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Fri 14 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 August 2020, 01:16:34

Tags: Battle Brothers; Battle Brothers - Blazing Deserts; Overhype Studios

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The Blazing Deserts DLC for Battle Brothers took longer than expected to be released due to COVID, but I suspect it wouldn't have made it out on time anyway because it's absolutely huge. As usual, during the DLC's development Overhype published weekly updates detailing its many features. The new retinue feature allows you to recruit non-combat followers who provide unique bonuses. Combat environments now include physical obstacles such as palisades. There are new Southern-themed company origins, including a gladiator origin (with actual arenas that you can fight in) and slave driver origin (with actual slaves), and a new Holy War late game crisis that pits North and South against one another. Have I mentioned that the Southern city-states have gunpowder weapons? You can see some of these things in the DLC's new trailer, which I'll post here along with its store description:



The 'Blazing Deserts' DLC for Battle Brothers expands the game with new lands of burning deserts and lush oases to the south. Visit independent city states, fight in the arena, face desert raiders and southern beasts in battle. Wear new gear inspired by Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages, employ alchemical contraptions and primitive firearms, and forge your own path when the fires of religious turmoil threaten to engulf the world in a new late game crisis!

Features
  • New Lands - Visit new lands to the south with independent city-states that have their own lore, equipment and services, as well as entirely new character backgrounds to recruit.
  • Retinue - Hire non-combat followers for your retinue to customize your campaign experience to fit your playstyle. Hire a drill sergeant to train your men. Never lose shields again with a blacksmith that can repair gear no matter how damaged. Buy carts for additional inventory space.
  • Arena - Fight in front of cheering spectators to earn coin, experience and unique rewards as an alternative to mercenary work.
  • New Crisis - Survive a new late game crisis that tests the mettle of your company in the fires of religious turmoil.
  • New Opponents - Face new factions of city state soldiers and desert raiders, complete with their own gear and unique mechanics. Hunt down and get hunted by desert beasts.
  • New Origins - Play using one of three new southern-themed origins, each with special rules that shape your campaign into a different experience from beginning to end.
  • New Banners and Gear - Dress in style with a collection of new banners, shields, helmets and armors inspired by Arabic and Persian culture. Use new weapons, alchemical contraptions and primitive firearms.
  • Legendary Location - Visit a new legendary location and fight a new boss in a quest that leads to a legendary reward.
  • New Location Environments - Fight amidst southern ruins and nomad tents on the tactical combat map, in addition to graveyards and encampments by brigands, orcs and goblins that come with a free update to the base game.
  • New Contracts and Events - Earn your stay in the south by taking on new contracts. Immerse yourself in leading a mercenary company with even more illustrated events.
  • New Music - Several new music tracks set the mood on your adventures.
  • New Achievements - Challenge yourself with new achievements.
Blazing Deserts is available on Steam and GOG for $15, an appropriately higher price than the previous two DLCs. As before, there's an accompanying version 1.4 update which you can read about here.

There are 2 comments on Battle Brothers - Blazing Deserts DLC Released


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Thu 13 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 August 2020, 23:59:27

Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures

In the latest dev diary for Solasta: Crown of the Magister, Myzzrym is joined by writer Antoine Guillaud for a short Q&A session about the game's lore. Topics covered include the high elves and their fallen empire, the humans and their gods who arrived in Solasta alongside them, whether there exist any non-hostile orcs, and the possibility of encountering additional races from the SRD in the future.


There's not much new here if you read the lore updates during the Kickstarter campaign, but it's always better to hear it straight from the guy who came up with the stuff.

There are 0 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister Dev Diary - The World of Solasta


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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 August 2020, 23:38:32

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

The developers of upcoming cartoony yet promising tactical RPG The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos announced today that due to some last minute issues, the game's release has been delayed by a few weeks to September 17th. Ordinarily that wouldn't be worthy of a newspost, but they also put together a new trailer that introduces three additional companion characters - the Paladin, the Minstrel and the Priestess. Apparently each one of these companions will temporarily join your party over the course of the game, after which you'll have the option to recruit one of them permanently.


Just as well, it probably wasn't a good idea to have released the game a day before Wasteland 3.

There are 0 comments on The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk delayed to September 17th

Tue 11 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 August 2020, 13:59:58

Tags: Andy Kipling; Hardsuit Labs; Paradox Interactive; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

After its minimalistic appearance at the Paradox Insider event in June, it was pretty obvious that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 wasn't going to be out this year. This morning Paradox and Hardsuit Labs officially confirmed that the game is delayed to 2021. More interestingly, the announcement states that "other organizational changes" are being made as well in order to successfully deliver it on time.

WE ARE MOVING THE LAUNCH OF VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE - BLOODLINES 2 TO 2021.

Our goal has always been to deliver the best game possible, to immerse you into a Seattle re-imagined in the World of Darkness, and deliver a worthy successor to the original Bloodlines game. Due to the quality bar and ambitions we have set for ourselves, we have made the difficult decision that we need more time. This means that our goal to release in 2020 is no longer possible. Moving launch is one of the changes we are making to ensure the best player experience possible.

This is not a decision taken lightly nor is it the first option we considered. We will share more information in the coming months on launch timing and other organizational changes that will help us achieve this goal.

We understand that this will be a disappointment to many of you, but we also appreciate how our ambition is echoed through many parts of the community. We hope you understand that, while difficult, this is the right call.

We thank you all for your patience while we continue to build Bloodlines 2.

Andy Kipling - Harduit Labs
Jakob Munthe - Paradox Interactive
I wonder what those "organizational changes" could possibly be. Time to start stalking developer LinkedIn profiles.

There are 66 comments on Bloodlines 2 delayed to 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 11 August 2020, 01:18:04

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

Back in May, Owlcat announced that they were extending the alpha test for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous by at least two months. Those two months have passed and the second stage of the test, which is now called the "Pre-Beta", will soon be ready to launch. In the meantime, Owlcat have decided to share the results of all the feedback they received during the alpha period. Among other things, they've decided to implement skippable cutscenes, a new mythics interface, improved camera controls, and most importantly, more diverse and less repetitive encounter design. Here's the relevant part of the update:

You can find all the future steps and changes we will make in this table. Below we will talk about some of them in detail.

We will start with cutscenes. Ready? Take a deep breath. We will make cutscenes skippable. But only if you’ve already seen them. You will also be able to skip speech bubbles by clicking your mouse button. And even more—now you will get an autosave after a cutscene before the battle. So you won’t have to skip/click through it again.

Another thing on the list is improving the appeal of the mythics and notifying when you made your first steps in them. We found out that some openings weren’t apparent. To fix this and clearly communicate what mythics you have found, we decided to add a separate page to the mythic interface. And there will also be improvements to the mythic presentations so you will see what it can bring to the table.

Next on our list is the camera. In Pathfinder: Kingmaker camera was static, so there were no issues related to positioning and pivoting it, while in Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous you will be able to rotate the camera. We had plans to add a button to return a camera into its default position. After discussing the feedback we decided to add sensitivity sliders, so you can set up the rotation speed of your camera. We are also planning to add a compass — which was one of the most requested features — to make it easier to navigate levels and local maps.

We also received feedback that encounters felt repetitive. The Adventure Path is all about fighting demons and cultists. We came up with a solution, which will allow us to expand a variety of mobs while keeping the integrity of the story. But we might keep it a secret for some time.

This also applies to Random Encounters, which we are checking and tuning, so they will become more interesting and less annoying,

Last but not least is the improvement of the tutorial. While we are working on the new and enhanced tutorial at the start of the game, some people raised concerns that it will be really hard for new players to choose a class and understand how it all works (especially with the number of classes and archetypes in the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous). This is why we decided to add an additional tutorial for character creation.

There are many more changes, but we can’t list all of them—it will take a lot of space and time. We are working on a peculiar infographic about the alpha test with some fun and interesting information which we will share tomorrow.

We want to express our gratitude to Alpha Testers for their support and feedback. It will help us to make Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous even better!

The next phase of testing — Pre-Beta — will launch closer to September and we are excited for your feedback! Especially on the changes that were made based on your feedback and made it into Pre-beta.

Pre-beta will be available for people with Alpha Access.
Sounds like things are coming together nicely. I wonder what that secret solution for encounter design could possibly be.

There are 23 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #61: Alpha Test Results

Mon 10 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 10 August 2020, 23:58:02

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

The second episode of the Night City Wire, CD Projekt's series of featurettes about the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, was broadcast today. Once again it begins with a new trailer, this time introducing the game's three lifepath character origins. You'll be able to start out as a Street Kid, the typical lowlife cyberpunk, a Nomad, member of one of the freedom-loving clans who inhabit the badlands outside Night City, or a Corpo, specifically a counter-intelligence agent for Arasaka. The trailer is followed by a discussion with quest designer Philip Weber that reveals additional details. While the lifepath storylines will merge to some extent, CD Projekt intend to provide unique options for each one throughout the game. Philip provides some examples of what each lifepath might see in the quest from 2018's gameplay reveal video.

After a segment about the Swedish punk band that CD Projekt have hired to create the music of Johnny Silverhand comes another trailer introducing the game's weapons. The following discussion with gameplay designer Pawel Kapala is probably the most interesting part of the episode. Cyberpunk 2077 will have three types of guns - Power Weapons, which are basically standard guns but with ricocheting bullets, Tech Weapons, electromagnetically powered guns that can punch through cover, and Smart Weapons, whose bullets home on their targets. Weapons are further divided into rarity-based tiers ranging from Common all the way to Legendary, which are unique items that will be hard to find. There are also weapon mods, which include the usual attachments such as scopes and silencers as well as software chips that can modify the weapon on a more fundamental level. As you gain experience, your character's weapon handling will improve - reload time, accuracy, aiming speed, movement speed and so on.


That's pretty much it. No previews this time, other than an interview with Pawel over at VG247 with some additional details about weapon design. The next episode of the Night City Wire should be coming "soon".

There are 18 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire Episode 2: Lifepaths and Weapons

Fri 7 August 2020

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Fri 7 August 2020, 23:51:37

Tags: Legend Entertainment; Superhero League of Hoboken; The Digital Antiquarian

Over the past year, the Digital Antiquarian has continued to write about the computer games of the early 1990s, including the adventure games of Infocom successor company Legend Entertainment. His article today is about Superhero League of Hoboken, Legend's overlooked comedic adventure/RPG about a team of low-rent superheroes from post-apocalyptic New Jersey. Released in 1994, Hoboken was one of the last major titles designed by interactive fiction legend Steve Meretzky. The Antiquarian is a huge fan of the game, citing its fresh writing and the lack of annoyances commonly found in other RPGs of the era. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Indeed, Superhero League of Hoboken remained in active development for more than eighteen months, longer than any Legend game to date. In the end, though, they succeeded in melding their standard graphic-adventure interface to a clever new combat engine. By the time the game was released in the summer of 1994, Meretzky had already moved on from Legend, and was working with fellow Infocom alum Mike Dornbrook to set up their own studio, under the name of Boffo Games. As a parting gift to Legend, however, Hoboken could hardly be beat. It had turned into a genuinely great game, Meretzky’s best since Stationfall or even Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

It takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting, a choice that was much in vogue in the mid-1990s; I’m now reviewing my third post-apocalyptic adventure game in a row. But, whereas Under a Killing Moon and Beneath a Steel Sky teeter a little uncertainly between seriousness and the centrifugal pull that comedy always exerts on the adventure genre, Hoboken wants only to be the latter. It’s extravagantly silly, so stupid that it’s smart — Meretzky at his best, in other words.

The premise is that a considerable percentage of the population have become “superheroes” in the wake of a nuclear war, thanks to all of the radiation in the air. But most of the actual superpowers thus acquired are, shall we say, rather esoteric. For example, you play the Crimson Tape, whose superpower is the ability to create organizational charts. That makes you ideal for the role of leader of the Hoboken chapter of the Superhero League. Your gang there includes folks like the Iron Tummy, who can eat spicy food without distress; the ironically named Captain Excitement, who puts others to sleep; Robo Mop, who can clean up almost any mess; Tropical Oil Man, who raises the cholesterol levels in his enemies; the holdover from the Infocom proposal Madam Pepperoni, who can see inside pizza boxes; and my personal favorite, King Midas, who can turn anything into a muffler. (For my non-American readers: “Midas” is the name of a chain of American auto-repair shops specializing in, yes, mufflers.) Some of these superpowers are more obviously useful than others: Captain Excitement’s power, for example, is the equivalent of the Sleep spell, that staple of low-level Dungeons & Dragons. Some of them are sneakily useful: the game’s equivalent of treasure chests are pizza boxes, which makes Madam Pepperoni its equivalent of your handy trap-detecting thief from a more ordinary CRPG setting. And some of the superpowers, including your own and that of many others, are utterly useless for fighting crime — until you stumble upon that one puzzle for which they’re perfect.

The game has a smart and very satisfying structure, playing out in half a dozen chapters. At the beginning of each of them you’re given a to-do list of five tasks in your superhero headquarters. To accomplish these things, you’ll naturally have to venture out into the streets. Each chapter takes you farther from home and requires you to explore more dangerous areas than the last; by its end, the game has come to encompass much of the Northeastern Seaboard, from Philadelphia to Boston, all of it now plagued by radiation and crime.

In the Spellcasting games, Meretzky had a tendency to ask the player to do boring and/or irritating things over and over again, apparently in the mistaken impression that there’s something intrinsically funny about such blatant player abuse. It’s therefore notable that Hoboken evinces exactly the opposite tendency — i.e., it seeks to minimize the things that usually get boring in other CRPGs. Each section of the map spawns random encounters up to a certain point, and then stops, out of the logic that you’ve now cleaned that neighborhood of miscreants. I can’t praise this mechanic enough. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to move quickly through explored areas in a typical CRPG, only to be forced to contend with fight after mindlessly trivial fight. Likewise, the sense of achievement you get from actually succeeding in your ostensible goal of defeating the forces of evil and making a place safe again shouldn’t be underestimated. Among CRPGs that predate this one, Pool of Radiance is the only title I know of which does something similar, and with a similar premise behind it at that; there you’re reclaiming the fantasy village of Phlan from its enemies, just as here you’re reclaiming the urban northeast of the United States. Hoboken is clearly the work of a designer who has played a lot of games of its ilk — a rarer qualification in game design than you might expect — and knows which parts tend to be consistently fun and which parts can quickly become a drag.

The combat system makes for an interesting study in itself, resembling as it does those found in many Japanese console CRPGs more than American incarnations of the genre. It’s simple and thoroughly unserious, like most things in this game, but it’s not without a modicum of tactical depth. Each round, each character in your party can choose to mount a melee attack if she’s close enough (using one of an assortment of appropriately silly weapons), mount a ranged attack if not (using one of an equally silly assortment of weapons), utilize her superpower (which is invariably silly), or assume a defensive stance. Certain weapons and powers are more effective against certain enemies; learning which approaches work best against whom and then optimizing accordingly is a key to your success. Ditto setting up the right party for taking on the inhabitants of the area you happen to be exploring; although you can’t create superheroes of your own, you have a larger and larger pool of them to choose from as the game continues and the fame of your Hoboken branch of the Superhero League increases. But be careful not to mix and match too much: heroes go up in level with success in combat, so you don’t want to spread the opportunities around too evenly, lest you end up with a team full of mediocrities in lieu of at least a few high-level superstars.

As you explore the streets of the city, you stumble upon special locations that cause the adventure side of the game’s personality to kick in. Here the viewpoint shifts from overhead third-person to a first-person display, with an interface that will look very familiar to anyone who has played Companions of Xanth, Legend’s first point-and-click graphic adventure. In addition to conversing with others and solving puzzles in these sections, you can visit shops selling weapons and armor and can frequent healers, all essential for the CRPG side of things. That said, the bifurcation between the game’s two halves remains pronounced enough that you can never forget that this is a CRPG grafted onto an adventure-game engine. Your characters even have two completely separate inventories, one for stuff used to fight baddies and one for stuff used to solve puzzles. Thankfully, each half works well enough on its own that you don’t really care; the adventure half as well marked a welcome departure from Meretzky’s recent tendency to mistake annoyance for humor, whilst offering up some of his wittiest puzzles in years.
Whether underrated classic or merely overlooked curiosity, commercially Hoboken was an utter failure, selling fewer than 10,000 copies. To add insult to injury, shortly after the game's release Legend received a cease & desist from Marvel, who claimed ownership of the trademark for the word "superhero". Fortunately they were able to survive thanks to a major investment from book publisher Random House and would live on for almost another decade, though they would never release another RPG.

There are 20 comments on The Digital Antiquarian on Superhero League of Hoboken

Thu 6 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 6 August 2020, 00:09:03

Tags: Focus Home Interactive; Necromunda: Underhive Wars; Rogue Factor

Rogue Factor and Focus Home Interactive published three development updates for Necromunda: Underhive Wars over the course of July, which besides offering details about gameplay also included a few in-game screenshots and a look at some of the game's environments. Today we finally got to see some actual gameplay footage in a new trailer announcing that Necromunda will be out on September 8th. I'll post it here alongside the accompanying announcement:



Rogue Factor and Focus Home Interactive are proud to present the first look at gameplay for Necromunda: Underhive Wars, the upcoming third-person tactical action game set in Games Workshop’s iconic far-future cityscape, coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 8.

Deep below the nightmarish, polluted hive cities of Necromunda, in the twisted, vertiginous, dark tunnels of the Underhive, rival gangs fight to the bitter end for personal power, wealth, survival and the honour of their House. See the first gameplay in today’s brand new trailer.

This summer, only the strongest will survive the perils of the Underhive!

Lead, customize, and grow your forces of Escher, Goliath, and Orlock gangers. Specialize each member and send them to battle in hazardous, vertical dystopian environments. Exploit the terrain in explosive tactical gunfights: climb raised walkways to take the advantage, set traps, and ambush foes to force them into bloody melee engagements.

Necromunda: Underhive Wars is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 8, with pre-orders now available on PC. Stay tuned for even more project news very soon!
So now it's a "tactical action game"? I do wish they would make up their minds.

There are 20 comments on Necromunda: Underhive Wars releasing on September 8th

Tue 4 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 August 2020, 00:16:16

Tags: Anshar Studios; Gamedec

In the two months that have passed since upcoming cyberpunk detective RPG Gamedec appeared on the Escapist Indie Showcase stream, Anshar Studios have released two additional dev diary videos introducing aspects of the Gamedec universe. We haven't seen any additional virtual worlds since the game was Kickstarted, but it is still due out this year and today a pre-release build was released to backers. The backer build apparently consists of the Twisted & Perverted scenario we saw back in March. There's no trailer for this release, but a handful of press outlets have previewed it. Here's the preview from Gaming Trend, who also uploaded a cool 100 minutes of gameplay footage:



You play a cyber detective who specializes in helping people in the game space — a Game Detective, or Gamedec for short. In the demo I got to play (which I’ve captured in its entirety below — it’s anything but short!) I was contracted by a rich CEO of a software conglomerate named Geoffrey Haggis. His son logged into a virtual world and has somehow ended up stuck there for well past the maximum amount of recommended time. Seems simple enough.

Nearly every single interaction you have in the world of Gamedec results in a consequence of some kind. Having run this demo several times, the game never judges you for your actions, merely accounting for the choices you make. Something as simple as looking at graffiti on the wall and selecting how you interpret it results in a logged action. Do you see it as art? Defacing property? Do you see something religious buried inside? No matter your choice, the game is using each one to define your personality. What I noticed immediately is that there are so many of them that it’s nigh impossible to just “back up” and just choose all the “Paragon” options — the world is more gray than that.

Fredo Haggis, the son of Director Haggis, was celebrating his birthday with his friend Timmy. They decided to set out on a wild night, as evidenced by the obvious hooker strapped into a nearby VR couch. Looking around the room, I also found Timmy and Fredo’s discarded clothes. From the moment I created my character I had already decided on a path — I was born in the lower city. As I had made this choice I knew that if I rifled through the clothes of these two rich kids, I’d likely find something tucked away in a hidden pocket somewhere. Similarly, if I was born on the high city side of town I’d have different options with Director Haggis and he wouldn’t look at me like something he just scraped off his shoe.

As the game is in development, the devs give you an immediate boost, letting you pick from four different professions to start to define your Gamedec. A Sleeve is a person with ties to the world of crime, a Glazier is a magician of virtual worlds and a machine tamer, the Infotainer is a high-charisma charmer in the virtual world, and the Scalpel is a medic with extensive knowledge of medicine. Beyond the obvious Shadowrun-like backstory choices, you’ll also get points in four different categories called “Aspects.” These color-coded choices tie directly to the decisions and observations you make through the course of interaction with people, places, and things. Perhaps you show a bit of compassion to Timmy and his situation and that puts a point in that column under that heading. Maybe you really lean on your AI to help you with the crushing loneliness of your bachelor life, putting a point into that aspect. Verbosity, intuition, selfishness, determination, impatience, calmness, caution, logic, discretion — this long list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on all of the possibilities. In the current build there are 32 skills you can unlock with these various aspects, granting access to other professions, as well as deeper specializations within them. The demo only grants access to a few of them, but it’s already very apparent that every run can be wildly different based on these choices. Below you’ll see a second full playthrough that has me interacting with the characters in this scenario in a completely different way, and with very different outcomes. I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface.

Using my powers of persuasion I took a run at Timmy to see if he could tell me why his friend is currently stuck in the virtual world. A small meter shows me that Timmy has more than a few secrets to reveal, but I’d have to either get him on my side, or scare him shitless till he coughs them up. Either way, it’s another choice with consequences. Actions now can lock other actions later.

As a detective, my job is to draw conclusions. Scouring an area I collect clues and create a hypothesis about what might have happened, both in the real world and the virtual one. Using the decision screen I can use the clues I’ve uncovered to decide what thread I want to pull. Which virtual world did Timmy and Fredo go to? Which ways did the clues point? Once I made the choice, there was no going back. Each branch leads to new investigation options, but closes any you didn’t choose permanently — choose wisely. As a prime example, I had to track down a cult leader in my playthrough, leading me to have to decide between two people as the culprit. You can imagine my surprise when the final clue I uncovered was whether that person was a man or a woman — it’d be very easy to go off half-cocked and make the wrong choice, but it could make for interesting RPG arcs.

I went into Gamedec just excited to see a fresh take on Cyberpunk storytelling, and boy did I get it. Too many games make the claim that choices matter, but Gamedec’s focus on detective storytelling creates a grand tapestry of interwoven choices that can have a wide variety of outcomes. You’ve seen me fail to keep Fredo alive twice in the videos above, but know that the right choices can end with a happy father and a very alive Fredo. Gamedec is an indie game flying in very rarified air. There’s something here — something I’ve not seen massive publishers with hundreds of millions of dollars at their fingertips deliver. Not only do choices matter more than “good” and “bad”, they have far-reaching implications and often further-reaching consequences.
An additional preview is available at IGN and isn't as positive, though I'm not sure the author entirely gets the point of the game. Gamedec will be at the virtual Gamescom later this month and I imagine we'll get to see more of it there, including perhaps a release date announcement.

There are 25 comments on Gamedec Backer Build Released

Sat 1 August 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 1 August 2020, 01:21:12

Tags: Call of Saregnar; Legendworks

The development of Call of Saregnar, Rhuantavan's super cool Betrayal at Krondor-inspired RPG, reached an important milestone today with the release of its first backer demo. Our users report that the game doesn't have much content but is already very polished and fun. There's no fancy trailer or announcement blurb for this release, so here are a few screenshots from the game's press kit instead.

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Head over to Call of Saregnar's official website and donate via PayPal or Patreon if you'd like to join in.

There are 50 comments on First demo for Call of Saregnar released to backers

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 1 August 2020, 00:07:15

Tags: Pahris Entertainment; Space Wreck

Last year we told you about Space Wreck, an upcoming Fallout-inspired isometric space RPG from Codexer Martins "Kamaz" Ceplis. The game was supposed to be out on Early Access this February but was delayed twice, first to August and then to February again, next year. Kamaz has used the extra time to give its character sprites a visual upgrade, which you can see in the new trailer he put together this month. The trailer offers a look at Space Wreck's character system and its implementation of dialogue, stealth and combat.


Cool stuff. Hopefully this will be the game's final six month delay.

There are 10 comments on Check out the new trailer for Space Wreck, still coming to Early Access in February

Wed 29 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 29 July 2020, 23:55:46

Tags: Psychic Software; The Necromancer's Tale

Codex MVP LESS T_T has spotted yet another upcoming title on Steam. The Necromancer's Tale is a narrative-driven isometric RPG where you assume the role of a minor noble who is drawn into the necromantic arts after returning home to investigate the suspicious death of his father. It's set in the 1730s in what appears to be an Austro-Hungarian barony on the Adriatic coast, although it doesn't look like it's aiming to be historically accurate. The game's creator is a prolific Irish indie developer named Sam Redfern, who has apparently been working on it since late 2018, though it was only announced back in March. Watching the latest gameplay footage, you might assume that it's another Disco Elysium clone, but apparently it will have some combat (turn-based, of course). Here's the video and description from Steam:



The Necromancer's Tale is a narrative-driven top-down RPG where you play the role of a minor noble in the 18th Century, drawn into the Dark Necromantic Arts as you seek knowledge and revenge. Great power awaits... along with the weird, the morbid, and a gradual descent into madness.

Before you lies a great spellbook, filled with powerful rites of death and reanimation. Can you decipher the pages and master its arcane rituals without losing your mind or being strung up by the townsfolk? Your progress will require great determination, cunning and secrecy, as well as a willingness to confront difficult aspects of yourself and all humankind.

The Necromancer's Tale focuses on conversation, narrative and ritual more than on combat. Yes, there are battles, and tactical turn-based combat; however fighting on its own will not be a route to success. Choose your words wisely, because the characters you meet are already suspicious of the eerie events in town.

Unlike most RPGs, this isn't a hero's journey as they rail against an evil lord. It is a person's descent into madness as they plumb the depths of black magic in their search for revenge, the terrible things it asks of them and the uncomfortable choices they make in their search for power.

Spells and rituals are not treated like guns, that you acquire and then use without a second thought: the process of gathering/manufacturing materials and knowledge and then the process of putting them into action is non-trivial and is a focus of the game.

Confusing dreams, strange distant lights through the trees, spooky voices whispering your name, a loosening grip on reality - the game focuses on the unsettling experience of becoming a necromancer and transcending mortality, whatever that may mean... The game deals with themes of death, change, morality, and a gradually eroding sense of time and place.
According to its Steam page, The Necromancer's Tale isn't due out until 2022. For more details about the game's characters and setting, check out the official website.

There are 21 comments on The Necromancer's Tale is an upcoming narrative RPG about a young noble's descent into darkness

Tue 28 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 28 July 2020, 01:30:23

Tags: Focus Home Interactive; Lightbulb Crew; Othercide

Othercide, the surreal horror-themed tactical RPG from French studio Lightbulb Crew, is out tonight thanks to an unusual midnight release schedule. Over the past month, Focus Home Interactive have released a whole bunch of trailers, dev diaries and community videos to promote the game. The best one is the gameplay overview trailer from two weeks ago, which offers a solid introduction to the game's unique combat and character development features, including its focus on manipulating the turn queue to set up powerful combos.


Othercide's review scores vary but are generally on the positive side, including an eye-popping 9/10 from IGN who describe it as the best turn-based tactics game of the year so far. Here's a list of all the launch day reviews I was able to find:

Othercide is available on Steam now for $35. It seems pretty cool and likely to be overlooked. I'd say give it a try if you're a fan of tactical RPGs with unique takes on combat, or if you're just too impatient to wait for August's bigger releases.

There are 37 comments on Othercide Released

Fri 24 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 July 2020, 21:35:12

Tags: Mechajammer; Whalenought Studios

The Copper Dreams beta build was unexpectedly updated two days ago. Once again, the game's visual style had completely changed. In fact, it now looks remarkably like Serpent in the Staglands, Whalenought's previous title. This time they published a Kickstarter update to explain what was going on, starting with the fact that the game is now called Mechajammer. Here's its new trailer:



Greetings! We hope this reaches you all in good health.

The Copper Dreams project gets a new name to go with its shiny coat of paint and ruleset as we begin to complete main sections of the game. Beta v2 deathmatch modes now available for testing and glory.

We had mentioned earlier this spring that we wanted to perfect some of the movement systems and companions in the game since the alpha work. The Alpha/Beta v1 response has favored tighter controlled characters for faster turns with simultaneous minded tactics, and we've chiseled beta v2 to focus on that.

There’s an improved interface for actions, and we made the appropriate cozy visuals to engage your fleshy eyeballs and roleplaying imagination. Sprites are super easy to at-a-glance in the midst of the action compared to their 3d counterparts of old, allowing you to survey a battlefield much more quickly. The environment lovingly followed — an industrious colony surface atop the skeletal husk of a city with a century worth of damage from the Ci-War, now pushing back the encroaching jungle and mutations from all sides and depths. All of it drenched in rain-soaked streets, haunted under-cities, and atomizing laser deaths.

For those of you who got a beta release a while back as we were finishing up on our final tweaks for tiles and squad gameplay, that’s been updated on Steam with all changes. If you didn’t receive that invite send us an email and we can shoot you another. All other KS tiers will be receiving an early test invite in the future (final release date coming soon). Next release(s) on Steam will be additional maps to test on, and soon the first big chunk of the game to explore.

We’re also working on some updates for the community page so that's been currently down, and the next content we share will be more story related now that beta v2 is done and we're getting more chunks of the main map done.
The new beta has been received more positively than the original release in March, though as the update states all it contains right now is a deathmatch mode. Hopefully the game is now truly entering full production. The combination of Serpent in the Staglands' visual style with the new mechanics that Whalenought developed for Copper Dreams was probably always the right way to go.

There are 51 comments on Mechajammer Kickstarter Update #27: New Title, Beta Updated

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 July 2020, 02:01:40

Tags: Avowed; Obsidian Entertainment

Feargus Urquhart has talked for years about how much he wants to make a big Skyrim-like RPG using the Pillars of Eternity setting. After Obsidian was acquired by Microsoft and hit it out of the park with The Outer Worlds, it was clear that it was only a matter of time. Behold the reveal trailer for Avowed, unveiled today at the Xbox Games Showcase:


So what can one say about this? First of all, it's notable that they're not calling it Pillars of Eternity 3 or even Pillars of Eternity: Spinoff. On its very sparse official website, the game is described only as an "epic, first-person RPG set in the fantasy world of Eora". It appears to be specifically set in Aedyr, on Eora's previously unseen western continent. Judging by the repeated references to vows and oaths, it sounds like the game's story will likely involve Woedica, who is that nation's patron goddess. One of her many titles, Oathbinder, appears on the player character's sword in Eld Aedyran runes. But otherwise, it's clear that the main point of this trailer is to inform mass audiences that "Hey, we're making a Skyrim!". Well, we'll see where it goes. I suspect it'll be a while yet before we learn anything more about Avowed, but as always, let the drama begin.

There are 147 comments on Obsidian's next big RPG is Avowed, a Skyrim-like set in the Pillars of Eternity universe

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 July 2020, 01:19:14

Tags: Carrie Patel; Obsidian Entertainment; The Outer Worlds; The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon

Obsidian announced way back in December that they were planning to release story DLC for The Outer Worlds this year. Over seven months later they finally revealed the first one today at Microsoft's Xbox Games Showcase event. The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon is a full-fledged late game expansion, a "noir-tinged" mystery set in an abandoned Spacer's Choice research facility on the Gorgon Asteroid. The story apparently involves investigating the origins of the Adrena-Time drug, implied in the base game to be responsible for Halcyon being infested with psychotic marauders. The expansion features an increased level cap, new perks, flaws and skill tier unlocks, and new gear including three additional science weapons. Also audio logs, because you can't have a mysterious abandoned space facility without those. Here's the announcement trailer:


After the announcement, a number of websites published their interviews with the expansion's game director Carrie Patel and its art director Matt Hansen. The most notable takeaway from the interviews is that development on Peril on Gorgon actually began in January 2019, before The Outer Worlds was released. When the game turned out to be a commercial success, they decided to restart development and make the expansion significantly larger. It should be roughly comparable in scope to Monarch. Here's a list of interviews I was able to track down:

Peril on Gorgon is releasing on September 9th and will be priced at $15. It's the first of two planned expansions for The Outer Worlds and will also be available as part of a $25 expansion pass. This wasn't the only Obsidian title announced today, but I'll save that for a separate newspost.

There are 19 comments on Peril on Gorgon is the first expansion for The Outer Worlds, coming September 9th

Thu 23 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 July 2020, 01:06:11

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

Apparently that silly Damsel reveal trailer was an excuse for Paradox and Hardsuit to skip last month's Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 dev diary. Unfortunately there are no big announcements to share yet in this month's installment. It's a pretty fillery development update about Hardsuit's process for producing visual effects, using the Tremere Blood Orb spell as an example.

[​IMG]

When you hear Visual Effects (VFX), images of giant explosions and magic missiles might come to mind, but VFX for games goes far deeper than that. From a mundane leaky pipe or blowing leaves to supernatural Tremere blood magic, VFX is responsible for bringing the dynamics of the game world to life.

VFX artists must be very versatile. It’s our job to bring the vision of the Art Director to life. One day that could be creating realistic blood, the next it might be communicating an idea like Toreador Celerity, or it might be making trash blow around. It might also be something you never even considered, such as our Christmas Lights which are actually VFX!

Inception
Every effect starts as a need from a department. Let’s look at the Tremere Acolyte’s Blood Orb attack. VFX usually happens toward the end, so first Design will come up with the parameters of the effect, Engineering will make The attack work as expected, and Animation will create the enemy character animations that are needed, and then VFX comes in.

We start with a kickoff meeting with the Art Director and designers so we understand what the effect needs to look like and what information it should communicate to the player. Understanding the context of the effect is really important. Next, we get concept art from the Art Director so we have a visual target and general quality part to aim for, and schedule out the work with the Production team.

Block-out

In the block-out phase, we do some fact-finding. What are the technical requirements for the effect? Is there anything we need to build or other unknowns that have to be tackled to be successful? One of the questions for this particular effect was how we wanted to handle the light effect when the Orb is activated, so we prototyped a solution and synced up with our Lighting engineers to make sure everything was going to work ok. Once all of our questions are answered, we can move on to the next phase.

Iteration
This is where we polish our effects to a shine. We work on improving the look of the effect, then we get feedback from the Art Director and improve it even more. Does the effect meet the quality standards of the Art Director? Does it tell the right story, have the right timing and tone? Once the effect is meeting all of our needs, we can move on to the final step!

Audio / QA / Final Review
Now Audio can come in and add the cherry on top. QA will hammer on the effect to make sure nothing is broken. The project directors will review it and could also have points of feedback to address.

And Ship!
Now we have a finished effect ready for the players to enjoy!

Built by a small team
Throughout the project, the VFX team has been very small. There have been times when no one was working on FX at all! We’ve had some talented people come and go from the project, and the final result is a blend of everyone who has touched Bloodlines 2. At our height, working with outsourcing partners, we had 7 VFX artists working full time on the project, but for the majority of the time it has been a single VFX artist with Tech-Art support. (Hiring VFX artists is hard!) We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve given the limited resources we had throughout the project.

Every visual effect is a new set of artistic and technical challenges, and solving those challenges can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, and we are very excited for everyone to see what we’ve conjured up for Bloodlines 2!​

It's not very reassuring that they're still using that area from last year's E3 demo to demonstrate this. On the other hand, judging by the use of past tense in the last section, it sounds like they might be mostly done with the game's visual effects.

There are 7 comments on Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #12: Putting the 'Blood' in Bloodlines

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 July 2020, 00:25:08

Tags: Lost Pilgrims Studio; Vagrus - The Riven Realms

The free prologue demo of Vagrus: The Riven Realms has been available for almost two months now, first as part of the GOG Summer Sale, then during the Steam Game Festival, and finally as a permanent release on Steam two weeks ago. Our users who tried it out were pretty impressed, praising the game for its excellent lore and atmosphere. Earlier this month, developer Lost Pilgrims announced that they would also be releasing an Early Access version of Vagrus on July 22nd. The Early Access build is based on the alpha builds previously available only to Fig backers and is much larger than the prologue. Here's its trailer and an excerpt from the Early Access FAQ:



Why Early Access?
Vagrus is a narrative-heavy game
so unless you know for sure that you enjoy reading a lot, we suggest trying our FREE Prologue to give you a taste of what to expect.
The setting of Vagrus is a dark, gruesome world and accordingly, the game is hard. If you are looking for a casual experience, Vagrus might not be a good choice.

Vagrus has been developed for close to three years now and we have always used a decidedly open development process from the start. We have involved players whenever we could - we shared details on our progress and decisions while they shared their valuable insights so that we could tweak the experience. We started with a few fans and gradually grew that audience. By now, thousands have played Vagrus and its demo. All this happened to prepare for finally bringing the game to Steam and opening it up to a huge player base in the form of Early Access. This way we can continue involving players to eventually be able to deliver a unique game between our vision and their preferences.

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
Our current plan is to release Vagrus sometime in 2021, so it will definitely stay in Early Access for at least six months, most likely even more. The date will be very much dependent on how we progress with content creation, as well as on the addition and improvement of features based on player feedback, and of course the final polishing stage.

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
The current Vagrus build has approximately 50 hours of content and most of the major features have been deployed by now, but we still have plans to add more. The full version will have a bigger world for players to explore with more settlements, points of interest, recruitable companions, and playable stories, of course. It will include completely new features (like mercenary tasks), extensions of existing elements (like crew combat tactics and actions), user interface improvements, and more.

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
The currently available 50 hours of content come together from two parts:

‘Pilgrims of the Wasteland’ is a standalone story that initially is a more linear and text-heavy experience, with less branching in the overall story, albeit full of choices and consequences within the events themselves. It introduces the world, some characters, game mechanics, and concepts gradually, opening up more in its second half. Its estimated playtime is 7-10 hours (depending on playstyle).

In the open-world main campaign, you can create your own character (vagrus) and travel anywhere in a huge game world from the start. The campaign already has a gigantic region with dozens of settlements and points of interest to explore, six companions you can recruit, scores of enemy types, character creation, and a ton of story content for you to discover. Players who spent time in it suggested it holds approximately 40 hours of content, and we know that some of them have spent more than a hundred hours in the game already.
The Vagrus: The Riven Realms Early Access release is available on Steam and GOG for $30, with a 10% launch discount until next week. That's not particularly cheap, but as you can see they're not afraid to admit that this is a niche game.

There are 5 comments on Vagrus: The Riven Realms now available on Early Access

Tue 21 July 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 21 July 2020, 23:43:38

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

The Definitive Edition of Pathfinder: Kingmaker will be out next month, but you won't have to wait that long to try out the new turn-base combat mode. Owlcat have decided to release it as a beta update on Steam. The new Kickstarter update has the details on how to install it.

[​IMG]

Pathfinders,

It is less than a month until the release of Pathfinder: Kingmaker Definitive Edition for PC and consoles. With this update comes turn-based mode and a number of fixes. In preparation for this, we are launching a beta for 2.1! In this test, you will be able to play in the turn-based mode. We have put a lot of work into it and now we are ready to present it to you. We hope that you will love it and share your thoughts about it.

If you find any bugs you can report them using the in-game bug report feature by pressing F11. You can use the same tool to provide feedback to us - just choose the “Suggestion” option under the text window.

You can find how to join the beta-test here.

Patch notes are here.
The rest of the update looks pretty decent too.

There are 51 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Kickstarter Update #74: Turn-Based Mode Beta

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 21 July 2020, 23:01:25

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

Styg has released the second major content update for Underrail which he first teased back in March. It's called the Waterways and Psi Update and it does pretty much what the title indicates. As I expected, the new content is mainly located in the Expedition expansion, but it seems like the real centerpiece of the update is the psi system overhaul. Psi in Underrail will now use an elaborate dual resource management scheme, which might be described as Vancian spellcasting combined with a long-term mana resource that must be replenished using psi inhalants. It's an ambitious enough change that Styg has decided to release the update as an experimental beta first. He explains his design goals in the new development update:

Hi guys,

We're rolling out a new content update. It's going to land on experimental branch first in order to thoroughly test it out.

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

The first major theme of this update is the change to psi mechanics. The full changes are listed below. They are not primarily meant to kick the full psi builds down a notch (though they will do that), but to address the following issues with psi that I find the most problematic and detrimental to the game as a whole, not just in terms of difficulty:
  1. Psi gives you too many utilities. Due to how the psi functions now (prior to this update) it's almost impossible to add new stuff to psi without extending the already bloated spectrum of combat utilities of any given psi generalist (which most psi builds are) even further, since, unlike with combat utilities, there are no limits to what a psi invoker can access during combat.
  2. Psi is cheap to spec into. Even though every psi school is a separate skill, they are all based on a single base ability, which is the only one required to be maxed out in order for your character to be powerful. If you invest heavily enough into it, the psi abilities themselves will make up for many deficiencies in other areas. No other robust build works like this, they usually require at least moderately strong investment into a secondary base ability.
  3. Psi does not require any expendable resource. Pretty much every other build does so I introduced a resource for psi as well. Now it has a dual (or hybrid if you will) resource management aspect. Also I used this opportunity to put a sort of a limit to how much psionic output you can dish out in a single fight, so we'll see how this works out.
  4. This is the least important point, but it's still worth addressing. Some abilities are a bit too cheesey and easy to exploit so I changed them up a bit. This does not make them perfectly balanced or un-cheeseable and I know there is other stuff out there that's cheese as well. These are just the ones that bothered me the most and were long overdue to change.
Anyway, the detailed changes are in the list below. What I hope to do in the future with psi now that I've dealt with psi generalist question is to facilitate more hybrid builds, which I think the new system will support well.

* * * * *

The other major theme of the update is a lot of new content for the waterways - one big new dungeon, a couple of smaller locations, many new random encounters and other stuff. I'll leave it to you guys to find out for yourselves.

On a related note I halved the price of all the fancy jet skis and all the parts, so they will be easier to acquire now. We do not need such ridiculous prices anymore since we added the economic component to the difficulty settings.​

As always you can check out the full update for a complete changelog, including all the details about the new psi system and much more.

There are 15 comments on Underrail Dev Log #67: Version 1.1.2.0 Beta - Waterways and Psi Update

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