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Codex Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 15 July 2019, 00:21:29

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

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With the Underrail: Expedition expansion coming out next week, it's a fine time to publish Diggfinger's interview with Underrail creator Dejan Radisic AKA Styg. The original plan was for Diggfinger to actually visit the Stygian Software office in Belgrade, but that didn't work out. That may have been for the best however, because it gave him time to gather additional questions from the community. It's a brief piece and Styg isn't ready to talk about his plans for after the expansion yet, but there are a few welcome bits of information in here. Here's an excerpt:

Underrail: Expedition is releasing on July 22nd. Which of the expansion's features are you most excited about?

Not any feature in particular, but I'm very excited to see how people experience the new content as a whole. New mechanics and goodies aside, we put a lot of work in improving the quality of the content itself - the overall world design, dungeon design, dialogs, etc, so I hope that it bears fruit and that the players recognize it. Also, due to how the campaign is structured, players will have a lot of freedom on how and in what order they approach it. Will they side with this or that faction or no faction, will they rush into dungeons, wage war on the natives or maybe just explore the waters on their jet ski? It will be a lot of fun to watch people play the game on the internet.

The original development schedule for Expedition was around six months long, with the expansion slated for a 2017 release. What made you decide to extend development? Was it an ongoing process of adding new elements, or did you underestimate the time it would take to realize your original ideas?

A bit of everything. The project was overly ambitious to begin with and as we started fleshing out all the things we wanted to implement it turned out it'd take a lot more time to implement them properly. At this time we began raising the standards of the content that was being produced so zones started coming with more custom visual pieces, mechanics, lore, etc so it took a lot more time to make them than we originally anticipated.

Also we did a lot of work on the base game, some of which we considered prerequisite to the expansion itself - such as the water areas that connect Underrail and Black Sea. And now that we had those areas, we had to fill them with some content and quests and have this or that faction have its presence there and add narrative elements to support/recognize this… and so forth. We also added new creatures to the base game, fleshed out the difficulty levels, added the global map, which in turn required us to make the game (more) geographically consistent, which required adding more areas… you get the picture by now.

And also, sometimes we just get a cool idea how we can spice up some part of the game and we can't help but work it in, even though we are fully aware that we're being subject to feature creep. In the end I think that, despite waiting, you guys will be the end beneficiaries of our questionable project management.

Are there any major changes in terms of quest design in Expedition? Can we expect more choice and consequence than the base game, or is it more combat-focused?

Those are not mutually exclusive. The game will be as combat-focused as ever and this is never going to change. However, we did improve on C&C aspect of the content as well and also gave the player a lot of freedom on how they will approach the content. They can take an active part in the workings of one of the factions of the Black Sea (expedition or pirates, but not natives) and their conflicts, resolve certain events in favour of one or the other or just keep to themselves and let the factions go at it themselves.

Why did you choose to develop a mid-game instead of post-game expansion? Was it hard to balance it with the content of the base game (ie, ensuring players don't end up with overpowered characters in the endgame)?

It was probably a mistake. If we just made Expedition as a separate stand-alone campaign, I think we could have made it even bigger and saved up a year of development or so. We'd also be free from a lot of lacklustre design and mechanical constraints that are a result of having to keep the entire game world consistent. Aside from improving the difficulty spectrum during the development of the expansion itself, we didn't really do any balancing in that regard, so it wasn't hard at all. We might, at some point, go back to DC and up the challenge there for the playthroughs that went through the DLC. It will be development time well spent, since it's everyone's favourite part of the game.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: Underrail Expedition

There are 12 comments on RPG Codex Interview: Underrail Expedition

Thu 11 July 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 11 July 2019, 21:38:30

Tags: inXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

Last month we were informed that the Bard's Tale IV Director's Cut was coming in late summer. Today we learn that late summer means August 27th. It's going to be a separate new version of the game, which conveniently allows inXile to get a fresh start without the negative reviews the original release suffered from. The nice thing is that Kickstarter backers will now automatically get all the bonus DLCs instead of having to manually enter codes. The latest Kickstarter update has the details, along with a new trailer:



We’re happy to announce that The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut will be arriving digitally on Windows, Mac, Linux, Xbox One, Xbox Game Pass (PC and Xbox), and PlayStation 4 on August 27!

If you already own the game on PC when the Director’s Cut arrives, you’ll receive the update for free with the game’s release on August 27, and it will show up as a new product in your games library listed as The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut.

For the digital Director’s Cut we’re making the choice for new purchasers much clearer with new Standard and Deluxe Edition. Because the Director's Cut is a free upgrade for current owners, anyone who owns the base game will receive the Director’s Cut Standard, and those who own a current license for the Premium, Platinum, or Ultimate versions will be granted the Deluxe Edition. For our backers who may have retrieved digital rewards through CrowdOx before, you will be receiving The Bard's Tale IV: Director's Cut Deluxe Edition and all your digital items will now be tied to your Steam/GOG accounts.

A reminder for Mac & Linux users: your Steam and GOG keys are already available via CrowdOx if you haven’t redeemed them yet. The keys are universal, meaning they work with whichever system you are running Steam/GOG on (Windows, Mac, Linux). There are no Mac- or Linux-specific keys needed.

Digital versions are available to pre-order/wishlist today on Steam and GOG, and for the physical version you can pre-order at Amazon and Gamestop, as well as other regional shops in the coming weeks. Head over to our updated The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut page on the inXile website for links.

We are incredibly grateful for your backing of the game, for your feedback, and (especially for our Mac & Linux backers) your patience.

We’re truly lucky to have been able to pour these additional months of work into a product we love, to have the ability to bring in these improvements and new content, and we’re looking forward to getting the Director’s Cut into your hands in under two short months!

Thanks from all of us here at inXile!
Good stuff. Kind of makes you wonder what they might have done with Torment if Microsoft had stepped in early enough.

There are 18 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #58: Director's Cut releasing on August 27th


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Tue 9 July 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 9 July 2019, 18:53:38

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail

With the release of the Expedition expansion fast approaching, Stygian have released a new experimental beta update for Underrail to test the new features that will be added to the game alongside it. These include a long-desired speedup functionality as well as various quality-of-life and cosmetic tweaks. The latest development update announces the news:

[​IMG]

Hi guys,

In preparation of the expansion release, we're releasing a new version of the base game (on which the current testing version is running on) to make sure that no major breaking bugs have been introduced.

To play experimental branch on Steam, you right click the game in your library and go to "Betas" tab. To do so on GOG, you select the game and choose More->Settings. Make sure you don't override all your live version saves just in case something goes horribly wrong.

Here are the patch notes:

General
  • Added the ability to speed up the game while out of combat
  • Added achievements to the GOG Galaxy version
Nice Things
  • Containers that you opened once will now have darker labels
  • Organic enemies that die while burning will now be smoking and appear charred
  • HE grenades and some other explosions will leave temporary marks on the ground
  • Gas clouds will now fade in/out
  • New barrels
That's it. Let us know how you like the changes.
Read the full update for details about the changes made to the game's feats, mechanics and items, plus the usual raft of bugfixes. Two more weeks!

There are 49 comments on Underrail Dev Log #62: Version 1.1.0.5 Beta


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Sun 7 July 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 7 July 2019, 16:20:26

Tags: Dark Crystal Games; Encased

Dark Crystal Games' Fallout-inspired post-apocalyptic RPG Encased was successfully crowdfunded last year to the tune of €105k. The game was supposed to be released on Steam Early Access in the first quarter of 2019 with a final release later in the year, but unsurprisingly development has taken longer than expected. What we got this week instead is the release of the backers-only closed alpha. Since you had to pledge a crazy €215 to gain alpha access we've had no gameplay impressions whatsoever, but luckily a couple of days later Dark Crystal decided to broadcast a 1.5 hour Q&A stream with plenty of footage. So here's that along with details from the latest Kickstarter update:



The Dark Crystal Games team that never leaves its office is once again with you, and we have some news.

The first one: we are forced to postpone the early access game release (we’ll tell you a bit later why).

The second one: we are releasing a restricted access version of the game for alpha backers on Steam. And if you are an alpha backer, then perhaps the access key for the alpha version is making it to your email inbox right now, and the alpha build itself is being uploaded to Steam!

[...] “Alpha”, that is coming out in the next couple of hours, is an unfinished version of the game. The content of the first official version of Encased is very limited, all that the game consists of, including graphic assets, render, role-playing system, sound, interface, plot, et c. is in the non-final state and will be finalized by release date.

The alpha version of Encased is not intended for public display and sale, and is distributed exclusively for kickstarter-backers. But what is waiting for you in this “alpha”? An early version of the character editor, several large locations and quests, a lot (really, a lot!) of loot. As well as the opportunity to fry a cockroach, climb into the ventilation, make a bat with nails and look at the gloomy sands of the Dome, covered with fog.

In fact, this closed alpha is the first official release for us as a team. And we, like you, want this game to be of high quality, interesting and exciting, and hope that the adventures under the Dome will be remembered by everyone who happened to get into it.

Aside from the delay, our plans remain the same: shortly after the alpha, we will release the beta, which will be available to a much larger number of players. After eliminating bugs and polishing the content, the long-awaited EA-version will be released.

We cannot announce the release date yet, but be sure that this will happen soon enough. The Spire accepts shipments, the White Wing examines relics, the team works, and Encased moves towards the early access.
Looks promising. Hopefully the 21 people who pledged enough to gain access to the alpha are enjoying themselves. As a reminder, all backers are eligible for the Early Access release, so once that's out we'll know for sure whether Encased is up to the standard of fellow Russian Fallout-like ATOM.

There are 17 comments on Post-apocalyptic RPG Encased is now in closed alpha


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Sat 29 June 2019

Codex Review - posted by Infinitron on Sat 29 June 2019, 20:17:16

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

Has it really been just a month and a half since Druidstone was released? It sure feels longer. These days small games are quick to sink into the depths of Steam without leaving a trace, even when they're made by the developers of the acclaimed Legend of Grimrock series. However, the Codex has not forgotten. After all, you could hardly expect Darth Roxor not to be interested in a scenario-based tactics game along the lines of Blackguards, despite his well-known disapproval of deterministic combat mechanics which Druidstone utilizes. Indeed, in the end it's not the determinism itself that Roxor finds fault with, but rather what may have been the developers' attempts to work around it. I quote:

Naturally, this deterministic approach has a huge influence on mission design. As everything is hand-placed and nothing in terms of the mechanics is random, Druidstone has to rely on a number of key measures to make sure that the player isn’t able to plan a successful route to victory from the very first turn. Some of them work, some are questionable, and many are quite annoying.

What works well are some of the abilities available to monsters, which can make the course of battle somewhat unpredictable, and which also make you consider your progress through a mission. These include wraiths that can resurrect dead enemies as skeletons an infinite number of times, mage-killing spiders that can steal your spells for a while, or an assortment of foes with healing spells. Obviously there’s more, and they are too many to list, since the majority of enemies have some unique quirk that gives them a specific and characteristic role on the battlefield.

Another aspect which I’d consider well done is the general way maps are structured. I’ve seen “full deterministic” tactics games before that were more or less glorified puzzlers, with only one obvious/optimal way of getting through each encounter. And while some levels in Druidstone also fall for this trap, most of them are broad or open enough to invite multiple ways of approach.

[...] As for the annoying bits, there’s a lot to talk about here. Let’s start with enemy reinforcements. I don’t think there’s any level in the entire game that doesn't have them, and they are always used in a very cheap and irritating manner.

Reinforcements are typically announced one turn in advance by dropping “teleporter beacons” on certain squares. These are pre-placed, they can spawn at any moment and in any square (including right on top of your party), and you have absolutely no way of telling when, where and what they will spawn. A reasonable approach would be to adapt the spawning points to the map design somehow – like make skeletons rise out of graves or have wolves run out of dens. But Druidstone disagrees, and it keeps deep striking seemingly random enemies into seemingly random places at seemingly random intervals, while you are left scratching your head, thinking who the hell thought this was a good idea. I dare say this feature is bad from the very start and never becomes less bad. At some point you kind of learn to live with them – because they become a simple fact of life, like mosquitoes, cars freezing in the winter and AIDS – but much like the doomsday timers, eventually they grow really old, and the only reaction they get from you is “not this crap again”.

However, Druidstone likes its monster deep strikes so much that you need to watch out not only for the telegraphed ones. Monster death squads can also spawn out of nowhere on top of your party unannounced, though fortunately this doesn’t happen as often.

The unannounced monster spawns are a part of Druidstone’s number one most annoying aspect. The “gotcha!” moments. This game really, really loves to pull absolute nonsense out of its posterior, rub it all over your face and strut around, yelling “I totally fooled you!” In my experience, triggering a gotcha usually results in immediate turn rewind or even a restart of a level, because more often than not, it puts you up against a battlefield reshuffle that makes most of what you’ve done until that point moot. Typically, the gotchas are of a “bait-and-switch” variety, where accomplishing an intermediate objective suddenly unleashes all hell, in a way that you could have never predicted.

My absolutely favourite example of the above is a big bossfight against the avatar of a god of fire. The avatar is basically a time bomb – after X turns, it will explode and collapse the dungeon. Your primary objective is to escape by unlocking the exit and leading all your characters to it. But there’s also an optional objective to kill the big boss. Since he has a lot of health and quite the numerous entourage of goons, with more that keep spawning, a reasonable person would assume that killing the boss is a challenging way of winning early. Imagine my surprise when vanquishing the wicked foe made one of my characters yell (literally), “oh no, the dungeon is going to collapse anyway!” and set the countdown even lower than it was before. Needless to say, my heroes were too far away from the exit at that point. Truly, this was the gotcha of the freaking century.

This is just one example, and while it might be the biggest one barring the final boss (and I’m not gonna discuss that one), smaller ones are no less annoying. Even further, they are so plentiful that they might even form the core of Druidstone’s difficulty, and that, dear reader, is not very good at all.

That’s because not all levels stoop to this kind of ludicrous and downright unfair design. Sometimes the game does have you face a properly outlined challenge that keeps chipping away at you through attrition and clever enemy composition and placement. In times like these, Druidstone can be loads of fun, and it gets your noggin joggin’ when you analyse your every option multiple moves into the future to escape from a perilous situation. One of my favourite levels that reflects this perfectly is a mission where you have to break through an army of the undead guarding the entrance to an ancient temple, all the while protecting another weak character from harm. The map is big, it gives you a number of paths to consider, it mixes strong dark knights with a horde of cannon fodder skeletons, and also drops a few of the necromantic wraiths along the way. No gotchas, no nonsense, pure planning and attrition.

Unfortunately, just when you think you’re starting to have fun, Druidstone goes out of its way to kick you in the balls with something stupid again. And while in the final tally I’d say that the fun-to-bullshit ratio is roughly 50/50, bullshit is much more aggravating by its very nature.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Druidstone

There are 51 comments on RPG Codex Review: Druidstone

Wed 26 June 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 June 2019, 23:16:06

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

It seems like every RPG developer these days is interested in making games that replicate what they see as the authentic experience of tabletop roleplaying. The latest developer to join this group is Amplitude Studios co-founder Mathieu Girard, who announced that he'd founded a new RPG studio called Tactical Adventures in an interview with VentureBeat back in November. Tactical Adventures' first game was finally revealed yesterday as Solasta: Crown of the Magister, a turn-based tactical RPG based on the 5th Edition OGL ruleset with a special focus on verticality, light & darkness and other dynamic environmental elements. The studio has produced a light-hearted animated trailer and a longer dev diary video to explain what they're trying to achieve with this game. I'll post those here along with the obligatory press release:



PARIS, FRANCE – June 25, 2019 – French independent developer Tactical Adventures announced today its latest project, tactical role-playing game Solasta: Crown of the Magister, is coming to Steam. Solasta: Crown of the Magister embraces the ruleset of the world’s greatest role-playing game where a player’s choice dynamically changes the adventure. The journey begins with creating a team of four explorers, selecting their race, class, background story, abilities and roll for abilities and personal stats. Players will journey through the mystical realms of Solasta, unravelling a story that spans multiple worlds.

The dynamic and mysterious world of Solasta features brand new elements of verticality, allowing players to use their surroundings as an element of strategy. Position ranged characters on high vantage points or send your thief down into shafts and caverns to scope out what’s ahead. Utilize light as a tool to explore the depths and hollows of dungeons or use it as a weapon against the creatures of the dark. Solasta is a unique team-based adventure where each character plays a critical role in the campaign and can be a hero. Players must take advantage of each character’s strengths and weaknesses if they are to succeed.

Players will have the opportunity to get in on the adventure before it even starts when Tactical Adventures launches its Kickstarter campaign at the end of summer. Players will be able to back Solasta: Crown of the Magister on Kickstarter and link arms with the developers, joining the Solasta community and being rewarded for doing so!

“Tactical Adventures is a small team comprised of Tabletop gamers, many of whom have been playing pen and paper games as well as D&D videogames for over 30 years,” says Mathieu Girard, founder of Tactical Adventures and Creative Director of the game. “We have always dreamed of creating our own game, so we set out to create Solasta, taking the best elements of our favourite games and enhancing and building upon them. Additionally, we have added new features such as light, verticality, team-based adventure, dice rolls, etc. We are using the actual rulesets from Tabletop games to finally bridge the gap between Pen and Paper and videogames.”

Solasta: Crown of the Magister Features:
  • Verticality: Solasta is a three-dimensional world rather than a series of flat maps. Locations can be explored by climbing walls, flying, teleporting, crawling through tunnels, finding secret passages, or falling through unstable ground, and allow the player to use the environment to take on encounters in multiple different ways.
  • Team Based Adventure: Players will have many options to choose races, classes, backgrounds, and can even roll for stats as they create their party. All members are essential - together you will adventure through Solasta as a group, where you must work together in pursuit of your quest.
  • Tactical CRPG: Each encounter can be handled in multiple ways. Will you use the high ground to strike your enemies from above as a Darkweaver Rogue, or shove your enemies into deep chasms as a Mountaineer Fighter? Your choices alone will determine the destiny of your party.
  • Light: Light will not only help to see your surroundings as you explore deep underground or in a dungeon. It can also be used as a weapon against dragons and creatures you encounter along your journey. Careful, though - light can also give away your position.
  • Created by Tabletop Players: Tactical Adventures is a team of highly experienced Tabletop players and veteran game developers who are passionate about the genre, striving to create the best Tactical RPG videogame.
  • Kickstarter: Tactical Adventures is giving players the opportunity to be heard by joining the community and backing Solasta on Kickstarter. The campaign will feature an amazing tiered reward system and the team is already working on a demo of the game.
Solasta: Crown of the Magister will be available to support and back on Kickstarter soon. Media interested in learning more about Tactical Adventures and Solasta: Crown of the Magister should email Premier Communications (TacticalAdventures@premiercomms.com).
As the press release mentions, Solasta is coming to Kickstarter at the end of summer. There are more details about the game on the official website and it's got a Steam page too. I'd say it has promise, although I hope it plans to be more than a game about traversing brown-colored vertical dungeons.

There are 56 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister is a 5E OGL RPG with a focus on verticality and dynamic environments

Fri 21 June 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 21 June 2019, 13:43:20

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

Over two and a half years since it was originally announced, the Underrail: Expedition expansion finally has a release date. It's coming really soon, on July 22nd. Here's the announcement post:

[​IMG]

Hi guys,

We've been wrapping the DLC up and the development is finished now. We're moving into the final stages of testing. First we'll do some internal testing on the new version before releasing it to our testers (we're accepting additional testers now, so if you're interested apply here) and then finally releasing it for everybody on July 22nd 2019.

Sometime between now and the release, there will also be a new experimental version of the game (that will be pushed to the main branch before release).

Thank you all very much for being patient with us and I hope you'll find it worth the wait.

Cheers.​

Wow. It's great news, but when this is all over I'd love to learn how Stygian went from an expected release in the first half of 2017 to a three year development cycle.

There are 114 comments on Underrail Dev Log #61: Expedition expansion releasing on July 22nd

Thu 20 June 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 20 June 2019, 23:54:02

Tags: Critical Forge; Forged of Blood

You might remember Forged of Blood, a turn-based tactical fantasy RPG by Indonesia-based indie studio Critical Forge that first came to our attention back in 2016. In 2017, Forged of Blood sought its fortune on Kickstarter but sadly gained little attention. Despite this setback, Critical Forge vowed to forge on (heh) with its development and over two years later, they're finally approaching the finish line. Some of the game's features have been cut but the most important elements remain, including its extensive spellcrafting system and unique morality system. The game is now in beta, and Critical Forge have produced a couple of new videos to reintroduce it to new audiences.


Yeah, this looks pretty cool. If you'd like check out Forged of Blood yourself, beta signups are still open. According to its recently launched Steam page, the game is due out in August.

There are 17 comments on Forged of Blood is back - now in beta and releasing in August

Tue 18 June 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 18 June 2019, 20:13:16

Tags: Dead Monarchy; Dead Monarchy Studios

Turn-based tactical RPGs, everybody's making them these days. Kevin AKA Bantichai is a young fellow from Australia who has been working on his own tactical fantasy game for several years now. It's called Dead Monarchy and it's inspired by XCOM, Jagged Alliance and especially Battle Brothers. The game's not too heavy on lore right now. You have a town and a roster of warriors, and you need to go out and kill the bad guys before they kill you. I'm sure the game still has a long way to go, but it's come along far enough for a Steam Early Access release. Here's the trailer and an excerpt from Bantichai's rather personal launch announcement post:


Three years ago, I decided to try my hand at game development. Prior to that, I had graduated from university with a Multimedia degree which was more or less useless. It taught me a few things, but in hindsight I probably could have just googled most of it.

That said, my end results were mediocre at best as I was just too preoccupied with gaming. After all, I've been gaming all my life, I was about 6 or 7 when my parents bought me a gameboy to play Pokemon, since I had traded away all my tuckshop money at school for Pokemon cards. This was only the start though, my first foray into PC gaming was Age of Empires which I fished out of a cereal box. Cereal has never quite been the same since then. I remember spending hours in the scenario editor creating "spectacular cities" which were really just a load of houses arranged on a square grid and then I remember having my childlike mind break down when my beautiful walls were destroyed by catapults.

Then when I was about 12, my parents finally bought me an Xbox and through a friend I got my hands on a little game called Morrowind. I honestly didn't know what I had gotten my hands on at the time. However, I had also been simultaneously playing Runescape, spending my days in world 2 trading rares, hoping to one day get a party hat and grinding it out on mudcrabs through the scorching Australian summers. Then one day, my account got hacked, I lost my santa hats, I cried and then I quit in a fit of rage.

I then set my sights back on the Xbox and I decided to finally delve into Morrowind. Prior to that, I had never truly played a game like Morrowind before let alone held an Xbox controller in my hand. The trip from Seyda Neen to Balmora felt like the journey from the Shire to Mount Doom as I was so uncoordinated that I couldn't even figure out how to navigate with the map. I also had a penchant for stealing from shops and then promptly getting killed by guards.

I played Morrowind alone for nearly a whole year. Morrowind left a lingering desire in me for more, so I played most of the games that Bethesda released after that and I delved into modding when Fallout 3 came out. I made a few private mods and then gave up on them and repeated this cycle for New Vegas and Skyrim.

After Skyrim, I went into a lull, I just couldn't find a game like Morrowind again. I also found myself slowing becoming detached from gaming and not finishing games anymore. I don't quite remember how but I eventually found myself playing XCOM: Enemy Unknown and when I discovered what "Ironman Mode" was, it reinvigorated me. I'm not sure what the exact connection was, but you could probably say it was the challenge that reminded me of my Morrowind days. XCOM then became the gateway that led me into digging up all the classic games and then I eventually hit Battle Brothers. To this day, I still haven't found a game that handles turn-based melee combat better than BB.

But I digress, all I really wanted to say is that I truly love gaming and it's a shame that the industry is changing too much for my own tastes. That is the main reason why I got into game development, I just want to do my part to better gaming for the future.

When the store page first went live, I mentioned that I was finally at the starting line. In hindsight, I was wrong. Only now, am I truly at the starting line, prior to that you could say I was just warming up.
We all have stories like this one, but not everybody decides to go all the way and actually make their own game. Good on you, Bantichai. Dead Monarchy is available on Steam now for just $10, with a 10% launch discount until next week. For more details, check out the game's thread on our forums and the official YouTube channel, where Bantichai regularly posts development updates and gameplay videos.

There are 29 comments on Battle Brothers-inspired turn-based tactical RPG Dead Monarchy released on Steam Early Access

Fri 14 June 2019

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 June 2019, 15:00:11

Tags: Black Shamrock; Cyanide Studio; Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

IGN have gotten their hands on ten minutes of Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory gameplay footage. In this typical troubleshooting scenario, the player character and his team are tasked with investigating the whereabouts of a maintenance team who have gone missing in the sector's lower levels, with the side objective of retrieving a cowardly floor scrubbing robot. Once there, the scrubot is easily located but the team is nowhere to seen, replaced with an army of hostile security bots who have been reprogrammed to think they're characters from a fantasy RPG. The game plays a bit like a real-time version of Shadowrun Returns, with a large emphasis on cover. Unfortunately the person playing skips through all the dialogue, so it comes across as more hack n' slash than it should. Thankfully IGN have also written a preview which provides some necessary context. Here's the gameplay footage and an excerpt:



You take on the role of a Troubleshooter: someone whose job is to deal with any problems in Alpha Complex that may require a more personal touch than Friend Computers many drones and servo-arms are able to provide. In our demo, this meant investigating why one of the maintenance bots in a sub-basement level was behaving oddly.

It turned out that a group of Traitors - the designation given to anyone in the Alpha Complex facility that does not follow the rules or remain Happy™ - had sealed off a few rooms in the sub-basement to use as their personal LARP-ing grounds (they'd even reprogrammed security bots to shout "Lightning Bolt!" as they fire their lasers), and it was up to us and our three crew members to clear them out.

Combat in Paranoia is real-time, but you can pause the action whenever you like for as long as you want to give your squad of four commands, sending them to cover, attacking specific enemies or making use of their unique specializations. For example, while your Cleanliness Officer might be able to use disinfecting chemical to deal acid damage, or your Happiness Officer (basically the logical and horrifying extrapolation of Big Pharma and Social Media) could buff your team with psychotropic drugs.

What's interesting is that rather than failing and restarting a mission upon death with a different skill loadout, HiM features a unique take on permadeath. Friend Computer understands that accidents happen, and as such has issued Troubleshooters with a bank of clones that are activated upon a unit's accidental termination (or an intentional one, depending on your actions). What's interesting is that each time you activate a clone, you're able to re-spec your skills and attribute points, effectively creating a new character every time you die. Friend Computer only provides six clones that can be re-spec'd, though, so you'll have to choose wisely if you don't want to get stuck with a skill set you don't want. I'm told, however, that there may be a certain geneticist somewhere in Alpha Complex that could help with that - if you've got funds and are willing to risk the demerits...

Of course, it wouldn't be called "Paranoia" without good reason. While your team members may be under your control during combat and missions, they are very much not your team members. Even though your jobs will take you into areas where Friend Computer's scanners don't work, that doesn't mean your team members won't inform Friend Computer of any misdeeds you commit while on a mission. For example, when we found ourselves at a locked door, our tech expert suggested that I hack a nearby vending machine to gain access to the local network and unlock the door. It was a good idea, so I did - and the little weasel ratted me out as soon as we got back upstairs, which caused my Treason Level (a percent rating system that every citizen has indicating how concerned Friend Computer is with their Happiness™) to increase and change my citizen rating from Questionable to Suspicious.

We didn't see much of Alpha Complex beyond the couple of floors we visited, but the little bit of the world it showed us did a great job playing with this notion of omnipotence and mistrust, and how you have to deal with it. Wherever your character goes, security cameras track your every move - even the Friend Computer icon at the top of the screen (it lets you know when you're in view of its cameras) follows the motion of your mouse cursor with eerie, silent malice.

Though I only experienced a small portion Paranoia's world, I was immediately hooked by its witty take on the "robots gone awry" genre, and can't wait to see how my exploits play out depending on my choices. Will I splinter off from the other citizens to join a secret society and overthrow FC? Or will I remain a steadfast and Happy™ agent of Friend Computer's ruthlessly intelligent design? Happiness may be mandatory, but participation is entirely voluntary - and I'll gladly be throwing on my read overalls later this year.
The game definitely has potential and the writing seems fun. For it to be a truly good game though, we'll have to see some more variety. Hopefully the developers are up to the task.

There are 28 comments on Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory Gameplay Footage and Preview at IGN

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 June 2019, 02:33:34

Tags: Brian Heins; Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds

There have been a few more presentations of The Outer Worlds with Leonard Boyarsky at E3 since Monday, including at GameSpot and Shacknews, all featuring the same truncated gameplay footage. And there have been a bunch of previews of the game as well, which mention people and places that don't appear in that footage. It all came together today when Leonard showed up at the E3 Coliseum show to present the full-length Outer Worlds demo. Accompanying him was none other than former Tyranny director Brian Heins, who provided narration (sometimes too much of it). The demo takes place on the wild planet of Monarch and begins in a frontier town called Fallbrook. The player character receives a mission from a local businesswoman to take out Clive Lumbergh, the grisly owner of a nearby factory for genetically engineered bacon. This time instead of going in through the sewer entrance, the player infiltrates the factory using his social skills with the help of a unique holographic disguise mechanic. However, the demo cuts off in the same place as before, with the player about to make his decision on how to deal with Clive.


Now that we've seen that, here are those previews:

This is probably the best footage of The Outer Worlds we've seen so far, demonstrating a variety of paths, mechanics and some clever writing. Let's hope they can keep it up.

There are 34 comments on The Outer Worlds E3 2019 Demo Gameplay Footage and Previews

Wed 12 June 2019

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 12 June 2019, 23:03:13

Tags: Hardsuit Labs; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Were those Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 gameplay trailers from earlier this week too short for you? Well you're in luck, because Paradox have apparently decided to let the press distribute the full-length gameplay footage that the trailers were cut from. There are actually several versions floating around. IGN and PCWorld have a copy where the encounter with the rogue thinblood Slugg ends with his death, while GameSpot have one where he's dealt with more amicably. I'll post one of each:


A number of websites have written previews of this demo. Here's a list of all the previews I was able to find today:

As you can see the game is still a bit rough around the edges in places, and it doesn't help that player in the IGN version is terrible at combat. Nine more months of development should be enough to address these issues, though.

There are 59 comments on Bloodlines 2 E3 2019 Demo Gameplay Footage and Previews

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 12 June 2019, 19:54:44

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

Like last year, CD Projekt brought a 50 minute Cyberpunk 2077 to E3 which they aren't ready to share with the public yet. Until it's inevitably released later this year, we'll have to make due with descriptions from the press. The main takeaway from the demo is that Keanu Reeves' role is more than just a cameo. He plays the "digital ghost" of Johnny Silverhand, an iconic character from Cyberpunk 2020 lore who will be V's companion throughout the game. He becomes involved with the story when V is implanted with a unique chip that may contain the secret to immortality. The demo seems to be concerned with V's attempt to investigate the chip by seeking the aid of a group of Haitian netrunners called the Voodoo Boys. You can see a few of these characters in the new batch of screenshots CD Projekt released yesterday:

[​IMG] [​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
Here are some of the previews released over the past 24 hours:

Besides all the hype surrounding Keanu Reeves, another thing many websites have been impressed by is the confirmation that it will be possible to play through Cyberpunk 2077 without killing anybody. All in all, it's quite a whiplash from yesterday when people noticed that CD Projekt had begun describing the game as "open-world action-adventure" and started getting worried.

There are 46 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 E3 2019 Demo Previews and Screenshots

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 12 June 2019, 16:36:20

Tags: Bigben Interactive; Black Shamrock; Cyanide Studio; Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory

Bigben Interactive were too small-time to get into one of this year's big E3 press conferences, but that didn't stop them from releasing this fun new trailer for Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory. The trailer takes the form of a guide to the game's combat system, although I'd recommend not taking its advice. It also offers a quick look at dialogue and hacking.


Looks pretty fun, doesn't it? If this game is as good as its trailers, we might be looking at an unexpected gem. Paranoia still has no exact release but is supposed to come out sometime later this year. If you'd like to learn more, there are also a few previews from last month that we never got around to posting at Daily Star, TheSixthAxis and Wccftech.

There are 7 comments on Paranoia: Happiness is Mandatory Gameplay Trailer and Previews

Tue 11 June 2019

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 June 2019, 17:55:30

Tags: Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds

Leonard Boyarsky sat down with IGN and Twitch yesterday and presented some new gameplay footage from The Outer Worlds that Obsidian brought to E3 this year. The footage shows the player character fighting his way to a corporate installation with companions Ellie and Nyoka, infiltrating through a sewer entrance, sneaking around inside and finally speaking to the installation's twisted cook, which is where it cuts off. Unfortunately the interviews don't address the footage at all so the context of these events is unclear, but at least it gives us a look at how the game has progressed since we last saw it in action back in March.


In other news, yesterday Obsidian updated the Outer Worlds official website and the game became available for preorder. As of now only the console versions of the game are available from the preorder site, but the Microsoft Store preorder page is already up and running.

There are 36 comments on The Outer Worlds Gameplay Footage on IGN and Twitch E3 2019 Broadcasts

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 June 2019, 00:27:43

Tags: Baldur's Gate III; Brian Mitsoda; Cara Ellison; Hardsuit Labs; Larian Studios; Mike Mearls; Swen Vincke; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Last night's Bethesda E3 press conference was a bust, so today we moved right on to the PC Gaming Show. Swen Vincke and Mike Mearls were there to talk about Baldur's Gate III, but as expected they had nothing new to reveal. The reason we were watching was Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2. Paradox had promised they would finally reveal some gameplay footage of it today. When Brian Mitsoda and Cara Ellison appeared on stage what we got instead was a heavily abridged one minute gameplay trailer, which was a bit disappointing. But then Paradox published an extended four minute version, which was quite a bit better. The trailer is basically the in-game version of the chase scene from the original announcement trailer. The player character takes a mission to track down a certain thin-blood and extract some information out of him, interacting with a couple of vampire factions along the way. There's some combat, magic, and at the end a glimpse of dialogue, which uses a traditional dialogue tree interface with skill checks. Check it out:


Looks pretty good, doesn't it? I'd say Hardsuit have the basics nailed down. Hopefully we won't have to wait long to see more.

There are 62 comments on PC Gaming Show at E3 2019: Bloodlines 2 Gameplay Trailer

Mon 10 June 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 10 June 2019, 14:54:08

Tags: inXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

inXile published a new Wasteland 3 Fig update shortly after yesterday's Microsoft E3 show ended. As I said, the game's trailer didn't announce a release date, and the reason for that is that it's been delayed to next year. The good news is that the backer alpha will be out as soon as August, with an Early Access beta release coming shortly afterwards. Anyway, speaking of the trailer, you'll be glad to hear that Scotchmo's appearance in it wasn't custom-made CGI. He will be a character in Wasteland 3 and what we saw in the trailer was his "talking head". The update includes a short video of an in-game conversation with Scotchmo, featuring a standard RPG dialogue tree including skill checks. I'll post that here along with an excerpt from the update:



A Postcard Arrives

E3 is upon us—that special time of year when you learn about new games, or more about the games you’re most excitedly waiting for. We’re happy to be delivering some of the latter, with a new, pre-Alpha look at Wasteland 3 from an old pal and returning character from Wasteland 2. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

In addition to the return of Scotchmo and an extended look at the post-nuclear landscape of Colorado, we’re announcing a new launch window of Spring 2020. That’s down to the fact that, thanks to our relationship with Microsoft, we’re able to hire more staff and spend more time realizing our vision for Wasteland 3. All in all it means a little more time to get things right and deliver the experience we want, and the one we know you expect.

We also have new screenshots to share over on our Wasteland 3 page on the inXile site so you can get a closer look at some of locations glimpsed at in the video.

Alpha, Early Access and Release

We’re pleased to announce two more release windows; ones we’re asked about almost as often as when the game itself is coming out.

Our backer Alpha will arrive August, 2019 to those who pledged in the First Access and higher tiers. Early Access (sometimes referred to as Beta) will be arriving in late Fall, 2019, and is for all backer tiers with the exception of the Correspondent tier.

The Alpha will be a first opportunity to play around with many of the game’s different systems in a guided experience, with the Early Access providing a bigger chunk of the game to check out. In both cases, they’ll be your opportunity to provide us with feedback that we can use to help make the final game that much better for everyone.

As mentioned above—but it bears repeating—our launch target for the full game release is now Spring 2020.

One Last Treat
Finally, we wanted to leave you with one last treat. We’re happy we were able to reveal Scotchmo’s triumphant return in the E3 trailer, and wanted to share a look at how we’re bringing Scotchmo back for Wasteland 3. show how the character originally evolved in Wasteland 2, the iteration work he went through in early production, and finally an extended video snippet of a player conversation with him. Again, please remember that everything you see, from graphics to audio to UI, are all pre-Alpha.

And here’s an extended look at the model, animation, and VO for Scotchmo. The dialog UI is very much temp in this video, but provides an example of the type of dialog options you might see in the final game. Our artists want to reiterate that this is of course an early look with temp UI, in-progress lighting, model, and everything else. However, we'd still love to hear your feedback!

Thank you again for your backing and support of the game. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you. We’ll see you again soon with some more Wasteland 3 goodies, including drill-downs on some of the core gameplay pillars and systems. Stay tuned!
inXile are taking the Wasteland 3 alpha to Gamescom in August, so we'll hear more about the game then if not earlier. For more details about the alpha and beta releases, see the FAQ in the full update.

There are 23 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #29: Delayed to Spring 2020, Scotchmo Conversation Scene

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 10 June 2019, 01:02:59

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077; inXile Entertainment; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds; Wasteland 3

With publishers increasingly opting out of full-scale press conferences in favor of more modest livestreams and Sony skipping out of the event entirely, Microsoft were left to dominate this year's E3 by default. With their recent acquisition of Obsidian and inXile, tonight's Microsoft press conference promised to be particularly relevant to Codex interests. In fact, The Outer Worlds was the very first game to appear, with a colorful but rather earnest anti-corporate trailer that also reveals that Dr. Phineas has been redesigned to look like less of a Rick and Morty ripoff. Wasteland 3 appeared later on with a light-hearted trailer featuring none other than Scotchmo from Wasteland 2, offering us an introduction to the wonders of post-apocalyptic Colorado and our first glimpse of real gameplay since the game was crowdfunded back in 2016.


Those of you who find the tone of these trailers objectionable will be happy to know that the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer played it completely straight. Well, and then there's the part where Keanu Reeves showed up, because of course he did. It's a direct sequel to the 48 minute gameplay reveal from last August but with the male protagonist, who appears to have gotten a visual redesign. Things don't turn out so well for him, but Keanu makes everything better.


Finally, there are release dates. The Outer Worlds is coming on October 25th and Cyberpunk 2077 is coming next year on April 16th, with the latter game now available for preorder as well. The Wasteland 3 trailer doesn't announce a release date, but it too has a new release window. More on that later.

There are 41 comments on Microsoft E3 2019 Press Conference: Cyberpunk 2077, The Outer Worlds, Wasteland 3

Sat 8 June 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 8 June 2019, 22:31:46

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

Coming in right before tomorrow's explosion of news from E3 is this month's Colony Ship development update, with another status report on the game's upcoming combat demo. Progress on the portraits and animations that have been holding the demo up is slow but ongoing. The update includes examples of two recently added portraits and a new pistol animation. There's also a sample of quest dialogue from the Pit, and of course the usual batch of screenshots from the arena. The new features demonstrated in the screenshots this time are poison gas grenades and feats. I'll post two of them here:

[​IMG] [​IMG]

News from the front:

- Progress on the portraits and animations is still slow. Meet generic combat NPC 05 and 06. The helmets and goggles reflect the in-game headgear models. Ivan finished tweaking the rifles animations, going over the pistol animations now (over 200 animations).

- Programming and design are right on schedule, which is a lot more important as I'd rather wait for portraits and animations than for the programming tasks to be completed.

- Scott and I are working on dialogues for the side quests; I hope to have all the quests and dialogues for the Pit ready by the end of the month. Random snippets:

* * *

“What can I get you?” The bartender has spotted you looking over the assortment of unlabeled, plastic gallon jugs, each with its own unappealing liquid in some shade of brown. “We got Gutwarmer, Rat Poison, High Voltage, Firewater, and Absolution. Special on the Rat Poison right now, every third round is free for as long as you're able to drink it.”

* * *
Three men stand silently about a portable heater, the Ship equivalent of the frontier campfire, minus the good cheer.

“Do you have it?” the man in charge says in a voice hoarse and low. The left side of his face is disfigured with gruesome, saucer-sized scars, like vicious sucker marks. From one of these rippled craters, the angry orange light of an ocular implant is doing duty for a missing eye. You suppress a shudder thinking about the tentacle that must have delivered that kiss. Everyone’s heard the stories, of course, but you felt better telling yourself they were exaggerated.

1. Continue.

Chance hurriedly yanks a dusty old control module from his belt bag and passes it to Scarface. The Granger glances down at it, no more than a quick take, then tosses it to ground.

“What’s the deal?” asks Chance, his righteous indignation more than slightly overplayed. “You wanted a tower control module, I brought you a tower control module. Now where’s my money? I got shit to do.” He cuts his eyes at you, both in a naked appeal for support and to give himself a break from looking at his mark.

Scarface isn’t looking at Chance anymore, though. His implant is giving you a hard stare, and you’re guessing it’s not interested in your haircut. Judging by the design, it’s military hardware, already locked in and analyzing its target.

1. “The money, like he said. Best if you don't make us ask again.”
2. “What if I can get this module for you?”
Two more months to go, hopefully. See the full update for the rest of the screenshots including descriptions.

There are 57 comments on Colony Ship Update #38: Combat Demo Update #5 - Quest Dialogue Sample

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 8 June 2019, 00:57:29

Tags: David Rogers; inXile Entertainment; Krome Studios; The Bard's Tale; The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight; The Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

You might remember that The Bard's Tale IV was supposed to receive a Director's Cut update in June. Well, we're in June now but apparently it's still not ready. According to today's Kickstarter update, the new release window for the Director's Cut is "late summer". It is far along enough to offer us a first look though, including a glimpse at the new Royal Necropolis of Haernhold high level area.



Release Update

Hi everyone, work on the Director’s Cut is going very well, and we’re excited to share more about our progress today. As you’re aware, we were acquired by Microsoft late last year, and they’ve been a truly amazing partner, providing us access to new resources and refinement processes, and allowing us to take the time we want to ensure we make this the definitive edition of The Bard’s Tale IV. The good news is that the wait won’t be that much longer, as we’re targeting late summer for a release of the Director’s Cut on Windows, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

We’ll be sharing more news on specific dates in the near future, but for now here is a video on the changes from the game’s Creative Director, David Rogers, detailing what you’ll find in this new Director’s Cut.

The Bard’s Tale Trilogy Update

We also have some news regarding The Bard’s Tale Trilogy for Mac gamers. Since launch, we’ve seen that Linux users have been able to play the game with minimal fuss, using methods like Steam’s Proton service. On the other hand, Mac users have not been able to play the game, so we are pleased to announce that we have made the additional investment to develop a Mac version. Krome is currently working on some additional updates for The Bard’s Tale Trilogy, and will begin work on the Mac version later this summer. All of you, Windows, Mac, and Linux, will be getting these additional Bard’s Tale Trilogy enhancement updates free of charge.

Stay Tuned!

As we noted above, we’ll have a release date for the The Bard’s Tale IV: Director’s Cut soon, so be on the lookout for another update!
What does late summer mean, sometime around September? Maybe they're saving the announcement of the exact date for the Microsoft press conference at E3.

There are 8 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #56: Director's Cut First Look - Delayed to Late Summer

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