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Editorial RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2015 - The Dwarves, Daniel Vavra, inXile, Sword Coast Legends and HoMM 7

Crooked Bee

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Codex 2013 Codex 2014 PC RPG Website of the Year, 2015 Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire MCA Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brother None; Dan Vávra; Gamescom 2015; Heroes of Might and Magic 7; InXile Entertainment; KING Art Games; Kingdom Come: Deliverance; Limbic Entertainment; Might & Magic X; n-Space; Sword Coast Legends; The Dwarves; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Ubisoft; Warhorse Studios; Wasteland 2

Temporarily distracted by his fancy visit to Larian Studios, esteemed community reporter Bubbles returns to Gamescom 2015 coverage with a whopping 14,000-something word report on a bunch of (mostly) RPGs at once. Again, he's joined by the intrepid JarlFrank, who this time even ventures on his own for a bit.

Coming first in the report is The Dwarves, which just launched its Kickstarter today, developed by King Art aka the makers of the Book of Unwritten Tales and Battle Worlds: Kronos. It's physics-based, it's story-focused, it promises "epic real-time battles," and our dedicated thread in General RPG Discussion calls it "a horde combat action RPG." In the interview, The Banner Saga comparisons abound. Sounds like it should be right up the Codex's alley.

Bubbles: So you'll present a lot of the game through text?

KA: Yeah, you'll see more examples of that later. Since we're also an adventure developer, we really find this pretty cool, and we know how to deal with a lot of text. If you only care about the RPG, you may go through this much faster than an adventure gamer who cares about exploring the locations and clicks on everything. Content wise, this is a 50-50 split [between text-based "exploration" and combat], but we want to let players adjust that relation according to their preferences. Exploration players can just try to get through the combat ASAP and focus on the stuff that interests them more; for combat players we plan on offering a few interesting options for replaying battles.

[...] If you're from the RPG faction, I'm sure you'll be interested in this [very sweet and considerate guy, this one]: we don't roll dice when you make an attack, it's all physics based. If I swing my hammer, we check what the head bone – eh, the bone in my skeleton where the hammer head is – is doing, it's moving through the scene, and there you see shockwaves which level off based on the calculations of the simulation [technical bullocks imho] – and then something happens! Bodies move into bodies, into some sort of obstacles, and I calculate the force of these movements. If they're forceful enough, you'll be damaged, and if the forces are deadly, things fall over and die, and sometimes they just fall over and stand up again. Of course this is a model, not a realistic simulation, but it helps us avoid the typical problems you get when you're only faking this kind of stuff; pathfinding issues, models stuck in the scenery, that sort of thing.​

After that, it's our second reporter JarlFrank's turn to shine, as he interviews none other than Daniel Vávra​, a man who will change his life forever.

When I entered, Vávra was talking to some guys in Czech. I waited for a minute before I introduced myself as "Frank, the guy from the Codex", and Vávra responded with a grin: "Ah, yeah, you have an appointment. You're the guys who hate everything, right?"

Right. Vávra knew who I was, and he was pretty chill about it, and it stayed like that for the duration of the interview. And, frankly, his attitude was rather Codexian. He participated in Codex discussions about his game and he knows what our tastes are, but he never tried to shape his answers to fit our tastes. He has his own vision of what he wants the game to be, and he never tried to use any PR-speak. He was just plain honest with me, and that's something we see too little in developers. Now, that doesn't mean all his answers were the absolute truth and everything he promised will be in the game just the way he promised it. He just had an attitude of "This is the game I make, and maybe you guys don't like some of my decisions, but then that just means it's not your type of game" rather than trying to play the "EVERYONE will like it, promise!" angle.​

In the meantime, Bubbles was interviewing an inXile PR guy called Brother None. Incidentally, Brother None was the only person we interviewed at Gamescom (screw that, the only person we've interviewed ever) who asked us to run the interview by him before we publish it. Naturally, brows were raised.

Brother None, a consummate PR man at heart, chose this precise moment to make his entrance. We greeted each other cordially with the secret Codex handshake, then I immediately started complaining about how horrible the console controls were. My dear friend asserted that they were really quite good, that they would grow on me, and that inXile was very happy with what they had achieved. However, he also conceded that the controller might possibly not represent the absolutely perfect interface for literally every theoretically existant gamer in all the known and unknown reaches of the world. Brother None later sent us the following quote to characterize his stance: "as a PC gamer, I couldn't honestly say I wouldn't still prefer the PC controls myself."

[The draft version of the previous section read: "that they would grow on me, that inXile was very happy with what they had achieved, but also – crucially – that he couldn't honestly say that the console controls were as good as the PC controls. That's what a Codex Connection gets you: a little bit of straight talk to go with all the hair raising lies." Brother None objected to this representation of his words and supplied us with the above quote to use in its stead.]​

The upcoming totally faithful, I swear, computer adaptation of playing and DMing 5th ed. D&D in P&P Sword Coast Legends is also something Bubbles saw presented during the Gamescom. Naturally, he didn't miss his chance to have some fun, despite the rather fearsome, no-fun-allowed circumstances.

Our gracious hosts positioned themselves in the middle of the room, gave us a hearty welcome, and announced that we had a special guest: n-Space's CEO Dan O'Leary himself had taken the time to observe our presentation! In response, we heard a grunt coming from the entrance door. O'Leary was a large man with a big bushy beard, and he was in a foul mood. The man's breathing was slow and laboured, and his belt was at least two sizes too tight. His beard was an unkempt mess of brown and grey, with a few dark red strands twirling around his mouth. I studied his savage features; his gaze met mine. In that instant, I knew that Dan O'Leary hated me, that he hated Jarl (that part didn't shock me so much), that he hated the Codex, and that he knew about everything that we had done and all that we were about to do.

[...] Currently, the DM seat was occupied by a female journo, who had grown more and more worried as the presentation had progressed. Now, she was sweating bullets. “I… don't think I can do this.” she muttered. Worried, the presenters asked for a volunteer to take her seat. I had done my fair share of DMing back in the late 90s (using the vastly superior Dark Eye system), but normally I wasn't eager to waste my time trying to improvise a session for a bunch of Dorito munching nobodies. Now, however, I had a possibly very dangerous man hovering behind my back whom I was quite eager to get away from. I raised my hand and said “I'll be DM!” The poor woman sighed in misguided relief and switched seats with me.

What followed now was genuinely the most exhilarating half hour of my time at Gamescom. With the two presenters standing by my side, I embarked on a journey of on-the-fly dungeon redesign (mind you, the room layout itself is still not changeable by the player), laying down traps, hiding doors behind fake walls, promoting trash mobs to elite monsters in the middle of battle, and generally having a hell of a time. [...] After the run was over, the presenters were all smiles and praise for my exceptional DM performance, and slipped me their business cards the same way a middle-aged banker would slip his room number to a high class escort at the Sheraton bar. Even O'Leary appeared to be vaguely pleased with the goings on, his beard seeming more vibrant and less spiky than just minutes before. His power over me had vanished completely. Of course, I was not in the least bit swayed by all the adulation: I already had over four thousand brofists on the Codex, and I knew my worth very well.​

(JarlFrank too had his impressions of SCL, separate from Bubbles, also found in this report.)

Finally -- last but not least -- Bubbles and JarlFrank had a Heroes of Might and Magic 7 presentation with Ubisoft/Limbic folks to attend. Knowing how anticipated Heroes of Might and Magic 7 is on the Codex, and given how exclusive this presentation was, I will leave you to read this part in its entirety without luring you in with bastardized snippets.

Except, perhaps, this one:

I feel a great privilege to be writing these words, knowing that our HoMM 7 interview is not only one of our most anticipated reports in history, but also a fully Codex-exclusive piece of journalism. Mind you, it hadn't actually been planned to be Codex-exclusive in any way; that was just how it shook out in the end. Our appointment was scheduled for 6 PM on Wednesday as part of a large public developer Q&A in the Uplay Lounge; we had contacted Ubisoft in advance to make sure that we could still get a seat. Early in the day, we had visited the hands-on stands for Ubisoft's two biggest strategy games, and we had noticed something odd: while HoMM 7 had a measly four rather bored looking people waiting in line (including myself and Jarl), the neighbouring Anno 2205 booths had attracted at least 50 eager fans.​

It also has the latest official word on Might and Magic X's sale numbers, so be sure to read it in full!

Read the full article: RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2015: The Dwarves, Daniel Vavra, inXile, Sword Coast Legends and HoMM 7
 

Zeriel

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Oh my god, that Might & Magic section. It's even worse than I supposed. I feel really bad for those guys, but I guess that's what you get when Ubisoft has a license like Might & Magic. Everyone involved would probably be better off if they just sold it to some other company.
 
Unwanted
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On kingdom Come :

In the end, he realized that we're not his primary target audience. The Codex is very hardcore, and this game isn't supposed to be for niche RPG players.



Neither is divinity hardcore, but it's very well received. You misled him.
 
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Bubbles

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Oh my god, that Might & Magic section.

That about sums up my reaction as well. It was an eye-opening experience, and I will always treasure it greatly, but it was really enormously depressing.

On kingdom Come :

Neither is divinity hardcore, but it's very well received. You misled him.

Daniel Vávra seems perfectly capable of misleading himself.
 

J_C

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Incidentally, Brother None was the only person we interviewed at Gamescom (screw that, the only person we've interviewed ever) who asked us to run the interview by him before we publish it.
Geez, I wonder why is that? Maybe because BN is one of us and he knows how retarded we can be. :D
 
Unwanted
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''Jarl: So, is there any chance that we might see a Might and Magic XI in the near future?''

''This question made the mood of Arnaud and Erwan sink like a submarine for a moment.''

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

'' [Bubbles comment: You can infer that MMX sold roughly 70% as many copies as Legend of Grimrock, based on however Ubisoft calculated LoG's sales. Was turn based combat to blame?]''

And that would still mean a profit most likely. What kind of absurd returns are they expecting.


''And, judging from how they were talking about HoMM VII, the same fate could await the Heroes series if the game bombs.''

Could? At this point it's 100% sure.

''personally, I really liked the big windows full of narrative text in Heroes 4.''

this nigga knows what's up

''Lesson 1: Keep the stories contained! Ashan [the setting for the last few M&M games] is a complex place with a lot of history''

Ashan is the most dumbed down fantasy world I experienced so far

''we noticed two female fans entering the Uplay Lounge; they wanted to know if they could have a t-shirt.''

:lol: This is like a simpson episode.


So many to comment on. This is the best piece I've read on the codex. Your questions were ballsy. :salute::salute:
 
Unwanted
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Incidentally, Brother None was the only person we interviewed at Gamescom (screw that, the only person we've interviewed ever) who asked us to run the interview by him before we publish it.

So much for the one of us meme.
 
Unwanted
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They were trying to appeal to that target group with improved graphics, a streamlined UI, and the fact that they were offering turn based gameplay, which was inherently appealing to mainstream audiences. Erwan said that HoMM 7 was “a casual game in that respect”: being able to play a game in turn based mode “makes players feel intelligent” while letting them play at their own pace.

:lol: at saying this to the codex.
He's completely right about this. Whoever was the dumbfuck who first stated that turn based was counter culture?



The Sylvan faction appealed to “female mainstream” gamers who “liked unicorns”, while the gritty Dungeon faction was aimed at the hardcore crowd. These hardcore players – the remaining 20% of the HoMM 7 audience – were people who had stayed with the series “for 20 years”, but they were not being taken for granted: “all the stuff on the website”, the polls, the community discussion, etc., was for them.

:hmmm:
 

Brother None

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Incidentally, Brother None was the only person we interviewed at Gamescom (screw that, the only person we've interviewed ever) who asked us to run the interview by him before we publish it
Geez, I wonder why is that?
Because Bubbles didn't have recording equipment with him during our interview, so he's paraphrasing based on short written notes, and that has a higher likelihood of error. But I didn't have much feedback.
 
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theSavant

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Great interview and inside information.

Though I'm not exactly sad about a possible disappearance of Might&Magic or HOMM. I'd probably think differently if they had made masterpieces, but instead they always delivered a mess. And you'd think someday they must have learned the lessons - but each time they come up with a new dump. They only future for these game is in Ubisoft selling the whole Might&Magic IP.
 

Darth Roxor

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Because Bubbles didn't have recording equipment with him during our interview, so he's paraphrasing based on short written notes, and that has a higher likelihood of error. But I didn't have much feedback.

lies1.jpg
 

Cazzeris

Guest
Thanks for asking about KC's systems JarlFrank, it's great to know that what Dan answered sounds similar to how Gothic managed character progression.

But that part where he says that the game's role-playing aspects are comparable to Fallout's by counting the number of available skills and stats... :retarded:
 

Jack Dandy

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Divinity: Original Sin 2
Absolute :bro: at Vavra's direction for KC.
Focusing too much on stats is retarded for an action RPG.

Great article!
 

J_C

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Because Bubbles didn't have recording equipment with him during our interview, so he's paraphrasing based on short written notes, and that has a higher likelihood of error. But I didn't have much feedback.
Sure. :roll:
 
Weasel
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Damn.. was hoping to see a caustic mix of Bubbles sarcasm, developer butthurt and our hard-hitting questions about the extremely casualised SCL design decisions - instead we got no antagonistic cross-questioning just boasts about DM prowess and talk of irrelevant stuff like "fun" :argh:

Good job though, another enjoyable read :salute:
 
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Bubbles

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Damn.. was hoping to see a caustic mix of Bubbles sarcasm, developer butthurt and our hard-hitting questions about the extremely casualised SCL design decisions - instead we got no antagonistic cross-questioning just boasts about DM prowess and talk of irrelevant stuff like "fun" :argh:

I had booked a SCL interview, but we ended up having no time: the hands-on was scheduled to be over by 5:35, but somehow it was 5:50 when we left the booth. Neither of us wanted to be late for HoMM at 6, so we decided to skip it.

Besides, we only had your "why is this game so shit?" questions, and the mood wasn't quite right for those.
 

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