciting enough, sources also claim the game’s structure will be similar to that of Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, “featuring a character progression system less tied to the story.”

[...]

PCGamesN found out that the game features an Egyptian setting.

Thank you for the interesting rumor, Farflame!

Monday - May 08, 2017

General News - The History of Mimics

by Silver, 13:46

PCGamer takes a look at the history of mimics in videogames.

...

Making a murderer

D&D co-creator Gary Gygax coined the mimics we all know and love (and see in our nightmares) in 1974. Three years later, he gave players a clearer picture of mimics with D&D's Monster Manual, but questions still needed answering. So, in 1983, Ed Greenwood-creator of D&D's Forgotten Realms campaign and many of its monsters-wrote The Ecology of the Mimic, which compiled information from scattered lore into one definitive bestiary. He also made up a lot of new details to fill in gaps in player understanding.

"That was and is the fun in D&D for me, making stuff up," Greenwood tells me over email. "In ways consistent with existing lore, so as to weave new portions of an existing tapestry."

Before the Ecology, mimics were just shapeshifting subterranean creatures that didn't like sunlight. Incredibly flexible hermits, basically. But Greenwood delved into everything from how mimics transform to what potions you can make from their innards (polymorph, obviously). He outlined the two basic types of mimics: big stupid killers and small intelligent fiends. He shared the story of one bold mimic which spent two years as a statue sat square in the middle of town, curiously near a sewer vein "filled to a depth of more than 60 feet with human and animal bones." It's no exaggeration to say he changed the face of mimics forever.

[...]

Friday - April 28, 2017

General News - The Future of Dialogue

by Hiddenx, 09:12

Henriquejr spotted this editorial about the the future of dialogue in games on PC Gamer:

The future of dialogue in games

The challenges of writing dialogue that's both fun and functional, and how dev tools can lead to better writing.

It’s the stuff of a thousand RPGs: you’ve braved the Barren Pass and crossed the Aching Plains and now, hours since you last spoke to a coherent NPC, you’re finally standing before a city teeming with literally tens of characters, each bursting to tell you at length about the history of their people.

Getting to discover the politics and personalities of a new location should feel like a reward, but the same formulaic text dump from city to city can make you feel awfully weary. Being NPCsplained at with screeds of exposition and feeling you’re taking little meaningful part in it all, game dialogue can make you want to run back into the hills.

[...]

The form must be functional

When Chris Avellone—writer and designer of games from Planescape: Torment to Fallout: New Vegas and recent free agent—writes dialogue, he thinks about it performing three fundamental things. First, the conversation needs a purpose. If it’s with a merchant, then they need to provide that service, and quickly. 

Second, the dialogue needs to be aware of the narrative happening in the nearby area as well as the overarching story. "If the Enclave is encroaching on a community in Fallout, even a simple merchant can say, 'If you’ve come for supplies, you’d best hurry, won’t be much left after the Enclave arrives.’ That tells the local narrative, and the larger narrative."

And third, dialogue has to be as aware of the player’s actions as possible. "If you’ve just wiped out the Enclave, then you’d script the merchant’s opening node to something else: 'Hey, you’re the one that kicked the Enclave’s ass. Anything I have in stock; for you, half off.’"

[...]

Tuesday - April 25, 2017

Evils Doom - Unofficial PC Update

by Silver, 06:38

@IndieRetroNews reports on Evils Doom which was an unreleased Amiga dungeon crawler which has now been updated to work on Windows.

...
As we said before according to some sites it was due to bugs that Evil's Doom became a victim of software piracy, after the beta version was sent to magazines, the first cracks appeared and the developers cancelled the game and left the Amiga. It wasn't until much later a French Amiga programmer by the name of -meynaf- not only fixed most of the bugs but gave it the translation work over as well. Although it was still very fiddly to get to work on most Amiga systems and even the previous PC launchables ( containing emulation/rom ) in 2014, wasn't the best either.

So now we look towards The Company.PL for our dungeon crawling fix, as this dungeon crawler known as ' Evil's Doom ' with its Hi-Res GFX (640X512) with 256 colors, hand drawn artwork, character designs and conversations, and inclusive brilliant intro with a fabulous tune. Has been packaged together in a PC launchable file that includes an improved TC Engine v2.6, improved game speed, as well as with the very latest available patched up Amiga game files that also works on Windows 10.

Sunday - April 23, 2017

General News - Tim Cain: Building a better RPG

by Hiddenx, 21:38

Tim Cain explains how to build better RPGs at the RebootDevelop in Croatia:

Reboot Develop 2017 Conference - 20th to 22nd April

Building a Better RPG: Seven Mistakes to Avoid

-> Twitch TV

Thank you for the info, luj1!

Saturday - April 22, 2017

General News - Sunless Chronicles

by Hiddenx, 10:10

Farflame spotted this interesting one man project - Sunless Chronicles:

Sunless Chronicles - Action RPG Project made in UE4

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This is an early prototype of a one-man project heavily inspired in the Dark Souls series. It is being developed entirely in UE4. This is a demo level using UE4 Infinity Blade maps (Frozen Cove) to show off the combat mechanics, which are still in progress.

The game will be released for Windows, hopefully in 2017. There will also be iOs and Android versions available for free.

General News - 25 best tactical RPGs

by Hiddenx, 10:01

GamePressure made a list of the 25 best tactical RPGs:

Roleplaying in turns – 25 best tactical RPGs

As hack’n’slash constitutes one extremity of the RPG genre, its other side are the tactical RPGs, emphasizing complex, strategic battles played in turns. Here's a ranking of the 25 best tactical RPGs, according to our staff.

Tactical RPG, also known as SRPG, is a genre that’s been present on the market for over 30 years. They’re most commonly associated with Japan and gaming consoles. It’s a natural consequence, as the genre was popularized by the Fire Emblem series, which didn’t come to Europe until 2004. That’s why SRPG, while highly popular in Japan, remains on the sidelines of western gaming. In recent years, however, it seems like the situation is slowly changing.

Thanks to indie titles such as The Banner Saga or Invisible, Inc. and the latest installments of the Fire Emblem series on Nintendo 3DS, more and more people are picking up interest in tactical RPGs. That’s why we’ve decided to prepare for you a list of the best representatives of the genre, according to our staff.

[...]

25. Chroma Squad
24. Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel
23. Project X Zone
22. Resonance of Fate
21. Odium (Gorky 17)
20. Gladius
19. Jeanne d’Arc
18. SteamWorld Heist
17. Vanguard Bandits
16. Incubation: Time is Running Out
15. Ring of Red
14. Stella Deus: The Gate of Eternity
13. Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume
12. Vandal Hearts II
11. Grand Kingdom
10. Shadowrun: Dragonfall – Director’s Cut
09. Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked
08. The Banner Saga
07. Shining Force III
06. Valkyria Chronicles
05. Front Mission 3
04. Fire Emblem: Awakening
03. Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance
02. Final Fantasy Tactics
01. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together

Thanks Farflame!

PS: Jagged Alliance 2 is an RPG!

Friday - April 21, 2017

Aerea - Music Themed ARPG

by Myrthos, 12:07

In the section of 'Let's try something different' here is AereA, a music themed action RPG, in which the weapons used are (modified) muscial instruments. Apparently, music kills.

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Part of the music was made in cooperation with Broforce composer Deon van Heerden.

Today publisher SOEDESCO announced that Broforce composer Deon van Heerden is working on the soundtrack for Action RPG AereA. They also announced a June 30 launch date for the game. AereA will be available on PlayStation® 4, Xbox One and PC both boxed and digitally.

Cooperation with Broforce composer
AereA is a music themed Action RPG in which the player explores Aezir, a floating island that was broken into pieces. To really tap into the music theme of the game, SOEDESCO cooperates with Broforce composer Deon van Heerden for the soundtrack. To add more music to the release, the boxed version of AereA includes the game’s original soundtrack as a special edition.

Four playable characters
To celebrate the cooperation there’s an all-new trailer introducing AereA’s four heroes. Players get to play as Wolff the Harp-Archer, Jacques the Cello-Knight, Jules the Lute-Mage and Claude the Trumpet-Gunner. As disciples of Great Maestro Guido’s it’s their mission to find and return the nine primordial instruments and restore balance and peace in the world. Van Heerden composed a special soundtrack for this trailer.

Features

  • Enjoy the beautiful music by Broforce composer Deon van Heerden
  • Lose yourself in the beautifully hand-drawn graphic style in 4K resolution
  • Play as 4 different musical themed characters, each with their own unique set of abilities
  • Fight 9 unique bosses, inspired by a specific musical instruments
  • Explore multiple islands with a wide variety of biomes, enemies and puzzles
  • Switch to local 4-player co-op to form a team with up to 3 friends at any time

Wednesday - April 19, 2017

Horizon Zero Dawn - The Making of the Game

by Silver, 09:48

VPRO Backlight have taken a look behind the scenes at the making of Horizon Zero Dawn.

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The role playing game Horizon Zero Dawn created by the Dutch company Guerrilla Games is extremely successful: Horizon Zero Dawn has already sold more than 2.6 million copies, giving the gaming community a whole new world to explore, discuss and analyse. How did Guerrilla Games create Horizon Zero Dawn? And what is so attractive in this virtual world? Find out in Horizon Zero Dawn - The making of the game.

VPRO Backlight got the unique opportunity to follow the team of Guerrilla Games, behind the scene, during the final sprint before the release.
With a multi million Euros budget, 240 people have worked on a new PlayStation world for 5 years in Amsterdam. Horizon Zero Dawn is an "open world game" and gives the players the possibility to explore very detailed futuristic worlds from the perspective of a redhead girl called Aloy.
The character Aloy was created by using the face of a Dutch actress, the voice of an American woman, and the body of a British acrobat. The motion capture that took place in Oxford to give her life is amazing to watch, especially for the Horizon Zero Dawn fan, but not only.
During the highly anticipated game preview in Anaheim, California, the marketing machine was running at full speed on a mega-event where thousands of gamers and players, cosplaying as Aloy, were pouring out anticipation and fun. After such an event, how can the real world still stand a chance against the temptation and the beauty of virtual games? The Horizon Zero Dawn community is ever growing and shares all day online the best Horizon Zero Dawn tips, or Horizon Zero Dawn gameplay, and speculate about the Horizon Zero Dawn ending. Sony Entertainment is even talking about a potential Horizon Zero Dawn franchise, with a switch to virtual reality. This PS4 game and RPG in general certainly have a bright future coming ahead.

Tuesday - April 18, 2017

Code Vein - New Vampire Action RPG

by Silver, 23:14

@TechRaptor Code Vein is a new action rpg from Bandai Namco which sees you take on the role of Vampires. No platforms have been confirmed but it is 'coming to console'.

Bandai Namco had people all excited last week when they release a teaser trailer carrying the tagline ‘Prepare to Dine.' The latest issue of Weekly Famitsu has revealed that this is not, as many had anticipated, the next From Software game. Ahead of the official 20th of April reveal, information from Japanese blogger Hachima Kikou reported by Gematsu has confirmed that the project is titled Code Vein and will be a "dungeon exploration-type, hard action RPG" from developer Shift. You may know Shift as Bandai Namco's in-house developer behind the God Eater series.

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Further information from Weekly Famitsu also goes into the setting and premise of the game. Players will take on the role of Vampires known as Revenants and will use supernatural abilities to ‘take on the truth of the world while working together with allies.' Revenants are described as having transcended humanity but at the cost of their memory. It also seems they will be reliant on blood to survive, as those who are short on blood become monsters known as ‘Lost.'
[...]

Asura - Released

by Silver, 10:20

@IndieGames Asura, an action-rpg, has been released on Steam, Humble Store and GOG.

There are no good guys in Asura. You are a demon, returning from the underworld to wreak havoc and take revenge on the Maharaja who got you into this mess by burning you at the stake. Time to learn a bit about Indian mythology and kill lots of baddies, action-RPG-style.

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[...]

Monday - April 17, 2017

General News - Origins of JRPGs

by Hiddenx, 01:25

PC Gamer tells us that J-RPGs have their roots on the PC platform:

The forgotten origins of JRPGs on the PC

While the golden age of JRPGs was on the console, their genesis started on the PC.

Long before Dragon Quest would ignite a golden age of Japanese roleplaying games, there was Seduction of the Condominium Wives. Forget genre tropes like heroic knights and evil dragons: this proto-JRPG was about a salesman going door-to-door trying to peddle condoms to lonely women while battling off Yakuza gang members and ghosts. Released in 1982, Seduction of the Condominium Wives was one of the first Japanese RPGs—if you can even call it that.

[...]

The origins of Japanese RPGs is often attributed to Wizardry, a hugely successful western RPG designed by Robert Woodhead in 1981. There's no denying that Wizardy—and to a similar extent Richard Garriott's Ultima—had a huge impact on JRPGs. In the September/October issue of Computer Gaming World, columnist Roe R. Adams describes Woodhead's and Garriott's fame in the East: "Both Wizardry and Ultima have huge followings in Japan. The computer magazines cover [Richard Garriott] like our National Inquirer would cover a television star. When Robert Woodhead, of Wizardry fame, was recently in Japan he was practically mobbed by autograph seekers."

But the truth is that before either game was imported to Japan, a thriving development scene of proto-RPGs had already taken hold. In 1982, Japan's videogame industry was booming. Arcade games like Nintendo's Donkey Kong had come out a year earlier and sparked a golden era of videogame mania. While Japan was allegedly facing a shortage of 100 yen coins from the success of arcade games, its personal computing industry was also booming. Companies like Nippon Electric Company (NEC) were coming out with innovative hardware like the PC-8001, which is where the first Japanese RPGs would arrive.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

Sunday - April 16, 2017

Steam Hammer - Opens Beta Access

by Silver, 22:28

@PCGamesN Steam Hammer, a sandbox rpg, has gone into open beta. Steam early access is planned for later this year.

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Following a successful Kickstarter campaign and two years of work down in the foundry, Steam Hammer is ready to take to the air with its first major beta test. Set in a tumultuous steampunk world, Steam Hammer has up to 64 players scrambling for resources and land on the Acribo Islands, following a devastating airship crash.

 

Hoping to service the untapped market of steampunk enthusiasts and survival game fans, Steam Hammer has players establishing their own steampunk colony on this quiet island chain. With no overarching goal to accomplish in Steam Hammer, players can choose to devote their life to building a Victorian utopia, or becoming a dastardly airship pirate or even creating the perfect farmstead. There is no fixed class system either, with players developing skills depending on their desired playstyle or in-game goal. You want to be a farmer who is also a skilled sniper and gunsmith? Go right ahead.
[...]

Wednesday - April 12, 2017

General News - Bayonetta released on Steam

by Silver, 11:15

Bayonetta, a hack n'slash game, has been released on Steam and runs well according to Eurogamer.

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After years of hoping and waiting, Sega has finally delivered the goods - Bayonetta is now available on PC. The pitch is simple enough: this is the original game without any of the flaws inherent to the console versions, and with PC's ability to scale up resolution. To say it runs smoothly on a vast range of hardware would be an understatement - we could hit something approaching a locked 1080p60 on a 1GB Radeon HD 7770, a budget GPU when it was released way back in 2012. On more recent graphics hardware, the only way is up.

Let's start with the options - as a game designed specifically for consoles of the past, we didn't expect much in the way of detail settings but there are a few tweakables of note. You can adjust texture and shadow quality as you see fit and the game even reports VRAM usage based on your current settings. Well, at least it tries to report it - the numbers are significantly lower than those registered by monitoring tools like MSI Afterburner. There isn't a tremendous difference between the options available, the exception being dynamic shadow quality, which varies dramatically based on how you set it.

So, what's new over Xbox 360? Ambient occlusion is a new addition, and MSAA up to an impossible-sounding 16x is also featured - though curiously, this does not appear to work whatsoever on any settings we tested (and it's the same with control panel-enabled hardware MSAA). However, anisotropic filtering is present at a low level on Xbox, but this can be dialled up to 16x on PC, representing a pleasant improvement. There's also an HDR option - but this refers to the original in-game lighting system, it doesn't represent any kind of support for HDR displays. Regardless, this game is so light on resources, you can dial everything up to the max and scale up further from there in terms of resolution, and that's where you get your anti-aliasing - via downsampling.
[...]

Monday - April 10, 2017

General News - Japan learned to love the PC again

by Hiddenx, 23:26

PCGamer talks about the return of Japanese games to the PC platform:

How Japan learned to love PC gaming again

From 2010 to 2017, Japan has embraced the PC. Developers talk about the challenges they overcame to make it happen.

Dark Souls changed everything. There were Japanese games on PC before Dark Souls, of course, some celebrated like indie darling Cave Story, some infamously messy, like 1998's trapezoid box Final Fantasy 7. But Dark Souls was different. It hit all of videogames like a bomb: on impact we reeled at how boldly it embraced challenge and obfuscation and how badly we had missed this particular flavor of Japanese game design. And then came the shockwave: that design seeped into the brains of players and designers and it stuck, driving a wave of games big and small inspired by the popularity and sales of this strangely new, strangely old game. PC gamers wanted in. 90,000 petition signatures later, FromSoftware said sure, we'll bring it to PC.

Dark Souls came to PC a year late and half broken, and neither of those things ultimately mattered. Today nearly three million PC gamers own Dark Souls, and that demand was a sky-piercing beacon for Japan: a whole lot of people in the West own PCs, and we want to play Japanese games on them.

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

General News - Saving World Quests

by Hiddenx, 20:13

Richard Cobbett of Rock Paper Shotgun talks about the 'world quests' (filler content) and how to make  them fun again:

The RPG Scrollbars: Saving World Quests

Previously in this column, somehow not taken up by the industry as of yet, I suggested that the word ‘quest’ was being somewhat damaged of late by the fact that it can be anything from ‘Kill the Great Red Dragon’ to ‘bring me some orange juice.’ I advocated a system where instead, tasks were split between two basic categories – what used to justifiably be called ‘quests’, and the more prosaic ‘shit to do’. I realise now though that I missed an important third category, World Quests, named because scattering mostly pointless crap everywhere is much easier than actually filling an open world.

[...]

Wednesday - April 05, 2017

Kynseed - 2D sandbox adventure prototype

by Silver, 05:36

@IndieRetroNews Kynseed is a new project from some ex-Lionhead people which is described as a 2D sandbox adventure with rpg elements. An early prototype is available to download. (Scroll to the bottom of the page)

Something for everyone this week and it continues with the prototype indie game ' Kynseed ' which is being developed by a couple of ex-Lionhead Fable devs 'PixelCount Studios', and is available to download as a very early version for the PC. Classed as a 2D sandbox adventure with RPG elements, this prototype puts you in control of a young lad that is working on the family farm. You can walk around, explore the lush landscape, go fishing and even be pulled in by the lovely sound of bee's!

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[...]

Monday - April 03, 2017

Digital Antiquarian - All That Glitters is Not Gold

by Silver, 10:59

The Digital Antiquarian explores the rise and fall of SSI with its 'Gold Box' games in part 5 of this series.

...
One thing that did become more clear than ever over the course of the year, however, was that not all Dungeons & Dragons products were created equal. Dungeon Masters Assistant Volume II: Characters & Treasures sold just 13,516 copies, leading to the quiet ending of the line of computerized aids for the tabletop game that had been one of the three major pillars of SSI's original plans for Dungeons & Dragons. A deviation from that old master plan called War of the Lance, an attempt to apply SSI's experience with war games to TSR's Dragonlance campaign setting, did almost as poorly, selling 15,255 copies. Meanwhile the second of the "Silver Box" line of action-oriented games that made up the second of the pillars continued to perform well: Dragons of Flame sold 55,711 copies. Despite that success, though, 1989 would also mark the end of the line for the Silver Box, thanks to a breakdown in relations with the British developers behind those games. Going into the 1990s, then, Dungeons & Dragons on the computer would be all about the Gold Box line of turn-based traditional CRPGs, the only one of SSI's three pillars still standing.

Thankfully, what Pool of Radiance had demonstrated in 1988 the events of 1989 would only confirm. What players seemed to hunger for most of all in the context of Dungeons & Dragons on the computer was literally Dungeons & Dragons on the computer: big CRPGs that implemented as many of the gnarly details of the rules as possible. Even Hillsfar, a superfluous and rather pointless sort of training ground for characters created in Pool of Radiance, sold 78,418 copies when SSI released it in March as a stopgap to give the hardcore something to do while they waited for the real Pool sequel.
[...]

Saturday - March 25, 2017

General News - Chris Avellone Interview

by Silver, 06:54

@Glixel they interviewed Chris Avellone about his career and what he thinks about various rpg things.

...
But when I sit down to play Planescape: Torment, I know I'm going to be reading a ton. I don't think that game is any weaker for it.
Well, Planescape's probably an example I'd point to where we never could have done what we wanted to do - like, showing characters' expressions - with the animation budget that we had. Nor could you actually even see it on the scale those characters were [drawn].

Ultimately, we had to describe a lot [using words], and that was a lot of fun. I think Planescape got a little bit of a pass because every NPC you talked to generally knew something about your character. That ended up motivating you to play through it. You're like, "I'll discover something powerful about myself if I keep talking to this person."

So you think the dialogue kept you going by making you feel grand and important?
Yeah. I think Planescape is perhaps one of the most selfish power fantasies I've ever written. Everything revolves around the player character.

Planescape: Torment is often cited as one of the best-written games ever made. How do you feel about the place it occupies in the canon?
Speaking as someone that thought they were going to get fired over that game, I'm extremely gratified by the reception. QA thought it was a very strange game, which is something you really never want to hear from QA. I wasn't sure what the reception was going to be. It was a lot of long hours with a small team. It's really cool that people responded strongly to it.

When did you realize that you would not, in fact, get fired?
Six months later, I'm like, "Oh wow, now I have some breathing room. It seems like I bought some time."

A lot of the games that you've ended up working on as a freelancer are isometric RPGs in that vein.
Actually, very few of the freelance projects I'm on are isometric RPGs. Divinity: Original Sin 2 is the only one that comes close. I don't know how much more I have to add to the genre right now. I spent the last 10, maybe 15 years working on that style of game. What I'd like to do is see what other genres have done with storytelling and then, when I go back to isometric RPGs - which I eventually will - see how can I take the elements those other genres have figured out about story, and bring that into the isometric RPG, to make the experience even stronger.

So you're certain that you'll go back to isometric RPGs? Is that stuff in your bones?
Yeah. I may just go back to the pen-and-paper route. The idea of gazing down at a battle mat and moving your miniatures around - that's something I've always really enjoyed. As long as that's not the only thing I'm ever doing, as long as I'm trying to learn in other ways. That's what makes me happy.

I think the advantage of different genres is that, as a designer, you end up creating mechanics and systems that are designed to enforce that genre.

We as an audience fetishize choice in games - we love being able to choose what our characters are going to say. Do you think that propagating that has come with any negative side effects?

I almost worry it's a technical limitation. Sometimes, it's hard to decide why a player is doing something, and that's why dialogue is important. It gives the player character an opportunity to go, "Here is why I'm doing this." It's otherwise almost impossible to tell.

When we were doing Alpha Protocol, for example - it was an espionage RPG - we didn't focus on a morality meter. We just focused on what the outside world would think of your actions, and then we'd use that as consequences despite why you're really doing it. Because that felt more "secret agent-y." I think that applies to a lot of games. You [as a player] have to make an internal choice. You know why you're doing it. The world may not understand, but that's why you have to make the hard decisions - because you know more than the outside world does.

[...]

Thursday - March 16, 2017

General News - Dungeons & Dragons going digital

by Hiddenx, 20:20

Rjshae spotted on The Register that Dungeons & Dragons is going online:

Dungeons & Dragons finally going digital

Character sheets and bits of the rule books look like they're coming to the Web

Seminal role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons looks to be going digital.

The game's publisher, Wizards of the Coast, calls its new effort “D&D Beyond”, describes it as “a digital toolset for use with the Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition rules” and has given the service the tagline “Play with advantage”.

Wizards' canned statement says the service will “take D&D players beyond pen and paper, providing a rules compendium, character builder, digital character sheets, and more—all populated with official D&D content.” We're also told the service “aims to make game management easier for both players and Dungeon Masters by providing high-quality tools available on any device.”

Details of just what's on offer are thin, but the beta signup site for the service says subscribers will get the following features:

  • A “D&D Compendium with Official Content”
  • The ability to “Create, Browse, & Use Homebrew Content”
  • The ability to “Manage Characters - Build, Progress, & Play”
  • D&D News, Articles, Forums, & More
  • Anywhere, anytime, access on any device

That repetition of the “any device” point point suggests this will be a web-based effort, rather than an app.

The promo video below offers a limited look at the service, suggesting it will digitise character sheets and offer some content from the game's famously-detailed rule books.

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[...]

 

Monday - March 13, 2017

General News - Chris Avellone Interview @ Kotaku

by Hiddenx, 00:26

Farflame spotted this Kotaku chat with Chris Avellone:

We Chat With Alpha Protocol And Planescape: Torment Writer Chris Avellone

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Wednesday - March 08, 2017

Matt Chat - David Wesely Interview

by Hiddenx, 22:00

Matt talks with David Wesely about the true origins of D&D:

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RPG and wargaming pioneer Maj. David Wesely's first installment covers the origins of the role-playing game, its influence on society and culture, and much more.

Thanks Farflame!

Tuesday - March 07, 2017

Kingsway - RPG management sim

by Silver, 23:57

@PCGamesN Kingsway is a unique rpg offering from Adult Swim Games that mixes an operating system with traditional gameplay.

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Mixing standard RPG mechanics with a ‘90s era operating system, Kingsway is a game that likens dungeon crawling to office work. With monster encounters appearing as pop-ups and new quests coming in the form of emails, this perplexing RPG is what Windows 98 would look like if it was designed by Gary Gygax.

All the elements of a '90s era PC GUI have been given an RPG twist in Kingsway, with your Internet browser acting as your world map, your backpack being hidden within your computer's file folders and fetch quests coming up as spam emails in your "Quests" program. You'll have to juggle your inventory and health between multiple windows, with players being able to set out their desktop in any way they like to help aid their daily questing.
[...]

Monday - February 27, 2017

The Mages Tale - VR in the World of Bards Tale IV

by Myrthos, 12:07

InXile is working on a dungeon crawler RPG set in the world of The Bard's Tale IV, named The Mages Tale. The game is designed to be used with the Oculus Touch. Brian Fargo goes to some length explaining that none of the developers working on The Bards Tale IV, nor any of the received funding for that game will be spent on the development of The Mages Tale. In essence he is mentioning the opposite in that assets of The Mages Tale will flow back into The Bards Tale IV, given that The Mages Tale is to be released this year.

As you might have already seen, we just announced a new game we're developing: The Mage's Tale! This is a brand-new VR title coming to Oculus Touch, which we hinted at last holiday during our year-in-review video.

The Mage's Tale is a first-person VR adventure set in the world of The Bard's Tale, where you play as a young mage (who else?), using tactile functions to craft and throw spells to defeat your foes. It is a separate stand-alone title, which means you don't need familiarity with The Bard's Tale to play it. It is not directly tied to The Bard's Tale IV either, so it's not required for you to play The Mage's Tale to enjoy The Bard's Tale IV, or vice-versa. And it's great news for The Bard's Tale IV, for reasons I'll explain below! But first, the guys from Tested came by our studio to try the game out, check it out below!

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Here is Brian's explanation of usage of resources.

Oculus Studios' publishing allowed us to hire a team for Mage's without affecting the team we were already growing for Bard's, a team that has been hard at work on things we have already been showing you. And I want to reiterate not a penny from our crowdfunding went into The Mage's Tale, in fact quite the opposite as we'll explain below. The crowdfunding monies has been fully earmarked for The Bard's Tale IV's team.

So in a direct sense, The Mage's Tale does not affect The Bard's Tale IV. But there are some benefits... One benefit is that in creating The Mage's Tale, we need to become familiar with and develop technology and tools, just like on any other game. With each game, there is a time investment in getting up to speed on all of that. Since both The Bard's Tale IV and The Mage's Tale are being built on Unreal Engine 4, there is naturally a synergistic benefit between both of them.

But here's the best news for backers: after having seen our videos and screenshots, we saw many of you asking how we're able to build a game this graphically polished on a $1.5 million budget. We're pleased to say that while both games are being worked on by separate teams, many of the environments, models, textures, animations, and other graphical assets that we've been able to use for The Mage's Tale are going back into The Bard's Tale IV. That means we can make The Bard's Tale IV look better, and frees us up to spend more resources to build on that art set, and this helps us get to the vision of what we wanted The Bard's Tale IV to be.

Bottom line - the assets coming in from Mage's allow us to make The Bard's Tale IV a larger game than otherwise possible, with larger levels and more varied enemies. Of course, continued back catalog sales from our other games, and sales of Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is releasing this Feb. 28th, will continue to flow directly into our projects, allowing us to make them that much bigger and better!

And from the press release:

INXILE ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES THE MAGE'S TALE FOR OCULUS TOUCH  

The Mage's Tale - Dungeon Crawler RPG Set Within the Bard's Tale Universe  

(Newport Beach, CA -  February 24, 2017) - inXile Entertainment announces The Mage's Tale, a VR action RPG developed for Oculus Touch, and set for a 2017 launch. inXile Entertainment is the developer behind some of today's most revered RPGs, such as game of the year Wasteland 2, and the soon to launch Torment: Tides of Numenera (Feb. 28th on PC and console).  In addition, inXile is currently developing both The Bard's Tale IV and Wasteland 3.

"When I was a kid our dungeons consisted of playing Dungeons and Dragons on graph paper. From there I graduated to playing classic computer games in black and white like Wizardry, which inspired me to create a full color dungeon crawl with Bard's Tale. The window for the players kept getting bigger, the graphics more advanced, and now with The Mage's Tale, we are inside the dungeon," said Brian Fargo, dungeon crawler expert and CEO of inXile Entertainment.

About The Mage's Tale - VR Action, Adventure, Puzzle Solving RPG

Welcome, apprentice. Don your Wizard's robe and become a mighty conjuror. The corrupted wizard, Gaufroi, has kidnapped your master, Mage Alguin, and it's up to you to save him. To win the day, you must conquer eleven devious dungeons, from the stinking sewers of Skara Brae to the living tombs of evil Charm. Mind bending puzzles, terrifying traps, and deadly monsters stand in your way, all perfectly capable of sending you to an early grave.

But worry not. You wield raw elemental power in the palm of your hand, allowing you to sling gouts of flame, javelins of ice, arcs of lightning, and swirling tempests which can finish off any fiend that stands in your way - from the snarkiest goblin to the burliest giant. And as you delve deeper into the depths, you find and master forgotten secrets, ancient lore, and powerful spell reagents with which you can craft increasingly exotic spells to defeat even greater foes. You may be an apprentice now, but to save your master, this must become your Mage's Tale.

Monday - February 20, 2017

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Interview

by Hiddenx, 20:24

GameWatcher interviewed the lead storyteller of Werewolf: The Apocalypse:

Monsters are hidden among us, watching, waiting, in the shadows

GameWatcher: Could we just get you to introduce yourself for us, please?

Martin Elricsson: I am Martin Elricsson, I am the Lead Storyteller of White Wolf, the reformed White Wolf. For years, we were owned by CCP, to do with the MMO World of Darkness, I worked as Senior Content in that and it completely broke my heart when that project went downhill, as some computer game projects do, of course. We left with a treasure of concept art and ideas, but now we are our own thing. We are financed by the Paradox group, we are not owned by Paradox but the money comes from the same place. We are very clear that we need to be our own thing in order to do our mature and complex stories about monsters hidden among us.

Martin Elricsson: Are you familiar with Vampire: The Masquerade?

GameWatcher: Somewhat, yes…

Martin Elricsson: This started in 1991 as a pen and paper table top roleplaying game which became the second bestselling roleplaying game during the 90s, after Dungeons and Dragons. Of course, it’s a game that pulls in a lot of women, a lot of goths and people with alternative lifestyles. It’s one integrated universe of monsters hidden among us, manipulating politics and being affected by us. It’s our world but under the surface, the nightmares are boiling. Twenty-five years later, we are updating the whole universe for contemporary times. Continuing the same stories that began in the 90s, we are now in the age of the apocalypse, we are in the end age.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Sunday - February 19, 2017

Towards The Pantheon - On Steam Greenlight

by Hiddenx, 10:41

The RPG Towards The Pantheon is on Steam Greenlight right now:

Overview

Towards The Pantheon is a top down 2D role-playing game where four unlikely heroes venture through a variety of dangerous regions to find and defeat the source of The Sworn Light at The Pantheon.

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Details

For a thousand years after the defeat of The Terrorforce the world has believed itself to be at peace. But a new elite group known as The Sworn Light has been gaining power and is using divide and conquer tactics to destabilize the world. Tensions are rising between the many races but a young warrior has been called by her elder to journey towards The Pantheon and stop the destruction of their cultures.

Gone are the RPG clichés of potions, wars between elemental gods, and plots about youngsters who accidentally stumble upon a magic power that allows them to save the world. Instead Towards The Pantheon is a unique and unusual game that follows Freyja the warrior, Bam the cat, Mishima the cyborg, and Phenez the ghost on their simultaneously lighthearted, fun, dark, and painful adventure.

Whether it be silent protagonist Freyja searching for self confidence to overcome her mutism, Bam wishing he was back home with his stash of catnip, Mishima’s conflict over whether she must replace her heart with a computer chip in order to fit into her cyberpunk society, or Phenez’ dark struggle for redemption, Towards The Pantheon deals with personal and philosophical topics that all players can relate to.

While the game draws inspiration from a variety of classics ranging from Paper Mario to Silent Hill to Golden Sun, Towards The Pantheon is an ambitious game that aims to leave its own mark of originality. It is currently aiming for a Summer 2017 release.

Features

  • Ability to switch between the four main characters, each with unique overworld mechanics.
  • Turn based combat system where each character has unique battle mechanics.
  • A Card/Combo system that allows collectible cards and combos found throughout the world to be used during battle.
  • A huge fully connected overworld with an interconnecting transportation system.
  • More than 10 regions to explore including lush forests, freezing planes of snow, cyberpunk cities, barren wastelands, and an abandoned mansion.
  • Dialog and support systems that allow for further character development and stat boosts.
  • An original soundtrack that combines modern production techniques with SNES/GBC/Genesis era synthesizers.
  • The soundtrack will be released as both an Original Soundtrack (~70 minutes) and Complete Soundtrack (containing every song in the game).
  • A unique and complex overarching story line that ties together more than 5 races spread over 10 regions, each contributing to a deep and rich lore.

Saturday - February 18, 2017

General News - The Future of RPGs

by Hiddenx, 15:29

Some developers discuss how RPGs could evolve on PC Gamer:

What does the future hold for RPGs?

Developers discuss how roleplaying games need to evolve.

Imagine a roleplaying game in which you aren’t Champion of the Realm, but a homely bystander such as an innkeeper or a carpenter’s apprentice. Imagine an RPG in which you aren’t able to hand-craft your own posse of adventurers, fussing over everything from eye colour to movement modifiers, but must do your best with the character or characters you’re given. Imagine an RPG in which you aren’t there to save the world but simply find your way through it, as cleverly as you can. If there’s a common theme to my discussions with developers about the future of roleplaying games, it’s that the old “pick your stats, level up by killing stuff, decide the fate of the universe” premise is in sore need of an overhaul, or at least some decent alternatives.

“There have been dozens of attempts to reinvent the RPG story, but the heart of the gameplay is always bodding from one combat to the next, gathering rewards that make you better at combat,” says Alexis Kennedy, creative director for Failbetter’s acclaimed Sunless Sea, who now divides his time between the forthcoming boardgame Cultist Simulator and freelance design work for major studios like BioWare. “So characters tend to be warrior-adventurers and stories tend to have a big showdown fight conclusion and generally you’re combing the countryside for things to fight. That’s a really compelling core, and it’s been perfected, but I like seeing other activities emphasised in RPGs. There are other loops than these.”

“I feel like in spite of what some people have been saying, there’s been a lack of really amazing RPGs for a few years now,” says Katherine Holden, a Cumbria based manga artist and designer whose projects include the RPG series Vacant Sky. “I’m sure that’ll be an unpopular opinion, but I feel like all these ‘create your own character, run around doing busywork in a sandbox and meet NPCs who all fall over themselves to give you power and authority’ games get a little tiresome after a while.” Holden points to 2015’s incredibly accomplished but slightly uninspiring Dragon Age: Inquisition as evidence of this stagnation. “Inquisition wasn’t bad, but it was such a shallow, toothless game compared to Dragon Age II, which featured deeply flawed, yet likeable characters and also a very timely story about refugees, prejudice and religious tension.”

[...]

Thanks henriquejr!

General News - Condition of the MMORPG Genre

by Hiddenx, 09:25

Gamepressure has analyzed the current the current condition of the MMORPG genre:

The end of MMORPG? – we analyze the current and future condition of online RPGs

The 12-year long rule of World of Warcraft is an impressive feat, but it hides a grim reflection on the current condition of the MMORPG genre. Are Asian and/or mobile free-to-play games its only hope?

Pretty much everybody has Internet access these days. The popularity of online games, including MMORPGs, has been steadily rising throughout the last few years. The problem is, the said genre is currently very busy chasing its own tail. There are no fresh titles, especially from American or European developers. Houston, does this look like a problem to you?

MMORPG is an acronym for Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, which basically means that a lot a people can have fun at the same time by playing together. But the name does make it sound more dignified, doesn’t it? Well, you’ll be perhaps surprised to know that it all began as mud… I mean MUD, or Multi-User Dungeon, the genre from which all MMORPGs originated. Imagine a game implemented entirely as text, no pictures, nothing even resembling an interface by modern standards. The system provided us with information, world building, everything in the form of written description; we, in turn, controlled our character by manual command input. This enabled us to fight monsters, explore, or talk with other people. That’s how things looked around 1978–1980, making MUDs older than MS-DOS (that’s the grandfather of Microsoft Windows, in case you didn’t know).

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Wednesday - February 08, 2017

General News - A new Recipe for the RPG Formula

by Hiddenx, 21:23

Veteran game developer Guido Henkel talks about the current state of the RPG genre at Gamasutra:

A new recipe for the roleplaying game formula

Guido Henkel has been a professional game developer since 1983 and served as producer on Planescape: Torment.

The extinction of computer roleplaying games seemed inevitable by the mid-1990s, a time when publishers almost uniformly dropped the genre. High development costs and long development cycles made them risky propositions, especially since they catered to a niche audience and therefore never generated the same shareholder-pleasing profits as the industry darlings, first-person shooters.

But things have changed. Despite the doomsaying, the genre survived through adaptation, by streamlining gameplay features. Computer roleplaying games (CRPGs) became more accessible and began to appeal to a larger audience and as a result, it is safe to say that today’s CRPGs are mainstream titles that have very little in common with their ancestors from the 80s and 90s. In fact, one could argue that they have very little in common with roleplaying games, period. (Please note that this excursion does not take into consideration the games stemming from the resurgence of retro RPGs in recent years, of course, as they are an intentional throwback to classic design paradigms.)

Despite their mass appeal, to say that contemporary CRPGs lack feature-depth and are too shallow would be a manifest oversimplification of the game mechanics at work, and truly a misrepresentation of the state of CRPGs. Quite on the contrary, these games do, in fact, have a lot of depth and they do have a lot of features. It is the way they are presented and employ these features, that generates the impression of overly shallow gameplay.

[...]

Real roleplaying is about choices

Not that this isn’t fun, but a real roleplaying game is a much different affair than that. What we are looking at here is a mere skeleton of the original genre, boiled down to its bare essentials, and then some. Alternative solutions to problems and paths are usually not available.

But what if you don’t wish to fight an opponent? Why should you feel a need to attack every single breathing being in the wilderness, just because they appear unfriendly? What if you want to barter with a troll instead of gutting him with a spectacular finishing move? What if you’d rather charm your way out of a situation? What if you would prefer to sneak up to and steal any quest artifact without having to kill the enemy? Very few games will offer you any of these options unless they are specifically part of the desired solution path.

[...]

Tuesday - February 07, 2017

Quote - On Early Access

by Silver, 09:45

Indie Games takes a look at Quote which is an action RPG game about a world of ignorance where knowledge is dangerous. The game has recently arrived on Steam early access.

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Yes, in Quote, you're the bad guy. The titular warrior metes out justice with tome in hand, bludgeoning enemies with a simple pushes, dashes, and slams that slowly expand into combos and special attacks. But your most powerful weapon are books themselves; by feeding these unlawful texts to your beaked companion Tatters, Quote can unlock fierce new abilities, ranging from teleporting strikes to wide ranged blasts.
[...]

Opinion - RPG Mechanics for Scalability

by Silver, 09:22

Sinister Design has an interesting editorial on designing RPG mechanics for scalability.

There is a secret known only to RPG developers, a gleaming nugget of knowledge unearthed anew through long struggle by each succeeding generation of would-be Richard Garriotts and Shouzou Kagas. It is, simply: making RPGs is kind of a pain in the ass.

I love making RPGs, but it's true. The RPG is a ramshackle colossus of systems, each one stitched onto the other, and all forced to interact to produce something resembling a cohesive play experience. Exploration, dialogue, combat, character advancement, item usage, inventory management, party management, crafting, stealth...even the most focused of RPGs is guaranteed to have at least three or four of these systems, each with its own attendant design demands and opportunities for bugs to show up.

But forget those design demands for a moment-because the truth is, it's the content demands that are the real killers. An RPG with a play time of less than 20 hours is unacceptable to the market, and ideally, you should aim for 40 hours or more. You need to create so much art, and so much writing, and so many encounters to fill up those hours that even the most basic, old-school, stripped-down RPG can easily take years upon years to make.

A developer with limited resources at her disposal, staring down the barrel of a half-decade development cycle, might be inclined to wonder: "Is there some way that I can design my game's systems to alleviate the burden of producing all that content?"

Well, I have good news! I'm here to tell you that you can: by designing your mechanics for scalability. Before we get into the "how" of it, though, let's set out exactly what we mean by "scalability."

Friday - January 27, 2017

Ni No Kuni 2 - Coming to PC

by Silver, 04:51

@mousearea they announce that Ni No Kuni 2 will be released on the PC.

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom will release on PC on the same day as PS4 version later this year. Surprisingly, considering the first game was a PS3 exclusive.

The game is a traditional RPG with all the positives and negatives, and with a big draw being that the art direction is headed by famous and respected Studio Ghibli. The original game followed a boy being transported to a magical world and helped by the magical kin. However this game seems to be the inverse, a boy king from the magical is helped by a stranger from another world to fight evil and rebuild his kingdom.

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Wednesday - January 25, 2017

Azure Saga: Pathfinder - On Greenlight

by Silver, 20:58

Azure Saga: Pathfinder is a tactical turn-based RPG with science fiction and fantasy elements now on Steam greenlight.

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KEY FEATURES

VISUAL NOVEL STORYTELLING
Stunning 2D drawing illustration will be used as the classic visual novel storytelling. Depending on the situation and mood within the conversations, character's expressions may also changed periodically. Plus, there will be some animated illustration during certain events.

TURN BASED BATTLE
Classical Turn based battle RPG is the battle system offered in Azure Saga: Pathfinder, where there are player phase and enemy phase throughout the battles. Strategic thinking is very crucial as players have to decide which moves they would like to make during player phase for all their characters once. And just like classic RPG elements, random encounter is applied within the game.

UNITED SKILLS EXPLORATION
One of the unique key features in Azure Saga: Pathfinder is that you can discover united skill attack by combining each character skills. More than 45 United skill attacks with a very unique ability and animations can be unlocked throughout the game.

EQUIPMENT SOCKET SYSTEM
More than 20 different type of gems with unique effects can be socketed into equipments, enabling players to create their own playstyle. In addition, some equipments has unique affinity with certain gemstones and bonus stats will be given if it is perfectly matched.

QUEST SYSTEM
There are plenty side and hidden quests to be explored throughout the game. By completing these quests, players can acquire in-game currencies, equipments or any other mythical items. Some special quests can be taken to awaken your character hidden skills, where it will also upgrade your character's outfit.

OTHERS

Awesome classic rendered 2.5D isometric world with a tons of puzzle
Save anywhere anytime
Save Point Teleportation System
Epic Orchestra background music
Gallery System contains character illustrations

GDC - The Untapped Potential of Roguelikes

by Silver, 20:54

GDC hosted Riot Games' Tom Cadwell, who explained how Roguelikes are an untapped genre which can help developers working in multiple genres.

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Apocalypse Now - A new type of rpg?

by Silver, 19:51

@PCGamer they take a look at Apocalypse Now and ask writer Rob Auten about the teams plans to translate a cinematic classic.

A videogame adaptation of Francis Ford Coppola's dark take on the Vietnam War, Apocalypse Now, is on the way-at least by around 2020 if the development team meets their Kickstarter funding goal.

It's an announcement that will undoubtedly inspire a mixed and passionate reaction, and rightfully so. How can a videogame billed as a psychedelic first-person horror RPG adapt a dark, meditative film on the Vietnam War without coming off as hamfisted? And what can it say that already hasn't been said by Heart of Darkness, or another game adaptation of the same source material, Spec Ops: The Line?

When I talked to lead writer on the project, Rob Auten, he assured me that he and the rest of the team are aware of how easily such an adaptation could go wrong. Without an inordinate attention to detail, the characters, from Willard to Kurtz, might behave like pizza parlor animatronic imitations of their talented Hollywood counterparts. And licensed games have a stigma as existing for the purpose of capitalizing on a namesake.

[...]

For Auten, such an advancement comes in the form of AI and fluid, evolving narratives that respond to player behaviors invisibly.

"Character and the evolution and evocation of character in computer-driven systems is something that's really interesting to me," says Auten, "We're less concerned about really tense machine gun set pieces and really more about characters that feel like they have both the knowledge base and a presence that's maybe a little bit more eerie than some of the things we've seen before."

Advanced narrative AI sounds pie-in-the-sky, but juggling the fragile hearts of so many ardent film fans versed in both cinema and videogames means Auten and the team need to execute. They're actively looking forward to how critical and involved their community will be, and Kickstarter was a natural fit for assembling such a jury.

Sunday - January 15, 2017

Has-Been Heroes - Announced

by Silver, 09:00

@RockPaperShotgun Frozenbyte, the developers behind Trine, have announced Has-Been Heroes, a roguelike action rpg.

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So!

You have a lineup of heroes from regular fantasyfolk like rogues and wizards to more esoteric ones like, ah, luchadors. Frozenbyte say they can be powered up with hundreds of different items and spells. They talk about combining spells and learning new elements too, which sounds a bit Magicka-y.

As for the roguelikelike part, it looks like it's made into runs, with each deadly try bringing new level layouts (made of rooms connected by branching paths) and the luck of the drop. To my eyes, at least; I can only see what you see.

Has-Been Heroes is due to launch this March. Frozenbyte are also working on a Magicka-lookin' wizard 'em up, Nine Parchments.

Tuesday - January 10, 2017

General News - RPG Definitions

by Hiddenx, 22:19

The Gaming Codex looks into several definitions for role playing games:

The Gaming Codex #2: RPG (Role Playing Game)

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-> link to The Gaming Codex #1: Game

General News - Bethesda: Make Modding Great

by Silver, 01:33

@sugerbombed they discuss Bethesda and modding and feel Bethesda has dropped the ball by not rewarding and promoting modders enough for their efforts.

One of the hallmarks that distinguishes Bethesda Game Studios' games from others are the modding tools released by Bethesda and the amazing mods that consumers of their games make. Some mods just add little things to the game, while some like the recently released Enderal for Skyrim or FROST Survival Simulator for Fallout 4 add totally new worlds, or revamped ones, that sometimes almost take as much time and effort to make as the games that are used as the foundation for them.


This is not news to consumers of Bethesda games, but Bethesda themselves have increasingly touted this aspect of their games in recent years. At Microsoft's E3 conference in 2015, Todd Howard used a brief showcase mainly to announce that mods would be coming to Xbox One before coming to PS4. Then with the reveal of Skyrim: Special Edition, one of the main selling points of that remaster was that Skyrim mods would be playable on console for the first time as shown in the game's reveal trailer, as well as being displayed on the back of the game's case and on steam. Undoubtedly, many people purchased Fallout 4 and especially Skyrim SE on console because of the promise of console mods. Therefore, Bethesda is profiting from the hard work of thousands of modders, most of whom do not get any sort of compensation or promotion, donations or otherwise. Now, there is no real problem with this; Bethesda doesn't even have to release these modding tools, and the modders know that they are pretty much exclusively doing this for the fun of it and to bring joy to others. However, I and many others believe Bethesda could do much more in the way of rewarding and promoting modders, without giving any sort of monetary compensation or constructing a process similar to the "paid mods fiasco" on Steam a couple of years ago. How you ask?


Well my suggestion is a "Modder Royalty Program". Here are my ideas for how this could work: Bethesda can create a tiered system based on either downloads or favorable ratings across all platforms (whichever they deem most appropriate). So once a mod reaches 1000 downloads/ratings say, that modder receives some sort of badge to display on their Bethesda.net profile. When a mod receives 5,000 downloads/ratings, that modder receives a badge and a discount code on the official Bethesda store. When a mod receives 10k downloads/ratings, that modder receives a badge and a code for a free item on the Bethesda store of $40 or less value. When a mod receives 20k downloads/ratings, the modder receives a free Bethesda game of choice and a badge. Any mod that receives 30k downloads/ratings or more receives a badge, is displayed on the Bethesda.net main page for a period of 30 days, and if he/she so chooses is granted a "MyCreation" interview. Of course Bethesda could make these rewards/tiers however they want, these are just suggestions.

Sunday - January 08, 2017

General News - Must Play JRPGs

by Hiddenx, 09:09

Gamespot created a list of 26 JRPGs you should play:

  1. Final Fantasy VI (Released 1994)
  2. Illusion of Gaia (Released 1993)
  3. Chrono Trigger (Released 1995)
  4. Lunar: Eternal Blue Complete (Released 1994)
  5. Persona 4/Shin Megami Tensei (Released 2008)
  6. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (Released 2011)
  7. Xenoblade Chronicles (Released 2010)
  8. Xenogears (Released 1998)
  9. Dark Souls (Released 2011)
  10. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky (Released 2004)
  11. Final Fantasy IX (Released 2000)
  12. EarthBound (Released 1994)
  13. Final Fantasy VII (Released 1997)
  14. Radiant Historia (Released 2010)
  15. The Last Story (Released 2011)
  16. Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals (Released 1995)
  17. The World Ends With You (Released 2007)
  18. Suikoden II (Released 1997)
  19. Dragon Quest V: Hand of the Heavenly Bride (Released 1992)
  20. Final Fantasy Tactics: The War Of The Lions (Released 1997)
  21. Secret of Mana (Released 1997)
  22. Final Fantasy Type-O HD (Released 2011)
  23. Valkyria Chronicles (Released 2008)
  24. Tales of Vesperia (Released 2008)
  25. Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together (Released 1995)
  26. Fire Emblem Fates (Released 2015)

Wednesday - January 04, 2017

General News - Are CRPGs dead or dying?

by Hiddenx, 22:45

Rampant Coyote tells us about the current state of CRPGs:

Are CRPGs dead or dying?

TLDR Version: Are you kidding me? We’re in the new golden age of computer role-playing games, my friends! There’s never been a better time to strap on a digital sword (or laser gun) and enjoy some dungeon-delving fun on your PC. You just have to know where to look.

Full Version: I was one of the mournful folks back in the early 2000s complaining about the lack of good Computer Role-Playing Games (CRPGs). They didn’t make ’em like they used to, most western RPGs were Diablo clones or otherwise an action-video game with some RPG elements. The giants of the last two decades who had made all those wonderful CRPGs of yore had disappeared in all but name… SSI, Origin, New World Computing, Sir-Tech, etc. And the JRPGs that made it to North America were often … Pablum. Uninspired, unexciting. It seemed that most of the CRPG creativity was going into Massively Multiplayer Online games… which were fun in their own way, but in many ways removed from the kind of experience I craved. The biggest problem came down to the simple fact that CRPGs are among the more difficult and expensive games to produce, and with the ever-rising budgets of the mainstream game companies, they had to be overly conservative in their designs or risk catastrophic failure. It felt like we’d reached… well, not an evolutionary dead-end, but certainly one that wasn’t bearing much exciting fruit.

I looked back wistfully on the “golden age” of PC role-playing games, from the late 80s until the early 90s. Oh, man, back then it seemed there were so many amazing computer RPGs coming out each year that I couldn’t afford either the time or the money to play them – and back then, I had a lot more time! But that era was done, the modern pickings were slim, and they just didn’t make ’em like they used to. [...]

 

Lays of Althas: Sundered Order - Update

by Hiddenx, 17:51

Farflame spotted a new open world RPG in the making: Lays of Althas: Sundered Order

Even in its early days, Althas has been a land shaken by conflicts. In the early days, these conflicts pitted the Anointed Kingdoms of Men against the dark and demonic forces that threatened them. However, with the passage of time the world has changed. With the Anointed order eroding away and new powers rising, another war looms on the horizon, a war brought on by Man's own actions. Thenodar, a burgeoning new kingdom in the North, and Anorthile, one of the last of the three remaining Anointed Kingdoms, now prepare for a war that will shake all of Althas. Old demons and new enemies gather in the shadows of both lands as each sets their sights on the ruined wilderness known as the Feralands.

Gameplay Mechanics

There are many features we aim for in The Lays of Althas: SO. The game is in the early stages of development, so many of the features listed below are subject to change:
  • Open World: Adventure on the continent of Althas. A large, open-world awaits the player with full freedom to explore. Regions will be released via Chapters.
  • Deep Lore: The world of Althas has a rich history which is represented throughout the game. Interact with environments, NPCs, and as well as read through in-game books to learn more about the world.
  • Dynamic and Active World: Instead of a world that revolves around the player, we are creating a world where the player must learn to revolve around it. This approach will allow for date-based events to occur in Althas, even if you aren’t around to see them.
  • Adaptive Skill-based Combat: The game aims for a skill-based, first-person, system. Giving the player full control over melee swings and stabs, as well as engaging ranged combat and stealth.
  • Magic: Magic is a rare ability that the player will have to work hard to unlock in the Sundered Order period of Althas. When utilized correctly, it possesses a myriad of usages that can be extremely beneficial.
  • Dynamic Factions and Wars: Factions will make decisions and go to war with each other. Battles happen dynamically, according to the timeline and based on causes-and-effects within the game.
-> Christmas Update

Monday - January 02, 2017

General News - Upcoming RPGs

by Hiddenx, 10:45

Meteorite Games has listed their top ten upcoming RPGs:

Top 10 Upcoming Most Anticipated RPG Games 2017 - 2018 | PS4

0:00 - Vampyr ( PC / PS4 / Xbox One )
1:17 - Conan Exiles ( PS4 / Xbox One / PC )
2:51 - Kingdom Come׃ Deliverance ( Xbox One /PC / PS4 )
4:43 - Styx: Shards of Darkness (PC / Xbox One / PS4 )
6:20 - Cyberpunk 2077 ( PS4 / PC / Xbox One )
8:03 - Mass Effect: Andromeda ( Xbox One / PS4 / PC )
8:55 - Scalebound ( PC / Xbox |One / PS4 )
10:30 - Horizon Zero Dawn ( PS4 )
12:20 - NieR׃ Automata ( PC / PS4 )
12:47 - Vikings: Wolves of Midgard ( Xbox One / PS4 / PC )

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Sunday - January 01, 2017

Pool of Radiance - Retrospective

by Silver, 22:55

Terminally Nerdy takes a look at SSI: Pool of Radiance as part of the DND Retrospective Video Game project.

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Welcome to the first of my DND Retrospective Video Game project videos. Today I am taking a look at the very first of the Gold Box games by SSI: Pool of Radiance.

For more information about the DND Videogame Retrospective Project, visit https://pageturnersinc.wordpress.com/...

For the Streams I did on this game:
Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eGQm...
Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zopRy...

Thanks to LilBigGamers for the sweet thumbnail template and End Card, the channel art, and the upgraded Icon. And thanks Adman2099 for the sweet Airbrushed face!

LilBigGamer - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY24...
Adam Cooper (Adman2099) - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCse4...

And always remember...STAY NERDY!

All Music by Audionautix. Check him out here - http://audionautix.com/index.php

Tuesday - December 27, 2016

General News - The Year in JRPGs, 2016

by Hiddenx, 07:56

Kotaku looks back at the JRPGs of 2016:

The Year In JRPGs, 2016

I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to say that this was one of the most significant years for Japanese role-playing games in recent history, first and foremost because one of this fall’s biggest games was a brand new Final Fantasy.

Final Fantasy XV turned out to be one of the most interesting games of the year, standing out among a crowded slate of shooters and open worlds. Is it disjointed? Absolutely. Does it feel unfinished? Yep. But Noctis and crew still managed to resonate with thousands upon thousands of JRPG fans, offering a unique road trip with a rhythm unlike any other open world game out there.
Final Fantasy XV: The Kotaku Review

Although 2016's other highly anticipated JRPG, Persona 5, hasn’t quite made it west yet, FFXV capped off what was a solid year for the genre. Let’s discuss, shall we? As has become an annual tradition, here are all the JRPGs I played this year:

[...]

Monday - December 26, 2016

Digital Antiquarian - A Time of Endings: Epyx

by Silver, 23:56

The Digital Antiquarian explores the end of Epyx.

In the spring of 1987, Epyx was the American games industry's great survivor, the oldest company still standing this side of Atari and the one which had gone through the most changes over its long - by the standards of a very young industry, that is - lifespan. Epyx had been founded by John Connelly and Jon Freeman, a couple of tabletop role-players and wargaming grognards interested in computerizing their hobbies, way back in 1978 under the considerably less exciting name of Automated Simulations. They hit paydirt the following year with Temple of Apshai, the most popular CRPG of the genre's primordial period. Automated Simulations did well for a while on the back of that game and a bevy of spinoffs and sequels created using the same engine, but after the arrival of the more advanced Wizardry and Ultima their cruder games found it difficult to compete. In 1983, a major management shakeup came to the moribund company at the behest of a consortium of investors, who put in charge the hard-driving Michael Katz, a veteran of the cutthroat business of toys. Katz acquired a company called Starpath, populated by young and highly skilled assembly-language programmers, to complete the transformation of the stodgy Automated Simulations into the commercially aggressive Epyx. In 1984, with the release of the huge hits Summer Games and Impossible Mission, the company's new identity as purveyors of slick action-based entertainments for the Commodore 64, the most popular gaming platform of the time, was cemented. One Gilbert Freeman (no relation to Jon Freeman) replaced Katz as Epyx's president and CEO shortly thereafter, but the successful template his predecessor had established remained unchanged right through 1987.

Sunday - December 25, 2016

General News - Game of the Year Awards 2016 @ PC Gamer

by Hiddenx, 00:07

The winners of PC Gamer's GotY contest are so far:

The awards

Game of the Year 2016: Dishonored 2
Best Strategy Game: XCOM 2
Best Puzzle Game:
The Witness
Best Shortform Game: Inside
Best Racing Game:
Forza Horizon 3
Best Writing:
Firewatch
Best Expansion:
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine
Best Comeback:
Doom
Best RPG:
Darkest Dungeon
Best Setting:
Dark Souls 3
Best Shooter: Titanfall 2
Spirit of the PC:
Stardew Valley
Best Multiplayer:
Overwatch

Thanks henriquejr!

Saturday - December 24, 2016

General News - The biggest Games of 2017

by Hiddenx, 16:36

PC Gamer thinks these are the biggest games of 2017:

Mass Effect: Andromeda

BattleTech

Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord

Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Prey

Divinity: Original Sin 2

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Rising Storm 2: Vietnam

Red Dead Redemption 2?

Civilization 6: Inevitable Expansion

2017 will be a good year for RPG fans!

Tuesday - December 20, 2016

CRPG Book - Game Images

by Silver, 03:25

Felipe Pepe is authoring a CRPG book and has decided to share the images he has collected during the course of his research.

Done: https://www.flickr.com/photos/crpgbook/albums ... 10,079 .png screenshots of RPGs uploaded, feel free to use them any way you wish. Or send some if you want. :)

Saturday - December 17, 2016

General News - The CRPG genre is not dead

by Silver, 22:22

@RetrospectiveGaming This video tells us why we should be optimistic about the CRPG genre.

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I'm optimistic and I tell you why in this video!

Games Mentioned

UnderRail- https://www.gog.com/game/underrail

The Age Of Decadence - https://www.gog.com/game/the_age_of_d...

Copper Dreams- http://copper-dreams.com

Serpent In The Stanglands - https://www.gog.com/game/serpent_in_t...

A.T.O.M- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile...

Dungeon Rats - https://www.gog.com/game/dungeon_rats

Torment Tides Of Numnera - http://store.steampowered.com/app/272...

Dr Dungeon's Madman- https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile...

Mods

Project Nevada-http://www.nexusmods.com/newvegas/mod...

Fallout 1.5 Resurrection- http://resurrection.cz/en/

Fallout The Frontier- http://www.falloutthefrontier.com

I forgot to mention Fallout Nevada - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2gqe...

Friday - December 16, 2016

The Ultimate Choice in RPGs: - Gameplay

by Silver, 13:13

@Gamasutra Felipe Pepe takes a look at the history of crpg 'choices'.

The history of CRPG choices;
or I how really need to learn how to be concise in these articles

In the beginning, there was no choice. At least, not as we think of them today.

While tabletop RPGs rely on the moment-to-moment choice of the players -"I try to climb down the cliff",
"I ask the sage about the scroll", "I ATTACK THE ORC!", etc - CRPGs at first had a limited scope.

In the late 70's / early 80's, the only real choice in CRPGs was character/party build.

You would create a blob of stats, and then your ImaginationTM would transform them into "Sir Isaac Darkwood, leader of the band of adventurers who just defeated the evil Werdna in glorious combat!"

Then Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar (1985) came, and now HOW you played matter - if a beggar asks for money and you give him $10, your compassion goes up. And there were many events like that:

However, while the game does offers some choices, they are more like a game-wide puzzle - you need to pick the correct options and act as a true Avatar of Virtue to finish the game. You're free to play as an asshole, but you won't ever advance the game like that.

Tuesday - December 13, 2016

General News - More JRPGs are coming to the PC

by Hiddenx, 21:14

RPS reports that the JRPGs of the Gust studio will be released for the PC in 2017:

The JRPGs of venerable studio Gust will start coming to PC next year, parent company Koei Tecmo announced today. Gust join a long and pleasing lineup of Japanese developers who once focused on consoles but are now starting to give PC a crack, which is splendid news. But while some have been starting deep in their back catalogue, Gust’s first PC ports will be recent ones: Nights of Azure [official site] and Atelier Sophie: The Alchemist of the Mysterious Book [official site]. Both of them will hit Steam on February 7th, 2017.

Thanks henriquejr!

Monday - December 12, 2016

The RPG Scrollbars - The Scrolls Of Honour 2016

by Hiddenx, 22:49

Richard Cobbet (Rock, Paper, Shotgun) looks back at the RPGs of 2016:

The RPG Scrollbars: The Scrolls Of Honour 2016

As mentioned last week, it’s been one of those years. Lots of the biggest RPGs that we were expecting decided to spend a few more months in bed, or simply skip 2016. Can’t blame them! It’ll mean an awesome 2017, even if looking back there’s only been a few big names to pick from. Still, tradition is tradition! This week, another year marks another set of the RPG genre’s most fiercely fought-over fictional awards.

[...]

Thank you for the link, henriquejr!

Saturday - December 10, 2016

Prey - Impressions @GI Show

by Silver, 11:08

Game Informer share their impressons of Prey.

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In this excerpt from The Game Informer Show podcast, Ben Hanson, Jeff Cork, and Ben Reeves talk about their cover story trip to Arkane Studios (the creators of Dishonored) to see new gameplay from the team's amibtious reboot of Prey.

Friday - December 09, 2016

Opinion - I don't trust $60 games

by Silver, 20:31

@DSOGaming they ask what many of us are thinking. Are $60 games indicative of a quality title?

I had been thinking about writing this article for some time now and as I saw more and more disappointments from developers big and small, my frustration with the industry grew. The game that sat at the tip of my iceberg of frustration however, was none other than No Man's Sky. For the readers out there who know me, I like Indie Games, I don't apologize for it. So when I heard small Indie studio "Hello Games" was making an ambitious space exploration game, I was beyond excited. The initial screenshots that I saw had me pumped more than I had been about a new game in a long time. This excitement of course only made the utter disappointment that much more of unbearable. I write this right after Hello Games breaks their vow of silence after months to actually release content for the vacant game, but unfortunately the damage was already done.

I have looked back over the last 5 years and have looked at the titles that I have spent the most time/gotten the most joy out of playing and the large majority of those titles are sub $60. With all the thinking I have come to realize. I do not trust $60 games. It doesn't matter who the developer is, big or small, I have gotten more enjoyment out of playing games like Stardew Valley, Minecraft, Don't Starve, Counter Strike, and Factorio than I have with a lot of my $60 library.

Friday - December 02, 2016

General News - Why Relaunch Prey?

by Silver, 19:07

@Game Informer they ask why relaunch Prey? Click here to watch nine minutes of gameplay from Prey.

As it happened, Bethesda owned the Prey IP, which seemed like a solid fit for Arkane's new game. Or, at least, the name did. "We felt like, at its core, we liked the basic idea of Prey and what it represented in terms of aliens and you being hunted and on the run," says Pete Hines, vice president of PR and marketing at Bethesda. "And we thought it was a cool name. If you remove for a moment the notion of any game called Prey previously, we just thought it was a cool name that evoked what this game was about. In the discussions we had with Arkane, they were like, ‘Look, if we can do everything that we have planned and whatever we want and not be beholden to anything anyone has done - shipped or canceled - and just reimagine what Prey means going forward, then we're totally on board for that."

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Dauntless - Co-op Action RPG 2017

by Silver, 12:36

@DSOGaming they report on an announcement made at the Video Game Awards for a new action RPG called Dauntless. (Pictures at the link)

At this year’s Video Game Awards, Phoenix Labs revealed its new PC-exclusive title, called Dauntless. Dauntless is a co-op action RPG that is inspired by the Dark Souls and Monster Hunter series, and will be free-to-play.

The game will support up to four players who will be able to craft stronger weapons and travel the world’s floating islands, hunting down giant creatures.

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Friday - November 25, 2016

Project Wright - The Outsiders David Goldfarb

by Silver, 19:00

David Goldfarb talks to PCGamer about Project Wright and why they decided to explore what life is like at the other end of the sword.

"It would be great if people did get emotionally attached to the creature, for sure," he says. "Certainly the incredible feedback we had from the Unity teaser we released gives us hope they might! As far as people relating to them being potentially difficult, I don't think so. There is a sort of universality of experience that lets us have empathy for animals, robots, and whatever else the imagination can come up with in fiction, film, and games."

As for the Dark Ages setting, Goldfarb says it allows the developers to root the game in history, while still giving them some freedom to be creative. I ask him what makes this time period so interesting. "We know comparatively little about it, but enough to ground some of the more fantastic concepts of the game. I really think using history as a familiarity base helps make the fantasy stronger when you deviate from it, as opposed to creating a believable new world from whole cloth. That's much harder."

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.

Wednesday - November 23, 2016

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 - 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.
...

Monday - November 21, 2016

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.

Thursday - November 17, 2016

Opinion - How to fix RPG Side Quests

by Silver, 12:03

@The Escapist Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw explains how to fix RPG side quests.

And it occurred to me while we were discussing it that Dragon Age: Inquisition was millimetres away from a logical solution to the sidequest mundanity annoyance. It comes down to two features of that game: the large number of party members, of which we can only employ two at a time while the rest hang around home base braiding each other's hair or something, and all the War Room stuff that allows us to send imaginary soldiers on imaginary quests that return rewards after a specific amount of real time. The same kind of thing Assassin's Creed did from Brotherhood onwards to let you actually feel like you're commanding a big organisation and not just three jackoffs who live in an unusually large house.

So here was my thinking: why not let us send party members that we're not using to complete sidequests offscreen? Not imaginary quests that are solely for completing offscreen, but the actual quests that the player could have completed but were left for too long and the reward is no longer worth it. Not quests we've just been given, so we can fob off all the gameplay; just the ones that in World of Warcraft would be coloured green or grey on the quest log.

I voiced these thoughts and the point was raised that doing the shitty Farmer Dickcheese quests is part of the experience, it's how we get a sense of the path that our character takes as they grow from humble beginnings to greatness. But I would argue that this benefit is lost after our character has achieved a certain level of greatness, and still has old sidequests cluttering up the log that no longer offer any significant growth. The only thing you can do at that point is quietly delete them from the list (if the game even lets you do that), and that doesn't feel like the heroic thing to do. There's no closure. You have to live with the knowledge that the rats might eat all of Farmer Dickcheese's grain and leave him and his family hungry this winter. And that Mrs. Plopknickers will never again see her little boy who mysteriously vanished near the dark forest.

Wednesday - November 16, 2016

Opinion - ME:A & Fallout 4: An Eerie Resemblance

by Silver, 05:14

@SugerBombed Dingo lists 6 resemblances between Mass Effect: Andromeda and Fallout 4.

Happy N7 Day, Dear Reader!
I know it's been some time since I've written to you (a little over three months, to be exact), but I managed to wrangle some free time from my increasinly busy schedule. I write to you today to share with you my observations regarding something I am finding increasingly peculiar--the eerie similarities between Fallout 4 and the upcoming Mass Effect Andromeda. We've seen it go the other way around, what with Fallout 4 "borrowing" the equivalent of the wheel conversation structure, and the inclusion of a rather large group of romanceable companions, and now it seems to have come full circle. Note that these observations are made from what amounts to less than ten minutes of actual footage, but ultimately, I've come up with what I feel are six solid reasons that MEA seems to be taking a page or two out of Bethesda's handbook.

#6: Mysterious Underground Vaults
We all know that part of the magic of the Fallout universe are the sinister Vault-Tec bunkers, called "Vaults" in-game, spread throughout the United States. The vast majority of these nuclear hideouts served as more than shelters, with behind-the-scenes experimentation focusing on the vault dwellers. The experiments ranged in scale, but almost always lead to one thing--the mass death of the residents. Looking at Fallout 4's starting vault, Vault 111, we see the perfect example of this, as only the protagonist and Shawn survive the Vault's experimentation. Despite this, however, Vaults are sought after by gamers for a number of reasons--to find hidden treasures; to discover more about the world of Vault-Tec; or maybe simply to take shelter from raiders and supermutants.

While we know very little about the Vaults in Andromeda, we see a few similarities. If you will recall, we were introduced to the Vaults during the Official 4K Tech Video--they're mentioned by name at the 2:07 mark. Prior to this in the video, however, we see the protagonist and his team exploring what appears to be a vast underground area, searching for hidden information. Upon discovering it, he posits that each point on the map could be a Vault on another world. So we already see similarities in these large, underground structures that have been hidden throughout the game world.

Monday - November 07, 2016

General News - What is Project Wight?

by Silver, 22:45

EQOAnostalgia looks at Project Wight. An open world rpg currently in development by The Outsiders.

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A new indie studio, The Outsiders could surprise with mysterious title Project Wight! An Open world RPG currently in development.

Monday - October 31, 2016

Six Ages - Progress Update

by Silver, 11:33

@GameBanshee they report on the successor to King of Dragon Pass named Six Ages which has had its first progress update in two years. The long and short of it is not to expect the game to release in 2016. Significant progress has been made and is being held up by the need for more art assets.

Other than that, I'm pleased with the progress. One important reason is that the budget needed to be significantly less than King of Dragon Pass, and even as development continues longer than I had planned, we're still OK on costs. And game play is complete enough that you can play a complete game, so we can start improving that. And complete enough that we can tell a lot of things are working pretty well.

One reason that things are taking longer than my original plan is that as we developed the game, it became obvious that it would need more scenes and accompanying art than I had first thought. We now have 40% more scenes, and 59% more scene art, in fact!

Sunday - October 30, 2016

General News - Warren Spector Interview

by Silver, 20:01

@gamesindustry Warren Spector was interviewed at the Sweden Game Conference and asked about his criteria for success.

For Spector, it's none of those things, although he accepts that he enjoys the pleasures they all bring. Instead, his criteria for success is fourfold.

"The first is player power," he explained. " Are you epowering players to tell a new story in collaboration? Next, have I delivered one thing in the game that nobody has ever seen or done before? Thirdly, have I allowed the player to see the world through the eyes of someone different to themselves - have I let them walk in someone else's shoes? And have I made a game about something beyond what's on the surface? Have I made them think? These are the four things which define success for me."

That first point, telling a story in collaboration with a player, is something so unique to games that the medium has a "moral obligation" to fulfil its potential, says Spector. It's a theme he's tried to thread into every game he's ever made, encouraging players to see their choices as a part of the ongoing narrative of the experience, having a tangible effect on the outcome. It all began, he says, with a game of Dungeons and Dragons over 40 years ago. It probably helped that he had Bruce Sterling, one of the leading lights of modern science fiction, as his DM...

Wednesday - October 26, 2016

Isinica: Clash of Magic - Released

by Silver, 22:53

Isinica: Clash of Magic, an open world turn-based RPG has been released.

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  • Get ready to partake in an open world epic journey.
  • A deep and enthralling story.
  • Turn-based, animated strategic combat with over 550 enemies
  • More than 150 hours of game play
  • Choose from 12 classes, have up to 10 characters in your party
  • Skill and Stat point distribution system create your characters anyway you want
  • 100's of Quests
  • 40+ skills including many new combat skills
  • 100+ spells in 6 spellcasting schools
  • Amazing random loot system
  • Buy and sell houses
  • Lots of Crafting

Isinica Clash of Magic offers a very unique story, the story is long and offers many twists and turns. There are many quests that you can have, some of which are very long. You can do all of these quests without breaking up the main quest.

You start out with your main character, you will be able to choose from 12 classes. Throughout your adventure you will be able to recruit up to 10 characters you will have complete control over all of them. You may only have 4 characters fight at one time. You will be able to set your characters formation at anytime out of battles.
There will be so much to do, like crafting alchemy, blacksmithing, tailoring, fishing, mining and lumberjacking just to name a few. characters can use special skills or magic depending on their class, there are over 140 skills and magic spells.

Isinica uses something similar to the ad&d ruleset, if you know about the Wizardry, Might and Magic, Final Fantasy, and Ultima games then you will really love Isinica Clash of Magic.
The battles are very exciting and some of them can be very long and challenging. there are over 550 unique enemies. You may encounter little things like goblins to mighty dragons. We have put alot into the loot system. most loot is random so you never know what you will get.
The world is very large, it has about 30 cities, towns, and villages. There are many types of dungeons, caves, towers, fortresses, outposts to explore some are not so easily found.
http://ellisstudios.org/isinica/index...

Tuesday - October 25, 2016

BossConstructor - Released from Early Access

by Silver, 13:04

BossConstructor is an action rpg where you build your own spaceship and explore galaxies. The game has left early access and is 10% off until November 1st.

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BossConstructor is a game about building and flying your own spaceship. Assemble your own ships from a number of components and explore procedurally generated galaxies!

Building your Ship
At the core of the game lies the ship editor. An editor that allows you to freely assemble your very own spaceships using a vast variety of (currently) over 60 modules. The way you build your ships determines how they behave and what they are capable of doing, and, as every module costs money, weight and energy, designing a good, efficient spaceship is a challenging yet rewarding task.

Expedition and Sandbox Mode
The expedition mode lets you explore a procedurally generated galaxy inhabited by the von-Neumann; a constantly evolving AI species. You begin with a small, basic ship and advance as you complete missions, discover new enemy species, and scavenge more powerful or exotic components to improve your ship with. Alternatively, you can always build any ship you like without any constraints in the sandbox mode.

Artificial Intelligence
Being a single player game, a lot of attention is being given to the game's artificial intelligence system. The von-Neumann enemies you will encounter in the expedition mode have been painstakingly created using elaborate artificial evolutions, in which vast numbers of mutating ships have competed for survival. Several bonus game modes allow you to lean back and watch just how different AI species compete with each other for survival and how each generation evolves.

Friday - October 21, 2016

Dead Age - Tactical Zombie RPG

by Aubrielle, 15:39

Tactical Zombie RPG Dead Age leaves early access and launches November 4.

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Headup Games and Silent Dreams’ tactical zombie horror game, Dead Age, will be leaving Early Access and receiving a full Steam release on November 4th. So far user reviews have been very positive with an 82% approval rating.

You play as a group of survivors during the zombie apocalypse. The only way your people are going to make it is by building and securing a camp. You’ll need to venture out into the world to scavenge for food and supplies. Too bad the undead horde and violent looters won’t make it easy for you.

Dead Age refers to its gameplay as ‘Final Fantasy’-style turn-based combat which means it’s inspired by the combat of classic JRPGs. Expect to use the typical zombie apocalypse arsenal of blunt weapons to firearms to traps. Permanent death adds an element of tension since once you get someone killed they are gone forever, and each new playthrough offers random missions and survivors to meet.

Monday - October 17, 2016

Fangold - Trailer

by Hiddenx, 22:15

Here's a trailer for a new open world card RPG: Fangold

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Strategy is the heart of the battle! Use powerful familiars and transform the battlefield to gain tactical advantage against your opponents. Convert your Mana in Element points to summon better allies.
Explore, battle, win!

Friday - October 14, 2016

The Sentient - Alpha 6 now live

by Hiddenx, 23:34

A new Early Access version of the space exploration game The Sentient is out:

Dev Blog 62 - Alpha 6 Now Live

Alpha 6 Patch Notes Can be found right here!

Alpha 6 brings the first steps of the much anticipated Power Armor system to the game. The armor is meant for mid to late gameplay so those hoping to jump into the armor immediately will be a bit disappointed. The armor is meant long term in order to "beat" the game and mix up the gameplay.

Due to the pure scope of the Armor system and the large amount of save fixes all previous saves are no longer usable. For the past 6 months this has been avoided, however there were still a lot of save and load bugs that would occur. So to truly make the system work properly this was needed.

Alpha 6 does however adds a new character class known as the Pilot/Marine.

These pilots can then be loaded into a set of power armor by assigning them to a squad and launching them from the ship. This update allows for the ability to customize the armor and adds a lot of previous locked research to the current trees.

The current system allows for pilots to be launched from the hangar bay and aid in attacking enemy ships. Be careful with them however as their ships will become damaged from wear and tear as well as have the possibility of taking incoming damage in the event of combat.

Next steps is more improvements to the crew now that all crew types are in and working as well as fill in the gaps of waiting time between events.

As always bug fixes will continue to be added to the game.

Thanks Farflame!

 

Next Gen RPGS - 5 Things to Expect

by Silver, 22:18

@gamersdecide they have a list of 5 things to look for in next gen RPGs.

A shinier return to tradition?

There is one clear fact we can gather from the popularity of reboots. We, as a community, long for tradition. We like the comfort of old and are apprehensive to the new. It's a normal way of thinking and it influences a lot in the industry, this is why we can start to see more traditional RPGs released in the future.

But what defines a "traditional" RPG? Its meaning has been lost due to constant adaptations and genre crossovers. A traditional RPG is usually one that has a top-down view, most often with turn based combat. Traditional western RPGs usually deal with mysticism and medieval themes while traditional Japanese RPGs vary in their themes but usually feature either the top-down view or the turn based combat or both.

[...]

Better graphics, do they actually make a better game?

With the advent of next gen technologies and developers now having time to really tinker with the new tech and develop (or enhance) their game engines, it's no surprise when the graphics quality of the games they produce are usually their main selling point.

Flashy, new graphics have always been popular with gamers everywhere, and why not? Better graphics create a higher level of immersion in RPGs and can make a game more enjoyable.

Enjoyable however, does not mean better. Many titles by AAA developers with great graphics have been found lacking by most gamers due to lack of originality, bland story/characters, clunky controls, etc. Even for the biggest names in the business with the rights to some of the most lucrative franchises in the business, good graphics haven't always guaranteed success.

On the other hand, there are many games with lower quality graphics, that don't have all the flashy effects that have found their place in many gamers' hearts (Minecraft anyone?).

In recent years however, there's been a growing trend in RPGs with cell shading or "retro" graphics. Recent examples such as "Starbound" demonstrate that these visual art styles can get a better experience across than some games made with state-of-the-art graphics engines.
...

Prey - Official Gameplay Trailer

by Silver, 11:20

Some gameplay footage of Prey in action.

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Explore the dark secrets of Talos I when Prey releases in 2017 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Learn more at https://www.prey.com

Who will your Morgan be? How will you choose to face the Typhon threat overwhelming Talos I?

Wednesday - October 12, 2016

Prey - Everything you need to know

by Silver, 10:26

PC Invasion has gathered all the information available on Prey into one handy resource.

Prey is a first-person shooter with RPG elements being developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It is a reimagining of the first Prey released back in 2006. It is not a sequel or a remake and has no ties with the original or the cancelled sequel, Prey 2. It's said to have more of a psychological thriller than straight out horror atmosphere.

  • First Person Shooter with RPG elements
  • Play as male or female called Morgan Yu
  • Takes place on Talos 1 Space Station
  • Hunted by aliens
  • Must discover who you are why you're there
  • Crafting of weaponry and kit
  • Releasing in 2017

In a groundhog day type series of scenes, in one video, Morgan examines himself in the bathroom mirror but as the scene repeats itself he has mysteriously developed a bloodshot eye. We know the alien powers are administered through a Physchoscope via the eyeball so this is likely the cause of that bloody eye. He clearly doesn't remember how it became bloodshot.

You play as Morgan Yu living on the Talos 1 space station in 2032 which orbits the moon . Mysterious experiments are being carried out by Transtar to harness alien powers to improve humanity but things have gone awry. From video and text interviews with Arkane Studios it looks like Morgan is one of the recipients of such powers, willingly or unwillingly is not yet clear.

Backstory

Even though there is no tie-in with the original Prey the premise is the same to a degree. You are again being hunted by alien beings, however, you begin this game waking not knowing who you are, why you are where you are or what's happened to you.

Monday - October 10, 2016

General News - Jonathan Nolan Interview

by Hiddenx, 22:00

PCGamesN has interviewed Westworld writer Jonathan Nolan about the similarities between sandbox games and the new HBO TV Show:

Interstellar co-writer Jonathan Nolan thinks writing game stories is a "fascinating challenge"

Jonathan Nolan - younger brother of filmmaker Christopher Nolan - has just launched a TV adaptation of Westworld on HBO, along with his wife, Lisa Joy. The show is about a futuristic theme park where people can go and live out their darkest fantasies on a bunch of androids which only exist serve a person's every whim. Does this sound familiar?

It should do, because they're basically NPCs made (synthetic) flesh. There are some interesting comparisons to be drawn between Westworld and open-world games, so it's no surprise videogames came up in a recent interview with the husband and wife duo. 

Our best sandbox games list is as close as you'll get to Westworld. 

In an interview with Vice, the comparison between the show and open-world games was made, and Nolan answered with gusto.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Friday - October 07, 2016

General News - Dark Souls 3, Vermintide on Sale

by Aubrielle, 12:44

Dark Souls III can be had for £25.99 / $38.99 this week on Steam, and Warhammer: End Times - Vermintide is £13.79 / $17.53 on GamesPlanet. Thanks, RPS.

Edit: Tales of Zestiria is on sale for a measly $16.99, and Tales of Symphonia is available for $6.49. Thanks, Xian!

The ever-present Warhammer series dips its toes into a new genre with Vermintide, a game that takes elements of Left 4 Dead and swaps out zombies for hordes of giant undead rat monster things. You can read Alec’s thoughts on the game right here, while it’s currently in a flash deal over at GamesPlanet, where it can be picked up for £13.79 / $17.53.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Dungeon Keeper - Get it Free

by Aubrielle, 12:37

Dungeon Keeper is free right now, as long as you don't mind using Origin.

Every month EA can be relied upon to dish out a free game from its archives, and this month it's Bullfrog's classic Dungeon Keeper. As always, you'll need to grab it from Origin, but other than that there's no catch: you'll have access to it forever. That's a discount of 100 per cent – pretty good, really.

Directed by Peter Molyneux, the 1997 strategy game is all about building horrendous dungeons. The more resistant they are to looters and hero-characters the better, and if you've ever raided a dungeon in an RPG you'll probably have an advantage.

If you're curious, here's an interesting story from our archives about how Dungeon Keeper has (or had) never been beaten.

Source: PC Gamer

Tuesday - October 04, 2016

Osiris: New Dawn - A Survival Game Done Differently

by Silver, 22:01

@GamePressure Osiris: New Dawn recently arrived on Steam early access and is said to be different from the standard survival game formula.

Osiris: New Dawn, a sci-fi survival game for those bored of classic survivals - or at least that's what the developers at Fenix Fire Entertainment claim. The overall premise seems pretty standard, though: after crash-landing on an alien planet, you get to build a colony together with friends, fight off local fauna at day and survive attacks of aggressive monsters at night. On the other hand, your typical survival mechanics - like eating and drinking - will be limited to venturing far off your base. Besides, you will be able to task droids with tedious work, such as gathering resources, thus letting you focus on what's real fun: combat and exploration.

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Friday - September 30, 2016

General News - Leonard Boyarsky Interview @ RPG Codex

by Myrthos, 23:52

RPG Codex has interviewed former Black Isle, Troika and Blizzard employee Leonard Boyarsky, who recently joined Obsidian.

Why did you leave Blizzard?

I really, really, really, really, really wanted to return to making single player RPGs.​

What do you think are the largest differences between working with a small company (relatively speaking) like Black Isle or Troika and a leviathan like Blizzard?

For a large company, Blizzard has done a great job of keeping a smaller company feel. However, at the end of the day, they are a huge company with the some of the biggest, most successful franchises in the world. Therefore, there are, by necessity, considerations and levels of decision making that don't need to exist at a small company like Obsidian.​

Since you and Tim are back together now, has there been any contact with Jason Anderson? Are you still friends? Any pipe dreams of getting back together?

We’re still friends with Jason, we get together for a Troika lunch a few times a year.

So, of course, I would love to work with him again someday, but it wouldn’t be as simple as us just picking up where we left off. When we worked on Fallout and started Troika, Jason, Tim and I all had our own specific skills which complemented each other's well. But it's been over ten years, we've all had vastly different experiences, and our areas of expertise have shifted and grown (hopefully), so it wouldn't just be a matter of us getting back together and sliding into our old roles, we'd have to figure out the balance again.​

What's your dream game that you'd like to make? And when are we getting Bloodlines 2 or Arcanum 2? What Troika game would you like to make a sequel to the most?

I'm happy to say that I'm currently working on my dream game. As far as sequels, it's Arcanum 2, hands down. I'd much rather work on IPs of my own creation. That doesn't mean I wouldn't work on Bloodlines 2 if given the opportunity, but if I had a choice between them it's an easy call to make.​

Friday - September 16, 2016

The Deep Paths - Releasing on Steam Oct 14th

by Silver, 03:05

@IndieRetroNews The Deep Paths: Labyrinth Of Andokost has been announced for release on Steam 14th October.

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Warriors and Wizards get your weapons ready and health potions made, as a new Dungeon Crawler known as ' The Deep Paths Labyrinth of Andokost' is coming to Steam 14th October! If you loved those turn based classics such as Dungeon Master and Lands of Lore, of which this game is inspired by, then The Deep Paths developed by Steve Jarman is a game you might want to add to your wish list. Explore a vast labyrinth filled with dangerous creatures, and hidden treasures, to unravel an ancient mystery and deliver their city from harm's way.

Monday - September 12, 2016

Matt Chat #352 - Lawrence Schick

by Hiddenx, 11:33

Matt talks with Lawrence Schick about TSR, Coleco and Microprose:

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This week I'm joined by Lawrence Schick, the Loremaster of The Elder Scrolls Online. Schick is a living legend among fans of RPGs; he was a pivotal figure at TSR before moving into video game development at Coleco and then MicroProse.

Wednesday - September 07, 2016

Zenith - Action RPG releasing Sept 20th

by Silver, 06:41

BadLand Games announces that Zenith, an action rpg game, will be releasing 20th September on Steam.

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We’re talking adventuring, exploring ruins, saving the world… Yeah, yeah. We know. You’ve done it all. Well, so has Argus Windell, former wizard and arcanologyst. A bit of a trained professional in ruin exploration and artefact recovery. However, he’s a bit fed up with the whole thing. Sure, the pay was good, but it was a bit too stressful.

Yeah, I’m sure your job is stressful too, I’m sure Mr. Wossname is an asshole and you have to write a lot of reports. But when you fuck up, your planet does not get invaded by unspeakable shrieking horrors beyond time and space.

Well… unless you’re an internet comments section moderator.

In any case, he retired. Looking for peace and quiet.

But that’s not easy to get in a world full of spike-haired buffoons who drag their giant swords around and mess things up with their chosen one complex. Specially when you’re trying to keep a dangerous device out of the reach of their greasy heroic hands.

FIND OUT MORE: http://badlandindie.com/zenith/

Saturday - September 03, 2016

Quest For Glory Series - Available at Steam

by Hiddenx, 09:27

The whole series of the classic RPG/Adventure mix Quest For Glory I-V is now available at Steam:

Are you feeling adventurous, Hero? The world of Gloriana, with all its wonderful diversity, awaits you. In this pack of five classic Sierra adventure games you will create your character (a warrior, thief, or magic user) and set out on a grand journey for fortune and fame! You will solve quests and puzzles, fight monsters, and save innocents.

In the Quest for Glory pack, which contains all five parts of the classic action RPG games by Sierra, you create your own character, choose his class and abilities and then set out on your grand voyage. Quest for Glory games are universally acclaimed as one of the best adventure games ever developed. After completing a part, you can import your character into the next one, keeping your skills and some special rewards you've hoarded, like magic items.

The story is another of the Quest for Glory series' strong points. It's very solid and immersive, with a light-hearted and humorous narrative that will keep you glued to the screen throughout each of the five installments.

  • Includes both: VGA and original version of Quest for Glory 1.
  • Venture across five huge worlds, each based on a different culture and mythology, from Germanic fairy tales, through Arabian and Slavic folklore, right down to Greek mythology.
  • Three starting character classes to choose from (fighter, magic user, and thief). This decision not only modifies the gameplay but also the story, providing for excellent replayability.
  • You can transfer your character from one game to the next. The skills and wealth you worked for so hard are not lost!

Friday - July 15, 2016

General News - Playing Roles @ TechRaptor

by Hiddenx, 22:22

TechRaptor writer Robert Grosso returns with another issue of Playing Roles, and takes a look at the necessity of combat in role-playing video games. Is combat what defines an RPG, or is there more to it than that that can give the player conflict without combat?

Playing Roles: The Conflict with Combat

Last year, a YouTuber named Kyle Hinckley finished a playthrough of the RPG Fallout 4 on Survival Mode (before it was revamped to be harder) without killing a single character. This entire adventure was documented as a Let’s Play Challenge, and got some mainstream attention on sites like PC Gamer for the achievement. Hinckley did this in part for the challenge, but also to prove a point regarding how the game can be played.

“I’m a little disappointed in the lack of diplomatic solutions in this game, it’s a lonely departure from the rest of the Fallout series,” said Hinckley in an interview with Kotaku. “My version of pacifism isn’t really diplomatic, it’s more exploitative of the game mechanics to achieve a zero-kill record. In other [Fallout] games, you had a lot of alternatives for bypassing the combat, whether it was with sneaking, speech checks, or a back door opened with lockpicking and hacking.”

[...]

 

Tuesday - July 12, 2016

Conan Exiles - Concept Art

by Aubrielle, 07:55

Funcom has published a batch of new concept art for the upcoming action RPG Conan Exiles. The new art teases the weapons that will be available.

Funcom has published three separate rounds of concept art to the Conan Exiles Facebook page, with this latest eye candy depicting some of the weapons we'll be wielding in the forthcoming, open world, and action-heavy RPG. Included among them are the hammer, dagger, axe, spear, crossbow, and shield:

The hammer is great for repairing broken structures and equipment, and can make for a decent makeshift weapon in case of emergencies. The pickaxe lets you very quickly break up big rocks so you can gather more resources.

Now the dagger is very special. This sacrificial knife is used to cut out the heart of your enemies so you can sacrifice it to Set, the serpent god.

...

Single handed axes are slower and heavier than swords, but deal much more damage to your opponents. They're also pretty awesome looking, if we're being completely honest. Very viking-y, and perfect for a Conan game.

Shields are for defense, obviously, but can also be used offensively by bashing your opponent with it and staggering them. Then you go in for the kill and cut off their heads.

...

Crossbows are easy to load and fire, and are great for blowing up explosive barrels or taking out enemies from a distance. The spear is a quick-jab, close combat weapon, for fast fighters who like to poke at their opponents and then retreat behind a shield.

Source: GameBanshee

Bloodborne - Gothic Horror Music; GDC Talk

by Aubrielle, 07:51

The chilling gothic horror soundtrack of Bloodborne was the subject of a panel at GDC, where they talked about the musical style and orchestral approaches that led to the phenomenal end product.

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Saturday - July 09, 2016

Inferno Climber - Early Access Release

by Silver, 14:13

A new action rpg released on Steam early access recently called Inferno Climber.

crate pushing
About This Game

Forge through hell in this survival action RPG!
Defeat powerful bosses to collect all 5 Purgatory Stones in hell.
Slashing, magic casting, arrow shooting, bombs throwing, exploring, eating, cooking, blacksmithing.

Game Features:
- Survival 3D action RPG
- Hack & Slash
- Level up system
- Platforming action
- Puzzles and traps in the dangerous dungeon
- Resource management
- Over 40 hours of playtime

Other Features:
- 8 unique playable characters
- Raise your character's strength freely
- Over 400 unique items
- More than 20 stages
- Master new skills and magic spells
- Over 90 different enemies
- Each stage is guarded by a boss character
- Stealth operations
- Reveal hidden treasures and secret paths by breaking walls with bombs


~ STORY ~
A long, long time ago... There were 5 Purgatory Stones with enormous magical powers.
Purgatory Stones were owned by 5 different countries to keep the world in order.
However, as the time passed, evil and corruption spreads through the land. Purgatory Stones fell into the wrong hands. Monsters plagued all over the land. Thus, the world has fallen.

100 years later... An innocent soul made a pact with Death. The awakened one set forth in search for the Purgatory Stones.

Wednesday - July 06, 2016

Retro Remastered - Year of the JRPG

by Aubrielle, 00:17

Retro Remastered recently published an article calling 2016 "The Year of the JRPG". With releases like Tales of Berseria, it's a good argument to make. In all fairness, though, 2017 seems a bit more deserving of the title, since western audiences won't see a lot of those hyped releases till then.

Thanks, Couch!

There’s a lot of exciting games and releases this year covering all genres, across all platforms and devices, however perhaps the biggest note worth taking is the stunning surge of JRPGs. After most of the main series seemed content to spin in circles for a few years, all of a sudden we’re getting new titles from pretty much every landmark franchise, alongside a wave of curious smaller titles. So whether you need help planning out your purchases for the year, or just want a reminder of what’s coming (and what’s already out there), here’s a whistle-stop tour for those of us who live to level up.

Read more.

Tokyo Xanadu - PC Release, Localization in 2017

by Aubrielle, 00:09

Aksys Games is localizing Tokyo Xanadu for a western release on PC and PS Vita in 2017.  Tokyo Xanadu is an action RPG with influences from games like Persona.

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At their Anime Expo 2016 panel, Aksys Games announced that they are working on localizing Falcom's Tokyo Xanadu for North America, set to release in early 2017. In addition to the original PlayStation Vita version, the game will also be made available on PC via Steam. 

However, Aksys currently has no plans for Tokyo Xanadu eX+, the upcoming enhanced PS4 port set to release in Japan later this year, which includes new playable party members and scenes.

Sunday - July 03, 2016

Game Cities - Implying Size & Complexity

by Silver, 12:55

The Gnome's Lair has come up with another article on designing cities in games. This one focuses on how to imply size and complexity. The Gnome is currently designing a city for Frogware's The Sinking City.

Implied Space

Let's imagine for a moment that you have created a unique, believable, sprawling, and impressively detailed metropolis. You have it mapped out, thoroughly described, and have its architectural styles all sorted out. It's a unique, beautiful, and complex place, and you are rightfully proud of it. Only problem is that realizing all of it on screen would probably cost you a few million dollars/euros/pounds/what-have-yous.

Assuming you are neither Blizzard nor Rockstar, you'll thus have to try and keep things as simple and cheap as possible -- your ability to create assets will always be limited. Chances are you will have to abstract and generalize your world, decide to move to 2D, avoid creating an open-world, or to even allow exploration and gameplay in only a handful of locations. As you will not be able to show the full size and complexity of your work, your city, you will simply have to imply it.

Now, take a look at the picture above if you will. Notice how few buildings are actually shown, and ask yourself whether this could be a village scene. Or even a picture taken in a small town.

It could not. Of course, it could not. You know, possibly without exactly knowing why, that this is a picture depicting a part of a big city neighborhood; most probably of a 20th century metropolis. You might only be able to see a tiny part of said city, but this sort of density, and this kind of spatial organization couldn't be found anywhere outside a big urban centre. A town or village would neither be able to support it, nor would they need it.

What's more, said picture provides the viewer with even more information. Information that goes beyond the type of urban agglomeration we are looking at, and lets us feel the living texture of the particular place. A thousand little stories, some of them possible only in this particular city, have left their mark on the hanging clothes, those buildings, the women, and even the wires we see, while the organization of everyday life itself and the class-based nature of those tenements is instantly obvious.

General News - How to survive the Indiepocalypse

by Hiddenx, 12:23

Interesting post by Vince from Irontower Studios:

How to Survive Indiepocalypse in 5 Easy Steps

Step 1 - Design

Your game has to stand out. It has to do at least one thing extremely well, preferably something that hasn’t been done before. Why be an indie game developer if not to try new things, right?

It’s not enough to do a game with tried and true mechanics, because in most cases "tried and true" has been done to death long before you decided to throw your hat into the ring. If all you’re adding to the recipe is new visuals, think twice. Sure, it’s possible that Kim Kardashian might tweet about your game and it becomes the next internet sensation, but Kim’s busy taking selfies, so let’s not rely on dumb luck alone.

Of course, every rule has exceptions. If you’re replicating the tried and true gameplay of something as venerable as Jagged Alliance 2, Wizardry 8, or Shadow of the Horned Rat, go right ahead. If not, don’t bother.

For our first game, we went with Choices & Consequences (C&C) – an "easy" category considering that 99% of games promise meaningful choices but never deliver because it takes a very long time, which is something we’ve learned the hard way after making the game for 11 years. AoD gives you:

  • More meaningful choices than you can shake a stick at
  • Parallel questlines showing events from different angles and points of view
  • Radically different "Craft Your Own Story" playthroughs

For our next 'full scale' RPG, we’ll raise C&C up a notch and add party "dynamics", which will be very different from what you’re used to and go against the established design staples, possibly upsetting some folks in the process (again). It’s a very ambitious design, but as I said, doing what’s been done before – even if it was done by you – is not enough. You have to push forward or you will not survive.

Step 2 – Community

Now that you’re working on your game, you have to build a community around it and spread the word. No matter how well-designed your game is it will fail all the same if nobody knows about it. Yes, that too is your job.

Many indie developers look at what the AAA developers do and take notes. They think that if they act like the AAA boys, you know, professional and shit, everyone will assume they are real developers too and take them seriously.

Don’t do semi-official press-releases where you quote yourself. Don’t ask volunteer testers to sign NDAs as if you have the time, money, or desire to enforce them. Don’t write you own EULA on Steam as if Steam’s EULA isn’t good enough for you. Worst of all, don’t guard your stories and design ideas because someone might steal them. Yeah, Bethesda will decide to postpone The Elder Scrolls 6 and steal your shitty totally awesome ideas instead.

You have to sell people on your vision and you can’t do it if all you give them is a brief summary and Todd Howard’s famous “Trust us, it will be cool” line.

We’ve posted everything we had from day one. If we didn’t show something, it’s because we didn’t have it. We’ve "spoiled" every aspect of the game and answered every question about the game on as many forums as we could, giving people reasons to follow the game.

Go out into the world and engage gaming communities. Don’t hide behind moderators or "community managers". People who give a fuck about your game don’t want to be "managed", they want to talk to the guys making the game.

I made over 10,000 posts on multiple forums talking to people who showed interest and had questions. Oscar made over 6,000 posts. That’s not counting posts on Steam since we launched on Early Access and even more posts later after the game was released. If you can’t be arsed to talk to people who’re interested in your game, don’t expect them to support you in the future. Find time or you won’t stay in this business for long.

A word of warning before we get to the next chapter: when mingling with people you might discover that not everyone thinks your game ideas are as great as you think they are. Some people might actually harbor suspicions that your game sucks and be willing and even eager to share these thoughts with everyone they run into. You’d better get used to it because it’s going to happen a lot. ‘tis the magic of the internet.

Step 3 – Making a Game

Surprisingly, this step isn’t really about making a game. If you can’t make one, this handy guide won’t help you. It’s about the "economics" of it. You see, unless you hit it really big for an indie, like Darkest Dungeon-big, you won’t make a lot of money (for a real studio). Thus you must budget and ration like a lost-at-sea sailor to avoid these two fairly typical scenarios, which happen more often than you might think:

  • You made a good game, it sold well for an indie but now you’re 100k in debt because the costs spiraled out of control. Basically, you made a good game but you spent more than you should have and now you’re dead in the water.
  • You made a good game, it sold well for an indie, you recovered your initial investment and bought yourself an ice-cream but you have no money to continue and now you must try your luck on Kickstarter where you get not what you need to make a game but what you can get, which is anywhere from 10 to 30% if you’re lucky.

Treat what you earn from the first game as your operational budget for the second game. So the more you spend making your first game, the less you’ll have to make your second game. You see, the first game is always done on pure enthusiasm. You’re making a game, living the dream, working part-time, evenings and nights for years, because sleep is overrated. Enthusiasm is a great and cheap resource but you can’t run on it forever.

The goal here is to survive the indiepocalypse and build a real studio, right? So you make a game on enthusiasm, use what it earned to make a second game, use what it earned to make a third game, etc.

The Age of Decadence sold over 50,000 copies to-date at $22 average. The revenues aren't our reward for 11 years of hard work (that's done and gone) but our budget for the "Colony Ship RPG", our second project.

Step 5 (yes, we’ve just jumped from 3 to 5 because math is a social construct) – Make Another Game

You made your first game and it sold well enough to continue. Congrats! Now you have to do it all over again, but you need to do it better (see Step 1) and faster. In our case it means making the second game in 4-5 years without lowering quality. We’re aiming for 4 years; 5 is acceptable, 6 isn’t. Granted, the main reason AoD took so long is because:

  • We had no experience, aka time-consuming trial-and-error approach to game design.
  • We had no tools, no systems (things like combat, dialogues, etc), no engine; literally everything had to be done from scratch.
  • We worked part-time for 10 years (enthusiasm doesn’t pay the bills) and switched to full-time only when the finish line was already in sight

... so there's a good chance that we can make a better game in 4-5 years but it's far from certain.

Anyway, the point is that your first game shows that you have what it takes to make an indie RPG that stands out in a crowd and sells enough to keep you in business. Until you do it again, the first game’s success is nothing but a fluke. You have to perform consistently without any margin for errors because the first mistake might kill you.

A second successful game will secure your future and turn that fellowship of geeks that is your team into a real game development studio. That’s the last hurdle to overcome, which is by no means an easy task.

But wait, there’s more…

Step 4 – Recycle

Even if we manage to make the Colony Ship RPG in 4-5 years AND it will be well received by our existing audience AND it will sell enough to make a third 'full scale' RPG, releasing games once every 4-5 years might not be enough to survive.

I wish we could expand our team right now and hire more people but we can’t, otherwise we risk running out of money and releasing the second game deep in debt (see Step 3). We need a reliable revenue booster, so we’re going to recycle and make an inexpensive tactical, party-based RPG using the first game’s engine, systems, and assets. Such a game is relatively easy to make, since we’re using the already existing building blocks, so the plan is to put it together in under a year and hope that it’s well received.

If it works, the revenues will boost the second game’s budget just as it enters production (we’re working on it now while the Colony Ship RPG is in pre-production), allowing us to get a couple of extra people and spend more money on art.

If it works, we can release a tactical combat game after each 'full scale' RPG and boost the next game’s budget.

Bonus Chapter – What About Marketing?

What about it? Marketing is a game of chance that all but guarantees winning IF you have enough money to stay in the game. There’s a famous saying attributed to John Wanamaker who knew a thing or two about marketing: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."

It’s all about effective frequency, which means that you have to have faith and keep throwing money at ads even when they give you no return whatsoever. Harvard thinks that the magic number is nine. Most people have to see your ad nine times before they start responding to it. Thomas Smith thought the magic number is twenty. Krugman was convinced there are three phases: curiosity, recognition, decision, but obviously each phase takes a number of ads.

So what it means is that unless you have enough money to run ads until they start turning profit, don’t do it. You will spend 5k of your hard-earned money, which is the equivalent of a penny in the exciting world of advertising, get nothing and stop advertising, thus wasting the 5k you’ve just spent.

Without a marketing budget, your options are limited: you need the goodwill of the gaming media, which brings us back to Step 1 – design. Unless your game is worth talking about, the media will ignore it. They want to write what people want to read. If nobody wants to hear about your game, well, this brings us to Step 3 – Community: your most effective way of marketing your game and creating that interest that might result in the media gods looking at your creation favorably and blessing your efforts with a preview or a quick impressions article.

Overall, I don't think there was EVER a better time to be a game developer. Sure, the landscape is crowded (12,818 games on sale on Steam right now, which is insane), but the market is HUGE and there's plenty of room for everyone. There are over 125 million Steam users - that's paying customers able to buy a game with a single click, and all you need to do well is make a game that would appeal to 0.05% (or 0.3-0.5% if you like money a lot) of that ever-growing market. It's easier said than done, of course, but far from impossible.

Friday - July 01, 2016

Death's Gambit - Boss Battle trailer

by Silver, 07:58

@Game Informer The action-rpg Death's Gambit have released a new trailer recently focusing on the boss battles. Death's Gambit is due on PC and Playstation sometime in 2017.

Action-RPG Death's Gambit takes place in a alien medieval world where monsters both small and horrifyingly massive await to battle the player that seeks to rid the world of immortals. In a new trailer from developer White Rabbit, we get a closer looks at some of those bosses.

Using your arsenal of weapons and abilities, the player strategically decides the best way to tackle each beast who have unique abilities of their own. After killing an immortal boss, they come back to life. However, you don't have to fight them again but if you decide to do so you can get new items that they drop depending on the various ways you can defeat them. Trying to figure out who is moral and who is immortal will also change the story.

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Wednesday - June 29, 2016

Slayer Shock - Eldritch Spiritual Sequel

by Silver, 01:11

PCGamesN reports on Slayer Shock which is an immersive sim set within vampire fiction from the indie devs who brought you Eldritch and Neon Struct.

Slayer Shock is described as a "role-playing shooter about hunting vampires in Nebraska". From your college coffee shop headquarters, you take on missions patrolling the streets, rescuing human captives and weakening the undead threat.

You're helped along by a team of vampire slayers who operate out of your base, the place where you can pick up new weapons and skills, as well as researching new ways to deal with the fanged threat.

Minor Key Games describe Slayer Shock as a spiritual successor to Eldrich, "in its generated worlds and its immersive simmy blend of stealth, combat, and player choices", though this one won't be a roguelike.

There have also been a bunch of technical advancements since Edlrich, including replacing its voxel world with a mesh-based one and rewriting the entire procedural generation pipeline. There's also been a bunch of work put into making sure the game feels like a campaign and it will track the persistent status of the player, your allies and your enemies.

The game has been in development since November 2014 and Minor Key are hoping to have it out by the end of this year. There's a bunch of fascinating insight over on the dev blog, and there's a really interesting personal developer blog about how professional wrestling influenced Slayer Shock's design.

Monday - June 27, 2016

SYNAPSE - Upcoming Science Fiction RPG

by Silver, 09:13

A new upcoming science fiction RPG has been announced from Transhumanoid Games called SYNAPSE. Check out their website for more info.

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SYNAPSE is a science fiction RPG adventure set in a post-libertarian future where governments have been deemed irrelevant, and 90% of humanity live in megacities run entirely by corporations. Find out more and sign up to play the demo at https://synapsegame.com/

The game presents a futuristic world that spurs the imagination, while remaining logical and plausible, by incorporating several technologies and socio-economic theories that are currently in development and which may become reality in the near-to-distant future.

Megadimension Neptunia VII - Launches July 5

by Aubrielle, 00:49

Megadimension Neptunia VII, the latest in the popular JRPG series, will be arriving on PC July 5.  It will launch with a 40% off discount.

Megadimension Neptunia VII will launch for PC via Steam on July 5, publisher Idea Factory International announced.

At launch, the RPG will be available at a 40 percent discount, with Japanese audio, Histy’s Beginner Item Set, Histy’s Trial Item Set, and a variety of missions, level caps, and accessories included free in the game.

The Steam version will also be available in a Digital Deluxe Set, which will be detailed at a later date.

If you missed it the other day, view a set of PC screenshots here.

Brexit - Likely to Impact Gaming Industry

by Aubrielle, 00:44

It's hard to get away from the topic of #Brexit these days, and rightfully so, since it affects us all. Industry experts are saying that the gaming industry won't get by unscathed, either. (article isn't from today)

The UK game industry, which benefits from EU-supported subsidies and employs individuals from around the union, is in a state of disbelief this morning. Ukie, the UK games and interactive entertainment trade group that provided the statistics above spoke out this morning about the decision.

"Ukie is committed to ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to make and sell games, and although this decision and the political uncertainty it brings will have an impact on our businesses, it is important to remember that we are already a globally successful sector and a leading exporter in the digital economy," says CEO Dr. Jo Twist. "Ukie will continue to work hard with colleagues in government to ensure we continue to have the best possible business environment and we will be following developments closely as well as advising members as they unfold."

The organization laid out its priorities this morning. With change on the way, Ukie will not only have to focus on financial matters, but also ensuring that a wall doesn't go up segregating Europe's development community. "Issues that will be particularly pertinent to the UK games industry in the coming months, and that Ukie will be working hard to fully represent our sector on, include securing access to overseas talent, ensuring we have the right investment in skilling up our homegrown talent, the continuation of the Video Games Tax Relief, and access to funding," says Ukie head of policy and public affairs Theo Blackwell.

Despite Ukie's reassuring sentiments, small developers see the decision as a blow to the UK games sector. "I'm shocked and disgusted, beyond that there's not much else to say, as right now we've no idea what will happen, time will tell," says Just Add Water founder Stewart Gilray.

Source: Game Informer

Thursday - June 23, 2016

Phantom Brave PC - Releases 6/25

by Aubrielle, 14:49

Phantom Brave PC, a JRPG reminiscent of Disgaea and Final Fantasy Tactics, is available for pre-order on Steam.  It will release on June 25.

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Source: Steam

Tuesday - June 21, 2016

General News - CRPG Book on Shane Plays

by Hiddenx, 20:51

Felipe talks about his CRPG book project on the radio show Shane Plays:

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Highlights: Free RPG Day; Felipe Pepe & The CRPG Book Project ( Sharing the History of Computer Role Playing Games); a surprise appearance by CRPG game developer "Burger" Rebecca Heineman!

Monday - June 20, 2016

General News - CRPG History Abridged IV

by Hiddenx, 22:49

Felipe presents a few niche RPGs that introduced some new game elements:

CRPG History Abridged IV: A few niche RPGs that brought something new to the table

As I keep exploring the history of Computer Role-Playing Games for the CRPG Book Project, more interesting titles appear that aren't well-know but are definitely worth a closer look. So here's another chapter of CRPG History Abridged, this time on some very niche titles.

You can check Part I, II and III, or the latest release of the CRPG Book here.

[...]

Cobra Mission: Panic in Cobra City (1991)
Chinese Paladin (1995)
Mordor / Demise (1995/1999)
Yumina: The Ethereal (2009)

[...]

Opinion - Five CRPGs We Should Play

by Aubrielle, 11:38

Play Die Reload takes a quick look at five RPGs you should play if you haven't already. Their selections include Balrum, Serpent in the Staglands, Underrail, Konung 2, and the Eschalon series.

Initially Konung 2 seems like a game to pass over as there is no in game tutorial, however with persistence this open world game can offer some interesting gameplay.

Konung 2's point of interest is helping villages empower themselves to protect their property from bandits. For example you can send villagers off for training to improve their blacksmithing skills and make better weapons for the village. You also build things for the villages like shipyards, barracks etc and find people to fill the roles required for each one.

Read more.

The Dark Eye - Core Rules Coming Tuesday

by Aubrielle, 11:21

The PDF version of The Dark Eye's newly-imported core rule set will arrive Tuesday.  Ulisses Spiele has provided a set of three let's play videos showing off the new rules in action.

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Source: GameBanshee

Thursday - June 16, 2016

The Master's Eye - Demo Released

by Hiddenx, 19:29

A playable demo version for the indie-RPG The Master's Eye has been released:

The Master's Eye is a first person, role-playing game in a fantasy and medieval setting and takes place in the lands of Ishkandragh. Your character (male or female) starts as a young peasant from a small hamlet high in the Smokey Mountains in the northwestern part and sets off on a journey to Ishkan, the capital city of Ishkandragh, to find his uncle. During this trip, he or she will meet nice people, ugly people and many more creatures.
The reason for this journey is not immediately clear, but it seems to have something to do with a Magickal device called the Master's Eye, which was created aeons ago by the wizard Ishkan. Ishkan, later known as The Master and founder of Ishkandragh, had used this device when he sent a Daemon Lord back to the hell it came from, and defeated its summoner, Kragh the Necromancer.

Wednesday - June 15, 2016

Battles of Norghan - On Steam Greenlight

by Hiddenx, 22:00

The turn-based Strategy RPG Battles of Norghan is now on Steam Greenlight:

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Battles of Norghan is a truly unique fantasy turn-based strategy game with RPG and team managing elements.

Imagine a football manager game with fantasy world creatures such as orcs, drakes and minotaurs and turn-based strategy battles instead of football matches. There's also spells to learn and use and equipment to buy along with training your team. This game has a lot of depth and replayability.

Recruit mercenaries from 22 different fantasy races and classes and manage dozens of fighters as they battle in a variety of different terrains against easy to highly intelligent AI or other player-controlled clans.
Train and hone each fighter’s skill through monthly training as well as directly in combat. Build secondary skills such as dodging, shield blocking and dual wielding as well as attributes such as strength, intelligence, hit points, and magic points. There are 200 items and 42 spells available to equip your gladiators, including armors, bows, weapons, magical staves, and more! As each combatant grows with your clan they will age as well and eventually retire. Careful planning and management of your clan can ensure you never have an off season.

Free demo version here.

Void Pyramid - Released

by Hiddenx, 20:38

The oldschool post-apocalyptic RPG Void Pyramid has been released:

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Void Pyramid is a post-apocalyptic RPG set in the space-faring Egyptian empire.

In the far future, the maniacal Prime Pharaoh rules the wastelands of Earth. Any who oppose him are exiled to the Void Pyramid. This outer space prison is populated by criminals, beasts, and mutants. No one has ever escaped, but you must try.

  • Void Pyramid is a complete game averaging 6-8 hours in length. It is highly polished and has all original graphics and music.
  • Choose to be a soldier, slave, or scribe. Overcome challenges with your unique skills.
  • Explore the intricately designed pyramid. Each chamber is packed with foes, puzzles, traps, treasures, and other interesting stuff.
  • Develop your character however you want with an unusual but intuitive advancement system.
  • Use your brawn, wits, and agility stats to kick down doors, bend bars, hack computers, haggle with merchants, dodge traps, scale walls, and more.
  • Find numerous solutions to every problem. Explore multiple paths through the pyramid. Experience alternate endings. Fight optional bosses. Discover hidden treasures.
  • Experience a unique vision of the future. In the space-faring future, the Egyptian empire has risen again. The Prime Pharaoh's mutant armies oppress mankind.

Tuesday - June 14, 2016

Fireplace - Shooter RPG Teaser

by Hiddenx, 19:53

Partytellers Studio has released a teaser-video for the Shooter RPG Fireplace:

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Partytellers Studio is announcing their video game and a movie called Fireplace.
A group of friends and developers is making a first-person shooter, role-playing game/movie (FPS RPG) with rich story, in their free time.
The game is inspired by Bioshock Infinite and Deus Ex: Human Revolution, their favorite games of all time.

In Fireplace you take the role of a teenager whose neighbor gets murdered.
You then get involved in the mystery.
The story takes place in Caribbean, which in year 2146 is a genetic wonderland populated with many different nationalities.
Although a shooter, the game can be played peacefully without killing anyone.
Your choices will make meaningful impacts on characters and the world.
The central theme of Fireplace are the relationships we have with others and the world we live in.
Fireplace is a story about ordinary people caught in an extraordinary life.

Friday - June 10, 2016

General News - CRPG Book 4. Release

by Hiddenx, 00:00

The 4th release of Felipe Pepe's CRPG Book is out now - 350 pages!

ICYM, the 4th release of the CRPG Book Project is here, with 350 pages and 200 reviews of your favorite RPGs:

-> download

Thursday - June 09, 2016

No Truce With The Furies - Announced

by Hiddenx, 20:43

The RPG No Truce With The Furies will be released in late 2016 - from the website:

Announcing No Truce With The Furies

NO TRUCE WITH THE FURIES is a story-driven isometric role playing game about being a total failure. An almost irreversible, unmitigated failure. Both as a human being and an officer of the law.

Find yourself in a strange and familiar new world, where you can go anywhere you want to. See that liquor store? You can go there. See that motor-carriage? You can drive it into the ocean. See that phone booth? You can call her, and make her love you again!

Or – you can take one final case and crawl back to life

“NO TRUCE WITH THE FURIES” HAS:

  • A new genre of setting developed for over 15 years in absolute secret. Neither fantasy, alternate history, nor any type of -punk, a novel set in the same world has been dubbed fantastic realism.
  • The most advanced visuals ever made for the isometric perspective. A trick of the trade we call paintshading lets us create a moving contemporary oil painting.
  • A realistic skill system lets you develop original ideas using Conceptual Thinking, tune your nervous system with Electrochemistry, and become a disgrace to the uniform with Composure, a skill that lets you don your disco outfit to the maximum effect.
  • Writing by chronically success-impaired science fiction author Robert Kurvitz and original music by the Mercury prize winning band British Sea Power.
  • Thought Cabinet, an inventory for thoughts, where you process the ideas you’ve stumbled on. Ideas become fixtures, permanent beliefs you can’t get rid of, even if you want to.
  • Exactly one hundred and twenty eight times more choice and consequence than previously thought possible in a role playing video game. This is a world where even the smallest things you say matter.
  •  

Inspired by Planescape: Torment, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare and Kentucky Route Zero.

Chris Avellone - On Design Hierarchies

by Silver, 10:24

At Digital Dragons Chris Avellone spoke on the importance of design hierarchies for the people engaged in a project, in order to minimise unnecessary drama and maximise the project potential.

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Monday - June 06, 2016

Opinion - Playing the Villain in RPGs

by Aubrielle, 06:23

A short editorial at implayin discusses playing the villain in RPGs.

Thanks, Couch!

I love a good RPG. Give me a game where my actions can shape the world around me, where they can change how NPCs perceive and react to me, and (most importantly) let me customise my character’s appearance – and I’m putty in your hands. But, whilst playing through Fallout 4, something struck me. I’m always the good guy. I’m always the guy you can call on to run a casual errand. I’m the guy who will waive a fee if there’s someone in need. I’m the guy who will make the morally correct decision, even if it’s to the detriment of my character. Why? Because I’m emotionally incapable of playing the baddie.

Trust me, I’ve tried. I’ve tried to be the guy that refuses to do a job without being paid. I’ve tried to side with the people who will be of the most benefit to me, rather than the side that’s in the ‘right’. Heck, I’ve even thought about killing people in the game that bug me – I’m looking at you, Preston. Yet, eventually, I always end up conceding. I’ll do a job for free, I’ll side with the underdog and I’ll listen to Preston jabbering on about settlements that need my help. All because doing the wrong thing feels, well, wrong.

Recently, I tried to play through KOTOR II as the bad guy. I was unnecessarily mean to people, I was selfish, I was petty… I was downright evil. But I only managed to do it for a few hours. Eventually, I just felt like a dick. Even though the characters weren’t real. That my actions have no impact on the real world, or the people that I love. Or that it’s no real reflection on me, as a person. I still felt all icky inside. It still felt wrong. Man, I’m such a pansy that I accidentally killed a community on Fallout 3 by mistakenly activating a nuke, and I actually reloaded a previous save (resulting in a lot of lost XP and gear) to right the wrong.

I think that it shows the emotional connection that we can have with video-games. In movies, we can connect with the characters, with the emotions they’re portraying and in the moments on screen. In video-games, we are the characters. We create and act out those moments and we’re often the source of those powerful emotions. We’re the vessel, rather than the observer – and this is especially true with RPGs.

Friday - June 03, 2016

The Dark Eye - English Kickstarter Funded

by Aubrielle, 14:04

Huge news, The Dark Eye fans. A Kickstarter campaign to launch The Dark Eye pen-and-paper materials in English has succeeded massively. According to the campaign's projected timetable, we'll have materials very soon.

If you're a tabletop RPG enthusiast and have always had an interest in Das Schwarze Auge, but you're like me and don't speak a lick of German, then you can celebrate the fact that The Dark Eye English Edition Kickstarter campaign finished successfully this evening at a staggering amount of $147,512 compared to its original goal of $10,000. For now, we can revel in the Quick Start Rules PDF, but we'll have more to consume very soon as the rulebooks will start to debut next month:

The Dark Eye will be supported with an aggressive release schedule.

New rule books, adventures, supplements, and more… everything you’ll need to build an exciting campaign for your adventurers in the uniquely realistic and compelling setting of Aventuria! The Aventurian Bestiary and Aventuria Almanac are especially useful – watch for them coming out soon!

Here are the additional products planned for the next several months:

July 2016 Revelations from Heaven (64-page softcover adventure)

August 2016 Aventurian Bestiary (128-page hardcover sourcebook) and The Vampire of Havena (64-page softcover solo adventure)

September 2016 Aventuria Almanac (240-page hardcover sourcebook with 2 maps), Digest-sized Core Rules (416-page softcover rulebook), and Arivor’s Doom (64-page softcover adventure.

October 2016 Starless Sky (336-page large paperback short story anthology) and Aventuria Adventure Card Game (stand-alone card game, 272 cards, rules, counters, etc.)

November 2016 The White Lake (64-page softcover adventure), Aventuria Map Set (7 maps in different sizes & 1 large poster), and GM Screen (4 panel screen & 48 page sourcebook about taverns)

Source: GameBanshee

Chrono Trigger - Director Wants New Version

by Silver, 07:36

@Game Informer they report Game Director Tokita would love to see a new version of Chrono Trigger.

Chrono Trigger wasn't only exciting to play - according to Tokita, it was also exciting to create. When describing the game's development, he paints a party-like picture. "Once everyone was done developing Final Fantasy VI, hordes of staff helped out on Chrono Trigger," he says. "At the end, we had a couple hundred working on the game at the same time. It was kind of like a grand festival - it was really fun. [Tetsuya] Nomura was actually creating the environment background pieces in Chrono Trigger - like the courthouse scene, that was created by him. But everyone probably enjoyed how we were able to do things we'd never done with Chrono Trigger. That was the most exciting part."

Despite all the love for Chrono Trigger (and even its sequel, Chrono Cross), Square Enix has been reluctant to tap into the fanbase and do anything with the franchise. However, fans aren't the only ones who would like to see it resurrected. "Personally, if there is ever an opportunity, I would love to see a high-quality, high-end version of Chrono Trigger," Tokita says. "Or a movie production, or something of the sort." Even if it's not a full-fledged sequel, maybe someday Square Enix will revisit the series in some form.

Thursday - June 02, 2016

General News - New Chrono Trigger?

by Hiddenx, 20:22

Gameinformer reports that the Chrono Trigger director Takashi Tokita wants to make a new version of the classic RPG:

Chrono Trigger Director Would “Love To See” New Version

When we were in Tokyo for our Final Fantasy XV coverage, we talked to a lot of industry legends about the Final Fantasy series. One of those people was Takashi Tokita, a producer and senior manager at Square Enix. Tokita was the lead designer of Final Fantasy IV, but he was also one of the directors on another beloved RPG: Chrono Trigger. Tokita shared some behind-the-scenes info on that classic game, and talked about how he would like to see it resurface.

Chrono Trigger tops the list of Best RPGs Ever for many fans of the genre, but part of its appeal is tied to its time and place. When it released in Japan in 1995, the two biggest RPG franchises were controlled by different companies: Final Fantasy under Square, and Dragon Quest under Enix. Therefore, part of the magic of Chrono Trigger was that it was an unlikely collaboration of the best and brightest RPG talent on both sides. Tokita thinks this contributes to the idea of Chrono Trigger being considered untouchable by some fans – and even Square Enix itself. “It’s probably considered sacred since the companies merged,” he says. “It was essentially a dream mix between Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest; creating or exceeding what it was in its original form is a very difficult feat.”

[...]

Wednesday - June 01, 2016

Kings and Heroes - Now on Early Access

by Silver, 12:06

Techraptor outlines the potential of Kings and Heroes which launched onto Early Access today. Its a 1-8 player fantasy action RPG produced by Industry Games.

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The official Steam Early Access Launch Trailer for Kings and Heroes, a 1-8 player, fantasy action RPG by Industry Games. Explore the massive open world, adventure in procedurally generated dungeons, and craft thousands of items, all as you become the ultimate hero.

[...]

...Dungeons and exploration zones are randomly generated, suggesting a fresh experience with each new game.

Customizable characters can be assembled from one of six races, such as Humans, Elves and Goblins, and five distinct classes including Champion, Cleric, and Wizard, among others. The Steam store page promises a "huge world to explore", filled with over 50 unique enemy types and tons of loot to explore over 500 levels of crafting with. The game promises a roguelike experience of penalizing death; dungeon wipes end the journey and force players to regroup in town to prepare for a new adventure, though characters themselves are not lost.

Founded in 2013, Industry Games is lead by talent from notable studios, including Valve Software, Blizzard, and Turbine, come together with the goal of creating community-driven video games. "We're super excited for Kings and Heroes to finally be entering Steam Early Access," said Industry Games CEO, Warren Weems in a recent press release. The company has expressed a desire to deliver modding tools and maintain open paths of communication with the intent of empowering players to develop and grow their games and "make them their own".

Tuesday - May 31, 2016

Robotality - Announce Pathway

by Silver, 23:29

Pathway: In Search of the Lost Element is a 1930s era turn based RPG featuring procedural levels and has been announced as the next game from Robotality.

PATHWAY IS ROBOTALITY'S UPCOMING TACTICAL RPG SET IN A 1930S PULP ADVENTURE SCENARIO
tomb entrance

FIGHT deep and demanding turn-based strategy battles.
GUIDE a cast of eccentric characters on a journey into the unknown.
EXPLORE lost temples, haunted tombs and Wehrmacht strongholds in ever-changing levels.
DISCOVER mysterious artefacts - powerful remnants of an ancient civilisation.
LISTEN to an original soundtrack by Gavin Harrison of Halfway fame.
IMMERSE yourself in a gorgeous 16-bit world built upon a novel pixel/voxel hybrid technology.

Pathway is currently in pre-alpha. The game will be released on Windows, Mac and Linux in 2017.

Thank Kordanor for the heads up!

Siralim 2 - Procedural RPG

by Silver, 14:37

@IndieGames explore Siralim 2, a procedurally generated RPG about a mage who summons creatures. Despite being called Siralim 2 its not a sequel and is currently an early access title on Steam.

Siralim 2 is a procedurally generated RPG with light roguelike elements. You take on the role of a mage who summons powerful creatures to fight in his stead. The game includes over 500 different creatures to summon, each with their own unique abilities that drastically change the way the game is played.

Despite sounding like a sequel of sorts, Siralim 2 is in fact a whole new game. Sure, the core mechanics are the same, but there's a lot of stuff added on top and there's no need to have played the first game before. Its premise is simple: you go out into the world, battle monsters to get stronger, and extract essences from your enemies that let you summon even more creatures. Despite there being a story, there's not really an end to the game, so you can either play the randomly generated levels ad infinitum or until you caught all the monsters. And bred them all. And fully upgraded your castle. You get the idea.

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West of Loathing - Stick Man RPG

by Silver, 14:29

@IndieGames report on a stick man RPG set in the wild west called West of Loathing by developer Asymmetric Publications. If you have a sense of humour this one is for you.

The developers of ridiculous stick man comedy MMO The Kingdom of Loathing have taken to the old West in West of Loathing, a cattle-rustling, gun-slinging, snake-oil selling RPG. If delivering hot justice to sarcastic bandits as a Beanslinger sounds good to you, you have a mailing list to subscribe to.

West of Loathing continues in the developer's silly style, letting players shoot varmints in turn-based combat, comb caves for gear, and negotiate with ghost accountants in spooky abandoned towns. From the combat to the items to the conversation, everything about this game is designed to make you crack up at least a little. I mean, you have a Moxie stat. And a book that teaches you how to 'Walk Stupid'. The only unfunny thing about this game is that it's not due out until 2017, so I'll just have to content myself with drawing stupid cowboy pictures myself until I can play as goofy stick man Cow Punchers upon its release.

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Monday - May 30, 2016

Spy DNA - Combat Demo

by Silver, 07:13

Shy Snakes' new game Spy DNA has a demonstration of its combat system in action.

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Demo recorded and narrated by Jason Sams, Lead Developer, Shy Snake.

Saturday - May 28, 2016

Spy DNA - Combat System

by Hiddenx, 07:17

Some interesting info about the combat system of Spy DNA:

Combat in Spy DNA

This is Jason with an update on the Spy DNA combat system.  We’ve been making some graphics and demo videos for our Kickstarter pitch, and I thought we should share some of them with you. In today’s post, I’ll start with our new gunsight, that we use for aiming, and then move on to the combat system.

In Spy DNA we have put a lot of thought into making combat feel as real as we can.  One of the areas that’s often disappointing in games is the critically important mechanism you use to attack the enemy.

[...]

After a lot of experimenting we have settled on a system where the game focuses on a character when it is their turn to start their next action.  So while combat is ongoing, the game engine cycles though characters as their turns come up.  In this way it feels like a traditional turn-based game.  There is one very important difference.  While the game is progressing to the next player turn, every character and object in the game moves.  

This was not a decision we took lightly.  We made this decision to avoid the time quantization problem that traditional turn-based games have.  Think of the frustration where near the end of the player turn you move a character and trip one or more enemies.  Now your character (or whole party) just sits there helpless while the enemy takes a turn (or full round) worth of actions.  This is a side effect of games trying to map combat to a mechanism that doesn’t exist on a battlefield. 

[...]

Opinion - Saying Goodbye to Bethesda

by Aubrielle, 00:17

A Vice op-ed discusses how Bethesda's once irresistable charm has faded for one gamer.

Thanks, Couch.

For the past ten years, Bethesda games have sculpted how I think about games. Aged 14, I picked up my first Xbox 360 and a copy of The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I still have that same disc today, in its case, the receipt tucked behind the hundred-page manual.

After putting thousands of hours of playtime into Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Skyrim, as well as all every expansion released to support those main games, Bethesda has even influenced what I want from other titles – in terms of gameplay features, design ideas, and that inimitable sense of freedom that few other open-world productions master so well.

When Fallout 4 was announced midway through 2015, just six months before it came out, I, unsurprisingly, lost my shit. Not only was a new Bethesda game on its way, guaranteeing a massive world to get invested in, but I only had a short while to wait for it. This so-brief period between announcement and availability was as good as unprecedented in our modern period of games publicity – but it's something I think will influence other developers' future projects and their own release plans, given how well it worked.

And when it came out, I really liked Fallout 4. I went as far as saying, on this site no less, that it was an unmissable open-world experience. Its world is truly magical to explore, and for me it features the best storytelling of any of Bethesda's games so far, even if its ideas, of fractured families and fizzing revolution, are familiar. This is a studio that places its strengths in building a universe rather than fleshing out character development and creating narrative complexity, but nonetheless it felt like a marked improvement on what preceded it. Most notably, though, it played like a proper sequel, something I had never felt with other Bethesda releases. Whereas Oblivion and Skyrim were two very different beasts, Fallout 4 sits comfortably, thematically and aesthetically, beside 2008's Fallout 3.

But the charm faded. It took a while, 60 hours of play and change, but having put over 300 hours into Skyrim I was expecting Fallout 4's amazing early game impressions to develop into a compelling whole, to last for a near-infinite future. And yet, that compulsion disappeared. The urge to explore everywhere, to see everything, just vanished. Which was pretty disappointing, to say the least.

More.

Friday - May 27, 2016

General News - Loot Rascals Announced

by Silver, 12:37

@gamepressure A science-fiction roguelike called Loot Rascals has been announced by Hollow Ponds. Expect it to release for pc and ps4 sometime in 2017.

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What's especially interesting about Loot Rascals is the skill system. The protagonist figths opponents using various abilities represented by skill cards (you can only have so many active cards), which are dropped by slain enemies - you loose them upon dying too. If that happens, your cards are taken by the monster that killed you, which is then transferred onto another player's server. When that player kills the enemy and picks up the card, he can decide wether to take it for himself or give it back to you - choosing the latter would spawn a hologram of your character that may temporarily aid him in combat.

Like Hohokum [hollow ponds previous game], Loot Rascals is going to feature colorful 2D graphics and light-hearted humor. See what the game looks like on these screenshots:

loot rascals combat

General News - Absolver Announced

by Silver, 10:32

@Gematsu Devolver Digital and Slocap have announced Absolver, an online combat RPG coming to PCs and Consoles in 2017.

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The first gameplay will debut live on Twitch on June 13 at 5:00 p.m. PT / 8:00 p.m. ET.

About

In the ruins of the fallen Adal Empire, you awaken with a mysterious mask on your face, and faint recollections of an esoteric ceremony. Freeing you from hunger, thirst, and even death, the mask is the creation of the Guides, the rulers of these lands, who have placed you here to determine whether you are worthy of becoming part of the elite corps of Absolvers. As you wander these forsaken lands, encountering other Prospects like you, you will learn new combat styles, acquire weapons, gear and armor, and build a team of warriors with whom to fight side by side in Arenas of combat.

Features

  • Fluid Real-Time Combat: Position yourself in one of four tactical stances during real-time battles and execute devastating attacks, dodges, and parries. Movement becomes your weapon as you engage in solo duels or intense three-on-three melees battles.
  • Customizable Style and Flow: Players will define their character's playstyle by picking a combat style, a weapon of choice, and arranging attacks in their Combat Deck to design their unique and personal attack flow.
  • Online Multiplayer Action and Narrative: Prospects and Absolvers will seamlessly encounter others in the world, generating unique stories that emerge through player interaction and choices. These moments are filled with tension as intentions to battle, trade, or befriend are never clear: trust is always a leap of faith. Encounters will have lasting consequences and transform into meaningful relationships as you make friends or enemies and find mentors or disciples.
  • PvP and PvE: Explore a rich and dynamic world including dedicated PvP battle arenas where champions will receive spoils of victory and progress in the ranks of the Absolvers, and PvE dungeons in which players cooperatively battle to retrieve rare loot and equipment from the depth of the Adal mines.

Monday - May 23, 2016

Opinion - Sidequests and Other Distractions

by Aubrielle, 05:13

GameBanshee links to a couple of interesting op-eds on quests, distractions, and how the author believes meaning is changing in RPG's.

This recent and lengthy editorial points to the way in which quest design and execution have been handled in virtually every CRPG since the 1990s, in particular how dozens of even hundreds of side quests have caused us to neglect many games' main quests.  The article suggests that this has led to an "erosion" of meaning to the primary quests in general, and while I tend to agree, I don't think there's a great alternative without the narrative being structured around a series of progressive quests toward one end goal, therefore limiting player choice.  In any event, I've left you with a handful of paragraphs below:

This juggling of quests and side-quests is, I guess, part of the form of CRPGs, set in stone by the time Baldur’s Gate came along (1998) but present in games quite a bit earlier: you see similar plot/task juggling in, for example, the first-person CRPG Betrayal at Krondor (1993), just on a smaller scale. This “start task, get distracted by other task, end up with a shopping list of stuff” model seems natural to videogames – perhaps because, in giving us a to-do list, the form naturally dovetails with the player’s instinct to tidy up game worlds.

Still, I think videogame “quests” could benefit from quest models from other media: literature, for example. Quests in videogames – particularly RPGs – are promising opportunities for expression, empathy and the creation of meaning: key moments in the role-playing interface between game and player. Yet often they’re repetitious, predictable and by-the-numbers – and even when they’re not, the meaty quests brimming with character are often undercut by popping off to kill 10 spider rats.

...

In the original Baldur’s Gate journal, quests were not represented: instead players were given a list of date-stamped entries which filled out as their adventure progressed. Their story was told linearly, as a series of diary entries.

I find it interesting that you can see the development of quests and task structures in CRPGs through their evolving interfaces. I also find it interesting that while the BG developers started by keeping track of actions in a journal – a throwback to the storytelling focus of D&D – and kept it as a vestigial interface feature in the sequel, it’s ultimately a forgotten feature which has been expunged from the RPG genre. CRPGs, at least those built on Baldur’s Gate‘s foundations, do not lend themselves to organic storytelling as much as they do to “I completed this goal, I completed that goal, now I need to go do this goal.”

But just because these games don’t seem to be as narratively flexible as their pen and paper counterparts doesn’t mean that the notion of “quests” (as a personally significant journey) has no value. On the contrary, I think that if used correctly quests can breathe life into an RPG experience and provide much-needed context and personal stakes.

...

Another example of a game with meaningful quests is the much-praised Planescape: Torment. This game, building on the Baldur’s Gate formula, has the quest system we recognise from CRPGs, but the main quest is a quest in every sense. The player character, we discover, is an immortal who sometimes loses his memory when he “dies”; as such, he has lived an unknown number of past “lives”, each one ended by a sudden bout of amnesia brought on by the trauma of death. Some of these past incarnations, we discover, were kind; others were brutal. The player begins a quest to discover who they are, how they became this way and why this all happened, and on the way discovers what remains of their past incarnations; the game’s tagline and central question is “What can change the nature of a man?”

This harmonises with the conventions of the CRPG genre, since most RPGs ask the question “Who are you?”, and let the player’s choices and actions determine the answer. This is especially complicated and juicy in a game where “Who are you?” can also be read as “Who were you? Are you the same person as your past selves? Is it even possible for a person to change?” This quest is not as tightly designed as ME2‘s crew missions – it lasts at least 30 hours, not 30 minutes – but it is a game-long quest which really is a quest in the traditional sense. It’s ultimately about the most fundamental aspects of the protagonist’s identity. As such, the main quest enriches and adds context to all of the minor choices and character-driven moments in the game. The player is playing a game about a man seeking his identity while asking questions about the nature of identity, and play is accomplished by defining this character’s identity through choice and action while also thinking about those same questions of identity. It’s an unusually thoughtful discussion of roleplaying since one could argue the protagonist achieves personhood after his amnesia by roleplaying the person he wants to become: the questions “Who should I be? How do I get there?” are implicitly asked by both player and character, even if the protagonist never asks them aloud.

And, for what it's worth, the blog is also sporting an older article that analyzes why role-playing games are so combat-focused. Food for thought, both of them.

Source.

Source: GameBanshee

Sunday - May 22, 2016

General News - Chris Avellone @ Retrokompott

by Hiddenx, 02:49

The guys from the German Retro Podcast called Retrokompott published an English Audio-Interview with Chris Avallone where he talks about a little bit of everything, mostly about old times and his beginnings.

The interview can be found at here -> at the bottom, numbered 6.

Thursday - May 19, 2016

General News - Demographics and "good" and "evil"

by Silver, 10:07

Quantic Foundary have produced a study that looks into player preferences when playing rpgs. This study focused on faction preference in rpgs and looked at the data according to motivation scores, age and gender.

RPGs are known for creating deep narratives where players are able to immerse themselves in a compelling world and get lost in their "role". As developers seek to create more immersive worlds, characters have become more and more customizable. Not only can players choose what their character looks like, or their base stats and abilities, but also their ethics and moral code. Will their character be a champion of the helpless, or a power crazed tyrant?

While this mechanic has experienced a resurgence (Mass Effect, inFamous, Bioshock, and Knights of the Old Republic series being some of the more popular examples), it is not a new one. A more classic example would be from 1985 when Ultima IV introduced a virtue system that, depending on how the player answered morally ambiguous questions, would determine their class and other gameplay details.

Do gaming motivations and demographics impact the choice of "good" or "evil" factions in RPGs? It turns out they do, but sometimes in surprising ways.

bar graph on preferences

[...]

Younger Gamers Are More Likely To Pick The Dark/Evil Faction

So if gender doesn't influence faction choice, what about age? As we've seen in a previous article, age can have a large influence on how gamers play, and that appears to be the case here as well.

age factor graph

The average age of players who preferred the Dark/Evil side was 22.7 years old. Players who sought out more morally ambiguous options averaged at 26.3 years old, and finally those more inclined to seek out Light/Good factions were the oldest at an average age of 27.8. Overall, among gamers who have a faction preference, those who preferred the Dark/Evil side were much younger.

Wednesday - May 18, 2016

Chris Avellone - New Project later this year

by Silver, 02:54

The rpgcodex reporter at Digital Dragons has shared on twitter that Chris Avellone will announce a new project later this year.

According to our reporter at #DigitalDragons, @ChrisAvellone will announce "a new project" later this year. No further details yet.

Tuesday - May 17, 2016

Shadwen - Released

by Aubrielle, 18:42

Stealthy, sneaky assassin-y title Shadwen released today, courtesy of the developers of Trine.

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My favourite part of the Trine games is zipping around as the Thief with her grappling hook, so I was excited to see a hook-swinging stealth game from creators Frozenbyte. That’s Shadwen [official site], which launched today. Shadwen’s a medieval-y third-person stealth game about an assassin who befriends a young girl, larking about with sneaking and swinging and knocking-crates-onto-soldiers-ing, with Superhot’s ‘time moves only when you do’ and Prince of Persia’s time-rewinding on the side.

So! Shadwen is an assassin on a mission to kill a king. She can climb and swing on her grappling hook, stab men in the neck, pull and knock physics objects around for distraction and murder, and craft gadgets to murder and help. For some reason, she’s also escorting a young orphan named Lily, clearing paths for her to slip past the guards.

Source.

Source: Rock, Paper, Shotgun

Warren Spector - On Reclaiming Necessary Evil IP

by Silver, 03:50

@GameInformer With Disney getting out of the games business recently Warren Spector is concerned about recovering an old IP of his called Necessary Evil which was supposed to be a Deus Ex spiritual successor.

After the recent news of Disney Interactive Studios' discontinuation of the Infinity series, and Avalanche Software shuttering on May 10, developer Warren Spector, best known for Ion Storm's Deus Ex, is showing concern about losing rights to an IP he worked on at Junction Point Studios.

Junction Point Studios, headed by Spector, was a studio acquired by Disney Interactive. This means any game Spector created at Junction Point remains legally owned by Disney. One of the IPs, potentially among others, is Necessary Evil, a game that was planned to be a Deus Ex spiritual successor in a near-future setting. Spector wrote on Twitter, "Necessary Evil was one of the IP I signed over to Disney as part of the Junction Point acquisition." Junction Point Studios was behind the first two Epic Mickey games.

You can view the rest of his tweets below:

Hey, Disney, now that you're out of games can I have the IP I created at @JunctionPoint back? You're never going to do anything with them.
- Warren Spector (@Warren_Spector) May 14, 2016

Since Disney acquired @JunctionPoint they own my near-future action, modern day ninja & epic fantasy concepts. It'd be nice to get 'em back
- Warren Spector (@Warren_Spector) May 14, 2016

 

Monday - May 16, 2016

General News - New Open World RPG

by Hiddenx, 16:43

Farflame spotted this new open world world RPG in the making by Techland on Gamepressure:

Techland is working on a fantasy game with open world and RPG elements

[...]

Marchewka revealed that Techland – its Warsaw-based studio to be precise – is currently working on a fantasy game with a big, open world and RPG elements. It’s a completely new IP, neither a part of any of the studio’s existing franchises, nor a new iteration of the side-tracked Hellraid, as we’ve suspected after the previous press release. The game will feature both single player and co-op multiplayer. The project that Marchewka named as something more ambitious than the abovementioned Hellraid is currently in preproduction and it’s hard to say when we can get more detailed information regarding that game. However, Techland’s CEO claims that both said open-world game as well as the second, mysterious title will be released in the span of the next 2–3 years.

[...]

General News - 20 RPGS releasing in 2016

by Silver, 12:09

Pladio noticed this video on 20 rpg releases for 2016.

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Wednesday - May 11, 2016

General News - 1920 @ Gamepressure

by Hiddenx, 19:40

Gamepressure reports that an RPG with an alternative 1920 Dieselpunk setting is coming to PC, PS4 and XBox 1:

1920s meet mechs in a game inspired by concept art illustrations

[...]

Imagine the 1920s in Europe, with farmers, peasant clothing, cavalry… and giant mechs in the background. This is the world of 1920+, a dieselpunk universe invented by a Polish concept artist Jakub Rozalski. His works, available at Art Station, inspired a board game called Scythe, which was succesfully funded on Kickstarter and is due this fall. But that’s not all. The author of the universe has just announced that a video game set in the world of 1920+ is soon coming to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

[...]

Thanks Farflame!

Monday - May 09, 2016

General News - History and Future of ARPGs

by Hiddenx, 20:07

The designer of Diablo, Stieg Hedlund, writes about the history and future of Action RPGs:

The Future of the ARPG

The Action Role Playing Game (ARPG) has grown into a game genre with its own integrity and uniqueness. Recent conversations with colleagues caused me to contemplate where this category is headed and in doing so, where it has been.

[...]

Source: Gamasutra

Wednesday - May 04, 2016

Fear Effect Sedna - Gameplay Trailer

by Silver, 04:04

Fear Effect Sedna is almost funded on Kickstarter with €72K out of €100K and 9 days to go. As a sneak peak the developers have released some gameplay footage.

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Tuesday - May 03, 2016

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