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Community - posted by felipepepe on Sat 4 April 2020, 05:44:55

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Who's ready for some sweet nostalgia?

The results for our RPG Codex's Top Non-RPG PC games voting are out! Here's a sneak peak:


You can see the full list and a lot more info here:

Read the full article: RPG Codex's Top Non-RPG PC Games RESULTS!

There are 177 comments on RPG Codex's Top Non-RPG PC Games RESULTS!

Mon 6 April 2020

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 April 2020, 16:37:13

Tags: Kevin Saunders; Matt Barton; Obsidian Entertainment; Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords

In the end, Matt Barton decided to upload the remainder of his interview with Kevin Saunders as one final 45 minute episode. As expected, the next topic under discussion is Obsidian's first RPG, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II - The Sith Lords. Kevin joined Obsidian after having worked on real-time strategy games at Electronic Arts for a year (he actually started at Westwood a week before EA shut them down). He was the one who created KOTOR 2's famous droid planet which was cut and restored by modders many years later. After that he shifted to a system design role, in which he was responsible for items, the lightsaber crafting system, some minigames and more notoriously, the game's level scaling implementation.

Kevin's career goes back further than that, though. Before Westwood, he actually briefly worked on the first Far Cry at Crytek. He began his career at Nexon, who hired him out of university to become a gamemaster on their first MMO, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds. He has all sorts of amusing stories from that period and apparently did a good enough job that he was promoted to a lead design role on Shattered Galaxy, an innovative MMORTS that unfortunately was a commercial failure. Kevin returned to Nexon many years later and if his studio hadn't been shut down, they might have looked into creating a Shattered Galaxy 2 later on.

At the end of the interview, Matt asks Kevin how he would sum up his long career in game development. Kevin says he's happy to have worked with so many passionate people over the years, but in retrospect if he could have gone back, he would have chosen a more socially impactful occupation. However, he does take comfort in the fact that most of the games he worked on were meaningful experiences and not mere toys.

There are 2 comments on Matt Chat 447: Kevin Saunders on Knights of the Old Republic II, His Early Career and His Legacy

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Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 April 2020, 00:41:50

Tags: Baldur's Gate; Darklands; Disco Elysium; Fallout; Fallout 2; Fallout: New Vegas; Josh Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Even before GDC 2020 was cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic, Josh Sawyer had decided to boycott the event due to his increasing dissatisfaction with its speaker compensation and pricing model. From now on, he plans to speak directly to the masses and record a new talk every year about a design topic he finds interesting. His talk today was about RPG reputation mechanics, a topic he decided to address after experiencing the wonders of Disco Elysium. It begins with a historical overview of RPG reputation systems, from Darklands through Fallout 1 & 2, Baldur's Gate and Fallout: New Vegas. But the main event here is Pillars of Eternity II vs Disco Elysium.

Josh is clearly still upset about the failure of Deadfire's topic-based companion relationship system, which he says led to a combinatorial explosion in terms of the amount of work the writers had to do and could have easily been replaced with something simpler. It compares unfavorably with Disco Elysium's two reputation-like mechanics: the skill check modifiers you can acquire based on previous actions and the famous Thought Cabinet. Josh seems to be particularly fond of the former mechanic, viewing it as a way to avoid the excessive scope of an actual reputation score while still preserving some of its systemic abstraction. The Thought Cabinet is good because much of its reactivity is internal to the player character and thus easier to design, but it'd be hard to imitate without being accused of ripping the game off.

The lesson Josh has learned is that one must always remember that reputation mechanics are abstractions, and there's no point in designing an abstraction that becomes more complex than the underlying thing it's trying to model. It seems that he's concluded that the traditional Obsidian reputation system has reached a dead-end, and that it's time to step back a bit and experiment with mechanics that hew closer to standard scripted choice & consequence.

There are 14 comments on Josh Sawyer on the Evolution of RPG Reputation Mechanics

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Tue 31 March 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 31 March 2020, 19:01:23

Tags: Brian Fargo; inXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

Brian Fargo announced today that the already late Wasteland 3 has been delayed further to August 28th due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Greetings all,

As with most companies, we moved to a work-from-home environment some weeks ago, and that’s of course introduced new challenges that many of us throughout the world have been learning to manage. We’ve been excited to see the Wasteland 3 Beta so well received, but the reality is that with these new logistical challenges our release was going to be impacted.

We’re in a great position with both Microsoft and Deep Silver supporting our desire to ensure the game launches in the best possible circumstances, and to add a few extra months to ensure this is a stellar product on day one. With that, Wasteland 3’s new release date is August 28, 2020.

That’s time we’re putting into acting on Beta feedback and suggestions, optimization, polishing and refinements, and making sure we have an awesome co-op experience. We’re pouring our hearts into this game, and the last thing we want is to have anything but an amazing launch for a product we truly believe in.

We appreciate everyone’s excitement and continued support as we put a few more months into ensuring that on launch day Wasteland 3 is the experience you’ve been waiting for.

Thank you and stay safe,

Brian Fargo
Studio Head, inXile entertainment​

What a shame. I do wonder if this was going to happen anyway. The backer beta coming out two months before release was kind of weird.

There are 23 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #38: Delayed to August 28th

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Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 31 March 2020, 18:39:57

Tags: Operencia: The Stolen Sun; Zen Studios

A year ago, Hungarian pinball developer Zen Studios released the lavish turn-based dungeon crawler Operencia: The Stolen Sun. Remarkably, despite being an Epic Games Store & Microsoft Store-exclusive, a decent number of our users pirated played the game and it managed to scored fourth place in our 2019 GOTY ranking. That's a respectable achievement, so those of you who skipped it then might want to take a second look now that the exclusivity period is over. Zen have put together a new launch trailer for the occasion:

Operencia is available now on Steam and GOG for $30 with a 10% launch discount until next week.

There are 5 comments on Operencia: The Stolen Sun released on Steam and GOG

Mon 30 March 2020

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Mon 30 March 2020, 23:59:03

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

Hardsuit Labs skipped last month's Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 development update and all we got were those silly Vein Pursuit tabletop streams. After Seattle became an epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic earlier this month, it looked like development might end up going quiet for a while, but as of today the updates are apparently back on track. Hardsuit are continuing to work towards content-complete status and are now focused on finalizing the game's various sidequests. More interestingly, they've also made the decision to emphasize its Dishonored-esque immersive sim qualities by granting the player character all three of the Thinblood traversal abilities regardless of his chosen discipline, with the maps designed appropriately.

Hello everyone!

February and March have been intense, for many reasons. Like many others in the US and around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak has changed how we work in the last few weeks. To help mitigate this unprecedented illness, our developers are all working from home. We have provided infrastructure and hardware support for that to happen, as well as provided more tools and procedures to help facilitate communication. The biggest challenge to us has been the separation. We shockingly like each other in this studio and have found it a little difficult not to be able to hang out during the week. But we also want to keep our developers and their families safe, so this is a small price to pay. The new working from home paradigm seems to be agreeing with people, and development is proceeding from the comfort of our own homes.

Speaking of which, we are seeing more and more of the game come together. On the road to “content complete” many features are getting locked including side quests, systems, and animations. We're getting to the point where the game you'll get to play at release is clearly recognizable through the construction dust.

Side quests are where you really get to meet the World of Darkness in Bloodlines 2, just like the first game. They're also one of the main rewards for stepping off the beaten path and exploring our version of Seattle. Most of our side-quests are written, scripted, and locked down in the game, and we are very excited to share them with you. The narrative design department has been hard at work making sure these side quests feel every bit as integral to the fabric of the game as the main quests.

The game grew in other ways as well. It always was central to our vision to make players feel like a vampire through gameplay. One side of it is to create this freedom in movements that a mere mortal could never experience. This led us to the decision to expand your baseline Thinblood abilities to traversal - you can use Chiropteran Glide, Mentalism Pull for specific objects or Nebulation through vents at any time, regardless of your primary Thinblood Discipline choice. We went through the game, particularly the hubs, and investigated all the ways we could make them even more exciting and seamless for you to use. These powers have been with us for a long time, and we can fully leverage their potential uses throughout all levels for puzzles, rewards, and perhaps some secrets for you to find.

We organized a mocap session in February, focusing on facial and dialogue animations. Our animation team has been polishing things like the feeding animations, combat, Discipline usage, and other vampire mainstays (no devs were hurt in the recording of this mocap session, proof in images).

Thanks for reading and stay safe!
The Bloodlines 2 gameplay footage we saw last year is pretty old now. I expect we'll finally get to see the game in action again in the summer, though with E3 cancelled and everything shut down it might not be the way they planned on doing it.

There are 1 comments on Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #10: Sidequests and Traversal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 30 March 2020, 20:26:50

Tags: Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord; TaleWorlds

Before the Kickstarter era, Mount & Blade was considered one of the Codex's great games. In an age of linear popamole, here was a complex sandbox action-RPG and medieval combat simulator, where players could fight on horseback, participate in large-scale battles and lay siege to castles. The ultimate incarnation of the Mount & Blade formula was 2010's Mount & Blade: Warband, which was followed over the years by various third party spinoffs of generally middling quality while developer TaleWorlds worked on a proper sequel. Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord was announced in 2012 and has since become one of gaming's more notorious vaporware titles. Today, seven and a half years later, we at last have a release - not the release, but an Early Access release. Here's the launch trailer and an excerpt from the Early Access FAQ:

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?
“While we do not have a set date for a full release at this moment in time, we expect that the game will be in early access for around a year. Our focus is on ensuring that the game is fun and enjoyable rather than imposing a deadline that might have a negative impact on the final product.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?
“The early access version of the game contains a wealth of content that will keep players engaged for many hours. While the early access version is very much stable and playable, players can expect to run into some obscure bugs and other issues while playing that we intend to locate and fix before the full release.

The early access version will be reusing scenes for different towns, may lack some supporting features, may have a limited number of quests, voice-overs, etc. and may lack localizations for some languages.

Throughout the course of the early access period we intend to introduce the missing supporting features, such as, rebellions, kingdom creation and weapon crafting, while expanding and enhancing many of the existing features that are outlined below.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?
“In terms of content, the early access version of the game contains all of the main staples of the Mount & Blade experience, with a host of content that is new to the series. Players can create their own character using the game’s character creation system; explore the continent of Calradia; gather their own warband of troops; command and fight alongside their troops in large scale battles using the game’s extensive command system and intuitive skill-based directional combat system; raid settlements; lay siege to and capture enemy towns and castles; trade items and goods using the game’s deep economy system; engage in politics and diplomacy; manage their own clan; upgrade and manage settlements; gather armies and wage war; and much, much more... all in a vast singleplayer sandbox setting where no two playthroughs are the same. The early access version also includes fully supported multiplayer game modes for players to test their combat skills and tactical prowess against players from all over the world.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?
“There is no plan to change pricing after early access.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?
“We intend to use a range of different methods to gather player feedback and data throughout the early access period. These include engaging with users directly on our official forum and our Steam forum, requesting specific feedback through questionnaires, hosting and participating in multiplayer events alongside our community, and using analytics tools to gather data.”​

The Bannerlords Early Access is available on Steam for $50 with a 10% launch discount for the next two weeks. That's not cheap, but it sounds like it's pretty good. In these virus-haunted times, the game is sure to do well. Though of course, for that same reason, I'd take the over on its final release date.

There are 36 comments on Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord out on Early Access

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 30 March 2020, 14:20:48

Tags: Alpha Protocol; Dwarfs; Kevin Saunders; Matt Barton; Neverwinter Nights 2; Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer; Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir; Obsidian Entertainment

The latest episode of Matt Barton's interview with Kevin Saunders finally leaves Torment behind and works its way back to Kevin's years at Obsidian. Kevin was the lead designer on Dwarfs and afters its cancellation was briefly involved with Alpha Protocol, so he only arrived on Neverwinter Nights 2 near the end of its development. His next major role was as lead designer on the Mask of the Betrayer expansion, which is the main topic of the first half of the episode. Did you know that George Ziets wanted to resign from Obsidian because he was dissatisfied with how the story was turning out and Kevin persuaded him to stay? Also, apparently it was Feargus Urquhart who pushed for the implementation of the expansion's new camera options and for the addition of the Genasi races.

The second half of the episode is about Storm of Zehir, though it quickly turns into a series of digressions about the proper taxonomical classification of RPGs with full party character creation and the idea of using procedural generation to create dialogue. In practice, Kevin only had a minor oversight role on Storm of Zehir as he was simultaneously working on the cancelled Aliens: Crucible. He credits Tony Evans as the primary lead on the expansion and Nathaniel Chapman for coming up with the concept of the world map layer.

Matt says there are two more episodes left to go. If he is working his way backwards that means the next one might be about Knights of the Old Republic II, though I wouldn't mind hearing more about Aliens: Crucible first.

There are 7 comments on Matt Chat 446: Kevin Saunders on Mask of the Betrayer and Storm of Zehir

Wed 25 March 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 25 March 2020, 22:48:32

Tags: Action Squad Studios; Daedalic Entertainment; Iron Danger

These are good times for those interested in tactical RPGs with unusual combat systems. We posted about Action Squad Studios' Iron Danger back in 2018. As with Broken Lines, the developers have danced back and forth between calling it a tactical RPG or merely a tactical combat game. But it still seems to be what it was then - a colorful steampunk fantasy game inspired by Finnish folklore and featuring simultaneous turn-based combat with time manipulation abilities. Last year the game was picked up by Daedalic Entertainment and its release date was finally announced in January. In addition to the launch trailer, they also put together a longer feature trailer that should give you a good idea of what it's about.

If you want to give it a try, Iron Danger is available on Steam or GOG for a not-so-cheap $35 with a 15% launch discount (for two weeks on Steam but only one on GOG for some reason).

There are 13 comments on Iron Danger Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 25 March 2020, 17:03:00

Tags: Anshar Studios; Gamedec

The Kickstarter campaign for Gamedec, the cyberpunk virtual world detective RPG from Anshar Studios based on the novels of Polish author Marcin Przybyłek, has gone live. Anshar have put together a rather straightforward pitch with a brief but thorough pitch video. There isn't any new information here that we didn't know already, but the video does offer a glimpse of Gamedec's third virtual world, which is clearly some sort of medieval fantasy roleplaying game.

The Kickstarter tiers are pretty nice. Right now you can get the game for just $20. All the tiers come with beta access, and there don't appear to be any exclusive in-game rewards at the higher ones. Anshar are looking to raise $50,000 towards Gamedec's development, which is entirely doable for a title with these sorts of production values, even if the campaign has flown completely under the radar. The game's estimated delivery date is December 2020, with the beta due out sometime in Q2 2020.

There are 43 comments on Gamedec now on Kickstarter

Tue 24 March 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 24 March 2020, 23:49:13

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous

When the Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter campaign concluded earlier this month, there were still six companions left who hadn't been properly introduced. I guess it made sense for Owlcat to save some of them for the game's long development, starting from today's Kickstarter update. Meet Regill, a formidable Hellknight from Cheliax who also happens to be a gnome.

The crusade is a noble quest, a march to glory, a chance to save the world and do things that matter… right?

Wrong. The crusade is just another war. And Golarion is losing.

At least, this is what the Hellknights think.

Merciless and deadly, clad in black armor, they have come from infernal Cheliax to prove that, when empowered with law and discipline, an army can achieve more than by noble intentions and good will. They have no authority above them other than their order’s regulations and no compassion for anyone, least of all the pathetic failures who can’t even hold the demons at bay.

Paralictor Regill Derenge is one of the strictest and most ruthless Hellknight officers. He doesn’t have hopes—he has goals. He doesn’t have doubts—he has discipline. Every risk he takes is calculated. Every stratagem he devises is the most efficient.

Casualties? Manageable. Compassion? A debilitating luxury. Training? To the fullest extent. Evil? Lawful evil.

Needless to say, all these qualities are rare for a gnome.

Indeed, Regill is far from representative of his people. While other gnomes crave new experiences and sensations to stop the bleaching—a process of physical decolorization and aging, which is considered an affliction—Regill accepts it as a natural state, and doesn’t bother himself to care. Of course, he has too many urgent tasks to spend time indulging excessive curiosity or other weaknesses. He’d rather purge them with morbid rituals of reckoning.

In battle, Regill dashes to the mob of chaotic creatures, smiting them with measured, precise blows. His effectiveness is the result of strict hellknight training, and his control helps him to assess the situation on the battlefield and choose the best course of action.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re his commander or his friend—Regill fights alongside you because he volunteered to do so. While his disfavor has consequences, so too does his esteem. His respect and loyalty are difficult to earn, but, once secured, will pay off a hundredfold.
Hell yeah.

There are 13 comments on Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Kickstarter Update #45: Regill the Hellknight

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 24 March 2020, 23:21:08

Tags: Beamdog; Neverwinter Nights; Neverwinter Nights: Dark Dreams of Furiae; Phantom Compass; Silverstring Media

We spotted a new Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition DLC on SteamDB last month. Sure enough, it was another premium module - this time a brand new one rather than a remaster of an Ossian classic. Developed by indie outfits Silverstring Media and Phantom Compass, Dark Dreams of Furiae is a mystery adventure set in the devil-controlled planar city of Furiae, where a new drug is causing social unrest. The description states that the module's story coincides with the Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus tabletop campaign, so I guess it's meant to be a tie-in product.

Dark Dreams of Furiae is a fantasy RPG module for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition. The characters and events of this module coincide with the official Dungeons & Dragons tabletop campaign, Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus.

  • 10 hours of brand new gameplay for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition
  • Solo and co-op play
  • Original Music Score
  • Takes characters from level 5 to level 8
  • Time is of the essence: day/night cycle marches on; your choices bring new events
  • Daily news sheet adapts to your decisions and gives adventure clues
  • Based on the Planescape D&D campaign setting
  • Events coincide with official D&D tabletop campaign, Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus
Dark Dreams of Furiae: A City on the Edge of Hell

In the fallen city of Furiae, ruled by devils and despots, a quiet war wages for the hearts and minds of the people. Into this chaos, a new arcane substance is smuggled: worldwine. Worldwine is deadly to devils, and turns mortals into dream-addled fanatics.

As a mortal of Furiae, you have a vested interest in this new operation. Could worldwine serve as a tool against the oppressive regime? Or will a passive populace simply succumb to their rule? What dark forces hide beneath the city, feeding on the dreams of the afflicted? Fight to save a damned city in this planar mystery adventure…
Dark Dreams of Furiae is available on Steam and GOG for just $5 with a 10% launch discount until next week. From the description it sounds kind of interesting, but I guess it's a pretty small thing.

There are 60 comments on Dark Dreams of Furiae is a new Neverwinter Nights premium module based in the Planescape setting

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 24 March 2020, 22:40:34

Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios

Remember when the Copper Dreams beta was supposed to come out on November 15th? Haha well, it's finally actually out today. And yes, the game's art style has completely changed yet again. Apparently Joe & Hannah didn't have time to write a Kickstarter update, so they just sent out this email.

Sorry about the delay — Hannah and I weren’t 100% happy with some of the feelings and visuals that we were going to release with the beta, and we’ve been busy fine tuning all those elements. We’re finally catching up! The Steam build has been now updated with these assets and tech that we've worked on since the alpha. We’ve implemented some lovely sprites based on what we’ve been working on with the SitS expansion, and they’ve brought a lot of clarity to the PC and NPCs in the game, especially with positions and limb highlighting/damage. Map visuals adjusted to match, as well as LOS and lighting from the alpha. More notable changes below, as well as additions.

We’re starting the beta with modified versions and connections of some of the first maps in the game from Block 8. We’ll be putting in the start of the game proper shortly, but in the meantime all skills are available for testing. There are two medical stations available, and to test combat and skills the goal is to wipe out all the thugs street-side.


All Skills primarily abilities available, more to come through beta:

Biohack: Psi-attack any enemies in visual to distort your image to make it appear as if there are duplicates shimmering around you — they’ll attack one of these at random. If an NPC uses this, the player cannot precise aim any of the targets, and they are all indistinguishable from the real target.

Burglary: Currently you can lockpick doors and chests so you don’t need keycards or to destroy them.

Social: All previous social skills available: i.e. can convince enemies to leave or neutral NPCs to follow.

Chemistry: with vials and chemicals, you can combine to make various types of chemical bombs via the chemistry menu.

Hacking: Can try to hack computers, with various difficulties resulting in more or less passwords you can guess during a hack, each being a new roll for pass/fail. Too many fails lock you out.

Can also build drones with enough drone parts and a given weapon for it to use.


Lighting and movement more fluid — lighting is based off any floors given vertex light, instead of tile light. These are (roughly) evenly distributed, update-able in realtime with taking out lights or using flashlights/muzzle flashes, and are more engaging to interact with. This tech was previously the hatch-lines in the alpha, and has been altered to be the main lighting operations. This has been smoothed out with a nice dither instead for better clarity, as the hatches were a bit difficult to read for the main lighting.

Cybernetics: A few charges are available to distribute as you want in limb slots on top right — the PC starts with some cybernetics attached, which can be switched out or modified later, as well as how much power and mental stability they can afford to power them. More details to come.

Virtues: All the stats from these were overhauled from alpha to now be designated by various advantage and disadvantages chosen at character creation and during level-ups. We’ll be finishing up the character and creation screen (and item/action descriptions) in a coming update.
Our users who have played it report that the beta scenario is minimalistic, with strange and unintuitive gameplay. The new graphics don't seem to be too popular either. Hopefully they'll release something better soon along with a proper update, though I think we've learned not to hold our breaths with this game.

There are 14 comments on Copper Dreams Beta Released

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 24 March 2020, 22:12:11

Tags: Anshar Studios; Gamedec

IGN have gotten their hands on some new Gamedec gameplay footage. Unlike PC Gamer they upload to YouTube, so we can post about it today. The story here is that the player character has been hired to rescue the son of a corporate executive who has gotten himself trapped in a sleazy and violent virtual world called Twisted & Perverted. The writing is still kind of wonky, but it's certainly more interesting to watch than Harvest Time.

The end of the video casually reveals that Gamedec will be going to Kickstarter on March 25th, which is tomorrow(!). The fact that I was surprised by this doesn't bode well for its success, but I guess we'll see.

There are 2 comments on Gamedec Gameplay Footage at IGN - Kickstarter launching tomorrow

Mon 23 March 2020

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 23 March 2020, 00:20:38

Tags: inXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Matt Barton; Torment: Tides of Numenera

Matt Barton has uploaded the second episode of his interview with Kevin Saunders. It turns out they're not done talking about Torment: Tides of Numenera yet. Matt asks Kevin about the difference between working with publishers and working with Kickstarter, where players are in effect the publisher. As an example he brings up Torment's combat system backer poll, where turn-based won by a tiny margin. That leads to an extended discussion, taking up almost two thirds of the episode, in which Kevin lays out his thoughts about decision-making and dealing with player feedback in game development.

In the final third of the episode, Matt circles back and asks Kevin about the decision to use Monte Cook's Numenera setting for Torment. Kevin reveals that he actually preferred Numenera over Planescape, because it spared his team from having to create an inevitably disappointing sequel or callback to Planescape: Torment, because he thought Numenera's systems were more suitable for computer adaptation than Dungeons & Dragons (not sure I agree there), but mostly because it gave the team a direct line to the setting's creator. Monte was apparently easy to work with and rarely demanded that content be changed, although Kevin does appear to obliquely confirm certain stories we've heard about his dissatisfaction with the game's portraits.

That being said, Kevin doesn't know what Monte thought about the final game. Nor can he answer that question himself, because it turns out he was so bummed out about being fired that he was never able to bring himself to play it. He knows little about what happened to the game after his departure, but he has full confidence in the team that he left behind.

There are 28 comments on Matt Chat 445: Kevin Saunders on Torment: Tides of Numenera, Part Two

Wed 18 March 2020

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 18 March 2020, 23:37:26

Tags: Brian Fargo; David Rogers; inXile Entertainment; Tim Campbell; Wasteland 3

Last week, in response to the cancellation of GDC 2020 due to the coronavirus epidemic, Microsoft announced that they'd put together an online replacement conference called Game Stack Live. We were a bit surprised to discover that there was a Wasteland 3 segment on the second day of the event. The topic of the segment is iteration - the process by which inXile continually replay and refine their games during development in order to hopefully make them more fun. It begins with a fancy ten minute dev diary-style video featuring Brian Fargo, game director Tim Campbell and lead designer David Rogers, followed by an additional twenty minute panel discussion with the latter two. The dev diary was also uploaded as a separate video:

Although it doesn't go into any deep detail, I found this to be a fairly insightful session. However, grognards may be upset that inXile's process of iteration in Wasteland 3 has led to the discarding of certain hardcore mechanics from the previous game.

There are 8 comments on Wasteland 3 Developer Diary & Panel Discussion on Game Stack Live

Tue 17 March 2020

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 17 March 2020, 22:23:28

Tags: Brian Fargo; David Rogers; inXile Entertainment; Jeremy Kopman; Tim Campbell; Wasteland 3

As promised, the Wasteland 3 backer beta went live today. inXile announced the news with a brief Fig update:

The Wasteland Backer Beta is now live on Steam! To those of you who backed the game at the Early Bird ($25) or higher tier, you'll have received an invite to claim your Beta key from CrowdOx (be sure to check your spam!). For more information on the Beta, how to play, and how to give us feedback, we highly recommend checking out our last Backer Beta Fig Update.

The Beta offers a look at the first few hours of the Wasteland 3 experience, from the game's opening cinematic, through creating your characters and establishing a base, to your first steps into the deep and reactive narrative of a post-apocalyptic Colorado.

If you're not in the Beta we highly recommend checking out press coverage from around the web, as well as livestreams on Mixer and Twitch. In fact, we're going to be joining Mixer on the official Xbox channel at 1pm PDT later today, March 17! Join our devs as they join a casual stream and answer your questions.

Thank you to all the backers to which this quite literally would not have been possible. Thank you for your patronage and passion, and we look forward to finishing the game and getting it in your hands.
There is indeed a good amount of press coverage. Journalists seem to be impressed by the game's exceptionally brutal opening sequence, in which the Ranger convoy to Colorado is ambushed by a bloodthirsty cannibal clan. The previews also include details about the skill and perk systems, which weren't available in last year's alpha build. Here's a list of them:

The Wasteland 3 backer beta is available to all backers, so there won't be any shortage of gameplay footage on YouTube. In addition to today's livestream on the Xbox Twitch channel, there will also be a talk about the game tomorrow at Microsoft's Game Stack Live developer conference.

There are 10 comments on Wasteland 3 Fig Update #37: Backer Beta Released, Previews and Interviews

Mon 16 March 2020

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 16 March 2020, 16:05:23

Tags: inXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Matt Barton; Torment: Tides of Numenera

Matt Barton's interview with former Obsidian and inXile game director Kevin Saunders begins on a somber note. Kevin has been working at a robotics company called Embodied since 2018, but he's been on extended leave since last summer after being diagnosed with colon cancer. He's been undergoing chemotherapy and unfortunately it sounds like his odds aren't the greatest. Like Matt, we wish Kevin all the best and find it a bit awkward to continue with the interview after learning that, but continue we must. For this interview, Matt chose to start from the present day and work his way backwards, so the next topic of discussion is Adhara, the cancelled fantasy co-op RTS that Kevin worked on at Nexon back in 2016-2017. The game's setting was created by Neal Hallford and the twist would have been that it was secretly set in our universe 1000 years into the future. Some of the design documents can be seen in the video.

However, the majority of the episode is focused on Torment: Tides of Numenera and the recurring question of how it went wrong. Kevin has a more wide-ranging take on this than George & Colin. Despite the fact that it was a record breaker on Kickstarter at the time, he says the game didn't really have a large enough budget. There wasn't enough time to iterate and it was also in preproduction for too long. Kevin agrees that the game had too many stretch goals and reveals that to a large extent he was simply copying what the Project Eternity Kickstarter had done half a year earlier, under the assumption that Obsidian knew what they were doing. This proved even more unsuitable for a game like Torment because of its greater visual diversity which made map creation more expensive. The game was also hurt by the postponement of Wasteland 2 past its (wildly unrealistic) original release date of late 2013.

In summary, Kevin appears to feel regretful about the expectations and constraints that were placed on him by working with Kickstarter. He does think that the compromises he arrived at, such as turning the Meres into text-based CYOA sequences, were reasonable ones. Ultimately, he's found that game development and oncology have something in common. They're both far less of an exact science than people might think.

There are 25 comments on Matt Chat 444: Kevin Saunders on Torment: Tides of Numenera

Sun 15 March 2020

Codex Review - posted by Infinitron on Sun 15 March 2020, 17:01:50

Tags: Broken Lines; PortaPlay

The Codex front page can be a pretty weird place. Sometimes there's a game that everybody has played but nobody feels like reviewing (*cough cough* Pathfinder: Kingmaker). Other times, you might have a game that one guy played and found really interesting. Broken Lines is that kind of game - a WW2-themed tactical RPG with Frozen Synapse-style simultaneous turn-based combat, which is something I've personally been wanting to see more of for years. In his comprehensive review, the esteemed Strange Fellow finds Broken Lines to be a fun but somewhat lightweight experience. Here's an excerpt:

One perhaps controversial point that I want to make at this point has to do with the move away from simulationist design which has become fairly common in modern squad tactics, arguably heralded by the rebooted XCOM series. In a nutshell, games that do this will often treat guns, auxiliary items and physical abilities more like D&D spells than their real-life counterparts. This annoys me to no end when it's applied to games with more "realistic" backdrops, because in addition to throwing believability out the window, it also tends to hamper creative play across the board. Gone are the days of tossing a backup weapon from soldier to soldier when your front man’s gun jams in a tight spot, or rushing over to a fallen enemy to pick up the grenade he dropped – sacrificed for the commodification of tactical manoeuvres.

So where does Broken Lines fall on this scale? The answer is somewhere in the middle. Like Firaxis XCOM, grenades and healing items are not singular objects, but abilities of sorts, which are assigned to your units at the start of a mission and which have a set number of uses, replenish for each battle, and cannot be redistributed or dropped in the field. What’s more disappointing is that there is also no looting of any kind, apart from the aforementioned supply caches. Enemies will not drop their items, and you will find no stashes of weapons or auxiliaries in the maps themselves. The only way to gain new stuff is to buy it from the merchant. Your own weapons can’t be dropped or swapped mid-mission either, and all guns have unlimited ammo.

None of this gels at all with the premise of the story nor with the gameplay itself. You’re supposed to be commandeering a small group of soldiers stranded behind enemy lines, scrounging for survival, yet the resource management, which should have been a major concern, is practically non-existent. At no point will you have to think carefully about rationing supplies in the field (by which I mean actual supplies like grenades or healing items, not food), because they don’t really exist, and there are no overarching worries beyond making sure your soldiers don’t die. The best games manage to weave long-term strategic considerations into the moment-to-moment tactical decision-making; Broken Lines, despite the overall structure providing a perfect slate, doesn’t even try.

The actual combat mechanics fare a lot better in this regard, though they haven’t been spared completely. For one, bullets that miss their target will disappear into the ether when the maximum range of the weapon that fired it is reached. Then there are some downright silly abilities, like “Drunken”, which boosts courage at the expense of accuracy for a short while (to top it off, this is also completely useless).

However, there are a couple of cool systems that make up for it. First is the fact that bullets in Broken Lines are real game objects, which means that each one will travel until it hits something (or gets swallowed by the god of Balance if it travels too far), whether that something is an enemy, an ally, or a piece of scenery. This is good because it makes cover work like it should, which is by actually blocking the path of incoming fire rather than just conveying a flat reduction to enemy accuracy.

Another advantage of this is that it feeds into another cool system, which is stress. The stress mechanic is central to the combat of Broken Lines, and it works like this: in addition to HP, each soldier has a stress bar which fills up when bullets pass near them. When it reaches a threshold, the soldier will panic for a few seconds. A panicking soldier will look for an escape route, and if he finds one he’ll run for it, but most of the time he’ll just cower in place. You won’t be able to issue orders to a panicking soldier until he calms down.

Stressing out your enemies is essential to taking them down, which means that automatic weapons are going to be your new best friends. All weapons in this category fall under the "SMG" type, and in addition to the high rate of fire, they have another trick up their sleeve that make their suppressive capabilities even more powerful. Each weapon type in the game, in addition to its native properties, has a distinct special firing mode, and the special firing mode of the SMG consists simply of rattling off at full blast blanketing a specified area with heavy fire. It’s inaccurate, but guaranteed to cause any enemies within it to panic, and you can direct it at will rather than just have it target the closest enemy. This means that the primary usage of the SMG is to pin down enemies in cover and cut off any escape routes, while the rest of the squad moves in and takes them down from the flanks. This can be combined with camouflage from thick vegetation, as well as elevation bonuses, for some properly devastating manoeuvres. It's nice to see that after years of games that either ignore the potential of this mechanic or else half-ass the implementation, a game has finally been made that gets cover fire right.

So how do missions actually play out? Well, most of the time you’ll pick out a route at the beginning that takes you to the finish point, ideally via any supply caches that may be present, and then advance along it, engaging in the suppress-and-flank dance whenever you encounter groups of hostiles. That’s pretty much it.

And you know what? It’s a lot of fun. There are a few key things that make it work. First of all, there’s the fact that the onus is generally on you to advance while enemies wait for you to approach, meaning that there’s almost never an occasion to pull out the old “line up the firing squad and wait for the enemy to file into a bottleneck like lemmings” trick. The score system also helps here, since if you want to get a perfect score you can’t dawdle. This is thrown into relief during the few missions where you’re tasked with defending yourself against an enemy counterattack or ambush, at which point the game turns into a tower defence of sorts, which isn't nearly as much fun.

Moreover, battles also encourage you to stay mobile as much as possible. A lot of cover is destructible and will be decimated by machine gun volleys within a single turn, and grenades and heavier artillery, should the enemy have it, will wreck your soldiers no matter what sort of cover they're hiding behind, not to mention that enemy soldiers aren’t afraid to move to better positions if you let them.

This all combines to make battles very dynamic affairs. I’ve thought about why I’ve had more fun with this game than it feels like I should, given how basic it is. It boils down, I think, to the simple recipe of a few interlocking systems pulling in the same direction. The game wants to constantly keep you moving and moving around and behind enemies, and every facet of gameplay serves to reinforce this idea. It does this with very little variation throughout, since you'll mostly be fighting the same enemies from beginning to end, and you'll have access to all the weapon types from the get-go. And yet it works. If I might make another return to my XCOM vendetta, there’s a marked contrast here in that the tactical layer of Broken Lines seems to encourage you to explore its workings and get familiar with it, instead of covering a pedestrian foundation with an ever-increasing load of fancy toys.
Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Broken Lines

There are 16 comments on RPG Codex Review: Broken Lines

Sat 14 March 2020

Community - posted by felipepepe on Sat 14 March 2020, 02:11:47

2020 has been a slow year for RPGs so far, and apparently we will spend a lot of time indoors, so we're having some fun & drama in the forums: a voting for the best non-RPG PC games!


1. You can vote for up to 20 games, divided into three tiers:
5 games for 5 points
5 games for 3 points
10 games for 1 point

2. NO RPGs. We already have Top RPG polls, this is for everything else. If it's on our Top 101 RPGs list, it can't be voted here.

3. NO CONSOLE GAMES (ports are ok).

4. Voting ends on March 21st (you can edit your votes until then).

5. No Codex accounts from 2020.


Also, wash your hands.

There are 33 comments on RPG Codex's Top Non-RPG PC Games

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