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Wed 3 March 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 3 March 2021, 21:39:38

Tags: Solasta: Crown of the Magister; Tactical Adventures

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How do you make one of the most promising upcoming RPGs even better? Modding tools! In their first new dev diary since October, Tactical Adventures give us our first look at the Dungeon Maker, a map editor for Solasta: Crown of the Magister. At the moment it's a simple tool, allowing players to create dungeon crawls using default assets without any quests or NPCs. It will continue to be improved after the game launches. In the video our friend Myzzrym demonstrates how easy the Dungeon Maker is to use, and there's also an accompanying FAQ.



Will the Dungeon Maker be fully complete when Solasta 1.0 launches?
No, the Dungeon Maker will be in a beta state for quite some time - even after the 1.0 launch of Solasta. In order to have a playable version of the Dungeon Maker and avoid putting the main game at risk, we've decided to start small and add features as we go (rather than being too ambitious from the start).

What are the current features of the Dungeon Maker?
  • Freely create dungeon layouts using a selection of preset rooms
  • Link multiple maps together to create larger dungeons
  • One environment available for now, the Necropolis, with its set of environmental props to decorate your dungeon
  • Almost all monsters and items from Solasta: Crown of the Magister main campaign to create your encounters and loot
  • A selection of traps (just a few for now) to punish greedy adventurers
  • Easy to share online, it's a simple .json file in a folder. We plan to add Steam Workshop later on so it becomes even easier to share.
What are the future features planned for the Dungeon Maker?
Provided we see people using the Dungeon Maker, we plan to add a Quest system, Merchants and other environments. After that... time will tell!

Can I import my own monsters / items in the Dungeon Maker?
No, at least not using the official Dungeon Maker tool on its own. That being said, it might become possible through the use of other community-created mods, as some have already started to create new classes and archetypes - so new items / monsters may not be an impossibility in the long run!

Where can I share my creation / download other people's Dungeon Maker maps?
While Solasta will eventually be on Steam Workshop later, in the meantime you could always take a look at Nexusmod - where you can already find mods from community members adding new feats, archetypes and other creative ideas! Note that we (Tactical Adventures) do not guarantee anything when it comes to user created mods - some may not work at all.

When will the Dungeon Maker be available?
Soon! That's all we can tell you for now.
What a great surprise.

There are 52 comments on Solasta: Crown of the Magister Dev Diary - Dungeon Maker Showcase


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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 3 March 2021, 16:29:16

Tags: 3Mind Games; The Protagonist: EX-1

The Protagonist: EX-1 is an upcoming sci-fi turn-based tactical RPG from Montreal-based indie studio 3Mind Games, where you play as an elite soldier sent to infiltrate a hostile alien space station that has appeared in earth orbit. It's a rather unusual-looking game whose standout feature is a customizable martial arts system. The game was formally announced in October 2019 but it looks like it's been in development since at least 2017. There's been little news about it since then, though it did have a demo last year during the Steam Autumn Game Festival. Yesterday the game was released on Steam Early Access, so I guess we'll finally give it a shoutout. Here's the Early Access launch trailer and store page description:



War looms between the Terrans and an invading synthetic race. A massive station appears high in orbit and first contact between them goes very wrong.

An elite strike team led by Angel, a highly trained special agent with advanced martial arts skills, is sent to neutralize the threat. But the mission goes awry and Angel awakens in the infirmary of the station's lab. With no memory of what happened, she must trust an unfamiliar face to guide her through the alien ship and find the rest of her team. She only knows this: they are the only hope of Terra.
  • Martial Arts Combat System - customize your character’s close-combat abilities
  • Dynamic Dialogue System – make decisions and face consequences
  • Initiative and Action Points System – fully control the actions of your character on their turn
  • Deep content – enjoy 7+ playable characters, 10+ types of enemies, 19+ weapon types, and much more
  • Story-Driven – play in this incredible sci-fi universe, mixing different genres and styles
  • With epic voices acting – from Temuera Morrison and Tony Todd, and much more
The Early Access build of The Protagonist is available on Steam for a cheap $13, with a 10% launch discount until next week. According to the Early Access FAQ, the developers aim to release the game in a few months and haven't decided yet if the price will be increased.

There are 27 comments on Beat up aliens in sci-fi turn-based tactical RPG The Protagonist: EX-1, now on Early Access


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Tue 2 March 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 2 March 2021, 18:28:14

Tags: Black Legend; Warcave

Last year we reported about an upcoming tactical RPG called Black Legend, where you play as a mercenary sent to liberate a 17th century city plagued by a madness-inflicting fog from the alchemy-worshipping cult who have taken over its streets. Since the game was revealed in September, it's had two livestreams, a demo during the Steam Autumn Game Festival, an interesting dev diary video, several informational press releases and a couple of lore updates. Now developer Warcave are ready to announce that Black Legend will be out later this month on March 25th. Here's the new trailer they put together for the occasion, which explains the circumstances of the player character's arrival in the city and shows off a few snippets of gameplay as well:


It's nice to see one of these games actually hit its originally scheduled release window. 2021 is starting to warm up.

There are 11 comments on Black Legend releasing on March 25th


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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 2 March 2021, 02:13:13

Tags: Teleport Games; Tortured Hearts - or, How I Saved The Universe. Again.

During the mid-2000s, a Hungarian gentleman by the name of Zoltán Gonda (aka SubBassman) released a two part series of Neverwinter Nights modules called Tortured Hearts which were fairly well-received. As it turns out, soon afterwards Zoltan began working on a standalone Tortured Hearts game, which became public knowledge when he and his US-based partner Lenore Hoehl launched an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign for it back in 2012. Despite this failure, development on the game actually never ceased, something which most people only became aware of when it suddenly resurfaced at the beginning of this year. First there was a Steam page, then a demo, then a few gameplay videos courtesy of none other than Fluent, and finally launch day. The game's full title is Tortured Hearts - Or How I Saved The Universe. Again. and it seems pretty strange, with turn-based combat and an unusual first-person perspective. Just check out this trailer:



Tortured Hearts - Or How I Saved The Universe. Again. was created by 1 person with the occasional help of a few others, in 12.5 years. It's a quasi sequel of 2 NWN-1 mods by the title of Tortured Hearts I & II.

This is an old fashioned, hard-core CRPG featuring turn-based combat and an estimated 200 hours play time, minimum. TH is supposed to be speed-run proof. The story of the game is about a Seasoned Adventurer who merely was out for a little loot and glory, but finds him/herself getting to the bottom of who actually runs the universe.

The story is conversation driven and spans 185 areas in a multiverse, with a potential 8 major henchmen plus a few lesser ones available. Hundreds of NPCs and many meaningful conversations await you. Your behavior and answers in conversation will result in lasting consequences through the game, influencing the henchmen available to you and your relationships with them, the quests available, and the outcomes of quests and the final outcome.

There is a very versatile, non-class based character development system. By using different character builds and choosing different actions, there is great re-playability.

Supported Aspect Ratios: 16:10, 16:9
OK then! Tortured Hearts is available on Steam for the Grimoire-esque price of $40, with a 10% launch discount until next week. At least there's a demo. More details are available on the game's official website.

There are 74 comments on Tortured Hearts is a successor to the NWN module series over twelve years in the making


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Sun 28 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 28 February 2021, 20:45:13

Tags: Mad Sheep Studios; Urtuk: The Desolation

Urtuk: The Desolation, the dystopian dark fantasy tactical RPG from David Kaleta of Mad Sheep Studios, was released yesterday after just over a year in Early Access. Although not a huge hit on the Codex, Urtuk apparently found enough of a fanbase on Steam and has been significantly improved over the course of its Early Access period thanks to their suggestions. There are details about that in the release announcement post, which I'll post right after the game's stylish launch trailer:



Here we are! Finally, the day has come - Urtuk is ready to leave Early Access!

It’s been a long and winding journey these past 6 years, and now it's time for the full release.
We added a ton of new content during Early Access, completely overhauled game balance, and improved the overall experience in countless ways. We've listened closely to our players’ concerns and advice, and done our best to make Urtuk as fun and brutal as possible.

Lastly, we want to shout out a huge THANK YOU to all our supporters — beta testers, Early Access players and the community at large. Urtuk could never have become what it is today without your help.

[...] You can see the full changelog here: https://steamcommunity.com/app/1181830/discussions/0/1747897354334441246

But the journey is far from over!
We have a big plans for the future content for Urtuk. We're already working on:

- new faction
- new biomes
- new bosses
- modding support

These should come as free content in very near future!
Of course we'll maintain the core gameplay and fix any issues or bugs.
We're still eager to hear from you - so please if you have any suggestions, balance ideas, bug reports or anything which could improve Urtuk, let us know! Best on our Discord server or on Steam forums.

Again, I want to thank all our Early Access players for their feedback, suggestions, and even content additions!

Oh, and I won't increase the price of the game.
Indeed he has not. As before, Urtuk is available on Steam for $20 with a 10% launch discount until next week.

There are 23 comments on Urtuk: The Desolation Released


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Sat 27 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 27 February 2021, 23:56:51

Tags: The Boar Studio; The Jovian System

Back in 2019, veteran Codexer MF released Titan Outpost, a unique hard sci-fi RPG set on the moon of Saturn. Despite a buggy launch it was one of our highest rated games for that year and has been updated extensively since, including a significant content expansion released back in August. The next month, MF revealed that he was working on a followup called The Jovian System. As you might guess, the game is set near Jupiter this time, where the local moon colonies have been left to their own devices after a major disaster. As the player character, you will assume control of a partially constructed spaceship and decide how you want to deal with the aftermath. The Jovian System will retain the base-building elements of Titan Outpost, but will also include a turn-based combat system with unique zero gravity mechanics. Today MF unveiled the game's Steam page, which means it's a good time to finally post about it. There's no trailer yet, but here are some screenshots and the description:

[​IMG] [​IMG]
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In the late 21st century, mankind has turned to the solar system to meet its ever-growing needs. The frontier colonies orbiting Jupiter are in disarray after a major disaster on one of the Galilean moons. With the powers that be unable to respond in time, the Jovian System is left to its own devices.

You take command of a space ship still under construction and use it to navigate the system. Exploit the power vacuum to seize control, take it upon yourself to help people in need and build a sustainable habitat, or turn the space station into a transfer ship and set course for earth.

The Jovian System is a followup to Titan Outpost set in the same universe. It features similar gameplay elements with one major addition: Tactical Turn-Based combat in zero or low gravity environments.

Key Features
  • A hard science fiction setting inspired by Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Stanislaw Lem.
  • A sandbox structure in which your choices determine the fate of the Jovian colonies.
  • A rich character-creation system, in which you define your character's attributes and develop his or her skills and gear over the course of the game.
  • A ship-building system, in which you must manage your crew, resources, and facilities to survive the vacuum of space and deal with your rivals.
  • Multiple approaches to the game's challenges: dialogue; crafting; exploration; trade; and combat are all viable ways to win.
  • A rich and reactive story full of mysteries, twists, and memorable characters.
Cool stuff. The Jovian System doesn't have an official website yet and is still a long way off, but as before MF will be posting development updates in his subforum right here on the Codex. Be sure to check out the first update about the development of the game's combat system.

There are 29 comments on The Jovian System is an upcoming followup to Titan Outpost featuring zero-G turn-based combat

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 27 February 2021, 20:20:28

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

Styg has published the first new Underrail development update in half a year, announcing another new content update for the original game. He's somewhat vague about what the new content is about, but apparently it involves a special questline for players who have become "genetically compromised" and requires the Expedition DLC. The update also adds a bunch of new areas to the game, some of which will appear randomly in different playthroughs, and tweaks the balance of a few weapon types. Here's the summary:

Hi guys,

We're rolling out a new content update. It's going to be a somewhat weird update because the main bulk of the content is centered around something that is not part of a mainstream playthrough. We added an interesting adventure and resolution to players who get... genetically compromised during their time in Underrail. Where and how is for you guys to find out (it does require the Expedition DLC though).

Also we've added more than a dozen new areas to the game, some of which will appear randomly in different playthroughs.

Mechanics-wise I've taken a look at firearm pistols, throwing, and super steel weapons and made some improvements and/or tweaks there.

That's all for now. Let us know how you like the new content.

Cheers.
As usual, the full update has an extensive changelog, including more details about the new content and content tweaks.

There are 14 comments on Underrail Dev Log #69: Version 1.1.3.0 - Crossing the Styx

Fri 26 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 26 February 2021, 20:25:55

Tags: Baldur's Gate 3; Larian Studios

Yesterday Larian released their fourth major patch for Baldur's Gate 3, which we got an early look at in last week's Panel From Hell 2 stream. We already know what the patch contains, but the accompanying community update is a useful recap of some of the finer details. Here are the highlights:

With Patch 4: Nature’s Power, Druid characters will be able to use the Wild Shape ability to transform into a variety of different animals, each of which has their own unique abilities. Dire Wolf, Deep Rothe, Aberrant Shape, and Polar Bear forms offer new heavy attack options in combat, while Cat, Raven, Spider, and Badger provide additional strategic and defensive maneuvers – through stealth, flight, web-spinning, and burrowing, respectively.

Like their D&D equivalents, Druids in Baldur's Gate 3 will be able to choose one of two Druid Circle subclasses which impacts interactions in the game: Circle of the Land or Circle of the Moon. The former offers Druids additional perks as a caster, allowing you to pick a specific biome for which you are connected and then grants you additional spells. The latter allows players to boost the combative power of their Wild Shapes and gives you access to the mighty Polar Bear shape.

Druids can speak with their animal kin while in their Wild Shape forms, which provides an alternative to combat encounters via diplomacy. You saw a bit of this in action during the livestream, where we showed a Druid use their Wild Shape ability to transform into a bear and convince a fellow bear to quit blocking a previously impassable entryway. Previously this encounter would have kicked off a combat scenario. Now with the Druid class, players have the option to trigger an adorably non-lethal tête-à-tête.

Loaded dice: toggle for sanity, or disable for purity
Another new feature in this patch is Loaded Dice. The aim here is to smooth out the extremes of the dice-rolling bell curve that might otherwise see players roll a series of unlucky Natural 1s or all-too-lucky D20s in a row. We’ve been considering this for some time, but it’s really a matter of taste and therefore is an optional feature. If you prefer the purity of RNG rolls, those are still available to you. But if you are easily prone to dice-related headaches or if you have angered the algorithm and are now cursed with randomly-generated bad luck, then it's worth a toggle.

Cinematic speak with dead - spooky AND immersive
The Speak with the Dead ability now includes many new corpses to hunker down with for a chat. This means lots of new dialogue and, naturally, new accompanying cinematics. And yes, there is method to our gothic madness. To quote from Swen during the livestream: "If you killed everybody like an idiot and you didn't pay attention to the story and don't know what to do anymore, you can just go talk to their bodies!" Speaking of cinematics, Patch 4 comes with vastly improved lighting and animation and with over 25,000 cinematic nodes throughout Act 1, the game is looking better than ever. Not that we’re done yet. There’s still loads of improvements coming.

Quality of life and user experience tweaks and changes a happier player maketh
A number of quality-of-life changes are included in this patch as well. Targeting allies and enemies will now be easier, and you can do so just by clicking on their portraits - A nice little UI upgrade that means no more blindly clicking your way between characters within the world to find them. Additionally, for those who enjoy playing BG3 with other human beings, you'll now be able to see other players' full Equipment, Spells, Inventory, and Character Sheets. Darker areas of the game have also been improved with a newly dedicated torch button, while a long awaited flee button is now available in the game for easier escapes from combat. Annoy your friends by leaving them to fend for themselves with a tactical retreat!

Sharp-Eye now pees from the “correct approximate bodily area”, which is an example of a quality of life improvement for specifically one NPC, and whoever may be responsible for their laundry.

You can also expect to find stability fixes galore in this update. Here are a few favourites, hot off the patch notes:
- Baelan’s wig was removed and he is now correctly bald, as stated in Derryth’s dialogue.
- Sharp-Eye now pees from the correct bodily area (previously too high up).
- Fixed not being able to shove characters off the skiffs in the Underdark. Happy shoving!

We’ve also been working with Razer to bring Chroma support to the game, including support for Philips Hue bulbs, so you can match your entire abode to Baldur’s Gate 3’s vibe, if you’re so inclined. If you’ve got a Chroma connected laptop or peripheral, you may notice a little extra flair when you launch the game having downloaded Patch 4.

We grow, our patches become smaller.
With so many updates to the game - and many more to come as we continue to build toward launch - it isn't surprising that we've expanded our development team. As announced last week, Larian has opened two new studios in Guildford, England and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. That brings us to a total of six studios spanning Belgium, Ireland, Russia, Canada, England, and Malaysia, working together to bring Baldur's Gate 3 to life.

And good news for your computers: In the future you can expect our patches to be smaller in download and install size, regardless of how hefty they may be. The short version is, we've split large pak files into smaller chunks. To put that in Wild Shape terms, our patches will go from chonky badger to svelte feline.
As usual, the full update includes an extensive changelog, including a detailed description of all the new druid abilities and spells.

There are 18 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Community Update #12: Patch 4 - Nature's Power

Thu 25 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 25 February 2021, 11:13:17

Tags: Geneforge 1 - Mutagen; Spiderweb Software

Geneforge 1 - Mutagen, the first remake in the new series of remakes from renowned remaker Jeff Vogel, was released yesterday. Judging by reactions to the demo earlier this month, it might be Jeff's best new release in a while, although of course it helps that the source material is very strong. He didn't write any blog posts to promote the game this time, so all we have is this press release:

February 24th, 2021 – Spiderweb Software Inc., makers of fine indie adventures for over 25 years, announces the launch of our new, unique fantasy role-playing epic! Geneforge 1 – Mutagen, a truly unique and innovative fantasy sci-fi hybrid, is out now for $19.99 on Steam, Epic, GOG, and other storefronts for Windows and Macintosh. An iPad version is also in development for release later in 2021.

Geneforge 1 – Mutagen is one of the most open-ended role-playing games available. Choose between a host of rival factions. Use magic or your deadly pets to crush your enemies. Or, use trickery, diplomacy, and stealth to win the game without ever attacking a foe. Destroy the final boss, or switch sides and join him. Fight alone or create your own army of custom-made mutant monsters.

In Geneforge 1 – Mutagen, enter the world of the Shapers. The Shapers are wizards with the awesome power to create life. Need a servant, or a pet, or a tool, or a mighty beast to fight and die for you? The Shapers create it, and it totally obeys you. Usually.

At least, that's how it's supposed to be. You have been stranded on a forbidden island, full of powerful, lost secrets of your people. Invaders are also here, trying to steal and master your knowledge. Race them for the awesome treasures hidden here. And destroy the thieves. Or join them.

Geneforge 1 – Mutagen is a total remaster of the 20-year old indie classic Geneforge. With the help of a successful Kickstarter, this new game is a completely remade and greatly expanded recreation of the original. A large demo is available on Spiderweb Software's website.​

As stated, the Geneforge remake is available now on Steam and GOG for $20, with a 15% launch discount until next week. The launch discount makes it a bit cheaper than Spiderweb's previous releases, so that's nice.

There are 64 comments on Geneforge 1 - Mutagen Released

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 25 February 2021, 01:17:54

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

One of the stretch goals during the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter campaign last year was for an enhanced soundtrack with selected themes performed by a live symphony orchestra. Today Owlcat published a video about the making of that soundtrack, apparently the first in a series of developer diaries they've produced. It features appearances from their head of publishing, audio director and composers, alongside various staff from the Baltic Symphony Orchestra in Saint Petersburg. They also released a video of the orchestra performing the game's main theme. Both are included in the latest Kickstarter update. The dev diary is entirely in Russian, so be sure to turn on subtitles.


Some interesting details here, especially from the orchestra's sound director. Also, it's nice to see a game that didn't record its soundtrack at that orchestra in Budapest.

There are 27 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #75: Dev Diary #1 - Recording a Live Orchestra

Wed 24 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 24 February 2021, 00:40:20

Tags: Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace; Artefacts Studio; Asmodee Digital

Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace, the upcoming Lovecraftian tactical RPG from Asmodee Digital and Artefacts Studio we reported about earlier this month, was scheduled to come out this quarter. As expected, it didn't take long for them to announce an exact release date. The game will be out on March 23rd, and is now available for preorder. Here's a new cinematic trailer produced for the occasion along with the accompanying press release. Watch for the Baldur's Gate spell chants!



PARIS - February 23, 2021 - Asmodee Digital, a leader in video game entertainment inspired by board games, has announced that Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace, the upcoming narrative-driven tactical RPG based on the award-winning Lovecraftian adventure board game, is now available for pre-order at a 20% discount on Steam, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, at $15.99 / 15,99 €. In tandem, Asmodee Digital also announced that the game will launch on March 23, 2021 on Steam, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

In a new trailer showcasing the events that set the story’s wheels in motion, Asmodee Digital gives players a glimpse of the horrors that await them in iconic locations from H.P. Lovecraft's fantastical universe.

The year is 1926, and a professor of astronomy is found dead in her mansion, the apparent victim of a heinous murder. Players must pick from 12 of the most iconic protagonists from the Arkham Horror universe, each with a unique skill set, and assemble a team of investigators to uncover the secrets behind this mysterious death.

As investigators face off against Lovecraftian horrors, they will descend deeper into the depths of madness, affecting their level of sanity and causing traumas that will impact the course of their investigation. Along with facing curious science, living nightmares and a sinister cult, players will combat an array of enemies in turn-based combat, all while attempting to retain their sanity. Developed by Artefacts Studio and featuring an original story, Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace plunges players into the engrossing pulp world of 1920s America to combat unseen supernatural and psychological horrors true to the Lovecraftian spirit.

Care about your sanity and make the right choices…the Ancient Ones are preparing their return. Madness begins when reality departs.
As stated, Arkham Horror is now available for preorder on Steam for $20, with a 20% discount until launch day. That's pretty cheap. Despite the fancy cinematics, this clearly isn't a big budget game.

There are 10 comments on Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace releasing on March 23rd, available for preorder

Tue 23 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 23 February 2021, 17:52:34

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

Back in August, we learned that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 had been delayed to 2021 and that its lead narrative designer Brian Mitsoda had been fired alongside creative director Ka’ai Cluney. We would later find out that senior narrative designer Cara Ellison left the project a month later. Since then, there have been zero updates about the game's development, not even an end-of-year summary. After months of speculation, Paradox finally decided to clarify matters today with the announcement that they'd dropped Hardsuit Labs as developer entirely. The game is now delayed indefinitely and no longer scheduled for release this year.

Good morning, everyone.

As you have noticed, we’ve been keeping pretty quiet for a while. With this in mind, the first piece of news we have for you is to confirm that Bloodlines 2 is still in development.

Secondly, we have made the hard decision that Hardsuit Labs will no longer be leading the development of Bloodlines 2 - which also means that we will not be releasing in 2021 as previously planned. Since we cannot at this time communicate a new release date, we've also decided to stop accepting pre-orders for the time being.

This game is very important to us and it has been an ambitious project from the very start. In order to meet our goals for it, we’ve come to the conclusion that a change is needed and, as a result, more development time is required.

We’d like to take this opportunity to honor Hardsuit Labs for their efforts and thank them for their hard work on the project. The studio has done a tremendous job in laying the foundations for the game and we hope that you, the community, will also appreciate their contribution to Bloodlines 2.

We’re thankful for your continuous support throughout the game’s development. We understand how important this is to you, and we’d love to share more with you. As soon as we can, we’ll let you know what the future development team of Bloodlines 2 will look like.​

In their year-end report, Paradox also revealed that they'd hired a new studio to finish the game's development.

This also affects the development of Vampire: the Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, where we communicated a delay during the third quarter of 2020. We have now chosen to postpone the release of the game further, and we will not be launching the game in 2021. We have also decided that Hardsuit Labs will no longer be leading the development of Bloodlines 2, and we have started a collaboration with a new studio partner to finish work on the game. This has been a difficult decision, but we are convinced that it is the right way forward to do the game justice.
What an absolute trainwreck. Who will this new studio partner be, you ask? As suggested by LESS T_T, it might end up being some no-name company that specializes in assisting other developers. If Paradox want a studio with experience in creating action-RPGs, they'd almost certainly have to partner with another publisher. As for Hardsuit Labs, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't survive much longer.

There are 83 comments on Bloodlines 2 no longer being developed by Hardsuit Labs, delayed past 2021

Sat 20 February 2021

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Sat 20 February 2021, 02:07:08

Tags: Origin Systems; Richard Garriott; The Digital Antiquarian; Ultima VIII: Pagan

It's been nearly a year and a half since the Digital Antiquarian last wrote about the Ultima series. Today his chronicle finally continues with the long-awaited retrospective of its controversial eight installment, Ultima VIII: Pagan. It's a savage takedown that accuses Pagan of nothing less than single-handedly destroying the franchise. The Antiquarian takes the time to puncture some of Richard Garriott's mythmaking about interference from Electronic Arts being primarily to blame for the game's poor quality, examines its troubled development which involved even more crunching than usual, and even sticks up for project director Mike McShaffry, who apparently took much of the blame for its failure within Origin. The real reason why Pagan turned out the way it did, he claims, is that Origin had simply lost confidence in the traditional roleplaying genre.

Yet the story of Ultima VIIII is more than that of just one more game that was released before its time. Even had all of Origin’s plans for it come off perfectly, it would still have been a radical, seemingly nonsensical departure from everything Ultima had been in the past. Multiple sources confirm that it was in fact Richard Garriott himself rather than any soulless suit from EA who decided that the latest installment in Origin’s epic CRPG series ought to become a… platformer. He was inspired in this not by Super Mario Bros., as many fans would later suspect, but rather by Prince of Persia, Broderbund Software’s hugely popular, widely ported, elegantly minimalist, intensely cinematic linear action game. Prince of Persia was and is a more than worthy game in its own right, but it seems a strange choice indeed to use as inspiration for the latest Ultima. We should try to understand where the choice came from in the context of the times.

Garriott has often joked that he spent the first twelve years of his career making essentially the same game over and over — merely making said game that much bigger and better each time out. If so, then Ultima VII was the ultimate, if you will, version of that game. Today its reputation is as hallowed as that of any game of its era; it remains a perennial on lists of the best CRPGs of all time. Yet its mixed reception in 1992 rather belies its modern reputation. Many reviewers expressed a certain ennui about the series as a whole, and ordinary gamers seemed less excited by its arrival than they had been by that of Ultima IV, V, or VI. Ultima Underworld, a more action-oriented spinoff which was created by the outside studio Blue Sky Productions and published by Origin just a month before Ultima VII, collected more critical praise and, likely most frustratingly of all for the hyper-competitive Garriott, continued to outsell its supposed big brother even after the latter’s release. A survey in the March 1993 issue of Computer Gaming World magazine is particularly telling: Ultima VII is rated as the 30th favorite game of the magazine’s readers, while Ultima Underworld is in a tie for third favorite. Meanwhile Origin’s eighteen-month-old Wing Commander II, a cinematic action game of Star Wars-style space combat, still sits at number six.

Indeed, the role of Wing Commander in all of this should not be neglected. The brainchild of an enthusiastic young Englishman named Chris Roberts, the first game in that series had upon its release in 1990 surprised everyone by handily outselling that same year’s Ultima VI. The Wing Commander franchise had kept on outselling Ultima ever since, whilst being faster and easier to make on an installment-by-installment basis. This too could hardly have sat well with Garriott. The House That Ultima Built had become The Home of Wing Commander, and Chris Roberts was now more in demand for interviews than Lord British. The harsh truth was that EA had been far more excited about Wing Commander than Ultima when they decided to acquire Origin.

Taken as a whole, all of this must have seemed intensely symbolic of a changing industry. As computers got faster and came to sport higher-fidelity audiovisual capabilities, visceral action titles were taking a bigger and bigger slice of computer-game sales, as evinced not only by the success of Ultima Underworld and Wing Commander but by other big hits like id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D. Onscreen text was out of fashion, as was sprawl and complexity and most of the other traditional markers of an Ultima. Shorter, more focused games of the sort that one could pick up and play quickly were in. Origin had to keep up with the trends if they hoped to survive.

In fact, Origin was in an extremely perilous financial state just before the EA acquisition. EA’s deep pockets would allow them to keep pace with spiraling development costs for the time being. But in return, the games they made had to have enough mass-market appeal to recoup their larger budgets.

This, then, was the calculus that went into Ultima VIII, which begins to make the inexplicable at least somewhat more comprehensible. At this juncture in time, epic CRPGs were at literally their lowest ebb in the entire history of computer games. Therefore Ultima, the series that was virtually synonymous with the epic CRPG in the minds of most gamers, needed to become something else. It needed to become simpler and faster-paced, and if it could also jump on the trend toward grittier, more violent ludic aesthetics — I point again to the rise of id Software — so much the better. It may not have been a coincidence that, when Ultima VIII eventually shipped, it did so in a box sporting garish orange flames and a huge pentagram — the same general graphics style and even iconography as was seen in DOOM, id’s latest ultra-violent hit.

Of course, the flaws in the thought process that led to Ultima VIII aren’t hard to identify in retrospect. Games which lack the courage of their own convictions seldom make for good company, any more than do people of the same stripe. The insecure child of a nervous creator who feared the world of gaming was passing him by, Ultima VIII could likely never have aspired to be more than competent in a derivative sort of way.

The biggest blunder was the decision to slap the Ultima name on the thing at all, thereby raising expectations on the part of the franchise’s preexisting fan base which the game was never designed to meet. Ironically, the audience for an Ultima was every bit as “pre-sold,” as Garriott puts it above, as the audience for the latest Madden. And yet one game that fails to meet fan expectations can destroy just such a pre-sold audience really, really quickly, as Garriott was about to prove. (An analogy to the radical change in course of Ultima VIII might be a Madden installment that suddenly decided to become a cerebral stat-based game of football management and strategy instead of an exercise in fast-paced on-the-field action…) It would have been better to announce that Ultima was taking a break while Lord British tried something new. But it seems that Garriott identified so strongly with the only line of games he had ever seriously worked on that he couldn’t imagine not calling his latest one Ultima VIII.
There's much more here, including an overview of Pagan's quite negative critical reception and an analysis of its much-maligned jumping mechanic, which Mike McShaffry attempted to address in the game's official patch. For the Antiquarian however, that was only enough to move it from unplayable to merely mediocre. It would be over two and a half years before gamers would hear the name Ultima again.

There are 53 comments on The Digital Antiquarian on Ultima VIII

Fri 19 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 19 February 2021, 15:52:57

Tags: Team ADOM; Thomas Biskup; Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos

Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos, dungeon crawling successor to the classic roguelike ADOM, was released on Steam Early Access yesterday after a slight delay. In the weeks after the original launch date was announced, the developers spent some time trying to sell the game to skeptical fans of the original in a series of blog posts about its skill system, mechanical complexity and lack of an overworld. But the most effective apologia for Caverns of Chaos yet might be the Q&A with ADOM creator Thomas Biskup released alongside the game's Early Access launch trailer. I'll post both videos here alongside the accompanying press release:



Wiesbaden, Germany - 18th February, 2020.
Publisher Assemble Entertainment and developer Team ADOM are excited to welcome players back to the world of Ancardia with Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos, available today for Windows PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam Early Access. A sequel 25 years in the making, Ultimate ADOM takes everything players love about traditional roguelikes — procedurally developed levels, random enemy encounters, tons of skills, and a ridiculous amount of build varieties and playstyles — but with modern sensibilities like multiple graphics options, intuitive controls, and a slick presentation.

The original ADOM was a groundbreaking title that set the standard for dungeon crawler roguelike games, and Caverns of Chaos is bringing those ideas to the 21st century with a host of awesome new features that take advantage of modern hardware. In this latest trailer, the man behind it all, Thomas Biskup, details the Early Access launch and shines a light on the 25-year history behind the ADOM series.

“It’s really a treat to bring players back to the world of ADOM,” said Assemble Entertainment CEO Stefan Marcinek. “The genre has seen a bit of a renaissance over the last few years and we’re very proud to help Team ADOM bring this highly anticipated sequel to life and share it with a whole new generation of players.”

“We’re all extremely excited to welcome players new and old back to the world of ADOM,” said Thomas Biskup, Creator of ADOM. “We know what players loved about the original title in 1994 but also what players are looking for from their games in 2021. Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos is the perfect blend of tried and tested mechanics and the quality and depth of contemporary titles.”

Since the events of the first game, the big bad known as Andor Drakon has been seemingly vanquished and Ancardia is still struggling with the cataclysmic aftermath of Andor’s defeat. Unfortunately, power abhors a vacuum, and seven factions are now scrambling to be the new top dog. While they bicker with each other, however, a new evil begins to stir below the surface. It’s up to you to head down into the aptly named Caverns of Chaos to investigate these ominous rumblings and keep things from getting out of hand. Dust off your spellbook, grab your favorite cloak, and maybe graft a new arm to your body so you can hold another weapon — you’re going to need it.

Key Features of Ultimate ADOM Include -
  • Every Run is Different — Thanks to a staggering variety of skills, spells, classes, and factions, players can enjoy the challenge of Ultimate ADOM with a nearly-endless selection of build combinations
  • Read the Limb Loaning Agreement — Let nothing go to waste! Collect the severed body parts of your defeated foes and graft them onto your own body. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one — especially when they’re attached to the same body!
  • Secret Menu Options — Players can combine more than 380 skills in 25 skill trees to create the ultimate dungeon-delving death dealer...but wait, there’s more! Ultimate ADOM provides extra options for the discerning warrior with a host of secret skills to add even more depth to the build varieties.
  • Multiple Methods for Magic Mastery — Swords are fun, but summoning demons, charming enemies, and flinging balls of fiery death is even better. With more than 80 spells available spread throughout several different schools of magic, aspiring sorcerers have their work cut out for them.
  • Keep Things Old School — Hardcore genre purists will be pleased to know that Ultimate ADOM can be played in classic ASCII format, and can even toggle between 3D mode and top-down view
Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos is now available on Windows PC, Mac, and Linux via Steam for £17.49 with a launch discount of 15%. The game is currently available in English with German, French, Russian, and Simplified Chinese in the works. For more on the game and the development progress, visit the official site at https -//www.ultimate-adom.com.

Assemble Entertainment is also offering a “Save the World” Edition for Ultimate ADOM - Caverns of Chaos that contains bonus wallpapers and the original soundtrack! In keeping with the game’s theme of battling corruption, for every “Save the World Edition" sold, Assemble will donate 10% of the proceeds to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The "Save the World Edition" is available on Steam for £27.49 with the 15% launch discount.
The Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos Early Access release is available on Steam for $20 with a 15% launch discount until next week. An Early Access roadmap spanning most of 2021 is available here. According to the Early Access FAQ, the game's price will be increased a bit over the course of its development, so if you like what you see, you may want to join in now.

There are 10 comments on Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos now available on Early Access

Thu 18 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 18 February 2021, 11:35:12

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

There hasn't been much news about Baldur's Gate 3 since December, when the game received its third patch. That changed last week when Larian announced a new Panel From Hell event in order to reveal details about the upcoming fourth patch, this time featuring Swen alongside Larianites David Walgrave and Nick Pechenin as well as lead D&D rules designer Jeremy Crawford. Broadcast yesterday, Panel From Hell 2 turned out to be both longer and more straightforward than the previous one. It began with an introduction to some of the changes that will be introduced in the new patch, including the option to make dialogue stat checks less likely to fail repeatedly, new and improved cinematics (including for speaking with the dead), and a variety of quality of life and UI improvements. That was followed by an interlude where it was announced that the Larian empire has expanded once more with the acquisition of Guildford-based studio Turbulenz, who have been assisting with the game's development.

After that was done, the main highlight of the new patch was revealed - the addition of the Druid class to Baldur's Gate 3. Larian are placing a large emphasis on the druid's shapeshifting abilities, with characters able to do everything you might expect in their animal forms, both in and out of combat. To demonstrate the new class and some of the patch's other new features, the panel concluded with a lengthy 70 minute gameplay stream, in which Swen's party took on a powerful swamp hag who had kidnapped a local peasant woman. Spoiler: It didn't well.


Larian have also put together a new trailer for the druid class. As for when we'll be able to play as one ourselves, the patch was originally supposed to be released this week, but had to be delayed to next week due to some last minute QA issues.

There are 54 comments on Baldur's Gate 3 Panel From Hell 2 - Patch 4 Reveal

Fri 12 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 12 February 2021, 17:31:56

Tags: Disciples: Liberation; Frima Studio; Kalypso Media

The Disciples franchise was a fairly minor series of Heroes of Might & Magic-inspired turn-based strategy games that was active from 1999 to 2012. Originally created by now-undead Canadian strategy game publisher Strategy First, in the late 2000s the series was picked up by German publisher Kalypso Media, who hired some Russians to produce an underwhelming third game. Since turn-based is cool now and nothing ever stays dead in this business, it's not entirely surprising that they decided to follow in the footsteps of 1C with King's Bounty II and bring Disciples back as well. In development at Quebec City-based Frima Studio, the upcoming Disciples: Liberation is described as a "mature, dark fantasy strategy RPG" with a heavy focus on choice & consequence (of course!). Its BDSM-ish announcement trailer might give you an idea of what they mean by "mature". I'll post that along with Kalypso's announcement:



Kalypso Media and Frima Studio have today announced Disciples: Liberation – a brand-new mature, dark fantasy strategy RPG arriving in Q4 of 2021 for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and next-gen consoles, including PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. An announcement trailer can be viewed below, though it’s not for the squeamish.

Disciples: Liberation marks a new beginning for the franchise, allowing players to explore a richly detailed dark fantasy world, fight foul beasts in intricate turn-based combat, take on hundreds of unique quests and foster relationships with an assortment of in-world factions: from a human empire tinged by religious extremism to the dark forces of the undead lead by a mad queen. Alliances forged, players can build an army and trade hard-earned resources for an assortment of upgrades to their home base. No choice is without consequence and depending on decisions and political alignments, one wrong move could see a deadly domino effect, irrevocably changing the course of their story.

A closed PC alpha for Disciples: Liberation will be available soon, allowing 200 players to go hands-on with the game.

Features
  • 80+ hour single-player campaign: experience a sprawling dark fantasy epic over three acts, with more than 270 quests and five unique endings to unlock
  • Explore a war-torn overworld: journey through a land in ruin and work to unearth its endless secrets, hidden treasures, and bloody past
  • Write your own story: pick from four uniquely skilled classes and define your place in the world, recruiting others to your cause from an assortment of factions
  • Build a base: take on quests for precious resources and use your political savvy to build a place of planning and sanctuary
  • Fight for your life: recruit 50+ units and amass an army best suited to your play style whilst honing both steel and spell in intricate-turned based combat.
  • Challenge deadly bosses: test your mettle and pit your party against horrific monsters and beasts, each requiring a unique strategy
  • Choice is everything: let your decisions guide your fate and directly influence what sort of leader you become
  • Fight your friends: put forth the ultimate challenge and battle for supremacy in 2-player online skirmishes
Okay then! I would have preferred to see some gameplay, but for now we'll have to make due with the handful of pre-alpha screenshots available on the game's Steam page.

There are 69 comments on Kalypso bring back the Disciples franchise with Disciples: Liberation, a dark fantasy strategy RPG

Thu 4 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 4 February 2021, 20:15:21

Tags: Cyanide Studio; Nacon; Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood

Today is the release day of Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood, the Werewolf: The Apocalypse action-RPG from Cyanide originally announced way back at the beginning of 2017. In the end, Earthblood seems to have turned out exactly the way you might have expected. An Epic-exclusive low budget Eurojank action-RPG, what's not to like? Here's the game's rockin' launch trailer:


Earthblood's reviews (of which there are a surprisingly large number) are quite negative, although there are a few reviewers that liked it a bit more. Here are the game's reviews on PC:

COGconnected 80/100
Game Over Online 60/100
GameCrate 5.5/10
Gamers Heroes 70/100
GamesBeat 3/5
GameSpace 7/10
GameWatcher 6.5/10
GamingTrend 45/100
Hardcore Gamer 2/5
IGN 4/10
KeenGamer 5/10
MMORPG.com 6.5/10
PC Gamer 79/100
PC Invasion 4/10
PCGamesN 4/10
TheGamer 2/5
Wccftech 6.3/10
Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood is available on the Epic Games Store for $40. Maybe we'll get to hear more about Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong now?

There are 60 comments on Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 4 February 2021, 18:40:08

Tags: Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace; Artefacts Studio; Asmodee Digital

Back in 2018, digital tabletop game publisher Asmodee Digital announced that they were producing a game called Mansions of Madness: Mother's Embrace, a videogame adaptation of the of the 2011 Lovecraftian tabletop strategy game Mansions of Madness. That story seemed to have come to a premature end when developer LuckyHammers was forced to shut down in 2019, after having made a bad bet on a partnership with failed publisher Starbreeze. However, Asmodee weren't done with the property and back in October it resurfaced as Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace, an "investigation game with turn-based combat" inspired by the older board game Arkham Horror. Notably, Arkham Horror's developer is Artefacts Studio, creators of last year's well-received The Dungeon of Naheulbeuk. Yesterday Asmodee released a new gameplay trailer where they outright described the game as an RPG, which means it's definitely time for a newspost. Here's the trailer and accompanying press release:



PARIS - February 3, 2021 - Asmodee Digital, a leader in video game entertainment inspired by board games, today unveiled gameplay in a new trailer for the awaited Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace, the upcoming narrative-driven tactical RPG based on the award-winning Lovecraftian adventure board game. Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace is set to be released Q1 2021 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (Steam) and Nintendo Switch for the retail price of $19.99 / 19,99 €. Asmodee Digital has released a new gameplay trailer available here.

This first gameplay trailer showcases how the tactical RPG gameplay of the beloved board game combines with the deep narrative and intrepid characters of the Arkham Horror universe to create a new gameplay experience rich with mysteries to uncover and monsters to fight.

The year is 1926, and a professor of astronomy is found dead in her mansion, the apparent victim of a heinous murder. Players must pick from 12 of the most iconic protagonists from the Arkham Horror universe, each with a unique skill set, and assemble a team of investigators to uncover the secrets behind this mysterious death.

As investigators face off against Lovecraftian horrors, they will descend deeper into the depths of madness, affecting their level of sanity and causing traumas that will impact the course of their investigation. Along with facing curious science, living nightmares and a sinister cult, players will combat an array of enemies in turn-based combat, all while attempting to retain their sanity. Developed by Artefacts Studio and featuring an original story, Arkham Horror: Mother’s Embrace plunges players into the engrossing pulp world of 1920s America to combat unseen supernatural and psychological horrors true to the Lovecraftian spirit.

Care about your sanity and make the right choices… the Ancient Ones are preparing their return.

Madness begins when reality departs.​

The release date can't be far off. More details are available on the game's Steam page.

There are 63 comments on Arkham Horror: Mother's Embrace is an upcoming Lovecraftian investigation RPG with turn-based combat

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 4 February 2021, 01:09:14

Tags: 68k Studios; Geneforge 1 - Mutagen; Inferno - Beyond the 7th Circle; Pahris Entertainment; Sinister Design; Space Wreck; Spiderweb Software; Together in Battle; Vallynne

It's time for another one of Steam's periodic game festivals, during which hundreds of demos for upcoming games are made available to the public. All of the games which appeared in last October's Autumn Festival are disqualified from participating in this one, which means we've got an all new batch of RPG demos this time, available from today until February 9th. The most notable of these is probably Space Wreck, the Fallout-inspired space RPG by Codexer Kamaz. It's received a new trailer for the occasion while its Early Access release date has again been postponed to July 2nd. Also participating is Spiderweb Software's Geneforge 1 - Mutagen, which is coming out on February 24th. Here's the full list of noteworthy RPG demos:


As usual, you can check out the Steam pages for details on developer livestreams and Q&A sessions that will take place over the course of the event. Enjoy!

There are 26 comments on Steam Game Festival, February 2021: Demos of upcoming RPGs available from February 3rd to 9th

Tue 2 February 2021

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 2 February 2021, 23:51:39

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

After wrapping up the stage two alpha test for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous in December, Owlcat Games settled in for the long and quiet holiday season, promising a beta release in January. In the end, the beta had to be slightly delayed in order to allow them to finalize the game's turn-based combat mode, but it's finally out today. The Kickstarter update has the details on what it includes. Besides the aforementioned turn-based mode, there's a new crafting system that can be used during rest, the UI has been overhauled, and the game's fourth act has been added. Furthermore, Wrath of the Righteous finally has a Steam page now, which means there's a new trailer. It's an action-packed combat gameplay trailer, which I'll post along with the highlights from the update:



Rest and Crafting

One of the things you should understand about Worldwound - there are no beautiful lush forests or peaceful plains. It is a demon-infested wasteland and a journey through it is not an easy feat. While in the open you are exposed to corrupting influence of the Worldwound, which will hinder you in different ways. The longer you stay in the wild - the harsher effects you will get.

And a new feature you will see in Beta, and that has already captured your attention, is crafting. You will be able to create potions and scrolls during the rest (later there will be an option to create soups, but it isn’t available in Beta).

To craft those consumables you need either Brew Potion or Scribe Scrolls feats.

Potions and scrolls are self-descriptive. Depending on ingredients and character's level/skill you can get different kinds of potions and scrolls. Creating a potion or a scroll might take up to 5 days (depending on how powerful it is).

Cooking is also coming back for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, you will even see some of the old recipes coming back. But we will share more details later.

Turn-based Mode

With the beta, the turn-based mode is coming to Wrath of the Righteous!

There is nothing more to tell, except that there might be bugs with some new classes and how they interact with this system.

New UI

There are a lot of changes and it would take too much time to list them all. As you can see, the UI has changed pretty drastically and it is still in development. Character creation and level up, transitions, map, rest, meta-magic - nearly everything was changed to make the UI better. The only part of UI that hasn’t been implemented yet is Encyclopedia.

We hope that our new UI is much more readable and will help you make your decisions during character creation and level up easier.

There were some other ideas about how different parts of the UI should look, about which we might talk sometime later in the future.

Act 4

A new Act to play through. It contains everything you expect - plot development, Mythic and companion quests, side quests, and exploration! We wanted to provide you with the whole experience for this part of the game, so we included all of the locations - even those that are currently missing textures. In all other locations the scenery there is terrific and, later, every location in Act 4 will look great. We don’t want to spoil it for you with additional details, but we can say that it will be an otherworldly experience.
In an additional update published shortly after this one, Owlcat also announced the beginning of a promotional "community quest". It's a series of community events that will allow fans to vote on the story of the game's final trailer, with the first vote on February 5th. For more details on that, check out the official website. But for now, let's enjoy finally being able to see Wrath of the Righteous in action.

There are 41 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #72: Beta Released

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