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Tue 7 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 July 2020, 23:17:55

Tags: Big Bad Wolf; Cyanide Studio; Nacon; Vampire: the Masquerade - Swansong; Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood

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Nacon, the French publisher formerly known as Bigben Interactive, broadcast their Nacon Connect digital conference today. The very first game to appear was Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong, the "narrative RPG" from The Council developer Big Bad Wolf first announced last year. In Swansong, players will assume the roles of three different vampires in the aftermath of a brutal ambush on the new Camarilla Prince of Boston, which can be seen in the game's new cinematic trailer. In the following three minute segment, Big Bad Wolf quest designer Eliott Hipeau reveals some additional details. The game will feature character creation for each of its three protagonists, allowing them to specialize in persuasion, lockpicking, hacking and other abilities. Later on during the stream, we finally got our first look at gameplay from Nacon's other World of Darkness game, Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood. It's just as popamole as I imagined it would be, but I'll include it here for the sake of completeness.


Swansong and Earthblood are both releasing next year, the latter on February 4th. The catch unfortunately is that both games appear to be Epic Games Store-exclusives. At least Spiders' latest action-RPG Steelrising isn't. Ever wanted to play as Marie Antoinette's robot bodyguard in alternate history mecha-Paris? Now you can!

There are 11 comments on Nacon Connect 2020: Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong & Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 July 2020, 15:48:30

Tags: Brian Heins; Matt Barton; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds; Tyranny

Matt Barton has finally uploaded the next episode of his interview with Obsidian designer Brian Heins. It starts out with some more discussion about The Outer Worlds, regarding the advantages of creating a relatively small game, before moving on as expected to Tyranny. In response to a question contributed by none other than George Ziets, Brian describes the origins of the game's setting, which was originally created by Chris Avellone and then further fleshed out by Brian, Matt MacLean and the other leads. It continued to evolve over the course of the game's development, including for example the concept of the Archons being powered by belief. There are some confessions, too. Brian admits that Tyranny's combat was poorly balanced and that its ending was rushed, which happened because he realized partway through development that the game was too linear and that its story had to be revised.


Other topics discussed in this episode include Brian's love of working with concept artists, his thoughts on combatless RPGs, and Tyranny's take on evil. It sounds like the topic of next week's episode is going to be South Park: The Stick of Truth.

There are 23 comments on Matt Chat 453: Brian Heins on Tyranny


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Mon 6 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 July 2020, 00:27:37

Tags: Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness; GrapeOcean Technologies

With the demise of the Pillars of Eternity series and even Owlcat's Pathfinder games adopting a turn-based combat mode, you could be excused for believing the era of the real-time-with-pause Infinity Engine throwback was over. But you'd be wrong, for there is another. Over two years after it was successfully Kickstarted and over five years since it was first announced, the Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness beta has been released to eligible backers. The cheapest tier that included the beta cost €85 so there's not too many of them, but a couple of gameplay streams have already appeared on Twitch and YouTube. They reveal a game that is still very much a shameless clone of Pillars of Eternity, with some areas that are suspiciously similar to certain dungeons from Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale as well. Other than that though, it seems decent enough at a glance. Here's one of those streams and an excerpt from last week's release update:



Greetings, adventurers!

The Backer Beta has been ready for several days, and it’s bigger than we initially planned!

Having said that, as with every beta, it contains bugs – some of which we don't know about and you will hopefully help us to find. Also, it lacks several features, refinements and performance optimizations that didn’t make it to the beta but will be present in the final game.

Getting the Beta on Steam and GOG store pages takes much longer than the official information we received about it before. Therefore, we decided today that we will be shipping the Backer Beta directly to the eligible backers (those of you who pledged at the Early Access reward tier and above, or chose the Backer Beta add-on).

Regarding Steam and GOG, everything seems to be on the right track, so the Beta will eventually be available on GOG and Steam as well (depending on whether you have specified a GOG or a Steam key in BackerKit). In the meantime, however, we will ship the Backer Beta as a direct download.

This process will begin on the 3rd of July at the latest and will take a couple of days. We will notify every backer whose reward tier included the Backer Beta via email with instructions on how to receive the installer. If you don't receive such an email until 6th July, please send us a message on Kickstarter or via our contact forms.
Unfortunately there's no way to get into the Black Geyser beta right now if you weren't a backer. I suspect it'll be a while yet before the game reaches its next stage of development, but we'll see.

There are 28 comments on Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness Backer Beta Released


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Sun 5 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 5 July 2020, 15:57:40

Tags: MOR/ANN Games; Revolution: The Spark

Last month we spotted an upcoming game on Steam called Revolution: The Spark. It's an isometric RPG with turn-based combat, set in an alternate steampunk world in the capital of an empire on the brink of revolution. The developers are a team from Azerbaijan by the name of MOR/ANN Games, who also created a webcomic about the game world last year. They released an announcement trailer yesterday:



Fight back in Revolution: The Spark, a story-driven, turn-based tactical RPG. With dwindling resources and enemies at every turn, what will you do to survive this revolution?

The Story

The story is set in an alternate steampunk world in the early 20th century in the Capital of the strongest Empire in the world that is on the brink of revolution. The game tells a story of a military veteran, Alex who becomes increasingly frustrated with the growing corruption of the monarchy, and the exploitation of the common folk. When Alex's direct family gets involved, and his brother gets arrested for an attempted coup, Alex will have no choice but to take on a more hands-on approach. It appears that a concentration of power lies in the hands of a powerful few. But there is more to this than meets the eye. These few are being manipulated by supernatural beings that feed off of the fervor, lust, and wrath of humankind. A spark of revolution will change it all.

CORE FEATURES

  • Strategic Turn-based Combat – People are your greatest assets, so take care of them. Those who fall in combat will need time to recover.
    Recruit up to 25 Allies across 7 distinct Classes – You’ll need all the help on your journey to unseat the Empress. Beware, some of your companions might not like others.
  • Explore 9 Dynamic Locations – From the mines to the noble villas, you must fight your way to the steps of the Empress’ palace itself across 9 exciting, beautiful, hand-drawn isometric locations.
  • Forge Your Own Path – Your actions shape the future of a corrupt Empire. Choose how you want to solve conflict. Will you conquer all or reason with your foes? Every decision you make in travel, conversation and combat has a meaningful effect on the outcome as your story unfolds.
  • Discover secrets, and Unlock 5 Different Endings. – Explore and talk to everyone. You never know what you might find. There are many routes, and options that will help you to get to the end of the story.
  • Steampunk Victorian Culture – Master the weapons of the early 20th century in this alternate reality where things aren’t what they seem.
  • Decide what you fight for – Peace? A new world order? Or do you just want power for yourself? Everything is possible in Revolution: The Spark.
MOR/ANN intend to release Revolution: The Spark on Steam Early Access later this quarter, around August or September, so I guess we'll soon find out how good it is. The game doesn't appear to have a proper website, but you can follow its Facebook page for additional updates.

There are 31 comments on Revolution: The Spark is an upcoming steampunk RPG set in an empire on the brink of revolution

Fri 3 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 July 2020, 23:10:22

Tags: Heroic Fantasy Games; Knights of the Chalice 2

Pierre Begue's Kickstarter campaign for Knights of the Chalice 2 successfully concluded yesterday, after 37 days of crunchy updates, combat videos and puzzle challenges. It managed to raise £38,034 from 838 backers, plus an additional $1,674 from our Codex fundraiser. Pierre wasted no time and sent out his backer surveys that same evening, allowing him to release the Augury of Chaos module to backers today. Kind of unexpected from a guy who literally took years to launch his Kickstarter in the first place. Here's the final update:

Hello everyone!!

What an incredible campaign for Knights of the Chalice 2!! ^^

Following a strong finish, the campaign raised 253% of its base goal. Thank you so much everyone for taking part in the campaign and for all your valiant and steadfast efforts in spreading the word to the four corners of the earth until the very last minute!!

Including pledges through Paypal and the RPG Codex fundraiser, we've raised a total of GBP 40,290, equivalent to USD 50,222.

Naturally, this allows us to reach the campaign's Fifth Stretch Goal! This means that the game will have a new Icon-Based Combat Actions Menu. In addition, the Sentient Sword Companion Kutrang will be added to the upcoming KotC 2 Adventure Modules!!

Puzzle Challenge: We Have A Winner!!

Guy Iluz, aka rpgguy, is the Grand Winner of the Kickstarter Puzzle Challenge!! He solved the last puzzle in record time and all of his answers were correct. So far, he's the only one to have found the complete solution! Congratulations Guy!! Thank you so much for the awesome support!!

Feel free to try solving the puzzles and send me the solution at enquiries@heroicfantasygames.com.

The first two persons who send me the correct solution will be added to the Credits Screen of KotC 2 as Puzzle Challenge Winners. In any case, I will publish all of the solutions on the Facebook page in a week or so.

Direct Downloads of Knights of the Chalice 2!!

Yes!! I know you're waiting patiently for this one thing!! The KotC 2 Direct Download!!

Never fear! I will send out emails containing download details very soon! I just have to collect the emails from the Kickstarter, check payments, and do a small coding tweak on my website so that both the Windows and Mac OS versions will be made available to you.

A bit earlier, I sent out the Backer Survey to all of the KotC 2 backers. Please complete the survey if you haven't already done so, so that I will be able to send the download details to your email address.

Once you've started playing, please feel free to post bug reports and suggestions in this forum. If you're interested in using the editor to create new adventures, you can talk about this in this forum. Of course, you're also welcome to join the Discord server using the Discord Invite Link and discuss there.

That's it for today's update! Please be patient a bit longer, while I take care of the remaining things that I need to do before I can send out your download details!

Thank You Again, Intrepid Knights of the Kingdom!! ^^
The catch is that Augury of Chaos is only available as a direct download from the Heroic Fantasy Games website for now. According to Pierre, it will take a few months to become available on Steam as well. Right now it doesn't seem to be available for sale on the website either, so I guess it's a backer-exclusive. Note that if you're a backer and you didn't get an email from Pierre, you might still be able to access your game by asking to recover your password.

There are 9 comments on Knights of the Chalice 2 Kickstarter campaign concludes, Augury of Chaos module released to backers

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 July 2020, 14:47:19

Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

The latest Colony Ship development update gives us our first look at an area outside the game's starting town. The Armory is a pivotal location where the player character will discover a mysterious device that kicks off the main quest, and it'll eventually become your base of operations. However, before you can unlock the armory door you'll need to deal with the gang of thugs who control the area, as seen in the new batch of screenshots included in the update. The first thing you'll notice is that Iron Tower have moved the game's dialogue box to the side of the screen, Disco Elysium-style. There have been other developments as well. The Pit has been expanded and should be fully scripted and playable by the end of the month, and the first prototype of the stealth system should be ready by then as well. Here are those screenshots and an excerpt from the update:

[​IMG] [​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

We're wrapping up the Armory (the second location), so we can finally show you something other than the starting town. Let's start with the intro:

With row after row of gutted depots, the Armory stretches before you as a shell of what it once was. The mutineers hit it fast and hard, overrunning the surprised security forces and stripping it of supplies. Weapons and armor meant for the future colony flooded the Ship, turning the Mutiny into a full-fledged war. The Ship Authority held its own in the end, keeping control of the lower decks, but at a great cost that went far beyond the Armory's lost supplies.

Your destination lies ahead – a reinforced door flanked by twin auto-cannons drawing on a seemingly inexhaustible power supply. No one made it past during the Mutiny, and no one's made it past since. Like the proverbial flaming sword outside of Eden, it sits as a guardian, a symbol of ancient strength, and a promise of marvels beyond.


You get the access card from Tanner (as mentioned in the combat demo), so getting past the automated security on that floor will be easy. However, you'd have to get past the local thugs first. You can fight or talk your way through or simply sneak past them. Multiple quest solutions are one of the cornerstones of our design philosophy.

- The old dialogue box at the bottom of the screen wasn't big enough to fit all the text and PC options in more heated conversations, so we went with a vertical setup. It's still work in progress (we switched to it a week ago) so feel free to offer suggestions for improvement. I can't say I like it but it's either this or what we had in AoD or using a scrollbar to make sure you see all the options.
- We wanted to show the skills (you can see them leveling up while talking) but you'll be using all skills not just speech and there's no room to fit them all. Maybe something like index tabs on the side?
- On the dialogue design itself: in AoD it was easy to fail a check and end up dead or in combat. In Colony Ship failures and successes modify the disposition, giving you a chance to recover from your mistakes.

The access card doesn't give you the keys to the kingdom. If you want to fully explore the Armory you'll need to beat retinal scanners on lower levels. At some point in the game the Armory will become your base of operations and you'll have to reinforce it (not base building but using scavenged parts) and defend against attacks.

Random tidbits for those who read Playboy for the articles:

- We updated the engine from 4.22 to 4.25, which fixed a lot of minor engine-related issues without introducing new ones (well, except for some minor font issues – see below, but that's manageable).
- We implemented 'guest' mechanics when an NPC temporarily joins your party, bypassing the party limit. You control them in combat but don't have access to their inventories.
- We're working on the Pit's (the starting town) quests at the moment and it's going well. The quests should be fully scripted - meaning the Pit's fully playable - by the end of July (half of it is already playable and I don't mean the combat demo).
- The stealth system (the first prototype) should be ready by the end of the month as well. I'm sure it will go through several iterations (meaning it won't be done until the end of summer), but getting something playable is a very important step, if only for quest and level design.
- Speaking of quest design, we expanded the Pit yet again as we added more quests, so now the Pit consists of three areas: Mainstreet, Camptown, and the Outskirts.
- We replaced more animations, added different icons for gadget upgrade parts, redesigned the upgrade screen, and did a bunch of other minor improvements.
- The combat demo was download 5,761 times (3,754 on May 9). Slow but steady...
Looking good. See the full update for additional details on the player character's interaction with the sharp-faced leader of the thugs.

There are 33 comments on Colony Ship Update #45: The Armory

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 July 2020, 01:14:21

Tags: Artefacts Studio; Dear Villagers; The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos

One of the upcoming titles that participated in the Steam Game Festival last month was Artefacts Studio's parodic French tactical RPG The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos. The game seems quite silly, but a number of our users who tried out the demo reported that its combat system and character building were actually pretty damn good. Yesterday the developers announced that Naheulbeuk was finally coming out on August 27th. They've put together a release date trailer introducing the game's seven stereotypical RPG character protagonists, each with their own distinct combat capabilities.


After a rather boring early year for RPGs (at least if you're not into Early Access games) it looks like we're starting to develop a lineup of actual releases. Which will be the best of them?

There are 14 comments on The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk releasing on August 27th

Wed 1 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 July 2020, 23:18:52

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

Despite the best efforts of the Codex rodent fanbase, the Kitsune won a decisive victory in Owlcat's poll to select the new playable race in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. The foxmen took the lead with over 50% of the vote early on and proved impossible to dislodge over the course of the month. Oh well, at least the other two races get to win a consolation prize in Owlcat's creative contest. Here are the results from the new Kickstarter update:

[​IMG]

The poll is over, and now we know the next playable race that will be added to the game. You made your choice. Please welcome kitsune to the crusade! We know that there were some technical issues along the way and the voting process itself was not as simple as it could have been. The poll system was designed to make the results as transparent as possible and rule out any chance of cheating.

Thank you everyone for participating!

And a bit later we will announce the winners of the creative contest.
I guess we could still get Ratfolk DLC, although having more than one furry race in the game might be weird.

There are 31 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #58: Kitsune Win New Playable Race Poll

Thu 25 June 2020

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 25 June 2020, 23:34:15

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

Today CD Projekt unveiled the first episode of the Night City Wire, a new series of Cyberpunk 2077 featurettes that will presumably run until the game's release in November. The episode starts out as you'd expect with a new trailer, which is titled The Gig and apparently made up scenes from the game's prologue. The general gist of it will be familiar if you've watched the gameplay footage from previous years, so it's not too interesting in my opinion. The trailer is followed by a discussion of some of the characters and locations seen in it with lead quest designer Pawel Sasko.

After the announcement of a new Cyberpunk 2077 anime series(!) begins the more interesting part of the episode. Braindancing is a technology in the Cyberpunk setting that allows users to experience the recorded memories and sensory inputs of other individuals. In the game V will get to use a "braindance editor", which will allow him to browse through such recordings and search for clues. The episode shows us one such investigation into the fate of an unfortunate thug duped into recording his own murder. According to Pawel and senior quest designer Patrick Mills, one of the goals of this device is to show us aspects of the setting that its mercenary protagonist might not encounter otherwise.


The braindance scene is actually just part of a longer 14 minute gameplay reel that CD Projekt have released to the press. Here's a list of preview articles that were published shortly after the episode concluded.
The next episode of the Night City Wire should be out in a few weeks.

There are 61 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire Episode 1: The Gig Trailer, Braindance Gameplay Footage and Previews

Community - posted by DarkUnderlord on Thu 25 June 2020, 13:19:19

Tags: Chris Avellone; Hurt Feelings; Icewind Dale; Icewind Dale 2; Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter; Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter - Trials of the Luremaster; MCA; Men who make awkward passes at women and regret it when they get cancelled; The Love God

We here at the RPG Codex have known, and even strongly admired, Chris Avellone's work for many years. Perhaps one of the most well known RPG character writers in the gaming industry, Chris has worked on and has been involved with many RPGs that users on this site consider classics. Games such as Icewind Dale, Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter, and Icewind Dale II.

Not to mention Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter - Trials of the Luremaster, along with a handful of other, lesser known titles.

Like many, we have struggled to come to terms with the allegations made against Mr Avellone. It's tough to respond to a story made about someone you love when you are feeling hurt and betrayed. Emotions make it difficult to think clearly. But apparently, the truth is out.

Chris Avellone isn't gay.

We are just as shocked as everybody at learning this. For decades, in fact since this site was founded back in the heady days of 2002, it was our assumption that Chris was a raging homosexual. He wasn't known as Chris "Asselone" for nothing. And we certainly weren't the only ones.

To discover that this isn't the case has left many of us shocked and without words. It is something none of us ever expected:

Nano
Mikeal
Lol, why so many people voted on Chris being gay?


It's in the voice and mannerisms.
Sigourn
He is a flamboyant homosexual. Finding out he isn't gay would disappoint me in a way I haven't been disappointed since finding out dunkey is actually a fat white guy as opposed to a cool black dude.
To discover that Chris "the Love God" Avellone has made awkward passes at women in their 40s and been rejected, hurts us in ways that cannot be logically understood with logic or reason. It's something that has rocked many in this community to their core. And it's something a lot of us will need time to process, to heal. To learn to forgive.

We know the entire internet is in uproar at this at the moment, and we respect anyone who needs time to process this information.

There are 385 comments on Statement from RPG Codex about Chris Avellone

Fri 19 June 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 19 June 2020, 23:33:39

Tags: Urban Strife; White Pond Games

The private alpha for White Pond Games' promising zombie survival RPG Urban Strife was supposed to have started on May 14th. In practice the Steam keys were only sent out today, which means the crowdfunded backer build that was scheduled for this month is delayed. The good news is that White Pond have finally launched the game's Steam page, including its first proper trailer in quite some time. Check it out:


Urban Strife will be released on Steam Early Access later this year in Q4, presumably after it's been sufficiently tested by the alpha and backer build players. According to the FAQ, White Pond plan to keep the game in Early Access for six months, so I guess that means we're looking at a tentative final release date in Q2 2021.

There are 10 comments on Urban Strife private alpha released, now on Steam and coming to Early Access in Q4 2020

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 19 June 2020, 16:54:55

Tags: Chris Avellone

As part of their Summer of Gaming programming, IGN have been publishing short interview segments with various game development personalities, such as their interview with Brian Fargo from last week. Yesterday they released a segment with Chris Avellone, apparently edited out of a larger interview with him and his co-writer on The Waylanders, former Telltale designer Emily Grace Buck. Both of them appear to have been asked about the ingredients for making a great RPG.

According to Chris, it's important to allow characters to progress narratively and not just systemically, such that their role within the game world changes over time. He's tired of games that insist on adding a forced twist and suggests that their writers instead consider refactoring their storylines such that what was previously known from the beginning becomes a twist. Chris has enjoyed working in a variety of settings and genres over the past few years and figuring out how to implement roleplaying mechanics that fit those settings. He believes that newer engines now allow more drastic reactivity to be implemented. For example, you can have a quest that results in the creation of a new town in the game world. There's more in IGN's summary of the full interview. Here's the video of Chris and an excerpt:



Avellone adds that it’s also important players see everything – from combat to character progression – tied into a game’s story and/or world. “I think a lot of video game narratives can suffer tremendously when it's apparent that the systems and the gameplay loop are not connected to the narrative – and vice versa – and that there was no attempt to do so,” he says. “I think that it robs a game’s story of a lot of the potential that it could have, and arguably what a game’s story should have.”

“You can take all the typical RPG pillars,” Avellone says, referring to the classic combination of combat, exploration, and role-playing/decision-making that form the backbone of most RPGs. “But what is that in this world that they've set up? And then that ends up usually giving all those pillars unique flavor ... For example, if you were doing, like, a Tomb Raider RPG, a...world like that that has sort of some unique element. ‘How do I combine the feel and aesthetics of this world?’ And how does that translate in the combat system? How does that translate in the exploration aspect? Because the exploration aspects of a Tomb Raider RPG would be much different than exploration in Divinity. And that's where the interesting points come in, is finding that space where the aesthetics of the world and the lore can make themselves felt through all those pillars.”

[...] Avellone says it’s important for designers – whether they be aspiring or seasoned industry professionals – to constantly take stock of a game or a world’s unique elements. To recognize when it’s time to not necessarily “think outside the box,” but rather explore a new box altogether.

“I was going through a really difficult time where the box wasn't changing,” he says. “And because the box wasn't changing, the mechanics really weren't altering all that much. And then the settings weren't altering that much. And I could feel myself being in a rut and I'm like, ‘I don't think I'm growing. I don't think I'm developing’ … The box was always in place. If it had moved just a little bit, that would have been nice, but it just didn't.” Eventually, Avellone says, he got to a point where he decided, “‘I'm going to go find more boxes and I'm going to build towers out of these boxes. I want to see what an FPS is like, I want to see what an RTS is like. I want to see what VR is like. And I want to know how all these different genres tell stories, because I'm guessing there's plenty of stuff that these other genres have learned quite well that would apply to making a great RPG.’”

[...] “What's painful,” Avellone says, “is when you spend five minutes looking at a character, and you haven't been given any options. They're just talking at you; your choices don't seem to matter. The best thing to do in that situation is have a deep talk with the writer,” he laughs, adding, “The second thing is to hire an editor.”

“The third thing,” he continues, refocusing, “is that you want to take that exposition and go, ‘I need the words to stop.’ Can you turn this into a quest where I'm going to encounter all the signposts of what you're talking about that I get to interact with it? Or, rather than having you give me a book that explains your philosophy, give me a quest that's sparked by this philosophy, or two factions fighting where you're stopping that fight (or helping one or the other) you're gonna get a good sense of what they're fighting about just because you're involved in that conflict… [There] are more interactive and game-ey ways to communicate the horribly long, long exposition.”
It sounds like Chris might still be working through some trauma from five years ago, but it's good advice.

There are 79 comments on Chris Avellone on What Makes a Great RPG at IGN

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 19 June 2020, 01:29:10

Tags: Baldur's Gate III; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

We got a new look at Baldur's Gate III gameplay today in an extended 88 minute livestream with Swen Vincke, broadcast as part of Wizards of the Coast's D&D Live 2020 event. In this scenario, seemingly set early in the game not too long after the events of the original gameplay reveal, the player character and his party are travelling through a goblin-infested countryside. There's plenty of combat and also plenty of dialogue. At one point, the party is visited by a merchant named Raphael who is quickly revealed to be the devil from the recent trailer. The highlight of the stream in my opinion is when Swen has Githyanki companion Lae'zel go on a solo mission to basically take the piss out of the rather entertainingly written goblins. At many points the player has the option to use his Illithid tadpole powers to seemingly psychically dominate them, although this is said to incur some sort of cost.

Eventually, Swen asked viewers to vote on whether he should attempt to take on a powerful hobgoblin or instead travel into the Underdark. Despite his best efforts they chose the latter, and so the party made its way to the nearest entrance, travelling through a spider-infested cave, down a pit into the Underdark proper, and eventually into a Myconid village, which is where the stream ended.


The stream was directly followed by a two part interview with Swen on the IGN Summer of Gaming broadcast. IGN also wrote a summary of their impressions of the game, and Swen was interviewed by GameSpot as well.


I think I can say that most of us are impressed by what we saw of Baldur's Gate III today. The graphics are great, the writing seems entertaining, and the level design in particular is spectacular, making constant use of verticality. The D&D ruleset means that many of our biggest issues with Larian's previous games are no longer a factor. And yes, the game's dialogue options are written normally now. This is probably going to be a good one, folks.

There are 108 comments on Baldur's Gate III Gameplay at D&D Live 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 19 June 2020, 00:01:46

Tags: Awaken Realms Digital; Tainted Grail

You might remember Tainted Grail, the remarkably lavish Arthurian board game CRPG spinoff from the Polish tabletop specialists at Awaken Realms that was formally unveiled back in December. While the game's graphics were impressive, few approved of its card game approach to combat. The developers took that criticism on board and announced back in April that they were revamping the combat system such that battles would visually appear on screen. A month later, they were ready to announce that Tainted Grail would be coming to Early Access on June 25th. So I was rather surprised when it was released today instead, a week early. The centerpiece of the Early Access release is something they're calling Tainted Grail: Conquest, which is basically a roguelike sandbox mode where players can experiment with the game's combat system. However, it also contains a short preview of the final game's story campaign. Here's the launch trailer and an excerpt from the accompanying announcement:



As we announced before - our main focus during early access is going to be Conquest, our narrative-driven rogue-lite/RPG hybrid. An endless game mode, we're going to support with regular updates all the way until our proper launch.

What's Conquest?
This is a whole, new roguelike mode that we announced in our last update. We've been working on it for the past months, and we've been actively iterating it with our discord community, and while there is still a lot of work ahead of us... It already feels really satisfying to play!

Also, we have our first community-made guide to playing one of the classes! Thank you, Disiesel!!!

Main highlights:
  • Tons of story locations/interactions with different lore and choices
  • Procedurally generated world – every time you start a new run, you will find different things on your way!
  • Possibility to create unique combos between cards, passive skills, items, and consumables
  • An option to build and upgrade your village in between the runs
  • High-scores! Defeat the final boss and beat your high score!
  • Learn extra lore about the world of Tainted Grail.
To stress it out: this mode will be the focus of our early access and will be developed over time with your help, folks! We will be adding much more content, new classes, new runes, new monsters, new bosses, and various challenges!

And we're going to share a roadmap with you really soon!
The Tainted Grail Early Access release is available on Steam and GOG for $25, with a 10% launch discount on the latter platform until next week. According to the Early Access FAQ, the final game should be out sometime early next year, at which point its price will increase.

There are 6 comments on Tainted Grail now available on Early Access

Thu 18 June 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 18 June 2020, 18:46:18

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 will be shown to the public for the first time since last August at CD Projekt's Night City Wire digital event on June 25th. However, they've decided not to wait until then to inform us that the game has been delayed yet again and is now due out on November 19th. According to the announcement, it's now content and feature-complete but still needs some more time for polishing.

We have decided to move the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 from September 17 to November 19.

Those of you who are familiar with the may we make games know that we won't ship something which is not ready. "Ready when it's done" is not just a phrase we say because it sounds right, it's something we live by even when we know we'll take the heat for it. At the same time, we are fully aware that making such a decision costs us your trust and trading trust for additional time is one of the hardest decisions a game developer can make. And despite we think it's the right decision for the game, we'd still like to apologize for making you wait longer. Our intention is to make Cyberpunk 2077 something that will stay with you for years to come. In the end, we hope you understand why we did what we did.

At the time we are writing these words, Cyberpunk 2077 is finished both content and gameplay-wise. The quests, the cutscenes, the skills and items; all the adventures Night City has to offer - it's all there. But with such an abundance of content and complex systems interweaving with each other, we need to properly go through everything, balance game mechanics and fix a lot of bugs. A huge world means a huge number of things to iron out and we will spend the additional time doing exactly that.

This week, journalists from all over the world are starting to independently play the game. We are eager (and quite stressed) to hear their opinions, as well as see your reactions when they publish their previews right after we air Night City Wire on the 25th of June. We hope this will satisfy some of your hunger for the game as we work to polish it for the November launch.​

Well, it's good news for all the other games coming out in September. I can't wait to start Googling for those previews.

There are 28 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 delayed again to November 19th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 18 June 2020, 02:13:05

Tags: Croteam; Room-C Games; The Hand of Merlin

The Hand of Merlin is an upcoming turn-based roguelite RPG from a Croteam spinoff studio named Room-C Games. In The Hand of Merlin, you lead a party of heroes from Arthurian legend against what appears to be an alien invasion, travelling across a procedurally generated Dark Ages Europe and fighting isometric tactical battles. Originally known as Guardians of Erda - Merlin's Tale, the game has been in development since 2017 and first came to our attention when it was renamed in 2018. I didn't post about it back then for some reason, possibly because it didn't have an up-to-date trailer. It got one today when Croteam released a demo of the game on Steam for the ongoing Steam Game Festival, so I guess now's my chance. Here's the trailer along with their announcement:



“I would never have guessed it!” This is the sort of reaction we usually get when people learn that the same studio made both Serious Sam and The Talos Principle, one we heard many times before.

Yes, there’s a stark difference between a frantic first-person shooter and a philosophical puzzler, but guess what? Some of us love turn-based games even better!

So much so, that a group of Croteam’s lead engineers and turn-based lovers decided to form Room-C Games a few years back, a spin-off studio with the sole purpose of creating a turn-based game of their own. The team was soon joined by Jonas & Verena Kyratzes, a legendary writing duo that needs no special introduction to our fans, and soon The Hand of Merlin was born.

A fantasy turn-based rogue-lite RPG, where medieval arms clash with sci-fi horror, had an interesting time in development full of fun design choices (check out MarkoP’s amazing dev blog diaries here!), including the switch to the latest version of Serious Engine, but today is an exciting day as we’re happy to announce that The Hand of Merlin has joined the Steam Game Festival: Summer Edition!

This means that you can play the exclusive demo right away, and take those first steps in Albion on your epic journey from Camelot to Jerusalem. Time is of the essence here, as the demo will vanish – pooof! – as soon as the Festival ends on Sunday.

The newly released teaser trailer will stay on the Steam game page a bit longer, as will your comments, follows, likes and wishlist actions – we’ll forever cherish those!

For all The Hand of Merlin chatter, visit the dedicated Discord server and the official game page on Facebook. Follow Croteam on Twitter and Instagram, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. Oh, and don’t forget to join our ever-growing Croteam family on Discord and Reddit.​

Like the rest of the games participating in the Steam Game Festival, The Hand of Merlin's free demo will be available until June 22nd. According to its Steam page, the game is due out in Q4 2020.

There are 15 comments on The Hand of Merlin is a turn-based roguelite where Arthurian heroes battle against cosmic horrors

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 18 June 2020, 00:53:27

Tags: Focus Home Interactive; Lightbulb Crew; Othercide

Othercide, the supernatural horror-themed tactical RPG from French studio Lightbulb Crew that was shown at PAX East back in February, is notably not participating in the ongoing Steam Game Festival. However, it did get a release date yesterday. The game will be out on July 28th and is now available for preorder. Today, publisher Focus Home Interactive followed up on that news with a new release date trailer, which offers an up-to-date look at its gameplay. Here's the trailer along with their announcement:



Focus Home Interactive and Lightbulb Crew are delighted to bring Othercide, the tactical-RPG horror game set in a dark and mysterious universe, to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on July 28, and to Nintendo Switch later this summer. In today’s Release Date Announcement Trailer, get a first look at Othercide gameplay and prepare to confront Suffering and the Nightmare Creatures.

Face nightmares in a unique tactical-RPG!

Descend into Humanity’s last hope. The Daughters, echoes of the greatest warrior to ever live, are all who stand before Suffering and death. Lead your army to battle with all the skill you can muster. Your prowess in combat will decide their fate, shape their abilities and personality. Make the toughest decision and sacrifice one to heal another - survivors will get stronger, ready to fight the next battle.

Combat is an intricate dance of spectacular actions and counters: plan ahead of time and set up impressive chains of abilities to outsmart the enemy using the Dynamic Timeline System. Fight in epic boss battles against the sources of Suffering - dread creatures pulled from the worst of Humanity’s crimes against itself.

You will fight. You will fail. You will rise again.

Othercide comes to PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on July 28, and on Nintendo Switch this summer. Pre-orders are now open on Steam and Xbox One, and pre-orders on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch will soon be available.
It's not actually the first look, but sure.

There are 8 comments on Othercide releasing on July 28th, now available for preorder

Wed 17 June 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 17 June 2020, 01:59:37

Tags: Almkaz Games; Animmal; Artefacts Studio; Blue Bottle Games; Curious Panda Games; Fabled Lands; Foresight Games; Lost Pilgrims Studio; Ostranauts; Prime Games; Project Haven; Sinister Design; Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures; The Dungeon Of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet Of Chaos; The Fellowship Saga; The Iron Oath; The Way of Wrath; Tiny Trinket Games; Together in Battle; Vagrus - The Riven Realms; Zoria: Age of Shattering

Just as the cancellation of E3 has led press conferences to be held on digital stages and developer interviews to be held in digital booths, so has the expo itself been moved onto a digital showfloor. During the summer Steam Game Festival which begins today and will last until June 22nd, over 900 game demos will be available to download, including a decent number of demos for upcoming RPGs. Some of these are titles that we're already quite familiar with, whether because they've had private beta builds, earlier demos and free prologues, or have simply shown a lot of gameplay footage on YouTube. But there are some that are genuinely being unveiled to the world for the first time today, which is pretty cool. Here's a list of noteworthy RPG demos that we've spotted:

As part of the event, most of these games have developer livestreams and Q&A sessions scheduled over the next week. You can find the details on those on their Steam pages. Enjoy!

There are 59 comments on The Steam Game Festival: Free demos of upcoming RPGs available until June 22nd

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 17 June 2020, 01:23:03

Tags: Gato Salvaje; The Waylanders

The Waylanders, the Dragon Age: Origins-inspired historical fantasy time travel RPG from Spanish developer Gato Studio, was released on Steam Early Access today. Few people had heard of Gato before their Kickstarter back in 2018, but they were somehow able to hire a stable of well-known developers including Chris Avellone. Personally I've found most of what they've shown since then to be rather silly and pandering, but I guess now is when the game's mettle will be tested. We already saw the latest trailer last week, so here's its Early Access FAQ.

Why Early Access?
“The Waylanders is made by RPG lovers. We know there are many more RPG lovers worldwide, and we would like to count on all of you to help The Waylanders grow and improve. Our community is the best and most useful asset we have, and we want to listen to all of you. Early Access allows us to work side-by-side with the community and that's why we want to release an early version ahead of the final launch. Your feedback will be a game-changer!

Don't hesitate to contact us in the Steam Discussions section. We will be checking all the feedback posted.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“According to our estimations, The Waylanders will be on Early Access until sometime between late 2020 and early 2021. Expect a lot of changes during this process!”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“Some limitations you’ll experience playing Early Access:
  • Game length: The Waylanders is divided into three acts. The Alpha version includes a part of the first act. We'll include more story content in upcoming updates.
  • Languages: you’ll be able to play in English during the early versions. The final release will include the rest of the available languages: Russian, Simplified Chinese, German, French and Spanish
  • Some voices and dialogues are missing.
  • Some cinematics are missing, meaning some parts of the story may not be strongly connected in the Alpha.
  • Saved games: some major future updates could delete your saved game.
  • Stats and attributes: we'll improve the combat balance during Early Access.
  • User experience: expect major changes to adapt the game to players. We'll check all your feedback and take it seriously to improve the game in multiple ways.
  • Bugs and game crashes: if you hate to find gameplay issues and unexpected errors, maybe Early Access is not for you. Try to be patient and expect some issues when playing.
All this means that The Waylanders will be a bigger RPG when it reaches the final version and will include much more content.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“In terms of story, 25% of the game's content will be available in the upcoming updates, and we'll be progressively adding more. The combat system is fully available, but we’ll improve balancing, some combat mechanics, skills, advanced classes, and more.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
“We appreciate the feedback from our Kickstarter backers and Early Access users. This means that yes, the price will increase in the future.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
“We are constantly improving The Waylanders. We take your comments very seriously and we intend to review all the reports you send in. We have a Steam discussion section for Early Access players, so you'll be able to report any issue you find in the game directly to us in Steam. Don't hesitate in telling us your impressions, suggestions, and feedback. We are here to listen to your opinion.”​

According to a preview published by PCGamesN last week, The Waylanders is still in rough shape, so I'd expect the final release date to fall at the higher end of that estimate. If you'd like to get your Dragon Age groove on though, it's available on Steam now for $35 with a 10% launch discount until next week.

There are 3 comments on The Waylanders now available on Early Access

Tue 16 June 2020

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 16 June 2020, 00:48:49

Tags: Mathieu Girard; Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures

Today was Solasta: Crown of the Magister's turn to get some attention at the IGN Expo. Tactical Adventures put together a fancy new trailer that offers a look at some areas of the game that we haven't seen before. A bit later, IGN broadcast a nine and a half minute gameplay session with CEO Mathieu Girard. It's an overview of the basics using the game's original demo.


As I hoped, last week Tactical Adventures announced that the Solasta demo would be returning for the Steam Game Festival that begins tomorrow on June 16th, now with a character creation module and updated gameplay. They plan to run a livestream on their Twitch channel when the demo releases, and will also be hosting a Q&A session on Discord on June 19th.

There are 4 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister Choose Your Path Trailer & Gameplay Interview

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