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Fri 24 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 May 2019, 00:35:26

Tags: Conglomerate 451; RuneHeads

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Conglomerate 451 is a grid-based cyberpunk dungeon crawler with roguelike elements that came to our attention back in March. The developers are an Italian indie studio by the name of RuneHeads. I don't know much about them or about the game other than what's on its Steam page, but it was released on Early Access today so now there's an opportunity to find out. I know many of you dislike procedural generation, but it sure does look cool. Here's the launch trailer and Early Access FAQ:

Why Early Access?

“Early Access is a way to stay in contact with the community, collect feedback from the players and make sure the quality of the release version meets ours and our players’ expectations.

Conglomerate 451 is based on a procedurally-generated missions system, but we’ll be taking advantage of the Early Access period to balance it, add new features and polish all aspects. Our current plan is to include 35 enemy classes, 10 character classes, more than 100 skills, 50 weapon upgrades, more than 30 cyber implants (upgradable), hundreds of different mental and physical traumas into the final version of the game... all of which needs careful work to keep everything balanced and fun.

We want players to be part of this process and help us create a deep, fun, tactical game that everyone enjoys.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“Our plan is to keep the game in Early Access for around 6-8 months. During this period, we want to update the game twice every month – sometimes the updates will include major additions, sometimes minor. The development roadmap will be available in the game description below for everyone to see. However, we don’t want to make any big promises or set specific dates. Game development can get complicated, and we want to make sure we deliver a complete product that satisfies both ourselves and you, the players.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“We're planning to add lots of features (different mission types, a drugs and intoxication system, diplomatic missions, etc), and five or six times the content compared to the initial version. All information about Early Access content will be made available in the game description below for everyone to see.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“We have the core system in place: you can create and manage your agency and your squad, and use the research centre and healing centre. There is one District to begin with (in the final game there will be four) and there is currently around 1/5 of the total planned content (enemies, scenarios, items, weapons, etc.)”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
“Our plan is to increase the price at least once as we get closer to the full release of the game. We will be informing everyone through the Steam news, Steam Discussion forums and our social media channels before each price change, so you can plan ahead.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“We encourage player feedback and suggestions! We’re continually talking to our community about our design process, and keeping them informed of our decisions and improvements with regular updates.

Everyone interested in submitting feedback or communicating directly with the developers and other players, can do so either in our Steam Discussion forums or in the official Discord Channel, here:

We’re a small team, but we read every comment, every message and every suggestion you send us!”
There are more details about Conglomerate 451 on its Steam page. You can grab it there for $16 with a 10% launch discount until next week.

There are 5 comments on Procedurally generated cyberpunk dungeon crawler Conglomerate 451 released on Steam Early Access

Thu 23 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 May 2019, 23:50:05

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker; Pathfinder: Kingmaker - Beneath The Stolen Lands

Pathfinder: Kingmaker's final expansion DLC, Beneath the Stolen Lands, was supposed to be out in April. It's obviously not trivial to implement procedural map generation in an Infinity Engine-style RPG so it wasn't surprising when it got delayed by a month. Now it's been delayed again for a different reason. It turns out Owlcat have been working on a free Enhanced Edition update for Kingmaker that's almost ready, so they figured they might as well release them both on the same date. They'll be out two weeks from now, on June 6th. Here's the announcement with more details:

Dear Pathfinders,

From day one, we’ve set it as our goal to tirelessly improve our game based on your feedback and insight. We’ve pored over comments, scoured the forums and scrutinized your survey answers – and then rushed back to start fixing, polishing and expanding. Today, we are happy to announce the fruits of our labors: an Enhanced Edition of “Pathfinder: Kingmaker”, free to everyone who already owns a copy of the game! Not only is it a culmination of all the previous patches and fixes. Featuring all-new classes, items and abilities, numerous quality-of-life features and multiple balance adjustments, this is the ultimate way to play the game!

The Enhanced Edition will launch on June 6. In the meantime, to let you know of all the exciting new features, we’ve prepared a slew of content, including teasers, dev diaries and even dev streams – the first of which will go live today! Join us on at 7:30 PM CEST/1:30 PM EDT (US) for an in-depth look at a new prestige class!

“Pathfinder: Kingmaker – Enhanced Edition” Key Features
  • Free Upgrade for all existing players
  • Numerous gameplay-enriching content additions and dozens of quality-of-life features
  • New abilities and ways to build your character
  • A Brand-new class: Slayer
  • New items and weaponry
  • Improved balance, especially in the beginning and last two chapters of the game
  • Enhanced kingdom management system, both in terms of balance as well as usability and player comfort
  • Increased variety of random encounters on the global map
  • Thousands of fixes and improvements made since the game’s initial release
Beneath the Stolen Lands

Some of our shrewder fans have already figured out that we like to release things near the end of the month. Such was our plan for “Beneath The Stolen Lands”, our 3rd DLC, as well. However, after postponing it for a month from late April to late May, we’ve realized we now had 2 releases lined up one after the other in the space of a week. For this reason, we’ve decided that it would make more sense to release both the DLC and Enhanced Edition on the same day, June 6.

Just to remind you what it's going to be like:

“Beneath The Stolen Lands” Key Features
  • Enter a massive dungeon with a party made from scratch. Begin your adventure to the Tenebrous Depths with a party of newly created characters. Start the game from the main menu and experience the descent into an endless rogue-like dungeon
  • Explore the near-infinite possibilities of building a Pathfinder character. Try out different builds to perfect your tactics at your leisure. Create a band of adventurers able to overcome any danger!
  • Defeat is but a new beginning! Dying in an encounter enables additional benefits for your next playthrough
  • Unlock new items to buy across multiple playthroughs. The number of item slots traders have depends on how far you have been able to descend during all of your previous forays combined
  • Enter the dungeon as your main character, alternatively you can wait for an invitation from a mysterious protector of Golarion as you play through the Main Story. The pre-set version of the dungeon is included into the main campaign, allowing you to use your character and companions to conquer the Tenebrous Depths
Quite a nice surprise. I don't think people were too excited about the idea of a roguelike mode DLC, but the new features in the Enhanced Edition update more than make up for it. I'd like to hear more about that main campaign pre-set version of the dungeon too.

There are 15 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker is getting an Enhanced Edition, to be released alongside final DLC on June 6th

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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 May 2019, 01:39:20

Tags: Brian Mitsoda; Cara Ellison; Florian Schwarzer; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Florian Schwarzer is apparently busy these days, so there was no Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 livestream today. Instead this week's clan was introduced in a 40 minute prerecorded video after an exclusive early reveal at Polygon (who also published an interview with the game's writers). I'm talking about the Ventrue, the ruling aristocrats of vampire society. As you might expect, the Ventrue of Bloodlines 2 have powerful mental domination abilities, stronger than the Toreador's though affecting only a single target. Interestingly they also have supernatural resilience, making them the game's tanks. As usual, there's a new page on the official website with details about that. The trailer however is mainly about the power of the Ventrue's social stature, except for the brief gameplay snippet at the end:


Historically, Seattle has been the site of many industrial booms, and of course, the Ventrue have been there to capitalize on its fortunes. As more and more billion-dollar corporations shape the local and global landscape, enterprising Ventrue have entrenched themselves in the businesses of the 21st century, paving the way for a prosperous future for their clan… and making enemies of the residents who preferred the way things used to be.

The blood of rulers has flown in the veins of the Ventrue since time immemorial - be they high priests, emperors, investment bankers, or chairmen of the board. No surprise then that lineage and loyalty are held in high esteem; even less that others might mistake them for pompous nepotists. The Clan of Kings sees the truth: they are the architects of vampire society, the guardians of the Masquerade. In these modern nights, they are the only thing to stand between the Kindred and extinction. Knowing this, how could they not stick together, to better weather the onslaught? To command the right to rule, for everyone's betterment? And to swiftly deal with anyone to fall short of these exacting standards?


Guardians of the Masquerade and Princes of uncounted cities, it runs in the Ventrues’ blood to be obeyed. Their signature Discipline allows them to Dominate the actions and memories of others.

• Mesmerize (Blood Cost: 3), the primary Dominate power, allows the Ventrue to place one NPC in a brief hypnotic trance. The person so affected is oblivious to the world around them, ignoring sound, touch and even pain. The • • slot intensifies Mesmerize’s effect.

• • • Command (Blood Cost: 0), the secondary Dominate power, significantly extends the Ventrue’s control over the Mesmerized NPC. They can now be ordered to move, remove obstacles, or even attack others. The • • • • and • • • • • slots upgrade Command.

Using Dominate powers is not a Masquerade violation.


Few things truly worry the vampire who masters Fortitude, the Discipline of physical resilience. After all, why fear the battle when you are certain to outlast your foe?

• Absorb (Blood Cost: 2), the first active, allows the vampire to take a brief defensive stance in which they may deflect all attacks they can see, healing their wounds for every would-be strike. The • • slot increases Absorb’s effects.

• • • Personal Armor (Blood Cost: 2), the second active power, hardens the vampire’s skin into a stone-like barrier. The • • • • and • • • • • slots upgrade this power to the point where a true master becomes impervious to attacks, causing attackers to stagger back from the recoil of their own strikes.

Allowing a mortal to witness your Fortitude under attack is a Masquerade Violation.
Florian won't be available next week either, so the sixth and final clan will instead be introduced by a mystery guest. I wonder which clan it's going to be. Nosferatu, Malkavian, or something more exotic?

There are 16 comments on Bloodlines 2 Clan Introduction - Ventrue

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Wed 22 May 2019

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 22 May 2019, 22:57:25

Tags: Piranha Bytes; THQ Nordic

Piranha Bytes, the veteran German RPG studio known for the Gothic series, the Risen series and recent cult favorite ELEX, are the latest developer to join THQ Nordic's ever-expanding empire. It's a dramatic moment for a studio that's been around since 1997 and whose early games have long been a part of the Codex canon of truly great RPGs. Perhaps that's why the press release on THQ Nordic's website has more of a personal touch than the usual. I quote:

Vienna/AUSTRIA, Essen/GERMANY, May 22nd, 2019 - THQ Nordic today announced that the acquisition of the Piranha Bytes team and trademark and the intellectual property Gothic has been finalised. Piranha Bytes' rights to Risen and ELEXwere also acquired.

“Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.” John F. Kennedy (1961)

Although statements like the following should not be done within the context of a press release, we still do it:

All of us here at THQ Nordic welcome every single member of the Piranha Bytes team to our family. We already had our fair share of laughter (well, every time we meet in person), fun (conventions, Christmas- and Summer parties, or karaoke singing), tears (when the wrong person hits the karaoke stage), and sweat (Batman cosplay @Gamescom 2018 comes to mind) together, and from now on it is in an officially joint capacity as well. The closing of the transaction is subject to the approvals of the committees of Piranha Bytes.

The newly formed entity (Piranha Bytes GmbH, Essen, Germany) will host the entire development team and is a 100% subsidiary of THQ Nordic GmbH, based in Vienna, Austria. As in the past, the team will focus and concentrate on the creation of outstanding and unique RPG gaming experiences, having full creative freedom in doing so, whereas THQ Nordic GmbH will act as Piranha Bytes' publisher, responsible for distribution, marketing and further support.

“There are situations in life where you think to yourself “This feels right.” Well, this is exactly one of them. We have been working on some great and exciting things over the past couple of years and we are extremely stoked about what the future brings with the right partner and the right network of companies”, says Björn Pankratz, Project Director and Game Designer of Piranha Bytes. “After all, we want to continue to create great, memorable, and impactful games with as much creative freedom as possible, and with THQ Nordic we know we are now part of a family, which supports us by all means in our efforts.”


Q: Will there be any changes in personnel at Piranha Bytes (PB)?
A: No.

Q: Will PB change location and move to Vienna?
A: No, what happens in Ruhrpott, stays in Ruhrpott.

Company/legal technicalities
Q: What is the deal, why is there a new company being incorporated?
A: Technically speaking, Pluto 13 GmbH (the former company behind the Piranha Bytes brand) sold the trademarks “Piranha Bytes” and “Gothic” as well as the entire Gothic IP to THQ Nordic AB. The remaining rights of Risen and ELEX, which were in other entities of the Piranha Bytes folks, were also acquired by THQ Nordic AB. In the forefront of the closing of this deal, THQ Nordic GmbH set up a new entity (initially named “THQ Nordic Reserve 1 GmbH”; in the next days renamed to “Piranha Bytes GmbH”). This company is now stepping into the existing employment and service agreements with all personnel and has also acquired the existing office equipment (furniture, hardware, coffee machine).

Intellectual Properties
Q: What about ELEX 2?
A: Semi-official comment: Have a guess.

Q: What does this mean for potential remakes of Gothic and/or Risen?
A: Nothing to say at this stage.
Although ELEX was considered an at least partial return to form, Piranha Bytes have been treading water for years and in retrospect an acquisition was really the obvious way forward for them. It certainly sounds like their next game is ELEX 2, so let's hope this is the beginning of a successful new chapter in their history.

There are 19 comments on Piranha Bytes acquired by THQ Nordic

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Wed 15 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 May 2019, 23:58:48

Tags: Ctrl Alt Ninja; Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

Back in 2014, Almost Human released the modern classic Legend of Grimrock 2. Having perfected the genre they set out to revive, its developers scattered to the four winds. Nobody was expecting them to resurface two and a half years later as a new studio called Ctrl Alt Ninja and with a game that couldn't be more different. You've heard the story before. Within less than a year, Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest had transformed from a procedurally generated forest exploration roguelike into a deterministic set piece-based tactics game inspired by the likes of HeroQuest and Into the Breach. With little hype and marketing fanfare, the game went through alpha and beta and now it's out. Instead of another trailer, Ctrl Alt Ninja have recorded an official 15 minute gameplay video, which is always a good idea. Watch it here:

Evil is afoot in Menhir Forest. The druids, the caretakers of the woods, are troubled: their archdruid has disappeared under deeply suspicious circumstances, and a cancerous growth of purple cysts is spreading, carrying corruption and sickness wherever they appear. It takes a special kind of hero to save the day. Or maybe more than one.

Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is a labor of love from the co-creators of the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock series. Druidstone is a tactical, single-player, turn-based roleplaying game, which combines the best qualities of modern RPGs with the elegance of tactical boardgames. Every action, every turn counts as you control your party of heroes through handcrafted, challenging missions with varying, and often surprising, objectives.

Set in a unique fantasy world, Druidstone is filled with ancient lush forests, standing stones, snow-topped mountains, deadly creatures and puzzle-ridden ruins. And somewhere in the middle of all of this, caught in the flow of events, are Aava, the archdruid's daughter, who must now shoulder his responsibilities, Leonhard, a warden with a mysterious past and a lethal destiny, and Oiko, the failed Red Priest who is living proof that one may be very smart without being particularly wise. Along the way, they meet companions and villains, whose unique personalities and abilities make every encounter memorable.

Key Features

  • A tactical turn-based and tile-based battle system where every action and every turn counts.
  • Upgrade the abilities of your heroes – your upgrade choices have a dramatic impact on the characters' capabilities!
  • Obtain upgrade gems by completing missions and discovering hidden treasures.
  • 35 challenging, hand-crafted missions with playtimes ranging from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.
  • Solve devious non-combat puzzle levels to gain extra upgrade resources.
  • Find lost shipments to gain access to the best gear in Steelface's Emporium of Curios.
  • A gripping, fantastic story of love, death and responsibility centered around the main characters of Aava, Leonhard and Oiko.
  • A unique fantasy setting that combines the best elements from western RPGs, JRPGs and tactical boardgames in unexpected ways.
  • Play custom missions created by others, or make your own campaigns with the Druidstone Level Editor (available as a post-release update).
  • Total playtime ranging from 15 to 20 hours.
These guys are clearly professionals who know how to make a polished game, but have their design instincts successfully transferred to this new genre? Early reports tell of a simple yet remarkably difficult game with challenging optional objectives and punishing countdowns. There's only one review that I can find right now, but we hope to have one of our own in the not-too-distant future. If you'd like to offer your own opinion, you can grab Druidstone now at Steam or GOG for $25 with a 5% launch discount until next week.

There are 46 comments on Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 May 2019, 20:27:51

Tags: Florian Schwarzer; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

This week it's GameSpot who got the exclusive early reveal of the next clan confirmed for inclusion in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. The clan in question are the hedonistic Toreador, who were formally introduced in Paradox's livestream a few hours later. In addition to their signature ability to dazzle and charm, the Toreador of Bloodlines 2 also receive superhuman speed, a discipline they share with the Brujah. As usual, here's the trailer-with-gameplay-snippet along with details from the official website:


From its music, gardens and parks, and iconic architecture, it would almost appear as though Seattle was shaped by artists. And with good reason - two of Seattle's former Princes were Toreador, and they remain one of the most numerous Kindred in the city. Influencing the political, social, and cultural elite, the Toreador have been well entrenched within Seattle's power structure since its days as a pioneer settlement. One look at the modern landscape of Downtown could paint a different picture - as if the massive cranes reshaping the city represent hands plucking the petals off of the rose. Another music venue gets demolished, a block of cookie-cutter townhouses replaces a mid-century modern home, an eccentric district becomes a family-friendly shadow of itself. You will still find the Toreador on the arms of the influential and on the dance floor of exclusive clubs, but there is a sense that this clan is partying like it's their last.

Obsessed with beauty in all forms, there are those Toreador who would claim that their Clan only chooses the most accomplished artists of each generation - whether they wielded the brush, the pen, their voice, body or mind. It'd only be half a lie. There are true visionaries among the Clan of the Rose, but it also contains its share of one-hit wonders and posers embraced in a moment of fleeting passion. All of them are cursed to spend eternity between the short-lived bliss of true beauty... And the ever-increasing spans of ennui in between. Ever seeking the next surprise, the next experience, the next chance to feel, some Toreador descend into depravity. Others fight grimly to retain the shreds of their humanity, whether by immersing or withdrawing themselves from the mortal world. Among it all, new ideas and trends constantly wash through the Clan, and other Kindred often look to the Toreador to guide them. The Divas know this, and the shrewd among them manage to turn it to their advantage.


Only fools would mistake the Toreador for shallow hedonists. In truth, the Clan of the Rose is one of the most formidable forces among the Kindred: they’re the clan that creates. Players who choose to join them gain access to two of their rarefied Disciplines on top of the individual powers from their Thinblooded past.


Toreador relish in their ability to turn a crowd into an audience, distraction into rapt attention, and aggression into adoration, by just entering the room. Their signature Discipline of Presence is at the root of this supernatural charm.

• Awe (Blood Cost: 2), the first active Presence power, allows the vampire to strike a pose that freezes all before them into adoring wonder. For a short while after, these new admirers will be oblivious to anything but what they just saw. The • • and • • • • • slots upgrade Awe.

• • • Entrance (Blood Cost: 2), the second active power, forms a group of admirers around the vampire. For an extended period, these hangers-on will follow wherever the object of their adulation may go, distracting nearby enemies along the way. The • • • • and • • • • • slots upgrade Entrance.

Using Presence powers is not a Masquerade Violation.


Some Kindred are faster, dodge more elegantly, and can move with unimaginable grace. They use Celerity, the Discipline of pushing their bodies’ speed beyond mortal imagination.

• Unseen Storm (Blood Cost: 2), the first active, allows the vampire to dash in any direction at such a speed as to confound their audience. They can land attacks, dodge around enemies, or get away in a lazy dust cloud. Characters struck along the way of the dash get knocked down. The • • slot further enhances the Unseen Storm.

• • • Accelerate (Blood Cost: 5), the second active, opens up speeds so fast that everything else in the world appears to slow down to a virtual standstill. The crowds seem frozen in their steps, as the vampire dances between cars and bullet streaks. A more gauche clan might wish for a popular 80’s synth track in the background. The • • • • and • • • • • slots allow the vampire to further improve their acceleration.

Showing off Celerity to innocent mortals is a Masquerade Violation.
Note that the Presence discipline will also be used in dialogue checks, so it's not just a stun ability.

There are 26 comments on Bloodlines 2 Clan Introduction - Toreador

Tue 14 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 May 2019, 19:54:51

Tags: Big Bad Wolf; Bigben Interactive

All the attention is focused on Bloodlines 2 these days, but some of you might remember that Paradox originally intended to license the World of Darkness IPs to other publishers. For example, the Cyanide-developed Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood action-RPG announced back in 2017. The publishing rights for that game were acquired by up-and-coming French publisher Bigben Interactive back in November, six months after they acquired Cyanide itself. I mention this because today Bigben announced that they were expanding their World of Darkness portfolio further by publishing a Vampire: The Masquerade RPG of their own. The developers are Big Bad Wolf, the French studio responsible for the underrated episodic historical adventure The Council, and I assume their Vampire "narrative RPG" will be a similar sort of game. Here's the relevant excerpt from Bigben's press release:

After a first foray into the World of Darkness universe with Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood, BIGBEN is proud to announce that its partnership with Paradox will be extended and that a game under the Vampire: The Masquerade licence is in development. Developed by Big Bad Wolf, creators of the episodic adventure game The Council, the game aims to define a new genre: the narrative RPG, inspired by the rules of the tabletop RPG. The studio will share more information at Gamescom in August.​

A representative from the website Wccftech appears to have attended Bigben's event and got a bit more information about the game:

If one thing could ever come as a surprise is when you realise that what’s already a huge IP is now getting expanded further than you thought it was. This is the case with the World of Darkness / Vampire: The Masquerade IP.

Not only are Paradox Interactive developing and releasing, in March 2020, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2, the sequel to one of the best RPGs ever made, there’s another game in the works.

At the Bigben Interactive event today in Paris it was announced that Big Bad Wolf, the developers of The Council, have been working on a new narrative-driven RPG set in the world of Vampire: The Masquerade. This isn’t linked to the aforementioned Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines 2, though it is set in the same world and will feature the things you would expect it to.

The information revealed so far is very limited and understandably so as the game has only been in production for three to four months. What has been said is that unlike The Council, Vampire: The Masquerade will not be an episodic game. It will be a full, large, RPG featuring a large narrative, with branching dialogues and everything you could expect from a Vampire: The Masquerade. All of the clans, the disciplines, they’ll all make their way in and work within the rules of the traditional tabletop RPG.

The only other thing that was said is that we won’t see this Vampire: The Masquerade for at least two years. All we can hope is that it will be the grand sort of RPG that really suits the license. I would say, following The Council, Big Bad Wolf should at least deliver on the dialogue options and variety. As for the rest, let’s wait and see.

All I know is I’m more than a little excited about the potential of more than one RPG in the setting. More information on the project will be divulged at Gamescom in August; stay tuned for more.
And that's basically all we know right now. We'll be seeing more of Bigben's other two RPGs - Werewolf and Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory - as soon as E3 next month, but for this we'll have to wait a bit longer.

There are 27 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade narrative RPG in development at The Council developer Big Bad Wolf

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 May 2019, 18:05:53

Tags: InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

There's been virtually no real news about Wasteland 3 for the past ten months. This has led some to believe that the game is languishing in some sort of development hell - a perception encouraged by the unusual rate of turnover in its writing team. Others have theorized that inXile have been using their pile of Microsoft cash to substantially overhaul and improve it. Whatever the case, there's still no real news in today's long overdue Wasteland 3 Fig update. But at least inXile are admitting that two and a half years after its crowdfunding campaign, the game still needs a lot of work. Oh, and they also threw in a look at some random character for good measure. I quote:

Communications Wasteland

It’s been a while since our last update, and that’s because we’ve been hard at work on Wasteland 3, and getting a lot of the core pieces of the game in-place. As we’ve said before, the game is effectively playable from start to finish—but there’s still a megaton of work left to go. Sure, you can complete quests and navigate most of the areas, but this is the most time-intensive stretch of the project. We have the bones—the skeleton is there—but it’s filling it with all the sinew, cartilage, and guts that really make the Wasteland experience what it is. Things are really shaping up, but the most critical work is just getting started. We’ve been hiring and growing the company, as well as putting a lot of the new Microsoft development resources to good use, and that’s going to help us be able to make Wasteland 3 even bigger and better.

We’ll have development updates to share during E3, so look forward to our next update with more specifics then.

Face to Face in the Wasteland

As you saw in our Fig campaign launch trailer, Wasteland 3 is the first game in the series to feature a cinematic conversation system. It gets you up close and personal with the big story characters you’ll encounter in Colorado, and one of those is MacTavish. He’s a coarse, blustering mechanic in Colorado Springs, who wears a luchador mask because . . . well . . . you’ll have to wait and see.

In this update we wanted to share some of the process that’s going into bringing this character to life. First it starts with a character pitch or write-up, and from those largely text-based descriptions the artists work up concepts and shape studies to hone on in a final look and design for the character’s appearance and style. In an effort to not spoil too much we’ll skip ahead a bit to his final concept piece.

Once we have a concept done we’ll move on to a high-poly model like this one, which we’ll break down into the pieces that will help give it a high quality appearance in-game, but without requiring a super-computer to render. After that comes mocap, and then the voice recording we’ve done is married to that with final animations.

This is a look at his masked face model, which isn’t too far from what you’ll see in-game. We’ll have more to share on MacTavish in the future, as well as the creative process for bringing some of our other characters to life.

Look Forward to E3!

Thank you for your patience as we continue development and work toward more consistent backer updates. To restate it again: we’re committed to our backer promises, and you can expect the Steam and GOG versions of the game on launch day. No store exclusivity.

We’re looking forward to sharing more with you during E3!​

I guess E3 is when we'll finally get to see some gameplay footage. As for the writing team, I asked George Ziets about that and he replied. Judge for yourself!

There are 24 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #28: Still A Megaton Of Work Left To Go

Fri 10 May 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 May 2019, 23:54:39

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

Alas! Last month it seemed like the Colony Ship combat demo was close to being released, but it turns out Iron Tower's animator is still unhealthy and Vault Dweller now says it won't be out before August. The good news is that they've hired a new "armor specialist" to work on the game's armor and clothing models, so they won't have to rely on the animator for that anymore. This month's development update is still labelled as a combat demo update, but it looks like the team is pushing forward to things that weren't strictly required for the demo. There are now outlines for characters occluded by scenery, weapons all have their own unique models, and The Pit area is larger and much prettier. You can see all of that in the latest batch of screenshots:

[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

We're still working on animations and armor, I doubt we'd be able to to wrap it all up before Aug. Ivan's doing a bit better but he has a long way to go before he fully recovers. He'll focus on animations from now on and all armor and clothing tasks will be handled by Maria, our new armor specialist (you can see some of her work in the previous update). We've been working with her for a while and I hope she'll stick around as our next project will be even more "armor-intensive".

In the meantime our programmers have improved the building interior system and map navigation, and added character outlines in combat (you can turn them off if you don't like them) and when your character is blocked by an object or wall. All weapon meshes are in now so each weapon has a unique model. Oscar is working on the Pit, which looks better and better (not to mention bigger) so the delay on one front doesn't affect the rest of the team's progress.
At least this means that when we do finally get the combat demo, it'll be super-polished.

There are 39 comments on Colony Ship Update #37: Combat Demo Update #4, Delayed To August

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 May 2019, 21:55:14

Tags: Lost Pilgrims Studio; Vagrus - The Riven Realms

Vagrus - The Riven Realms is an upcoming strategy RPG where you play as a caravan leader in a Dark Sun-like post-apocalyptic dark fantasy world. At a glance Vagrus appears similar to Failbetter's Sunless Sea games, with abstract world exploration, text-based events, resource management and plenty of lore, although unlike those games it has turn-based party combat. The game has been in development at Hungarian indie studio Lost Pilgrims since late 2017 and has now made its way to Fig. It's the first game to make use of a new kind of Fig campaign called Fig Open Access, which is basically like Steam Early Access but with stretch goal-like milestones. You can read more about that here. So here's the campaign trailer and the description from the game's Steam page:

Vagrus is a Strategy-Roleplaying Game for PC, where the player takes the role of a vagrus - a sort of a caravan leader, who makes a living on a strange and dangerous dark fantasy world by leading a traveling company on all kinds of ventures.

A Dark Continent
A vast continent is yours to explore, filled with unique locations, strange factions, lurking dangers, and a lot of characters you can interact with. In order to punish the Empire for their sins a thousand years ago, the Elder Gods manifested themselves in the world, letting loose powers that ended up devastating it. Following this Calamity, the Empire was slow to rebuild and became a dark caricature of its former image. The continent is now a wasteland, riddled with arcane anomalies, twisted monsters, and undead.

Branching Narrative
A large selection of longer and shorter stories make up the game’s narrative in the form of events and quests. The choices you make in these often affect the companions and the world around you. Pick your background from trader, mercenary, or explorer; work for factions, follow rumors and trading opportunities; acquire wealth, gain fame, and discover hidden knowledge. The world is sandbox, yet it is filled with hand-crafted content.

Turn-Based Combat
Engage in turn-based, tactical combat that involves your companions and a large variety of enemies, both humanoid and monstrous. Use a wide range of character skills to succeed, as well as your own leadership-related abilities. Positioning and support skills are of paramount importance when your companions struggle against powerful foes.

Resource Management
Most journeys have to be planned and prepared for carefully, lest they end in disaster. Manage your supplies, morale, and the freshness of your people effectively to survive. Haul cargo and valuables across the wasteland or take it from others. Your crew of workers, fighters, scouts, and slaves have to be managed to optimize their effectiveness. Equip your caravan with upgrades and your companions with magical gear.

Unique Companions
The player can recruit a wide variety of companions into the caravan to serve in versatile roles, such as scoutmaster, guard captain, quartermaster, or navigator. Each of them comes with their own combat skills, background stories, and personal quest lines that, when completed, can upgrade them in unforeseen ways. They can progress through experience levels to become more potent crew members as well as in combat.
You can secure a copy of Vagrus - The Riven Realms for $28, plus there's a $5 discount graciously granted to all Codex users by Lost Pilgrims. Preordering it will grant immediate access to the current alpha build via Discord. The game hasn't earned a whole lot of money but it's been enough to unlock five milestones already. The final version is supposed to come out sometime next year.

There are 34 comments on Vagrus - The Riven Realms is a post-apocalyptic fantasy strategy RPG, now on Fig Open Access

Thu 9 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 9 May 2019, 23:54:51

Tags: Battle Brothers; Battle Brothers - Warriors of the North; Overhype Studios

The Warriors of the North DLC for Battle Brothers is out today, a bit over three months after it was announced. This was supposed to be a smaller thing than the previous Beasts & Exploration DLC, but Overhype couldn't help themselves and ended up packing it with more stuff than they originally intended. That includes the company origins feature, a new northern barbarian enemy faction, an appropriately themed new set of weapons and equipment, a mythical new boss monster to hunt down, and more. They even put together a trailer for the DLC this time. I'll post that here along with its store page description:

The 'Warriors of the North' DLC for Battle Brothers expands the game with a more distinct northern region, as well as different starting scenarios to pick for your mercenary company. Face an entirely new faction of barbarians in battle, wear new viking and rus themed gear, and follow the legend of the ‘Ijirok’, a mythical creature of the frozen north!

  • Origins - Pick one of ten different origins and play as northern barbarians, peasant militia, or a flock of cultists. Each origin has special rules that shape your campaign into a different experience from beginning to end.
  • New Opponents - Face an entirely new faction of northern barbarians, complete with their own gear and unique mechanics.
  • Legendary Locations - Visit two new legendary locations and fight two new bosses in a quest that leads to a legendary reward.
  • Champions - Hunt down enemy champions and face them in battle to claim famed items for yourself.
  • New Banners and Gear - Dress in style with a collection of new viking and rus inspired banners, shields, helmets and armors. Use new weapons and let loose the new nordic warhound!
  • New Contracts and Events - Earn your stay in the north by taking on new contracts. Immerse yourself in leading a mercenary company with even more illustrated events.
  • New Music - Two new music tracks accompany you on your adventures.
  • New Achievements - Challenge yourself with new achievements.
Warriors of the North is available now at Steam and GOG for $9. You can learn more about the DLC's new features from Overhype's weekly development updates, helpfully linked here. The changelog for the accompanying 1.3 version update for the base game is available here.

There are 8 comments on Battle Brothers - Warriors of the North DLC Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 9 May 2019, 01:42:40

Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

It took Obsidian a lot longer than expected to finalize the turn-based mode for Pillars of Eternity II. Turns out that's not the only thing they were working on. Today is the one year anniversary of the game's release, an appropriate date for its last major update. In addition to the finalized turn-based mode and new ship combat UI, Patch 5.0 includes substantial content changes - namely, additional dialogue with Eothas and Woedica written to address criticisms of the game's storyline, and a relocation of certain quest items to make the Anarchist path longer and more challenging. But for Josh Sawyer the highlight of Patch 5.0 is The Ultimate Challenge, a 12th god challenge mode that enables all eleven existing god challenges plus Trial of Iron, Path of the Damned, Expert Mode, upwards level scaling, and you have to play solo. The first twelve players who manage to complete the game (including all major enemies and boss battles) under these restrictions will have their names immortalized on a plaque in Obsidian's lobby. You can learn more about all of this in the new Fig update and its accompanying video:

Patch 5.0 Highlights

There are a host of bug fixes in the 5.0 update that you can read on our forums, but here are some of the highlights for you:
  • New Ship UI
    • An update to the UI has been implemented that will come up any time you engage with a ship on the seas that brings a more elegant way to perform ship-to-ship encounters.
  • Turn-Based Mode Out of Beta
    • Thanks to feedback from the community, we have made a lot of changes to turn-based mode to account for bugs and balance fixes and it is now in full release with the 5.0 patch.
  • New Story Content Added
    • After listening to feedback on the critical path of the game when it came to reactivity with Woedica and Eothas, so we’ve decided to go in and write new lines and get them recorded by the original actors to add more to that aspect of the game.
  • Anarchist Path Adjustments
    • Some critical path items have been moved out of Neketaka to other locations in the Deadfire to address the difficulty and length that the game had if choosing to not side with a faction at Ondra’s Mortar.
  • The Ultimate
    • The final God Challenge will be live with the 5.0 patch. This challenge, “The Ultimate” will turn on all other God Challenges, Trial of Iron, Path of the Damned, and Solo mode.
So I guess this is the end of Pillars of Eternity II, although it wouldn't surprise me if there are a few more minor updates leading up to the console release later this year. What next for Josh Sawyer and everybody else at Obsidian who isn't working on The Outer Worlds? It might be some time before we find out.

There are 71 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #61: Patch 5.0

Wed 8 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 8 May 2019, 23:57:20

Tags: Florian Schwarzer; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

The next clan confirmed to be featured in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 are the Tremere, mages of the vampire world. This time it was VentureBeat who got the exclusive early reveal before Paradox officially announced the news in their weekly stream. The Tremere aren't as powerful as they used to be in the latest edition of the Vampire: The Masquerade setting, but individual members are still formidable. In addition to their highly destructive blood sorcery attacks, in Bloodlines 2 they also receive clairvoyance-oriented abilities allowing them to see through walls or even psychically project themselves. Here's the trailer and details from the official website. Once again, watch for the brief gameplay snippet at the end:


Tremere were not allowed in significant numbers throughout Seattle's history, though that has changed recently. After the fall of the Pyramid, Tremere have sought allies wherever they can find them, offering services and secrets that were once only kept to themselves. At least a few Tremere have managed to settle in the Pacific Northwest. However, not all Kindred in Seattle warmly welcome the warlocks into their city, citing historical precedent and general distrust of their ways. Still, the blood magic of the Tremere cannot be denied as a force to be respected. Whether or not the Tremere are here to stay is another matter entirely…

In nights long before Seattle, the Tremere were something else. Back then, as occultists seeking immortality, they found a way to live forever - but not on their own terms. The heavy price they paid bound their magic to blood, with it becoming both the focus of their powers and the cost for using them. The mostly forgotten origin of their curse still colors their interactions with other Kindred, who mistrust them instinctually. History repeats itself for the Tremere, with war, suspicion and grudges marking both their origin and their modern nights.


Knowledge-obsessed, usurpers, warlocks, heretics, blood witches; the Tremere get called many things. Players who choose to join their ranks gain access to the secrets of two new Disciplines on top of the individual powers from their Thinblooded past.


Few secrets are guarded more jealously by the Tremere than their signature Discipline: Blood sorcery. Followers of the Path of Blood gain almost unparalleled destructive power.

• Skewer (Blood Cost: 3), the first active Thaumaturgy power, launches a small portion of the vampire’s Vitae at the feet of their enemies, where it erupts in a patch of razor-sharp spikes. Once they dissolve, a stream of blood flows back to the caster. The • • slot upgrades Skewer.

• • • Purge (Blood Cost: 3), the second active power, allows the vampire to make their victims vomit up blood, damaging them heavily. A stream of blood flows back to the caster. The • • • • and • • • • • slots enhance Purge, until it reaches its ultimate potential.

• • • • • Blood Boil (Blood Cost: 2 x 3). A master of Thaumaturgy may cast Purge for a second time on an affected NPC, causing the blood in their veins to sear. The wretch explodes within moments; bystanders in a large area are damaged. Blood from each victim streams back to the caster.

Use of Thaumaturgy in front of witnesses is a Masquerade Violation.


Nothing stays hidden to those who master the Discipline of Auspex. By expanding their own senses beyond the boundaries of their bodies, these Kindred inch ever closer to their personal idea of perfection.

• Aura Sense (Blood Cost: 2), Auspex’ first active, allows the vampire to spot NPCs even through walls, read crowds at a glance, and mark individuals to keep them in their sights over long distances. It also allows the user to spot the weaknesses in the marked NPC’s attack and defense. The • • and • • • • • slots enhance Aura Sense.

• • • Psychic Projection (Blood Cost: 2), the second active, detaches the vampire’s mind from their body. Untethered, they can explore the area in astral form, remaining free to use Aura Sight to mark any character they spot. Beyond that, the vampire’s mastery of their own senses has grown to such an extent that they can telepathically overwhelm the senses of others for a short while. The • • • • slot enhances Psychic Projection.

Use of Auspex is not a Masquerade Violation.
That's three down, three to go. Toreador and Ventrue seem like a sure thing, but what'll the last one be?

There are 25 comments on Bloodlines 2 Clan Introduction - Tremere

Thu 2 May 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 2 May 2019, 20:59:35

Tags: Florian Schwarzer; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

After an early reveal at PC Gamer, in today's stream Paradox officially unveiled the Brujah as one of the clans that will be featured in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. The Brujah are known as hot-headed rebels and brawlers, and their special abilities are appropriately physical in nature - super strength and super speed. Here's the new trailer, once again with a brief glimpse of gameplay at the end, and details from the official website:


The Pacific Northwest has a long history of attracting outcasts and drifters, those looking to keep some level of anonymity and independence. The Brujah have never been a large part of the Seattle Kindred community, but when they do show up to a party, they make their presence known immediately. Many of the Seattle Brujah are leftovers from failed Anarch movements in the past century, most choosing to remain unaffiliated or loosely affiliated with the city’s political factions – or at least, they like to claim that.

Generally, Brujah gather at a “bash”, which can be loosely summed up as a sort of fight club for the undead. They use these events to assert their physical superiority to the rest of the clans and to celebrate the raw power of their bloodline. That’s not to say they don’t invite other clans to enter, but it’s rare that any but the Brujah dominate the bash. The champions of these fights are rumored to make good money hiring themselves out as muscle for anyone who can afford them. Supposedly, business is booming in Seattle these nights…


Among vampires, the Brujahs’ powers are as overwhelming as their convictions. For the player who chooses to join the Rabble, two new ancient Disciplines become available in addition to their individual powers from their Thinblooded past.


The signature Discipline of the Brujah imbues their undead bodies with the pinnacle of raw Kindred strength. Nobody underestimates the strength of a Brujah twice.

• Fist of Caine (Blood Cost: 2), Potence’s first active power, allows the Brujah to deliver a devastating punch that turns walls into rubble and throws enemies through the air, tearing of limbs and causing collateral damage. The • • slot enhances these devastating effects even further.

• • • Earthshock (Blood Cost: 2), the second active power, smashes the ground with titanic force. The impact causes a shockwave around the player, damaging and knocking down anyone who dared to stray too close. After further upgrades with the • • • • and • • • • • slots, the ground cracks under the Brujah’s onslaught, sending fissures outwards and damaging anyone caught in this cataclysm.

Use of Potence powers in front of unsuspecting mortals is a Masquerade Violation.


Some Kindred strike faster, dodge quicker, and escape more nimbly than any mortal creature could hope to. They use Celerity, the Discipline of pushing their bodies’ speed beyond all limits.

• Unseen Storm (Blood Cost: 2), the first active, allows the vampire to dash in a direction of their choice at such a speed as to momentarily disappear from view, allowing them to land attacks, dodge around enemies, or get away before the dust has time to settle. Characters struck along the way of the dash get knocked down. The • • slot further enhances the Unseen Storm.

• • • Accelerate (Blood Cost: 5), the second active, opens up speeds so fast that everything else in the world appears to slow down to a virtual standstill. Assailants seem frozen in their attacks, cars crawl forward, bullets zip by lazily, and the vampire can get up to the kinds of stunts that, with a popular 80’s synth track in the background, would make an awesome movie scene. The • • • • and • • • • • slots allow the vampire to further improve their acceleration.

If any innocent mortal can spot a use of Celerity, it’s a Masquerade Violation.
Definitely a bit of influence from the newer crop of immersive sims here. It'll be interesting to see how they deal with the more social-oriented clans.

There are 51 comments on Bloodlines 2 Clan Introduction - Brujah

Thu 25 April 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 25 April 2019, 23:56:06

Tags: Ctrl Alt Ninja; Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

Two weeks after entering beta, Ctrl Alt Ninja have announced a release date for Druidstone. As expected, the game will be out on May 15th, three weeks from today. It's now available for preorder from the official website. They've put together a new preorder trailer which showcases some interesting combat scenarios and abilities.

Are you excited about Druidstone? Are you in the market for a beautifully hand-crafted game made by a small team of dedicated professionals, with the kind of turn-based gameplay that is custom-designed to tell your brain to ramp up that dopamine production? Are you a savvy customer who knows a good deal when they see it and wants to save a cool 10% on the purchase price?

Good! Then you should be pleased to know that the release of Druidstone is upon us! More specifically, Druidstone will be released in just three weeks, on May 15th and we are launching pre-orders today! That’s right, if you pre-order now you will get both a Steam key and a DRM-free standalone version with a 10% discount. You will also receive a special pre-order bonus, a free copy of a digital book, featuring concept art, behind-the-scenes information and other material from the making of Druidstone. The book will be delivered to you two weeks after the game’s release on May 31st and will be sold separately at $4.99.

To celebrate the milestone we have also released a new trailer. As we are a tiny team of just four full time developers, we don’t have the luxury of having a marketing team or even just one person dedicated to PR. In fact, all of us are busy polishing the game. That’s why we’re asking for your help. Please consider telling about Druidstone to your friends, families and on the web. We would appreciate it very much!
Seems like a decent deal. Click the link if you're interested in preordering.

There are 42 comments on Druidstone releasing on May 15th, now available for preorder

Wed 24 April 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 24 April 2019, 20:49:23

Tags: Florian Schwarzer; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Today on on their Twitch channel, Paradox broadcast the first episode in what will be a series of weekly streams introducing the six vampire clans that will be featured in the initial launch of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. The first "clan" to be introduced is the Thinblood vampire class that player characters will start out as before joining one of the proper clans. In Bloodlines 2 thinbloods receive a few unique powers of their own, including the ability to summon bats, perform telekinesis and shroud themselves in mist. A brief new trailer offers us a look at a typical moment in the day of a newly embraced thinblood vampire, with several precious seconds of pre-alpha gameplay footage at the end. More details are available on the new page added to the game's official website. I quote:

Seattle has generally attracted a younger crowd and some of them unfortunately wind up on the streets of the city. For the Kindred, the thinbloods are their own version of street kids, and in recent years, their numbers have grown at what some might consider an alarming rate.

Despite being permitted in the city, many thinbloods don’t survive very long. With little understanding of what they are or the rules of Kindred society, they face a struggle to simply exist in a city carved up by established political factions. Many are killed when they pose a threat to the Masquerade. A few find work as grunts and runners for the less scrupulous denizens of Seattle. It’s not unheard of for a thinblood to gain enough respect to earn a more prominent role in a faction, but they are rarely shown the same respect or legal standing a full-blood clan member enjoys. It’s a hard, short life for most thinbloods in Seattle, but it’s also a city of opportunity for the few that can navigate their way into the higher circles of vampire society.

This Thinblood discipline calls on the vampire’s strong affinity to bats, allowing her to move through the air and summon swarms.

• Glide (Blood Cost: 1) is Chiropteran’s first active power, and can be enhanced by investing in the • • slot. Glide greatly lowers the weight of the vampire’s skeleton and muscle mass to allow them to float on updrafts, reaching otherwise inaccessible areas. In the air, the vampire can swoop into NPC to knock them down, pounce on enemies far below, or use the height advantage to rain down Disciplines from afar.

• • • Bat Swarm (Blood Cost: 2), the second active power, allows the vampire to summon a small swarm of bats to attack a target NPC, temporarily disabling them and dealing low damage. The • • • • and • • • • • slots grow this power, until a true Maelstrom of leathery wings surrounds the vampire, harrying and damaging any enemy who dares come too close.

This Thinblood discipline allows the vampire to manipulate objects through telekinesis - allowing them to even pull weapons from enemies’ hands.

• Pull (Blood Cost: 0/1, target dependent) is Mentalism’s first active. It allows the vampire to manipulate inanimate objects from afar - whether that’s an inconvenient obstacle, or the knife in the hands of the NPC bearing down on them. The • • slot upgrades Pull even further.

• • • Levitate (Blood Cost: 2), the second active power, suspends a living NPC in the air. Its strength can be enhanced with the • • • • and • • • • • slots, until the vampire can levitate everyone and everything in an area, and throw suspended enemies around like ragdolls.


This Thinblood discipline allow the vampire to call on her affinity to mist, allowing her to summon and command it.

• Mist Shroud (Blood Cost: 2), Nebulation’s first active power, envelops the vampire with mist for a short time, muffling footsteps and making them slightly harder to notice. In addition, the vampire can partially transform into mist for one invocation to either perform a choking attack on an NPC, or travel through tight spaces. The • • slot enhances these powers even further.

• • • Envelop (Blood Cost: 3), the second active, creates a stationary, swirling cloud of mist that surrounds, blinds and forcefully enters the lungs of NPC that touch it. It and Mist Shroud both can be further improved with the • • • • and • • • • • slots.
The next clan introduction stream will be broadcast next Thursday, and on Wednesdays thereafter. Five more clans just about covers the time from now until E3, where I assume the full gameplay footage will finally be revealed. I'm also told that the dev diaries are going to be published on a monthly basis.

There are 56 comments on Bloodlines 2 Clan Introduction - Thinbloods

Mon 22 April 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Mon 22 April 2019, 23:54:55

Tags: Brian Mitsoda; Florian Schwarzer; Hardsuit Labs; Ka'ai Cluney; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Hardsuit Labs' Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 was announced a month ago. There have been several more articles about it in the press since then, including an extensive interview at VentureBeat and two interview videos at Shacknews and Noclip. No gameplay footage has been revealed yet. It looks we might have to wait until E3 for that. In the meantime, Paradox have decided to begin publishing Bloodlines 2 dev diaries on the game's official forum. The first entry is a brief introduction by producer Liz Starr. It's not particularly interesting but it is a good excuse to post those interview videos, which feature Brian Mitsoda and Hardsuit Labs creative director Ka'ai Cluney:

Hello, my name is Liz Starr, I am one of the Producers at Hardsuit Labs, and I have the dream job of working on Bloodlines 2. I am very happy to bring you this dev diary about Hardsuit Labs and the story behind our fantastic team.

Hardsuit Labs began in 2015 with Andy Kipling, Russell Nelson, and a team of about 20 people. We had all worked at another studio together before. When that place went out of business, Andy and Russ – then a Production Director and Tech Director – decided to ask a few of their former teammates to help start something new. Back then, we thought that it’d take maybe five years of bringing older games to newer formats for this band of veterans to gain enough reputation to pitch a full game production.

Two years later, Ka’ai Cluney, our Creative Director, burst into Andy’s office with an idea he and his friend Brian Mitsoda had come up with. Ka’ai is one of those people who seems to have been everywhere and done everything; from design at id Software and Monolith to building roofs in Alaska. He had worked with Brian (of Troika and Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines fame) before. Together, they came up with a concept that lured Brian out of his own indie studio, into our team.

More importantly, it convinced Andy and Russ to go all in and to start pitching that full game project three years earlier than we’d have guessed.

When I discovered that what we were pitching was Bloodlines 2, I was beyond excited. Not only because Paradox has released some games that I give much of my free time to, but also because I am a huge World of Darkness fan. I wish I could tell my LARPing younger Ventrue self that she would one day be working on this game.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one: One of the wonderful things about World of Darkness and Hardsuit Labs is that we have a lot of fans in the team. There’ve been off-hours Vampire tabletop games in the conference room since before the project properly started. Those who were new to the IP were gently introduced to the fandom and have also embraced it.

Nowadays, Hardsuit Labs is a good mix of seasoned veterans and recently bloodied developers of many different backgrounds. One example of strengthening this mix is Cara Ellison, who joined us early last year. Cara's known to some for her work as a journalist (at Rock Paper Shotgun et. al), to others for her work on Dishonored 2... and to even fewer for her testing on GTA4. We value our diversity of experience and the diversity of us as individuals; we know this brings more perspective to our work and company culture, and ultimately creates better games.

For Bloodlines 2, this team is putting all its passion and motivation behind the narrative of Brian and Cara. We can’t wait for you to sink your teeth into it!
It's a start, I guess. I wonder if they're going to publish these on a weekly basis as with Paradox's own titles.

There are 24 comments on Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #1: Who is Hardsuit Labs?

Sun 14 April 2019

Codex Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 14 April 2019, 01:56:35

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

The Copper Dreams backer alpha has been out since last year, but not too many people appear to have played it. That's a shame, because the game has changed so much since it was Kickstarted back in 2016 that I suspect most of us have long since lost grasp of what it's about. Only Joe & Hannah from Whalenought know where this train is headed, but what we can do is take a look at the currently available alpha build, which is what esteemed user Diggfinger volunteered to do. Here's an excerpt from his preview:

Speaking of guns, let’s get into combat. One of the novelties of Copper Dreams is its ‘strategic turn-based combat with time-based resolution’ system (Whalenought’s marketing department is working on a snappier term). It’s reminiscent of the combat in Grandia, in that turns take time to execute. You can issue actions in order of initiative, at which point time stops. But having issued your command enemies can act and adapt their action, e.g. seek cover from grenades or dodge. Actions take ‘ticks’ to execute, i.e. pulling an aimed attack might cost 6 ticks. This can create interesting dynamics, where enemies might stun you with a quick attack before you can carry out your planned headshot. So it adds an additional layer of strategic planning, with more factors to take into account before issuing your actions. In the latest version, you can even use the mouse wheel to advance time in ticks (i.e. 0.25 seconds) while watching your party members carry out their actions. It’s surprisingly cool, and especially handy for tough battles where you want to keep everything under control.

Loot is basically nonexistent at this point. I managed to scavenge a few laser-SMGs from the guards and later on some knives, but I could not search or move their bodies.

Also of interest is the wounds system. Hit points are completely absent. Instead, your character’s status is determined by the number of hits they have taken. Wounds are applied to specific body parts: head, torso, arms, and legs. The penalties you get differ depending on where you are hit. I.e. a shot to the head might decrease your chance to hit, while getting hit in the torso or legs can cause bleeding and affect movement speed. In theory this is cool, but it seems the negative effects on player characters are not fully implemented at this stage.

My thoughts on combat are mixed so far. On one hand, I like how the turn-based system allows more player agency and adds depth to the classic formula, and it generally plays well. On the other hand, it still needs a lot of balancing and polish in that everything seems to happen way too fast. After you issue an action, the screen just explodes with enemies, shooting/ducking/moving at a frantic pace for a few seconds before everything freezes again. Added to this is the lack of sound effects and general feedback, meaning you are often at a loss as to how the situation is progressing. I also found it bizarre how apparently different attack types (targeted, burst, quick etc.) have identical damage potential. Intuitively, using more ‘ticks’ should result in more damage to compensate for the time needed. Fortunately, I think these issues are the fault of the game being unpolished in its current state rather than the system being inherently ‘bad’. If they manage to polish and balance it well enough, it has the potential to be interesting.

I really liked the wounds system. Having no HPs seems radical at first, but the decent visual cues mean you barely notice their absence. Aiming at heads and limbs can lead to critical hits, instant kills and ‘shock-effects’ which is fun to play around with. Strangely though, it seems that applying medkits during combat costs no ticks. That means you can effectively stitch and heal up your wounds ad infinitum while the enemies politely wait around. This will surely be addressed but sticks out in the game's current state.

As for stealth, it’s difficult to really assess at the moment. As mentioned, it is not possible to move/hide bodies which was a big deal during the Kickstarter campaign and subsequent updates.

Character progression also remains a mystery, as it is not featured in the alpha. According to Joe and Hannah, the game will start with the player being interviewed by the government officials. This will allow you to choose background traits, appearance and stats like aptitudes and proficiencies. It seems like you will be able recruits NPCs as well (including mind-controlled ones), a feature which is already somewhat present in the latest version of the alpha. But your followers just drone around, so I didn’t particularly enjoy that feature.

I’m slightly worried about the absence of XP points. Apparently, the goal is to scrap XP completely in favor of rewarding you with skill points for completing missions. Personally, I love getting XP both for killing enemies and completing quests. It’s a don’t fix if ain't broke issue for me, but I can see why Joe and Hannah want to try something different. Let’s hope it works out.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Preview: Copper Dreams Alpha

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Sat 13 April 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 13 April 2019, 01:23:55

Tags: Queen's Wish: The Conqueror; Spiderweb Software

Last year, Jeff Vogel went to Kickstarter to fund his new BioWare-inspired retro RPG, Queen's Wish: The Conqueror. The game didn't really look any more impressive than anything he'd created before, but that didn't stop Jeff's small but dedicated fanbase from dumping almost $100k on it. Since then there have been regular monthly Kickstarter updates, and now the game is close enough to release that it's time for a trailer and Steam page. You know the drill:

You are royalty of the mighty empire of Haven! Your mother the Queen rules, while you enjoyed a life of sheltered luxury. Then, one morning, you woke up to find yourself banished to a brutal war-torn land. Your job? Prove yourself by conquering it, or don’t bother to come home.

At last, you have been given wealth, magic, soldiers, power. The Queen thinks you will submit and join the family business. You might have other ideas ...

Queen's Wish: The Conquerer is a epic, indie fantasy role-playing adventure. Wander free through an enormous world, sink into a fascinating story full of surprises and interesting decisions, and use your cunning to outwit a multitude of dungeons and foes. In this open-ended adventure, you can build an Empire or free the oppressed. Serve the Queen or rebel. Fight or use diplomacy. Build fortresses, smith enchanted blades and armor, and deal with nagging relatives!

Queen's Wish: The Conquerer features:

  • Epic fantasy adventure with over 50 hours of gameplay.
  • Open-ended story in a variety of mysterious lands, featuring many choices, paths and endings. Lots of replay value.
  • Suspenseful tactical combat. Select from fifty different abilities. Build and rebuild your warriors to face rapidly changing foes.
  • Explore (and conquer) an enormous outdoors and a huge variety of dungeons and enemy fortresses.
  • Gain strength with a unique fortress system. Build and equip fortresses, making your warriors stronger in a wide variety of ways.
  • Not just orcs and elves. Features the unforgettable races and characters that make Spiderweb Software adventures unique.
  • Over 100 side quests and hundreds of magical artifacts to hunt for.
Enjoy a new adventure from Spiderweb Software, now celebrating 25 years of making fine indie fantasy role-playing goodness.
Queen's Wish is due out sometime this fall, which is a bit later than the May release date declared in the Kickstarter campaign, but that's expected. Mockery of graphics aside, the concept seems promising enough. Hopefully Jeff will find the right balance of Dragon Age and Avernum with this one.

There are 92 comments on Queen's Wish: The Conqueror gets a trailer, coming Fall 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 13 April 2019, 00:40:56

Tags: Ctrl Alt Ninja; Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest

Ctrl Alt Ninja have published a press release announcing that Druidstone has entered beta. The game is now feature and content-complete and just needs to be polished to perfection, which they'll be doing with the help of a small group of carefully selected beta testers. The announcement comes with a new screenshot:


Having worked super hard on the game for the past weeks, we are proud to announce that Druidstone has hit beta and is well on its way to release this Spring. Before you ask, the beta will be a closed one and we will work with a few chosen betatesters we know. This has worked well in the past and we’d like to continue the tradition. Below is an official press release we just sent out. We’ll blog more about the beta and about recent happenings on the development side later this week.

Until then!


Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest has reached beta!

ESPOO, FINLAND – APRIL 10, 2019. Indie game developer Ctrl Alt Ninja Ltd., founded by the co-creators of the critically acclaimed Legend of Grimrock games, is proud to announce that their upcoming tactical RPG, Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest is getting close to launch. By reaching beta, the game now includes all game features, enemies and levels present in the final game. “Druidstone is a brand new IP for us and we are excited to see how the fans of Grimrock will react to our take on the turn-based formula,” says Juho Salila (co-founder/artist). “The game is already very near shipping quality and the feedback we get from beta testers will allow us to polish every aspect of the game until everything is perfect and shining,” continues Petri Häkkinen (co-founder/designer-programmer). The beta will be closed, with access given to a carefully selected group of people. Keeping the beta closed allows the developers to personally interact with the testers, and thus get more accurate feedback.

Ctrl Alt Ninja has been working on the game in various forms for four years. The success of the creators’ previous titles provided the team the luxury of trying out different game ideas and working on several prototypes before they decided on Druidstone: the deeply tactical turn-based game of their dreams.

Druidstone, to be released in Spring 2019 for Windows, is a labor of love for its makers, who grew up playing old school computer and tabletop games. A tactical, single-player, turn-based roleplaying game, Druidstone combines the best qualities of modern RPGs with the elegance of tactical boardgames, presented in lush, colorful graphics that make its fantasy world come to life. Every action counts, and careful tactical thinking is a must, as players fight their way through the game’s painstakingly hand-crafted missions, which are as beautiful as they are challenging.

The peace and quiet of Menhir Forest is threatened by a cancerous corruption that spreads through it. Caught in the flow of events are Aava, the missing archdruid’s daughter, who must now shoulder her father’s responsibilities, Leonhard, a Warden of the forest with a mysterious purpose, and Oiko, the failed Red Priest who is living proof that one may be very smart without being particularly wise. Along the way, they meet companions and villains, whose unique personalities and abilities make every encounter memorable.

Get ready to venture forth and uncover the secrets of the Menhir Forest!
Too bad there's still no exact release date. According to one of the game's developers on Steam they're aiming towards "late spring in Finland", so perhaps it'll be in May.

There are 3 comments on Druidstone has reached beta

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