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Fri 24 January 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 January 2020, 01:17:47

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

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Iron Tower have launched the closed beta test for the long-awaited Colony Ship combat demo. A select group of testers are already playing and over the next few weeks additional players will be joining up. If everything goes as planned, the demo will have a public release next month. The announcement update is short on text but it does come with ten new screenshots showcasing the latest iteration of the game's user interface, which looks better than ever.

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Believe it or not, we finally hit this very important milestone. After 3 years of work I can hardly believe it myself (it's a very surreal feeling). Anyway, the first group of colonists is already playing the demo, so far no crashes or other unpleasantries. If everything goes well, we'll add 10-15 people this weekend and keep adding more each week until we have all the missing pieces, then release it to generic public.

What's left to do: replacing some old animations that Ivan never had a chance to finish, female animations and models, coats (the models are nearly done, need to be textured), all customization options including hair and beards, some GUI tweaks here and there, and extra sounds.​

Hopefully it won't take long for somebody to upload some footage to YouTube so we can finally see this thing in action.

There are 76 comments on Colony Ship Update #41: Closed Combat Beta Begins

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 January 2020, 00:27:43

Tags: Disco Elysium; ZA/UM

A dialogue-based RPG with no combat system isn't the most obvious vessel for a hardcore game mode, but when you're as successful as Disco Elysium, life finds a way. Today ZA/UM updated the game with a "Hardcore True Detective Mode" which makes skill checks harder, money more scarce, and drugs both more expensive and less effective. The upside is that you gain more experience points, allowing for more well-rounded builds than in normal gameplay. As usual they put together a brief trailer for the update, which also adds ultra-widescreen support to the game. I'll post it here along with an excerpt from their latest devblog update:

Welcome to Hardcore True Detective mode. The city at the end of the world just got more existential.

So, what’s different about Hardcore Mode?

You’ll fail more. That’s a fact of life in Hardcore Mode. The difficulty of every Check goes up, bringing your chances of success down. Solving this case without being a Total Disaster Cop is even harder than normal. On the bright side, you’ll have more to be proud of if you do solve the case, even if your dignity got left behind with the Union of Moribund Alcoholics. And the Cuno. And Klaasje. And — well, just take your victories where you can.

The pornographically poor people Martinaise have even less money to drop, meaning there’s less for you to pick up. Lining your pockets with that delicious lucre is going to be nigh on impossible. Better get used to picking up every scrap of tare you can find. At least Roy still gives okay deals in his pawnshop, as you sell off your material wealth for a pittance. You’ve always had to hustle to survive. Now you’ve got to hustle more.

What’s more, pharmacutical prices have gone up. That’s right! Failing costs you even more. Not only are your favorite over-the-counter drugs are more expensive — they don’t even heal you as much. Even if you find a forgotten stash in the streets, it won’t be as good. That’s how they get you though, isn’t it? They charge you more for less, and make a killing as you die.

There is one saving grace you have in Hardcore Mode. The self-help books, at last, are right: Failure builds character. In this worse world, you’ll gain token amounts of extra XP every time you finish a Task. You’ll lever faster and higher, if only marginally. You’ll be able to become a more well-rounded cop, better than you ever were before. So that’s something, at least!
The trailer apparently features animations not known to be found in the game itself. A hint of content updates to come?

There are 22 comments on Disco Elysium gets a Hardcore Mode

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Thu 23 January 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 January 2020, 23:38:29

Tags: Der Geisterturm; Graverobber Foundation

Der Geisterturm ("The Ghost Tower") is the latest cyberpunk-themed wireframe dungeon crawler from our friend zwanzig_zwoelf. It's the follow-up to September's Das Geisterschiff, which Darth Roxor liked well enough even though he didn't think it was really an RPG. This time the game is out on Steam from day one. Here's the launch trailer and description:

Der Geisterturm is a futuristic dungeon crawler with survival horror elements set inside a mysterious tower known as Turm der Wiederkehr. It is a spin-off to Das Geisterschiff.

By 2074 the Earth turned into a scorched wasteland, forcing the population to leave the planet or move underground while two megacorps are stuck in an endless war over the territory and resources. After graduating from the military academy you've decided to join Eberbach Corp as a Robotic Combat Suit pilot...

...but something went wrong. You wake inside a large Robotic Combat Suit with no recollection of your past, and a mysterious man commands you to climb to the top floor.

Will you reach it alive or die trying?

  • Fight your way through 15 floors filled with dangerous encounters, traps, and puzzles;
  • Tactical turn-based combat within dungeons that will test your resource management skills;
  • Original progression system: search for upgrades to improve your armor, abilities, and weapons while the pilot gets better through killing or avoiding enemies;
  • Unique wireframe-like graphics style supported by the atmospheric electronic soundtrack.
You can grab Der Geisterturm on Steam for $15, with a 10% launch discount until next week. zwanzig's next game will be a more full-fledged sequel called Der Geisterfänger.

There are 2 comments on Der Geisterturm Released

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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 January 2020, 23:08:18

Tags: inXile Entertainment; Krome Studios; Wasteland; Wasteland 3

Brian Fargo revealed back in November that the highly anticipated Wasteland remaster from Krome Studios would be out in the first quarter of 2020. Yesterday inXile announced on their social media channels that the exact release date for the remaster is February 25th. Here's the brief announcement post from their new company blog, which also includes a couple of comparison screenshots:

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The RPG classic rises from the nuclear ashes on February 25 for Windows (Steam, Windows Store, GOG) and Xbox One—also available with Xbox Game Pass on Xbox One and PC.

Wasteland Remastered is an overhaul of the 1988 title that brought the post-apocalypse to video games. The Remastered title brings new graphics, audio, music, and digitizes the physical paragraphs book from the original with brand new artwork.

Our development partners at Krome Studios have gone to great lengths to overhaul the sights and sounds of the original, while staying true to the intentions and design decisions.

Experience the 1988 classic in Wasteland Remastered on February 25!
Two weeks ago inXile also revealed on their blog that the Wasteland 3 backer beta would be out sometime in March, only two months before the game's final release. I guess it's going to be more of a backer release candidate. We'll get an exact release date for that too soon hopefully.

There are 2 comments on Wasteland Remastered releasing on February 25th, Wasteland 3 Backer Beta in March

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Tue 21 January 2020

Community - posted by felipepepe on Tue 21 January 2020, 00:33:22

Tags: GOTY 2019

Comrades, welcome to the RPG Codex 2019 GOTY Award!

This year we had 949 voters, who rated 62 releases from 2019. This is almost half of the 114 RPGs of 2018, as it was definitely a slower year. Hope you managed to clean your backlog, because 2020 looks overwhelming.

Once again we had three categories: Game of the Year, Best Expansion/DLC and Best PC Port/Remaster.

For those of you who just want the TL;DR, here are the winners:

Game of the Year
1st - Disco Elysium
2nd - Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
3rd - Slay the Spire

Best Remake/Port
Romancing SaGa 3

Best DLC/Expansion
Underrail: Expedition

For the full results and fancy graphs, just follow the link below.

Read the full article: RPG Codex GOTY 2019: Results & Cool Graphs

There are 408 comments on RPG Codex GOTY 2019: Results & Cool Graphs

Sun 19 January 2020

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 19 January 2020, 00:03:50

Tags: Black Isle Studios; Colin McComb; Fallout 2; inXile Entertainment; Matt Barton; Planescape: Torment; Torment: Tides of Numenera; Wasteland 2

After taking a week off, Matt Barton is back with the third and final episode of his interview with Colin McComb. The episode begins with some more discussion of Colin's days at TSR, where Forgotten Realms ruled the roost but he and his colleagues still got to create a bunch of weird settings that didn't sell much, which he attributes to the executives being clueless. Afterwards the interview finally gets to his work on Planescape: Torment and Fallout 2 at Black Isle. Colin ultimately doesn't say very much about those games, but he does reveal that he has an idea for a new Planescape RPG set in the Upper Planes which he'd like to create someday.

The primary topic of the episode is really Torment: Tides of Numenera, which Colin has much more to say about than George Ziets did in his interview. Like George, he thinks the root of the game's flaws is that it was overscoped, with too many stretch goals and lots of content that got cut and replaced with boring walls of text. He has a list of specific things he'd do differently if he could: Get an editor, replace the companion Matkina with Riastrad, add more non-human companions, improve the ending, and make the Meres real gameplay sequences instead of just text adventures. Colin also has a bit to say about Wasteland 2, which he had fun with even though it seems to have ended up differently than he thought when he wrote his area. He says Wasteland 2's lengthy development (including the Director's Cut) meant that full production on Torment didn't begin until 2015 which hurt the project, although he believes the game's scope would have needed significant cuts regardless.

So that's the end of another Matt Chat interview. Annie VanderMeer is coming up next, but it might take a while for Matt to start uploading that because a new semester has started at his university.

There are 32 comments on Matt Chat 438: Colin McComb on Torment: Tides of Numenera

Fri 17 January 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 January 2020, 22:50:25

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

That's right! Nearly three years after its original release, not only is development on Battle Brothers still not over, but it's now getting its biggest DLC yet. It's called Blazing Deserts and it will add an entire new Arabian Nights-style region to the game world, featuring new environments, new enemies, new equipment, and new everything basically. Here's the announcement post:


We’re excited to announce that we’re working on another DLC for Battle Brothers called ‘Blazing Deserts’.

The focus of the DLC will be on expanding and enriching the existing world with a new land of burning deserts and lush jungles to the south. Across these lands you’ll find a unique culture loosely based on historic Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages built atop the ruins of the Ancient Empire in the world of Battle Brothers. You’ll find new lore and a different political system, equipment not seen anywhere else, and fresh contracts to earn your stay with. There’ll be a new late game crisis, new legendary locations and several new beasts roaming the wilds. This DLC will be our biggest one yet for Battle Brothers.

Here’s the rough list of features we’re aiming for:
  • A realm of independent southern city-states with their own lore, equipment and services, as well as entirely new character backgrounds to recruit
  • A new late game crisis that tests the mettle of your company in the fires of religious turmoil
  • A gallery of company feats that grant permanent boons with which to customize your company to your playstyle as you progress throughout your campaign
  • A variety of new opponents with their own fighting styles – from exotic beasts to desert raiders and southern armies quite unlike those in the north
  • New environments both on the world map and in tactical combat
  • Several new origins to pick for your company for a different campaign experience
  • New banners, weapons, armors and helmets inspired by historic Arabian and Persian cultures of the medieval ages
  • New legendary locations and legendary rewards
  • New contracts and events
  • New crafting recipes for owners of the ‘Beasts & Exploration’ DLC
  • Several new music tracks by Breakdown Epiphanies to accompany you on your travels south
In addition to these major features, the DLC will also include countless smaller additions. Just like in the past, we’ll explain all major features and most minor ones in detail in future dev blogs as we go along, so you’ll always know what we’re working on and why. We expect to be finished sometime in Q2 of this year and will announce a release date and final feature list once we’re closer to the finish line.

Alongside the DLC, which will not be free, the game will also receive a sizable free update again. This update will contain a whole bunch of improvements, quality-of-life features and balancing changes, as well as some minor content additions.

Join us next week for our first dev blog on the new DLC!​

Davkul Akbar! As the announcement states, Blazing Deserts is due out sometime this spring. Clearly they've been working on it for a while.

There are 10 comments on Battle Brothers - Blazing Deserts DLC Announced

Thu 16 January 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 16 January 2020, 22:58:46

Tags: CD Projekt; Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt announced today that like The Witcher 3 before it, Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed. Its new release date is September 17th. Hopefully unlike The Witcher 3 it won't be delayed again. Here's the announcement:

We have important news regarding Cyberpunk 2077’s release date we’d like to share with you today.

Cyberpunk 2077 won’t make the April release window and we’re moving the launch date to September 17, 2020.

We are currently at a stage where the game is complete and playable, but there’s still work to be done. Night City is massive—full of stories, content and places to visit, but due to the sheer scale and complexity of it all, we need more time to finish playtesting, fixing and polishing. We want Cyberpunk 2077 to be our crowning achievement for this generation and postponing the launch will give us the precious months we need to make the game perfect.

Expect more regular update on progress as we get closer to the new release date.

We’re really looking forward to seeing you in Night City, thank you for your ongoing support!​

I feel bad for all the games that were intentionally delayed to later this year to avoid colliding with this. At least this means we get another hyped up E3 gameplay demo.

There are 29 comments on Cyberpunk 2077 delayed to September 17th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 16 January 2020, 01:49:30

Tags: Acquire; Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls; Xseed Games

As every serious fan of classic RPGs knows, the Wizardry series may be dead in the West but it's had a long afterlife in Japan, with numerous spinoffs and spiritual successors released on a variety of platforms. One such game is Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls, originally released on PlayStation 3 in Japan back in 2009 and in the West two years afterwards. In recent years ports of classic console games have done quite well on Steam, and so today Labyrinth of Lost Souls became the first of the Japanese Wizardry games to become officially available on PC in the West (not counting oddball isometric spinoff WizRogue). Here's its launch trailer, which features the expected variety of anime waifus:

An old-school challenge in a crisp and colorful package, Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls revitalizes the time-honored formula of the original dungeon crawler series with modernized visuals and sound.

Choose each of your six team members’ class, race, gender, and moral alignment, then delve into one of several dungeons near the central town hub. Advance with caution — monsters are vicious, deadly, and attack in packs. Plan each expedition carefully, stay focused on your objectives, and know when to retreat to the surface.

In between expeditions, chat with the locals, pick up new quests, pray for guidance at the temple, go bargain-hunting for new/rare equipment, and more. With patience, skill, and careful planning, your party will rise from a gang of paupers to a mighty force.

The magic torches are lit, the monsters are ravenous, and the kingdom is waiting for a new hero. Enter the world of Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls and experience a classic adventure reborn.

Your Party, Your Way
Choose from eight classes and five races to build a six-person team with diverse but complimentary skill sets. Change their classes in mid-adventure to fit your needs, or focus on leveling up their primary class to earn bonus skills for the party’s benefit.

So Beautiful and So Dangerous
Tangle with a menagerie of over 100 distinctive monsters, from the traditional to the bizarre, all drawn by famed series illustrator Jun Suemi. The game also features character illustrations by renowned commercial artist Yuki Hayabusa.

Conquer the Dungeons
Every step through the underworld is fraught with danger, and one wrong move can end your adventure. But if you have the grit to withstand what the dungeons throw at you, both you and your party will gain enough experience to stroll through them like you own them.

Wizardry’s Rebirth on PC
The PC remaster of this classic originally released for PlayStation 3 features English and Japanese text with the original Japanese voiceovers, high-resolution graphics, and a brand new Turbo Mode to make exploring the game’s massive dungeons a breeze. All story DLC is included, and players can download the Growth Fruit DLC for free to give themselves a boost when creating characters.
This game was actually supposed to have been out on PC back in May, but ended up getting delayed nearly seven months because of an IP licensing issue. I guess that kind of tells you why more of these games haven't been ported already. So if you'd like to see more Japanese Wizardry games make it to PC, you should probably show your support. Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is available on Steam and GOG now for just $15, with a 10% launch discount until next week.

There are 37 comments on Wizardry: Labyrinth of Lost Souls is now available on PC

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 16 January 2020, 01:10:33

Tags: Dreamlords Digital; Graywalkers: Purgatory

Back during the glory days of Kickstarter in 2013, there was a crowdfunding campaign for a game called Graywalkers: Purgatory, described by its Manila-based developer Dreamlords Digital as a turn-based strategy RPG "set in a supernatural post-apocalyptic world where Heaven and Hell merged with Earth". A cool enough concept you'd think, but the campaign failed, so a year later they tried again and succeeded with a lower funding goal. Obviously it's been quite a while since then. It seems that at the end of 2016 Dreamlords announced that an Early Access release was imminent. In reality, the game's Steam page was launched at the beginning of 2019...and now a year after that, it's finally actually out. I don't know much about this game, but I have to respect that dedication, plus I feel a little bad about not posting about it back when it was crowdfunded. So here's the latest trailer and a snippet from its Early Access FAQ.

Why Early Access?
“Graywalkers Purgatory was launched on Kickstarter in late 2014. It successfully got funded and our experience there has taught us the value of feedback from the community. This is why we are here in Early Access, to hear what you the fans think of the game, and hopefully improve it from there.

Our goal with the feedback is basically to achieve what could be the most fun we can deliver with the game. We know that we would not be able to make everybody happy but with your feedback, we would know what most of the community thinks, and take that into consideration in our decisions.

In addition to feedback, it also gives us time to fine tune everything about the game so that when we do a full release, the game will really be stable, optimized and will have as few bugs as possible.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“The reason for our Early Access is to get feedback from the community and then to implement those into the game. Thus, we are trying to be dynamic and flexible with regards to our schedule in order to release a game that will be worthy of your time and money. Our goal is to have the full release in about 9-12 months. This is of course not final and can possibly be shorter. We definitely want to get the full game to you as soon as we can, but we also want to make sure you get the game you want and deserve. In the end, it will mostly depend on the amount of feedback we get feedback from the community and then to implement it into the game”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“The biggest difference from Early Access to the Full Version will be the Single Player Campaign. Though you will be able to play almost all of the features of the game in Early Access, we will not be releasing the Single Player Campaign. We want to keep the epic story we have crafted as a surprise for you to discover when the full game comes out.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“Graywalkers Purgatory is currently in Alpha. Many of the foundations and systems for the game are done though there are still things that need to be worked on and improved.

We do have a road map for our Early Access. When first released, it will feature our "Mission Mode" initially. With this mode of play, players can choose from many different missions available to them. As they complete more missions, additional missions will appear. The focus here is tactical combat. Each mission will be part of a story arc and each arc normally focuses on a specific faction.

Another mode added is the Preludes mode. This mode of gameplay is basically equivalent to short story modules featuring one of the main Graywalkers in the story. Each monthly update will feature a new character being added to this roster. In the release, there will be only 1 prelude character but more will follow.

As Early Access progresses, we will be adding more features, until the game is feature complete.”
You can grab the Graywalkers Early Access build on Steam now for $25, with a 15% launch discount until next week. I definitely wouldn't bet on them making it to full release ahead of schedule though.

There are 9 comments on Supernatural post-apocalyptic RPG Graywalkers: Purgatory out on Early Access after six years

Tue 14 January 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 January 2020, 01:18:10

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

Although there was no mention of crowdfunding when the game was announced last month, it turns out that Owlcat Games do indeed plan to run a Kickstarter for Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. The campaign will launch on February 4th, 16:00 GMT. We'll have to wait until then to see the first gameplay footage, but they've released a batch of screenshots via PCGamesN to tide us over in the meantime. I'll post them here along with Owlcat's announcement:

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Greetings, Pathfinders!

It feels like only yesterday we have released Pathfinder: Kingmaker. The game we put our souls into, the game of our dreams. And it is you, our community, who made it possible in the first place. We want to say thank you to all backers and supporters, for your passion, feedback, and patience. As you know, we always take work with our community very seriously. Especially with all the teasers and jokes (if you remember our first free DLC and announcement of announcement you will understand what we are talking about).

And with our next project – Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous – we want to bring work with the community to the next level. We will engage content creators, build a new forum for players’ discussions, held detailed surveys during alpha and beta tests, and put emphasis on feedback from our community. You will help us to shape the game, drive our vision and achieve the most daring ideas. And to accomplish this we will launch a new Kickstarter campaign.

Why Kickstarter, you might ask? We want to make this adventure as epic as we imagined it when playing Wrath of the Righteous at the table. And, of course, we want our next game to become better than the previous one in every aspect. While we already have essential investments, there are a lot of things to add and improve. And you will be able to support us in this endeavour!

On February 4th, we will lift the shroud of mystery and share our creative vision, revealing all the main features we aim to deliver, along with the first gameplay video of Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous. And even more details are coming in the Kickstarter updates!

Subscribe to our newsletter so you won't miss anything.
Looks like 2020 is finally warming up.

There are 25 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous gets first screenshots, Kickstarter on February 4th

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 January 2020, 00:21:59

Tags: Disco Elysium; Robert Kurvitz; ZA/UM

GameSpot launched a new interview series back in April called Audio Logs, which seems to be focused on in-depth game design discussions with developers. Yesterday they published their first Codex-relevant episode featuring Disco Elysium lead writer & designer Robert Kurvitz. It's actually the most interesting interview with Robert that I've seen, especially the first half where he talks about the things ZA/UM did to make the game's writing as engaging as possible. That includes the design of the dialogue UI itself, which is inspired by Twitter. To keep the player's attention, dialogue is written to be aggressive and personal, with critical information repeated multiple times by the protagonists's various skills during key moments.

In the second half of the interview, Robert talks about the creation of the Thought Cabinet. Since the game has been a success, he already has ideas about the next iteration of the Thought Cabinet concept, such as having thoughts have an impact on their neighbors in adjacent slots in the cabinet. He'd like ZA/UM's next game to like what Baldur's Gate 2 was to Baldur's Gate - bigger and more action-packed, with more combat and other physical sequences (still implemented via dialogue, of course). It's a very cool interview and only 17 minutes long, so check it out. Hopefully GameSpot will have more of these that are relevant to our interests.

There are 121 comments on Robert Kurvitz talks about writing Disco Elysium on GameSpot Audio Logs

Sat 11 January 2020

Community - posted by felipepepe on Sat 11 January 2020, 03:11:10

Tags: GOTY 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, it is time!

The voting for the RPG Codex's 2019 GOTY poll is now open: VOTE HERE

2019 was a slow year compared to 2018, but that's another good reason to make a poll and find out what are the highlights and the hidden gems.

As usual, the games are divided into three categories: GOTY, Best DLC/Expansion and Best Port/Remake. The poll is long, but just scroll past all the games you didn't play and focus on the ones you did.

Thank you, and have a great 2020!

There are 495 comments on RPG Codex's 2019 GOTY - VOTE NOW!

Mon 6 January 2020

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 January 2020, 23:41:48

Tags: Colin McComb; Matt Barton

After a quiet post-holiday week, the second episode of Matt Barton's interview with Colin McComb is up. As expected, Colin can't say anything yet about Baldur's Gate III, so Matt decides to again circle back and talk some more about his work at TSR, specifically the AD&D tabletop adventure Dragon Mountain and the Birthright, Ravenloft & Planescape campaign settings. Colin says Planescape was primarily the creation of Zeb Cook, but he does take credit for inventing the concept of being mazed.

It seems like the next episode might start with some discussion of the commercial reception of Planescape and all these other unusual campaign settings, after which we might finally get to Colin's video game development work. I'm not sure how many episodes are left, but Matt has already recorded his next interview with Annie VanderMeer and will soon interview Kevin Saunders as well. It's a Matt Chat renaissance.

There are 8 comments on Matt Chat 437: Colin McComb on Dragon Mountain, Birthright, Ravenloft and Planescape

Tue 31 December 2019

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 31 December 2019, 00:16:58

Tags: 3lb Games; Colin McComb; Matt Barton

The next guest on Matt Chat is none other than our old friend Colin McComb. Colin joined Larian to work on Baldur's Gate III last May, only to leave at the end of that year. These days he's doing VR stuff at his company 3lb Games and also writing novels again. That's the topic of the first twelve minutes of the interview, after which Matt circles back to the beginning of Colin's career. He was an Ultima and Gold Box fan who got lucky and managed to score a job at TSR right out of college. Colin doesn't really get into his computer game development work in this episode, though he does recount the story of how he met his wife thanks to a database crash during the development of Planescape: Torment.

At the very end of the episode, Matt asks Colin about Baldur's Gate III as a cliffhanger. We'll have to wait for the next episode to hear his reply, but I wouldn't expect much.

There are 10 comments on Matt Chat 436: Colin McComb's Early Days

Fri 27 December 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 27 December 2019, 00:15:21

Tags: Ink Stains Games; Stoneshard

Remember Stoneshard, the ambitious open world roguelike with great pixel art that was successfully Kickstarted last May? The game was already impressive back then, but it's changed a lot over the past year and a half. Now, as they prepare for a belated Early Access release on February 6th, the developers at Ink Stains Games have released an updated version of Stoneshard's well-received free prologue build which implements most of the game's new features. The latest Kickstarter update has a list of the most important changes. There's no trailer for this release, so here's the one they made back in June when they thought the Early Access would be out this year.

Ink Stains Games here! We’d like to wish all of you Happy Holidays and to present you the long awaited update for the Prologue as a Christmas gift.

The original Prologue was published in May 2018. At the time it was more of a proof of concept, designed to demonstrate you, our Kickstarter backers, our vision of the future game. A lot of time has passed since then, most systems of the game have changed beyond recognition. And at some point the Prologue grew so outdated that updating it became a priority.

Now the Prologue is mechanically equal to the main game and we hope it will make it easier to wait for the February release, especially for those of you who didn't take part in the closed alpha and beta tests. It's available for download on Steam:

The list of changes is too expansive to be presented in detail – after all, this update includes a year and a half of hard work. The Prologue’s structure remains the same, but if we are to list the most important changes, here is what you should expect from this update:
  • An improved tutorial with detailed advice on main game mechanics.
  • Vampires were swapped with Proselytes – a new group of enemies with their own set of abilities.
  • A reworked boss fight, which now consists of two consecutive phases instead of two parallel outcomes.
  • A reworked health, injury and needs system. The old Prologue had it functioning based on RNG. Now it’s a transparent, deterministic process which you can assess at any time.
  • More weapons, equipment and all kinds of items.
  • Abilities from the closed beta are now available in the Prologue.
  • Destructible environment. Press CTRL to attack environmental objects!
  • Reworked Dual Wielding system.
  • Lots of QoL improvements: better controls, more hotkeys, item comparison, inventory auto-sorting, pop-up hints and more. Though keep in mind that the game is designed primarily for mouse controls.
  • Most of the game art was reworked.
  • Dialogues and lore notes were rewritten to better clarify the opening events of the story. New voice-overs for the characters.
  • Lots of changed and added mechanics (reworked Attributes, for instance).
  • A reworked UI.
  • Fullscreen support for 1366х768, 1440х900, 1600х900, 1680х1050, 1920х1080 and 1920х1200 resolutions.
  • Added an event log.
  • Last Hope” and “At What Cost?” achievements were replaced by “The Bitter Beginning” and “Eternal Hunger” achievements. The rest of the achievements were updated to fit with the content changes.
  • Enemies learned how to open doors.
It’s worth to remember that many of the planned mechanics are still missing. On February 6 the game is just being released for Early Access, during which we plan to continue developing it for another couple of years, gradually implementing our vision.
This is indeed a nice Christmas gift. Grab it on Steam and tell us what you think.

There are 20 comments on Stoneshard gets updated prologue demo, releasing on Early Access on February 6th

Sat 21 December 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 21 December 2019, 21:01:13

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

As many Codexers know by now, Iron Tower animator Ivan Soloviov tragically passed away in September after a lengthy illness. This was the primary reason for the extended delay of the Colony Ship combat demo, which was originally supposed to have been out in early 2019. It's taken time to train up Ivan's replacement, but with most character animations tasks complete, Iron Tower can now commit to a release in February with a closed beta in mid-January. Today's long overdue development update has the details on that plus a bunch of other stuff, including our first detailed look at some of Colony Ship's cybernetic implants and combat stimulants. Here's an excerpt:

Why the silence?

As you probably know, Ivan Soloviov, our animator, the guy we worked with for 14 years, died on Sep 5 after being ill for months. It's a hard thing to deal with, so I didn't post any updates since his death (it just didn't seem important). Ivan handled animations, creatures, and everything that goes onto the character model, from weapons and armor to facial hair. The armor system is a lot more complex than the one in AoD which had only body armor and helmets. In Colony Ship we have boots & leggings, combat vests, jackets and coats, armguards, helmets, goggles, and breathing masks. When Ivan got ill, our progress in these two high-visibility areas had slowed down to a crawl and what we expected to wrap up in early 2019 was pushed back over and over again. We’re making progress now but we’re way off schedule, of course.

What’s done: vests, boots & leggings, armguards, helmets, goggles, respirators, weapons; energy armor, implants, most ranged and melee animations for male characters.

What’s not done: combat stimulants, jackets and coats (we have the “prototypes” that have been much improved and optimized; so we need to make variations which is relatively easy but like everything else it takes time), female animations (won’t take long once all male animations are done), and hair styles. Jackets are being work on right now; should be done by the end of the month.

We have enough to start beta testing the combat demo and this time around we fully expect to finish the rest in 2-3 months. We will start the first round in mid Jan (closed beta with new participants added each week) with public release around mid or end of Feb. Better late than never and all that.


Implants offer another way to improve your character and give you yet another reason to explore abandoned decks and places of ill repute. There are seven implants with two modal upgrades each:

Brighten up your world with CoreProTech's inSight 7L. Tap into 25th century image processing technology today to automatically adjust gamma, contrast, color and shadows to give you the best picture quality at an unbelievably reasonable price. Every day looks a little brighter with CoreProTech!™

Perception +1


This handy piece of military surplus kit will upgrade your sluggish and dimwitted retail security guard into a trigger-happy killer. Point Zero instantaneously responds to sudden movement in the user's vicinity and sends a reaction impulse directly to the motor cortex, bypassing the clumsy and unreliable decision-making process. [Currently outlawed in the European Federation.]

Snap THC +10, Reaction + 15, Stagger +10, Aimed -20

A cost-effective alternative to actual highly trained (and therefore greedy and entitled) snipers, NoScope 360 reprograms the subject's ocular system to reproduce the enhanced accuracy of a high-powered scope, boosting precision shooting at any range but negating the ability to quickly zero-in on targets.

Aimed THC +10, Critical Strike + 5, Critical Damage +25%, aimed attacks only (all other attacks are disabled)

Combat stimulants:

Regen – 5HP/turn for 4 turns; the strain on the body results in -2 penalty to all stats for the duration of combat. The regen effect isn’t stackable (so you can’t use two stimulants in one turn to boost regen to 10HP per turn) but the side effect is, so if you use two stimulants per fight, you’ll severely cripple your character. Still worth a shot if you have 2HP left.

Super Soldier – 2-4 Extra Melee Damage, +4 AP, +10 Evasion for 4 turns; same side effects as above.

Lockdown – neural resistance is maxed for 4 turns; best defense against mental attacks, especially for solo characters.
Check out the full update for images of some new models & props and a portrait of the individual known only as "A Man Who Was Born Free". Let's hope they make that release date.

There are 9 comments on Colony Ship Update #40: Implants & Stimulants, Combat Demo in February

Thu 19 December 2019

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Thu 19 December 2019, 23:21:27

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

In a new end-of-year dev diary, Hardsuit Labs announce that Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 is now in alpha. That means the game is systems-complete and they can now focus entirely on content, although it's possible that some mechanics will still change. The dev diary provides some examples of the sort of stuff the team is going to be working on now, and there's also a new screenshot. I quote:


2019 is nearing its end, and with it comes our last dev diary for the year. It’s been a wild time for us, from the announcement at GDC in March, to meeting you at PDXCON. All throughout, we’ve been blown away by your enthusiasm. It’s now more than three years since Andy, Brian and Ka’ai pitched the idea of making Bloodlines 2 to Paradox. You and your support have made this real in a way that’s difficult to describe.

As Andy mentioned in the November dev diary, we’ve turned our attention inward for a bit. Right now, our number one priority is development, with the goal to make Bloodlines 2 the best game it can be. That’s starting to bear fruit. For example, we recently passed our Alpha!

This is one of the big milestones in game development, although in different places, Alpha can mean slightly different things. For us, it means that we are “systems-complete”; we’re done adding gameplay mechanics and features to the game. By contrast: Beta, which’ll happen next year, is “content-complete”. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the core game is done and ready to put in a box (“systems-final”). There are still quite a few people busy tweaking, balancing, and art-ing up the gameplay. It’s actually quite possible that our final game will ship with a few less mechanics than we had in the game at Alpha. In the end, we want to offer you really compelling, smooth gameplay. If over the coming months we find that something sticks out, we’d much rather put one less bullet point on the back of the box than shoehorn things in.

As you may imagine, work changes after Alpha. For some of us, it becomes much more about keeping the details consistent. For example: Earlier this year, some of our engineers and the UX team had come up with a better, more natural-feeling way of using elevators and choosing floors in the game. What this means is that we’re now going through all of our virtual Seattle and make sure all elevators fit this new logic. Not a big thing - but still, it involved diligent work by our technical designers supported by lighting, environment and UI artists.

In other places, systems-complete means that we get to add that extra in art that we didn’t want to risk spending time on before. Finally, we had time to invite everyone to the 'dismemberment meeting' - just another day in game dev. At the same time, the audio team are having a blast recording weapon foley, to make everything from picking up, to loading, stashing away and y’know, firing each individual weapon feel another bit more real.

Audio is also involved in completing the lines in the NPC Bark system - they work closely with engineering and narrative on that one. Barks are all those words and short sentences you hear AI utter in a video game. Often, that’s connected to AI states, like for example “aggressive”, “searching”, or “hurt”. Sometimes, it’s also tied to the NPC’s role in the world - a policeman will have different barks than a drunk barfly. Good barks are useful without drawing too much attention from the player, and it is not a piece of cake to find 15 different ways to say “I think I’ve seen something odd in that back alley”.

Of course, not all of us are chasing gameplay details towards that elusive “Final”. A big chunk of our team, our level and narrative designers, animators, environment, VFX and lighting artists are hard at work on the quests you will experience that gameplay. We’re looking forward to talking more about that race to Beta in the coming months. For now, to conclude this blog post, we’d like to share the work of our VFX team on blood effects. These are research prototypes created by Wesley Eldridge and Tracey Landau.

Time to put down the quill and wish you all great Winter Holidays! See you in 2020!
In other news, Paradox launched another Bloodlines 2 ARG website this week where you can solve riddles and earn points to unlock stuff, similar to the Tender website they set up before the game was announced. It looks like the final riddle will be out on December 21st. I wonder if that's leading up to anything or if they just wanted something shiny to keep fans engaged before Christmas.

There are 13 comments on Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #8: Celebrating Bloodlines 2 Alpha and the Holidays

Wed 18 December 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 18 December 2019, 23:30:02

Tags: Awaken Realms; Tainted Grail

The era of video game crowdfunding may be long past its peak, but tabletop games are doing as well as ever. In fact, last year's most successful campaign on Kickstarter was for a dark fantasy Arthurian-themed board game called Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon made by a Polish company called Awaken Realms. It raised so much money (nearly 5 million Euros!) last December that before the campaign was even over they announced that they were hiring a team to create a video game spinoff, which was formally revealed this week. We don't usually post about this sort of thing here, but the developers claim that Tainted Grail is its own thing and not just a straight adaptation of the board game. It's got some amazing artwork, which is probably how the Kickstarter was able to raise so much money in the first place. Here's the announcement trailer and press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 17th, Wrocław, Poland

Hitting its Kickstarter goal in less than one minute. The biggest 2018 campaign on the platform. 9/10 score on Board Game Geek – the already-extensive list of Tainted Grail: The Fall of Avalon achievements is still growing. One of these milestones was to develop a PC game – not simply a board game adaptation, but a fully-fledged digital adventure that aims to be its own great RPG experience. Be a part of an engaging, non-linear story based on the grim re-imagination of Arthurian myths. King Arthur is dead and the Menhirs protecting humans for centuries are going dark, losing their vitality, and beginning to die. Use your wisdom and tactical skills to survive each day. Customize your characters and create unique combos while fighting for your life. Try to stay alive, or you’ll end up as another forgotten hero who died a meaningless death.

Tainted Grail takes place on the dying island of Avalon. The ancient guardian stones that once helped people conquer this mythical place are now fading. As their light dims, a malignant power retakes the land inch by inch. Your desperate hometown sent a party of champions to seek help from distant Camelot.

You were not one of them.

Now, the true heroes have failed, the king is dead, and the Round Table is in disarray. The ordinary people of the island, such as yourself, scramble to find safety. Set out on your journey to uncover the secrets behind the legends.

Save Avalon – or simply try to save yourself.

Tainted Grail is a dark, fantasy open-world RPG with fresh turn-based exploration and combat. It is based around a deep, immersive story from one of the best board games (biggest Kickstarter project of 2018!) but introduces a totally new experience crafted specifically for PC. Full of stirring art and incredible, non-linear narrative content, the game will offer a unique mix of discovery, challenge, and exciting cRPG character progression, as well as involved combat and diplomacy systems.​

Additional details and screenshots can be found on Tainted Grail's Steam page. Backers of the board game are getting alpha keys on December 20th, but everybody else will have to wait to until the game comes out sometime next year.

There are 10 comments on Tainted Grail is a CRPG spinoff of last year's most successful crowdfunded board game

Fri 13 December 2019

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 13 December 2019, 23:30:15

Tags: Gothic (THQ Nordic Remake); THQ Nordic

THQ Nordic announced that they'd acquired Piranha Bytes and the Gothic IP back in May. While most people were thinking about the future of ELEX 2 under its new owners, it turns out they had additional plans. Namely, the development of a high fidelity remake of the original Gothic. However, it seems THQ aren't sure there's a market for it, so they've taken the unusual step of releasing a playable prototype on Steam to all owners of previous Piranha Bytes games. Note however that the remake is not being developed by Piranha Bytes, but by a different THQ Nordic subsidiary in Barcelona. They've put together a trailer and comparison video for it, and the accompanying press release has the full details. I quote:

Barcelona, Spain / Vienna, Austria, December 13th, 2019 - „Welcome to the colony!“ – how is it possible that 18 years have passed since we first heard that phrase at the beginning of Gothic, the game that set a milestone in the history of German fantasy RPGs, such as Risen and Elex? Since then, we all have grown older, acquired some wrinkles, and are laughing at how we look in pictures from the early 2000s – or how games looked back then.

But, what if we could turn back time, take everything that was great almost 20 years ago, and put it in a beautiful modern look (let’s say powered by Unreal Engine 4) along with improving some things that were not that great, like the combat system, for example?

To find out what the true Gothic fanbase thinks of a modern remake of the cult classic RPG, THQ Nordic and it's new Spanish development team, THQ Nordic Barcelona, will start an experiment. Today, a free playable prototype (Gothic Playable Teaser) of what a new Gothic could look and feel like will appear in the Steam Library of everyone who owns a game from Piranha Bytes, be it Gothic 1-3, Risen 1-3, or ELEX. They can play the yet-untitled Gothic Remake project and roam around the Mining Colony of Khorinis. After that, THQ Nordic is eager to learn from the players through a survey following the completion of the prototype, whether and how it should proceed with the production of a full Gothic Remake, or leave the heritage and the great memories associated with it untouched.

You want to learn more about the Gothic Playable Teaser? Check the official website:


We know you must have a thousand questions– we’ll try to cover a few in this FAQ:

Q: Who is developing this project?
A: THQ Nordic Barcelona. You can find out more about the studio at (Hint: We are looking to grow our team)

Q: Is Piranha Bytes involved in the project?
A: No! Piranha Bytes is working hard on a different project, which will be announced in 2020.

Q: Wait, why can we only play two hours?
A: Because it’s just a prototype, done by a new small team in Barcelona and we wanted to do an unusual approach and give this into the hands of players early. What you are going to play is all we have to show you at the moment.

Q: Ok, got it. But if we want the full game, how long do we have to wait?
A: Quite some time. We will only start full production if the community demands a Gothic Remake. In order to do so, we will need to grow the development team and rebuild Gothic from scratch.

Q: This can become a remastered HD version of Gothic?
A: We’d like to call it a remake. We are using a completely new tech (Unreal Engine 4) and so basically nothing but the story, the setting, the atmosphere, the music and the world of Gothic will remain. The whole tech, all graphics, the sound, different systems will be recreated according to modern high quality standards.

Q: Can I buy the prototype?
A: Yes and no. Everyone who owns ANY game from Piranha Bytes will get it for free - so if you don't have either Gothic, Gothic 2, Gothic 3, Risen, Risen 2, Risen 3 or ELEX you can buy one of them now and the prototype is also yours.
Well, regardless of whether this goes anywhere and how it turns out, it's nice to have an ETA for the announcement of ELEX 2.

There are 201 comments on THQ Nordic want to remake Gothic, playable teaser released to owners of previous Piranha Bytes games

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