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Tue 29 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 29 September 2020, 22:07:34

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

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Today's Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter update formally introduces another one of the game's companions. Daeran Arendae was previously mentioned when Owlcat unveiled the extra romances stretch goal during the campaign back in February. He's a debauched noble aasimar who was somehow granted the powers of an Oracle when his entire family was killed by a demon during his birthday celebration. Like other Oracles, Daeran suffers from a curse that also grants him certain advantages.

Stories about good-hearted outcasts that rebel against the corrupt and unjust ways of society are not uncommon in folklore and literature. But this is certainly not the story of Daeran Arendae – a young and spoiled Mendevian noble who lives a life of debauchery, in a constant little war against the knightly, almost exalted, ideals of his homeland.

A decade before the events of the game, young Daeran was the proud scion of a thriving noble clan, one of the oldest in Mendev. His ancestors rose to power long before the Worldwound opened and forever changed the fate of their home country and the whole world. Rich and powerful, the Arendae family was touched by celestial forces, with each generation being blessed with one or two aasimar children, Daeran among them.

But it all came to an end when a powerful lilitu demon decided to invite herself to Daeran's birthday feast. When crusaders opened the gates of the Arendae family estate a few days later, they found nothing but desolation and death. All the guests had been killed by a demonic plague, with the young count, now the last member of the Arendae family, being the only survivor.

An unknown divine intervention saved Daeran's life, granting him the powers of an oracle (you can read more about the Oracle class in one of our previous updates). On Golarion, oracles don't choose their fate – they are chosen by cosmic forces and receive a gift that is also their burden. Daeran's gift was the healing power of the Life mystery, combined with a curse that makes him freeze in situations that require immediate action, but also protects him against sudden attacks by treacherous – or even invisible – foes (the Powerless Prophecy curse). He is a valuable addition to the team, a talented healer who can also use divine power to assist allies or crush foes.

Today, if you hear Daeran's name, it's either followed by curses, news on the count's latest scandalous endeavors, or flattery and praise of dubious sincerity. Joining the crusaders seems to be his latest excess, done either out of boredom or for the sake of scandalizing society. Keeping company with Daeran is an adventure all its own, as his main gift is, perhaps, the ability to bring some rampant festivity even to the harsh reality of the crusade!
Four companions left to go.

There are 5 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #63: Daeran the Oracle

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Wed 23 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 23 September 2020, 23:19:30

Tags: Baldur's Gate 3; Larian Studios; Sarah Baylus; Swen Vincke

Larian announced today that they'd decided to postpone the Baldur's Gate 3 Early Access release to October 6th due to some last minute stability and localization issues. A week's delay isn't a big deal, but it does give the new community update some room to breathe. A promised in the previous update, it's about romance and companion relationships in general. The update video's introductory Swen Vincke skit is pretty minimalistic this time. The bulk of the video is made up of a recorded segment with lead writer Sarah Baylus and cinematic director Jason Latino. There's nothing too revolutionary here. Companions will react to who you are, what you say and the things you do, with major interactions taking place in camp. There will be plenty of cinematics as your relationship with a companion evolves, including, yes, sex scenes, which you can see a few glimpses of in the video. I'll post it here along with the usual excerpt from the update itself:

Each of your companions have their own personalities, goals, and motivations. Bound by the shared problem of an Illithid tadpole buried in their head, they will join your party but you’ll all have to put your differences aside if you want to survive. The exact relationship you have with your companions, already marred by differences, will be shaped by who you are, what you do, who you side with, and what you say in conversation with them.

We’ve tried to create reactive systems all throughout the journey of a relationship; from the time of meeting a companion, to the potential romance with them. (Romance is a polite word we’re using for sex. But we’re not quite there yet, more on that in a moment.)

In Baldur’s Gate 3, a 5e D&D game, creating a custom character will immerse you in the story just as much as playing as one of the Origin Characters. For example, playing as a Drow Wizard will give you different dialogue options than playing as a Githyanki Warlock. These differences will also be present in your relationship dialogues. As you play the game, and you begin to make choices in combat, exploration, and conversation, you’ll be presented with situations and scenarios that are unique to your playthrough. Not too long into Early Access, you will be having an adventure so specific to your character, that no other player is going to see the exact same content as you.

Just as in real life, the sum of character is determined by many factors, and continues to be shaped by your actions and reactions to the world, and the party you journey with. Frictions may test the party’s resolve, and romances might test the party dynamic. Not only will characters have opinions about you, but also about each other, and other factions in the game. Will you pursue love with one companion to the detriment of another? Or will you side with a faction a companion detests, putting feelings to the side to achieve your strategic goals? As with life, many decisions will have to be made, not all of them easy, and not every outcome obvious.

Catch Gale at the campfire and you might find a lot of his bravado has been disarmed. Disarmed bravado is an opportunity for Astarion, a vampire. All of this sitting around may be a waste of time for Lae’zel. For you, it’s an opportunity to talk and interact with your party and followers on a more intimate level. But the conversation you have in the camp will also be a reaction to the day’s events, and what you’ve been up to in the world.

Through a mix of systems design, narrative writing, and cinematics, Larian is aiming to create three-dimensional relationships that feel as authentic as possible.

How intimate a character will be with you relies heavily on who they are, and who you become on your adventure. There are factions in the game you may side with, or revolt against. Your party will have opinions about that, and in multiplayer - once Origin Avatars have joined Early Access (not day 1) - the systems will technically allow you to have intimate moments with your friends. Talk about party dynamics!

The point is, no matter which race or gender you are, or which class you are, the levels of intimacy party members share will be defined by extremely in-depth, life-like evaluation of everything you’ve been up to together. We’ve tried to create an authentic, reactive relationship system where characters act and react like people. For better, and for worse.

On a totally unrelated note, Baldur’s Gate 3 has been officially rated M for Mature by ESRB, and that’s probably for the best.
This will probably be the final community update before Early Access is released, but that doesn't mean they're going away. According to the Q&A section, the next update is going to be about character creation.

There are 107 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Community Update #7: Romance & Companionship, Early Access delayed to October 6th

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Mon 21 September 2020

Company News - posted by Darth Roxor on Mon 21 September 2020, 15:32:48

Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Microsoft

Bethesda Softworks, the developer of many RPG Codex favourites, such as the Fallout series, Doom and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, has been bought out by Microsoft. To quote:

Welcoming the Talented Teams and Beloved Game Franchises of Bethesda to Xbox

Critically acclaimed creators of The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Wolfenstein, DOOM, Dishonored, Quake, Starfield and more join Team Xbox

Today is a special day, as we welcome some of the most accomplished studios in the games industry to Xbox. We are thrilled to announce Microsoft has entered into an agreement to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks.


Like us, Bethesda are passionate believers in building a diverse array of creative experiences, in exploring new game franchises, and in telling stories in bold ways. All of their great work will of course continue and grow and we look forward to empowering them with the resources and support of Microsoft to scale their creative visions to more players in new ways for you.

All of our work, and the foundation of our relationship with you, starts with a commitment to deliver a breadth of amazing games to discover and play on Xbox. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been excited to share more detail on important elements of a plan we’ve been building towards for years. A plan that is the fulfilment of a promise, to you the Xbox player, to deliver the most performant, immersive and compatible next-generation gaming experiences, and the freedom to play blockbuster games with your friends, anytime, anywhere. Today is a landmark step in our journey together and I’m incredibly energized by what this step means for Xbox.

Please join me in welcoming all of our friends at Bethesda to Team Xbox.​

I, for one, welcome Bethesda's new corporate overlords. Certainly enough, an increasingly-nervous Pete Hines seems just as positive about it as anyone would be:

Today we announced we’re joining the Microsoft family...

When you work at a place as long as I’ve worked at Bethesda – just a month short of 21 years – you see some things. Chief amongst them is change. When I started, Bethesda was not much more than a handful of people. The team working on Morrowind fit in a couple of offices, and there were probably six or seven of us spread across everything else.

Bethesda Softworks, our parent company ZeniMax Media, and our many internal studios, now employ thousands of talented people working in publishing offices and development studios around the world. We’ve gone from one internal studio to many; from a focus on single-player fantasy RPGS to developing massive MMOs, first person shooters, and everything in between. The world, our industry, and our company has changed a lot in the 34 years since Bethesda Softworks was first founded. Today, it changed again. And I know that brings up questions.

But the key point is we’re still Bethesda. We’re still working on the same games we were yesterday, made by the same studios we’ve worked with for years, and those games will be published by us.

So why the change? Because it allows us to make even better games going forward. Microsoft is an incredible partner and offers access to resources that will make us a better publisher and developer. We believe that means better games for you to play. Simply put - we believe that change is an important part of getting better. We believe in pushing ourselves to be better. To innovate. To grow.​

I am very excited to look forward to even better games from Bethesda, and I'm sure everyone on this site can say the same. In fact, I can't wait for the three-way collaboration (you could say, a troika) between Bethesda, Inxile and Obsidian, which will bring us the ultimate RPG to ever grace this sinful middle earth.

There are 413 comments on Bethesda acquired by Microsoft

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Fri 18 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 September 2020, 23:56:44

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

Due to the last minute omission of a segment about the game's soundtrack, this month's installment of the Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire is a bit shorter than usual. What remains is an episode that's primarily about Night City lore. The first part is about the city in general, starting with a new trailer that takes the form of an infomercial narrated by in-universe media personalities. It's not incredibly interesting, but there are some interesting tidbits about area design in the following segment with level designer Miles Tost. And yes, that URL at the end of the trailer actually works.

The second part of the episode is specifically about the gangs of Night City, starting again with a trailer that introduces all the major players. Some of them we've seen before - the cyberware-obsessed Maelstrom from the 2018 gameplay video, and the Voodoo Boys and Animals from last year's deep dive. Others are on display here for the first time, including the Mexican Valentinos, the redneck 6th Street, the Japanese Tyger Claws, and the Moxes, a mostly female gang that provides protection to Night City's prostitutes. The trailer also offers a glimpse at two Nomad groups who operate in the badlands outside the city, the Wraiths and the Aldecaldos. In the following segment with quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, we learn that as a mercenary, V will not be able to join any of these gangs as a full member. His goal instead is to rise up in the elite mercenary circles of the Afterlife club.

The episode concludes with a brief look at the finalists of a Cyberpunk 2077-themed case modding contest that CD Projekt ran recently and the reveal of the game's PC system requirements, which are surprisingly low. I'll let you decide if that means downgrades or if the RED Engine is just that optimized. There will be a fourth episode of the Night City Wire "soon", presumably next month.

There are 30 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire Episode 3: Night City and its Gangs

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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 September 2020, 02:30:27

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

This month's Colony Ship development update gives us our first look at the workings of the game's stealth system. Most of you probably don't remember the scenario Vault Dweller described in a previous update over two years ago, involving the quest to win the loyalty of Lord's Mercy and her gang in the struggle for the control of The Pit between local business owner Jonas Redford and outsider militia leader Jeremiah Braxton. Of course, persuading Mercy to switch sides is just one way of handling this quest. Another way is to sneak into her compound and assassinate her. Colony Ship's stealth system appears to be full-featured but intuitive. Tiles are colored green, yellow or red based on the difference between the player character's stealth skill and the guards' current detection values. As the character moves around and does things, he generates noise which can cause the guards to become suspicious and eventually begin looking for him. A character armed with a knife or dagger can attempt to inflict a one-hit kill while in stealth. The screenshots included in the update demonstrate these new features, as well as the previous diplomatic approach.

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An overview of the mechanics:

1) Tiles - when you enter the stealth mode, all tiles around guards are automatically assigned detection values. If your sneaking ability (the skill and modifiers) is greater than the detection value, you remain undetected. Thus, green tiles are safe to walk on, red tiles means instant detection and combat, yellow means higher chance of detection (if you end your turn there, you'll be instantly detected at the beginning of the guard's turn).

The detection values are determined by the distance from the guards, which way they're facing, their Perception, and thermal vision gear, if any. High sneaking ability turns more tiles green and opens up more options.

2) Noise - each step and action (lockpicking, climbing, using computers, killing guards in stealth mode, etc) generates noise. Not a whole lot of noise to instantly alert the guards the moment you do something but enough to add up over time and raise the guards' suspicions. The higher the guards' Perception, the faster the alert bar is filled:

0-24: Unaware
25-49: Suspicious (a warning to the player)
50-74: Alerted
75-100: Searching

When a guard is alerted, he turns around towards the last noise generated, so if you are close he'll see you (meaning a lot of green tiles will instantly turn red). When a guard decides that it's time to investigate, he moves towards the last noise generated on his turn. If the meter reaches 100, he "interrupts" your turn and turns around immediately.

Each state past Unaware raises the difficulty of killing in stealth mode.

3) The higher your sneaking ability (skill, feats, gear) the longer you can stay undetected and the more you can do. To put it simply, if your quest goal is to steal an item from a chest nearby but there's another chest in a room down the hall, it will be relatively easy to get to the 'quest chest' but much harder to get to the optional chest (without starting a fight you may or may not be able to win). So specialization will definitely pay off.

You can reduce the noise you generate (Sneaking and feats like Ghost: -1 noise per tile, actions generate half the noise). Heavy boots and armor will increase the noise, so dress light and not get caught in your underwear.

4) Takedown aka instant killing – if your takedown value is equal to or higher than the guard's defensive rating (Con, Evasion, Alert level), you kill the guard. If it's lower, you do X points of damage (modified by different factors) as a consolation prize.

You can only use knifes and daggers for takedowns. If your favor clubs and axes, you can start a combat with the element of surprise on your side (think Sneak Attack).

That's about it for now. Thoughts?
Very cool stuff. According to Vault Dweller, we might be able to get our hands on this ourselves as soon as December, with the official Early Access release currently planned for February.

There are 16 comments on Colony Ship Update #47: The Stealth System

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 September 2020, 01:18:35

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

After a long period of relative quiet, today Owlcat released the second stage of the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous alpha test. There's a lot of new stuff here! Act 3 has been added the game and it now has a tutorial prologue section as well. There are three new companions - Wenduag the mongrel huntress, Greybor the dwarf assassin, and the reformed succubus Arueshalae. The crusade management layer has been expanded with new features and options. The tactical army battles aren't in just yet, but will be added in a few weeks. Finally, the user interface has been partially overhauled and there are two new equipment slots for goggles and shirt. Here are the full details from the Kickstarter update:

With the new Stage of the Alpha version, we are adding more content - including prologue and Act 3. Some of the main additions are:

We have added a tutorial and prologue. For Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous we have a goal to help new players learn the basics of the Pathfinder system and assist in building a well-rounded character - it is especially important against such immune-heavy enemies as demons. Currently, we are working on the context tutorial which will help new and veterans players alike - advising them depending on their skill and level.

While not all systems are implemented in the alpha, part of them will be in the new version.

Act 3 will also be playable in the new Stage. More adventures await in the Worldwound - with a lot of places to explore and quests to finish. Nearly all of the Mythic Paths will get their story expanded into Act 3. Excluding Demon, which will have to wait a bit more - his quests aren’t finished.

And with new chapters come new companions! One of them is Wenduag - a mongrel huntress, a merciless and vicious warrior whose cruelty will intimidate even the demons of the Abyss.

You can now get a valuable asset in the form of Greybor - a cold-blooded assassin, a dwarf who exterminates demons not by duty's call but solely in the name of profit.

With the third companion being Arueshalae. A heretic amongst demons — a succubus who has betrayed the Abyss, seeking to abandon her evil ways and turn to good.

Alpha testers will also be able to learn more about companions with their new quests. Currently, there is a continuation of the stories for every companion (and it will answer the most popular question and guessing game “Where is Woljif?”) and a new one – for Wenduag.

Crusade will also be expanded and get some new features. With the new Stage, generals are arriving – in Act 2 there will be an option to recruit and, later, upgrade one. Another mechanic that will be added to the Crusade is ritual casting.

There also will be quests for Crusader in Act 2 and 3, and in Act 3 players will be presented with construction options and projects.

This will be only the first iteration of them and we want to ask you to provide as much feedback as possible about this part of the gameplay. Crusade is still in works and can be improved based on the thoughts and suggestions you provide.

We are also working on tactical combat right now - one of our current goals is to improve its depth. It will be added to the game in 2 or 3 weeks after the launch of Alpha Stage 2.

[...] Another “glimpse” into the future is parts of the UI in Stage 2. Currently, only inventory and dialogue windows changes are implemented.

And, as some may know, our UI is always related to what happens in the game in some way. Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous is no exception. But how it is related to the plot you will learn later…

Talking about improvements: we have increased the size of the character model in the inventory. The quality of models was improved - now you will be able to see more details on your character. There are also two new slots for the equipment - goggles and shirt. Otherwise, it will be the same old UI.

Another thing our UI team is currently working on is improving the “Attack” block. It can have some issues on higher levels when using two-handed weapons.

We are really interested in feedback on the UI changes and will keep an eye on it to see your thoughts on it.​

It all sounds very cool. The only bad news is that unlike Kingmaker's stage two alpha, backers are still not allowed to publish gameplay footage of this.

There are 9 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #62: Alpha Test Stage 2 Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 18 September 2020, 00:15:03

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

The next release of the month is The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk: The Amulet of Chaos, the humorous turn-based tactical RPG from Artefacts Studio based on the parodic fantasy setting by French author John Lang. Naheulbeuk was delayed past its original release date in August and in fact has been in development since way back in 2015. By the time the game resurfaced in 2018, I'd totally forgotten that Bubbles actually got a look at it in one of his old Gamescom reports. It didn't seem like much then, and the trailers seem silly even now, but most people who have played the demo seem to think the game is pretty fun. So without further ado, here is the launch trailer:

The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk is available on Steam and GOG for $35. Once again there are very few reviews, so it's all going to be up to word of mouth.

There are 18 comments on The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk Released

Wed 16 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 16 September 2020, 01:14:05

Tags: Fatbot Games; Vaporum: Lockdown

Vaporum: Lockdown, the prequel to 2017 steampunk dungeon crawler Vaporum from Slovakian developer Fatbot Games, was released today. Originally announced last year as a minor project, Lockdown ended up getting delayed twice due to both an expanded scope and the usual complications of the Covid pandemic. Now that it's out, perhaps it can provide you with some entertainment during your lockdown. Here's the launch trailer and accompanying announcement:

Vaporum: Lockdown, prequel to critically acclaimed Vaporum, is out now! Get it on Steam, GOG, or Humble Store / Widget (see below).

For a tiny indie team such as ours, it’s a great privilege to be able to release our second game. We’re super grateful for all of you, the fans who supported us throughout the development of this game. We hope you will enjoy this labor of sweat & tears, but also much love!

What started as an idea for a datadisk that would bring a few new levels and maybe 1 or 2 new minor features, has grown into a fully fledged standalone game that is as big as the original game, if not bigger.

Lockdown brings many improvements on almost everything that made Vaporum good, plus a host of new features and quality of life upgrades.

Just to name a few:
  • New storyline following a female protagonist, Ellie Teller.
  • Brand new levels.
  • New enemy types with unconvential attack patterns that will challenge your wits & reflexes.
  • New weapon & armor types for even more build options.
  • Lots of synergies to find. We created many new unique weapons & armor pieces and a few new circuits, all with synergy-building in mind.
  • A host of new puzzles and a special optional level with extra-tough puzzles to challenge your brainpower.
  • More voice-overs and a deeper look into the lore and story of the world of Vaporum.
  • Much streamlined controls (including much improved controller support).
Even though the game takes place in the same tower, the storyline is completely new. Follow a new protagonist and find out what happened before the events in Vaporum. Ellie Teller, a teleporter scientist, must face her own past and find a way to escape the place.

As a side note, we came up with the final name of the game mere weeks before the global pandemic broke out. It also hit us hard, where we had to work from home for several weeks, so you can say that Lockdown was being made during a lockdown.

Thankfully, none of us got infected. We would also like to thank all the people on the frontline who have been working to keep us safe!

Share, comment, and enjoy the game!
There aren't many reviews of Lockdown yet, but initial reports suggest that it's pretty similar to its predecessor. If that sounds good to you, the game is available on Steam and GOG for a reasonable $18.

There are 32 comments on Vaporum: Lockdown Released

Sun 13 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 13 September 2020, 01:22:44

Tags: Anshar Studios; Chironex Studios; Croteam; Gamedec; Room-C Games; Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures; The Hand of Merlin; This Starry Void

Due to the corona pandemic, PAX West has merged with EGX this year to form PAX Online, a week-long digital event running from September 12th to 20th. Once again, demos of upcoming games that were once available only to event-goers can now be played by all of us. The new game on the list this time is This Starry Void, the sci-fi dungeon crawler that we reported about last week.

As before, there will be various events related to these games and others running throughout the week. Follow their Steam pages for the details.

There are 9 comments on PAX Online: Free demos of upcoming RPGs available from September 12th to 20th

Fri 11 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 11 September 2020, 02:05:46

Tags: Baldur's Gate 3; David Walgrave; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

This month's Baldur's Gate 3 community update marks the welcome return of the funny Swen video tradition. The topic of the update is multiplayer and dialogue cinematic integration. As the video demonstrates in an introductory skit featuring Swen and executive producer David Walgrave, Larian have come a long way since the simplistic rock-paper-scissors game from the first Divinity: Original Sin. In a Baldur's Gate 3 multiplayer session, a character who is engaged in dialogue may be approached at any time by another character controlled by a different player. That character will be able to join the dialogue cinematic and suggest which dialogue options the first character should choose. The game will also feature Twitch integration, allowing audiences to vote on which dialogue options should be selected. Another new multiplayer feature unrelated to dialogue is the ability for two players to act simultaneously during combat if their characters have the same turn. Here's the video and an excerpt from the update, which is basically a summary with some additional details:

Everyone - it’s time to talk about multiplayer. Cinematics, Crowd Choice, and Twitch integration. We’re creating a huge, sprawling RPG with all the tools you need to direct your own adventure, and weave your own tale. Or, weave that tale with your friends, or your audience online. No matter if you choose to play solo, with friends, or with your audience -- Baldur’s Gate 3 is a huge cinematic experience spanning over 1.5 million words, and that story can be enjoyed together through the games cinematics, in multiplayer, or as an audience in a stream.

If your character walks into a dialogue situation, the cinematic dialogue begins with you by yourself. If one of your posse comes close, they can choose whether or not they join you in the discussion. Once they do, they can tell you what options they would like you to select as you ponder your next choice.

Your party is of course free to roam around the world while you independently charm your way through conversation. They can even pick-pocket you while you’re in a dialogue. Or cause a fire. Or abandon you. Or, put an end to your waffling and kill the person you’re talking to.

Whatever you do, the game will react appropriately. Even if your friends aren’t.

Our ambition is to make all of this as seamless and interactive as we can and during Early Access you can expect us to continue building more and more ways to interact, observe, intraject, and subvert expectations. Raising the level of drama, and expanding the level of depth.

As far as we know, there has never been an RPG this large, with multiplayer, attempting these intimate, character driven cinematic moments throughout the entire experience. We put a lot of effort in it and are super curious to hear your feedback. Applying cinematics to a multiplayer game, and one launched in Early Access, means that our cinematic ambitions can grow alongside all the other iterations and tweaks that come with working directly with our community and that can only lead to good things!

Today’s Community Update video begins with a memory of Divinity: Original Sin quite deliberately. Interactions in DOS1 were merely relegated to rock-paper-scissors (literally!), and dialogue moments between players were a wall of text that scrolled down the screen. We took this a little further in Divinity: Original Sin 2, as characters and players reacted to who you are, and what you’ve done, with many permutations spanning multiple races and tags. Still, dialogues between characters, and interactions in multiplayer were rudimentary though much evolved over DOS1.

Baldur’s Gate 3 is the next great leap and once you’ll start playing, you’ll find that the distance between DOS2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 is tremendously large, as we begin to push the boat out on not only cinematic dialogues, but also the ways in which you can interact with them.

In Baldur’s Gate 3 dialogues have more permutations, more depth, and a cinematic layer that reacts seamlessly to any situation using custom adaptive camera technology (see: elves and dwarves are nay the same height) as well as performance capture. Now, not only do we retain the narration our games are so well known for, but you’ll often see the action on screen - whether it’s a vampiric bite in the night, or a slip of the tongue on a goblin’s foot. Long gone is rock-paper-scissors, as we’ve built tools for debate not only within the multiplayer party, but also as an extension to the thousands of people who watch at home, all in the spirit of the D&D spirit of bringing people together. And we still have some surprises up our sleeve when it comes to multiplayer, but we’ll leave those for another time. There have never been a greater number of ways to gather your party in a single game. Now’s the time!
Reading this update, I can't help but feel like I'm watching history being made. Clearly, Larian are sparing no effort in their mission to appeal to the modern audiences that their game needs to reach in order to succeed. Purists will scoff at this stuff, but make no mistake, what we're seeing here will likely become the standard for premium roleplaying games going forward. According to Swen, the next community update is going to be about romance.

There are 97 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Community Update #6: Multiplayer & Cinematics

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 11 September 2020, 00:46:15

Tags: Blue Bottle Games; Daniel Fedor; Modern Wolf; Ostranauts

As announced during Gamescom, Ostranauts, the spaceship life simulator from NEO Scavenger creator Daniel Fedor, is out on Early Access today. We already saw its launch trailer then, but publisher Modern Wolf put together a shorter version for the actual release. Here it is along with Daniel's announcement post:

Hey Folks!

It's official. Ostranauts is now available on Steam Early Access!

Roll-up a new captain, head out into the boneyard, and start picking over derelicts for useful parts. And when you find "the one," start fixing it up with spare parts and elbow grease, and make it your own. But don't forget to take a break every now and then to visit K-Leg for some R&R. And maybe convince a crew member to join you?

If this sounds like something you might be into, head on over to the Ostranauts Steam page! There's even a 20% launch discount this week.

Soundtrack and Special Edition

Steam also has Josh Culler's excellent Ostranauts soundtrack for sale, including 25 in-game tracks, and 9 bonus tracks. Plus high quality FLAC versions of each. If you enjoyed Josh's music in NEO Scavenger, you should check out his latest work!

The OST can be purchased separately, or as part of the Mescaform Edition, which bundles them together at a bigger discount.

I hope you all enjoy the game so far. This is the beginning of a game I've wanted to play for ages, and I look forward to developing Ostranauts even more with your feedback!
Judging by the Steam reviews, Ostranauts has launched in a pretty buggy state, but it does have an entire two years to be in Early Access. If you'd like to get in early, the game is available on Steam for $20 with a 20% launch discount until next week.

There are 10 comments on Ostranauts now available on Early Access

Thu 10 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 September 2020, 23:49:56

Tags: Chironex Studios; This Starry Void

Perhaps I was too quick to declare that grid-based dungeon crawlers were going away. Today we spotted a new one on Steam called This Starry Void, in development by Australian indie Chironex Studios. Like Vaporum it's a single character game, where you pilot a robotic drone that has been sent to investigate an abandoned spacecraft near Saturn. Apparently things get pretty heavy from there. The game has an interesting cel-shaded visual style, which you can see in its new alpha trailer. I'll post that here along with the description from its official website:

This Starry Void is a science-fiction RPG in the vein of old-school dungeon crawlers. As a crew-member of the Stellar Emergency Vehicle This Starry Void, you will take control of the Remote Excursion Device RED-1 and investigate an abandoned spacecraft - sparking a mystery that will lead from the depths of space to the moons of Saturn and deep into the void that binds the universe.

Features include:
  • Strategic combat system
  • No XP levels - customise RED-1 through equipment and component upgrades
  • Range of skills including combat, utility, movement
  • "Graphic Novel" art style
  • A unique soundtrack that veers from new-classical to dark ambient
  • A narrative that spans light years
According to its Steam page, This Starry Void is due out sometime next year. A demo of the game will be available during PAX Online throughout next week.

There are 0 comments on This Starry Void is an upcoming sci-fi dungeon crawler set on an abandoned spacecraft

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 September 2020, 01:16:48

Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures

We learned that Solasta: Crown of the Magister was coming to Early Access during Gamescom opening night last month. Today Tactical Adventures announced that the exact release date for Early Access will be October 20th. Here's their release date reveal trailer, which was initially provided to IGN:

Solasta's Steam page now has an Early Access FAQ with details about what the release will contain. Tactical Adventures plan to include the game's first act and a bit of a second, with all races & classes and a level cap of 6.

Why Early Access?
Early Access allows us to deliver on something we’ve always promised since the game was announced – and that is working hands in hands with our players. With Early Access available to our community, we’ll be able to receive much more qualitative feedback, which in turn ensures that we’ll be able to deliver an even greater experience at release

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
While it is difficult to pinpoint an exact date – especially as we’ll be implementing suggestions and changes from the community as we go – we are still looking for a release in 2021. Ideally we’d like to aim for 6 months, but it’s hard to be 100% certain!

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
The Early Access version of Solasta includes Act 1 and a teensy bit of Act 2 – which should be more than 10h of content to go through. Every ancestry, class and archetype is unlocked during Early Access, with the maximum level capped to 6. We believe that it is very important for players to reach level 5, as many archetypes start shining around this stage: 2nd attack for martial classes, access to powerful AoE spells, stronger cantrips... It is a very different experience from the early levels, and can affect the balance of later encounters drastically.

The release version of Solasta will include Act 2 and Act 3 in full, as well as adding many side quests such as the Legendary Monster Hunt from our Kickstarter stretch goals, or the characters’ background quests. It will also unlock access to additional locations to explore – and of course plenty of loot to boot. It will also bring party up to level 10! As a whole, Solasta should take around 40h to complete, although that number may very well vary depending on the difficulty level.

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
As stated before, Early Access gives you access to the full Character Creation Tool with all the ancestries, classes, archetypes and backgrounds. You will be limited to level 6 maximum, and won’t be able to progress past the start of Act 2. As with every Early Access games, there will be small kinks here and there, such as bugs or balance issues – but we’re confident that we’re providing a strong and enjoyable experience from the get-go with the release of our Early Access! As a matter of fact, it is important for us to get as far as we can in terms of stability & polish for this Early Access, so that you can provide better feedback. The game will be available in English, French, German and Simplified Chinese during Early Access, but we’re looking to add more for the final release.

Important Note: Considering the fact that game development is a very iterative process, please understand that your saves will likely be incompatible with larger updates and with the full game release. As such, if you’re looking for the complete experience Solasta can offer, we encourage you to wait for the full release.

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
Yes, Solasta: Crown of the Magister will be slightly cheaper during Early Access, as we believe each player helps us better shape the final release of our game!

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
Solasta has a very active Discord server as well as an official forum where we gather all of our players’ feedback. We’ve already implemented many suggestions from the Steam Spring and Summer Festivals thanks to people playing our Demo – and we’re looking to do that again (and again!) during Early Access of course.
Good stuff. It'll be interesting to finally see some new content after a year of playing the same demo.

There are 19 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister coming to Early Access on October 20th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 10 September 2020, 00:35:36

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

The Peril on Gorgon expansion DLC for The Outer Worlds is out today, over ten months after the release of the original game. That's lot of time for what appears to be a largely more-of-the-same expansion. Some critics have argued that popular opinion of The Outer Worlds has shifted negatively since it launched last year. If that's true, I'm not very many people will play this, but I suppose it will be a nice extra perk when the game is released on Steam next month. Here's the expansion's launch trailer, which appropriately is just the announcement trailer with a different ending slide:

Here are the launch day reviews for Peril on Gorgon. The review scores suffer a bit due to its more-of-the-same nature. Beyond that, they also provide some details about the content the expansion adds to the game outside the Gorgon Asteroid.

The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon is available for sale on the Epic Games Store and the Microsoft Store for $15. Unlike the base game, Microsoft's Game Pass won't get you the DLC "for free", though it does give a 10% discount. It's also worth taking a look at the store page for the Expansion Pass, which has a few details about the game's second expansion, titled Murder on Eridanos. That's coming out next year.

There are 28 comments on The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon Released

Wed 9 September 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 9 September 2020, 22:26:29

Tags: Black Legend; Warcave

The success of Larian's Divinity: Original Sin series has unleashed a wave of indie isometric turn-based RPGs in Europe. This latest one comes from close to home. Warcave is an indie studio based in Geel, Belgium and their game is called Black Legend. It's a tactical RPG set in a fantasy version of the Low Countries during the 17th century, in a city seemingly inspired by Ghent ("Grant"). As leader of (you guessed it) a party of mercenaries, your task in Black Legend is to free the city from a fanatical cult led by a mysterious alchemist who have inflicted a maddening fog on its streets. Here is the game's announcement trailer (which is more like a teaser really) and the accompanying post on the official website:

Your party of heroes shall descend into the accursed city of Grant and undo the horrors of a mad Alchemist in this thrilling Turn-Based Strategy, Free Exploration RPG!

Warcave is proud to announce Black Legend making it to PC, Playstation 4 & 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and the Nintendo Switch early 2021.

Create your hero, form a party of sellswords and explore the 17th century streets of Grant to uncover the story of the mad alchemist Mephisto, and end his legacy. Meet survivors, embark on their quests and recruit new allies to stop the terrifying fog that plagues the city.

In combat, think ahead and rely on more than raw power. To properly fight the dreaded Mephistian cultists, one must master the art of “Humorism”. Employing the unique abilities of each class and setting up synergies between your units is vital to achieve victory.

Explore a vibrant 17th century city

The many alleys and streets of Grant are begging to be explored. To gain insight in the old days, search for survivors and listen to their stories.

Work with a small resistance group looking to end the suffering of the civilians under the rule of the cult of Mephisto.

Gear up your team

Equip your party with fine weapons and armour combinations to discover 15 unique classes. Each weapon teaches new skills, which can be mastered to permanently learn it, and even be used when changing to a different class.

Many baubles and trinkets will change the way you fight, offering a wide array of effects. Each item has a story worth learning, allowing you to piece together more about the world.

Master Humorism
Abilities cause one or more of the 4 bodily humors to go out of balance. Become a master of Rubedo, Albedo, Nigredo and Citrinitas by setting them upon enemies, then combine them with a Catalyst attack for massive damage.

Customize your Journey
Tailor your journey to your personal preferences. You decide how pleasant, or challenging, it will be. For those who wish to see the story, the path can be gentle. For those who wish difficulty, even the slightest mistake will be greatly punished.
There are a few screenshots of actual gameplay on Black Legend's new Steam page. Early 2021 isn't too far off, so hopefully it won't be long before we get to see some proper footage.

There are 13 comments on Black Legend is an upcoming turn-based tactical RPG set in an alternate history 17th century Belgium

Tue 8 September 2020

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 September 2020, 18:32:41

Tags: Julian LeFay; OnceLost Games; Ted Peterson; The Wayward Realms

Last year, we learned that a number of Bethesda veterans from the 1990s, including names such as Julian LeFay and Ted Peterson, had teamed up to develop a new RPG inspired by the design principles of The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. We soon learned that the company they'd formed was called OnceLost Games, and at the end of the year the upcoming game's title was revealed to be The Wayward Realms. We didn't post about it on the front page at the time, since I wanted to wait until they had something more than a placeholder website and a Discord channel. Thanks to a post-mortem published by Ian Phoenix (AKA Indigo Gaming), a YouTuber who was the game's marketing director and largely responsible for getting the team together in the first place, we now know that this may never happen.

It's an amazing read that provides a first-hand account of just how clueless these vaunted gaming industry veterans can be. Julian LeFay comes across as particularly bad, a dilettante who treated the game as a hobby while still demanding authority over its design direction. The trouble began when the team drove away their programmer (implied to be infamous former Morrowind designer Douglas Goodall) by talking shit about his politics in a post-video conference chat. Another programmer quit after realizing that Julian had no intention of doing any real work after losing the argument over which engine to use for the game. The team's business guy, Stefan Metaxa, soon left after a last ditch attempt at salvaging the project by arranging a weekend meetup at a rented house (apparently much of the weekend was spent goofing off and watching livestreams).

There are several more amusing anecdotes of this variety, but the most incredible one must be when Stefan's replacement, an industry veteran named Vijay Lakshman, tanked an $8M publishing deal (with a company that sounds like it may have been Paradox Interactive) by demanding $12M to "compete with the upcoming releases of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Elder Scrolls VI". Despite all of these events, it took until July this year for Ian to finally call it quits. This is how it ended:

This has become much more long-winded than I expected, but I think it’s important for me to share the most important facts surrounding the project. If only to give myself a some closure.

I should have seen the signs a long time ago, on how we couldn’t really work as a team under the easiest of conditions, no oversight, no investors, no deadlines, no expectations. One could only imagine how bad things could have gotten had we really been under pressure.

There was an ongoing debate about the graphics style. Julian was convinced a more photorealistic style was not only more ideal, but cheaper than a stylized style. At a few points he suggested that we could build the entire game using Unreal Engine Store-bought assets, which caused quite a debate.

Toward the end, there was no clear direction, or singular vision. What started out fairly clear, was continually challenged, questioned or debated. Lots of ideas came and went, but it seemed like not all the founders believed our idea was enough. It needed something else, in some people’s eyes.

By the time I left, we had only pursued two funding opportunities:
  1. One sent directly sent to our email inbox from a publisher.
  2. My recommendation to approach an investor group.
We didn’t have an active producer, someone who could really schedule out, plan, manage and motivate our team (which was growing to well over a dozen contributors). And we did very little to actually curate, verify the identity of, or actually get a real agreement with our contributors. One time, a mapmaker was recruited to our team, only later to be discovered to be an underage teenager, who then started leaking details about the game to the public. Ouch!

Was I going crazy?

Here I was working with several 20 to 30+ year veterans in the gaming industry, and it felt like we had no idea what we were doing. What’s worse, every step forward was met with criticism, devil’s advocate arguments or nagging debates that went on for weeks or even months.

I sent an email in June 2020, where I voiced my numerous concerns about group motivation, updates and the massive budget we now were shooting for, despite the sparse progress.

One of the newer founders (another Daggerfall veteran) agreed with me, and due to his massive workload due to COVID-19 related demand, he didn’t feel he could continue on the project with the time and dedication it needed.

I could no longer stomach the poor communication, lackluster updates, and black-hole-sized void of leadership and direction, things that an ambitious, unfunded project like this needed in spades. Every week, I began to dread our meeting. Sometimes it would be cancelled, delayed, or postponed multiple times if one of the founders was MIA. One weekend it practically took all day to finally land a meeting. It was just madness.

I was thinking about the project constantly, worrying, stressing out, not sleeping well. I had (in my own mind) shouldered the responsibility the estimated budget had grown from a Kickstarter goal starting at about $300–500K, to nothing less than 10 million, while the development stagnated.

I realized then, that you can’t pitch a 10-million-dollar game based on an hour-a-week Skype call. You need some serious motivation, lots of hard work, and unfortunately, lots of unpaid progress until we got funding.

I left the project in early July, turned over all the accounts and administrative access I had set up for our various services, and cancelled all of the project’s subscriptions, of which I was paying for out-of-pocket.

I was weary, unproductive and cynical due to the lack of communication and updates, I went ahead and backed up all of our services, shared drives, documentation and emails and shared the archive links, in case nobody thought to read my emails and make sure the Google and project management services didn’t cancel.

I didn’t even get a reply from all of the founders, which I was used to at that point, so it didn’t shock me.
Again, it's an amazing article. Not so much because of what it reveals about Wayward Realms (a game that I don't really care about much) but because of what it suggests about other projects whose development we don't know as much about. How many other spiritual successors from industry veterans have failed for similar reasons? I would love to see this kind of post-mortem written about OtherSide Entertainment, for instance.

There are 93 comments on Daggerfall successor The Wayward Realms revealed to be mismanaged vaporware in post-mortem editorial

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 September 2020, 03:00:22

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

Necromunda: Underhive Wars is out a bit earlier than expected, thanks to Focus Home Interactive's apparent habit of releasing their games at midnight. The game that for years appeared to be vaporware after its announcement in early 2017 has received the usual avalanche of promotional trailers since it resurfaced in May. A Warhammer 40k version of Mordheim seems like it should have been a sure thing, but over the past couple of weeks some of our users have expressed concern about Necromunda, due its restrictively small party size and other reasons. The fact that the game has no launch day reviews other than a single negative review from PC Invasion doesn't bode well either. Not to mention that it took Focus Home until last week to finally release a proper gameplay video. Since there's no launch trailer yet, I'll post that here along with the game's description:

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 Houses. Only the strongest survive.

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

Learn new skills, loot equipment and bring your evolved gang to 4-player online gang fights.
  • Lead and evolve your gangs in this compelling tactical-RPG
  • Follow a rich narrative campaign in the Underhive
  • Engage in immersive and persistent game modes
  • First video game adaptation from mythical tabletop game Necromunda, the most famous Hive World of Warhammer 40,000
  • Play solo or join thrilling 4-way online gang fights
Necromunda: Underhive Wars is available on Steam for $40, with a rather hefty 20% launch discount until next week. Hopefully the game will turn out okay after all, but that too might tell you something.

There are 14 comments on Necromunda: Underhive Wars Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 September 2020, 01:08:29

Tags: Blind Monkey Games; Legendary Journeys

Free-roaming, non-grid based open world blobbers in the style of Might & Magic VI and Wizardry 8 are the most rare subtype of an already rare genre. There are a number of indie games currently in development that match that description, but Kevin French's Legendary Journeys might be the first to become properly available for sale as an Early Access title. It's a classic fantasy roleplaying experience about a party of adventurers who meet in a tavern and embark on a quest to assemble a mystic artifact. The game has been in development since at least 2015, though Kevin seems to have only begun publicizing it in earnest in 2018. Here's the latest gameplay video and an excerpt from its Early Access FAQ:

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

Legendary Journeys is planned to be in Early Access between 12-18 months.

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
The final version of the game will see the following:
  • All zones implemented
  • All spells and combat abilities implemented
  • All classes fleshed out
  • All Trade skill recipes implemented
  • The main story line in place (zones, dialog, items, etc)
  • Additional side content made available
  • Mechanics like skill checks will be fully implemented
What is the current state of the Early Access version?
The current version of the game includes the following and is in a playable state:
  • Most zones in Umbrea (starting realm) are completed
  • Start of the main quest is in place
  • Most spells are in game
  • Most combat abilities are in game
  • Some skill checks (lock pick, disarm trap, lore) are functional
  • Combat AI for monsters
  • Turn-Based combat mechanics in place
  • Loot - gotta have loot!
  • Status effects
  • Save/Load game system including an Auto-save feature
  • Trade skills - a few recipes for Alchemy are in game for potion brewing and available for brewing
  • 110 monsters are in game and spread throughout 26 zones (overland and dungeons)
Legendary Journeys Early Access is available on Steam for $12, with a 10% launch discount until next week. For additional details about its development, check out the game's official website.

There are 6 comments on Might & Magic VI-inspired indie blobber Legendary Journeys now available on Early Access

Sat 5 September 2020

People News - posted by Darth Roxor on Sat 5 September 2020, 21:32:55

Tags: Chris Avellone; Hurt Feelings; MCA; Planescape: Torment

Back in June, terrible news hit the gaming community, when it turned out that the idol of RPG Codex users worldwide was, in fact, not gay.

This appalling truth surfaced when certain obnoxious twitter hags decided to dogpile Chris, throwing around accusations of salaciousness and indecency that looked suspicious at best to anyone with functioning cognitive abilities.

Unfortunately, MCA-senpai threw in the towel immediately in the face of this slander, but there were some who would not let the matter end that way. Among these individuals was RPG Codex community member David Cernat, who was conducting a thorough investigation into the case for long months, gathering evidence and intelligence, until he could finally distill all his autism into the following video:

I have no idea as to its content or whether it's even good, as the length is way too great for my limited attention span, but I nevertheless commend the effort that went into it, as well as the sentiment that brought it to life in general. An angry, long-winded reaction to having your favourite rock star thrown into the dirt for no good reason is something that I believe should be more widely promoted.

There are 123 comments on The Exoneration of Chris Avellone

Wed 2 September 2020

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 2 September 2020, 21:28:14

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

Representatives from the press recently got to play the first hour of The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon expansion DLC, which is coming out next week. Today a number of outlets published their preview articles, including gameplay footage. The demo begins with the party being summoned to the Gorgon asteroid to receive their mission from an enigmatic heiress and concludes with an encounter with a mysterious figure. IGN uploaded footage of both parts:

Many of the previewers seem to have enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek film noir qualities of the expansion's opening hour. Other than that though, it sounds like the standard Outer Worlds experience. Here's the list of previews:

If you have to read just one, the PC Invasion preview is the most detailed by far.

There are 39 comments on The Outer Worlds: Peril on Gorgon Previews and Gameplay Footage

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