It wasn't clear whether there would be another DLC for Solasta: Crown of the Magister following the release of the Lost Valley expansion earlier this year. Once again however Tactical Adventures made their intentions obvious when they approached the community for Warlock, Bard and Monk subclass ideas back in June. The new Inner Strength DLC announced today will also include the Dragonborn race, three new backgrounds, and seventeen new martial-oriented feats. However, unlike last year's Primal Calling DLC, the new backgrounds will not be receiving their own sidequests in the original campaign.
Hey there folks!
Mark your calendars because we're here with a date for the next DLC! With the Monk, Bard & Warlock joining the party, we've finally completed the full SRD class lineup in Solasta. To think we originally planned to release the game with only 4 - Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Wizard - and now we're up to 12... All of this is only possible thanks to your support! But that's not all there is, the long awaited Dragonborns also make their appearance in this new DLC. Inner Strength, coming up November 14th - don't miss it!
Inner Strength DLC Content
This DLC unlocks three new Classes (for a total of 9 new subclasses, plus 3 additional ones if you own Lost Valley) and one new Ancestry.
The Warlock Class, with its 4 subclasses: The Fiend (SRD), The Hive (Solasta), The Timekeeper (Community), The Tree (Lost Valley)
The Bard Class, with its 4 subclasses: College of Lore (SRD), College of Hope (Solasta), College of Heroism (Community), College of Tradition (Lost Valley)
The Monk Class, with its 4 subclasses: Way of the Open Hand (SRD), Way of Survival (Solasta), Way of Light (Community), Way of Freedom (Lost Valley)
The Dragonborn Ancestry
Free Content Update For Everyone
Three new Backgrounds: The Ascetic, The Artist & The Occultist (note: these new backgrounds do not have a background quest in the Crown of the Magister campaign)
17 new feats to give our martial classes some more love!
Gamepad support on PC is finally here <3
Boss monsters are coming to the Dungeon Maker. Use them at your own risk and peril!
As mentioned in the announcement, with the release of this DLC Solasta will finally feature the full set of core classes from 5E D&D. It's launching on November 14th.
Among the various titles which have emerged in recent years in the wake of Divinity: Original Sin 2's success is a game called Zoria: Age of Shattering. First spotted back in 2019, Zoria is a fairly generic turn-based tactical RPG from Romanian indie team Tiny Trinket Games, distinguished mainly by its larger-than-usual emphasis on outpost management and crafting elements. A playable demo of the game has been available since 2020 and while I'm not sure how much progress it's made over the years, apparently it looked promising enough to be picked up earlier this year by Gamedec developers Anshar Studios (who have apparently decided to enter the lucrative indie publishing field). Last week the developers announced that they were going to launch a crowdfunding campaign for Zoria on Kickstarter "soon", which as it turns out meant today. The game's Kickstarter pitch video isn't really a pitch at all but just a gameplay overview trailer covering its main pillars - tactical combat, crafting, character building and outpost management. Here's the trailer and an excerpt from the campaign page:
Following almost two centuries of peace and prosperity after the conclusion of the Great Fiends War, the Kingdom of Elion finds itself again in chaos. Take on the role of Andar Witherell, a young and ambitious Captain who quickly advanced in ranks due to a mix of smartness and opportunism. You were assigned to your next task by none other than the War Chancellor. Your task is simple. Gather the best warriors and mages, and form the team that will liberate the Kingdom under your leadership. Take part in the preparations of the Elion’s Last Stand, but war is not the only danger waiting for you…
Speaking about your companions, we have nine classes on the roster. Pick your favorite ones based on past experiences in other RPG games. Will creating a hybrid team be a good solution?" It really depends on your decision and fighting style. Remember, you can have up to four squad members at a time. It can’t be too easy in the beginning, can it? You’ll start your journey solo with the opportunity to find plausible companions as you play through the story. As it’s an RPG, you have access to the skill tree. Allocate your skill points to equip your warriors with powerful perks, deadly spells, and effective buffs.
No hexes. No squares. Zoria is a fast-paced and fluid turn-based combat in a dynamically changing environment. Without a doubt, you have to keep a close eye on your surroundings. Use it to your advantage to set a trap for the opponent, but also be careful.
The unexpected close call can trigger combat, and your enemy can block your position, thus dramatically changing the dynamics of the battle. However, if you are a tactician and can plan your steps forward, even a stronger creature will not be able to knock down your party.
Plan your expedition, and send selected party members on an autonomic mission (in which you won’t participate but will receive what they find and the experience they gain). Collect the resources, and make changes to your squad, so the skills of individual members match the task ahead of you.
With that introduction, we welcome you to your HQ – The Outpost. The base may be regularly updated by unlocking new wings to the buildings, and it will be rewarded with either resources, quests, or items. Different buildings will have different numbers of available upgrades.
Crafting is an essential part of the game. Almost every item and herb you can find on your path can be helpful to you for making new weapons, armor, or potions. Put the new, shiny armor on, brag about your new wand among the order of mages, or sell unnecessary junk at the blacksmith. Live like a vassal... at least for a while.
“Before you go further, you need to gather the team,” - says the classic Baldur’s Gate quote. The very truth, but in Zoria, in addition to the team, you need rest, so take a flint in your hand and set up camp. Get some rest between battles to get some buffs and eliminate fatigue. And trust me, craft some more potions for the upcoming ones; it will save your life. Period.
During the quests, you will often find yourself in seemingly inaccessible places. Take your time to build a composure that will maximize the squad's efficiency and explore these places as each team member has unique abilities which may help you access them; who knows what you can miss in the dark corners of Zoria’s world? A little tip in advance: Battle Clerics can interact with Shrines of Nerdalye to replenish the party’s health.
Tiny Trinket and Anshar are looking to raise €35,000 to fund the further development of Zoria. You can currently secure a copy of the game for €15, which also includes access to a "backer-exclusive extended demo". The estimated release date is October 2023, with an Early Access release planned for Q1 2023.
The upcoming Deus Ex and shitty Japanese pornographic cartoons-inspired immersive sim Peripeteia was a participant in last year's Realms Deep showcase, during which its Kickstarter campaign was launched. Development seems to be progressing nicely, with weekly videos demonstrating various new features and content, but these crowdfunded titles almost always end up needing some more time. The game showed up again for this year's Realms Deep event with a rather twitchy new trailer, which also announces that its release date has been postponed to 2023.
Next year in cyberpunk Poland. In the meantime, the demo of Peripeteia released on Steam last year is still available.
As you may recall, Expeditions developer Logic Artists was disbanded following the release of Expeditions: Rome, with most of its staff joining a new blockchain gaming company. However, there remained some hope for the future of the series, which was left in the hands of publisher THQ Nordic and whose esteemed creative director Jonas Wæver had not joined his colleagues on their disreputable venture. I doubt Rome was very commercially successful, but today we learned that THQ Nordic apparently liked it enough to form a new RPG studio in Copenhagen under Jonas' leadership. The studio is called Campfire Cabal and it will focus on "high-quality, narrative-driven RPGs". According to their Twitter account's description, these RPGs will also be turn-based. Here's the official announcement, which includes a thematically appropriate teaser video featuring a few characters from Rome.
Copenhagen, Denmark / Vienna, Austria, September 13, 2022 –THQ Nordic has set sail on a new expedition to Denmark with the formation of a new development studio called Campfire Cabal! The studio was formed by industry veterans who worked on titles such as the highly acclaimed Expeditions: Rome, the Hitman-series, and Hunt: Showdown. Campfire Cabal will focus on high-quality, narrative-driven RPGs and is currently working on a project that has yet to be publicly disclosed.
The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: Back to the Futon, the time travel-themed third and final DLC for 2020's well-received parodic tactical RPG, was supposed to have launched this summer. It has however taken longer than expected for developer Artefacts Studio to finalize. Perhaps that's because this DLC is particularly large, spanning four chapters or about half the size of the original campaign. As a direct sequel to last year's Ruins of Limis DLC, it will also allow characters to reach level 16. Voice actress Felicia Day explains all this and more in the new release date trailer, which announces that Back to the Futon will be launching on October 3rd.
Good news. We learned during the Nacon Connect event back in July that Artefacts Studio's next game is Crown Wars: The Black Prince, a medieval turn-based strategy game set during the Hundred Years War. I guess that's the reason it's taken them so long to produce these DLCs.
Community member Dorateen's big kustom mod Hearkenwold for Knights of the Chalice 2 has just been upgraded to version 1.45. It's the first major update released since KotC2 made it to Steam and GOG back in March.
Apart from various fixes and additions, the campaign now includes a new adventure called Edinmoor, which was designed for 7th level characters, though it can be embarked upon earlier for a bigger challenge.
Dorateen has also put up a combat video to go with the update, though I, for one, am strongly disappointed that he doesn't use the Commander Boreale voice pak:
Hearkenwold can be downloaded for free here. Needless to say, you will need a working copy of Knights of the Chalice 2 to run it.
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A year and half after its successful crowdfunding campaign and following two closed beta tests, Ocean Drive Studio have announced that Lost Eidolons will be launching on October 13th. If you recall, Lost Eidolons is a Fire Emblem-inspired tactical RPG set in a crumbling medieval fantasy empire that has descended into civil war. Here's the release date announcement trailer. The people of Artemesia are a handsome folk but have apparently never heard of lip sync.
We have some important announcements for Lost Eidolons today! Before we dive in, check out this quick message from Jin Sang, the creative director.
You heard it from the man! Many of you have been waiting for this information, and we have finalized the date–the PC version of Lost Eidolons will be released on October 13, 2022. The team held multiple internal discussions to keep the wait as short as possible, but still ensure a schedule that allows us to bring you the best Lost Eidolons experience we can. For those of you catching up to Lost Eidolons news, please read this post to learn more about the delay with the Xbox version of the game.
This required multiple discussions internally as well. We also took feedback from our community to explore many different options, then reached our conclusion: Lost Eidolons will be priced at 34.99 USD (subject to taxes, regional pricing, etc.). We’d like to add that the whole process was a blessing as we got to see how much our community valued Lost Eidolons!
Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to launch. If you haven’t already, make sure you wishlist Lost Eidolons on Steam to get notified as soon as the game is available!
– The ODS Team
Lost Eidolons has been available to play on Steam Next Fest a couple of times, but I don't think we got much of an impression of how well it played. It's always nice to see a crowdfunded game actually launching (more or less) on schedule, though. These Koreans seem to know what they're doing.
The Treasure of the Midnight Isles DLC for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous was released today, a few weeks later than originally scheduled. As you may recall, this is a roguelike mode DLC set in the abyssal island realm of the same name, where the party has embarked on a treasure hunt at the behest of a mysterious boatman. Like Kingmaker's similar Beneath the Stolen Lands DLC, it's accessible both from the main campaign and as a standalone game mode. Here's its launch trailer along with the accompanying press release:
5PM CEST Cyprus, Nicosia 30 August, 2022: Owlcat Games today launched The Treasure of the Midnight Isle - the third premium DLC for critically-acclaimed RPG Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, now available on Steam, GOG.com and Epic Game Store. Board the grim cursed ship and venture into the inky blackness of the Abyss - will you uncover untold riches, or be devoured by unspeakable horrors?
Explore the vast archipelago full of treasures and dangers in a stand-alone rogue-like mode, or as a part of the main campaign.
Try out different builds and party compositions, taking advantage of the enormous variety of the Pathfinder role-playing system – including the mythic paths.
Death is just a setback! If a party perishes, its progress can still help you in subsequent playthroughs.
Equip new magic weapons, put new magic potions and scrolls on your belt, and challenge both old and new enemies.
Discover the secret of the ship that takes you on your journeys – and the truth about the ultimate treasure you're seeking.
This DLC along with the two previous ones conclude the first Season of additional content, which can be purchased altogether via Season Pass for a discounted price. The second Season of content for the game (Season Pass #2) will also consist of three new DLCs and will become available to players later this year. More details are to be revealed in September.
Alongside the new DLC, patch 1.4 launches for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous including quality of life improvements and fixes. The full list of changes can be found here.
The Treasure of the Midnight Isles is available now on Steam and GOG for $13. With this release, Wrath of the Righteous' first season pass is complete. As mentioned above, details about the game's next batch of DLCs will be revealed in September.
Queen's Wish 2: The Tormentor, the sequel to the rather unloved Queen's Wish: The Conqueror from Jeff Vogel's Spiderweb Software, was released today. Understandably, there hasn't been a lot of excitement surrounding the game on our forum, but at a distance it does appear to be somewhat more interesting than its predecessor. In the blog post announcing the release, Jeff describes some of the improvements he's made in response to criticisms of the first game and reflects on the game's themes. Plus the usual grumbling about how tough the indie market is and how old he's getting. Here's an excerpt:
This trilogy is heavily into politics and tough choices. You enter a rebellious land, and you have to whip it into shape. You have many options. Not many of them are good.
I recently got an email from someone who got stuck playing Queen's Wish. They reached a point where they didn't like any of the choices they had, so they quit.
That's their right. It's their leisure time, after all. However, I am standing by this decision. I want this series to engage with politics and power and empire in an honest way. This is a necessary part of it.
Suppose you're some major official in Ancient Rome, and one of your provincial governors dies. You have to pick a replacement.
But here's the thing. You have to choose among the people who are available. You can't open a vat and pull out the perfect leader. You have to choose among existing humans, all of whom, being human, are high flawed.
Yet, you still have to make a choice. Generally, the most important thing is to not make the right choice but to make sure some choice gets made.
That's how life works, and I want the Queen's Wish trilogy to have little reflections of life in it. I hope the realness (to the extent that it is real) makes up for the frustration.
Video games are a big industry. There's room for all sorts of games.
Improvements Over Queen's Wish
Queen's Wish: The Conqueror is a very innovative game. It tries a lot of new things, and it mixes them together in unusual ways. Some people liked it. Some people didn't.
However, I made mistakes. I made a lot of changes in Queen's Wish 2 that I really think improve the game.
There are far more abilities. You get experience more often, providing a more even flow of dopamine hits. You have more customization options for building your empire, some of which affect the story.
Yet, it's still basically the same engine. Of course. The weird new parts of the game engine are all still in there. So if you were mad at me, before, you still be. Whenever you change anything in your games, you inevitably lose people. Your job is then to add new customers to replace them.
The only alternative is writing the same game again and again. If you try to do this for 18 games, you will go mad.
It's Also About Empire
I've always been fascinated with history and politics, and my games reflect that. Perhaps to a fault. I wanted this trilogy to focus on that dominant force in the history of humanity: The building of Empire.
I was a little worried about this, because the Internet is a very politically touchy place, and empire is a bad word. Yet, how can I engage in politics in any real way and avoid this most powerful of political and military techniques.
I live in an Empire, which projects its power in a huge variety of ways. Not just military, but financial, philosophical, cultural. My Empire competes with other Empires.
Empire is not just a white person game. The biggest Empire-building project in the world right now is China in Africa, and white people aren't even involved.
Honestly, when the series is done, I'll probably wish I'd been more bloody-minded and less cowardly about how I touched the topic. Then again, I still have one game to go, and politics in the world of Haven is getting ugly.
Jeff reiterates that Queen's Wish will probably be his last original RPG series, after which it'll be all remasters all the time. There's one more game left before that happens, though. For now, Queen's Wish 2: The Tormentor is available on Steam and GOG for $25 with a 15% launch discount until next week. Coming up next, the Geneforge 2 remaster.
In a rare victory for creative integrity over marketing, Josh Sawyer's historical murder mystery game Pentiment was rebranded from RPG to "narrative-driven game" soon after it was announced back in June. However for completeness sake, we will continue to cover the game here until its release. Earlier today, Obsidian announced that Pentiment would be launching on November 15th and opened up preorders. There was no trailer for this announcement, but the game did appear on IGN's Gamescom stream this afternoon, presented by Josh and artist Hannah Kennedy. Topics covered during the segment included the game's artistic vision and its implementation of choice & consequence in a storyline spanning over twenty five years.
Numerous previews of Pentiment were published today as well, covering many of the same topics. Here's a list of them:
Pentiment is now available for preorder on Steam for $20, though it's clearly expected that most people will be playing via PC Game Pass. I assume we'll get to see more of the game during tomorrow's Xbox stream.
Taleworlds announced today that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord will be leaving Early Access on October 25th, bringing an end to another famous vaporware saga of the past decade. My understanding is that Bannerlord's time in Early Access has been uneven, with some of our users claiming that the game made little tangible progress after its Early Access launch in 2020. Its release date announcement trailer seems impressive enough, though. According to their announcement post, Taleworlds plan to continue updating the game "in the months to come".
Greetings warriors of Calradia!
We’re thrilled to announce that Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord will release on PC & Consoles on October 25th, 2022. It will be available on Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, Xbox One X and Xbox One S.
We have developed Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord as a multi-platform game since day one. The console version will as such have the same gameplay features as the PC version. The currently available PC Early Access, will also move on to full release, along with the console launch on the same date. But do not fret - While this marks an important milestone for the game, it is not the end of the road for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord, which will keep receiving updates in the months to come.
“These two years have been a long and challenging road. Developing a massive and complex game such as Bannerlord, for several platforms, and in the middle of a pandemic, is no easy task and I’m incredibly proud of our team for its relentless, brilliant work. Despite the challenges, it’s also been a rewarding path: we’ve found many synergies that we weren’t initially expecting between consoles and PC, synergies that have made the game grow and be better than it would have been in other circumstances. We’re looking forward to putting the game in the hands of our amazing community, which has been supporting us on consoles since Warband.”
~ Armagan Yavuz
We’ve also made our way to this year’s Gamescom in Cologne, Germany. The Covid-19 pandemic meant that the physical part of Gamescom had to be canceled during the last two years. This, in combination with the opportunity to showcase and let you experience Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord on consoles, makes us all the more excited to be meeting you here again. You can join us at the Gamescom Public Area in Hall 9, Booth 22. We will also be present in the Business Area in Hall 4.
We will be sharing daily updates of what’s happening on-site through our social media channels (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook). We’ll have some rewards to give out so stay tuned!
The game is available for pre-order now via the Playstation and Xbox stores as well as major retailers.
As mentioned in the announcement, Bannerlord is being exhibited at Gamescom this week. It was not featured during today's opening night event, but perhaps something will come up later on.
Last year we learned that Broken Roads, the post-apocalyptic isometric RPG set in Australia from indie studio Drop Bear Bytes, was going to be published by UK-based publisher Team17 of Worms fame. Although they did promote the game for a while, earlier this year we noticed that it had been silently dropped from their lineup. Just what happened to this partnership remains a mystery, but development on the game appears to have continued at a steady pace. Today it was announced that Broken Roads had been picked up by indie publisher Versus Evil, who aim to release it sometime next year. They've put together a rather melancholic new trailer for the game, narrated by the same extremely Australian gentleman who featured in last year's trailer.
Denver, CO – August 17th, 2022 - Super indie publisher Versus Evil, in partnership with indie development studio Drop Bear Bytes, today announced that they will publish Broken Roads, a traditional isometric RPG coming to PC, Switch, Playstation and Xbox in 2023. Broken Roads presents a post-apocalypse future with real-world locations and landmarks serving as the backdrop for the complex stories of Australia’s survivors wrapped in an intricate hand-drawn aesthetic.
Drop Bear Bytes headquartered in Australia, brings a wealth of revered industry talent to the fold with a team comprised of talented developers, artists and writers from Australia, South Africa, Canada, USA and the UK. RPG genre professionals including Colin McComb (Fallout 2 and Wasteland 2) Creative Lead, and Leanne Taylor-Giles (Rainbow Six Siege and Torment: Tides of Numenera), Narrative Director, have also contributed their expertise to the whole team.
Broken Roads skillfully blends traditional and all-new role-playing elements on top of a classless system offering near-unlimited character development options built around four philosophies: Humanist, Utilitarian, Machiavellian, and Nihilist. Furthermore the game presents players with an original morality system: the Moral Compass which sees dialogue options and questing decisions influence, and be influenced by, a character's philosophical leaning and the tough decisions they make along the way. In addition, the in-game locations are all authentic recreated from the team visiting towns and landmarks in West Australia and taking photos, videos and audio recordings for it to be as true as possible . Furthermore, even the game's atmospheric soundtrack composed by Tim Sunderland is composed with instruments constructed from everyday objects which brings a wholly unique and distinctive tone to the game.
“Versus Evil has a history of partnering with some of the best creatives in the industry and publishing highly engaging RPG titles enriched with deep narratives and killer visuals. Drop Bear Bytes have a clear vision and a collective talent that will bring an exciting addition to the Versus Evil RPG family of published titles and we look forward to sharing their passion project fans of the genre” Said Steve Escalante, General Manager of Versus Evil.
Broken Roads is another compelling addition to Versus Evil’s impressive RPG catalog and joins other critically acclaimed titles in the genre such as The Banner Saga Trilogy, The Hand of Merlin and Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire.
Broken Roads will be at Gamescom next week for press and gamers to check out an updated version of the game more closely, along with the publisher's other new signing, Eville: a multiplayer social deduction game which adds a new twist to the genre with its medieval RPG style, character roles, and individualized motives.
As mentioned in the press release, Broken Roads will be at Gamescom next week, so we'll likely see more of it soon.
In a break from the lull of an otherwise largely uneventful summer, THQ Nordic broadcast their second annual showcase event today. Among numerous games to make an appearance during the event was Alkimia Interactive's Gothic Remake, which you may recall entered production back in 2020. The developers promised to take criticisms of the game's original playable teaser into account, but it's hard to tell just how much has changed based on the new cinematic trailer, which takes us into the depths of the Old Mine. The next game to be presented was Haemimont Games' Jagged Alliance 3, making its first appearance since it was originally announced last September. For this title there was a proper gameplay trailer, and I must say it doesn't look bad at all. Will Bulgarians save Jagged Alliance?
Neither of these games has a launch date yet, but perhaps we'll learn more about them at Gamescom later this month.
The next location to be added to the Colony Ship Early Access build is the ECLSS, home to the ship's critical life support systems and the faction of cybernetically augmented monks who maintain them. The monks of House Ecclesiastes were described in a development update published back in 2018 which the update announcement largely rehashes, but it does include a few new screenshots as well.
The ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) is now available, bringing the number of locations to 8 out of 12.
When the Mutiny broke out, the Chief Technical Officer promptly sealed the ECLSS, declaring that neither side will use it in their war. Those who wished to leave were allowed to do so; the rest remained with CTO Miller, committed to supporting life on the Ship.
Miller knew that the warring factions would be coming for the ECLSS. They would want control, power over life and death on the Ship, something their enemies could never permit. The fight for ECLSS would make the fight for Mission Control look like a border skirmish, and Miller knew how it would end: with destruction of the Ship’s essential systems, the failure of the mission, the death of every man, woman, and child aboard the Ship. That, he could not permit.
The only hope lay in true independence. But how? They would need strength of body, to resist force. They would need strength of will, to live apart from all society. And they would need all the intelligence they could get, not only to maintain Ship systems put under terrible pressure by both the civil war and the mere passage of time, but also to navigate the Ship’s shifting politics. Outsiders would need to believe the inhabitants of ECLSS to be above petty human concerns; and inside, they would need to be above petty human limitations.
The answer lay buried in the Ship's databanks: augmentations meant only for the most extreme circumstances, for small or even individual deep-space maintenance missions, augmentations that would make a man more than a man, and less – able to survive alone, smart enough and strong enough to deal with any challenges that might arise on years-long expeditions.
These augmentations went beyond the artificial eyes and reinforced bones common to the Ship, and amounted to a fundamental reworking of the human body. Functions inessential for long space missions would be removed altogether, freeing the body’s resources for more practical needs.
With this transformation, the ECLSS crew would become what they needed to be: just as the God of Ecclesiastes was above human struggles for power, for fame, for wealth, so too would the superhumans of the ECLSS be above the Ship’s passing struggles, devoted solely to its survival. Outsiders would be able to see them as something other than a foe or friend; and they would have the strength to carry out the heavy task before them.
The next update for Colony Ship will consist of new content for the Pit and is scheduled for late October, although I imagine that like this update it might be a bit late.
It didn't take as long as I expected for Styg to publish his next development update for Underrail: Infusion. This update is about the game's character model customization system. As you might expect, Infusion will allow players to customize their characters' skin color, hair color, hair style and so on during character creation. Where it will differ from most RPGs is that a character's body type will be determined by their physical attributes, a system that will also apply to NPCs. The devlog includes an image with examples of various male character models.
In this dev log, I'm going to give you a little sneak peek of what character customization will be possible in the new engine. Today, I'll only be showing and discussing male characters, but you can expect analogous customization for females as well.
As I mentioned in the previous dev log, we're now using PBR (physics based rendering) for characters. Might not be that apparent in the screenshot below, as all the characters are naked, but it'll definitely make a lot of difference once we start equipping them with gear made of different materials..
Of course, first and foremost, you'll finally be able to pick a skin color. Then you'll be able to select your hair style, beard and mustache styles and colors. Both skin and hair colors will be chosen from a predetermined list, so no orc, alien, or other unnatural silly characters will be allowed.
You'll also be able to choose a face from a predetermined list, though this will probably have the least visual impact due to the size at which models are rendered.
Characters also support having piercings, tattoos, scars and the like, but we'll see how we're going to make these accessible to player. For the most part, you'll probably not be able to choose these at characters creation, but will instead have to earn them along the way.
The most important feature, for me at least, is the body type variety. This you will not be able to pick freely, but instead, your visual body type will correspond to your physical attributes: strength, agility, and constitution. Strength will make you bigger, while agility will make you leaner. Constitution has a more complex interaction with your visual appearance as it is both a measure of physical sturdiness and endurance.
These things will also, generally, apply to the NPCs, so you'll be able to gauge their physical properties from their appearance.
That's it for now. I know a lot of you are very interested to see some environment screenshots, so hopefully we can get those out relatively soon as well. I think you'll be quite impressed with the upgrade from the previous game.
Looks pretty good. I hope Styg can keep up this rate of updates.
Swords and Sorcery: Sovereign, sequel to the Might & Magic-inspired indie favorite Swords and Sorcery: Underworld from the esteemed Charles Clerc, has been in development for almost a decade. The last time we got any news about Sovereign, Steam Greenlight was still a thing. but this month it unexpectedly resurfaced. Now Charles has released a new teaser trailer for the game, which appears to showcase some of its more atypical elements, including robotic foes and Arabian Nights-themed areas. I'll post the trailer here along with Charles' development status report from earlier this month.
The idea was to replicate Underworld with a surface world. But I quickly envisioned more (as my announcement post suggested already).
It needed a new magic system. With lots more spells.
And lots of passive and active skills.
Then the event module, which worked nicely for Underworld’s scope, did not allow me to sustain something that much bigger. It was a mess. It’s nice and coherent now.
About 200 maps.
As for the main questline, let’s just say it changed a few times.
I’m working on a new video and a Steam page that I aim to activate as Iron Ruler launches. I’m thinking there might be some synergy between the two. Also it should allow for a somewhat more reliable ETA.
I’m looking at Q4 2022. But I’ve been overly optimistic before…
As stated, Charles is aiming to release Sovereign at the end of the year. I wouldn't take that date to the bank, but regardless it's nice to know that the game isn't dead after all this time.
6502 Workshop's Ultima-like 8-bit RPG Nox Archaist seems to have been well-received by retro gaming fans following its release at the end of 2020, even achieving a respectable 10th place in our GOTY poll for that year. After releasing various promotional goodies throughout 2021, the game's developers have decided to put together an oldschool expansion pack called Lord of Storms. The expansion will add a new quest to the base game, in which the party shall be tasked with venturing out into uncharted territory in order to investigate a recent increase in storm activity. Here's the full description from its announcement:
You have learned of Lord Estintar’s suspicions that the cult has something to do with the increase in storm activity. He charges you with investigating. The task will not be easy, but you accept this duty.
Your quest will take you to uncharted reaches of the Isles of Wynmar. Traps, puzzles, and powerful magic items await, which may or may not be able to help you.
Those brave and foolish enough to face these perils will come face to face with the Lord of Storms!
The Nox Archaist: Lord of Storms digital download includes:
New HDV hard-drive image for Apple II, Mac, or PC
A brand new quest line
New mobs and new unique items
New features, including character renaming
PDF of the manual
Note: This is an expansion pack for Nox Archaist, and requires the full game to run.
Nox Archaist: Lord of Storms is available for preorder from 6502 Workshop's website and is currently scheduled for release on March 31st next year. The developers have also set up a Patreon page for retro fans who wish to support them on a more regular basis.
A bunch of weirdo Potatoes from Frozengem Studio have just announced their oldskool dungeon crawler Dungeons of the Amber Griffin. It looks like a gripping Grimrock lookalike about Kashubians*, developed "In cooperation with the Museum of Kashubian and Pomeranian Literature and Music in Wejherowo" (lol).
I hope you are ready to master arcane Kashubian magic and defeat the demons:
Play as a group of daredevils who explore the world of dark fantasy in search of fame, amber and gold. Experience the classic mechanics of the iconic ‘90s Dungeon Crawlers with a new twist. Solve the mystery of the ghost that haunted the ruins and discover a bestiary based on Kashubian beliefs.
Get ready for an exciting journey through the world of the Mystical Kashubia. Learn the beliefs of ancient Pomeranians and deal with the monsters that have begun to roam the area. While defeating the monsters, gather information for a bestiary, based on Kashubian stories.
Create a team of four daredevils with various skills useful in combat. Choose character classes such as, e.g. WÒJÔRZ (Warrior), DULAS (Rogue), ŻÉRCA (Priest), KÙTIN (Mage) and decide on their development.
The main plot of the game is related to the figure of a griffin who, according to one of Kashubian legends, hid a huge lump of amber in an unknown place in Kashubia.
Even at the beginning of the 20th century, in Kashubia, there were cases where the corpses of the deceased were dug up and their heads cut off with a special peat shovel. People believed that these were the so-called wieszczi or òpi, who – after death – rose from the grave to kill members of their family.
ETA: Sometime 2023.
* Kashubians are a people living in northern Poland who speak funny. They are the descendants of Silesians who missed their ship to America.
As you probably know, the esteemed George Ziets left inXile back in late 2019 in order to found his own RPG studio called Digimancy Entertainment, alongside fellow inXile veterans Kevin Saunders and Steve Dobos. Just what Digimancy have been doing since then remains a mystery, but we do know that a project they were working on (rumored to be published by Paradox Interactive) was cancelled in late 2021. The studio survived however and they continue to work on their own internal RPG project, reinforced by a cadre of former Disco Elysium writers. Today GameBanshee published an extensive interview with George. While there are no major reveals here, he does offer a few hints about the nature of the project, in addition to his thoughts about various aspects of narrative design, the challenges of running a remote work-based studio, and other relevant topics. Here's an excerpt:
GB: Now, moving on to your current projects, Digimancy Entertainment opened its doors back in 2019 as an RPG-focused studio. With your background, that last part is in no way surprising. But still, could you tell us what draws you towards role-playing games in particular?
GZ: I’ve always been most interested in games as a narrative and storytelling medium. Even when I was playing tabletop as a teenager, the stories and characters were my focus as a GM. I loved the back-and-forth, collaborative storytelling between GM and players, and CRPGs are one of the best ways to achieve that feeling in a video game format.
RPGs also have the capability of immersing players in a world - all elements of the game working together to transport players into another reality. Most RPGs don’t achieve that, but a few come close, and that’s the experience I’m striving for.
GB: These days it feels like a lot of games feature at least some RPG elements. How deep and complex do you think they have to be before a game can be considered an RPG?
GZ: For me personally, player choice is critical in RPGs. The more the player can decide how to develop and customize their character / party, and the more their choices affect both narrative and gameplay, the more RPG-ish a game becomes.
As an example - an RPG needs to have some form of player-controlled improvement (“leveling up”) and customization over the course of the game. It’s not enough for the player-character to just acquire a new weapon or capability at various points– they need to be able to choose *how* to improve their character. That could happen in a very simplistic way – e.g., the player could just be given a choice to improve one of three skills at every level-up. That isn’t very interesting or RPG-ish, but if the game also had a highly reactive branching storyline and a very open-ended structure that provided strong consequences to the ways in which the player pursues their goals, I might still classify the game as an RPG.
On the other hand, if a game has a highly sophisticated and versatile system of level-up and character customization with tons of skills, feats, abilities, weapons, etc., in addition to a branching story and open-ended structure, that game is very clearly an RPG to me.
Beyond that, my definition of an RPG is broad. I don’t think RPGs need any specific game system or setting. An RPG doesn’t even need combat if it has other systems to replace it, but it’s critical that those systems be at least as interesting and fun. As a genre, I think the subject matter of RPGs is going to broaden considerably in coming years – combat-driven RPGs will remain with us, but they’ll be joined by RPGs that rely on other fun mechanics too.
GB: You personally worked on the official spiritual sequel to Planescape: Torment - Torment: Tides of Numenera - and an unofficial one - Mask of the Betrayer. And now, you're employing some of the people behind Disco Elysium, another game that was widely compared to Black Isle Studios' masterpiece. Any chance that whatever you still have cooking will continue this trend of heady narrative-driven RPGs?
GZ: Yes! That’s our goal, especially for our internally-driven projects.
Our current internal project is very much part of that tradition, and it takes place in our own unique setting. Steve and I created a prototype back in 2019, and development was delayed by our other (now cancelled) project, but we’re back to working on it with a small team now, including some former Disco folks.
GB: Your studio's mission mentions exploring "the intersection between RPGs and other genres." Which other genres would that be, and what makes them interesting to you?
GZ: The genre I personally find most interesting in this context is strategy. I love strategy games like Total War, Crusader Kings, and King of Dragon Pass, the latter of which is an excellent example of how strong narrative elements can be integrated into a strategy game.
This gets back to what I mentioned earlier about choosing a narrative experience you want to portray in your game and then designing mechanics around it. Sometimes strategy elements might be the best way to do this. As an example - imagine a game where the player takes the role of an agent provocateur in a 19th or early 20th century world, sent to infiltrate and stir up trouble in an enemy city. Such a game might need a combination of some traditional RPG interactions with strategy elements like directing the activities of workers during labor strikes and assigning your minions to tasks like fomenting unrest in poor districts, organizing rallies and riots, and infiltrating government offices.
GB: Anything else you can tell us about your ongoing projects?
GZ: Hmm… only that our internal project is inspired by a combination of real-world history, an ancient philosophical tradition, and one of my all-time favorite fantasy settings (among other things).
I'll let you decide if that second-to-last answer is a hint or a red herring.
Since it was announced last month, Owlcat have published several lore and companion updates for Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader on the game's official website. Coming right on the heels of their Wrath of the Righteous DLC announcement, yesterday they unveiled the first in a series of Rogue Trader dev diary videos. Narrated by lead narrative designer Olga Kellner, this first episode is a basic introduction to the game's premise, including concept art and a few snippets of WIP gameplay footage. It also offers a quick look at a few of the game's companions, which include the player character's loyal seneschal, an unsanctioned psyker, a Battle Sister, an Aeldari Ranger, and a Space Marine from the Space Wolves chapter.
That's it for Owlcat weekend. If you'd like to learn more about Rogue Trader, there were also a couple of interviews recently with creative director Alexander Gusev at Rock Paper Shotgun and IGN.