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You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?

RPG Codex Interview: Feargus Urquhart at Digital Dragons 2016

Codex Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Tue 24 May 2016, 22:13:20

Tags: Dwarfs; Feargus Urquhart; Hidden; Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

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Two guest speakers were of particular interest to the Codex at the digital entertainment convention Digital Dragons in Cracow earlier this month. Both were related to Obsidian Entertainment, which is, as you know, the second most discussed video game company at the Codex after Bethesda. One of those was the Codex favorite Chris Avellone, who left the company not so long ago under mysterious circumstances. The other was Obsidian's CEO Feargus Urquhart.

Luckily for us, esteemed community member Jedi Master Radek from Poland volunteered to attend the event. We got him the press accreditation, and arranged the interviews. Today, we're posting his conversation with Feargus; Chris Avellone will be next.

Here's a snippet, with Feargus talking about Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky, and everyone's favorite RPG feature - romances:

FU: So. What was found out, I don't know how it was found out, but, so we hired Leonard Boyarsky, from Blizzard, and Leonard...[searches for good words] was one of the co-founders... was one of the co-creators of Fallout, and one of the co-founders of Troika. So we hired Leonard and Tim Cain works for us, and Tim Cain and Leonard are not working on Tyranny or Eternity or Armored Warfare, so we might be working on something and they might be the guys that are looking into what we're doing.

JMR: They are not working on Eternity? [I didn't hear Eternity in the previous sentence]

FU: Nope.

JMR: They are working together?

FU: They are working together, yeah.

JMR: How is Leonard Boyarsky doing? Is he working on-site?

FU: [laughs] Yes. So, yeah. Leonard's doing good. It's been interesting... it's funny to... you know, we worked so much together in '96 and '97 and we then... of course, Leonard left and I've talked to him a number of times, but not a ton since they left, I mean because when they left Black Isle, it was... it was complicated, you know. There was... I was... I would say, I was angry to an extent, because it was frustrating. I now had to go make a game, you know, suddenly and Interplay needed the revenue, so I had to get a game done fairly quickly and that was frustrating to me. And while this was all going on they were hiring people away from us... so I was sure some of it with Leonard was that I... I certainly didn't reach out, but you know, we've talked a number of times, you know, since Obsidian started and you know, it was interesting... he actually reached out to Chris Jones, who is one of the founders of Obsidian, who also worked, he worked at Troika and it was about like: Hey, you know what about and he's just really interested in doing single player RPGs again. And hey, we're the spot for single player RPGs. And so it's been easy in a lot of ways because it's like going back to someone you know, like, you worked with so much, so we kinda know each other even though twenty years have gone by. [laughs] You know, and I think it's worked out and I think Leonard's learned an amazing amount of stuff from having to run a company and then working at a big developer like Blizzard and so I think that... no, it's been good. I'm very hopeful that we'll come up with something cool.

JMR: A question you'll like - what does Obsidian think of romances?

FU: [laughs] So I... this is such a weird thing. I play romances in video games. I'm probably getting in trouble for saying this... I play the romances because it gets me experience and I get perks or I get things for doing them, right? So I don't gravitate to doing them. I know that's me personally. And I know, like... because I read a lot of fantasy books and to be honest, I... there's the romance part in the fantasy books and I like that part. Not too much, right? But I like that aspect of fantasy books. I don't read romance, like full romance, but I like that part. So it's interesting, I like it as the part of the book, but I just don't gravitate towards it in a game. But I reckon it is that people really enjoy them, and also what romances are, it's like when we don't talk about them, it's like we're ignoring this whole part of sort of, you know, the human experience. Like people are, people will go out and you know. So it seems like, you know... I think if we were to do them, like I want them to not feel forced. Like I think there's a number of games out there, which I'm not gonna name, that the romances feel forced. It just feels like I'm going through the motions. I feel like I'm just clicking the dialogue. Now I think some people really enjoy them, but still that's what I wouldn't wanna do. If we do them I want them to feel real. I don't know... I can't tell you if that means there needs to be full, you know, CGI sex scenes or not full CGI... I don't even know how would we do it. But apart from... you know, the goal is to have them feel natural.​

For the rest of the interview, be sure to read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: Obsidian's Feargus Urquhart

There are 123 comments on RPG Codex Interview: Feargus Urquhart at Digital Dragons 2016

Fri 27 May 2016
Chris Avellone tells all on My Favourite Game

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 27 May 2016, 22:30:06

Tags: Chris Avellone; Wasteland

Chris Avellone was a guest on a podcast called "My Favourite Game" earlier this week, ostensibly for the purpose of talking about his favorite RPG, the original Wasteland. In practice, though, the podcast was about a lot more than that. It seems that Chris is now more comfortable with talking about the circumstances behind his departure from Obsidian. In short, he felt pigeonholed there - both by the demands and preconceptions of the other co-owners and by Obsidian's lack of access to certain IPs. Chris reveals that he is currently working not only on Torment and Divinity: Original Sin 2, but also on a host of other games that he can't talk about yet, including AAA games.

There's a lot more in this hour and a half podcast. If you can't be bothered to listen to it yourself, Codex MCA Watcher Fairfax has provided a summary here. Earlier this month, Chris was also a guest on a German podcast called Retrokompott. I haven't listened to all of it, but apparently it's about many of the same things. It's worth noting that in both podcasts, Chris is very effusive about his love for System Shock 2 and Ultima Underworld (which are his second and third favorite games). I wonder if he doesn't end up being involved with System Shock 3 in some capacity...

There are 4 comments on Chris Avellone tells all on My Favourite Game

Wed 25 May 2016
Tyranny Dev Diary #3: Being a Fatebinder

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 25 May 2016, 17:53:32

Tags: Brian Heins; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

In what's turning out to be a busy news day, Obsidian's Brian Heins has just published a new Tyranny dev diary update. It's a lore update that describes what it means to be a Fatebinder in Kyros' empire. You should already know the basics from previous Tyranny previews and interviews, so I'll skip the introduction and get to the new stuff:

Laws of Kyros

Kyros’ laws are numerous, and it is the duty of Fatebinders to interpret them in their judgments. Some laws are absolute, some are contradictory, and some are both absolute and contradictory. Fatebinders spend many years learning Kyros’ laws, the judgments handed down by previous generations of Binders, and the times when Kyros punished a Fatebinder for overstepping with their judgments.

Some of Kyros’ laws include:

Kyros’ Peace: Your life belongs to the Overlord if you vow fealty, and cannot be taken from you except by the Overlord. Legally this means that surrendering in the midst of battle should make Kyros soldiers stop killing you, as your life does not belong to them. It also grants Archons, as extensions of Kyros’ will, the right to conscript citizens into their service as soldiers, mages, or agents. As a Fatebinder you are an extension of Kyros’ Will, and have the right to order the execution of those guilty of breaking the law.

The Magician’s Folly: If a mage inadvertently causes harm or death due to the unknowable perils of magic, the mage will not be held liable if the magic was used for the glory of the Overlord. Many believe this law grants mages more rights in Kyros’ Empire, but they are wrong. Mages must belong to sanctioned guilds under the supervision and control of an Archon. Any use of magic, even a spell as simple as lighting a candle, must occur for the glory of Kyros. To do otherwise means death.

Vows Made in Kyros’ Name: Any vow or expression made using Kyros’ name is a binding legal contract. Breaking such a vow is punishable by death. A statement as simple as, “By Kyros, that man is an idiot!” places the speaker in dire peril. An enemy who hears that and can gather both witnesses to your vow, and proof that the man in question is not an idiot, can have you executed.

The Oldwalls are Forbidden: What are the Oldwalls, you ask? Wouldn’t you like to know…

Right of Appeal

A Fatebinder’s judgment, once made, is final. There is no right of appeal. That does not mean a Fatebinder can make any decisions they want, without fear of consequence or reprisal.

If someone is powerful enough, or the favorite of an Archon, they can demand audience with the Archon of Justice. Tunon will never completely overrule a Fatebinder’s decision. Doing so would undermine the rule of law and the integrity of the Fatebinders. However, if Tunon decides that a Binder has stepped beyond the limits of Kyros’ law, he will order their immediate execution.

Archon of Justice

Tunon the Adjudicator is the Archon of Justice and creator of the Fatebinders. Eldest of the Archons in service to Kyros, he has served the Overlord for over 400 years. Though legends tell of many Archons of Justice in the years before Kyros’ ascension, none have been born to challenge Tunon’s claim to the title in the past centuries.

Tunon is a cold and dispassionate figure, devoid of emotion and sentiment. All that moves him is his devotion to Kyros’ law. His true face is hidden behind a metal mask, his Face of Judgment, so that none may see his expression and so determine his feelings about a case before him.

The full extent of Tunon’s powers is unknown. What is known is that the other Archons, beings of immense power in their own right, fear his judgment almost as much as they fear the Overlord’s displeasure.
I can already imagine this leading to some Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics-style rules lawyering...

There are 75 comments on Tyranny Dev Diary #3: Being a Fatebinder

The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Expansion Launch Trailer and Reviews

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 25 May 2016, 16:25:34

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine

The second and final Witcher 3 expansion, Blood and Wine, comes out next week. As with the first expansion, CD Projekt have published the launch trailer ahead of time. It's got knights, princesses, vampires and terrible music:

The expansion itself seems to be less terrible, at least according to the reviews that showed up across the Internet a short while ago:

Plus two highly positive "reviews-in-progress" at GameSpot and USGamer. According to Marcin Iwinski, this is probably Geralt's final adventure, so it's good that he's going out on a high note.

There are 10 comments on The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine Expansion Launch Trailer and Reviews

Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #4: Setting, Part 2 - Quest Design and Keyword Dialogue

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 25 May 2016, 14:23:13

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

The Copper Dreams Kickstarter has slowed down, as all Kickstarters do mid-campaign, but that hasn't stopped Joe & Hannah from publishing a new update. It's the second in the series of updates about the game's setting, although I would say this one isn't really about the setting as such. The first part of it is about the game's quest design, as promised in the previous update. I'll quote that part here:

Quest Design Overview

Copper Dreams features a very open-ended campaign that is filled with intrigue, combat, puzzles and bureaucratic bookkeeping. (Minus the bookkeeping, your agent has the Operations Department take care of that.) As we’ve said in the main page, we are holding true to our philosophy behind Serpent in the Staglands to give you a very hands-off experience. We find that this is the most rewarding type of game to play, which means no quest markers or auto-populating journals to coach you into what to do. There is a joy to following street addresses to mysterious locations that just isn’t the same with a pop-up patting you on the head for your orientation skills.

Copper Dreams is ripe with corporate espionage, conspiracies, and mysteries hidden throughout the city. Without a narrator or journal telling you what clues you found, you get the reward of actually piecing together the puzzle that is the city of Calitana and discern how you want to frame your findings.

Your reports influence how your syndicate operates, and the fate of the characters you meet will begin branching very early on and determine how Wolffz Bay plays the game of corporate warfare.

Your Role

We’ve structured the experience by having your character being employed as an Agent of Asset Inquiries at Wolffz Bay Shipping and Services. As an agent of one of the more ambitious (if worse off) syndicates on Calitana, you benefit from a headquarters to rest at in their district, frugal amount of supplies, other agents to convince to come with you and intel for tracking assets. You’ll also be provided living quarters for you and your companions: a cozy little shipping container near the Wolffz docks! It's no log cabin, but it has a terminal, lights, a cot, and ample room to toss inventory items around, what more does an agent need? Don't get soft.


At your job, you’re assigned assets to inquire about throughout the campaign that change depending on the outcome of previous missions, your extracurricular work, or how you’ve decided to frame the information you’re giving back to Wolffz Bay. Your syndicate starts the game providing you with large, open-ended events, which aren’t time based (or are long durations you don’t have to stress too much about).

During these syndicate events you may find smaller tasks to do, and those can have timed elements. There's a day/night cycle which coordinates Calitana happenings you'll want to be savvy to. Timed missions vary in scope and are mechanically meant to only allow a certain number of rests before they can be completed, or are instead altered in a larger way that changes the nature of the mission and potential outcomes.

This also reflects a more realistic and sensible world where time exists for NPCs as well. For instance if you are dropped off in an enemy compound searching for an asset and must leave before morning, you can’t afford a rest. If you have 24 hours to detain an asset, you have time for one rest. Going beyond that time, that asset may be captured by another syndicate, move to another location you need to discover, or be killed.

Non-syndicate quests range from large scale mysteries to solve, to ones with urgent timing, and inter-company issues like giving traitorous employees a severance package. A Wolffz Bay Agent can also be a source of aid in their district and you might find yourself aiding the civilians under your protection. You have a range of events that keep your agent busy in an open city and island to explore at your leisure - just make sure to bring some hardware if you're treading in hostile districts.​

The second part of the update is about the game's keyword-based dialogue system, which has a few interesting twists. In addition to the familiar local/global keyword and dialogue skill mechanics, the game will also allow you to ask about items from your inventory, including photos that you can take with a camera at will. It's kind of adventure gamey - I like it.

There are 10 comments on Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #4: Setting, Part 2 - Quest Design and Keyword Dialogue

Brian Fargo interviewed by Existential Gamer - talks Numenera, Wasteland 3 and small guy Vince

Interview - posted by Wasteland™ on Wed 25 May 2016, 07:38:13

Tags: Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Vault Dweller; Wasteland 2; Wasteland 3

Julian Feeld of Existential Gamer wrote a nice, generalist interview with Brian Fargo – captain of InXile Entertainment and hardened trademark warrior. The interview touches on the games of olde, the games of newe, and Fargos escapades throughout gaming history.

I don't follow things anymore, so I'm not sure how big of a news this is to anybody, but this snippet pretty much confirms Wasteland 3 being in the works:

EG: What’s the relationship between your life experiences and the way you write, design, and create characters, storylines, and games?

BF: I draw almost all of my inspiration from my personal life experiences, reading about others or stories that people share with me personally. Authenticity resonates. I was in Croatia recently and met a local who told me about his grandfather the hunter. He said that he has owned 4 four dogs in his life, each with the name Jackie.

Apparently one day he was out hunting and shot a wild boar, but his bullet only grazed the animal, causing it to enter a frenzy. As the boar was charging to kill the hunter, his trusty dog Jackie jumped out and took the hit, dying in the process.

His Grandfather dropped his rifle and ran to the doctor but was unable to save the dog. According to the hunter’s wife, it was the only time she ever saw the man cry. After that he named every one of his dogs Jackie. These kinds of stories are powerful, and you can bet you’ll find some part of this one in Wasteland 3.

Small guy Vince is a brave idiot:

EG: In our interview with him, Vince D. Weller of Age of Decadence mentioned inXile as the most interesting studio out there. Who are you most excited to see pave the future for RPG’s?

BF: I’ve always been excited to see how small Indies like Vince push the envelope of what makes an RPG. As companies acquire overhead it becomes more difficult to take risks and therein lies the opportunity for the small guy to shine.

My whole life I’ve been asked who my biggest competitor is. My answer remains unchanged: it’s a person I’ve never heard of. Someone who is dying to do better, to show the world what they are capable of.​

There are 15 comments on Brian Fargo interviewed by Existential Gamer - talks Numenera, Wasteland 3 and small guy Vince

Tue 24 May 2016
Dungeons of Aledorn Alpha Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 24 May 2016, 12:36:50

Tags: Dungeons of Aledorn; Team 21

Remember Dungeons of Aledorn, the Betrayal at Krondor and Realms of Arkania-inspired Czech indie RPG that was successfully Kickstarted last March? Although the Codex mostly lost interest in it afterwards, development on the game has quietly progressed since then, and after a couple of postponements, its alpha was released to eligible backers earlier this week. The latest Kickstarter update has the details on that, including a gameplay video showcasing exploration, combat and dialogue:

Greetings to all friends, gamers, backers and followers. Today, we have some good news, the twice-postponed alpha version of "Dungeons of Aledorn" (DoA) is finally here. We briefly want to tell you what you can expect in the alpha version and why it took so long.

Starting today, a total of 119 backers are eligible to download and try out the game in its current state. If you hit the KickStarter rank of "Black Bear" or better, check you email for further instructions. And now, straight onto the features of the alpha version. Your pre-designed party of 3 heroes (Warrior, Rogue and Wizard) finds itself in the small town of Manto. You can roam around freely, search for hidden treasures or enter into dialogue with some NPCs. You can also accept a few quests and one of them can be even successfully completed.

When you decide to leave the town, you can head into the nearby forest area populated with some hostile creatures. Up to 4 battles are ready to test your strategic thinking skills and at the same time you can try out the feature to choose the exact spot where the battle will be fought. Defeated enemies can be searched for loot and equipment.

We recommend that you read the "Accompanying Document" contained in the downloaded files since you can learn lots of useful information there. The document also includes a list of implemented and not yet implemented features.

We will greatly appreciate it if you decide to spend some time playing the game and report any bugs or problems on our forum. Fixing bugs and various issues was the major reason why the alpha version release took so long.

In conclusion, what does the alpha version mean to us and why did we decide to share it with you? As we promised on KickStarter, your opinion is very important to us and we hope that we will get enough feedback to ensure that our efforts are pointed in the right direction. DoA is being developed mainly for you and we are open to your suggestions in order to make DoA an unforgettable experience for everyone.

Thank you once more for your patience and have fun testing the alpha!
Looks nice. Those transitions from first-person exploration to top-down tactical combat in the same map never stop being cool.

There are 24 comments on Dungeons of Aledorn Alpha Released

Sat 21 May 2016
Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #3: Setting, Part 1 - The Syndicates

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 21 May 2016, 15:37:55

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

After a much-appreciated endorsement from Larian Studios, the Copper Dreams Kickstarter campaign has reached $25,000 of funding out of the needed $40,000. Hopefully it will continue reaching more eyeballs over the next three weeks. Today's Kickstarter update is the first in a series of updates about the game's setting. It describes the syndicates - the factions of Calitana. The player character will be a member of the Wolffz Bay Shipping & Services syndicate, but the setting's dominant syndicate is the Puritan-like Mayflower Initiative, the description of which I'll quote here:


Walled off from the rest of Calitana, the Mayflower Initiative, or the MFI, is the largest and wealthiest group on the island, hoarding resources, talent, and technology on their elevated plane above the rest of the city. Officially sent from the US government to jumpstart industry and civilized society for the colony in its founding years, the MFI not only built factories and housing for its members with its Corporeal Synthesizer, but also set up ministries for the purpose of enforcing fellowship and cheerful productivity, at gunpoint if necessary. The MFI members and their families enjoy luxuries such as fresh produce, safe streets and well-made housing complexes, but their lives are restricted by the numerous harshly enforced regulations that dictate everything from the color of their jumpsuits to their thoughts and speech.

Not everyone who is drafted to live on Calitana makes the cut to work at MFI, and thus the slums district grew outside its walls, sheltering those who have been exiled from the syndicate, those who are deemed unemployable, and those who are headhunted by other syndicates before the MFI can interview them. Following the years since the government has broken contact with the city this issue has escalated, and that was decades ago. The MFI still considers the citizens of the slums to live in its jurisdiction, but patrols infrequently and generally only where their financial interests are at stake. Still, as homelessness, unemployment, and loitering are all unlawful under the mandates of the MFI Ministry of Harmony and their Civic Spirit Acts, the citizens of the slums live in a state of constant tension, knowing that catching the eye of a patrol guard might land them a visit to the holding cells, an underground prison with a notoriously barbaric reconditioning program.

An indomitable force, the Mayflower Initiative runs the city with an iron fist, whether from behind the scenes or by sending in their artillery. Their favorite weapon, the Copper Faces, a beheaded elite guard with a skull of enhanced censors and a brain more robot than human, are a personification of the terror they invoke in the lives of citizens.
The next update will be about the game's quests and quests structure.

There are 14 comments on Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #3: Setting, Part 1 - The Syndicates

Thu 19 May 2016
Feargus Urquhart talks about Tyranny, Bloodlines 2 and Obsidian's Future at Gamepressure

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 19 May 2016, 14:57:24

Tags: Defiance; Feargus Urquhart; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity 2; Stormlands; Tyranny; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines have posted a full transcript of their interview with Feargus Urquhart at the Digital Dragons conference. They already revealed its major highlights earlier this week, but there are also some revealing details about Obsidian's future plans and general strategy here. Feargus confirms in no uncertain terms my long-standing theory that the company's objective is to eventually develop their own New Vegas-style game - in fact, he announces that they will never make another AAA RPG if they can't retain ownership of the IP. In addition, the interview has some information about Tyranny and its history, and a question about making a Bloodlines 2, the answer to which makes it sound like it's probably not what Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky are working on. Here's an excerpt:

You had some tough times with publishers – Sega and Aliens: Crucible, Microsoft and Stormlands. What was the most difficult thing about this? Why did you get so dismissive of publishers, at least for some time?

I’m not dismissive of publishers, but it’s a good way to look at it. It has to do more with the way I think – that doing big games with publishers as an independent developer is really challenging. We want to make the games that we want to make, and you have to acknowledge that. And if I’m to work with a publisher, it’s all about figuring out how to have that relationship in a way that allows us to make our game, but allows them to be involved, because they’re going to be paying, right? So how do you do that? And with the BIG games, when they have a budget of 20–30–40–50–60 million dollar, it’s hard, because the money is so big that people get worried.

So what I haven’t figured out necessarily is how do we deal with that worry of a publisher. Because the minute something goes wrong, they get very worried – which I can understand – but things going wrong… well, they go wrong all the time, you know? And how do we solve that problem? If there’s one thing I have a problem with when it comes to publishers is that we’ve been making games for a really long time and we want to own our IP. When we make something, we want to own it.

I totally understand the risk – publishers give me a lot of money, and they want to make a lot of money back. But I can put a team together that in total has like 500 years of game development experience – how do you value that? It has to be valued more than just by a small royalty stream when the game is super successful. Not just successful, but super successful. So that’s my other thing. And I do think that publishers are getting into a place where they are okay with that now. They’re getting into a place where there can be more conversations about us continuing to own the IP, which is great.

How do you think, what makes the publishers change their attitude? Is it because independent studios have much more to say these days?

Well, there’s not a lot of us. There’s like 10 of us, those bigger independent studios of 200–300 people. I actually don’t know how many exactly, but let’s say there’s 10. And if we’re all saying “no” and they need games, then it’s just market. If you want to make a big role-playing game right now, there’s not many people to go to. What we say nowadays is: “We’re going to make a game with this IP”. We would love to make a Fallout: New Vegas-style game or something like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, or The Witcher; we’d love to make a game like that. But if we can’t own the IP, we will make it Eternity-style, because we can usually find the money for that. And we’re not mean about it, we’re not discrespectful. If we’re going to go through the pain of making a huge game, then there has to be a reward for it.

I’ve read that Tyranny came out of the idea of Stormlands. What’s the actual origin story ofTyranny?

It goes WAY back. So we had a game idea that was pitched, it was called Defiance and it was around 2008, maybe 2007. It started with that idea: “What if evil won?”. So we were pitching Defiance about the same time we were doing Dungeon Siege III. There was this idea for it and it morphed into Stormlands. So it was not Stormlands itself, but ideas taken from it. And there’s also an idea from Defiance that was not in Stormlands. When Josh Sawyer took over Stormlands, he said something like: “Now, let’s really flesh it out”, and lots of things changed about it. Then Tyranny came about, and it was really about ideas from Stormlands and ideas from Defiance, all mushed together under the umbrella of that concept of what it would feel like to have adventures in a world where evil had already won. That, I guess, is the origin story – lots of things getting mushed together. But there are ideas of characters that are in Tyranny that are from Defiance and that were not in Stormlands.

White Wolf Publishing registered Vampire Bloodlines. Would you like to work on that?

I think Vampire would be really cool, but that’s the tough bit – there are so many cool things, there are so many awesome things out there. I know Tim and Leonard both loved working on it. We flirted with White Wolf long ago, right before CCP actually bought White Wolf. Mike Tinney was the president of White Wolf, and we got to know each other. What we were trying to figure out back then was whether we could take the Neverwinter 2 engine and do a Vampire or a World of Darkness game. It would be cool, not only as just a game, but also from the standpoint of people who love World of Darkness, who would then be able to go and make more World of Darkness modules and things like that. It would be cool, I’ve always loved Vampire, I read the books, read the novels, all kinds of that stuff.

What I’ve noticed is that contrary to other developers, you talk quite openly about any issues you have. How come that happens?

I don’t know, I think it’s our style. I’m all about acknowledging mistakes and moving on from them. I think that sometimes we maybe share too much. Some people have come to me and said: “Well, you’re making a lot of excuses for everything” and I’m like: “What do you mean? I don’t make excuses. I screwed this up, I screwed that up, we screwed up a lot of stuff”. But they say that it sounds like we’re excusing it all, like we did all of these mistakes but we don’t care. No, that’s not our intention, that’s not what we mean. So sometimes I wonder if maybe we share a little too much. I see other studios making a really good job of just not sharing anything, and sometimes I think that helps them… so I don’t know. But I prefer it that we acknowledge these things and move on from them. And if there are things I can share that will prevent people from making the same mistake, then it’s cool too.
A very Feargus interview. It sounds like what Tim and Leonard are working on hasn't exactly been determined yet. But maybe he's just being evasive.

There are 50 comments on Feargus Urquhart talks about Tyranny, Bloodlines 2 and Obsidian's Future at Gamepressure

Wed 18 May 2016
Colony Ship RPG Update #5: Making a New RPG, Combat and Stealth

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 18 May 2016, 18:11:40

Tags: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

This month's Colony Ship RPG development update is out. Once again, it's divided into two parts. In the first part, Vault Dweller ruefully goes over the list of things that need to be done in the course of of creating a new RPG from scratch, which is an experience that he'd happily forgotten over the years. To make a new RPG, one needs an engine, writing, systems and art, of which the latter is the biggest obstacle. The second part of the update is about systems, specifically combat and stealth. I'll quote the combat part here:

Melee-based combat makes a lot of things simple in 3 key areas:
  • Melee attack can be dodged or blocked (or parried or deflected), thus you easily miss even if you’re standing next to the guy you’re trying to kill. The famous duel in Rob Roy would have been very different if both duelists had SMGs.
  • Damage dealt can be modified by effort (i.e. fast or power attacks).
  • Combatants can just stand there and trade blows all day.
So, logically, combat with guns should have higher THC in general, higher mobility, no dodging bullets, no damage modifiers, which means that fast attacks, normal attacks, and aimed attacks will do exactly the same damage, which means the player would want to use the fastest attack unless there’s a strong penalty, but we’ve just decided to keep THC relatively high.

The obvious conclusion is that we need grazing, cover, and a wide range of attack types:
  • Let’s start with grazing. I wanted to implement it in AoD but we were out of time and the fast attacks were basically grazing attacks, doing a lot less damage. The ranged combat is perfect for it.

    Let’s say you have 80% THC (to-hit chance). You roll the dice and as luck would have it, you’re 1 point short but the binary miss-hit system doesn’t reward your near excellence and treats it as you weren’t even close. So, we’ll change that and go with 4 roll 'ranges': miss, graze, hit, critical hit.

    This will give us some flexibility with damage ranges and allow you to trade damage for THC.

  • Cover is another way to lower your THC without raising eyebrows and explain why the combatants take 4-5 turns to kill each other. We don’t want to place cover objects everywhere, so we’ll go with energy shields you can place in front of your character (i.e. you throw a 'gadget', it generates an energy shield in front of you (not around you) which absorbs X amount of damage and makes it harder to hit you while you’re hiding behind it).

    Naturally, once you decide to go with gadgets, why stop with one? Why not have gadgets modifying every available battlefield stat?
    • Depletable energy shield (absorbs x damage)
    • Reality distortion field (THC penalty against you)
    • Optical illusion a-la Total Recall (chance that enemies will target the illusion)
    • Cloaking field aka Stealth Boy
    • Stasis field (holds enemy, no damage can be dealt)
    • Brainwave Disruptor (don’t leave your home without Psychic Nullifier)

    As mentioned previously, expect 10-12 gadgets with 3-4 upgrade levels. Earlier I was toying with the idea of energy armor but the energy shield idea is better as it ties you down, creating tactical opportunities for your enemies. Then you’ll have upgradable synthetic armor offering different degree of protection against melee, projectile, and energy attacks.

  • Attack types
    • Three basic attacks are Fast aka unaimed (increases your Graze roll range and cuts the Hit roll range in half), Normal, and Aimed Attack (doubles the Hit roll range, cuts in half the Graze range). You can use these attacks with any weapons.
    • Class- and weapon-specific attacks like Short, Long, and Wide Burst for SMGs (some SMGs would be more suitable for wide bursts whereas others would be more suitable for long burst; however, these attacks would be available to all SMGs) and certain shotguns; Fanning for revolvers, Double Shot or Full Broadside for multi-barrel weapons.
    • "Tactical" attacks like Suppressive Fire and various Interrupt, Attacks of Opportunity Reaction Shots
Another thing worth mentioning is that firearms, unlike fairly straightforward melee weapons, have very different designs, so each category (Pistols, Shotguns, SMGs) will have 3 subcategories. For example, Shotguns will have One-Handed Shotguns (sawed off and ‘Mare’s Leg’ style shotguns), long, heavy-barrel shotguns, and shotguns with revolving cylinders. So even if you choose to specialize with a single weapon class, you will have plenty of tactical options within this class.

Last but not the least is the focus on mobility. In AoD we didn’t want a melee opponent chasing you all over the map, so your movement rate was slow (2AP per square). In the CSG we want mobility play a large role, allowing the enemies (and encouraging the player) to move around, flank and flush you out.​

That THC mechanic seems kind of familiar! It's worth noting that this update reveals a tentative title for the game - The Sunless World. It's not final, but then, neither was "The Age of Decadence" at first.

There are 82 comments on Colony Ship RPG Update #5: Making a New RPG, Combat and Stealth

Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #2: Combat Demonstration Video

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 18 May 2016, 13:45:10

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

Five days after launch, the Copper Dreams Kickstarter campaign is over halfway towards its funding goal. Today, it received its first substantial update, which offers a detailed look at the game's unique combat system. The update features a ten minute combat video, which demonstrates an ambush scenario on a lone guard which turns into a rather brutal firefight, followed by a textual explanation of the various mechanics shown. It's a simulationist system, relying heavily on physics and environmental modelling rather than on abstract character attributes to determine success or failure. Here's the video and an excerpt:

The core of the combat system is the combat bar, as pictured below. The combat bar shows you the players in combat and their place on the timeline.

Upon joining combat, everyone rolls initiative to see where they are placed on the timeline, and then progress downward. The timeline is moving until one of your characters hits the Turn Bar. The actions of enemies are instantaneously chosen and the timeline continues without a break.

When one of your characters land on the Turn Bar, the timeline stops and they can choose an action. Once selected, that action plays out and the combat bar timeline continues.

During the execution wait time, the length of which is dependent on your action, your character is prepping their action: aiming, re-balancing for a swing, or preparing to use an item. At the Execute Bar they fire off the action, and return to the top of the timeline and resume traveling down again. If more than one action is required (like multi-shot or suppressing fire), the character is held at the action bar until complete.

Any character on the timeline can be interrupted or stalled by suppressing fire, being hit, or even by getting bio-hacked. With simultaneous actions, there can be weapon draws to see who can get their shot off first, determined by speed and a weapon's action time.

When NPCs die, they leave behind a big flesh pile that's sure to raise suspicion. To diffuse this situation it's recommended you pick up up the body and throw it somewhere. A body can also be used as a good decoy, or a perfectly acceptable d8 blunt damage roll by heaving it into enemies.
According to the update, there's going to be some sort of interview with more details about the combat system later on, as well as an additional combat video demonstrating a more elaborate party-based scenario. So stay tuned.

There are 48 comments on Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #2: Combat Demonstration Video

Mon 16 May 2016
Feargus Urquhart confirms Pillars of Eternity 2 in development, plus a new Cain/Boyarsky game

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 16 May 2016, 20:06:15

Tags: Feargus Urquhart; Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity 2; Tim Cain

Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart gave a talk at the Digital Dragons convention in Krakow, Poland today. The folks at Polish gaming site took the opportunity to interview him there, and what they discovered may be more interesting than anything he said in his talk. Feargus has not only confirmed the long-held suspicion that Pillars of Eternity 2 is already in development, but hinted at a new game from Tim Cain and the newly hired Leonard Boyarsky as well. I quote:

During the Digital Dragons 2016 conference that is happening now in Kraków, we got a chance to meet amazing developers from all around the world. We also sat down with Feargus Urquhart, the CEO of Obsidian Entertainment, known for his work on Fallout series, Planescape Torment, Icewind Dale or the critically acclaimed Pillars of Eternity. Obsidian also has another project in development – Tyranny – but Feargus said that they’re not ready to talk about it in more detail. However, during our interview with Obsidian’s CEO, we found out that the studio is already working on Pillars of Eternity II.

We were talking about the general idea of crowdfunding Obsidian’s games, Feargus said that they thought about crowdfunding Tyranny, but decided to do it on their own. However, they’re most probably going to turn to Kickstarter to crowdfund Pillars of Eternity II, and that’s when Feargus shared what they’re currently involved on:

Obviously, as you’ve probably guessed, we’re starting to move forward on [Pillars of] Eternity II. That is probably something that we want to look at [in terms of crowdfunding]. I think people felt like we delivered on our promise, and then that felt like we could go with Eternity II and people would support us again, because they trust us.​

When we asked him about an official announcement of Pillars of Eternity II, that’s what he had to say:

Eternity II is not announced, [but] it seems silly for me not to acknowledge it, though. If someone asks “Are you working on it?”, I respond “Well, wouldn’t you work on it?”. So then they say “So you must be working on it”, and then I’m like “Well, yeah”.​

That second quote came up when we were talking to Feargus about everything that Obsidian is currently involved in. There’s Armored Warfare, Tyranny, the card game Pathfinder, and Pillars of Eternity II. However, Obsidian’s CEO also mentioned that there’s a small group of people within the studio that’s working on something completely new, but he didn’t want to share any details regarding that yet. What’s worth noting, though, is that the names of Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky came up while talking about this. Feargus didn’t say that directly, but he pointed that it might have something to do with a prototype using Unreal Engine, that he mentioned during his podcast with Game Informer.
Bloodlines 2? Your guess is as good as mine. In any case, this is exciting news - the next stage in the evolution of Nu-Obsidian is beginning. Gamepressure will be posting the full transcript of their interview with Feargus later on, and hopefully it won't be long before the video of his Digital Dragons talk is available as well.

There are 120 comments on Feargus Urquhart confirms Pillars of Eternity 2 in development, plus a new Cain/Boyarsky game

Fri 13 May 2016
RPG Codex Review: Mordheim: City of the Damned

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Fri 13 May 2016, 20:51:31

Tags: Mordheim: City of the Damned; Rogue Factor

As is well known, the genre of squad-based tactical games is distinguished from RPGs by the fact that there is an entire squad of people running around and killing things in turn-based combat. Mordheim: City of the Damned is one of these games. Developed by an obscure Canadian company and set in the world of Warhammer, it has you control a tactical unit known as warband and lead it... somewhere, preferably to victory. Standard stuff, you know.

But before you get all excited for a Warhammer tactical game, you have to ask: is it actually any good? This question is where esteemed community member Darth Roxor comes in with his review.

Here's his conclusion if you're curious:

Nevertheless, despite ending the previous chapters on rather negative notes, my overall opinion of Mordheim is completely different. I think the fact that I currently have 80 hours of the game clocked on Steam, and that I’ve been playing it all the time for the entire last month, is enough of an indicator how much fun I’ve had with it. In those 80 hours, I’ve only managed to get one warband to max rank (Skaven, took me a whopping 60 hours in total) and take another one half-way through its campaign.

Simply put, Mordheim is just a solid game of squad tactics. If you’re a sucker for the genre and for the world of Warhammer, you should get it immediately. But even if Warhammer is unknown to you, The City of the Damned offers loads of content and plenty of good, old-fashioned fun. You just have to make sure to turn a blind eye on its remarkably bad technical side.

To be honest, I have no idea how many of the things I’ve praised or lambasted in this article can be traced to the original tabletop, and which are the work of Rogue Factor. But whatever the case may be, as a debut loaded with expectations from an unknown studio, Mordheim is proof enough that the lads have talent.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Mordheim: City of the Damned

There are 36 comments on RPG Codex Review: Mordheim: City of the Damned

Copper Dreams Kickstarter Campaign is Live

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 13 May 2016, 01:13:48

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

The Kickstarter campaign for Copper Dreams, the next RPG from Serpent in the Staglands developers Whalenought Studios, is now live. Joe and Hannah have put together a very impressive pitch explaining every aspect of the game: the 80s-style offworld cyberpunk setting, the focus on verticality and movement in an isometric environment, the weapons and cybernetic equipment, the complex implementation of stealth and infiltration, the unique asynchronous turn-based combat system, and the previously described health and resting mechanics. Here's the pitch video, which includes some cool-looking alpha gameplay footage, and an overview:

We’re so excited to be back on Kickstarter with our new game, Copper Dreams! It's an isometric, party-based, turn-based, pen-and-paper-inspired game in a dystopian cyberpunk setting. Think an isometric Escape from New York, or Deus Ex.

As an Agent of Asset Inquiries that syndicates hire to gather items, intel and citizens of value, you'll often be put through sensitive situations not to win but to minimize your level of failure and tackle conflicts with clever stealth (or lots of bullets).

Our previous successful Kickstarter, Serpent in the Staglands, featured a no-handholding philosophy, an open world, and challenging puzzles. We got a lot of great feedback and learned a lot from the experience, and have moved forward with a new RPG we think you'll love with even more systems and mechanics to support this gameplay style.

Copper Dreams emphasizes the adventures that happen between quests and narrative events, which can be just as fun, unexpected and dangerous. To enable this, the player will traverse a cyberpunk world while scaling buildings, taking part in turn-based combat between humans, robots and many other types of foes, all while managing their character’s health through a detailed system of physical ailments.

Players have many tools to help them succeed in their missions. The player can engage in espionage gathering, modifying and upgrading weapons and disabling or killing enemies by targeting specific body parts. To do this justice we've designed a ruleset from the ground up we call the Burning Candle to work with all these mechanics.
You can secure a copy of Copper Dreams for just $15, with beta access for $25 and alpha for $35. The campaign's funding goal is $40,000, with stretch goals for an enhanced soundtrack and voice acting going up to $60,000. The game is scheduled to be released on March 2017. Let's hope they make it - Kickstarter isn't what it used to be.

P.S. Don't forget to vote for Copper Dreams on Steam Greenlight!

There are 177 comments on Copper Dreams Kickstarter Campaign is Live

Tue 10 May 2016
The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine expansion pack gets teaser trailer and previews, coming May 31st

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 10 May 2016, 18:12:58

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt - Blood and Wine

You may remember that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, last year's AAA RPGOTY, was supposed to receive a second expansion pack, entitled Blood and Wine and set in the duchy of Toussaint. That seems to have taken a longer time than most people expected, but today, after the release of several screenshots last month and a flurry of leaks and rumors, Blood and Wine finally has a release date - May 31st. Here's a teaser trailer CD Projekt put together for the occasion:

As you can see, even the idyllic Toussaint has its share of murderous beasts in need of Witchering. You can read more about Blood and Wine in one of the many previews that were published today:

Blood and Wine's features include a new Mutations progression mechanic, armor dye for all you LARPers out there, equipment set bonuses, and an improved inventory UI. But its main new feature seems to be Corvo Bianco, a vineyard that Geralt takes ownership of and can spend money to upgrade. What, did you really think there was going to be an open world RPG released in 2015 without player housing?

There are 27 comments on The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine expansion pack gets teaser trailer and previews, coming May 31st

Fri 6 May 2016
Swen Vincke talks Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Narrative Competitive Multiplayer at PCGamesN

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 6 May 2016, 17:15:29

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

PCGamesN have a new interview with Swen Vincke, on the topic of Divinity: Original Sin 2's co-op feature (which he's taken to calling "Narrative Competitive Multiplayer") and how it's helping make the game's story better. It's not the first time Swen has expounded on the idea of Divinity: Original Sin's multiplayer making the single player experience better, and with the sequel Larian seem intent on taking that to the next level. Here's an excerpt from the interview:

“One of the biggest complaints about Original Sin was that it was sometimes too obtuse. The mechanics came in front of everything that was there in terms of story,” Vincke admits. “Also, we were a very small studio working on lots of things at the same time, so we didn’t have enough time to finish all the systems in the way they should have been finished. We have more time and more people now.”

The phrase Vincke uses to describe the approach is “narrative competitive multiplayer”. It sounds like a fancy but ultimately vacuous slogan reserved for a Steam page bullet point, but once you start to pry into its meaning you see the storytelling aspirations for Original Sin 2 are monumental. Pen-and-paper RPGS are the go-to reference point once again, but Vincke talks about crafting a story that is not only better told but also gives players more opportunities to influence. There’s greater focus on your characters and their interactions with fellow party members.

“The tagline for the game is going to be ‘your origins, your party, your story’ and we really mean it. Your origins really have to affect everything so that you feel like it’s you and your character, which is the essence of role-playing.”

From what’s been revealed of Original Sin 2 so far, your character’s origins are one of the sequel’s biggest additions. You’re given the option to create a character from a range of multiple races with differing backgrounds, upbringings and motivations. These differences, however major or minor, promise to modify almost all conversations with NPCs and fellow players. Using a system of invisible tags, Larian can assign players with different lines of dialogue or topics of conversation based on your choices in character creation. Vincke uses the origin question “how did you survive puberty?” as an example.

“Basically that means how did you negotiate in Kindergarten, right? Were you manipulative? Then you get that tag. Did you try to make fun of it so that everybody liked you? Jokester tag. We do fool around with it a bit deeper than that, but that’s essentially how we’re thinking of handling it.”

In Original Sin 2 your party can fracture and split. Did someone else make a decision you so despised that you didn’t want to be a part of the group anymore? You can leave, abandon your party and go off on your own adventures until you’re prepared to reconcile – if ever. And even then you can hold onto that grudge when you return and slip your adversary a subtly poisoned health potion for them to drink at an unsuspecting moment. It’s those sorts of scenarios that excite Vincke:

“In a varied group there are so many different things that you can do, and because we have such a systemic approach to it then we can start talking about morphing and changing it more. I haven’t played a game like that, not on a computer at least, so I’m very curious to see what the end result will be.”

The idea seems ridiculous. How do you build an RPG with that level of freedom without the whole thing buckling under its own ambition? What failsafes do you need put in place to ensure all players can still progress when the systems are pushed to their extremes? Can you even prepare for those circumstances? Larian are well aware of the significant challenges they’ve placed on themselves in order to achieve it.

“One writer was frustrated that there wasn’t a single bloody bottleneck in the game except two. He was annoyed at how he was supposed to ensure players didn’t miss details.” Vincke explains one way they’re getting around that specific issue. Story has been seeded throughout the world – in every side-quest, in every conversation, in every place you visit – so that wherever you go or wherever you’ve been, you can start to piece it all together.

“We never know what you’re going to do, [but] we have to ensure you get something from the main story everywhere,” he continues. “We’re not doing a Witcher 3 thing with a lot of cutscenes and a lot of emotional moments because we can’t. Not with the gameplay that we have, because it has to work in multiplayer. We have to tell the story through player agency, basically.”

“[Divinity: Original Sin] was more like a toy box that you could do plenty of things with and you had a narrative holding it together. But that story got buried sometimes, so now it’s much more fleshed out and we’ve put much more time into it.”
Swen's talk at Reboot Develop last week was also about the Narrative Competitive Multiplayer concept. Hopefully a video of that will show up.

There are 27 comments on Swen Vincke talks Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Narrative Competitive Multiplayer at PCGamesN

Thu 5 May 2016
"Vampire Bloodlines" trademarked by White Wolf Publishing

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 5 May 2016, 22:40:22

Tags: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines; White Wolf

Codex trademark watcher Jedi Master Radek has made a new discovery. Apparently, World of Darkness license holders White Wolf Publishing (who you may recall were recently acquired by Paradox Interactive) have trademarked "Vampire Bloodlines". You know, like that game from Troika you may have heard of. Have a look:


What does this mean? Possibly not much. White Wolf are a license holder, not a game developer like inXile, so they might just be putting their stamp on any World of Darkness trademark they can think of. Then again, Leonard Boyarsky did recently join Obsidian, and Obsidian do need another game to work on after Tyranny, so who knows?

There are 66 comments on "Vampire Bloodlines" trademarked by White Wolf Publishing

Wed 4 May 2016
Tyranny Dev Diary #2: The Basic Game Systems

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 4 May 2016, 18:24:14

Tags: Brian Heins; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

New information at last! In a new Tyranny dev diary update, Brian Heins lays out the basics of the game's character system - skills, attributes, progression, talents. There are even a couple of screenshots of the character screen UI. Here's the gist of it:

[​IMG] [​IMG]


Tyranny uses six core attributes to define characters. These are:
  • Might – your character’s physical strength and attack power.
  • Finesse – your character’s physical precision.
  • Quickness – your character’s speed and reaction times.
  • Vitality – physical health and force of personality.
  • Wits – intelligence and arcane potential.
  • Resolve – ability to endure physical and mental challenges.
Attributes also determine the base values of skills. Each skill has a primary and a secondary attribute that contribute towards the skill’s rank. Primary attributes increase the skill by 1.5x the Attribute value, while secondary attributes increase the skill by 0.5x. The One-Handed Weapons skill, for example, uses Might as its primary and Finesse as its secondary. A character with 15 Might and 10 Finesse would have a base One-Handed Weapons skill of 28 ( 15 Might * 1.5 + 10 Finesse * 0.5 ).

Attributes also contribute towards secondary statistics, such as the Endurance, Will, and Arcane resistances.


I wanted skills to increase as you use them, rather than spending skill points at level up. This meant a fundamental change to how character progression worked. In Eternity, characters gain experience as they complete quests and objectives. Individual combat encounters or conversations had no effect on level, unless they advanced a quest.

With the decision to increase skills by use, I needed skill gains to contribute towards character level. Otherwise you could theoretically have a character with a hundred ranks in a skill, but still technically considered ‘level 1’. So, in Tyranny as you use skills they gain experience. When they gain enough experience, they increase their skill rank. When a skill increases in rank, your character gains experience towards their next level.

A benefit of this is that it makes even optional combat encounters rewarding for the player. This change could have made conversations less rewarding, as players would need to fight in order to level up their characters. To resolve this, we added functionality to allow players to level up their skills in conversations. Player choices that are gated by skill requirements will add experience to those skills when they are used. Additionally, if you use a skill to intimidate an encounter into fleeing, we grant skill experience to the party equivalent to what you would gain if you fought them. It can’t be exact, as there are too many decisions that players can make during combat to replicate it exactly.

So, your characters gain experience as their skills increase in rank – whether it’s through combat, conversations, or interacting with objects in the world. You also gain some experience for completing quests and objectives, though it’s a smaller portion of your overall experience than it was in Eternity.

As your party members increase in level, they can improve their Attribute scores and purchase new Talents from Talent Trees. Your character has 6 distinct trees to purchase talents from, while your companions have their own unique trees.
I'd call it a fairly typical "newschool" Elder Scrolls-like system, although the description of the Vitality attribute might raise a few eyebrows. What's missing is a list of all of the game's skills - it doesn't look like the character in the screenshot has access to all of them.

There are 120 comments on Tyranny Dev Diary #2: The Basic Game Systems

Tue 3 May 2016
InSomnia hits Kickstarter (again), this time with a playable demo

Game News - posted by Zed on Tue 3 May 2016, 22:26:59

Tags: InSomnia; Studio Mono

Space colony ships are hot, hot, hot right now and Studio Mono knows it. They've returned to Kickstarter with their sci-fi RPG InSomnia, asking for an additional funding of £55 000. Apparently they managed to raise a lot of cash in a campaign run back in 2014, but here they are, uh, again. £16 000 has been raised already for this new campaign, so they're well on their way with 23 days to go.

To lure you into giving them your money, they've produced a demo, acting like a story prologue of sorts. I gave it a go and it's not terrible.

There are 13 comments on InSomnia hits Kickstarter (again), this time with a playable demo

RPG Codex Review: The Dwarf Run

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Tue 3 May 2016, 21:10:26

Tags: Alexander Mirdzveli; The Dwarf Run

I must confess that, until now, I haven't even heard much about the indie tactical RPG The Dwarf Run and it slipped completely under my radar. I bet few of you have played it, or even heard about it, either. The dedicated thread in our General RPG Discussion forum can also hardly be described as particularly active.

Still, the Codex is the kind of site to review an obscure super-low-budget Russian indie RPG - and it looks like this time there may be a gem behind the rough facade. Good thing esteemed community member Bubbles actually played the game, liked it, and wrote this review almost literally overnight. Here's his conclusion:

The Dwarf Run is primarily a combat game, and a surprisingly good one at that. Sure, it has a number of flaws (most obviously the opaque movement system, the janky camera, and the mediocre AI), but it also offers enough complexity and variety to keep a seasoned RPG player fully engaged from start to finish. For a tiny indie operation from Russia, this is already a great feat; but even in comparison with other modern combat-heavy games, TDR looks pretty good. Pillars of Eternity is certainly a much bigger and grander game, but it's also insidiously buggy, vulnerable to overleveling and rest spam, and stuffed full of trash mobs, which are completely absent from TDR. Blackguards 1 features higher production values and a slightly larger array of spells and abilities, but its balance and difficulty curve are badly out of whack, and the writing is generally snoozy; meanwhile, TDR (on the hardest difficulty setting) offers a continuously challenging, well-tuned experience. And say what you want about TDR's writing, but it's certainly never boring or predictable.

Over the course of this review, I've compared The Dwarf Run to Blackguards 1, Anachronox, and Frayed Knights; I find all three of those games to be highly enjoyable, and putting The Dwarf Run in the same category is high praise indeed. However, I'm not blind to the fact that all of these titles only have niche appeal, even by Codex standards. Perhaps The Dwarf Run is one those games that can only be successful on an extremely low budget; Steamspy claims that it's currently sold about 1,000 copies at “full price” (meaning €8.99) and another 9,000 in a super cheap bundle sale. Fortunately, that seems to have been good enough: TDR's developer Alexander Mirdzveli has already started development on a prequel, and the franchise's future seems assured. I'm quite happy about that.​

Read the full review to learn about the game in more detail: RPG Codex Review: The Dwarf Run

Purely coincidentally, the game is 60% off on Steam this week.

There are 52 comments on RPG Codex Review: The Dwarf Run

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