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Thu 2 December 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 2 December 2021, 01:10:59

Tags: Shiro Games; Wartales

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As promised last month, Shiro Games' mercenary band tactical RPG Wartales was released into Early Access today. Since the game was announced back in June, there have been eleven development updates plus the Steam Next Fest demo which has now been taken down. But there's not much to say about it other than it's clearly a take on the Battle Brothers formula with a more conventional visual style. The Early Access release trailer appears to be an extended version of last month's release date trailer:

Shiro seem to have made an effort to promote Wartales before its release. A number of websites have published previews of the Early Access build, including Rock Paper Shotgun who also had free copies of the game for their subscribers this week. The general impression seems to be "a bit raw but promising". Here's the list of previews:

Wartales is available on Steam for $35 with a 10% launch discount until next week, a price some may call excessive for an Early Access title. Gotta pay a premium for the legs, I guess. According to the Early Access FAQ, Shiro are aiming for a final launch about a year from now.

There are 1 comments on Wartales now available on Early Access

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Wed 1 December 2021

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 December 2021, 00:47:08

Tags: Expeditions: Rome; Logic Artists; THQ Nordic

The Expeditions: Rome special event teased earlier this month out turned out to be a contest to produce a cover version of one of the game's musical tracks. Hopefully someday THQ Nordic will tell us when they plan to launch the game, but for now they're moving on from music to voice-overs. You may or may not recall that Rome is set to feature full voice acting, and the eleventh dev diary is all about the challenges Logic Artists faced while producing it. The actual recording was done by UK-based voiceover studio PitStop Productions, who have previously worked with Obsidian and Larian, and it sounds like they did a pretty good job. Here's an excerpt:

It’s no secret that roleplaying games tend to be on the verbose side. Though we here at Logic Artists have always prided ourselves on writing more concise and less waffling dialogue than our competitors, our games have always been long and heavily story-based, so inevitably our dialogue word count always ends up in the hundreds of thousands. As an independent game studio, the cost of recording that much dialogue is prohibitive, and so the best we could do on Viking was to record combat one-liners and a few very select lines of dialogue to set the tone for each major character.

Thus you may be able to imagine how overjoyed we were when THQ Nordic rolled in and told us to go ahead and record every single word of dialogue for Expeditions: Rome. Now, on Rome we have made a concerted effort to keep the dialogue even more concise and punchy than before – we’ve almost eliminated use of narrator text during dialogue, and worked hard to put as much of the actual actions of what’s happening in the scene into the actual game world, so you can see characters move and animate instead of having it described to you. Even so, Rome is the largest game we’ve ever made by a pretty large margin, and so we still ended up with over 300,000 words of dialogue.

Early in the project, we needed to record some voice-over for a vertical slice – a sort of prototype that would serve as “proof of concept” to demonstrate how the game would end up looking and feeling when it was finished. We sent out some test lines and character descriptions and solicited auditions from a few different studios, but none of them really struck a chord with us. Then we found Pitstop in the UK – the quality of the acting they sent back to us was phenomenally better than the other studios we’d tried. We knew at once we had our partner.

Recording all that dialogue is not done overnight. We decided to split the task into three “batches” – the first batch would include all main story dialogue up to but not including the finale. The second batch would be the finale and all side quests. The third and final batch would come after our content lockdown and would be for corrections, late additions, and anything we’d had to add or change as part of polish or bug-fixing.

The first step in the whole process was to send Pitstop all material we had on the game, and sit down with their directors to work through what the story was about and what kind of aesthetic we were going for. We sent a list of every character in the game, with demographic details, descriptions, and notes about where, when, and how they would appear. The game has 270 unique characters, so this was no small thing for them to deal with. After looking over this list, Pitstop sent us a questionnaire for each of the roles we had identified as our major characters, asking about their backstory, personality, relationships with and attitudes towards each other, and above all where their personal character arc would take them.

Now we were ready for the casting. Pitstop’s casting director Josh divided our enormous character list into 40 distinct roles. For the minor characters, he assigned actors that Pitstop already knew and had worked with before. For the major characters, sample lines from our script were sent out to agents, and we got back recorded auditions from a large group of actors trying for each part. We had a blast listening to all these different interpretations of our characters.

For some parts, the choice was self-evident – for example, for the role of the player’s patron, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, the voice of James Gillies immediately stood out as having the precise perfect mix of stern authority and fatherly warmth that we had in mind when we wrote our take on the famous imperator. Other characters were much harder to nail down and required several different casting calls to find someone who hit the mark. Julia Calida in particular was a very difficult part to cast, and it took us three attempts to find Rosie Jones, who brought an appropriately brooding tom-boyish edge to the part.

Some characters we chose to deliberately cast against type – perhaps a manifestation of our natural tendency towards shying away from the expected. We have an antagonist played by an actor who always plays heroes, and a loyal old mentor played by an actor who is always cast as a villain. Their performances add a layer of nuance to their characters that we might never have got if we had gone for the obvious casting choice.
The devstream about this topic is scheduled for December 1st. No special announcements planned this time.

There are 6 comments on Expeditions: Rome Dev Diary #11 - Voice-Overs

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Tue 30 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 30 November 2021, 23:55:15

Tags: Big Bad Wolf; Nacon; Vampire: the Masquerade - Swansong

Having introduced all three protagonists, earlier this month Nacon published a dev diary for Big Bad Wolf's upcoming narrative RPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong about the making of the game's soundtrack, along with a couple of sample tracks. It seemed like things were on track for a release in February, but it turns out the developers need some more time. Yesterday they announced on social media that Swansong will be launching on May 19th.

With Swansong, we are taking the narrative-RPG formula so core to our studio DNA and scaling up as we adapt the systems from the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop into a video game experience. The political intrigue and supernatural mystery baked into the setting are a perfect fit for the story we want to tell.

Our focus is on crafting a world that draws you in, that requires you to make difficult decisions and live with the consequences. Swansong features lots of characters, choices, dialogues, and opportunities to decide how the story plays and our ultimate focus is on quality. With this in mind, we’ve made the difficult decision to delay the launch of Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong from February 2022 to May 2022.

This wasn’t a decision we took lightly, but one necessary to ensure the highest possible quality while retaining a healthy work-life balance for our team. Granted, the pandemic also threw a couple of wrenches into our planning, but this delay will allow us to apply some additional polish and give us some extra time for QA. We’re a small but very passionate team, eager to create an immersive experience that rivals the sort of personal storytelling you’d experience from a great tabletop session. One that leaves you with questions long after the credits have stopped rolling (but a reason to go back and see how things could have been different).

Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong will be available on May 19, 2022.

We can’t wait to share more with you, so stay tuned. Thank you very much for your patience and all of your support.​

I imagine not having to release on the same month as Elden Ring is another bonus. At least we have an exact date now.

There are 10 comments on Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong delayed to May 19th

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Wed 24 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 24 November 2021, 23:55:52

Tags: Animmal; Hooded Horse; The Way of Wrath

Animmal's unique early Bronze Age RPG The Way of Wrath was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter back in February. The campaign even managed to hit a couple of stretch goals, including one for an optional real-time-with-pause mode. Although it's hard to tell due to the developers' puzzling choice to make most of their post-funding Kickstarter updates private, it seems that an early access build was released to backers in July and that development is progressing well. Yesterday Animmal announced that they'd managed to score a publishing deal with Hooded Horse, the Dallas-based indie publisher behind strategy titles such as Terra Invicta and Old World. Here's the obligatory new trailer and an excerpt from the announcement:

We have some exciting news for you!

We've teamed up with the Hooded Horse, this amazing team will be publishing and marketing The Way of Wrath RPG. We're very excited about this partnership as the Hooded Horse has a very unique and developer-friendly approach, they are hardcore RPG & Strategy gamers at heart and we instantly clicked with the team. Hooded Horse will be marketing our game and publishing the game on different stores and platforms. While we'll focus even more on the game development.

We have won in a local start-up funding event!

We participated in a start-up competition and we were among the finalists! Our team will receive additional funding to improve the game which will result in some cool upgrades to game animations and add additional depth to exploration and combat.

What this all means for the game.

Some really exciting stuff! The game will become much better with the new resources we have. We'll be getting an animation motion capture system, a special suit that can record real-life movement and translate it into digital animation we can use in the game. The animations, especially the shaman rituals will be getting a huge upgrade, we'll also be able to include more cinematic scenes. There will also be a lot more NPC animations and activities, so the world will be brought to life.

With more development time freed now that we have a publishing partner, we'll be improving combat and exploration depth with extended navigation options and more of the world interactivity. We're very happy to have a chance to realize our game in more detail.

To make use of all these new possibilities of improving the game, we'll need to expand the development time and this will affect the release date. We cannot say the exact new release date right now, we'll need some time with the new tools and gameplay prototypes to lock down the specifics. But we should have more information and details in the next update.

But as always we'll be sharing the latest game updates with you and you'll be able to play the game early through the exclusive backer beta.
As mentioned in the update, The Way of Wrath has been delayed past its rather optimistic original release date of early 2022, although according to its Steam page it's still scheduled to launch sometime next year. Animmal's earlier plans to release a public Early Access build have also been called off.

There are 35 comments on The Way of Wrath to be published by Hooded Horse

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Wed 17 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 17 November 2021, 23:58:23

Tags: Mechajammer; Whalenought Studios

Following last weekend's announcement of a release date for Mechajammer, Whalenought have put together a trailer of their own. It's a pretty fun trailer, with cool music, lots of pixelated cyberpunk violence, and goofy live action appearances by Joe and Hannah. Check it out:

Seems like between Whalenought and their publisher, we might see more of Mechajammer in the next two weeks than we saw of it for entire years.

There are 70 comments on Mechajammer Kickstarter Update #38: Gameplay Trailer

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 17 November 2021, 23:09:05

Tags: ELEX II; Piranha Bytes; THQ Nordic

THQ Nordic announced the launch date for ELEX II last week, but instead of putting together a gameplay trailer to go along with it they tried to hawk the game's Collector's Edition. How disrespectful. But here now is a proper trailer introducing ELEX II's five major factions. The three factions from the first game are joined by the Albs, who are now a playable faction as well, and a new group of fanatics called the Morkons. The accompanying press release has more information:

Essen, Germany / Vienna, Austria - November 17th, 2021: Five major factions are holding the power in Magalan. The Berserkers are skilled magicians, who use the power of Elex to perform all different kinds of spells. They have managed to transform the desert of Tavar into a green and lush utopia and have established an outpost in the former stronghold of the Outlaws. This faction is scattered throughout Magalan - some outlaws have joined the Berserkers when they took over Tavar, some moved to the crater landscape of Ateris, and have continued their life of crime.

The Albs have learned from their defeat in ELEX and have returned as a playable faction. Jax can once again choose to become an Alb Commander. They have reduced their usage of Elex drastically, as they have seen how effective an Alb with actual emotions can be when Jax brought down the Hybrid. They are still not the most joyful lot, but their combat prowess makes them an interesting choice. Faction number four is the Clerics, who are famous for their love of engineering and crafting powerful combat robots powered by Elex. The Clerics paid a high price in the war against the Albs. Not only did they lose their home in Ignadon but many of their brothers and sisters fell on the battlefield as well.

The Morkons are a brand new faction in ELEX II. When the meteor hit Magalan, some survivors fled to an underground tunnel system and lived a life of darkness and deprivation. But recently, they've started to leave their isolation and want to spread their religion all over Magalan and wipe out anyone standing against them.

These are the playable factions in ELEX II, each offering their own unique weapons and skills. It’s up to the players to decide where their allegiance lies!
Looks like like the Skyanides are called "Skyands" now. Okay!

There are 77 comments on ELEX II Factions Trailer

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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 17 November 2021, 22:11:51

Tags: Juggernaut Games; StarCrawlers Chimera

As promised earlier this month, Juggernaut Games released their sci-fi dungeon crawler Starcrawlers Chimera into Early Access yesterday. There's no launch trailer and not much else to say about it, so here's the Early Access FAQ.

Why Early Access?
As we found in our first Early Access experience with StarCrawlers : community feedback and input are invaluable. Chimera is already off to a good start with solid core systems and a large variety of content - but now we want to know what the players think! The Steam forums in Early Access are invaluable for listening to players to refine the game experience.

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

Our goal is to launch Chimera when it is ready! During Early Access we’ll be focusing on creating and refining new content (additional abilities, events, environments, enemies and loot) to make the Chimera building even more exciting to explore.

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
We want to expand upon every current system, and then add new ones. More floors, more enemies, more secrets, more loot, more abilities! Additionally, we want to hear from the community about what sorts of content and features they'd like to see in the full release.

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

StarCrawlers Chimera is currently in an Early Alpha state : all basic game mechanics are functional and stable, but several planned features / art / audio are still in development. For a list of currently available features, please refer to the "About This Game" section.

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
We plan to gradually raise the price as we add new content during Early Access.

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
We'll be setting up several different sub-forums on the StarCrawlers Chimera discussion boards all aimed at hearing and discussing community feedback on different features. If there's a particular aspect of the game you want to talk about, we want to hear it! As always, we'll be maintaining an active presence in the forums. Early Access is a community-driven experience and we want you to be part of it!​

The Starcrawlers Chimera Early Access build is available on Steam and GOG for $20, with a 10% launch discount until next week. As mentioned in the FAQ, there's no set date for the final release yet.

There are 2 comments on Starcrawlers Chimera now available on Early Access

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Tue 16 November 2021

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Tue 16 November 2021, 23:29:00

Tags: Expeditions: Rome; Logic Artists; THQ Nordic

In the tenth dev diary for Expeditions: Rome, Logic Artists and THQ Nordic have finally gotten around to covering the topic of the game's soundtrack. Co-written by the composer and audio director, I'd say it's not a particularly interesting update for non-music aficionados, but it does include a few samples from the soundtrack. Here are two of them along with an excerpt:

Hey Guys! Thomas here, the composer for Expeditions: Rome - I wanted to talk a little about the scoring of Rome, the process, the recording, and some cool and unique things we got to do with this score.

We recently recorded the entire score, around 75 minutes so we’re all done, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you guys – I started writing the score in March 2020. It was clear from early conversations with Brad, Jonas and Justin that it’s a hugely complex and challenging game. The initial conversations to do with score were centred around finding the tone for the four distinct regions and also the importance of finding our music for each of the characters we go on the journey with - having spent the last few years writing mostly for film it was pretty interesting transferring that that across to the gaming world. Aside from technicalities (not altering the BPM’s of tracks, and the need for tracks that evolve and don’t get repetitive when playing for hours) I treated it exactly the same as I would any film - I wanted to get under the skin of the characters, learning there life stories, work out why there where they were, and what makes them tick.

We decided early on that the player would have their own theme to take them on the journey: something we could morph and twist to fit their journey and that acted as a reference point for the player and evolved with them. I looked at the vivid colours of the game and had a lot of conversations with Jonas about the feel and tone we were going for, and essentially treated it as a film but one with thousands of possible journeys and endings. Our “Player’s Theme” was the starting point for this: it was essentially a suite that I wrote at the beginning containing the player’s theme, and two other themes relating to two other key characters. I’ve shared it below -

The “Player’s Theme” was essentially our Rome Tone of the game. There were three other main settings to contend with - Africa, Gaul and Greece - and whilst the player theme pass across these regions, the palettes are extremely different. We did a lot of research on the Ancient instruments used in those times and it was often interesting as there were some instruments that no one knew what they sounded like - or at least everyone had a different opinion. It was so important to us that our score sounded authentic and true to its time whilst trying to take it a step further and really try and add something extra to the players experience. We used a whole host of ancient instruments, including Lyres, Kitharas, Ancient flutes like Neys, Cornus and a Tibia - one of my favourite days on the score was working with Andy Findon - an amazing Flautist but also a specialist in playing any woodwind instrument under the sun, we spent a day recording tens of woodwind instruments and where we couldn’t find one that suited the tone of what we needed, he would invent one with us in the studio!

For instance Cleopatra’s theme was originally on a Duduk, but it wasn’t getting the sultry arrogance we needed - so he placed some clingfilm over a wooden flute mouthpiece and it created a very edgy but organic sound and something totally unique to Cleopatra.

The most enjoyable part of the process was the final recordings - we recorded two orchestras, one in Sofia and one In Vienna, and then we had 6 Artists that we choose to represent our characters - on some of bigger battle tracks we ended up with around 140 players on a track, which is quite a sound! The soloists then added the emotion and rawness to ground us in our areas. After all the tracks were mixed, Justin (audio director) and his team have taken them and worked their magic - I’ve been lucky to work with Justin extremely closely over the last year and a half and it’s a treat hearing some of the ways the music has been used.
In addition to the usual livestream, we're apparently getting a new teaser trailer about Rome's music tomorrow, as well as the announcement of a "unique special event". I'm not sure what that's about, but it's worth pointing out that the game's release date on Steam was recently quietly changed from 2021 to "Coming Soon".

There are 2 comments on Expeditions: Rome Dev Diary #10 - Music and Audio

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 16 November 2021, 20:28:07

Tags: Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game; Iron Tower Studio

The next location to be added to the Colony Ship Early Access build is the Shuttle Bay, a relatively intact area that borders the ship's Habitat. The Shuttle Bay is controlled by Jackson's Riflemen, a band of roughneck mercenaries first described in a development update published way back in 2016. The fortified rooftops of the Habitat will also become accessible in this update, although as the game's primary quest hub, the Habitat itself won't be ready until at least February. Here's the update announcement:

[​IMG] [​IMG]

This update adds another location - the Shuttle Bay. Now you can explore 6 locations out of 12, roughly 40% of the game. The next stop is the Habitat, the home of the three main factions and a major quest hub. It will require twice as much work as any other location and won't be released until Feb. In the meantime we'll focus on the systems and balance, a tutorial, and difficulty modes, so if you find the default mode too overwhelming, wait another month.

The Shuttle Bay survived the Mutiny intact but like everything else it's been looted in the interim, the life support systems and emergency supplies stripped, and the shuttle interiors used by generations of squatters.

Moses Jackson's Riflemen, a small mercenary outfit, claimed the Shuttle Bay a few years ago, cleaning up and doing their best to make it a permanent home. Their efforts quickly drew the attention of discontented folks from the Habitat, and even the Pit. Soon, scores of people were heading for this small island of safety and stability. The Habitat's higher-ups look less favorably on the Shuttle Bay's new status, and have been eyeing the growing numbers on their border with great concern.

You also get the first glimpse of the Habitat in this update, the rooftop level. Before the Mutiny, the rooftops of the Habitat's four mega-structures supported a sprawling amusement park. There, the people of the Ship could experience at least a few of the novelties they would never enjoy on Earth or Proxima: walk barefoot on real green grass –courtesy of Hydroponics– or soft, red-tinted 'Proxima' sand; sit under tall, artificial trees; and watch the sunrise on gigantic screens suspended all around. This last was said to be indistinguishable from the real thing, not that anyone aboard had ever seen it.

Nowadays, the three remaining rooftops are heavily fortified platforms, patrolled by armed guards. The sky-screens went dark long ago, a frivolous luxury in a decaying world. The grass underfoot and simulations of golden fields have likewise vanished, replaced by watchtowers and checkpoints. With enemies on all sides, cheap entertainment is a useless distraction from reality and its harsh demands.​

Aww yeah, we're getting close to the good stuff now. As mentioned, a significant non-content update is scheduled for December, although I imagine it may slip into next year.

There are 13 comments on Colony Ship Early Access Update: New Location - Shuttle Bay

Sun 14 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 14 November 2021, 23:17:00

Tags: Shiro Games; Wartales

Wartales, the upcoming mercenary band RPG from Northgard developer Shiro Games, was received on the Codex with some interest when it was announced at E3 back in June. A free demo was released for Steam Next Fest shortly afterwards and has been available ever since. The next stage in the game's development is the Early Access release, whose launch date was revealed during the MIX Next event yesterday. It'll be out on December 1st. Here's the announcement trailer:

My understanding is that the demo of Wartales was interesting but needed some work, as you might expect. Not to mention the annoying seven fight limit. I guess we'll see how the game shapes up in Early Access, even if the developers do think of it as a "more accessible" take on Battle Brothers.

There are 24 comments on Wartales coming to Early Access on December 1st

Sat 13 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 13 November 2021, 23:26:13

Tags: Mechajammer; Modern Wolf; Whalenought Studios

Earlier this week, publisher Modern Wolf announced that there would be major news about Mechajammer today during the MIX Next 2021 event. It was pretty obvious that they were going to announce a release date, but given the game's history I was quite surprised to learn that it'll be out this year, on December 2nd. Joe and Hannah published a Kickstarter update about the news, but Modern Wolf's announcement on the game's Steam page is more informative.

It's the news you've been waiting for.

As part of The MIX Next showcase, which aired over the weekend, we've dropped a new teaser trailer for Mechajammer, officially revealing that the game will be available from December 2nd, 2021.

In case you've been living under some form of a large rock, Mechajammer is an isometric cyberpunk CRPG, set in a far-future Earth that has been ravaged by overcrowding, pollution, and war. Mechajammer takes place on Calitana, a low-tech mining colony with a central city carved out of the planet’s dense jungles. The Ci-War and the Syndicates’ abuse of power have lasted so long that they have become a fixture of everyday life, and humans struggle through the sorrows and triumphs of life with the threat of violence never far from their periphery.

It's a game designed with the player agency as the key focus; a game where your escape from Calitana can be approached in any manner that best suits you.

If that's not enough, from next week - and the run-up to launch - we will be starting a Feature Deep Dive series that delves into the nitty of the game so you are as prepared as possible for Mechajammer's launch.

Look out for that very soon...
As stated, Modern Wolf intend to publish a series of Mechajammer feature videos starting from next week. Whalenought's Kickstarter update also includes what appears to be a sneak preview of the game's intro cutscene, so check that out too. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope they aren't being rushed!

There are 26 comments on Mechajammer Kickstarter Update #37: Releasing on December 2nd

Fri 12 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 12 November 2021, 01:14:12

Tags: Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pentiment

We've known since 2019 that a small team at Obsidian led by Josh Sawyer was working on some sort of unusual combat-less RPG, codenamed Project Missouri. A few bits of information about this project have been revealed over the years, but it's been nothing compared to the constant teasing that preceded the formal announcement of Pillars of Eternity II. However, that might be about to change. Last week, GamesBeat editor Jeff Grubb revealed some new details about Project Missouri on his podcast at GiantBomb. The following day, Windows Central reporter Jez Corden, who published his impressions of an early build of Avowed last month, revealed on his podcast that the game's title was Pentiment. As expected, it is indeed the historical RPG that Josh announced his intention to direct way back in 2016. Today, Corden published a useful summary of everything that has been revealed about Pentiment, along with an art asset that "may represent" the visual style the game is going for.


Recently revealed by Jeff Grubb on his premium Grubbsnax show, Obsidian's "indie"-style effort is emerging from a small team led by Josh Sawyer, famed for his leadership on what is arguably the best Fallout game; New Vegas, as well as a personal fave, Pillars of Eternity.

I recently revealed the game's name with my co-host Rand_Al_Thor_19 on our Xbox Two podcast. It's being called "Pentiment," which refers to "an underlying image in a painting, especially one that has become visible when the top layer of paint has turned transparent with age," according to the dictionary. This naming convention hints at the game's premise, by which you act as an investigator in 16th century Europe uncovering the truth behind a grisly murder.

Grubb mentioned that Pentiment takes cues from the likes of Disco Elysium and the branching narrative designs Josh Sawyer is known for. You'll be able to investigate and make accusations against the characters in-game, which could lead to cascading consequences if you're wrong. It'll be a dialogue-heavy game with decisions to make and response options to choose from, which will shape your experience as you unwrap the murder conspiracy before you.

I am told that Pentiment is being built by a small team of around 12 people, and is more of a narrative RPG adventure than something combat-oriented. The art asset above may represent some of the designs the game is gunning for. Jeff Grubb also mentioned that Pentiment is exploring "experimental" gameplay elements, too, although they may ultimately not make it into the final release. Speaking of which, Grubb also noted that Pentiment is indeed gunning for a 2022 launch.
Hopefully this means Pentiment will be announced soon, perhaps at Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards event next month. The image, by the way, appears to be a depiction of the legendary Christian king Prester John, seemingly based on an 1800 illustration by French artist Pierre-Antoine Demachy. Mmm, I can already taste the pretention.

There are 215 comments on Josh Sawyer's long-awaited historical RPG is called Pentiment, coming next year

Thu 11 November 2021

Game News - posted by Darth Roxor on Thu 11 November 2021, 19:43:27

Tags: Punk Wars; Strategy Forge

Punk Wars, the "combat-oriented 4x strategy game" by Strategy Forge, has just been released for the population at large to enjoy.

I wanted to say that the game was about to prove that punk's not dead, but alas, to my major disappointment, it isn't about leatherclad dudes sporting weird hairdos bashing one another with gaspipes, but rather about your standard struggle for dominance in a post-apo scenario with four [technology]punk factions. Nevertheless, here's what it promises, and a release trailer on top, because why not:

The years go by and another cycle has come to an end. Our civilisation has crumbled due to our greed and selfishness. Now we know that to avoid repeating the same mistakes, we need to stand united… and ours is the banner, under which humanity can thrive again. Our technology, philosophy and way of life are the ones that can finally bring happiness to the world… we just need to convince a few stubborn leaders...

Punk Wars is a combat and tactics-oriented strategy drawing inspiration from the classic turn-based 4X titles. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, in which the ruins of a once powerful megacity become the arena for a deadly fight between four newly emerged corporations, trying to assert dominance for both their unique technology and philosophy of life.

Become the powerful leader of the mesianic steampunk, tenebrous dieselpunk, militaristic steelpunk or technocratic atompunk; explore the ruins of a bygone civilization, where resources are scarce and the dangers way too common. Develop your infrastructure and technology that will secure your triumph. Create a winning strategy and a playstyle for each faction, utilising their distinctive skills and units.
  • Take control of one of the four powerful corporations - Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Atompunk or Steelpunk - and use its unique skillset to lead it to glory.
  • Explore the mysteries of a ruined, post-apocalyptic megacity.
  • Level up your units and engage in fierce battles that will challenge your tactical sense.
  • Grow your scientific, industrial and military infrastructure, creating advanced supply chains.
  • Seek, garner and wisely use scarce resources.
  • Unite humanity and lead it to the new era of peace and prosperity!
Punk Wars is available on Steam and GOG for roughly 70 Polish zloty, or the equivalent in local currency. Get it while it's hot to receive a 10% discount.

There are 11 comments on Punk Wars is now out

Wed 10 November 2021

Game News - posted by Darth Roxor on Wed 10 November 2021, 15:30:36

Tags: boner-inducing incline; ELEX II; Piranha Bytes; THQ Nordic

Everyone's been waiting with bated breath for the official announcement of the release date of ELEX II, the sequel to the most xenial game out there by Piranha Bytes.

Amateurs of eclectic open-world RPGs need wait no more, for THQ Nordic has dropped the bomb at last. Mark your calendars - March 1st, 2022 is the date you're looking for:

Time To Book Your Spring Break: ELEX II Releasing March 1st, 2022

Essen, Germany / Vienna, Austria - November 10th, 2021: Magalan is in dire need of a hero: The factions are inches away from starting an open war and the world is still haunted by monsters of all different kinds. A new force is rising, threatening to change the face of the planet forever. It's about time for you to return to Magalan, put on Jax's boots, and kick some ass. The survival of mankind depends on it. ELEX II, the science-fantasy RPG by Piranha Bytes, will release on the 1st of March 2022 for PC and consoles.​

Exhilarating news indeed!

The press release behind the link also includes the content of the lavish ELEX II collector's edition, if you care about those sorts of things.

There are 37 comments on ELEX II releasing on March 1st

Fri 5 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 5 November 2021, 01:01:22

Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Solasta: Crown of the Magister - Primal Calling; Tactical Adventures

The Primal Calling DLC for Solasta: Crown of the Magister was released today, adding barbarians, druids and half-orcs to the game, along with an expanded dungeon maker and other new features in the accompanying free update. In addition to the launch trailer, Tactical Adventures also put together a longer community video about the DLC, narrated as usual by our friend Myzzrym.

If you'd like to take a walk on the wild side in your next playthrough, the Primal Calling DLC for Solasta is available on Steam and GOG for $10. The full patch notes are available here. I wonder what the developers plan to do next.

There are 22 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister Primal Calling DLC Released

Tue 2 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 2 November 2021, 23:58:01

Tags: Juggernaut Games; StarCrawlers Chimera

Starcrawlers Chimera, the single-character follow-up to 2017 sci-fi dungeon crawler Starcrawlers, was successfully crowdfunded back in May. As promised, developer Juggernaut Games released the game's alpha build to backers soon afterwards, and it's been updated several times since then. The beta/Early Access release has taken a while longer than planned to finalize, but today they announced that it will be out on November 16th. Here's the announcement trailer:

The GOG page for Starcrawlers Chimera was launched in July and the Early Access build is set to arrive there as well. It looks like Juggernaut already have the first few content updates planned out.

There are 13 comments on Starcrawlers Chimera coming to Early Access on November 16th

Mon 1 November 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 1 November 2021, 23:58:53

Tags: Expeditions: Rome; Logic Artists; THQ Nordic

Whereas the last few dev diaries have gone into detail on specific systems, the ninth dev diary for Expeditions: Rome addresses the more vaguely defined concept of "playstyle variety". Obviously, that includes choice & consequence, character builds and party composition. Further variety is provided by the game's difficulty settings, which are just as fine-grained as in previous titles in the series, including combat death and iron man modes.

Expeditions: Rome has many strategy elements but it is first and foremost a roleplaying game. As we have already discussed, key to the RPG genre is choice and consequence in the narrative, and in Rome you will often get to make important decisions that branch the way the story progresses going forward. One of the major factors we expect to inform your decisions is what kind of legatus you have chosen to play as: are you a ruthless conqueror whose only loyalty is to the might of Rome? Are you a philosopher-general who strives to mitigate the horrors of war and address the needs of Rome’s allies and rivals alike? Are you purely concerned about your own quest for vengeance, or the power and wealth of your family and friends?

Most of these roleplaying choices come out during dialogue, but your agency as a player does not just flow from the dialogue system to the combat system. Sometimes you’ll make decisions directly through how you move through the game world. Approaching a combat area from a particular direction may change the objectives of the fight or drastically alter the starting conditions. Interacting with a certain object may unlock new options for you in a given scene. Best of all, even within some combat encounters, there may be multiple ways to win the fight which can change the direction of the story surrounding that fight. A lot of the time this boils down to whether you pick a sneaky and circuitous route or launch a direct assault – and of course different members of your praetorian guard will advocate for different approaches.

Let us give you an example from early in the game: in one scene, you and your praetorian party have spearheaded the assault on Mytilene, the enemy stronghold on Lesbos, and you have breached the courtyard where you are ready to confront the Pontic general Archelaus, who you have had a very ill-fated run-in with in the past. Archelaus is surrounded by a large group of his soldiers. As the encounter begins, you are given two objectives: kill Archelaus, or kill enough of his people to make the Greeks surrender.

Though Archelaus is a dangerous combatant who is very difficult to take down, it may be faster to kill him than to get bogged down hacking through his guard. However, if you manage to force a surrender, Archelaus can be taken prisoner and may be used as a bargaining chip in a later quest. Either solution is a valid path to victory.

Before we move on to the next topic, we should touch on one final way in which your play style can affect the game itself: your character builds. We won’t delve into much detail here since we’ve written much about this in previous DevDiaries – suffice to say that you have many varied options for how to build your characters in terms of picking their class skills when they level-up and outfitting them with certain weapons that offer certain attacks. In addition, you are usually free to bring any combination of characters into a fight, which can drastically change the tactics at your disposal. Do you pack your team with shield-bearing heavy infantry and turtle your way to the enemy lines? Or do you bring archers and skirmishers to hit the enemy with some shock-and-awe? It can be great fun to try the same fight in different ways and see how drastically different things play out.

Now, changing the way you play and picking and choosing from the tools available to you during the game is one thing, but there is another, arguably more important factor that will change the way you play the game: which difficulty settings you choose.

As with previous games, Expeditions: Rome offers a set of overall difficulty levels, with the option to further customize the challenge of each individual aspect of the game. If you just want a reasonably consistent difficulty, you can simply pick a difficulty level and count on every part of the game mostly matching what you picked. However, if you are for example a turn-based tactics afficionado who wants a steep challenge in combat, but not a big fan of resource management and logistics, you can turn down the Resources and Battles difficulty to reduce the drain on your denarii and manpower while leaving the rest of the settings on higher difficulties.

You can even customise what type of difficulty the game offers: say you don’t want combat to be too lethal because it punishes your mistakes too harshly, but you do want the AI to make very few mistakes and generally make the best possible decisions during combat, you can lower the enemy damage slider while raising the AI difficulty slider. Expeditions: Rome is a large and very feature-rich game, and we acknowledge that not every player is equally interested in every aspect of the game. If you just want to breeze through combat but still have difficult choices to make about how and where to spend your resources? More power to you.

Undoubtedly the two settings that most significantly change the play experience, and which are therefore presented separately from the general difficulty level, are Combat Death and Iron Man.

By default, when one of your people is incapacitated during combat, they will just suffer a long-term wound that must be treated while you travel, but after the fight they will get back on their feet again. Only if you are unable to treat their injuries for lack of medicine or skilled healers, that character may die permanently. However, if you enable Combat Death when you begin the game, characters who go down during a fight will begin to bleed out. You can stabilize them with bandages or certain skills, or even bring them back to their feet if you have a sufficiently high-level medicus on your team, but if you don’t get to them in time, they will perish outright. If a regular praetorian dies, you can replace them, but the death of a companion will result in a game over. Though this is not the default setting, we’ve found that it adds a very exciting element of pressure to combat and tends to result in a lot of nail-biting last-minute-rescues and tough tactical choices, and we strongly recommend that you enable this setting if you are familiar with turn-based combat.

Iron Man works a bit differently in Expeditions: Rome than you may be used to from other games. Our Iron Man setting is not about turning Rome into a roguelike – your savegame will not be deleted if you die while this option is on. Instead, it is a way for you to force yourself to live with the consequences of your choices. When Iron Man is enabled, you will be restricted to one single save slot, and that slot is automatically overwritten any time an autosave is made. Thus, you are strictly limited in how far you can turn back time while you play. Usually, once you see the outcome of your decision, your savegame has long since been updated, and you will not be able to go back and undo that choice. This lends a certain weight to your roleplaying choices, and we believe you will find that you are more satisfied with your decisions when you know they cannot be undone.
The devstream for this update is scheduled for November 3rd. This time, we'll get to see the developers play through one of the game's first quests. Could the launch date announcement be imminent?

There are 8 comments on Expeditions: Rome Dev Diary #9 - Playstyle Variety

Fri 29 October 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 29 October 2021, 21:34:26

Tags: Devolver Digital; Raphael Colantonio; Weird West; WolfEye Studios

Back in July, Devolver Digital announced that Weird West, the upcoming isometric immersive sim from Arkane founder Raf Colantonio, would be launching this fall. The gaming press got an extended look at the game later that month and were impressed by what they saw. However, apparently it needed a bit more time. Yesterday, Devolver unveiled the first in a series of Weird West deep dive videos, in which Raf demonstrated some of its immersive sim mechanics and open world RPG elements. At the end, he announced that the game is now scheduled for release on January 11th.

Weird West is now available for preorder on Steam and GOG for $40. Those who preorder get to start the game with a unique horse named Calamity, whose saddlebags come packed with some bonus consumable items.

There are 28 comments on Weird West releasing on January 11th, now available for preorder

Sat 23 October 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 23 October 2021, 15:50:33

Tags: Kerberos Productions; Sword of the Stars: The Pit 2

Sci-fi roguelike sequel Sword of the Stars: The Pit 2 launched into Early Access last night. Kerberos weren't kidding when they said it was coming soon. Here's the announcement, including an updated feature list:

Vancouver, Canada - October 22nd, 2021 - Kerberos Productions has launched Sword of the Stars: The Pit 2 - a sequel to Sword of the Stars: The Pit, the science fiction Roguelike which many players still list among the best of the genre - into Early Access today.

In beta, The Pit 2 has moved from 2D to a full and vibrant 3D environment. Instantly clear to players will be new features, such as mini-bosses, and player advancements such as the ability to break down items into components which can then be re-used to craft different items. Alongside the perspective shift which allows for full camera control, and the more flexible approach to crafting, players get a preview of the variety of weapons, armors, and scavenged items that Kerberos fans have come to expect from the original game and its DLC.

The halls of the alien facility have a menagerie of creatures bent on bringing players down. "I am most excited about the opportunities we have to make the Pit smarter, deadlier and more detailed," said Kerberos head and lead designer Martin Cirulis. "Lieutenant-class monsters, floor-organized enemies, secret levels... We have so much more 'necessary sadism' to dispense!"

First released in February of 2013, Sword of the Stars: The Pit grew over the years with many expansions that added new player characters and their powers. A steady parade of game updates included new content along with bug fixes and game tweaks. Through years of developing the original game with a supportive fan base, Kerberos has learned a lot about what their players want.

"This sequel is being tailored to the needs and wishes of its players–the people who spent hundreds of hours in the original game over the past decade. That support has earned them the right to be part of the game's development," said Cirulis. "We invite fans to join Early Access not only to support the game, but to give direct input and shape the future of the franchise."

Like its predecessor, The Pit 2 will allow players to dive deep into an alien lab facility. The sci-fi setting is drawn from the lore of multiple Sword of the Stars games, a franchise that Kerberos has been building for eighteen years. Players start with only their Character's skills and gear: as they explore, they must seek out new supplies and improve their skills in order to survive the ever-increasing dangers of The Pit.

"Ultimately, my goal as a designer is to go beyond the first Pit. First we'll bring the old Roguelike up to modern standards, then we'll push beyond its original limitations," added Cirulis. "There is a whole universe of mad science dungeons out there, just waiting for rogues brave enough to explore their depths!"

Initial Early Access Features
  • 4 Characters to choose from; Marine, Scout, Engineer, and Drill Sergeant, with more to come throughout Early Access.
  • 20 Levels of ancient evil science for you to dive into!
  • Turn-based combat lets players plan their way out of tight spots and deeper into The Pit.
  • Improve your character by increasing your skills to help you survive the depths.
  • Many enemies drawn from the Sword of the Stars universe!
  • A wide variety of weapons and armors.
  • Over 150 items to discover, ranging from the familiar to ancient exotic tech.
  • Crafting lets you make special items from bits and pieces of your enemies.
  • Dozens of room types containing a host of exotic devices to help - or maybe hinder - your progress.
  • Decipher hidden messages, crafting recipes, and pieces of Sword of the Stars lore!
  • Many fiendish ways to die including poisoning, disease, traps, radiation, starvation.
  • NEW player camera controls!
  • NEW disassembly feature lets you break up items into craftable components!
  • NEW hero-class enemies add mini-boss encounters as players descend into The Pit
Kerberos lead designer Martin Cirulis provided some additional details about their plans for The Pit 2's Early Access build in this forum post. The game is available on Steam for $15 with a 15% launch discount until next week.

There are 8 comments on Sword of the Stars: The Pit 2 now available on Early Access

Fri 22 October 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 22 October 2021, 23:55:48

Tags: Disciples: Liberation; Frima Studio; Kalypso Media

Disciples: Liberation, the unexpected revival of the Disciples franchise from little-known developer Frima Studio, was released yesterday. The release trailer is focused on those aspects of the game that have been emphasized since it was announced back in February - choice and consequences, factions, all that stuff.

Disciples: Liberation has gotten a few reviews and its scores aren't even that bad. However, thanks to the demo that was released for Steam Next Fest earlier this month, they aren't too necessary. In contradiction to the serious tone of its trailers, our users found that the game contains some remarkably silly dialogue. Its gameplay does have some interesting aspects, although it's not the greatest either. If you want the professional reviews as well, here they are:

GameSpace 7.5/10
GameSpew 8/10
Player 2 B​

Disciples: Liberation is probably doomed to fall even flatter than King's Bounty II did, but if you are curious, the game is available on Steam for $40.

There are 28 comments on Disciples: Liberation Released

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