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Sun 13 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 13 June 2021, 23:23:35

Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Obsidian Entertainment; Starfield; The Outer Worlds 2

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E3 is back this year as a digital event and with it the traditional Microsoft E3 showcase, which is now combined with the Bethesda showcase. The show was kicked off by none other than Todd Howard, who gave us a first look at Starfield since it was announced back in 2018. The game is still a ways off and will be launching on November 11th, 2022 (an obvious homage to Skyrim's famous 11/11/11 release date). There's no real gameplay in the new teaser trailer, but I suppose it has a nice oldschool space exploration vibe.

Starfield wasn't the only space RPG to appear during the showcase. It's been obvious for some time that Obsidian were working on a sequel to The Outer Worlds, but it was still a bit surprising to see The Outer Worlds 2 announced today. Very little is known about the game right now other than that it's set in a new star system with a new crew. It's not clear whether it's coming before or after Avowed, which we've heard nothing about since it was announced last year. The cinematic announcement trailer is full of cliches, but it's self aware which makes everything all right, get it?


So, two big announcements but very little in the way of actual substance. Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for more information.

There are 8 comments on Microsoft E3 2021 Showcase: Starfield and The Outer Worlds 2


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Sat 12 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 12 June 2021, 00:54:57

Tags: Disciples: Liberation; Frima Studio; Kalypso Media

Today's Koch Primetime event was completely useless, and the IGN Expo was nothing special either. One thing we did get out of the latter was a gameplay trailer for Disciples: Liberation, the Disciples revival by Frima Studio announced back in February. It's a bit generic dark fantasy, but I'd say the game looks better than it did in the initial batch of screenshots on its Steam page. No BDSM stuff this time, either.


It looks like Disciples: Liberation was also quietly made available for preorder on Steam yesterday. The game is now scheduled for release in Fall 2021 rather than Q4 2021 (although I'm not sure what the difference is). The preorder discount ends on October 8th, which might be a clue.

There are 31 comments on Disciples: Liberation gets a gameplay trailer, available for preorder


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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 12 June 2021, 00:07:04

Tags: Beem Media; E.X.P.L.O.R.™: A New World

Last month, Codex indie connoisseur CryptRat spotted an unusual looking game on Steam called E.X.P.L.O.R.™: A New World. It's a turn-based first-person RPG that claims to be a "love letter to the classic dungeon crawler RPGs of the 80s and 90s". Now, there are plenty of games on Steam with weird graphics that have described themselves that way, but what sets this one apart is that its development actually began in the 1990s. E.X.P.L.O.R. is the creation of one Jack Blaine Myers, a programmer at Gearbox Software who began working on it as a teenager in 1997. He's actually preserved the game's original websites from back then, including links to ancient demo builds (now sadly broken). Its current incarnation dates back to 2015, and last year Jack decided to finally complete it after suffering from a bout of depression. These are the kinds of stories we like here, so I figured I'd give the game a shoutout when it released, which happened today. It doesn't look like its trailer is on YouTube, so I'll just quote the description here:

Story
When a starship operated by E.X.P.L.O.R., an elite group of space travelers, crash lands on a medieval world, it is up to the crew to discover the secrets of the world, repair their ship, meet a beautiful countess, and kill some things.

About

Developed as a "Love Letter" to the dungeon crawler RPGs of the 80s and 90s, Beem Media is proud to present E.X.P.L.O.R.™: A New World. Featuring classic RPG elements such as exploration, turn-based combat, quests, and narrative, the game is designed to give rise to nostalgic memories. Engineered with a modern feel, much of the tediousness of the games that it takes inspiration from is streamlined so that players can engage in beloved aspects of role-playing such as exploration, strategy, and a sense of wonder.

Features

  • Classic dungeon crawler role playing experience.
  • Party based exploration and combat.
  • Modern 3D engine to create a feeling of really being there.
  • Party member can be exchanged at any time to adapt to different play strategies.
  • Numerous dungeons to explore, each with a unique feel and increasing challenge.
  • Quests such as "Fetch Thing", "Kill Creature", and "Save Population From Extinction"!
  • Turn-based combat inspires decisive strategy.
  • Variety of weapons, armors, and trinkets keep combat fun and interesting.
  • Over 25 different animated monsters to fight, each with unique behaviors.
  • Over 30 spells to obliterate enemies with.
  • Powerful artifacts and other treasures to find!
  • Light-hearted narrative with fun, interesting, and uniquely illustrated NPCs.
  • Straightforward Achievements add a sense of progression while delving into the dungeon.
E.X.P.L.O.R.™: A New World is available on Steam for $8. You can read more about its development history here.

There are 10 comments on E.X.P.L.O.R.™: A New World is a bizarre dungeon crawler 24 years in the making


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Fri 11 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 11 June 2021, 03:47:01

Tags: Dark Crystal Games; Encased; Koch Media

As you may recall, back in December it was announced that Dark Crystal Games' anticipated post-apocalyptic isometric RPG Encased had been picked up by publisher Koch Media. I assumed then that the announcement would be quickly followed up by some fancy new trailer and release date announcement, but instead development on the game largely went quiet. That quiet was finally interrupted with the release of a fifth major content update last month, and now it looks like Koch are finally ready to unveil Encased to the world. One of the more minor headlines during today's kickoff of Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest hype extravaganza was Koch's announcement of a new "premium gaming label" called Prime Matter, which Encased will be published under. Along with this news come two new trailers for the game, a fun "recruitment trailer" that introduces the various wings of the CRONUS Foundation and a Wastelandy gameplay trailer. Here they are along with the obligatory press release:



Prime Matter and Dark Crystal Games have unveiled the new trailer for Encased, the upcoming isometric dystopian sci-fi RPG scheduled to release this autumn; you can watch it here https://youtu.be/1s7Kw0Jw9Jk and download here http://press.kochmedia.com/BATCSRQOPW

Set in an alternative 1976, a vast and inexplicable artifact – The Dome – is discovered in the remote desert and, inside, is packed to the brim with amazing technology that could advance humanity hundreds of years.

The catch, because of course there’s a catch, is that while living creatures can enter the dome, they can never leave; only inanimate and non-organic material can go outside of the dome. So once you’re in, you’re in.

The game, which will be a digital PC release on Steam, Epic and GOG, is currently in early access where users can experience all the first act and part of the second. https://store.steampowered.com/app/921800/Encased_A_SciFi_PostApocalyptic_RPG/

Timeline
Encased started out as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017 and has snowballed into something of an RPG epic.

Players start off in one of five disciplines – science, engineering, security, management or convict - which affects both their initial stats, specialisation and opens (or prevents) unique dialogue within the game. After entering the dome and completing the initial level, a cataclysm happens that changes everything inside the dome.

We’re not going to give too much away #NoSpoilers suffice to say that the imperfect world under the dome becomes a dystopian challenge of quite epic proportions. And, as you would expect, is packed to the gunwales with quests, items, crafting and everything you would expect from a top-notch RPG.

Owing some of its spiritual inspiration to books like Roadside Picnic, the intent had been to release the game across all platforms but, as development progressed, it became apparent that the complexities and depth of the game meant the team needed to focus all their efforts on getting the first platform right and then looking at either ports or bespoke console versions after that.

Encased was one of the key reveals when Koch Media launched its new premium gaming label and will see Koch responsible for digital distribution, sales and marketing of Encased.

Operating out of Koch Media's head quarter in Munich, Prime Matter is a dynamic mix of seasoned industry veterans and enthusiastic fresh faces creating an incredible team of diverse multi-cultured gaming experts.

Working in conjunction with Koch Media’s global publishing offices and development partners - and headed by industry stalwart Mario Gerhold - Prime Matter will lead through creativity, expression and passion, with games that will grip and enchant with enthralling story-telling, winning an audience with its incredible moments and larger-than-life experiences.
According to various websites Encased is now scheduled for release in September, although oddly the trailer and press release only specify a fall release window. Perhaps we'll learn more during the Koch Primetime event tomorrow.

There are 25 comments on Encased to be published under Koch Media's new Prime Matter label, coming September


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Mon 7 June 2021

Mod News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Mon 7 June 2021, 03:35:26

Tags: Fallout 2; Olymp Tower; Olympus 2207

Olympus 2207, which is a total conversion for Fallout 2, updated yesterday with an English localization. Here's some juice on what we've been missing not speaking Russian:

  • Choose a skin color instead of a gender. This affects possible ways of solving some quests.
  • The S.P.E.C.I.A.L. system is modified. Changes include: rebalancing the influence of characteristics and skills on gameplay, the skill “Gambling” is replaced by “Casanova” – the ability to convince women, the perk “Sexual Attraction” is replaced by “Mechanical Memory” – automatic growth of skills depending on their use. (The rights to the S.P.E.C.I.A.L. role system belong to their owners.)
  • Three stages in the life of the main character: age 7, age 17, age 20. The first two stages are tutorial and can be skipped.
  • Crafting system.
  • Build weapons from parts using workbenches. Keep in mind that there is no wear and tear of equipment in the game.
  • Mini-game for hacking electronic panels. Way to go if your electronics hacking skill is too low, or if you want to gain additional experience.
  • Simulation of the life of the NPC.
  • No “Main Quest”. You choose your own goal in the game! Do you want to become the tyrant of Radius, or do you want to improve the lives of everyone in it? The choice is yours!

Stages of life can be a fairly interesting thing in a game, though I'm not sure there's much "stage of life" difference between 17 and 20. At least, not as dramatic as the difference between 7 and 17.

Thanks, FEDSMOKER!

There are 69 comments on Olympus 2207 speaks the English now


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Sun 6 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 6 June 2021, 20:17:33

Tags: Studio Draconis; Zodiac Legion

Zodiac Legion is an upcoming tactical RPG where you command an arcane chivalric order tasked with defending the realm against an undead threat. Codexers who have spent some time in the Workshop forum will be familiar with the game, which esteemed user Galdred has been working on since 2014. The idea of Zodiac Legion is basically fantasy X-COM, with features such as base building and research, destructible terrain, and also necromancy. Although many years in development, the game was formally revealed to the world yesterday during the first day of the Guerilla Collective event. The rather wordy gameplay reveal trailer should give you an idea of its breadth and complexity:



Zodiac Legion is a turn-based tactical RPG featuring lethal combat, squad management and strategic elements. Lead your heroes through daring raids and forgotten ruins, defend your land in a time of conquest and betrayal, and master the secrets of volatile ancient magic to restore a realm beset by the armies of undying fiendish sorcerers.

Features
  • Lead your knights in turn-based tactical battles.
  • Explore ancient ruins and places of power, thwart the plans of enemy lieutenants, forge alliances, and restore the Zodiac Order.
  • Smash your way through fully destructible dungeons.
  • Expand and strengthen your stronghold, research new spells and craft powerful artifacts.
  • Reshape the terrain to your advantage.
  • Develop Your Warriors into Mighty Champions.
As the Grandmaster of the Zodiac Order, it will be your duty to restore this knightly brotherhood and rally its champions under the banners of the thirteen Zodiac signs. You will manage your domain, take important diplomatic decisions and train your warriors in the arcane arts. Enemy armies will invade your borders, forcing you to dispatch your knights on missions resolved through turn-based, tactical battles. Their superhuman powers will tip the scales in the face of overwhelming odds, but beware: many will not survive the ordeal. Yet exploring the secrets of necromancy may reveal that a Zodiac Knight's duty need not end in death.

The work on Zodiac Legion began because we shared the vision of a game that would combine the tactical combat and strategic campaign of X-COM, with the fantasy aspects and dungeon crawling typical of most roleplaying games.

We decided to use the theme of the Zodiac because of its association with classical mythology, and due to its ties with distinct character archetypes, which served as the foundation of our class system. There are hundreds of distinct features and qualities attributed to the signs by astrology, which lends itself to a robust and interconnected system that has an impact on all the aspects of Zodiac Legion's gameplay and storytelling.
Zodiac Legion will be launching on Early Access a year from now, so it'll be a while yet before players get their hands on it. In the meantime, we encourage you to follow the game's Steam page and official website.

There are 39 comments on Zodiac Legion is an upcoming turn-based tactical RPG where you command an arcane chivalric order


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Game News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Sun 6 June 2021, 13:09:22

Tags: Krisalis Software; Shadoworlds; Teque London

For those looking for a blast from the past, Shadoworlds is now out on GOG or on Steam. Originally released back in 1992, you can now snag the game for 30% off on either site, which is $4.68US. It's a real time combat, party based, sci-fi, dungeon crawling CRPG filled with the best technology a Pentium could handle. Here's a taste:


The Magna 6 system is home to the most advanced weapons lab the universe has ever known. Two months ago, communications with the orbiting facility mysteriously went dead without any warning. If the cutting edge weapons in the station were to fall into the wrong hands, the results would be cataclysmic. Knowing that quick action is necessary, but unaware of what terrors might have caused the break in communication, you are called in to lead a small team of brave but expendable explorers through the imperiled space station with a mission to ascertain the fate of its crew.

Krisalis Software and Teque London’s gripping isometric squad-based sci-fi action RPG follows your team of four explorers as they trek through the dark environments of the Weapons Research Facility to uncover the mystery of what went wrong. Each member of the team is chosen by the player based on their strengths and weaknesses, as well as their personality and individual history. As the leader of the unit, you have full control over the inventories and actions of your squad, even down to deciding when to use headlamps to illuminate the darkness. But watch out – the inky blackness of space hides friend and foe alike.​

Oddly enough, I don't remember this. Probably because I had an Amiga that year.

There are 13 comments on Shadoworlds edges a Re-release


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Fri 4 June 2021

Game News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Fri 4 June 2021, 15:13:32

Tags: The Arcade Crew; The Last Spell

The Last Spell is available in Early Access on Steam. This game is basically a turn based, tower/town defense, character building, town building, party based CRPG game. So, a little bit of everything? It's currently on sale for $17.99, which is a 10% discount through June 17th.


The Last Spell is a tactical RPG with roguelite elements. During the days, you’ll have to carefully choose how you will re-build your city and how you’ll position your defenses. Will you prioritize buying a brand new flaming sword, or build a Mana Well to regenerate some priceless Mana after battles?

During night, you’ll have to exterminate all the monsters coming at your walls with a large range of weapons and powers. Level up your heroes, and repeat until the end.​

There's also a video from Wanderbots showing some of the gameplay.


So, kind of like Final Fantasy Tactics with a town and defenses. Not a bad concept, honestly. One of the few games from that series of games that I actually liked.

There are 9 comments on The Last Spell Mana Wells Early Access

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 4 June 2021, 02:31:50

Tags: Complex Games; Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters

There were numerous video game announcements during Games Workshop's Warhammer Skulls event today. Among them was the announcement of a new game called Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, a rare Warhammer 40,000 video game to be unambiguously described as a turn-based tactical RPG. As you might guess by the name, the protagonists of the new Chaos Gate (which doesn't appear to have anything to do with the 1998 original) are the Grey Knights, the secretive Inquisition-affiliated daemon hunting Space Marine chapter. The game is being developed by a little-known Canadian studio called Complex Games with a history of making Warhammer 40,000 mobile titles and published by David Braben's Frontier Foundry label. There's not much else to say about it for now, since all that's been released is this brief cinematic teaser (which will be followed in August by a longer cinematic trailer).



Cambridge, UK – 3 June 2021. Frontier Foundry, the games label of Frontier Developments plc (AIM: FDEV, ‘Frontier’), today announced Warhammer 40,000®: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, a new game in partnership with world-renowned Warhammer 40,000 creator Games Workshop®.

Developed by Complex Games, Canada, Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters will pitch humanity’s greatest weapon, the Grey Knights, against the corrupting forces of Chaos in this brutal and fast-paced, turn-based tactical RPG.

Armoured in faith and shielded by devotion, the Grey Knights’ very existence is rooted in mystery: the possession of any unsanctioned knowledge about their secretive brotherhood is punishable by death. In Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters, players will experience the ruthless, merciless combat of the 41st millennium, following the journey of these elite warriors in a narrative penned by acclaimed New York Times bestselling author, Aaron Dembski-Bowden.

Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters will release on PC in 2022 on Steam and the Epic Games Store, published by Frontier Foundry. This exciting new title will build on Frontier’s existing partnership with Games Workshop®: Frontier have previously announced their Warhammer® Age of Sigmar® RTS title, which is currently in development.

The full cinematic announcement of Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is planned for August 2021. Follow the game on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Visit the Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters official website at www.chaosgate.com.​

As stated, Daemonhunters is due out sometime in 2022. For now you can follow the game's Steam page which has a few more details about its premise.

There are 9 comments on Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate - Daemonhunters is an upcoming Grey Knights turn-based tactical RPG

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 4 June 2021, 01:29:06

Tags: inXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3; Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown

In the end, there were no more dev diary videos for Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown after the first one. The expansion was released today with little fanfare other than a brief launch trailer narrated by Steeltown's worried administrator. There were also a couple of reviews at Wccftech and PC Invasion, both of which praised the expansion for its reactivity and new combat mechanics (which include non-lethal attacks), but found it to be very short.


If that sounds appealing to you, you can grab Battle of Steeltown on Steam or GOG for $14. There's also an expansion pass available on Steam for $20 that includes Wasteland 3's still unannounced second DLC. That seems like it's probably a better deal.

There are 3 comments on Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown Released

Thu 3 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 3 June 2021, 01:16:50

Tags: Mechajammer; Whalenought Studios

It's been eight months since the last Kickstarter update for Mechajammer, which as we've learned is pretty normal for Whalenought. However, the game's backer beta continued to be updated during that time and it's actually pretty fun now. In today's Kickstarter update, Joe and Hannah reveal that some sort of release date announcement is planned for this month and that the beta build will soon be released to all backers. The update also includes details about the game's soundtrack, a look at some of the weirder vehicles that they've created, and information about backer reward fulfillment. Here's an excerpt:

There’s fun news about the game coming this month along with release dates, and we’ll be expanding testing for feedback to all of you. A huge thanks to all the alpha/beta backers for their input getting us this far, and shout out to Allen M for encouraging us down the warpath of the tick/tile way back when we were toying with the broader companion micromanagement. It has paid off splendidly. The feedback we’ve received from beta testers has been incredibly helpful as we’ve finalized the gameplay systems, and we've added an in-game bug reporting button recently as well.

There’ll be a campaign update for alpha/beta backers this weekend that we hope you can take a punch at, so if you have some time to check it out that would be wonderful. The forum has build notes you can comment on as well as the in-game reporter. Once everyone has their mitts on it, all you backers have exclusive access to the forum and can share your thoughts and dreams you have in those build notes, and about the game.

One of the remaining musical endeavors we’re doing are with the 13 gangs occupying the city, whom are going to have a unique score to go with them as you decide to level their facilities or strong arm an alliance for a pool of allies to buy. These are both fun to design as the main "dungeons" of the city (though most aren't in actual dungeons, sans Faith and a few others, most are offices or various city buildings), they all have their own flavored map for some puzzle of infiltration, NPC enemies and companion pools to (potentially) buy from, and enemy agents to (potentially) kill for level advancement.

Kevin has been making some absolutely wonderful tracks, emphasizing the game's focus of drenching you in ambience and getting just the perfect amount of camp for the gangs.

[slam this link for some jams]

[ In order ]
  • Tanked (dungeon crawl Mad Max style on the outskirts of the colony walls, things currently going wrong for you)
  • Dim (just dynamite ambience)
  • Fueled (some of the local bars and dives to find companions for hire and information)
  • Inside the Hive (The Hive gang, creep factor getting amplified, don't want to KO around here)
Finding the right company for a limited run vinyl version of the soundtrack that we’d like to send out early as well, as Kevin should be finishing the tracks this summer.

We’ve also been adding a plethora of vehicles, I think we're up to 30 now, including a rickshaw that up to 2 companions can jump in the back in (for shooting while driving), and Barry’s starting vehicle of choice for your gang which rivals the mystery machine, spawnable from your base.

We desperately need a wiki-like page devoted to the ruleset and items in the game that you could peruse (and that will also be part of the physical rewards), and we’re planning to get to that this summer so we don’t have to go outside.
We'll see about that release date announcement.

There are 16 comments on Mechajammer Kickstarter Update #31: Spring Status Report

Wed 2 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 2 June 2021, 00:55:37

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

Through February and March, Owlcat ran a series of community votes for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous where fans got to direct the actions of the leader of a party of adventurers travelling through the Worldwound region. As promised, those choices have served as the basis for a delightfully cheesy new trailer released today. It turns out that cowardly recruit wasn't what he appeared to be. Appearing in the trailer is Areelu Vorlesh, the half-succubus archmage responsible for opening the Worldwound over a century before the events of the game. She's the topic of the latest Kickstarter update:


Hello Crusaders!

We are hoping you are enjoying the beta version of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. If you want to share your thoughts with the Owlcat team, please join our discord, where we have a special chat in the beta section, just for your feedback! We’d love to read what you think.

But now let’s talk about someone you may have met in the game already. The most hated person in all Mendev, one of the most powerful and dangerous spellcasters on Golarion, a half-fiend responsible for countless deaths - Areelu Vorlesh, the Architect of the Worldwound.

Despite Areelu’s infamy, little is actually known about her. Some say that back in Sarkoris she was a powerful mage, who was arrested by Sarkorian witch hunters for practicing arcane magic, and thrown into the prison meant only for the most dangerous of casters - the Threshold. There Areelu somehow managed to open the rift between Golarion and the Abyss which became eventually known as the Worldwound, and initiated the demonic invasion of Golarion.

Now whenever something sinister happens, such as a crucial crusader victory suddenly turning into the ashes of a crushing defeat - Areelu can be seen on the battlefield. What is her plan? What is she trying to achieve?

Will you be the one to answer the questions that have been gnawing at the crusaders for almost a hundred of years?

Watch our new trailer, which you helped create during our Community Quest, and meet Areelu Vorlesh, the Architect of the Worldwound.
In other community news, Owlcat recently announced a new contest for beta backers, where the objective is to defeat some of the game's key encounters as quickly as possible. The contest runs until June 30th and the winners get an exclusive plushie. Go to it, powergamers.

There are 23 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #85: Ascension Trailer

Tue 1 June 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 1 June 2021, 23:32:14

Tags: Scape-IT; SKALD: Against the Black Priory

As we reported last month, the promising Ultima-inspired retro RPG SKALD: Against the Black Priory will be going into Early Access on August 2nd. But even if you weren't a Kickstarter backer you won't have to wait until then to play it, thanks to a free prologue released today consisting of the game's first couple of hours. Here's an updated gameplay teaser put together for the occasion:


The SKALD prologue is available free on Steam, with a GOG release planned for tomorrow.

There are 12 comments on SKALD: Against the Black Priory Prologue Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 1 June 2021, 01:18:50

Tags: Expeditions: Rome; Logic Artists; THQ Nordic

The second dev diary for Expeditions: Rome is all about combat. As Logic Artists mentioned in interviews when the game was announced, in Rome your characters' combat abilities are determined by their weapon and class, and there are actually no standard attacks. The dev diary describes a couple of tactical situations that are enabled by this system. Another interesting aspect of the game's combat is shields, which can only be used by a particular class and function as essentially regenerating force fields.

Combat in Expeditions: Rome is predominantly expressed through turn-based tactical gameplay. While the legions fight the bigger battles for you on the world map, you and your elite team of praetorians will engage in tactical close-quarters fights on a hex-grid layout using a variety of skills and items.

Let’s start with the basics: Turn-based combat starts when you encounter enemies, so you can explore the area in real-time after any fight, and often before a fight begins as well. Once a fight starts, the very first turn of combat is what we call the preparation phase, where you can strategize and position each of your combatants on the hexes that are available before initiating combat. Once you’ve chosen where your characters will start, it’s time to get into the fight.

During combat, you can move each character, activate skills, and use any tactical items you have equipped. The amount of movement a character can make is based on how much armor they’re wearing, which grants them a certain number of movement points. If a character wants to move farther, they may have to sacrifice their ability to take certain actions.

Most character actions are executed via skills that are made available by either their weapon or their class. Unlike our previous Expeditions games, we no longer have basic “white” attacks. Instead, every attack is executed through a skill, and each weapon has a collection of skills it can roll with. This means that you can acquire two different Gladiuses, for example, and the skills available can be completely different, providing a ton of variety.

Additionally, class skills are unlocked through each character’s skill tree by spending skill points after leveling up. With each class having three distinctly different skill trees, there is a wide variety of active and passive skills to experiment with.

We’ll talk more about all of the skills and classes in a different diary, but it’s important to understand the basics here to provide context for how core combat functions. Each character can equip a set of weapon and class skills based on what’s available to them, and these skills determine which actions they can use in combat. These actions, in turn, have many different synergy opportunities that bring out the tactical diversity of our combat system.

For a more specific example: the Sagittarius class is a ranged-combat class, and there is a class skill in the sniper tree called “Ranging Shot,” where a Sagittarius can apply the status effect “spotted” to a small group of clustered enemies, eliminating the damage drop-off that takes place when executing ranged attacks at long distances. This is an early skill for archers and can be super useful when keeping your ranged combatants at a long distance without reducing their damage potential. This does, however, require the archer to setup their targets a turn early, as “Ranging Shot” does cost an action point. In other words, it takes two turns before the archer can start dealing that full damage. Where it gets really interesting is if you find a bow with the skill Overdrawn Shot, which guarantees a critical hit but reduces your range by 50% - if you’re using Overdrawn Shot to hit a “spotted” target, that penalty is negated.

However, you might run into a melee pike weapon usable by the Triarius class that rolls with the weapon skill “Marking Strike,” which does a decent amount of piercing damage, but also applies the “spotted” status effect to a single target. This opens up new options – instead of having to use “Ranging Shot” as a debuff action before being able to apply the full damage of your long-distance archer, you could now move up a character with the “Marking Strike” skill equipped, do a one-two punch with “Marking Strike” to soften up the enemy first and apply the “spotted” status effect, and then use Overdrawn Shot with the archer at range, guaranteeing a critical hit at full strength, all in one turn! This is just one of countless ways different skills can be combined together to open up limitless tactical options.

Another critical component of core combat is shields, which can only be used by the Princeps class. Shields are an off-hand weapon that provide an additional pool of health to the character using it. When a shielded character is attacked, damage is applied to the shield first, unless the skill used has a special modifier that ignores shields. Shielded characters also cannot take damage from archers until the shield is depleted, making them critical for the front line. When a turn begins, shields automatically recover some of their hitpoints, serving as an automatic source of regenerating defense.

Shields also have skills that can be used, like buffs that can increase the total hitpoint pool of the shield for the rest of the fight, or even attacks that use the shield as a weapon to do damage and apply different status effects. We hope you can start getting the picture here, where options of moving up defensive or offensive built Princeps can change how other characters work together with those skills.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to core combat - there’s way too much to discuss in one DevDiary, and some of it we’re excited about you discovering on your own! We haven’t even touched on the two tactical item slots every character has, which allow them to expand their tactical options even further. The layout of our hand-crafted combat spaces also play a huge role in combat, including how characters can use cover to reduce their exposure to ranged attacks or exploit choke points to keep more vulnerable characters protected behind a tanky, shield-bearing Princeps. Don’t worry though, we’ll continue to share more of these details in future DevDiaries, and if you join us for our DevStreams, you may get some sneak previews at some of these features when we show off the game.
Well, it sounds interesting. If you'd like to learn more about Rome's combat, tune in to the next dev stream on June 2nd. The game's next dev diary on June 21st will be about narrative.

There are 5 comments on Expeditions: Rome Dev Diary #2 - Core Combat

Sun 30 May 2021

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 30 May 2021, 01:15:06

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

As you might imagine, this year's belated installment of the annual Iron Tower Studio business diary is all about the Colony Ship Early Access launch. The article has some details about how the team reached this point and what they're working on now. I'm happy to learn that the game has sold relatively well, despite being completely ignored by the mainstream gaming media. An excerpt:

After five years of work we finally released Colony Ship’s first chapter on Early Access (Steam) and Games in Development (GOG). It's the second most important milestone (the first was the combat demo), because the hardest part - the long slog of building the foundation, the systems, the assets - is behind us now, and we can finally focus on the content, which is the best, most exciting part of development.

To give you a quick analogy, imagine wanting to build something from LEGO bricks, only before you get to enjoy it, you need to 3D-print all the different pieces. It took awhile but we finally have all the pieces. Now we're ready to play.

What took you so long?

We switched to Unreal 4 in 2016, when we finished working on The Age of Decadence. Making another game with Torque would have been far easier and taken less time, but the engine wasn’t getting any younger and sooner or later we'd be forced to switch. Switching to such a powerful engine brings many benefits but it also means starting from scratch. There’s a huge difference between an engine you’ve just downloaded and a well-oiled RPG engine with all the systems, and this difference is measured in years of work.

It took us 3 years to get to the first playable build, 4 years to shape it into a combat demo. Combat demo sounds deceptively simple - nothing but combat there, right? - but it’s essentially a small slice of the game with most systems in: character & party, combat & combat AI, upgradeable gadgets, dialogue, inventory, grid & pathfinding, ending slides, save/load, etc.

We released the combat demo in Apr 2020. It took us two months to process feedback, improve the design, and fix reported issues. Only then we started working on the first chapter, still missing many critical components (we added the stealth system in September, the code for non-human enemies only in Oct, etc). The final missing piece (the party management screen) was added last month, so now we can fully focus on quests, locations, and balance.

Why Early Access?

No, it's not beta testing or raising funds, although the extra money will certainly help and go toward development, allowing us to do more. The main reason is to run everything by our core audience and get instant feedback, which is the most important development tool there is. Anyone who isn't using it is working blind.

Essentially, players' feedback is guiding the development, pointing out everything that should be improved, changed, or expanded. Now that chapter 1 is 'approved' by the players, we can focus on one location at a time and so will the players, acting as the ultimate quality control.

Rapid updates are key here: we already released six updates, fixing everything we overlooked before the release and implementing many great suggestions and quality-of-life improvements. While it's tempting to delve deeper into the systems, nobody's going to be happy if by the end of the year we still have only 3 locations available. Right now we spend 80% of our time on the next location (the Factory) and 20% on improving the first chapter, systems, and balance.

Slow and Steady…

The game is well-received (86% based on 321 reviews) - thank you very much to everyone who decided to support us. The Age of Decadence did well for a hardcore indie but Roman fantasy with ancient mysteries and Lovecraftian elements is one thing, a colony ship with well-familiar political themes, without any overt space opera or over-the-top futuristic elements a la Mass Effect, is another.

In the first month we sold 14,271 copies. In comparison AoD sold ~3,300 copies during the same period in Early Access, so we can consider it a very promising start. I never hype our games but if the players liked the first, fairly low-key chapter, they're going to love what comes next.

Regional data: I don’t think anyone will be surprised to learn that the United States reigns supreme - 54% of all units are sold in the land of the free. Russia is the second biggest market with 7%, UK 6%, and so on and so forth.

Wishlists: we were sitting on 30k wishlists (courtesy of releasing the combat demo last year), it went up to 50k in the final week (after the first videos), then quickly jumped to 100k a week after release. Promising on this front as well.

Demo downloads jumped up by 2,265% so demos certainly remain an important tool that shouldn’t be underestimated.

AoD's sales went up 3,400% in the last month, which is an unexpected but very welcome bonus. Our development budgets are generated by our sales (which allows us to stay independent), so the stronger the sales, the more we'd be able to do to bring our worlds to life.
The full article concludes with an amusing description of Vault Dweller's interactions with the various publishers who have contacted him about publishing Colony Ship. Beyond their apparent worthlessness, he believes that a publishing deal is unlikely to be worthwhile in terms of revenue.

There are 61 comments on Taking Care of Business - Iron Tower Studio 2021 Business Diary

Fri 28 May 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 28 May 2021, 00:43:16

Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures

When we learned in late 2018 that former Amplitude Studios CEO Mathieu Girard had founded a new studio in Paris under the somewhat generic title Tactical Adventures in order to create an RPG "inspired by Baldur's Gate and XCOM", few imagined it would turn out to be as big a deal as it has. Thanks to its unpretentious approach and adherence to the 5th Edition D&D ruleset, which have positioned the game as the underdog versus Larian's upcoming Baldur's Gate 3, Solasta: Crown of the Magister soon became one of the Codex's most anticipated titles. Twenty months after its Kickstarter campaign and seven since it launched on Early Access, the final 1.0 version of Solasta has been released (although Kickstarter backers have actually had access to it since two weeks ago). Here's the launch trailer:


There aren't many reviews of Solasta. The reviews it has gotten are generally positive but critical of the game's boilerplate fantasy plot and slight jank. To which I say, meh. But here's the list:
Solasta: Crown of the Magister is available on Steam and GOG for $40 with a sizeable 20% launch discount until next week, and it's also available with Game Pass at the Microsoft Store if you're subscribed to that. With this release, has the Codex GOTY for 2021 already been determined before even half the year has passed? We shall see.

There are 266 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister Released

Thu 27 May 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 27 May 2021, 19:49:55

Tags: Awaken Realms Digital; Tainted Grail: Conquest

Tainted Grail, the Arthurian board game digital spinoff with ridiculously good graphics from Polish studio Awaken Realms Digital, was released on Early Access last June. Although intended to be a full-fledged story-driven RPG, it initially launched only with a roguelike sandbox mode called Tainted Grail: Conquest. Apparently that turned out so well that in November the developers decided to split it off as a separate product, which left Early Access today. Here's its launch trailer and the accompanying press release:



WROCŁAW, Poland -- May 27, 2021 -- Awaken Realms has released the deck-building roguelike RPG Tainted Grail: Conquest, available today on PC via Steam and GOG.com for $19.99 with a special 10% discount. Following an exceedingly positive early access period, the official launch brings three new classes, full English voiceover support, a revamped tutorial, and a range of enhancements to improve UX, balance and more.

Tainted Grail: Conquest is set in the immersive, dark fantasy universe of Awaken Realms’ hit board game Tainted Grail: Fall of Avalon. The game combines narrative-driven RPG elements with roguelike deck-building gameplay, offering a unique twist on the genres. Players set out on the cursed island of Avalon, where an ever-changing map filled with deadly enemies awaits. With a deep character customization suite across nine distinctive classes of heroes plus dozens of skills, runestones, and items available, each playthrough brings a unique set of challenges.

Features:
  • Experience a unique blend of deck-building roguelike and story-driven RPG.
  • Complete quests, save NPCs and build your village to help unlock new passive abilities that carry over from run to run.
  • Travel through corrupted lands inspired by Arthurian legends and learn the secrets behind ancient menhirs, Fore-dwellers and death itself.
  • Create endless combinations with nine distinctive classes, 460 cards, 340 passive skills and 50 masteries at your disposal.
For more information, join the game’s community on the Awaken Realms Digital Discord.
As stated, Tainted Grail: Conquest is available on Steam and GOG for $20 with a 10% launch discount until next week. The story-driven RPG part of the game, now called Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon, is supposed to launch later this year and will be free for people who bought Tainted Grail before the split.

There are 9 comments on Tainted Grail: Conquest Roguelike Mode Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 27 May 2021, 19:14:43

Tags: David Rogers; inXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3; Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown

It looks like The Battle of Steeltown expansion for Wasteland 3 is getting a full-scale marketing push. Last night inXile released the first in a series of dev diary videos, featuring game director David Rogers. It's a brief overview of the choice & consequence in the expansion. Steeltown will not only have plenty of faction-based choice & consequence but will also react to things the party did outside the expansion area.


In other news, inXile have released the 1.4.0 patch for Wasteland 3, today rather than alongside the expansion as I assumed. Here are the main highlights from the patch notes:

New Feature: Crafting
  • Players are now able to craft mods, weapons, gear, and mystery items from the crafting menu accessible from the inventory screen. Time to put that scrap to work.
  • Crafting recipes can be learned by leveling up some skills, buying them from vendors, searching containers, and discovering mystery crafting recipe ingredients.
  • More info available here.
New Feature: Animal Companion Kennel & Improved UI
  • A new kennel located just outside Ranger HQ is now available. Animals dismissed in the field or those who were following a Ranger who died will return automatically to the kennel, and from there they can optionally be dismissed back into the wild. You wouldn’t do that though because you’re not a heartless jerk.
    The animal companion type limit has been removed, allowing squads to have multiples of the same type of animal in the squad (1 animal per Ranger still, of course). That’s right, you can now have a whole squad of pissed-off cats scratching cannibal clowns.
  • Character portraits now display icons for animal companions. Mousing over (or selecting) the animal icon will display a tooltip with that companion’s current stats.
  • More info available here.
New Customization Options
  • 12 new chest pieces are now available when creating or customizing your character, with some “job”-themed options like medic and explosives expert. Finally, what you’ve always wanted, to have a work uniform in-game too.
Polly the Parrot is 100% more inappropriate and packs a walloping Demoralize ability. Do not, for the love of all that is holy, play Polly’s dialog at high volume in proximity to anyone of high moral character.
I guess at this rate they'll have time for two more of these videos. It's good to have Microsoft money.

There are 3 comments on Wasteland 3: The Battle of Steeltown Lowdown #1 - Choice & Consequence

Game News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Thu 27 May 2021, 14:16:54

Tags: Cereal Games; Pecaminosa - A Pixel Noir Game

Cereal Games's Pecaminosa - A Pixel Noir Game is now available on Steam. No sale on this one, and it's $14.99 currently. What is it? It's a character driven detective RPG with real time combat, pixel art, and some mystical elements. Explore a crazy pulp noir world, gamble, question suspects, search for clues all while delving deeper in to the crazier parts of this world.


Pecaminosa blends the charm of pixel art and the mechanics of an Action RPG with the atmosphere of film noir. The Legend of Zelda combined with Touch of Evil. You have not seen and played anything like it. Interrogate suspects, explore a city dominated by crime and sin, and never hesitate to use your fists and guns. These are hard times in a very tough city.

Customize your character's appearance and equipment and have it evolve through the L.I.F.E. system, distributing experience points into four different parameters: Luck, Intelligence, Force and Endurance. Play Blackjack to earn extra money, visit the liquor store, socialize with the scum, visit the police station and the brothel, in addition to other venues recreated with great graphic detail… and don't trust anyone. There is a bullet with your name on it, and it's eager to meet you.​

The world needs more noir detective RPGs with some crazy flavor thrown in for good measure. Just remember, a revolver solves everything in that setting. Just look at any vintage serial.

There are 3 comments on Pecaminosa charms a Release

Game News - posted by Saint_Proverbius on Thu 27 May 2021, 13:47:05

Tags: Aluna: Sentinel of the Shards; Digiart Interactive

Aluna: Sentinel of Shards has been released on Steam with the asking price of $19.99. It seems like it's your basic action CRPG with a fairly decent production value. There's only one character you can play, but with options to build the character how you want. No multiplayer, but there's controller support for those who prefer to play that way.

  • Explore a vast land filled with dense jungles, majestic beaches, and towering cliffs.
  • Choose from a vast array of weapons based on historical weapons from the Old World (South America) and New World (Spanish Empire).
  • Customize Aluna’s fighting style by unlocking powerful magical abilities across 3 schools of magic.
  • Collect, craft, and trade hundreds of unique items and loot.
  • Defeat mythological boss creatures inspired by Latin American lore.
  • Aluna is played by actress, producer and series co-creator Paula Garces.
  • Based on the popular comic book series "The World of Aluna" by the writers of Assassin's Creed and Batman: Arkham Origins.

Well, there's a setting you never really see. Latin America circa 16th Century. At least there's that. It's nice to see things other than the high fantasy setting which was all you got a decade or so ago.

There are 4 comments on Aluna collects a Release

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