Good Old Games
Codex Merchandise
Donate to Codex
Putting the 'role' back in role-playing games since 2002.
Odds are, something you like very much sucks. Why? Because this is the RPG Codex
News Content Gallery People Games Companies  
Forums About Donate RSS Contact Us!  

Sat 18 April 2015

You're in a desert, walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise. It's crawling toward you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping. Why is that? Why are you not helping?

Pre-2014 GDC videos now available for free at the GDC Vault

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Sat 18 April 2015, 00:48:18

Tags: Brian Fargo; Chris Avellone; Divinity: Original Sin; Fallout; Fallout: New Vegas; J.E. Sawyer; John Gonzales; Pillars of Eternity; Swen Vincke; Tim Cain

Visit our sponsors! (or click here and disable ads)

Over the years, various RPG developers have given talks about their work at the Game Developers Conference. These talks were recorded, but were almost always kept locked behind a paywall on the GDC Vault website. Recently, it seems the GDC management have realized the absurdity of this policy, and they've begun to release videos for free at a faster pace. It now appears that pretty much every recorded panel from before 2014 is available for viewing. Here's a selection of them, along with a few that were already free before, because why not:

Josh does like giving speeches. There's also another Tim Cain talk about Wildstar, the MMO he worked on before rejoining with his comrades on Obsidian, and a whole bunch of narrative design group panels in which Chris Avellone was but one of many participants. Not to mention countless other talks by developers from other companies. Fun for the whole weekend!

There are 37 comments on Pre-2014 GDC videos now available for free at the GDC Vault

Thu 16 April 2015
Telepath Tactics Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 16 April 2015, 20:10:00

Tags: Craig Stern; Sinister Design; Telepath Tactics

Telepath Tactics, Craig Stern's tactical RPG inspired by Japanese classic Fire Emblem, was released today, two years after the conclusion of its second Kickstarter campaign (and around two and a half since its unsuccessful original one). Here's the game's release trailer, which lives up to the title, and the description from its Steam page:



The indie lovechild of Fire Emblem and Super Smash Brothers, Telepath Tactics is a strategy RPG with destructible battlefields, bridge- and barricade-building, and the ability to fling enemies off cliffs and into lava.

Play through a story-driven campaign with dozens of unique characters in a steampunk fantasy universe filled with telepathic generals, tribes of bipedal komodo dragons, and knights who ride atop giant, armored praying mantises:

It was deep winter when young Emma and Sabrina Strider fled slavery in the mines of Kovit. Exhausted and on the verge of starvation, they were found and taken in by a tribe of Lissit, reptilian warriors, who raised the sisters as their own. Now Emma trains tirelessly, bent on revenge and the prospect of rescuing their ailing father from bondage. But the years are never kind to a miner, and time grows desperately short. The sisters will need all of their wits—and the help of some unlikely allies—if they are to succeed…
  • Shove enemies off of cliffs! Fling enemies into environmental hazards like traps, water, and lava!
  • Destroy walls, freeze water, build bridges and lay explosives, changing the face of the battlefield to your advantage!
  • Build an army from among 23 different classes; learn more than 110 distinct attacks as you level up your characters, then promote those characters to powerful prestige classes!
  • Deal with merchants to keep your army well-supplied; make hard choices about your priorities both on and off the battlefield.
  • Play with friends in 2-6 player hotseat multiplayer matches with randomized item drops, multiple play modes, and support for army alliances!
  • Use the Telepath Tactics map editor to build your own campaigns, and download other peoples’ creations to play!
One of the interesting things about the game is Craig Stern's deterministic approach to RPG combat; you can read more about it here.

In a blog post on his company's website, Craig tells the story of the game's creation, which has been going on for longer than you might think:

Finally, let’s cap this off with some perspective on the history of Telepath Tactics’s development. I first started working on Telepath Tactics back in March 2009 during my last couple of months of law school. In between studying for final exams and working on Telepath RPG: Servants of God, I was tinkering with the basics of an engine that would come to be the basis for the game you now see.

Telepath RPG: Servants of God released in February 2012, at which point I was able to give Telepath Tactics my full attention. A little more than a year after that, I successfully Kickstarted Telepath Tactics to the tune of $41,259–all of which (and a good deal more!) went into making the game.

Now, a whopping 6 years after I first began work on it, Telepath Tactics is finally getting released. I’m a solo developer, and it’s been quite challenging to create this game while holding down a day job. Regardless, I think I’ve accomplished something special here: a tactical RPG on PC with a large cast of charming, well-written characters, mod support, and unparalleled tactical depth. I hope you enjoy playing the game as much as I’ve enjoyed making it for you!​

Congratulations, Craig, and thanks for the amusing email! Telepath Tactics is now available for the price of $15 on Steam, GOG, or directly from Sinister Design, with a 10% discount on the first two until next week.

There are 33 comments on Telepath Tactics Released

Sun 12 April 2015
Matt Chat 286: Interview with Whalenought Studios, Part Three

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 12 April 2015, 11:38:38

Tags: Matt Barton; Serpent in the Staglands; Whalenought Studios

In the third and final part of their interview on the Matt Barton Show™, Serpent in the Staglands developers Joe & Hannah Williams talk about taking in player feedback, the importance of the game's documentation, the process of creating its lovely pixel art sprites, the advantages of the isometric perspective, and more. Lots of Codex references in this episode!


What an extraordinarily goofy interview this was. Perhaps Joe & Hannah remind Matt of his students?

There are 34 comments on Matt Chat 286: Interview with Whalenought Studios, Part Three

Fri 10 April 2015
Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #39: Ecology Overview

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 April 2015, 23:30:55

Tags: Chris Siegel; OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

In this week's Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter update, Chris Siegel gives the run-down on OtherSide's ambitious plans for structuring the game's fully simulated natural ecology. I quote:

The Underworld will have a working ecology. This will include a food chain and pyramid.

Part of the idea here is this just goes on without the player interference. There is a matrix of eat or be eaten that has been going on in the Underworld for, well, forever. And, without any outside interference it could go on indefinitely.

But, enter the player. Talk about a monkey wrench! Players will be able to affect, change and mold the ecology in ways not seen before in games. Whether the player does this intentionally or by accident, he will be able to see the effect of his actions in his environment almost immediately.

For example, our hero helps build a dam for the dwarves. Seems innocent enough, with the well-intentioned outcome of creating a water supply for their farms and forges. But, downriver this has the effect of drying out the riverbed which kills off the plant life in the surrounding cavern system. This in turn reduces the food source for the local herbivores who move away in search of a replacement. Their predators, who are not so capable of moving their home, begin to starve and resort to raiding a nearby elf village looking for sustenance (and maybe eating a few elves in the process).

Actions, well-meaning or not, all have consequences.

What creatures are apex predator in UA?


Honest answer – Dwarves and elves. But let’s put them to the side.

Fact is, we don’t know yet. What is our T-Rex? Is it a big bad thing, or is it a pack mentality animal? Hopefully it is something out of nightmares. Like this thing. Can't wait to meet something as scary as that in the Underworld!

What are the secondary predators?

Almost all of our other monsters fit here. Almost all monsters in games fit here to be honest. From dire faeries and vorpral bunnies, through giant spiders and who knows what else. These are the biggest obstacle for our players.

What are the herbivores?

Part of the role of the herbivore is to be food for others. We need some sort of herd animal like ox or cows. Maybe the rotworms can serve multiple roles in this case. They are the food source and the carrion eater. That said, we do have plants that move and mushrooms that are intelligent. Does this mean there is an herbivore that can hunt? What would a plant eater be like if the plants ran and could defend themselves?

What are the plants?

The ripper is the only plant we have at this point. We need flora. What does this mean in the Underworld? First we need to decide on other types of energy that plants have evolved to deal with. Since there is no sunlight, maybe plants absorb other energy like heat and magic. Plants should be dependent on some animals for breeding…like the service bees provide in our world. This may be a good role for dire fairies or our bats.

What are the carrion eaters?

Our rotworms and tunnel Trappers. These are the vacuum cleaners of the Underworld. They eat anything dead. Creatures eat them. They are food for many.

Of course we cannot build a real world simulation of all of this. But we can do enough, and honestly far more than most simulations have in the past to make the whole ecosystem teem with life. Life that is busy doing its own thing, not just being a backdrop for the player.

And, the reality is all we have talked about is the way our world works on a very basic level. What happens to an ecosystem when we add in magic? Where do undead fit in the food chain? Do rotworms like to eat the walking dead? Have some monsters figured out that animated skeletons will only attack what they are told to and use them as early warning systems? Do some creatures use magic, or magic like abilities for locomotion, hunting, camouflage or as lures. Is magic a food?

This is just scratching the surface of course, but this is part of the fun of early pre-production.
Wow. Like he said, this is just pre-production...but it looks like they're basically trying to go for what Irrational Games originally wanted to do with BioShock before it was butchered by focus testing. All I can say is, good luck.

There are 4 comments on Underworld Ascendant Kickstarter Update #39: Ecology Overview

Dungeons of Aledorn Kickstarter successfully funded

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 April 2015, 21:50:06

Tags: Dungeons of Aledorn; Team 21

After the Seven Dragon Saga Kickstarter campaign failed, Dungeons of Aledorn, the Arkania-inspired indie RPG by the Czech Team 21 that launched its own more modest campaign alongside it, soldiered on fearlessly. Against all odds, it was successfully funded today, reaching its goal of $60,000 only hours before the deadline. The guys and gals of Team 21 celebrated their victory with this nice photo in the campaign's final update:

[​IMG]
Team 21 will continue to accept pledges for Dungeons of Aledorn on the game's website via PayPal, although it seems that's not ready yet. In the meantime, congratulations, guys! In the end, you didn't fall between the cracks.

There are 16 comments on Dungeons of Aledorn Kickstarter successfully funded


RPG players are generally pretty addicted to the coolest form of game playing around. But what about if you are in the mood for something a little different? The people at All Slots download list their favorite slots games for you to choose from. Slots are fun and can win you a stack of cash.
Witcher 3 Official Gameplay Trailer

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 April 2015, 17:34:56

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

CD Projekt have uploaded a Witcher 3: Wild Hunt official gameplay trailer to their YouTube channel. Nothing much to say about it except that it's quite long and impressive, with an emphasis on demonstrating the wide scope and maturity of the game world. Check it out:


I laughed at ~1:51. Hype, hype, hype.

There are 49 comments on Witcher 3 Official Gameplay Trailer

Thu 9 April 2015
Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter Update #29: Gaichu Animated

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 9 April 2015, 19:03:19

Tags: Harebrained Schemes; Mitch Gitelman; Shadowrun: Hong Kong

In the latest bi-weeklyish Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter update, Mitch Gitelman introduces the animator known only as Jakob, who has been working on the game's ghoul samurai companion, Gaichu. Here's what he has to say:

Hello! My name is Jakob and I’m the new animator on the Shadowrun team. I’m extremely excited to be working on Shadowrun and, hopefully, you’ll see that passion spill over into the game. I’ll be creating an extra level of immersion through animation with small things like ambient animations for NPCs in the background as well as designing new animations for the super awesome skills that have been added to Shadowrun: Hong Kong. One thing I really want to tell you about, though, is my favorite character you’ll be running with in Hong Kong - Gaichu!

Gaichu is a samurai and one of the ways we can show this is through his movements. To help catch the nuances of his traditional samurai technique, I looked at a lot of older samurai films such as The Seven Samurai. However, Gaichu’s also a ghoul and, typically, ghouls are deteriorating and don’t have complete control over their muscles. This leads to the very unique way Gaichu moves about the world, how he swings his katana and how he deals with his opponents.

This is why Gaichu is getting a whole suite of animations where you’ll be able to see the fusion between his ghoul deterioration and his samurai training. Everything he does is his own, and no one else has the same exact animation due to his unique situation. This, in turn, makes him standout an incredible amount compared to other people you’ve met in our previous Shadowrun games.

[​IMG]

As you can see, Gaichu can utilize either side of his ghoul-samurai duality. He has an assortment of ghoul based attacks, as well as a number of new samurai-katana based attacks.

But that’s not all!

Gaichu is just one of the many characters who will get unique animations. Not all characters get full new suites of animation like Gaichu, but, oh boy, there’s a lot of new stuff coming. Almost all of the existing animations are getting pushed farther to be more appealing, and all of the unique skills your team members and you acquire will have their own animation sets. The goal is to make you and every other character you come across somewhat varied in some form or fashion. I want to try and capture the diverse universe that is Shadowrun, and a great way to do that, is body language.

Overall, I’m so excited to be working on a game that everyone on the team and all of the fans are so passionate about! It’s great to be surrounded by people constantly pushing to bigger and better heights, and to have such a dedicated community at our back.
Nice. The advantage of making these smaller RPGs is that you can really see how they increment their production values from game to game.

There are 47 comments on Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter Update #29: Gaichu Animated

Age of Decadence March Update

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 9 April 2015, 16:47:04

Tags: Age of Decadence; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

The Age of Decadence Ganezzar beta is coming to an end. In the game's March monthly update, Vault Dweller sums up what's been added up until now, and what remains to be added still. Here's an excerpt:

1. CONTENT

Today's updated added another arena (the fort, only if you're the champion of Maadoran's arena, otherwise keep walking), Hector and Darganus' quests, honorary mention of your pal Miltiades, the annalist, the Second Acolyte (if there is the First Acolyte, why not the second?), Claudia - a charming country girl with the heart of gold and her own portrait, your old pal Feng, extended conversation with Varro about his motives, and probably something else.

What's still missing?
  • The final Hector/Darganus' quests.
  • Tower infiltration to open the gates (siege only).
  • Journal (we're half done but didn't have a chance to finish it).
  • Achievements
We should be able to do everything but the achievements in a week. If there are no issues with the existing content, we'll end the beta and release this content to Early Access.

2. VISUAL AND MISC IMPROVEMENTS

We added the long awaited Legatus' tent, some siege elements, improved Meru's throne room, added new houses and interiors.

We also added new portraits, several new items and new icons for the existing unique items.

3. SYSTEM CHANGES
  • Armor can be damaged in combat and repaired. Damaged armor has lower Damage Resistance. Take it to your local blacksmith for repair or repair it yourself with the magic of Crafting!
  • Hardened and Hardened Edge techniques no longer increase damage or DR. Never liked it, didn't have anything to replace them with. Until now! Now they increase armor's hardness (defense against damage to DR not your health) and weapon's hardness (chance to damage armor's DR)
  • But what about my damage? Not to worry, my good man, buy yourself a sharpening stone and go nuts. Keep in mind, the stones come from a mine up north and are somewhat of a rarity, so use them wisely.
  • Now you can craft helmets and shields! Aint that something?
  • Now you get up to 4 techniques (that's like twice as many!)
  • Changes to armor stats and block (lower penalties, higher DR to compensate for damage and removed Hardened technique); the Imperial Armor will turn you into a juggernaut.
See the full update for a complete list of all the beta content, and some new images of portraits and inventory icons, "for the easily amused".

There are 8 comments on Age of Decadence March Update

Daemongar wins the Codex' Royal Edition copy of Pillars of Eternity

Competition - posted by DarkUnderlord on Thu 9 April 2015, 05:26:36

Tags: Pillars of Eternity; Short Story Competition

We recently held a short story competition to give away a Royal Edition copy of Pillars of Eternity.

After much consideration by the judges, we have selected Daemongar's story, "Flowers for Roguey" (a rendition of Flowers for Algernon) as the winner:

Progris riport 1 martch 3.

Mr Cain says I shoud rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on. I dont no why but he says its importint so
they will see if they can use me. I hope they use me becaus Obsideein says mabye they can make me smart. I want to be smart. My name is Joshua Sawyer

I werk in Obsideein enturtainment where Feergus Urkhart gives me 11 dollers a week and lets me kode if I want. I am 39 yeres old and next munth is my brithday. I tolld Mr Cain I cant kode good but he says it dont matter he says I shud kode just like I talk and like I kode. Rite now, they are mising a plyer for DND and they want me too creeate a caraktur for the DND game. I nevr playd a fiter befor but Tim says I shud be good!

Progris riport 2 - martch 4.

Tim says to code a lot of evrything. Today I koded hit poytes, armor and fixd enemee levuls. Like God in his hevens it seemd rite! He tolled me that I am his target market and I shud kode becaus they like what I kode. I think and evrything that happins to me but I cant think anymor because I have nothing to kode so I will close for today... yrs truly Joshua Sawyer.

Progris riport 3 - martch 8.

Went to our DND game today. I think I faled it and I think mabye now they wont let me back to the game. What happind is I went to Feerguses office on my lunch time like they said and his secertery took me to a place that said staff meeting in progres on the door. There was a bunch of guys in a room fitin! All yellin and awful soar. they stoppd yellin when I sat down and were all quiet like.

a nice man was in the room and he had some crazy dice. He sed sit down Joshua and make yourself cunfortible and rilax. He had a sports coat like a lawyer but I dont think, he was no lawyer because he dint tell me to opin my wallet. All he had was those crazy dice. His name is Chris. I fergot his last name because I dont remembir so good.

I dint know what he was gonna do and I was holding on tite to the chair like sometimes when I go to a dentist onley Chris aint no dentist neither but he kept telling me to rilax and that gets me skared because it always means its gonna hert.

So Chris sed Joshua what do you think when you heer the word balance. I sed that I think of someone who knows games and the playr gains power but also gets smartr and the enemees stay the same. A fite the playr lost erleer may be wun by not just gainng levuls but the player is better at the game with wins being part levuls and part smarts. The enemees stay the same and if the playr doeznt get smartur all the levuls wont help them. The playr can make bad choyces but thats part of the playr gettin smartr.

Chris said yes and he smild and that maid me feel good. I thot that was a easy game but when I got up to go Chris stoppd me and said now sit down Joshua we are not thru yet. Theres more we got to do with these dice. I dint understand about it but I remembired all the others in the room were still there.

Chris is very nice and he talks slow like Miss Roguey dose in her class where I go to lern C++ for slow adults. He explaned to me the modyule we wood go threw is toom of horors. He sed pepul die alot in this modyule. I said show me where. He dint show me he just kept saying imagen you are dieing. I tolld him I imagen me killin evrythng! This made evryone laff!

Progris riport 3 - martch 14.

Miss Roguey came to visit me today. She askd how I was doing. I sed good I am coding armor stats and tern based combat. she looked awful sad with this. She asked how can someone be happy with old stuff like that. I sed that there are parts that shud be in evry good game. It shows that the peepl making the game undrstnd.

Miss Roguey is so smart and pretty but she alwys looks at me cross like I shud be doing somethng bettr with my time. To make her happy I held up a picshur I drew of some gal in chain armur. She was very pretty and was almost naked but for the armur parts. It was for the covr of our new game. The girl was pritty but not as pritty as Miss Roguey but that was all I remembr befor Miss Roguey screemed and hit me ovr the hed with my keybord.


Progress Report – March 28

It would appear I was out for two weeks. I don’t remember what happened other than being at my desk speaking with … someone, and was struck. My doctor told me that I would be normal soon, and that I shouldn’t rush back to work. But I don’t feel myself. I feel different. Feargus came and visited me today and said that when I wanted to come back, the ten dollars a week would be as good as mine. This felt strange also, but I thanked him, but now I must rest.

Progress Report – April 7

I slept off and on for another week. Some doctors came to see me and were amazed. They believe that blow to the head somehow made me smarter. I pray this lasts but the doctors would like to keep me observation.

Progress Report - April 27
The fellows from work came to visit and this time they brought their D&D books. Chris said we would continue the Tomb of Horrors and that he would DM me back to health. I thanked him, as there were a steady stream of doctors visiting and tests, and I was a long way from my family in Fort Atkinson.

Chris seemed to be having a frightfully good time. For all the traps and pitfalls, I kept fighting forward but my friends were dying all around me. Tim jumped in some hole in the wall shaped like a demons head and disappeared forever. Chris just started counting backwards from 10 to one, and then Feargus blew up. But I went onward. I came to a room with a gem, and dropped my blade. I looked to the group and said “This is not balance. This must stop.”

Chris asked what was wrong. I stated that the game itself doesn’t make any sense. Armor class, saving throws, hit points are meaningless if it leads to situations where the player dies on a whim. Better to do away with all those relics and move to some system where the player stands a chance. Maybe the player could sense the traps and disable them from a distance, or come back to life after the trap and continue. Chris asked if I was alright and looked concerned. I was irritated. It could be that I was getting tired, but there was something scratching inside my head. A thought was forming that wanted out. I wished them all good night, and went back to sleep.

Progress Report – May 7
It was night when I was awoken with the thought that would define me: The player must enjoy themselves first and foremost. It was the key to Balance! The thought struck me out of the blue and made me sit bolt upright in my hospital bed. This is what we are doing wrong. I can’t stay in this hospital one more day; I must return to my job and fix my code. It was all wrong, but tonight I must try to rest… it will be a restless night for sure, yours truly J.E. Sawyer.

Progress Report – May 8
My return to my desk at Obsidian was greeted with fanfare and looks of curiosity. Entering, I kept my head down and thanked folks for the warm greeting, but insisted on getting to my desk. Imagine, when I was wheeled out these weeks past, I was a simpleton. The blinders were removed these days past, when a keyboard struck and I saw the error of my ways.

Unity! That’s the grease that moves the gears of CRPGS! What kind of degenerate was I, programming in C++? Like a proverbial Eve eating the apple (if one were to believe in such rubbish) I realized the old Joshua was more than just an idiot savant, but was ruining the world by programming his daily beggars banquet made of hit points, armor class, crude sexist drawings of impractical armor spawned just to titillate the patriarchy, turn-based combat, and saving throws!

I kicked my computer and stormed off to have a word with Feargus. He wasn’t in today, so I went back to my desk and cleaned it up. So long, “Girls of Linux” calendar, I said to myself. Into the garbage it flew. I left early with a ringing headache, and before I left, I sent out a request for a team meeting in two days.

Progress Report – May 10

Once again, I walked the halls to Feargus’ office, once I walked that path nervous and ignorant. Today I return, eyes wide open, and ready to greet my peers as more than their equal. When I arrived, I pushed the great doors to Feargus’ office open and they were all there: Tim, Chris, and Feargus. Strange, even Miss Roguey was there.

“Gentle-persons, let us talk about the state of our project.” Then I began my slideshow. I made my presentation about how games need balance. All choices should be good choices. Maces should hit for the same damage of swords. Padded armor? Yes! More spreadsheets to balance everything. No bad builds or great builds, everything is a middle of the road build because our customers don’t want accountability for their actions. With a bow, I shall finish this presentation, and I’ll sign off J.E. Sawyer


Progris riport 1 may 24.

I dont remembr much after the bow. I think I got hit good this time agin. When I got up I was back at my desk. My computr was as good as new! All the fellas stoppd by to ask me how I was and that there are som stretch goles I gotta work on. If God is willng I will finish my code make Mr Cain happy but I shur wish I new who hit me!

I love working at Obsideein but could one of the fellas please if you get a chanse please send some flowrs to Miss Roguey. I dont think she will see me agin, but I alredy miss her, yrs truly Joshua.
Congratulations Daemongar! Check your PMs for your Steam Key to PoE and get playing!

Runner-up was Mastermind with The Balance of Erich Zann. However no prizes are awarded for coming second.

Thanks to all those who entered.

There are 32 comments on Daemongar wins the Codex' Royal Edition copy of Pillars of Eternity

Wed 8 April 2015
Call of Divinity? Larian plans to release RPGs annually from three different studios

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 8 April 2015, 22:07:41

Tags: Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

The resourceful LESS T_T spotted an article in the Quebecois newspaper La Presse where Swen Vincke, while speaking of the founding of the new studio in Quebec City, detailed his plans for the emerging Larian Empire. We already know that they're working on two games now, but it looks Swen is setting his sights even higher. Here's the relevant bit, with the imperfect help of Google Translate:

For the first year, the Quebec studio Larian count ten people, a question of establishing bases here while developing business culture to the philosophy of this independent studio. They will work with the studio in Ghent and Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Within three years, the number of employees will increase to 40, so the studio Quebec will work on his own title, continues Mr. Vincke."By having three studios working on each title, we will release a game every year. It is a production rate over three years, but we prefer to make quality games rather than to hurry to make games faster. What is the difference between an independent company and one that is accountable to shareholders, "says he.

"Our goal installing us here is not to lower our production costs, but to keep making quality games in a different environment to grow.We are a small player alongside the giants, but we are totally independent and we handle ourselves stages, even distribution of our games, "says the CEO of the company with 70 people currently.
Wow. Now what does that remind me of? Clearly, Mr. Vincke likes to live dangerously. Of course, it'll be years before that schedule is in place and running, but it'll very interesting to see how sustainable it is.

There are 94 comments on Call of Divinity? Larian plans to release RPGs annually from three different studios

Tue 7 April 2015
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided revealed in May issue of Game Informer

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 April 2015, 23:37:51

Tags: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided; Eidos Montreal; Square Enix

Just over a year ago, we first learned that Square Enix had trademarked the title Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. In an era of prolific Deus Ex branding, including Deus Ex Universe, Deus Ex: The Fall, and Deus Ex: Human Defiance, many weren't sure what to make of it, but it now appears that Mankind Divided is indeed the name of the next major Deus Ex title from Eidos Montreal. Square have set up some sort of elaborate viral ARG to officially announce it, but now Game Informer seem to have jumped the gun, announcing that the game will be featured in their May issue. That's official enough for me, so here are the details:

The original Deus Ex is one of the most critically acclaimed shooter/RPG hybrids of all-time. In 2011, Eidos-Montreal resurrected the dormant franchise with Human Revolution, giving the series an updated look while remaining true to the player choice-driven gameplay. Eidos-Montreal knew its game wasn’t perfect, and has worked to improve the series' combat systems and boss encounters for the latest entry in the series – Mankind Divided.

Set in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, Adam Jensen returns and joins forces with an Interpol-funded task force aiming to hunt down and capture augmented terrorists in a world that now hates and fears transhumans. Jensen has a new suite of augmentations that allow him to cleverly navigate stealth, combat, and social interactions, but how Jensen chooses to solve every problem is entirely up to you.

At the end of Human Revolution, the Illuminati caused every transhuman to go into a fight-or-flight response and attack anyone near them. In the next issue of Game Informer, you can find out how this event caused humanity to hate and fear those with augmentations. We spent two days in Eidos-Montreal's studio, talking with the team and learning about how they build a realistic future. We go in depth on some of Jensen's new augmentations that help improve the stealth and combat systems, such as the ability to remote hack electronic objects, fire off his nano blade from a distance, and surround himself with a nearly indestructible nanoshield. We also got some great examples on how the game will be as open ended as ever, allowing players to carve their own path through the world. You can only get these details in the latest issue of Game Informer.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided doesn't yet have a release date, but it's headed to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
In addition, a Russian website called Kanobu has leaked some information about the game, along with a bunch of screenshots, although they look more like concept art to me. Here's one of them:

[​IMG]
Yep, that's Adam Jensen, all right. Well, let's hope this is more of the The Missing Link and less of The Fall, eh? And a bit of Dishonored-inspired verticality would be nice, too. After all, they don't have that PS3/X360 low RAM excuse anymore.

There are 74 comments on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided revealed in May issue of Game Informer

CD Projekt announces two Witcher 3 expansion packs, available for pre-order

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 April 2015, 21:29:38

Tags: Blood and Wine; CD Projekt; Hearts of Stone; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

CD Projekt have mentioned the possibility of producing paid expansion packs for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt before. Today, with the main game just over a month from release, they've made the interesting choice of announcing not one but two of them, to be released in October and early next year, respectively. The announcement post on GOG explains:

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is almost here. That means the game is pretty much finished, and the devs are about to take a deep breath while CD-presses and hype machines slowly wind up to take things through the home stretch. It's not gold yet, but now that development is coming to an end, the CD PROJEKT RED team is ready to start their work on two new, ambitious monster-hunting expansions.

The expansions will be called Hearts of Stone, and Blood and Wine. Combined, they'll offer over 30 hours of new adventures for Geralt, and the latter introduces a whole new major area to roam. More items, gear, and characters (including a few familiar faces) will all be crafted with the same attention to detail as the game itself.

Hearts of Stone is a 10-hour adventure across the wilds of No Man's Land and the nooks of Oxenfurt. The secretive Man of Glass has a contract for you - you'll need all your smarts and cunning to untangle a thick web of deceit, investigate the mystery, and emerge in one piece.

Blood and Wine is the big one, introducing an all-new, playable in-game region to The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. It will take you about 20 hours to discover all of Toussaint, a land of wine, untainted by war. And to uncover the dark, bloody secret behind an atmosphere of carefree indulgence.

There used to be a time when buying an add-on disk or expansion for your game really meant something. That's what CD PROJEKT RED are going for, it's about bringing that old feeling back. You can take it from our very own iWi, (that's Marcin Iwinski, co-founder of CD PROJEKT RED):

"We’ve said in the past that if we ever decide to release paid content, it will be vast in size and represent real value for the money. Both of our expansions offer more hours of gameplay than quite a few standalone games out there.”

Hearts of Stone is expected to premiere this October, while Blood and Wine is slated for release in the first quarter of 2016, so there's still plenty of time ahead. We're offering you the Expansion Pass now - it's a chance to pre-order the two expansions and even show your support for the devs. But we can't stress Marcin Iwinski's words enough:

“Don’t buy it if you have any doubts. Wait for reviews or play The Witcher and see if you like it first. As always, it’s your call."
The "expansion pass" is available for pre-order on Steam and GOG for the price of $25. I wonder if that price is going to go up after the game is released...

In other news, dorito connoisseur site IGN has gotten exclusive dibs on The Witcher 3 pre-release hype material. I'm not going to be paying too much attention to that, but yesterday they posted a video of the game's first 15 minutes. Check it out if you don't mind being spoiled.

There are 52 comments on CD Projekt announces two Witcher 3 expansion packs, available for pre-order

Mon 6 April 2015
The History of Looking Glass @ Polygon

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 6 April 2015, 19:16:00

Tags: Doug Church; Looking Glass Studios; Paul Neurath; Richard Garriott

Polygon's Mike Mahardy has written up a lengthy article recounting the history of the legendary Looking Glass Studios. Even though the article disappointingly, if perhaps expectedly, ends up calling the simplistic and not even particularly interactive Gone Home one of the true successors to the Looking Glass legacy, it is well worth a read.

Producer Lulu LaMer entered among the throngs, and as she stood in front of Neurath, she felt anxious. AverStar, a parent company, had recently divested Looking Glass because of growing debt. And the studio needed financial support to stay afloat.

"We usually had meetings on Fridays," LaMer says. "There was always some little update about attempts at funding. Maybe Sony was going to buy us, or maybe Eidos, or maybe this was going to happen."

The crowd was quiet. Team members had stumbled upon hard times, and they knew the company was in financial limbo — repo crews had already taken the plants lining the window sills while outside supervisors made sporadic visits to evaluate the company’s financials. But some still hoped that Neurath could pull them out of the hole.

"It didn't register with me that there was a slow bleed of people who saw the writing on the wall," LaMer says. "At our weekly meetings, we always had cake when somebody quit. And that year, we had cake every single week."

Looking Glass began in 1990. It was the first studio to create story-driven 3-D worlds, and it influenced designers for years to come. With titles such as Ultima Underworld, System Shock andThief, it proved that video games could be immersive phenomena.

But by 2000, Looking Glass had devolved into a collection of line graphs, each sloping downward at a steep angle.

"We’re closing," Neurath told the anxious crowd.​

And here's the bit on how the trouble started:

Throughout its lifespan, Looking Glass developed under several publishers — Electronic Arts, Nintendo, Origin Systems and Eidos Interactive. The studio also self-published three games, only one of which, Flight Unlimited, was a commercial success. It released in 1995 and, in two years, sold more than 300,000 copies. By 2002, the game would sell 780,000.

But in 1995, Looking Glass employed about 50 people, Neurath says. And Ned Lerner, Neurath’s co-founder, says the average salary at Looking Glass was $20,000. By this math, making enough money to pay everyone at Looking Glass meant wages of about $1 million a year. And that’s for normal 40-hour work weeks, a rarity throughout the studio’s time with tight deadlines and development crunch.

So in August of 1995, Neurath signed a deal with Viacom New Media in a play for financial stability. The agreement promised several titles under the new partnership, the first of which was Voyager, a graphic adventure based on the "Star Trek: Voyager" property.

But after 18 months, Viacom backed out of the partnership. Voyager was cancelled, and it was here that Looking Glass’ troubles began.

[...] Revenue from the first Thief was being burned, and a deal with the newly formed Irrational Games fell through at the last minute. The $2.5 million development cost of Thief 2 was an insurmountable hurdle.

But Looking Glass almost survived. Although Sony considered an acquisition, the studio came closest to signing a deal with Eidos.

"We all but had a deal done," Neurath says. "But at the 11th hour, they said, ‘Nope, we’re not going to do it.’"

Eidos had millions invested in developer Ion Storm, which had just suffered a major loss upon the release of Daikatana, a $40 million title that failed both commercially and critically. And the publisher couldn’t risk assuming more debt.

"My perspective is that someone there, at the executive level made the decision to pick up a bargain with the rights to Thief," Neurath says. "That, instead of picking up our entire studio."

Even now, 15 years later, the founder denies the idea that Daikatana’s failure was the nail in the coffin. That was a rumor among the developers, some say, and it got worse every time it circled back.

"It was the most painful ..." Neurath pauses. "It was very difficult. The roots of the issues go back to Viacom. It really put us at a disadvantage, and we had to exit in a way that we didn’t want to. We had no control over the company at that point."​

The full story of how and why Looking Glass had to close its doors is well told, so I recommend you read the article in full. It includes many other details, too, including a description of the "chain of nepotism" that helped form the studio in the first place.

There are 7 comments on The History of Looking Glass @ Polygon

RPG Codex Review: Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight, soon coming to PC

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 6 April 2015, 18:42:32

Tags: Little Killerz; Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight

Ah, the wonderful world of mobile RPGs... Wait, mobile RPGs? Is there anything there that could legitimately be called one? Apparently Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight can, and so esteemed community member MicoSelva has undertaken to review it for us. Thankfully, it's coming to PC in 2015, too, so we can all enjoy it soon enough. In the meantime, let's hear whether and why Tales of Illyria is worth waiting for.

Here are a few tidbits from the review to get you in the mood:

The RPG Codex first became aware of Little Killerz' Tales of Illyria back in August 2012, when its Kickstarter campaign was launched. The game's reception on the forum was somewhat lukewarm, due to issues such as its limited combat animations, the perceived dissonance between its promise of a pen & paper feel and its Final Fantasy-inspired mechanics, and Illyria being an actual place in the Balkans. The general reception was not much better, and with only $1765 raised from 97 backers out of a total $23000, the crowdfunding campaign was cancelled in September. However, the developers at Little Killerz continued to work on the game, and it was eventually released for Android on June 19th 2013, after spending some time as an Early Access release on the Google Play Store. The game's name was changed to Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight, in order to differentiate it from its sequels, the first of which, Tales of Illyria: Beyond the Iron Wall, was released on March 24th 2014, with another one on the way.

Tales of Illyria was originally planned to be released on PC as well, and after multiple delays, the full trilogy is supposed to arrive on Steam in 2015, having already been Greenlit last year.

[...] The gameplay in Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight is basically a mix of Oregon Trail-style travel sequences, a CYOA event-based narrative, and Final Fantasy-style combat. If that sounds like something unique to you then, well, it is. While none of the mechanics present here are new, they do combine into something I have not encountered before.

[...] The roads of Illyria are far from safe, and travellers can expect to encounter all sorts of events on their way to the next village/town/city/castle. These range from the very simple, such as getting attacked by a pack of wolves or finding a stranded horse, to more exotic events such as stumbling upon a cultist orgy or an entrance to a tomb, which you can then explore. Similarly, in settlements you might, for example, be vomited on by a drunkard or asked by the local guards to help with an investigation. The game is packed with these events (the developers claim there are over 700 unique sequences) and they are the definite highlight of the game in terms of writing and appeal. Although you will encounter some of the basic ones repeatedly (I must have slaughtered an identical party of slavers at least half a dozen times), many are truly unique, and sometimes they even form small sub-plots with the outcome of later encounters in the sub-plot being determined by your decisions in previous ones.

Usually events are resolved in a few minutes at most, but the largest ones, like dungeons or multi-stage combat quests can take much longer (I would estimate up to half an hour). Typically you cannot save during these events, which can be a pain in the ass, but they make for some of the most challenging content in the game and are rather satisfying to complete, even if they do not always grant the biggest rewards.

[...] Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight is a very interesting title. I could call it 'the best mobile RPG I have ever played', but that would be both overly enthusiastic and overly narrow praise (I've only played a few others, and they were mostly crap). While it has its flaws - obfuscation of mechanics and the poor UI being the most obvious ones - it is a decent game with more mechanical depth than many modern PC/console RPGs, at least on the non-combat side of things. Illyria's standout features are its random events and CYOA gameplay, so a lot depends on whether that's your kind of thing. Some will embrace the variety this design offers, excited to see what the game will throw at them next. Others will hate its inherent passiveness and become bored of watching the travel animation and tapping herbs while waiting for the next event to occur. I belong to the former group, obviously. The world of Illyria never ceased to entertain me and I was always looking forward to whatever lay ahead. The game should probably be avoided by those who play RPGs mostly for combat. This aspect of the game is rather simple, and its mechanics are too obfuscated to appeal to min-maxers.​

Read the full review: RPG Codex Review: Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight

There are 22 comments on RPG Codex Review: Tales of Illyria: Fallen Knight, soon coming to PC

Matt Chat 285: Interview with Whalenought Studios, Part Two

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 April 2015, 11:59:19

Tags: Matt Barton; Serpent in the Staglands; Whalenought Studios

Matt Barton has uploaded the second episode of his interview with Serpent in the Staglands developers Joe & Hannah Williams. In this part, they talk about character creation, the experience of working together as a married couple, the previous games they've developed for mobile platforms, form vs function in UI design, randomization, and more.


It's interesting that they say that development for mobile platforms has become prohibitive for indie developers due to excessive QA requirements, which is historically what's often been claimed about development for PC.

There are 4 comments on Matt Chat 285: Interview with Whalenought Studios, Part Two

Sun 5 April 2015
Quest for Infamy prequel Roehm to Ruin and new adventure Order of the Thorne, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sun 5 April 2015, 21:29:00

Tags: Infamous Quests; Order of the Thorne: The King's Challenge; Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin; Steven Alexander

Infamous Quests, developers of adventure-RPG Quest for Infamy, have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their next two games. One of them is a short prequel to QFI with the puntastic title of Quest for Infamy: Roehm to Ruin. The other is a larger project called Order of the Thorne: The King's Challenge, a King's Quest-like pure adventure game which is intended to be the first in an anthology. Here's the Kickstarter video, featuring Infamous Quests founder and Codex bro Steve "Blackthorne" Alexander, and the project overview:



Infamous Quests are the creators of the well-received point & click Role Playing Adventure Game, Quest For Infamy. In 2012 we rallied together a fantastic number of backers on Kickstarter who made Quest for Infamy a possibility.

Quest for Infamy was once just a dream in the minds of its creators, but thanks to Kickstarter and many of you, it became a reality. It has gone on to be noted as one of IndieDB's Top 100 Indie Games of 2014, as well as one of Time.com's 20 Games to Watch For Summer 2014. Recently, Quest For Infamy took home four AGS Awards - Best Gameplay, Best Puzzles, Best Character and Best Music and Sound.

Now, we're currently working on two new titles, and we need financial support to help complete and polish these two titles.

The Order of the Thorne: The King's Challenge is the first game in an upcoming anthology series from Infamous Quests. Games and stories set within the same land, but with different protagonists and stories in each game. Our first game is about an intrepid bard who embarks on the King's Challenge to save his Queen! Action, adventure and a touch of fairy tale magic take you away on this quest.

The King's Challenge also features fun and interesting puzzle mechanics, including the use of Finn's Lute - and a magical, music based GUI that controls spells to aid you on your quest!

Quest For Infamy: Roehm to Ruin
is a prequel to our acclaimed game, Quest for Infamy. In this game, we find out a little more about where Roehm came from, and how he got himself into the mess that led him to flee to the Valley of Krasna!

Featuring puzzles, stealth, humor, cunning and tricky situations, Roehm to Ruin was born out of an Adventure Game Jam in 2014! Now, Infamous Quests is turning it into a deluxe version, complete with soundtrack and full voice acting.
The campaign has already made its modest goal of $11,225, so it's all gravy from here on out. A mere $5 will net you a copy of Roehm to Ruin when it's released, $10 will get you Order of the Thorne, and the $15 tier gives you both. I'm still not sure how exactly Steve makes due with these budgets, but he's managed it before, so my money is his.

There are 14 comments on Quest for Infamy prequel Roehm to Ruin and new adventure Order of the Thorne, now on Kickstarter

Interview with Urquhart at PC Gamer: PoE expansion to be released in 2 parts, TCG to be Kickstarted

Interview - posted by Zed on Sun 5 April 2015, 19:24:10

Tags: Chris Taylor; Feargus Urquhart; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

PC Gamer, once upon a time a paper magazine of some decent repute, have posted an interview with Obsidian Entertainment's Feargus Urquhart. There's the usual Kickstarter and publisher Q-and-A, as well as some game design questions probably not best answered by Feargus.
But there's more!
At the end of the interview, Feargus reveals some information about Obsidian's near-future plans:

Speaking of expansions, can you give us any details on what might be coming in the future?
Sure. So, with the Kickstarter we announced that we were going to do an expansion, and so how we're approaching that is to actually do the expansion in two parts, and have one part out sooner than the other part. The idea being that people are really enjoying Pillars right now and they're going to get finished their first or second playthrough within in the next two weeks, a month, something like that. And so, we definitely want there to be content for them to enjoy and I think we're going to be talking about that pretty soon. I don't think we've released anything specifically, but it really ends up being this concept of this story that expands parts of what you would see in those sort of old school expansions we made for Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate. So not just these three, four hour downloadable DLCs, but definitely big chunks of a story and a new hub to go to and things like that.
So that's kind of how we're really approaching it, like we've done with Eternity throughout is this idea of, these games kind of went away but not for a reason they should have. The industry shifted to so much console with this idea that PC wasn't so much of a gaming platform, which I know no one thinks that anymore. So, back then when you got an expansion you got this meaty thing with hours and hours of gameplay. And that's really what we're trying to do. So, while we're splitting it in two, it is like one continual story that people get to play.

Do you have any plans for an Eternity tabletop RPG or anything like that? I mean, you created this new world and all this new lore, do you see that expanding out to other media?
Absolutely. So, actually one of the things we're going to announce very soon, I don't even know if I talked about it. Not in the latest backer update but the next backer update, we're definitely going to talk about how we're going to be Kickstarting... not us, but another group is going to be Kickstarting a Pillars of Eternity card game. This isn't like a CCG or anything like that, but it's more just a fun, kind of, four people get around and play a single session card game. You have heros, and you have a village, and all that kind of stuff, and you can take your heroes into a dungeon, and you can also take your heroes and armies and attack your friends while they're playing, so it's kind a very fun card game and it's actually designed by Chris Taylor. Not... there's two Chris Taylors. [Laughs] It's Chris Taylor, a friend of mine for many many years who was the lead designer of Fallout.
So, that's the first thing we're really looking at, and also, absolutely on the tabletop roleplaying. We're not sure yet how we're going to do it, we were kind of going back and forth on, do we use the game's rules, do we use someone else's rules, do we come up with another set of rules? And it's something we're going to be talking [about] soon. But absolutely, we want to expand. New books, roleplaying, all that kind of stuff.

HBO series, I presume?
Absolutely! I don't think George RR Martin has done enough with his work. [Laughs] So that's our goal. We need to one-up him.​

So the expansion will be released in two parts, and each part will have content spanning more than "just three, four hours." Adam Brennecke has previously mentioned that the size of the first expansion is going to be about the size of Baldur's Gate's Tales of the Sword Coast. The "being released in two parts" information is news, however.

We also learn that someone - not Obsidian - will be Kickstarting a Pillars of Eternity card game designed by Chris Taylor. I bet this will involve Paizo, as they are already in business with Obsidian, and card games are kind of what they do.

There are 85 comments on Interview with Urquhart at PC Gamer: PoE expansion to be released in 2 parts, TCG to be Kickstarted

Fri 3 April 2015
Kingdom Come: Deliverance gets new alpha version, delayed to summer 2016

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 April 2015, 14:34:43

Tags: Dan Vávra; Kingdom Come: Deliverance; Warhorse Studios

Eligible backers of Warhorse Studios' authentic Czech historical RPG, Kingdom Come: Deliverance, received a new version of the game's technical alpha yesterday. In the latest Kickstarter update, Daniel Vavra describes the alpha's new features, which include new quests, preliminary voice acting, lockpicking, and more. The next version of the alpha will finally add combat, horseback riding, and other core features, and a Wasteland 2-style publicly available Steam Early Access beta is planned after that. But the real reason I'm posting this is that the game has, to the surprise of few, been delayed to the summer of 2016. Here's the update:

Kingdom Come: Deliverance Tech Alpha update 0.3 introduces new quests, temporary voice overs (without face animations for now), basic perception, UI and map fixes and lock-picking mini-game.

Technology Alpha is available to backers with Baron Tier or higher, who pledged both on Kickstarter or on our website. Watch Daniel Vavra talking about lock picking on YouTube:



The next Tech Alpha update 0.4 will be introduced on gaming conference E3 and will contain bunch of new quests, new location next to Samopesh village, stealth, horse riding and the sword combat.

Backers with the Knight Tier or higher can look forward to the end of the year 2015, which will bring Kingdom Come: Deliverance Beta version to their desktops. We would also like to make the Beta available to newcomers over Steam, so we can get feedback from more players.

Full version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance will be released later then announced in Kickstarter campaign. We have made a great progress in 2014 as you can see in the last video update, we doubled our staff, moved to new offices, built a motion capture studio, released technology alpha, finished the quests documentation, made bigger map, implemented AI, prepared assets for new locations, tested the console versions, made first original music tracks and much more.

Although we make great progress every month, there is still a lot of work ahead of us. We feel obliged to our backers to deliver the game with promised stretch goals in the best quality, thus we have decided to postpone the release date to summer 2016. We believe that our backers will support our decision to spend more time with polishing the game and its features. We are looking forward to your feedback from playing Tech Alpha 0.3.
Can't wait to taste some of that official Kingdom Come: Deliverance beer.

There are 41 comments on Kingdom Come: Deliverance gets new alpha version, delayed to summer 2016

Wed 1 April 2015
Interview with Brian Fargo at MemoryLeak

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 April 2015, 23:02:58

Tags: Brian Fargo; Interplay; InXile Entertainment

Rob Carter of the MemoryLeak podcast, who interviewed Chris Avellone last year, sent word to inform us of a new interview he recently did with Brian Fargo. This one comes with a helpful point-by-point summary for those not eager to listen to the full one hour podcast.



Brian Fargo has done it all. He’s created his own games, designed classic titles, and run a publishing company – Interplay Productions. Now Brian is in a unique place. As the CEO of inXile Entertainment Brian has launched two very successful crowd-funding campaigns and is looking to divorce the company from publishing deals which he feels are often restrictive. Brian and I talk extensively about game publishing, his time as the CEO of Interplay, and the current state of inXile Entertainment.
  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 1:49 – Brian talks about the positive energy at inXile today, how crowd-funding made it possible, and the long road the company took to get where it is now.
  • 4:56 – The benefits of crowd-funding vs. working with a publisher. Why Brian thinks trust is the missing element.
  • 7:17 – How to maximize creativity and minimize risk. How, as a financier, you can ask for certain business-critical features but still fundamentally trust the developer.
  • 9:50 – When it is and isn’t beneficial for a publisher to dictate creative choices in a game.
  • 12:00 – How developers can sometimes have little creative control over their own product. Why developers bear the reputation hit when the publisher fails them.
  • 14:52 – An example: How Obsidian takes a reputation hit when a shipped game has bugs. How little leverage developers have when negotiating development deals.
  • 16:45 – Brian describes the specifics of negotiating a deal with a publisher and just how difficult it can be for a studio to see returns from one of these contracts.
  • 18:51 – I ask Brian if, supposing he were running a publisher today, how the current industry climate might make him change his approach from the Interplay days.
  • 20:06 – How a developer’s creative freedom is crucial to fostering good ideas which ultimately results in a better game.
  • 22:55 – Brian and I discuss the dearth of independent AAA studios.
  • 24:43 – The publisher strategy of backing a studio into a corner to buy them at a low price.
  • 26:44 – Brian’s adjustment from game developer to business executive in charge of Interplay Productions.
  • 29:04 – Brian recounts the end of Interplay (its acquisition by Titus Software) in detail. How incredibly close it came to surviving to make more games, and the insane maneuvering he went through in an attempt to keep it together.
  • 36:36 – While it was stressful, Brian says being an executive was still fascinating and exciting. He shares more anecdotes about negotiating deals and explains just how strange and heated things can get.
  • 42:37 – How the technical process of development can be difficult to explain to publishers, and whether this lack of understanding creates friction.
  • 44:29 – Why publishers are not inherently bad. Brian believes the publishing process often has problems, but they can be addressed with changes in attitude.
  • 47:05 – The Wasteland 2 Kickstarter and what it meant to Brian on a personal level.
  • 49:12 – I ask Brian to reflect on what he may have done differently in his career and what he loves about the industry.
  • 51:04 – inXile’s plan for the future.
  • 53:25 – More publisher stories – The true stories that inspired the Wasteland 2 Kickstarter video.
  • 54:35 – “Fun is just a theory.” The importance of iteration and finding the fun.
  • 57:02 – Thank you and goodbye!
As you can see, the first half of the interview treads familiar ground, with yet another Fargo anti-publisher tirade. But the second half is really good, recounting the events that led to Brian's departure from Interplay and the fall of the company at a level of detail I've never seen before. His boardroom negotiation stories are also quite amusing. Definitely worth a listen.

There are 27 comments on Interview with Brian Fargo at MemoryLeak

Black Island Studios - Obsidian InXile and Larian Merge To Form New Studio

Game News - posted by Jaesun on Wed 1 April 2015, 14:57:21


In a completely surprising shock to the future of RPG Development, it has been revealed today that Obsidian Entertainment, InXile Entertainment and Larian Studios are merging into one large development studio to be named Black Island Studio.

[​IMG]

While is has been no secret that Swen Vincke has been expanding Larian Studios, what we did not know is this was a join effort between Brian Fargo, Swen Vincke and Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart.

Feargus Urquhart stated “Joining our companies into one large studio dedicated to classic RPG's was just a no brainer. We all love and have a passion for classic RPG games and design. When Fargo called and approached me on this subject, I said hell yes! This is a brillant idea!”

What we have been told is that the former Obsidian team will work mostly on Story, Setting and Characters. Former Larian will work on Combat Design, and the former InXile team will assist both teams, but will also head a sort of research and develop team, that will try out and pitch different ideas and settings for future RPG's for the company.

Brian Fargo, speaking with us privately said “Using the strengths of three very talented RPG development studios, we will merge all of this unparalleled talent to form one strong company that will usher in a new age of classic RPG games and design”.

The new Black Island Studio is currently working on two games. The first will be a title called TORN. Which many of us on the Codex may be very familiar with. Mr. Fargo stated “After securing the rights to this, I felt this was the game with a setting and story we all wanted to tell. After it's cancellation by Interplay many years ago, I have always had a passion to make this game. The setting and story is one of my favorite settings for a RPG”.

The second game is best described as “a turn based RPG with a nearer-future setting with technologies that can be realistically predicted by present-day science”. The project is headed by Lead Designer George Ziets. There is currently no official title or ETA for this project yet.

TORN will be a turn-based RPG and will be for PC, Mac and Linux and is scheduled for release on Spring 2017.

There are 38 comments on Black Island Studios - Obsidian InXile and Larian Merge To Form New Studio

Gallery
Site hosted by Sorcerer's Place Link us!
Codex definition, a book manuscript.
eXTReMe Tracker
rpgcodex.net RSS Feed
This page was created in 0.0627930164337 seconds