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Sat 25 March 2017

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?

New teaser website appears to be counting down towards Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition reveal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 25 March 2017, 00:06:35

Tags: Beamdog; Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition

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After the flop of Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, many people were expecting Beamdog to shut down and go away forever. Instead, they regrouped. Dragonspear's writing team was quickly shown the door, and in June we learned that the studio was hiring a new team to work on a D&D RPG under the leadership of their recently hired Creative Director, former BioWare writer David Gaider. Clearly, like certain RPG protagonists, some companies aren't so easily killed. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

A post by Trent Oster on the Beamdog forums in August clarified the situation. Beamdog now had not one but three projects - one big, one medium-sized and one small. Some observers reasoned that if the big project was Gaider's, then one of the smaller ones was likely to be a new Enhanced Edition rerelease of an Infinity Engine game. That could be either Icewind Dale 2 or Planescape: Torment. One game, a sequel nobody had asked for released by a dying developer. The other, a game often considered the finest RPG ever made, GOG.com's all-time best-selling title, and the inspiration for a soon-to-be-released thematic successor that had been successfully crowdfunded to the tune of over $4M.

The choice was obvious, and personally I've been expecting this for a while. A teaser website, PlanEscape.com, appeared on the Internet today, with a four day countdown. Trent's tweets about it haven't exactly been subtle, and if you're not convinced yet, a look at the site's source code will reveal four hexadecimal numbers, which correspond to the ASCII codes for "PSTEE". Yeah, I'm pretty sure that Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition is a thing that's happening.

What could such an enhancement consist of? I can already see the jokes about the addition of a gender-related response to Ravel's famous question. But Beamdog have their own game to work on now, and I'll be surprised if PS:T's narrative content is modified in any way other than the possible re-addition of cut content from Qwinn's famous patch. Another possibility is that the reveal of the game might coincide with some sort of relaunch or rerelease of the Planescape setting by Wizards of the Coast, since the official Dungeons & Dragons Twitter account has tweeted about the site as well. Well, we'll know soon enough.

P.S. A poster on 4chan's /v/ board claiming to be a tester for PS:T EE has apparently leaked a couple of screenshots of the game. He also says Beamdog aren't planning to touch its writing. Of course, I can't vouch for the authenticity of any of that.

There are 91 comments on New teaser website appears to be counting down towards Planescape: Torment Enhanced Edition reveal

Fri 24 March 2017
Battle Brothers Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 March 2017, 21:25:45

Tags: Battle Brothers; Overhype Studios

Battle Brothers, the strategy RPG from Hamburg-based Overhype Studios where you lead a mercenary company in a gritty fantasy world, was released out of Early Access today after over three years of development. Despite the fact that it might not actually be an RPG, the game has become extremely popular on our forums as well with Josh Sawyer and his cool person clique at Obsidian Entertainment, and it's a strong contender for our game of the year. Have I mentioned that it features the excellent writing of the Codex's own sser? Here's its release post and launch trailer, which feels like it should have been a gameplay trailer, but that's cool too:



It’s here and it’s done! We’re excited to see the finished Battle Brothers graduate from Early Access and be fully released today, on March 24th, 2017.

Creating this game together with you has been a long and rewarding adventure, and we’re very happy with what the game has grown to become. We hope you enjoy playing Battle Brothers as much as we enjoyed developing it – and given a successful launch, this won’t be the end of the road.

With the game’s release, the soundtrack is now also available as a separate DLC. If you’re the owner of the Deluxe or Supporter edition, it’ll be automatically delivered to you via Steam. The Art & Lore book will become available in the coming weeks.

Let’s celebrate this momentous occasion with our new story trailer for launch and final feature list of the Battle Brothers 1.0 release.

FEATURES

  • Manage a medieval mercenary company in a procedurally generated open world.
  • Fight complex turn-based tactical battles with historical equipment and brutal injuries.
  • Permadeath. All characters that die in combat will stay dead – unless they return as the undead.
  • All characters come with their own background stories and traits. Want a stuttering ratcatcher, a greedy witch hunter or a drunkard disowned noble?
  • Character development without a restrictive class-system. Each character gains experience through combat, can level up and acquire powerful perks.
  • Equipment that matters. Different weapons grant unique skills – split shields with axes, stun enemies with maces, form a spearwall with spears or crush armor with a warhammer.
  • Diverse enemy roster. All enemies have unique equipment, skills and AI behavior.
  • A dynamic event system with atmospheric encounters and tough decisions outside of combat.
  • Three late game crises – a war between noble houses, a greenskin invasion and an undead scourge – add a looming threat along with new contracts, enemies and events.
  • Two full hours of orchestral soundtrack.
  • 70 Steam Achievements and Steam Trading Cards
Another Codex indie pet project sees the light of day. Let's hope it does well and gets many updates and expansions. If you haven't preordered it, Battle Brothers is now available for $30 on Steam or directly from Overhype. But not on GOG, for some reason. Come on JudasIscariot, hop to it.

There are 62 comments on Battle Brothers Released

Lords of Xulima II Development Update: More Casual Or More Hardcore?

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 March 2017, 16:00:53

Tags: Lords of Xulima II; Numantian Games

In response to some sort of controversy on the game's Steam forum, the developers of the upcoming Lords of Xulima II felt compelled to write a development update detailing their approach to game difficulty and customizability. In short, they fall firmly on the oldschool side of the debate.

Recently, there have been some hot discussions in the forum about if the sequel of Lords of Xulima would be more casual to attract more potential buyers or more hardcore to please the old-school fans. So we would like to talk about this topic and clarify this aspect before the rivers of blood flood the forum.

First, don’t confuse Accessible with Casual

A game can be more casual or more hardcore independently of their accessibility level. Lords of Xulima is big, challenging and deep, with lots of mechanisms and possibilities but, it is very accessible. It is very easy and simple to play (move the avatar, talk with NPCs, disarm traps, level up, combat…). We dedicated a lot of work to achieve that level of simplicity of playing. On contrast, old-school games seemed much more hardcore than they actually were because of their obscure and awkward interfaces.

We will always try to make the games as accessible as possible so any player can play it, but with the same level of challenge and depth as they were originally designed.

Was Lords of Xulima casual or hardcore?

Of course, we would never say it is a casual game but it was also not designed as a hardcore one. We wanted to align it to the feel of the old-school games like Wizardy 7, Might and Magic, Ultima… Were those hardcore games? We wouldn’t say that. They were challenging. There was no hand holding, no tutorial, not linear, and they were complex and deep, but they were not hardcore at all. For us, a hardcore game is one that is mainly designed to challenge the player and always try to make him fail so only players with a lot of experience and a lot of understanding of the game mechanics can advance and overcome those challenges. That is what happens in most roguelikes or others like Dark Souls.

Lords of Xulima was designed and balanced to make the best experience possible for the Old-School difficulty mode. Then, we created two more modes as variations of the main mode:

Normal: It represent a much lower challenge. It is perfect for people that prefer a much straightforward adventure and enjoys the game without needing to worry too much about game mechanisms.

Hardcore: Just the opposite. The game parameters are modified to be much more difficult. Players should have a stronger understanding of the game, optimizing their party and way of playing to advance in the game. This is especially true if they active the Ironman Mode where they cannot save outside the towns.

We think it worked very well for most players. And for those that choose the hardest settings, the game rewards them with a better score (and also achievements and leaderboard position) that is impossible to achieve in lower difficulty modes.

So how will the sequel be?

Let’s just say that in Numantian Games, we will always focus on creating deep and challenging games. It is our seal and always will be. So, of course, it won’t be a casual game and it won’t have casual options to disable mechanisms of the game. We will use the same method for casual players: a low difficulty mode, but they will have to play the same game with the same mechanisms (food, traps, encounters…) as any other player.

Indeed, the game will be even more challenging, more open, with more depth, more options to evolve the party, and many more secrets. There will be a special ending that will be a truly hardcore experience and more special rewards for the higher difficulties.

Also, we are thinking of making the Ironman mode setting as mandatory or at least implement new features to prevent save-scumming as much as possible. But don’t worry!, it will always be implemented in a fair way.
Now you might be wondering just what this "rivers of blood" controversy was. It turns out to be a massive flamewar involving notorious Darkest Dungeon modder Celerity and fluent from RPGWatch (lol). Sometimes drama reveals itself in the most unexpected of places.

There are 38 comments on Lords of Xulima II Development Update: More Casual Or More Hardcore?

Brian Fargo plans to retire after Wasteland 3 is released

People News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 March 2017, 12:54:38

Tags: Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

Five years after he helped kick off the era of crowdfunded oldschool RPG development, it looks like Brian Fargo has had enough. In an exchange with Eurogamer, the founder of Interplay and CEO of inXile has made the unusual choice of announcing his retirement from the gaming industry over two and a half years in advance. Wasteland 3 will be his last game. I quote:

inXile boss Brian Fargo has told Eurogamer he plans to retire after Wasteland 3 ships in 2019.

The industry veteran, who founded influential game company Interplay in 1983, said he wanted to relax after a lengthy career making successful games.

"Wasteland 2 and Torment both came out great," he said. "The Mage's Tale's got a great buzz. The Bard's Tale 4 looks spectacular. Wasteland 3 is building on Wasteland 2. It seems like a good time to drop the mic.

"I love this industry, but I've been at this since 1981. I've been at it with Ken and Roberta Williams [Sierra co-founders], Trip Hawkins [EA founder], the guys from Brøderbund - I look at my friends, they have a lot more spare time than I do. It's a very intense business. It's all encompassing. It seems like I should relax for a little bit."

[...] Fargo now plans to retire when Wasteland 3 comes out in 2019, calling time on what will be a 38-year career. "I have plenty of time," he said. "It's not tomorrow."

Fargo intends to leave inXile in the capable hands of its current staff as well as existing shareholders, but he said it's too early to say who will succeed him as boss of the company.

"I have some wonderfully competent people who are making it happen here," he said. "One of the things I enjoy the most is finding and fostering talent. Certainly, externally everybody knows we gave Blizzard and BioWare their first shots. Internally I have my own guys who are just great. They're very tuned into these products. I'm good at finding these people and putting the talent together. I've been training these people for years to make me obsolete. That's what you have to do as a leader of a company."

Fargo said he will leave inXile a profitable independent game developer with "money in the bank".

"We don't owe any external people any money. We don't have any debt. The other shares are with some of the employees of the company. So as long as it continues doing good product it should be fine."

So, what will Fargo do when he retires?

"I've always wanted to go Machu Picchu," he said.

"I can't even imagine being unplugged for a month. I'm on 24/7. I wake up in the morning to my emails and I go to sleep to my emails. There are things going on all the time and you want to give people information quickly, because me being slow could affect four people going slow. I feel that all the time. And often we have people around the globe I'm communicating with also.

"I quite enjoy it, but from a peace of mind it would be a dream to not have to wake up and be concerned about anything for a while. The games business is very intense. It's the entertainment business mixed in with technology. It doesn't get much more difficult.

"I started Interplay in 1983. I think I'm one of The Last of the Mohicans. Most, if not all of the old guard has gone on and relaxed. That's a long time, right? I should get an award just for survival."

Until then, Fargo is focused on The Mage's Tale, a virtual reality spin-off set within The Bard's Tale universe, The Bard's Tale 4, due out in 2018, and Wasteland 3, due out in 2019.

Wasteland 3, then, will be Fargo's last game.

"It puts even more pressure on my to make damn sure that thing is stellar," he said.
Brian will be nearly 57 years old on the game's expected release date of October 2019. A good age to retire from a young man's industry. So much for those "new ideas", though!

There are 123 comments on Brian Fargo plans to retire after Wasteland 3 is released


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Wasteland 3 Fig Update #18: The Ruins of Denver and the Gippers

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 March 2017, 01:25:21

Tags: Brother None; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

The reception of Torment may still be echoing, but life at inXile continues. The Wasteland 3 Fig update released today has another brief report on the status of the game's production, under the leadership of George Ziets and Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie.

We gave all of you an update on pre-production last month, and we want to keep doing so in these coming months, so here is another status update! Developers of all disciplines have started rolling onto the game, both those from the Torment team as well as new hires. We also have some exciting contractors helping us out on area design during pre-production.

Design Lead George Ziets and Lead Writer Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie have crafted a strong pass on the overall narrative, and a full list of zones (areas) that we want to be in the game. We don't want to spoil the whole list for you, but we'll be talking about one of those zones (Denver) later in this update. George has detailed out each of these areas at a high level in something we call a Zone Constraints document. Those are then sent to our designers who generate "Zone Briefs" that further define the characters, story, and missions of the zone. If you want a refresher on our area design processes, George wrote a great update on it earlier.

But it's not all paper design. Crucially at this stage we also have time to prototype and work on our tech, as we mentioned last update. Our art department has been setting up the technical details of the art pipeline and also has been making great strides on our technology for snow, as we explore all the possibilities our unique setting offers. Additionally, we are creating a concept art library for the game, which will ensure that we have a consistent vision on the game's look as you move from zone to zone.

Engineering is largely finished porting over code from Wasteland 2, which gives us a solid technical basis, and is now working on the details and functionality of Wasteland 3's multiplayer. It is crucial we have multiplayer functioning in our engine early, as it touches on every facet of our game. When tech is in a good place, systems design can start creating prototypes to experiment with combat, vehicles, and more.​

Gavin has written a short description of the post-apocalyptic ruins of Denver, presumably a major location in the game, and its eccentric inhabitants. These include the Gippers, the Ronald Reagan-worshipping cult that was cut from Wasteland 2.

Most of Denver is in ruins. During the end of the old world, a nuclear weapon exploded high in the air over the city, killing most of the inhabitants. The skyscrapers that remain are jagged, crooked affairs that lean against each other. In their shadows, the lesser buildings have crumbled, forming ever-shifting mazes and subterranean tunnels of broken concrete and rusted rebar.

These urban wilds are battlefields for the predators prowling the city, unaffiliated treasure hunters, and scavengers. Though the radiation is long gone, Denver is still a deathtrap, but one studded with buried riches from the old world.

The Denver Airport Commune lies to the east of the ruins and is now a colony of artists, hackers, conspiracy nuts, mad scientists, and assorted eccentrics. The Commune is centered around the Space Shuttle Atlantis (which landed here sometime after the bombs fell), and is dedicated to strange experimentation, acts of cyber espionage against the Patriarch, and MANY other things.

In the north is the mighty stronghold of the Gippers.

We shared a glimpse of the Ronald Reagan-worshiping cult in an earlier update. As many of you recall, the Gippers were a faction we originally planned for Wasteland 2, but now they will be appearing in Wasteland 3. The leaders of the Gippers are the priestesses known as Nancies - wives to the divine God-President Reagan, lawmakers, and judges. Above them all is the fierce and formidable Mother Nancy Reliance.

People do rather get the wrong idea about us. I can’t say I mind.

Let us be underestimated and ridiculed. They think our Ronnie is dead and never coming back, and they are wrong. They accuse us of seeing communists in every shadow, and well, they’re right. But so are we.

Make no mistake, dears. We are surrounded by the vestiges of the Evil Empire. They have turned our great nation into an irradiated graveyard and they expect us to weep. But we are steel, sisters. We do not bend, nor do we rust. We endure.

So let them laugh at us. We are the wives of the God-President, and we will endure until he returns to us. Until then, his Great Work lies before us, unfinished.

We will arm our sons and our daughters and teach them to hunt Communists and snake-tongued Socialists. From birth, we will turn our children’s hearts to unyielding stone. With our blessing, they will bring peace back to the world, one bullet at a time.

We do this in the Gipper’s name. Amen.
Sounds pretty interesting, but then preproduction always does. Has inXile finally found a winning team with George and Gavin? As the Gipper himself said - trust, but verify.

There are 11 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #18: The Ruins of Denver and the Gippers

The Age of Decadence's final update adds features and improvements from Dungeon Rats

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 March 2017, 00:20:13

Tags: Age of Decadence; Dungeon Rats; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

It's still a bit strange to think of The Age of Decadence as an old game, it having been a vaporware project for so many years and therefore eternally new. Today, almost a year and a half after its release, Iron Tower Studio's inaugural title has received its final update, which backports features and mechanics improvements from combat crawl spinoff Dungeon Rats. An announcement on the game's Steam page has the details:

This update transfers all applicable changes and improvements from Dungeon Rats, our combat-focused, party-based spin-off set the AoD world.

While the changes are too numerous (and in many cases too minor) to list, here is an overview:
  • Overhead combat info
  • New passive for axes
  • Mouse cursor shows enemies' HPs
  • Expanded info on weapon types
  • THC, CS and ADC stats on area of effect attacks.
  • Tweaked CS formula for aimed strikes.
  • Ranged weapons use Perception for aimed: arms and legs attacks
  • Whirldwind effect for daggers, swords and 1h spears is bleeding instead of knockdown; higher chance to score.
  • Bombs: increased damage and vsDR bonus; the center of explosion does more damage and increases critical strike chance by 50% (goes down with every tile). CON is more effective. 25 + Center of Explosion Bonus - (Victim CON-6) x25; better visuals and sound.
  • The Crafting screen now separates schematics by weapon type and armor material and orders them alphabetically.
  • You can now select techniques without the required materials, to preview the bonuses.
No further content or mechanics updates are planned at this point. All translations are now up to-date as well. We'd like to thank you for your support and willingness to try different games.​

Together with the final content update released in December that expanded the game's ending, AoD's long journey is now truly over. It's full steam ahead to the Colony Ship RPG.

There are 16 comments on The Age of Decadence's final update adds features and improvements from Dungeon Rats

Thu 23 March 2017
Underworld Ascendant Update #34: Vertical Slice Screenshots

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 March 2017, 01:39:48

Tags: Joe Fielder; OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

This month's Underworld Ascendant development update unveils three new screenshots from the game's upcoming vertical slice release, which is now apparently in its final polishing phase of development. It increasingly looks like the vertical slice will revolve around The Challenge of Ishtass, an open-ended quest to retrieve a Silver Sapling for the Lizardmen of the Abyss. Here are the screenshots:

[​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG]

Last month's update had more details about the development of the Lizardmen, who have clearly gone from being a last-minute stretch goal to a major focus of the game, or at least its opening chapter. There's still no official ETA on the vertical slice, but last week on the OtherSide forums Chris Siegel said they were aiming for the beginning of April. Let's hope they make that date...and that the wait will have been worth it.

There are 48 comments on Underworld Ascendant Update #34: Vertical Slice Screenshots

Wed 22 March 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #24: State of the Project - Pre-Alpha

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 22 March 2017, 00:51:32

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Pillars of Eternity II recently began a new pre-alpha production milestone. Accordingly, today's weekly Fig update is a Harebrained Schemes-style status report on the current state of the game across all aspects of its development:

Area Design


We began several new areas that are critical to the storyline of Pillars II, and they are coming along nicely so far. Quests, blockouts, and dialogues for areas are being developed and reviewed before being passed to the environment artists to make the area.

Environment Art


Our environment artists are hard at work completing first and second art passes of areas in Pillars II. A lot of these are areas that are critical to the storyline, so they put a lot of hard work into getting these sections to look perfect. From that blockout you saw above, the artist does a first pass, transforming the area into a playable level with no lighting or VFX. After receiving feedback from our lead artists, the environment artist does a final pass, lighting, and passes it to VFX.

We will be posting an area update in the near future. In that update, we'll go into detail about how the area designers and environment artists work together to make the levels of Pillars II.

Systems Design


The systems designers are working on finishing the design and implementing the abilities of a few creatures in Pillars II. These designs include a creature's weaknesses and strengths, what abilities they possess, and how the creature should behave. In addition to creatures, design is continuing to make improvements to the subclass and multiclassing systems.

Animation


Our animators are hard at work creating new and unique animations for creatures. Some of our animals now have attack animations and fidgets, including wolves and boars. In addition to animal animations, weapon animations are well underway. We'll post an update in the near future with more about the animation process; there are so many cool animations we want to share that we think it deserves its own post.

Character Art


The character artists have been working on base armor sets for both male and female characters, which are looking great.

Narrative


The narrative designers are working on faction questlines for this milestone, and are ensuring that we provide a level of detail in quests that gives more insight into the culture and personality of each faction. Our writers are also working on dialogues for quests and further developing the history of factions.

Programming


Programming is focused on a variety of functionality for this milestone. Firstly, they are identifying key areas that can cause longer load times and fixing these so they no longer interfere. Load times have already been decreased by a great deal, and optimization will continue as we progress with development. Second, the programmers are continuing to add support for status effects and abilities. Lastly, a few systems have been refactored to allow improved functionality for animal companions and primary attacks.

VFX


VFX is continuing to work on effects passes for areas and making our levels even more beautiful than before. Glowing lights, particles, and objects swaying in the wind make a huge difference for an area. We can't wait to show you the comparison between Pillars II and the first Pillars. In addition to areas, ability VFX are looking pretty great. We'll share some of these with you in a later update.

Audio


Audio is working on adding sounds to maps. A typical audio pass for an area includes placing ambiances and emitters for the general atmosphere of the area, painting footstep maps, and ensuring that audio is implemented for doors, containers, and traps. Whether a map is supposed to feel ominous, peaceful, or anything in-between, these audio passes really bring life to an area and convey emotions that an otherwise silent area could not do.
As of today, Deadfire has gathered $4.57M, with 35 days left on the extended crowdfunding period. The update says the backer portal will be up in the next 2-3 days, but I think they're going to need to show something impressive to have a chance of hitting any more stretch goals.

There are 13 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #24: State of the Project - Pre-Alpha

Tue 21 March 2017
Pillars of Eternity II SEC filing confirms Tyranny DLC on the way

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 21 March 2017, 11:21:57

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Tyranny

One of the advantages of Fig is that it forces developers that use it to publicly disclose financial details that are usually confidential in the interests of their investors. The always-resourceful Fairfax spotted the SEC filing for Pillars of Eternity II yesterday. In addition to the expected details and caveats related to the game's Fig investment scheme, the document contains juicy information about Obsidian's business history in the past five years, including budgets, revenues, profitability and cancelled projects. And yes, it confirms that there's DLC for Tyranny on the way, something that we've suspected since Paradox's 2016 year-end report last month. Here's the relevant chapter:

Dark Rock Industries Limited and Obsidian Entertainment, Inc.

Dark Rock Industries Limited is a privately held California corporation formed in 2014 (“DRIL”) and the owner of the intellectual property rights associated with Pillars of Eternity II. Obsidian Entertainment, Inc., a privately held California corporation, is a video game development studio based in Irvine, California (“Obsidian”) and an affiliate of DRIL. DRIL is the licensor of Pillars of Eternity II. Obsidian will develop Pillars of Eternity II on behalf of DRIL for delivery to Fig under the Pillars of Eternity II License Agreement.

Obsidian originally owned the intellectual property rights associated with Pillars of Eternity, including the technology used to develop Pillars of Eternity (collectively, the “Pillars IP”). In January 2015 transferred the Pillars IP to DRIL. DRIL has the same owners, with the same percentage ownership interests, as Obsidian, and Feargus Urquhart is the CEO of both companies. DRIL, as intellectual property owner, has previously relied on Obsidian to develop Pillars of Eternity: The White March Parts I and II. It is DRIL’s intention to continue to use Obsidian to develop Pillars IP products.

Obsidian was founded in 2003 by former members of Black Isle Studios. Since then, Obsidian has gained notoriety for a number of critically successful role-playing games developed with both licensed and proprietary intellectual property. Obsidian had its first game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, published in 2004 by LucasArts. Over Obsidian’s history, it has shipped 16 games across 8 platforms. In September 2012, Obsidian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Pillars of Eternity and raised almost 400% of its initial goal of $1,100,000, collecting $3,986,929 from 73,986 backers.

Obsidian has a history of developing games on multiple platforms, and many of its games have met with critical and commercial success. During the most recent five calendar years, and since then, the following games developed by Obsidian have been published:

[​IMG]

Among the seven Obsidian games that have been published and released since 2012, five games generated sales receipts to DRIL/Obsidian that exceeded Obsidian’s development costs, and two games generated sales receipts to DRIL/Obsidian that were less than Obsidian’s development costs. DRIL and Obsidian believe that one of these two games that have not covered their development costs will cover those costs within approximately the next 18 months. Pillars of Eternity, launched in March 2015, had as of December 31, 2016 sold approximately 954,000 units and generated approximately $16,500,000 in revenue for DRIL/Obsidian. The foregoing sales information is not a complete representation of the financial performance of the games cited, because it does not include all the expenses that would affect whether a game is profitable. Also, such information has not been prepared in accordance with GAAP, nor audited in accordance with GAAS.

Obsidian has developed games with development budgets across a wide range of sizes, from budgets of approximately $1.5 to $55 million. Fig believes, and DRIL and Obsidian have reported to Fig that they believe, that the funds from the Fig crowdfunding campaign and internal investment by DRIL and Obsidian will be sufficient to complete the development of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire to a commercially marketable level, consistent with the Pillars of Eternity II License Agreement.

Obsidian currently has four games in development: Pillars of Eternity II; Tyranny DLC; Pathfinder: Adventures; and an unannounced title with a major publisher. Fig, DRIL and Obsidian are of the view that Obsidian is sufficiently staffed to handle the development of all these games. Obsidian employs approximately 175 full-time employees, including development personnel specializing in design, animation, 3D art, audio engineering, production, writing, programming and concept art. From time to time, Obsidian works with contractors for specialized work relating to game development, such as quality assurance.

Over the fourteen years since its founding, Obsidian has had four projects in the process of development cancelled prior to their release. These projects were cancelled due to various reasons, including in one case the inability to secure completion funding; in another case concern by the publisher over marketability arising after the pre-production phase was completed; in another case concern that the product budget was going to grow to a level that was not justifiable in light of sales projections; and in another case the publisher’s decision that the product would not fit within its portfolio. Two of these cancellations resulted in Obsidian failing to cover its costs, while the other two cancellations did not. In connection with the two most recent of these cancellations, Obsidian responded in part by reducing its headcount, in December 2016 and in March 2012.
A look at the game's SteamDB page corroborates the fact that Obsidian are doing something DLC-related for Tyranny. Perhaps it will be revealed at PDXCON in May.

There are 69 comments on Pillars of Eternity II SEC filing confirms Tyranny DLC on the way

Fri 17 March 2017
Torment: Tides of Numenera Postmortem Interview with Colin McComb and Adam Heine at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 March 2017, 21:08:29

Tags: Adam Heine; Chris Avellone; Colin McComb; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; George Ziets; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

After Torment: Tides of Numenera was released, I said that I hoped to discover what had happened during the game's long development that had led to so much content being cut. What were inXile's original plans, when were they altered and why? An extensive postmortem interview with the developers would be required. Happily, Eurogamer's Robert Purchese has saved us much of the effort of putting one together by conducting a Torment interview of his own with Colin McComb and Adam Heine. It's an appropriate gesture, as it was Robert's Planescape: Torment postmortem interview back in August 2012 that led to the formation of the Tides of Numenera project.

The interview is a massive hour and forty five minute podcast, with the most pertinent bits helpfully summarized in the accompanying text. The original storyline, the cut content, it's all there. Needless to say, it's an extremely spoilery piece, and I'm not going to listen to the audio until I've finished the game myself. But I'll quote some of the less spoilery bits here:



The stretch goal content that didn't materialise includes three companions, a crafting system, and an area called The Oasis. InXile has publicly apologised about this before.

The tricky thing in talking about the missing companions is that at least one of them, Oom, the Toy, will reappear. InXile announced this recently. So McComb and Heine don't want to say too much.

Oom is a blob of a creature from a prior world, maybe a byproduct of an ancient experiment. He could change shape as he levelled up, but into what would depend on you. If you kept telling him to be quiet, for example, he might become invisible, wrote Adam Heine wrote in an Oom blog post.

Heine tells me now: "We have a lot of design for him and we have some words written for him. The issue is that he's... different than all the other companions. There's a lot of custom stuff that has to be made for this guy."

"He's got five different shapes," adds McComb. [He has clarified since that Oom will have not five shapes but "multiple".]

The other companions who really nearly made it in are Riastrad and Satsada, the star-crossed lovers. "Riastrad is mentioned a couple of times in the game," says Heine. "When you find the Magmatic Amulet and you're reading the Changing God's journal of what happened to him in that lab ... that is Riastrad's birth you're witnessing."

"His backstory," continues McComb, "is the Changing God fell into a dark place in the Ascension, with all the crystal and stuff around there. Crystalline spiders started coming out of the woodwork and the Changing God was like, 'Screw this! I'm out of here.' And Riastrad awoke."

Excitingly, Riastrad was to have his own reusable merecaster - a device the Last Castoff uses to time travel via memories, and even alter reality - and it was intrinsically linked to his character development. "You could change his history throughout the game and basically use that to change his abilities," says McComb.

Talking of meres, they were originally going to be fully realised scenes rather than picture book interactions, and the team used to refer to them as Quantum Leaps!

Beside Riastrad, Satsada and Oom there were companions who weren't as developed. In the original conception, The Specter was one, would you believe. There was a crippled beggar, too, who had a floating cart and collected numenera, the mysterious magical items of the world. The beggar went quite far through development, as first a companion then a major NPC, then a minor NPC, then "he sort of slid on out of the game", says McComb. "The problem with him was we looked at the party composition and we were like, 'Crap, we're overloaded on nanos.'"
In other Torment-related news, Colin, George Ziets, Chris Avellone and the rest of the game's writing team spoke at a panel at GDC last month, which has now become available for viewing at the GDC Vault. Judging by Gamasutra's writeup, it was more of a general writing panel that didn't address Torment's development specifically (in fact, the author of the writeup seems to have been unaware that they'd worked on it), but there might be additional clues about the game's development in there.

There are 120 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Postmortem Interview with Colin McComb and Adam Heine at Eurogamer

Sacred Fire, a psychological RPG set in ancient Caledonia, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 March 2017, 01:47:38

Tags: Poetic Studio; Sacred Fire

Sacred Fire is a turn-based, story-focused RPG by indie developer Poetic Studio. It's set in ancient Caledonia (AKA Scotland), a land under siege by the Roman Empire and riven by tribal politics. Most historical games take a buttoned-down, simulationist approach to their mechanics, but Sacred Fire is more ambitious. Poetic are calling it a "psychological RPG", in which encounters (combat and non-combat) are based on the manipulation of one's emotional state. The game has been in development for the past several years, and has now reached an advanced enough stage to seek its fortune on Kickstarter. Here's its pitch video:



Rome has sought to conquer Caledonia for as long as your people can recall. Only fierce resistance drove the Romans back behind the great wall marking the boundary of their empire. There Rome is watching and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

But walls do not bring peace, and the scars of war run deep. Trouble stirs at Dunadd, the seat of power of your people, as Morrigan, a vengeful queen, rises to power.

You may be young, but you have seen enough of war for a lifetime. Will you unite the tribes and bring an end to strife, or will you channel their rage and crush Rome once for all?
It's a pretty weird-looking game, but the developers do have Doug Cockle (AKA Geralt of Rivia) on their side. Pledge the minimum $18 required to get a copy of the game and he'll send you a note. Sacred Fire is looking to raise $50,000, and its estimated release date is April 2018.

There are 103 comments on Sacred Fire, a psychological RPG set in ancient Caledonia, now on Kickstarter

Wed 15 March 2017
Shocking Report From RPS: First Hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda Stinks

Preview - posted by Zed on Wed 15 March 2017, 11:59:03

Tags: BioWare; Mass Effect: Andromeda

John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun has played the first few hours of Bioware's highly anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda, the epic sci-fi role-playing game due later this month (March 21 NA, March 23 Europe – as if you hadn't marked your calendars already).

Apparently, he thinks it's a badly written piece of crap. Wait - what - how could this be?

[...] The first few hours of Andromeda are a gruesome trudge through the most trite bilge of the previous three games, smeared out in a setting that’s horribly familiar, burdened with some outstandingly awful writing, buried beneath a UI that appears to have been designed to infuriate in every possible way.

[...] I’m at a loss. What I expect from BioWare is slightly dodgy combat, but splendid writing and characters. What I’ve seen so far is some decent enough combat (but nothing beyond what you’d expect in a third person shooter), and some of the most dreadful writing. I cannot emphasise enough how poor it’s been.​

Thank you for the report, John Walker. We are all very shocked.

There are 302 comments on Shocking Report From RPS: First Hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda Stinks

Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #23: All About Naga

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 March 2017, 11:41:58

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Obsidian have published a new Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update, in what looks like is going to be a regular Tuesday update schedule. This update formally introduces the Naga, the Deadfire Archipelago's designated trash mob race. They look like they're going to be a bit more complicated than the Xaurips, though. I quote:

Behold the intimidating and cunning naga, one of our many types of creatures in Pillars II.

Variants, Types & Abilities

There are three variants of naga with their own resistances and weaknesses:
  • Naga (Poison)
    • Resistances: Poison
    • Weaknesses: None
  • Flame Naga (Fire)
    • Resistances: Dexterity Afflictions (Hobbled, Immobilize, Paralyze), Piercing Resistance
    • Weaknesses: Slashing, Water
  • Coral Naga (Water)
    • Resistances: Dexterity Afflictions (Hobbled, Immobilize, Paralyze), Piercing Resistance
    • Weaknesses: Slashing, Shock
The variants can be further broken down into types, each with their own unique abilities:
  • Warriors: The least intelligent type of naga. These are brutes focused primarily on dealing melee damage.
  • Skirmishers: Also known as archers. Skirmishers are the most venomous, cunning, and deadly.
  • Shamans: Spiritual and political leaders. Most intelligent and Druid/Priest casters.
Lore

Naga are a species of intelligent, reptilian wilder. They are native to many islands in the Deadfire Archipelago, and their various subspecies have adapted to a variety of conditions present there, including jungles, coral atolls, and volcanic slopes.

Social by nature, they tend to live in large groups, often under the guidance of spiritual leaders. Most are highly religious and consider themselves more sensitive to the will of the gods than kith societies, which has led to violent confrontations between the native naga and the many newcomers to Deadfire. On the other hand, they maintain neutral relationships with most Huana tribes.

Their long-established oral tradition tells of the cataclysmic devastation of the archipelago millennia ago, and of the kith misdeeds that preceded it. Many attribute naga hostilities to these tales and to the mistrust they engender.
As of this week, Deadfire has gathered $4.55M of funding (apparently last week's update was mistaken). According to Obsidian, the backer portal site should be ready "very soon".

There are 24 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #23: All About Naga

System Shock 3 to be published by Starbreeze Studios

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 March 2017, 00:55:12

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Paul Neurath; Starbreeze Studios; Warren Spector

It's been quite a while since we heard anything concrete about System Shock 3, the upcoming sequel to the iconic franchise that's currently in development at Warren Spector's OtherSide Austin studio. Warren's visit to GDC a couple of weeks ago seems to have signaled a shift. The talk he gave there, a classic game postmortem of Deus Ex, became available for viewing at the GDC Vault today (a summary is available at Gamasutra). Only hours afterwards, a press release went out announcing that System Shock 3 will be published by Starbreeze Studios, the Swedish developer-turned-publisher best known for the Chronicles of Riddick games, to the tune of $12M. I quote:

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (March 14, 2017) Starbreeze AB, an independent creator, publisher and distributor of high quality entertainment products, has signed a publishing agreement with Otherside Entertainment regarding the game System Shock 3. Starbreeze will invest $12 million to bring the game to PC and other platforms.

System Shock 3 – The latest in the series of landmark, award-winning games from Otherside Entertainment is in development under the direction of industry legend Warren Spector and a dream team behind such ground breaking games including the original System Shock & System Shock 2, as well as Thief: The Dark Project and Deus Ex.

“System Shock is one of those iconic franchises in the history of games that still gets my blood going and Mr. Spector is one of the founding fathers of the modern action RPG” said Bo Andersson-Klint, Starbreeze CEO. “We’re greatly looking forward to bringing System Shock 3 to players world wide in our collaboration with Otherside Entertainment and Warren Spector’s team. I’ll be first in line to play”.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Starbreeze for System Shock 3,” said OtherSide’s CEO Paul Neurath. They truly get games and gamers, and have been able to translate that understanding into a robust publishing business, and build thriving gaming communities around their franchises.”

Starbreeze will be able to recoup 120% of its full investment including marketing costs. Starbreeze share of revenues will become 50% after the investment is recouped. Otherside Entertainement will retain 100% of the intellectual property relating to System Shock 3.

System Shock 3 is currently in the early concept stages of development. Fans can go to the game site to receive updates as they become available.
My suspicion that System Shock 3 would forgo crowdfunding seems to be confirmed. It's going to come out on console of course - best acknowledge that now and not be surprised later on. We'll learn more about the game soon hopefully, including whether it's even an RPG.

There are 16 comments on System Shock 3 to be published by Starbreeze Studios

Sun 12 March 2017
RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

Review - posted by felipepepe on Sun 12 March 2017, 08:50:47

Tags: InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

What does one life matter? What can change the nature of man? And did Torment: Tides of Numenera, InXile's spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, deliver on its promises?

For the past two weeks these have been the questions puzzling RPG fans - or at least those who aren't playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata or just waiting for Mass Effect: Andromeda, that is. The press loved InXile's latest game, but the audience seems less convinced. Sales have been poor next to previous big Kickstarter RPGs, anger erupted from cut content and the reception has been mixed both on our forums and on Steam (two places that rarely agree). Making a successor to the Codex's #1 RPG of all time is obviously no simple task, so esteemed contributor Prime Junta took the job of measuring InXile's success. Here's an excerpt from the full piece:

The fatal flaw of Torment: Tides of Numenera is timidity. It is terrified of stepping out of the shadow of its ancestor, to proudly do its own thing. Instead, it imagines Torment can be captured in a formula. It apes its forms without understanding its substance. If Planescape: Torment is a monk struggling with a kôan, "What can change the nature of a man?" a red-hot iron ball in his throat which he can neither swallow nor spit out, Tides is a philosophy freshman crying into his red wine, in love with the profundity of his navel. Planescape: Torment's characters embody that central question: the succubus who took a vow of chastity, the enslaved warrior-monk from a people defined by their escape from slavery, the fragment of a collective consciousness who developed a sense of self. Tides' characters... talk about it. They're painted sticks parroting lines written for them, not flesh-and-blood characters living, breathing that question.

For example, consider companion vision quests. I achieved the best outcomes for all of the companions I had with me without even paying much attention to them, as the game goes out of its way to make absolutely sure you don't miss anything. If you've forgotten to talk to your companion, they'll remind you. If you've missed a quest trigger, the character in the next step of that vision quest will react anyway, even helpfully asking you to bring that character to him if he isn't with you at the time. Keep clicking on things, and eventually you'll get a menu to click on, giving your companion ending A, B, or C. The conversations themselves are shallow, and it doesn't matter much what you say in them as you end up in the same place anyway. You don't have any reason to care, beyond shallow feel-good humanitarianism. This is only similar in form with Planescape: Torment, where companion dilemmas are also resolved primarily through conversation. There, however, you won't even meet one of your potential companions if you don't, out of pure curiosity, buy a trinket from a merchant and then fiddle with it, attempting to figure out what it does, and exploring the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon with Dak'kon reveals as many searingly painful truths about you as it does about him.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

There are 650 comments on RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

Sat 11 March 2017
No Truce With The Furies Gameplay Footage on Twitch PAX East 2017 Broadcast

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 11 March 2017, 19:44:09

Tags: No Truce With The Furies; ZAUM Studio

It looks like our exclusive look at No Truce With The Furies didn't stay exclusive for very long. The game appeared as part of Humble Bundle's timeslot on Twitch's PAX East broadcast today. It only got about six minutes, which was enough time for a short introduction from Humble Bundle's representative followed by four and a half minutes of gameplay footage. I believe this is the first proper gameplay footage of No Truce to be made publicly available. It shows an "Art Cop" protagonist and his sidekick attempting to acquire some paint. It's hard to describe really, so just watch:


Looks pretty slick. I wasn't expecting that voice acting.

There are 92 comments on No Truce With The Furies Gameplay Footage on Twitch PAX East 2017 Broadcast

Fri 10 March 2017
Battle Brothers releasing on March 24th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 March 2017, 19:43:41

Tags: Battle Brothers; Overhype Studios

Since its release on Steam Early Access almost two years ago, Overhype Studios' strategy RPG Battle Brothers has transformed from a Codex Workshop underground hit to one of the community's most anticipated titles. Last month Overhype launched a beta for the game's final update, and it was clear that a release date announcement was imminent. Today, we learn that Battle Brothers' final 1.0 release will happen on March 24th. Overhype have put together a rousing trailer in honor of the occasion, which is included in their official announcement:


We’re excited to announce that after almost 2 years in Early Access, Battle Brothers will release in full on March 24, 2017.

Creating this game together with you has been a long and rewarding adventure, and we’re very happy with what the game has grown to become. Enjoy the new trailer and feature list of the upcoming 1.0 release.

FEATURES

  • Manage a medieval mercenary company in a procedurally generated open world.
  • Fight complex turn-based tactical battles with historical equipment and brutal injuries.
  • Permadeath. All characters that die in combat will stay dead – unless they return as the undead.
  • All characters come with their own background stories and traits. Want a stuttering ratcatcher, a greedy witch hunter or a drunkard disowned noble?
  • Character development without a restrictive class-system. Each character gains experience through combat, can level up and acquire powerful perks.
  • Equipment that matters. Different weapons grant unique skills – split shields with axes, stun enemies with maces, form a spearwall with spears or crush armor with a warhammer.
  • Diverse enemy roster. All enemies have unique equipment, skills and AI behavior.
  • A dynamic event system with atmospheric encounters and tough decisions outside of combat.
  • Three late game crises – a war between noble houses, a greenskin invasion and an undead scourge – add a looming threat.
  • Two full hours of orchestral soundtrack.
  • 70 Steam Achievements
With the finished game releasing, the Early Access discount of the last two years will also be lifted. Within the next two weeks, the price of Battle Brothers will be raised to 27.99€, 29.99$ or your local equivalent. If you want to get the game while it’s still discounted, then better grab it now!
After a bit of a false start, the 2017 year of incline begins in earnest. Get Battle Brothers while it's still cheap and make Josh Sawyer proud!

There are 44 comments on Battle Brothers releasing on March 24th

Pillars of Eternity II Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #5

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 March 2017, 17:23:37

Tags: Aarik Dorobiala; J.E. Sawyer; Kazunori Aruga; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

With the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire crowdfunding campaign silently continuing for another month and a half, it looks like Josh Sawyer and the team have decided to keep on doing Q&A Twitch streams on a regular basis. The special guest on this Wednesday's stream was lead artist Kaz Aruga. There were a number of interesting art design-related questions, but the most noteworthy part of the stream was the first reveal of details on Deadfire's stealth and pickpocketing mechanics. The game's stealth system is going to be much more elaborate than its predecessor's, with vision cones and a hearing radius. The Commandos series appears to be an inspiration. You can read about that in Fereed's transcript on Reddit if you don't want to watch the stream:


Obsidian released a brief Fig update on Tuesday announcing that the Deadfire campaign was at around $4,58M of funding. They'll be transferring all of the Fig pledge data to their backer portal next week, at which point it will be possible to upgrade those pledges, so maybe it won't take long to reach the next stretch goal after that. In the meantime though, our own fundraiser is in its last two days. Can we reach $2,750?

There are 63 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #5

Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter Update #66: Post-Release Plans

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 March 2017, 01:30:47

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

Ten days have passed since the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera. While the game did quite well with professional reviewers, actual gamers appear to feel otherwise. Its Steam user review score is at 69% and falling, sales seem underwhelming, and the Codex thread is exploding. It's increasingly clear that inXile have a bit of a fiasco on their hands, and many people including myself were expecting them to cut their losses and move on to Wasteland 3 post-haste. However, the latest Kickstarter update proves that they're not quite ready to do that. Though not before some slightly too anxious self-congratulation:

We are now a little over one week after the release of Torment! It's been amazing to see the reception that the game received. The game has been an extremely strong success critically, with praise, awards and even several perfect scores along the way. If you want to read some of the reviews, we’ve done a pair of roundups that you can find here and here, as well as an accolades trailer. More importantly, we've been seeing your feedback throughout the forums, comments and social media.

We've heard from hundreds of you who have reached out to say that that Torment: Tides of Numenera is a worthy successor to Planescape: Torment, and that is something we are extremely pleased and humbled to hear. We'd love for you to get out there and keep spreading the word, leaving reviews, posting comments, sharing your experiences, and more. There’s a lot to discover in this game, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all discuss the story and events of the game for years to come!

When we came to you on Kickstarter, you gave us an incredible opportunity to make a game that would never have happened otherwise. It's through your continued support that these kinds of games will continue to get made. You have our everlasting thanks for providing us the ability to bring these type of games back.

What Comes Next?

Since release, we have been tirelessly reading your feedback, comments, and reports, and using that to plan a few patches for the near future. These will be primarily focused on fixing some pesky bugs that some of our players have encountered, as well as performance and stability optimizations, both on PC as well as on consoles. You can expect to see our first patch coming in the next couple of weeks.

But, we also want to address the longer term. Four years is an extended development timeline for an RPG, and it is a hallmark of our ambition for the game. Torment has the longest script we've ever produced at over 1.2 million words, and provides more nuanced reactivity and more complicated quests and stories than we have ever done before.

Despite that, there were some features we wanted to include in the game that we weren’t able to finish in time for release. Companions, in particular, were a big production trade-off. Not only does a single companion take many months of work from writers, scripters, designers, and artists. Because we wanted companions to interact and react to the game world and conversations in a deep way, their implementation needed to happen later in the development process, when quests and area design were mostly complete. As we were iterating on the companions, we felt the time was best spent building them out deeper as opposed to slamming in a few more on a surface level. These development decisions are never black and white, but we always approach it from a position of what we truly believe is best for the game. As we addressed in a previous update, reducing their number was a necessary trade-off to hit the level of quality we wanted.

But, there's a saying that no work of art is ever truly complete. We certainly know that many of you were looking forward to some of the things we couldn't squeeze into our release build, and it just didn't sit well with us leaving those behind. Now that we have had a time to see your feedback on the game, we also have a better sense of where we can focus our resources to improve.

To that end, we are pleased to announce that we will be working on additional content and updates for Torment post-release. These updates will include:
  • Oom ("The Toy" companion).
  • Voluminous Codex.
  • Crisis system improvements.
Our initial updates to the game will focused on bug fixes, optimizations, and other improvements, while the content additions will come later down the line. Both the patches and content updates will, of course, be completely free for all Torment owners, including backers, PC buyers, and console players. We will have more news on these in the coming weeks and months!
Well then, Torment Director's Cut, here we come. I wonder if the Voluminous Codex is still planned to be outside of the game...

There are 73 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter Update #66: Post-Release Plans

Tue 7 March 2017
BattleTech Kickstarter Update #36: Backer Beta Delayed

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 March 2017, 11:09:26

Tags: BattleTech; Chris Klimecky; Harebrained Schemes

The BattleTech beta was supposed to start on March 15th, but it appears that Harebrained have run into some serious last minute technical issues. The latest Kickstarter update explains in detail:

Greetings MechWarriors! Klimecky back again with important news about our Backer Beta. A series of unfortunate events prevents us from hitting our target release date and, as promised in our last update, we’re letting you know as far in advance as we can. This change may come as a surprise, given it’s only a few weeks after announcing the target release date but sometimes game development throws us curve balls at just the wrong moment. As a wise man once said, “Shit happens.”

Developers are constantly weighing risks vs rewards during a project, often with incomplete information. In this case we made two big decisions in the leadup to Beta and both turned out to have a bigger impact on the project than we planned for. Here’s what happened:
  • Our development infrastructure desperately needed an upgrade but the fixes caused lots of short-term headaches. HBS has a history of “toughing it out” and working with sub-optimal back-end tools because we want as much development time as possible to be spent on game features and fun. Eventually however, a system becomes too painful to use and we bite the bullet and pay the development price. In this case, we had two vital systems that required improvement for the Backer Beta, so we decided to “tear off the bandage”, hire a professional IT contractor, and get all the work done at once so our engineers could stay focused on the game.

    Unfortunately, the infrastructure upgrade process caused several issues including delays in getting new versions of the game built. This consumed time from our Lead Engineer, our Test Lead, and myself. Without the ability to test our work in new “builds” of the game, progress slowed. It has taken the better part of 3 weeks to get back on track, but we finally feel like we've cleared the hurdle.
  • An upgrade to the latest version of Unity brought the game editor to its knees. Unity is the game engine we build BATTLETECH on top of and when the company updates its software, game developers need to take a hard look before deciding to take the plunge and install it. In this case, we determined that the update was required for beta because it contained performance optimizations that would greatly improve the gameplay experience for nearly all our participants and for some, make the game playable at all on their machines.

    Now, we know from experience that whenever you update major software in the middle of development things WILL break, so we diligently planned time for integration and bug fixing. Unfortunately, while the upgrade succeeded in improving the game’s performance, the changes in Unity broke a lot more of our systems than anticipated - with these consequences proving more time-consuming to troubleshoot and address than any other Unity upgrade we’ve done in the past (including on previous projects). We were relieved to learn that at 2:30am this morning, our engineering and technical art team removed the final productivity sink and were able to start our Monday with a solid infrastructure and performant game editor.
As you can imagine, it’s been a frustrating few weeks in the studio. The entire project slowed dramatically just as we were attempting to hit the gas for the final weeks until Beta launch. The team continued to push as hard as they could, refusing to give up on our March 15th target date, but the slowdowns and instability were punishing. The leadership group decided to step back and take a good, hard look at the situation. We decided it was best to stop the crunch and focus on finishing the infrastructure and editor work before reviewing our quality level and reassessing the target date for the Backer Beta.

Now that our technical issues are behind us, the team is focused on quality and on delivering an experience that shows the world why HBS loves BattleTech and why everyone else should, too. As soon as we have a new target date that we can confidently announce, we’ll send out another update. We are dedicated to delivering a great Backer Beta, even if that means taking a little longer with it.

Regarding the final release date for BATTLETECH: As noted during our livestreamed dev Q&As and on our forums, once we unlocked all of our Kickstarter stretch goals, our estimated release date of May was no longer valid. Way back then we said things like "Summer 2017.” Now that we're further along, we're targeting a Late Summer / Fall release of the game - but we won't be announcing a more exact release date until we're much closer in!​

Youch. Kudos for the extreme transparency, though. That's how you do crowdfunding.

There are 7 comments on BattleTech Kickstarter Update #36: Backer Beta Delayed

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