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Sat 25 October 2014

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?

Interview with Colin McComb at RPGNuke

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 25 October 2014, 15:29:19

Tags: Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Planescape: Torment; PSX Planescape game; Torment: Tides of Numenera; TORN

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There's a nice new interview with Colin McComb over at Russian RPG site RPGNuke, in which he answers questions about Torment, about his career and the games he's worked on, and about his thoughts on gaming in general. Here's the part about Torment:

RPGNuke: Hi Colin! Let's start with some Tides of Numenera questions. A one and a half years passed since the end of kickstarter campaign. What is the status of the project now? Where there many changes to the initially planned? Did you have to cut anything out or did you manage to add anything new? As far as I know the pre-production phase now comes to its end and the prodution phase starts, how does this transition occur?

Colin: We are shifting from limited production to production. What limited production means is that we were creating content for the game, but not at the speed that we might expect during a full production period. Rather, it’s in ways that prove out our ideas and concepts, or that show where the weaknesses in our pipeline are, or that help build the best processes for the whole team.

As to whether we had to cut anything: We have! But that’s natural for any project as we assess scope and our desired impact. We’ve tightened up the story in some places, expanded it in others, and tried to make sure that we are focused exactly on delivering what we’ve promised to our backers. We’ve also managed to expand areas that were smaller in the original vision, and I’m happy with where we are as a result of our discussions.

The transition from Wasteland 2 to Torment is happening slowly and carefully under Kevin’s supervision. He wants to make sure that the newer members of the team are done with their responsibilities on Wasteland 2, or at least done enough that they can begin to devote serious attention to our project. They’ll start by getting familiar with our tools and our processes, and they can point out places where our processes and documentation need improvement. As more and more of them come over, and as people ramp up on the project, we’ll see a faster pace for production and creation of all our assets.

New Torment will have turn-based combat system. Not everyone is happy about that, though Planescape: Torment combat system is being scolded frequently too. Please tell me, did you consider to make Planescape: Torment turn-based? Do you think this variant could be viable and what do you prefer: turn-based or realtime with pause?

With Planescape: Torment, we didn’t really have a choice, as I recall. We were working with the Infinity Engine, and we were working on delivering an experience that matched (at least in part) what Bioware had done with Baldur’s Gate. We had a much broader latitude to choose turn-based or real-time with pause for this game, but even then we had a difficult decision to make. Having backer feedback was invaluable, and even then, it was a tough decision. The more we delve into the Crisis system, the more I am convinced we made the right choice.

My personal preference for games depends on what game I’m playing. I’m not an absolutist in either direction.

Torment: Tides of Numenera's central question is "What does one life matter?", were there any other variants in concideration?

From the start, it was always about the legacy we leave from the choices we make in life. The difficulty was in finding the right words to express that question. I believe it was Nathan Long who came up with this particular phrase, and as soon as he said it, we were off.

At first glance it seems that Torment: Tides of Numenera replicates a lot of ideas from Planescape: Torment. Do you think this statement is correct?

I agree with "at first glance" and "seems". That is, it might appear that way superficially, but one could say that of any number of stories. We're intentionally focusing on an intensely personal story, as PST did (though we're talking about issues of legacy and abandonment rather than regret and growth); we're in a strange, alien world, with unusual characters for an RPG. We chose all these similarities deliberately, identifying them as key parts of the Torment experience. But we are also deliberately stepping away from a number of the things that PST did, because we don't want to replicate it. Our mission is to analyze what we loved about PST, and then to make a game that will be a worthy successor to that title, a welcome peer, and hopefully a milestone for future development.​

The rest of the interview is interesting too, though. I didn't know Colin was an Ultima guy.

There are 1 comments on Interview with Colin McComb at RPGNuke

Fri 24 October 2014
Witcher 3 "The Trail" Opening Cinematic

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 October 2014, 22:19:02

Tags: CD Projekt; The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

The intro cinematic for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt premiered today at the annual Golden Joystick Awards event in London. CD Projekt released it on their YouTube channel shortly thereafter, and since Witcher eye candy is one of the Codex's few guilty pleasures, I'm posting it here. The intro shows Geralt and his mentor Vesemir tracking down the sorceress Yennefer on an old battlefield, with flashbacks to the battle itself.

Ciri the ashen-haired, Yennefer the raven-haired. It sure does seem like a lot of time is going to be spent in this game chasing after powerful women with distinctive hair colors. It's a hard life, being a Witcher.

There are 33 comments on Witcher 3 "The Trail" Opening Cinematic

Thu 23 October 2014
Kingdom Come: Deliverance Alpha Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 October 2014, 13:06:03

Tags: Kingdom Come: Deliverance; Warhorse Studios

As promised in the game's previous update three weeks ago, the Kingdom Come: Deliverance alpha (which Warhorse is calling a "technical alpha") was released to eligible backers early this morning. The accompanying Kickstarter update has the details:

We proudly present you the Tech Alpha version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance! This is a very important milestone for us as it gives us the first chance to show you what’s already been created and what we are aiming for. At the same time also providing us with the first chance to get direct feedback from you!

Your feedback is very important to us in the following steps of development. Seeing videos and screenshots is nice, but touching and feeling the interactive piece with all your senses is way better. Therefore backers with the Baron Tier and higher will get the chance to meet Henry and experience his life in 1403.

Usually Alpha version means that you get a finished game with plenty of bugs, rough edges and missing parts. We would like to approach the Alpha early access phenomenon a bit differently. So how our Alpha look like? Our Alpha version is more likely a Technical Alpha.

What does that mean? The Tech Alpha version of Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a collection of several technical aspects and game mechanisms in a more or less advanced state of development. The playable content will grow in stages (updated versions approximately every two or three months), adding new aspects, settings or game mechanics to the Alpha. You’ll get the chance to become acquainted with Kingdom Come: Deliverance step by step and can delve into more and more of our world as the amount of the content grow. Interested?

All eligible backers get their unique code on their profile at Please visit our site and register there, so you can manage your credentials like address, preferred platform or T-shirt size.

The Alpha is accessible for Windows PCs only and via Steam service. Your unique code will open the game visible and downloadable. After you install it, your initial journey can begin.

Unfortunately this early in development a wide variety of technical problems while downloading, installing, and launching the game are probable. Therefore if you run into any issues we will be happy to help. If you would like to share your opinion, please visit our forums or contact us and we’ll do whatever we can to help you.

Please consider that the game is far from finished and the bugs are there. We appreciate your feedback from the gaming experience!
The update also has some screenshots, as well as a stand-alone version of the alpha trailer we've already seen. Rather than post that again, I'll show you one of the many LPs of the alpha that are already up on YouTube.

Quite majestic. But still a bit rough.

There are 9 comments on Kingdom Come: Deliverance Alpha Released

Tue 21 October 2014
RPG Codex Preview: Underrail Re-Preview

Preview - posted by Grunker on Tue 21 October 2014, 19:29:29

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail



It might actually not be, according to Blaine. It's been a long time since we last took a look at Styg's promising, upcoming game Underrail. Last time we did, we described it using such uncharacteristically bold language as

"Underrail has the potential to become a classic on par with the old Codexian favourite Fallout."​

Hm. Well, the game has come a long way since then. We're hardly likely to use such words again, now that the game is much bigger and reality is sinking in, are we?

Perhaps we are. Here's a bit of what Blaine had to say about it:

"Underrail is the second coming of the incline. The only reasonable conclusion to draw here is that you should either play the game now, or look forward to playing it later when it's officially released. Although the current version offers an enormous amount of content, is very stable, and doesn't feel "unfinished" (although it is, as you'll discover once you reach higher levels), it isn't quite done, so you may prefer to wait.

Having said that, the game isn't without its flaws. As JarkFrank mentioned in his preview, there are a lot of typos, and boy, there really are a lot of them. They're present in skill/item descriptions as well as dialog. In addition, and this is my personal opinion, some of the NPC dialog is a bit awkward or rushed and should be copyedited and cleaned up. This is a very manageable flaw (though no small task) that could turn into a big one if allowed into the final release.

Also, the game is a little bit (really just a scosche) light on NPC dialog and C&C at the moment, though there is a good bit of dialog and C&C. Of course, the game's not finished, so it's hard to make a solid judgement, especially on the C&C front.

In conclusion, this game is great, and if you don't like it, you're a tasteless waste of oxygen and should be removed from the Codex. Grunker and/or Infinitron, you'd better not cut this part! It's important."​

Alright Blaine, we won't. But what on earth does it take to make a Codexer use such strong, positive superlatives? Is Blaine a gushing fanboy, or is this game simply remarkably Codexian? Read the preview to find out! Who knows, maybe you'll be heading off to buy Underrail afterwards?

Read the full article: Underrail Preview MK2

There are 66 comments on RPG Codex Preview: Underrail Re-Preview

RPG Codex Report: Tokyo Game Show 2014, Barkley 2, and JRPGs

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Tue 21 October 2014, 15:48:15

Tags: Barkley 2: Revenge of Cuchulainn; Falcom; Square Enix; Tales of Game's; Tokyo Game Show

An odd message arrived in the RPG Codex inbox in June. Codex user/lurker Math Fool was telling us he was going to the Tokyo Game Show, which was to take place September 18th to 21st, and that he could cover the show for the Codex if we wanted him to. Later, it turned out Tales Of Game's' and our very own eric_s' Barkley 2 was going to be showcased at TGS. And as you may know, we have been following that game fairly closely.

So we thought: okay, at least he'll take a look at Barkley 2 for us, and secured a press pass for Math Fool. Barkley 2 alone wasn't enough to make an entire article though, so we padded it out with general JRPG- and otaku-related stuff. You know, like we usually do here on the Codex.

Anyway, here's the excerpt on Barkley 2:

Barkley 2 is a direct sequel to the indie RPG Barkley Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden. Set 4000 years after the original game in the year 666X, the story focuses on a character who has lost his memories and adopts an identity to explore the world of Necron 7. The character creation process is very involved and can last as long as 30 minutes. One gamer at TGS actually died during this process, which then has a lasting impact on your character for the remainder of the game.

Barkley 2 embracing its Japanese roots.

Your choices impact the story in Barkley 2, and no game is quite like another. There are over 20 possible endings in this 15-hour quest, and every action is tracked in the game. Not only how often you die but the types of death your character experiences will contribute to his overall fate. You can earn experience points by playing video games, or choose to keep games in their original mint packaging instead.

Combat occurs in real-time using a dual thumb stick interface. I played using an Xbox One controller, and the action is fast and furious. In addition to standard combat, there is also a turn-based tactical basketball strategy game that was reminiscent of Blitzball from Final Fantasy X. Finally, there is a detailed item breeding and creation process in which guns can evolve over time and pass down their characteristics to future generations.

The turn-based B-Ball game

To be honest, I had never heard of Barkley 2 before coming to TGS. The story of both games are very unique, wacky and original. It’s the kind of game that normally falls under my radar screen, but it was good to play something that was not another big budget franchise sequel for a change.

Barkley 2 is coming initially to PC, Mac and Linux, with future ports to PS4 and XB1, and potentially the PS3 and Xbox 360. The game will be available “when it’s ready.”​

On a related note, eric_s aka cboyardee recently posted on the SA forums that Barkley 2's quests will basically blow all the Kickstarter games out of the water:

Not to knock Wasteland or anything, I think it's cool and I've really enjoyed it so far, but it's crazy how different it is from Barkley 2. I guess for the last few years I've had it in my head that Wasteland and all these other big kickstarter games are the metric by which we're going to be judged (I have no idea why) and obviously it excels in areas where Barkley can't even come close, like polish, but our approach to quest design and their approach are just different games all together. Kind of crazy to me, actually, that we're still O.K. with like straight up no-frills fetch quests. I haven't seen the whole game and I like everything I've seen so far, but I seriously hope every other RPG cannibalizes our quests.​

He also says "it's taking long because we want it to be really good." No pressure at all, Eric.

Finally, don't forget to check out the full article, if only for the numerous booth babes pics. That's why people attend these kinds of events, right?

There are 21 comments on RPG Codex Report: Tokyo Game Show 2014, Barkley 2, and JRPGs

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Sat 18 October 2014
Matt Chat 262: Robert Woodhead on developing Wizardry, and leaving Wizardry

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 18 October 2014, 18:52:13

Tags: Robert J. Woodhead; Wizardry

The third and final episode of Matt Barton's interview with Robert Woodhead begins with Robert continuing with his retelling of various anecdotes from the development of the early Wizardry games. He talks about the technical challenges of developing Wizardry's window-based user interface, and about the series' then-notorious copy protection schemes (which he admits in retrospect were a waste of time, but still considers to have been an interesting challenge). At one point, Matt tries to ask him whether he doesn't regret sticking with the same codebase for all of his games, instead of remaking everything from scratch for every game the same way Richard Garriott did with Ultima, reasoning that it may have stifled the series' innovation. Sadly, Robert either misunderstands the question or chooses to avoid answering it, instead going off on a tangent about portability and localization.

In the end, Robert Woodhead remains above all an independent programmer, not a game design auteur. Matt mentions our own interview with him, where he claimed that he "wasn't proud" of Wizardry, and Robert reiterates that claim, explaining that in his view, Wizardry is not some work of genius, but just one step in the evolution of computer RPGs - a step that could have been taken by any number of people. The interview ends with him telling the story of how he passed the Wizardry torch to David Bradley and moved to Japan where he met his wife. He left the Wizardry chapter of his life behind him, and never touched any of the latter games in the series. He does admit that he would be willing to create a new computer game, if it was truly innovative and he was allowed to "do whatever he wants". That's Robert Woodhead, folks. :salute:

There are 16 comments on Matt Chat 262: Robert Woodhead on developing Wizardry, and leaving Wizardry

Darklands Available on Steam

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Sat 18 October 2014, 09:40:44

Tags: BloodNet; Darklands; Microprose; Night Dive Studios; Retroism

Microprose's 1992 open world classic Darklands, set in a magical version of the 15th century historical Europe, has been made available on Steam (in addition to GOG, where it has been sold for quite some time now) as part of a bunch of new entries in the Steam catalog by the recently founded old games publisher Retroism. See here for their Steam titles, which also include stuff like BloodNet.

Heroic Adventures in Medieval Germany

Deep in the twilight of the Black Forest, you and your companions crouch before the robber-knight's tower. Hans, the alchemist, places his mysterious potion by the door. Ebhard the friar implores Saint Dunstan to bless your weapons and armor. And you and Gretchen grip naked long swords, praying your plate mail won't squeak.

With a thundery crash, the door explodes into fragments! You charge inside, swords and maces swinging. One guard falls beneath the power of your blade... then two more! You storm upstairs to the second floor, but there to greet you is Erhard the Red Wolf, the infamous robber-knight, surrounded by his henchmen. Hans tosses a choking potion into their faces and you quickly charge into the fray. The room echoes with the clash of steel on steel... it's a battle to the death in the Black Forest!

Prepare yourself to enter Darklands... the first realistic fantasy role-playing adventure for computers!

Leading a band of four adventurers across the sinister landscape of 15th Century Germany, you'll face the Middle Ages as people believed it to be! A land seething with mythical beasts, religious power-mongers and blood-thirsty sinister robber-knights!

Watch savage battles unfold before your eyes! Travel hundreds of miles by land and sea... from the Frisian Coast to Bohemia... from the Alps to Prussia... visiting over ninety cities along the way!

Your quest for fame and fortune can take you through raucous city streets and dank mine shafts, or from a robber-knight's tower to the terrifying Sabbaths of witches!

So prepare yourself for the astonishing wonders of a realistic fantasy adventure... in the mysterious Darklands!
  • Improve each character's attributes and skills as the game progresses.
  • No artificial character classes or levels!
  • Learn alchemical formulas to make your own potions!
  • Brilliant watercolor-style graphics bring to life and myths and mysteries of the Middle Ages!
  • Easy-to-use and innovative menu presents you with unprecedented role-playing options.
  • Character fight in real-time animation! Freeze the actions and give new orders to characters any time you wish!
Darklands is a unique game that bucked many genre conventions, and merits at least one playthrough from everyone who considers themselves an RPG fan. If in doubt, check out Darth Roxor's review as well as our interview with the game's designer featuring another retrospective, by Obsidian's Josh Sawyer.

Grab the game here or, if you prefer GOG, here.

There are 32 comments on Darklands Available on Steam

Lords of Xulima Early Access Update: 99% of Content Available, New Features

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Sat 18 October 2014, 09:28:58

Tags: Lords of Xulima; Numantian Games

Numantian Games' party-based isometric RPG Lords of Xulima got a new Kickstarter update, announcing that all content except the final fight and ending cinematic is now available for Early Access players, as well as two new features - an Ironman mode and the ability to write your own notes on the map (yay!).

V.16 New Content Unlocked: The Search for the Titans

The four colossal Titans known as the Sons of the Elemental Xulnari, have their lair in the most remote places of Xulima. Finding them is just impossible for the mortals, unless you can count on some divine help... For those lucky players that find them, enjoy interacting with those powerful Demigods that have not met a mortal ever.

Now all the world is accessible for the player, including the Glacier of Geldra, the Desolation Desert of Pernitia and the Lake of Fire in Vilak. Also, the four temples of the Elementals Xulnari can be played now. In some of them, you will find new monsters as "The Nightmare" which is one of the most powerful enemies you will find.

Game already finished?
We have unlocked about 15-20 hours more of gameplay. Indeed, 99% of the full game is now playable. Everything except the very end, that includes the Final Boss and the awesome End Cinematic that lasts 8 minutes, at which only a dozen lucky people have had the chance to watch it. We will reserve the climax of this epic story for the official release of Lords of Xulima in November. While you can speculate about the end, what will happen with Xulima and the rest of the world?...

The new Ironman difficulty mode
Many fans of LoX have requested this new difficulty mode. The Ironman mode has the same rules as the Hardcore mode, but you can only save the game when you are safe in the towns. So yes, this mode can be a real nightmare, such a challenge that perhaps nobody can ever finish it.

For those heroic players we have created a new special achievement and the final score is now re-scaled as the Ironman mode grants a score, 300% more than in normal mode. We have added new monsters for the final rank, which now has 100 different positions.

Which will be yours?
Normal Mode: Ranks from 1-50.
Old-School Veteran: Ranks from 50-70.
Hardcore: Ranks from 70-90
Ironman Mode: Up to rank ~100.

New Feature: Write your own notes on the Maps!
Another feature requested by the fans is writing their own notes on the maps. Finally, it has been implemented. It was a little hard to add, but we love that feature too. Also, these custom notes can be consulted directly in the Journal with the rest of auto-notes that the game records for you. Hope you enjoy it!

Next Update
The next update will have finally the Talisman of Golot we promised in Kickstarter, the French translation and perhaps the German one too. ​

For a full changelog, check out this post. You can (and, dare I say, should) buy the game on Steam.

There are 5 comments on Lords of Xulima Early Access Update: 99% of Content Available, New Features

Torment Kickstarter Update #35: Stretch goal funding period extended, Adam Heine novella released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 18 October 2014, 01:46:46

Tags: Adam Heine; Brother None; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

As you've probably heard, the fundraiser for the Gullet stretch goal in Torment: Tides of Numenera failed to reach its target on time. Although it seemed at first that it was gone for good, a surprise Kickstarter update today has announced that funding will be extended until the end of October. In addition to that, the update reports that Adam Heine's From the Depths: Gold, the first of Torment's five novellas based on the metaphysical Tides, has been released and is available now. I quote:

Hi, Thomas here. I'd like to start out today's update with a huge "thank you!" for the immense outpouring of support we received for our stretch goal to add the Gullet into the game. We received some incredibly generous pledges from many backers, including an anonymous donor ($1665), Pookie ($1271), Najiok ($900), Hiro Protagonist ($750) and even a pair of $750 pledges from our very own Colin McComb and Kevin Saunders.

Unfortunately, we fell somewhat short of our goal (about 15%, or $35,000) to see the Gullet added to the final game. However, we did not want to see this great effort of yours go for naught, and we also realized based on comments about this stretch goal as it closed that awareness had not spread widely enough. Some people suggested extending the deadline, in part to allow word to spread to where it didn't before.

So, we're moving the stretch goal deadline for the Gullet to the end of Friday, October 31. Just over $30,000 to go!

Coincidentally this is also when we will be closing a number of add-ons from our Kickstarter period. So while new backers are more than welcome you may also want to consider some of our add-on options! And to remind everyone: please specify your add-ons by Friday, October 31!

From the Depths: Gold Released

We've released the first of our From the Depths novellas. If you need a refresher: the From the Depths stories are a series of novellas being written by people involved in Torment: Tides of Numenera and Numenera itself. While not required reading to play, they provide a richer understanding of the Torment world and characters as well as the Tides.

If the Digital Novella Compilation was part of your Tier, or if you pledged for the $15 add-on, then you can retrieve Adam's novella it RIGHT NOW at our site. It's available DRM-free in all the most common eBook formats (epub, mobi, azw3, and PDF).

The first one we're releasing is written by our Design Lead Adam Heine, and set in Ossiphagan – which was the subject of the lore piece in update 34. It is one of the five From the Depths novellas that give specific insights into the nature of the Tides, with Adam's focusing on the Gold Tide.
Check out the full update for an excerpt from the novella. I guess the idea is that if people like what they see, they'll go ahead and buy it right now.

There are 19 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #35: Stretch goal funding period extended, Adam Heine novella released

Wed 15 October 2014
Legend of Grimrock 2 Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 October 2014, 20:35:10

Tags: Almost Human Games; Legend of Grimrock 2

So, Legend of Grimrock 2, the sequel to Almost Human's dungeon crawling indie hit, was released this evening. The original Legend of Grimrock, released two and a half years ago back in April 2012, turned out to be an early precursor to the great RPG retro revival of our times. With all the great games coming out these days, for a while there it was easy to believe that poor, simple Legend of Grimrock would fall by the wayside and be forgotten. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The guys at Almost Human resisted the temptation to churn out a quick slam-dunk sequel, which they could have easily done. Instead, they spent the time and produced a bigger, better, more impressive game, capable of holding its own in today's more competitive oldschool RPG arena. And for that they should be applauded. Here's Grimrock 2's official description from its Steam page:

Legend of Grimrock 2 is a dungeon crawling role playing game with a modern execution but an oldschool heart. A group of four prisoners have shipwrecked on the secluded Isle of Nex. The island is filled with ancient crumbled ruins, mysterious shrines and a vast underground network of dungeons and mines. If the prisoners wish to make it out alive, they have to overcome the challenges devised by the ominous mastermind of the island.

Powers of perception and logic are more important than sheer force is, since Legend of Grimrock 2 puts a heavy emphasis on exploration, survival and challenging puzzles. Discover powerful ancient artifacts from hidden secret chambers and buried treasures. Arm your champions, cast spells and craft enchanted potions and bombs to aid you in fighting the dreadful monsters in highly tactical real-time combat.

Design, share and play custom scenarios with the included Dungeon Editor! Create your own adventures and fill them with puzzles, traps, or even totally new items, monsters and environments with custom graphics and audio!

Get ready to venture forth and uncover the secrets of Nex!

Key Features:
  • Explore the wilderness and the dungeons of Isle of Nex: walk in ancient forests riddled with mysterious magical statues, fight the denizens of poison fuming swamps, dive in the Forgotten River in search of treasure, uncover secrets hidden deep below…
  • More than 20 hours of pure blooded dungeon crawling gameplay with grid-based movement and thousands of squares filled with hidden switches, pressure plates, secret doors, riddles, deadly traps and more.
  • Cast spells with runes, craft potions and bombs, fight murderous monsters with a large variety of melee-, ranged and thrown weapons, as well as firearms.
  • Create a party of four characters and customize them with 8 character classes, 5 races, and numerous skills and traits. Collect experience to hone their skills and discover improved equipment and magical artefacts.
  • 42 different kind of monsters including 30 new foes unique to Isle of Nex.
  • Play custom adventures created by others or make your own with Dungeon Editor.
  • More depth, variety and open ended exploration than in Legend of Grimrock 1. Enhanced AI, spell casting, puzzle mechanics and skill systems.
Legend of Grimrock 2 is now available on Steam and GOG for the price of $24, with a 10% discount until next week. First non-Kickstarter game I've D1P'd in a looong time.

There are 62 comments on Legend of Grimrock 2 Released

Tue 14 October 2014
Legend of Grimrock 2 Review at Rock Paper Shotgun

Review - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 October 2014, 22:36:49

Tags: Almost Human Games; Legend of Grimrock 2

For most of us, Legend of Grimrock 2 is coming out tomorrow. But the privileged doyens of gaming journalism have already had their hands on it for a while, and have begun publishing their reviews. Among them is Rock Paper Shotgun's John Walker, whose verdict is, well, see for yourself:

Legend Of Grimrock 2 is bigger, deeper and more wonderful than I could ever have expected. I absolutely loved the original, its descending dungeons of tile-based first-person RPG not just reminiscent of Dungeon Master, but as good as it. Grimrock 2, I say without hesitation, is better.

Much as Dungeon Master II took that series outside, so too does Grimrock 2, but here it’s not utterly impossible. It is, however, incredibly difficult. Superbly difficult. While I haven’t actually measured, this sequel is so huge I feel certain the original game would fit into one of its corners. With fifteen huge, individual sections, and another dozen or so smaller areas, each is intricately detailed and packed to bursting with puzzles, challenges, hidden switches, terrifying enemies, and so many secrets.

If you played Grimrock 1, or indeed any of the classic tile-based adventures of the 80s and 90s (DM, Captive, Eye Of The Beholder, etc), then you’ll be familiar with the mechanics. A party of four characters, created by you (or there are pre-mades if you’d prefer), marching together in a real-time 3D world, one square at a time. Your squad, two up (likely with melee skills) and two behind (firing projectile weapons, magic, and so on), explores, casts spells from runes, makes potions from ingredients, and fights an awful lot of enormous bads. Despite moving in only four directions around its enormous grid, combat (and everything else) is in real-time.

And good gracious, it’s done so well. I have adored this game. Spread across a large variety of landscapes, dungeons, and castles, it’s on a scale far beyond your expectations. In fact, every time I became convinced I’d seen every location it was going to offer, I’d stumble on another vast, three-storey place, and have yet another few hours of wonderful treats.

At first, things are extremely daunting. Your party, imprisoned in a cage, washes up on an island after a shipwreck. The beach is filled with monstrous killer turtles (no, really), meaning you have to scramble for puny weapons like sticks and rocks to desperately fend them off, while instantly being introduced to the far greater complexity of the puzzles this time out. As you uncover the many secrets of this sprawling beach area, the size of things already begins to feel a little overwhelming – three or four different directions opening up immediately, each of them containing elements necessary to successful get through the others. And then, that done, you find a massive wooded area filled with furious trees, itself leading to multiple dungeons, a land threaded by rivers, a gloomy bog, and more and more. And each is limited by what you’ve done so far, passages closed off by gates, warping teleporters impeding progress, enemies that seem far too powerful, notes alluding to puzzles you’ve yet to discover, peculiar glowing-eyed stone figures giving you esoteric statements that could be myth or clues… And then you find a note from the creepy, crazy island owner, laughing at your inevitable struggle, warning you to maybe head somewhere else if tough’s too tricky.

[...] Everything in this sequel is bigger, more elaborate, more detailed, and absolutely better. Which, after such a lovely first game, is quite the thing. You will be able to sink days and days into this, and still come away with secrets undiscovered, doors unopened. And I think a real respect for a game that is not only itself phenomenally smart, but one that thinks you are too. It’s a joy, so splendidly crafted, so stuffed with original ideas and surprises. This isn’t nostalgia any more – it’s a massive step forward.​

Well then, that sounds good. Those of you who are concerned with the so-called "combat mambo" might also find this comment interesting. Hopefully we can deliver our own review of Grimrock 2 sooner than later.

There are 16 comments on Legend of Grimrock 2 Review at Rock Paper Shotgun

Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #86: More administrative filler, plus reticles!

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 October 2014, 20:54:10

Tags: Brandon Adler; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

This month's Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter update is once again rather insubstantial, as the team at Obsidian is very busy. There's another announcement of the game's delay, and some info about what they're working on now - "character progression options" (which I assume means talents, and perhaps also rearrangement of class abilities) and combat UI. I quote:

Additional Time for Polish and Feedback

Through your help and feedback, the Pillars of Eternity team has spent the past two years creating a fun, fulfilling experience. An open development has enabled us to interact with our fans and backers in a way we weren't able to in the past, and this has really helped shape Eternity into a game that we all hoped it would become. Plus, with the Backer Beta, we have been able to get excellent feedback from our backers that we are using to shape Eternity into an even better game. We really can't thank you enough.

To incorporate as much feedback as possible, polish every nook and cranny of the game, and make sure we don't ship a buggy game, Obsidian has decided to push the game's release into early next year. We are going to use the extra time to make Eternity shine for our backers, and a game that we were proud to call our own and would live up to your expectations.

Once again, we want to thank you for making this all possible. With your help we can bring Eternity across the finish line.

Speaking of Backer Beta

We are hard at work implementing feedback and bugfixing items in the Backer Beta. One of the major focuses for the team over the past few weeks was adding in additional character progression options and cleaning up UI to make combat a little less chaotic.

You can expect everything from additional Talents and Ability selection choices to UI and HUD improvements in our next update. We are also very close to getting the Mac and Linux versions of the Backer Beta to you guys. It may even make it into the next Beta update.

In fact, here is one of the Backer Beta requested UI changes - Infinity Engine-style targeting reticles.

The full update has the usual status report on physical backer rewards-related issues. I wonder how many of the people in the Kickstarter comments are learning about the game's delay for the first time...

There are 11 comments on Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #86: More administrative filler, plus reticles!

Mon 13 October 2014
Serpent in the Staglands Beta Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 13 October 2014, 18:46:07

Tags: Serpent in the Staglands; Whalenought Studios

The Serpent in the Staglands beta was released to backers last night, a bit later than originally planned. The accompanying Kickstarter update is backers-only, though non-backers can view its contents on the game's officials forums. Here's what it says:

You will all be sent an email within the next half hour with a link to both the Windows and Mac versions of the beta, we have to do this manually so it might take a bit. You can download either from the dropbox folder in the link. For the initial beta we’re asking to just get your feedback on the general overview of all the systems. This would include anything concerning layout, combat, spells, dialogue, inventory use and equipment, to moving around and exploring.

We had some last minute issues with the Mac and Windows builds differing from one another, and while patching that up caused a few other problems to arise. Some of these will be addressed below, but this is part of the reason we’d like this to remain a general overview of all the beta systems. We’ll finish fixing things up and drop you a cleaner build to tackle the more detailed aspects of the gameplay in a smoother (less buggy) environment soon. This will include any of your suggestions as well. When we get that out for discussion and feedback proper, the more detailed gameplay fixes we can get from you can be used for the entirety of the game and all the maps outside the beta, which is going to make a tremendous difference in polish.

*This stage of the beta is missing a great deal of the final level of polish including conversations, item and skill tweaking, effects, and everything else you all will help improve. Consider the areas you’re playing through in an early enough stage to get a sense of the direction we’ve headed in, but not an example of what the final experience will entail. Much of this is in place just for testing while we continue to develop the rest of the maps outside the beta environment, like enemy spawning.

Bugs being fixed for the next build:
  • Text garbled in Windows
  • Fullscreening loses initial resolution chosen. Fullscreen not supported on this version
  • Small graphic glitches on Mac and Windows (art stretching, lines appearing off)
  • Quests not always saving correctly / spawning correctly. You can try initiating them, but you might not be able to finish in this version.
  • Merchants have unlimited stocked items when sold something, or to buy something.
  • Torch and world map are in flux currently, and will change in the next beta version to be much better. The World map is particularly finicky at the moment, and is a huge space to move around in currently. We’ve shrunk the map size considerably from what you’ll see in the current build, and it should be a much better solution.
  • Conversations with common folk / settlers haven’t been implemented and Arbiters aren’t spawning in yet (town guards).
  • Some existing conversations can loop
  • Entry points on some maps are not accurate to the exit point of the previous map
  • Hotkeys mapping menu isn’t synced up yet, though there are some existing ones to use.
  • Currently the only way to pass day/night is walking around overworld map. You will be able to do this other ways (talking to an innkeeper). There are differences in all areas as to what spawns and happens at night. The 5 overworld map locations are located as the green icons on the map above. This system, like mentioned, is a little broken as we’ve been implementing the new one, so travel on the overworld at your own risk. We’d advise waiting until the new build is out for an optimized experience.
  • Some backer portraits are being finished up on that were made for party-portraits.
General safety rule while playing around to help save time: SAVE OFTEN. There’s a quicksave button on the bottom right of the HUD (hotkey: Q). There are 4 companions available around the areas we’ve populated maps, though you can create a full party at the start to test as well.

Thanks so much for testing through the treacherous ground that is the beta, we hope you enjoy the direction we’re taking the game. Please share any feedback, and the more tangible ideas you have for improvement the more we can put them to good use. As mentioned in the previous post, we’d like all the feedback at the forums hub so we can be sure to see everything.​

Don't forget to vote Staglands up on Steam Greenlight, so it can be distributed in a less rudimentary fashion.

There are 23 comments on Serpent in the Staglands Beta Released

Legend of Grimrock 2 Races & Classes Revealed

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 13 October 2014, 17:09:39

Tags: Almost Human Games; Legend of Grimrock 2

Two days before the game's release, the official Legend of Grimrock 2 blog gives us a comprehensive listing of the game's races and classes. The selection of races is fairly similar to the first game's, minus the addition of the Ratling. The classes, on the other hand, have been completely overhauled. I quote:

Classes in Grimrock 2 are more flexible than in Grimrock 1. The classes give the characters a starting point and nudge towards a path without forcing it upon them. Every class can advance in the 16 available skills as they like. For example, nothing is stopping your Fighter to learn some magic as long as you advance your Fighter in the spell casting skills.

The classes determine your character’s health and energy and special abilities. The classes are:

Alchemist: Alchemists are the masters of potion brewing. Herbs automatically grow in the alchemist’s inventory during his journey on the island. Alchemists are also proficient with firearms (firearms have 50% less chance to malfunction).

Barbarian: Barbarians do not care about finesse in combat. Instead they rely on raw power and speed. Barbarians Strength is increased by 1 for every level they gain. Barbarians start with the largest amount of health points of all classes and their health grows rapidly as they gain levels.

Battle Mage: Battle Mages are comfortable with fighting in the front row as well as blasting with spells from the back row. They gain moderate amount of health and energy at 1st level. Like Wizards they are natural spellcasters and can cast spells with their bare hands. In addition, when a Battle Mage is equipped with a staff they gain bonuses to their defense.

Fighter: Fighters are masters of close combat. They are great at using special attacks of melee weapons (special attacks with melee weapons take half the time to build up and cost 25% less energy).

Knight: Knights believe that good preparation is the key to triumph in combat. Knight’s Protection value increase by 1 point per level and they are masters of using armor (weight of equipped armor is reduced by 50% and Evasion bonus of equipped shields is increased by 50%).

Rogue: Rogues are stealthy warrior who usually fight with ranged weapons or light melee weapons. When dual wielding they suffer only 25% penalty to weapon damage (normally 40%). Also their chance of scoring a critical hit with missile or throwing weapons is increased by 1% per level.

Wizard: Wizards are natural spellcasters who can cast spells with bare hands. For added effect they sometimes use enchanted staves and orbs to enhance their spellcasting abilities. Wizards have low health but high energy. They also get +2 bonus to their Willpower.

In addition there is a secret eighth class. You have to wait until Wednesday to find out yourself what it is. It is meant for advanced players and changes a core aspect of the game in a radical way.

Your character can also be customized by picking two traits and leveling up two skills of your choise (three if you have the Skilled trait). You can also pick your portrait from the 48 beautiful portraits available. If you can’t make up your mind about some aspect of character creation you can also let the fate decide: name, race, class, attribute scores, skills and traits can all be randomized if you so prefer. Oh, the random name generator has been updated. Say hello to Vaedar Dragonchild and Gamzam Fellsinger!
Oh yeah, now we're talking. Eight classes - no more of that banal Fighter/Mage/Rogue stuff. I wonder what the eighth one is, though. Return of Toorum?

There are 5 comments on Legend of Grimrock 2 Races & Classes Revealed

Sun 12 October 2014
Matt Chat 261: Robert Woodhead on Wizardry

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 12 October 2014, 17:16:08

Tags: Andrew C. Greenberg; Robert J. Woodhead; Wizardry IV: The Return of Werdna; Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord

Continuing his trend of interviewing figures associated with Sir-Tech and the Wizardry series, Matt Barton recently began a new series of interviews with Wizardry co-creator Robert Woodhead. The first episode of the interview, which was broadcast last weekend, focused mainly on Robert's current activities as an anime importer, and thus was of little interest to the Codex. The latest episode, however, is more interesting.

In this episode, Robert retells the origin story of the first Wizardry, which was a combination of a Pascal game he created called Paladin, and a BASIC game by Andrew Greenberg, which was actually named Wizardry. According to Robert, and contra Robert Sirotek, both of them were equally vital to the game's success, with Robert in the role of programmer and engine developer, and Greenberg in the role of designer and content creator. No mention is made of the game's probable, ahem, inspirations on the PLATO network, however. There's also some interesting discussion of the technical challenges that the game faced, which inadvertently allowed it more time for testing, balancing and polish.

In the second half of the episode, Matt (somewhat awkwardly) tries to get Robert to talk about the dumbing down of modern games when compared to oldschool classics like Wizardry. Although Robert does admit at one memorable point that modern gamers are "pussies", he doesn't seem to think that it's a big deal overall. That discussion naturally leads to the topic of the notoriously difficult Wizardry IV, which Robert insists was "difficult, but fair". He says that making the game difficult was the right choice artistically, but concedes that it was a bad idea commercially.

There are 6 comments on Matt Chat 261: Robert Woodhead on Wizardry

Fri 10 October 2014
Torment Kickstarter Update #34: Kevin on the Stretch Goal, Adam on Advancement, Colin on Ossiphagan

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 October 2014, 23:03:19

Tags: Adam Heine; Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

It's nice to see Torment: Tides of Numenera updates becoming more frequent. In today's Kickstarter update, the Torment Triumvirate - Kevin Saunders, Adam Heine and Colin McComb - are once again in full attendance. Kevin writes about the Gullet stretch goal, which is still $65,000 dollars away with five days remaining until the deadline. Adam writes about Torment's advancement mechanics, and the strategy he's chosen to balance them in a system that allows players to spend experience points on short term benefits. And Colin, as usual, supplies us with yet another massive lore dump, this time about Ossiphagan, a volcanic region of the world which is actually a gigantic abandoned interstellar forge. Since we're a bunch of mechanics nerds here, it's Adam's portion of the update that I'll be quoting:

Adam here. I'm going to talk about how character advancement will work in Tides of Numenera.

Before that, I should tell you how it works in Numenera tabletop, because it's not a strictly traditional advancement system. First, as we've often said, you get XP when you solve problems, complete quests, and make discoveries—not for individual kills. Second, XP is spent, not accumulated – like cyphers, XP are a resource not intended for hoarding. Most of the time, you'll have less than 4 XP, because that's how much most character advancement steps cost. Third, you can also spend XP on short-term benefits—on things other than character advancement.

That last one raises a couple of obvious questions. Why would you spend XP on short-term benefits when you can give your characters lasting benefits like new abilities (or flipped around: what happens if you spend all your XP on short-term benefits and get to the final confrontation with a 1st-Tier character)? Also, if the game has enough XP such that players can spend some on short-term benefits and max their Tier by the end, what's to stop them from spending all their XP on advancement up front, basically maxing out their Tier halfway through the game? How could we balance the game like that without scaling?

Our answer to these questions is what we are, in Torment, calling Discovery Points (DP). Throughout the game, you will gain both XP (per character) and DP (for the party).

Experience Points are gained primarily by accomplishing critical path tasks: progressing quests and solving Crises and other major encounters. Each character gains their own XP individually, though usually if the party completes a Crisis or a quest, all party members will gain the XP. (SIDEBAR: Sometimes you can leave a Companion behind and pick them up again later in the game. In these cases, they will gain their own XP outside of your influence (they don't just sit around waiting for you, after all). So if you pick them up again, you will find them close to your level.)

Each character spends their own XP on character advancement steps, each of which cost 4 XP. These advancement steps include:
  1. Increased Stat Pool
  2. Increased Stat Edge
  3. Increased Maximum Effort Level
  4. Additional Skill Training
  5. Improved paincasting ability (Last Castoff only)
  6. Additional Class Abilities (beyond what you get for your Tier)
  7. Reduced Armor Penalties
Every four advancement steps, the character will advance to the next Tier. The first five can only be advanced once per Tier, and #5-7 are really optional steps (the Last Castoff's paincasting ability will be improved in other ways in the course of the game).

Typical character advancement might look like this: (gain 4 XP) add a new Skill, (gain 4 XP) increase Might Edge, (gain 4 XP) increase Maximum Effort Level, (gain 4 XP) distribute 6 new Stat Pool points. Then as soon as the fourth one is done, that character advances to the next Tier—they gain new abilities from their Focus and choose new abilities and Skills from their Type (glaive, jack, or nano). They can also then use XP to purchase any of the advancement steps again toward the next Tier.

We're planning on balancing the game out to 6th Tier (the maximum Tier in the Corebook), though completionists may still be able to purchase certain advancement steps beyond that if they collect enough XP.

Discovery Points are primarily gained through (wait for it) discovery: figure out how to communicate with an ancient (and alien) intelligence, access a memory abandoned by the Changing God in your brain, or decipher the tale told by an ancient set of moving cave drawings.

DP can also be gained by accepting Intrusions. These are opportunities to make an easy encounter more interesting, rewarding the player for dealing with an added complication. For example, say you're taking on the Sorrow directly (it's not a good idea, but let's say that you are). You discover it's weak against fire damage and, with the help of a flamethrowing artifact you found, are actually doing pretty well against it.

Then an Intrusion occurs. The Sorrow begins to shifts its own molecular make-up so that it's weak against something else but fire barely hurts it. This Intrusion won't always happen: most Intrusions will only trigger when an encounter is already proving easy for you, and many of them have additional conditionals that must be met. Now that this one has triggered, you have a choice: you can spend 1 DP to stop the Intrusion (how that works out narratively depends on each Intrusion, for example maybe you strike a lucky blow, doing little or no damage, but disorienting the Sorrow long enough that it can't finish the shift), or you can let it happen to gain 2 DP.

DP is gained and used by the whole party, and it is spent on short-term benefits. We haven't finalized what all those benefits will be, but some examples might include:
  • Refusing an Intrusion
  • Making a recovery roll without needing to rest
  • Gaining an extra level of Effort on a task for free
  • Taking extra movement during a Crisis
  • Performing an extra action during a Crisis
  • Retrying a failed action during a Crisis
  • Crafting special items that require a crafting cost
The goal here is to maintain the mechanics that make Numenera fun, to keep Torment balanced (so we can estimate approximately what power level characters will be in a given Zone), all while doling out frequent and exciting rewards.
But yeah, that stretch goal - it's not looking too hot right now. Will there be a final day surge, like during a Kickstarter? The backer site now supports pledging any amount of money desired, which might help. You should at least make sure you've registered there and specified your add-ons by the end of the month, because inXile are apparently planning to close off certain add-ons after that.

There are 33 comments on Torment Kickstarter Update #34: Kevin on the Stretch Goal, Adam on Advancement, Colin on Ossiphagan

RPG Codex Interview: Seven Dragon Saga - A Return To Golden Boxes

Codex Interview - posted by Zed on Fri 10 October 2014, 20:27:11

Tags: Seven Dragon Saga; Tactical Simulations Interactive


Tactical Simulations Interactive, or TSI Games, were kind enough to answer some of our questions regarding their upcoming (spiritual) successor to the GoldBox RPGs of the late 80s and early 90s: Seven Dragon Saga. Set in a new fantasy universe and being based on different pen & paper ruleset, one may wonder if this game will be able to live up to the legacy of the classics. Well, I don't know. This is an interview; not a preview, not a review. You silly goose.

From this interview, we learn with certainty that TSI will indeed go the route of crowdfunding Seven Dragon Saga. Let this be a lesson to everybody seeking factuals from media outlets such as Kotaku. We also learn a thing or two about party sizes, combat, the world map and more.

A couple of cool snippets:

In the press-release, one bullet-point touches on the importance of choices and consequences in the game. How will these choices be present, and how are you keeping track of the consequences? Will you be using something like a reputation system? Also, will there be any moral or ethical dispositions for characters – something like D&Ds alignment system?

The player's party represents the Empire in a newly conquered land during a time of crisis, so the NPCs on all sides fall into factions, which we will track with a reputation system. Players' choices at critical junctures can also modify the relative strengths of these faction. For instance, if the player liberates a border fort, he may have the option to raise the flag of one faction or another, granting them control of the fortress and surrounding lands. Should they come to regret the choice, another conquest of the fort may be in order.

We are currently balancing out a Goals system for individual characters. During character creation, the player will be able to select from a limited list of Goals. When the resolution of a quest aligns with that character's goals, they receive a benefit. Not all quest resolutions will have the full range of Goal alignment, so simply having a 'Greedy' party will not provide an optimum solution. Choosing a range of sometimes conflicting goals provides the party a potentially greater benefit, but may begin to clash with the player's personal goals, or lead to the alienation of useful factions. ​

You have made it clear that Seven Dragon Saga is not another tale of a simple farmer's rise to power and glory. What exactly does this entail for the gameplay? Will the game still have the progression relative to a beginner's campaign, but cosmetically scaled up in power? Or will it be more like a playing a high level campaign off-the-bat?

Missing all of your attacks and having 4 HP simply isn't fun. Players can expect to start at a mid-level of proficiency with a reasonable set of skills and abilities to choose from. This means the player will not advance as quickly as some games where 10th level is only a couple of hours away, but endgame characters are more flexible and powerful. Part of this is through incremental improvements (spending points on abilities), part through acquiring new powers, and part through equipment (loot and constructed). ​​

Enjoy the interview and have a great weekend.

Read the full article: RPG Codex Interview: Seven Dragon Saga - A Return To Golden Boxes

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Felipe Pepe at Gamasutra: Why are we abandoning gaming history?

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 October 2014, 15:41:38

Tags: CRPG Book Project

If you've been following the discussion on our forums, you've probably already heard about Codexer Felipe Pepe's CRPG Book Project. It's an ambitious undertaking that aims to chronicle the history of the genre and shine a spotlight on its most notable entries via short reviews crowdsourced from the community. Recently, the project has begun to receive some mainstream media attention, such as this short blurb at Kotaku from last month, while celebrity reviewers such as Tim Cain and Chris Avellone have pitched in to contribute. Now, Felipe has followed that publicity up impressively with a fantastic editorial over at Gamasutra, entitled "Amnesiac Heroes: Why are we abandoning gaming history?". Here's a quote:

In 2012, Frank Cifaldi published here on Gamasutra an article on how poorly gamign history is being kept, exemplified by how we don’t even know when Super Mario Bros. was released in the US. He ended his article by saying “If this is the state of video game preservation in 2012, 50 years after Spacewar!, we're in trouble”. I couldn’t agree more.

While researching CRPG history, I was shocked at how the old editions of the now defunct Computer Gaming World magazine are still one of the best sources for anything pre-Windows. At how articles often omit sources and citations. At the amount of misinformation circulating the web. At how only a handful of few websites and individuals, such as Matt Barton , The RPG Codex and The CRPG Addict, actually work towards preserving our history. At how I have to explain that Fallout 3 had two games before it.

Think for a moment on what is commonly said about pre-90’s CRPGs, on what the younger generations have heard about: Wasteland is the grand-father of Fallout Wasteland 2; Rogue lead to roguelikes; Pool of Radiance “became” Baldur’s Gate and Ultima IV was made by that weird guy that went to space and did a kickstarter recently. That’s all you’re likely to find about the first 16 years of CRPGs in the mainstream media, almost half of our history. And there’s a good chance that it was written by people that never actually played those games.

Cinema is over a century old, yet it’s expected for any decent critic or self-proclaimed enthusiast to have a knowledge ranging from ancient classics such as Battleship Potemkin and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to recent movies only shown at foreign festivals. If you tried to write about cinema having watched only post-90’s movies and one or two older Disney animations, you would be nothing more than a joke. Renting Citizen Kane once, or the fact that you grew up watching movies, aren't remarkable achievements in a serious industry.

So how can we ask others to respect games as art, when even gamers and industry professionals don’t bother to learn about its history?

Why it’s that gaming, with such a short existence, is already forgetting its past? Why people that proudly call themselves "hardcore gamers" are ignorant and wary of anything more than a decade old? Why do we accept people writing about games that they only read on Wikipedia or watched a Let’s Play? Yes, believe me, its plain obvious that someone that struggles to understand Ultima Underworld’s interface isn’t “a long time Ultima fan”.

Recently, with the kickstarter frenzy, old names came back from exile and many tales of their past glories were told – usually with very detailed descriptions, such as “the classic old-school game X”. But no one bothers to ask about the ones that never returned. There's no research, no fact checking. It’s always easier to interview the legendary Lord British that mailed you to promote his new game than to go after the long-forgotten Lord Wood, who revealed he was working a fifth Phantasie game a year ago and no one noticed. In 2011, Wizardry’s 30th Anniversary was greeted with a big event in Japan, yet I challenge you to find a single article in western gaming media celebrating the date, interviewing developers or bringing any information to their audience that didn't came from Wizardry Online's press release.

Hell, a group of over 30 professional game journalists recently wrote a book listing 1001 games you should play before dying, yet didn't include a single Wizardry, Might & Magic, King's Quest or Gold Box title. Again, one thousand and one games listed, yet there's no room for some of the biggest and most influential series of the past.

So I must ask: when the media say that they don't talk about older games because the audience has no interest in them, is it a proven fact or a self-fulfilling prophecy? People can’t crave what they never heard about.
Read the whole thing there. And if you'd like to contribute to Felipe's book, be sure to check out our dedicated subforum.

There are 176 comments on Felipe Pepe at Gamasutra: Why are we abandoning gaming history?

Wed 8 October 2014
Chaos Chronicles resurrected? Resurfaces on Steam as "Century of Chaos"

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 8 October 2014, 19:29:48

Tags: bitComposer; Century of Chaos; Chaos Chronicles

It's been over a year since the development of Chaos Chronicles, the promising-looking isometric tactical RPG from the now-defunct German developer Coreplay, came to what appeared to be a sad conclusion, as documented here on the Codex in a series of news posts and interviews. Since then we've heard nothing about the game's fate from its publisher, bitComposer, and after the removal of its store page from Steam it was assumed to be permanently dead, although it was never officially cancelled.

It now appears, however, that Chaos Chronicles might not be gone for good. You see, when a game is taken off of Steam, its community page always remains behind, and it remains registered in Steam's database, which is publicly browsable on the outstanding SteamDB site. Yesterday, eagle-eyed Codexer Sinatar noticed that Chaos Chronicles' entry in the database had been surreptitiously renamed to Century of Chaos, as was its community page.


What could this mean? Some people suggested that bitComposer might simply be reusing Chaos Chronicles' entry on Steam for a different game, but the similarity of the names, plus the fact that they had absolutely no reason not to create a new one, makes that highly unlikely. No, in all likelihood, bitComposer have rebooted or are attempting to reboot the development of Chaos Chronicles, under a different developer. Who that developer is - and whether they can even pull this off - remains to be seen.

In related news, the people behind Coreplay, including the Codex's own Peter "HobGoblin42" Ohlmann, have reorganized under a new studio - Grimlore Games, a subsidiary of the Austrian publisher Nordic Games. Their first game will be Spellforce 3, a sequel to the Spellforce RTS series originally created by Phenomic Games, another German developer that was later swallowed up and destroyed by Electronic Arts, after being forced to create F2P browser games for a few years.

Man, the German game development scene sure is rough.

There are 39 comments on Chaos Chronicles resurrected? Resurfaces on Steam as "Century of Chaos"

Tue 7 October 2014
Serpent in the Staglands Update: Backer beta to be released on October 11th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 October 2014, 02:44:15

Tags: Serpent in the Staglands; Whalenought Studios

Looks like October is going to be a busy month for RPG fans, as yet another anticipated title hits beta. This time it's Serpent in the Staglands, whose beta is set to be released on October 11th, as explained in the game's latest Kickstarter update. As usual, awesome Darklandsy animated GIFs abound.

[​IMG] [​IMG]

We’re very excited to announce that we’ll be releasing the beta to specific backer tiers next weekend, so put on your Spicer boots, grab a torch, and get ready for some adventuring. The initial beta will be for Windows and Mac and will include all the main features in the game to be tested. These maps will have the (beta-stage) version of questing, encounters, town folk, and battles we’ve set up for testing.

It will be primarily low level content for the first grade of skills/spells and aptitude abilities, and we’ll be updating the beta down the road with the second grade of skills/spells for a new content area. We’re aiming to not spoil any of the main quest pick-ups in this combat beta, so we’ve changed certain NPCs and removed some random special encounters. Bandits, Iele gangs, flying imps, possessed children, Padurii and more are all awaiting a beating.

It will be primarily low level content for the first grade of skills/spells and aptitude abilities, and we’ll be updating the beta down the road with the second grade of skills/spells for a new content area. We’re aiming to not spoil any of the main quest information in this combat beta, so we’ve changed certain NPCs and removed some random special encounters. Bandits, Iele gangs, flying imps, possessed children, Padurii and more are all awaiting a beating.

We’ve set up some additional information on gameplay specifics on the game site here you can check out. The forums have been set up with a few specific pages for bugs/suggestions from testers as well, so sign up there to give any feedback, as it will be a hub for general communication.

The night/day system will be included in the beta areas, and will affect a few things including change what enemies dwell in certain areas (bandits during the day could be replaced with a coven at night). Random encounters will also be included in overworld-map travel. These have some pretty heavy quest elements later on in the game that we’ll introduce in the second stage of the beta, but for now are limited to battle encounters.

We will be setting up the beta for download on either platform and will email all the beta backers and paypal backers of that tier with where and how to download. Looking forward to next weekend!
Check out the full update for a few samples of Staglands' soundtrack. And don't forget to vote the game up on Steam Greenlight so we can get the beta on Steam!

There are 55 comments on Serpent in the Staglands Update: Backer beta to be released on October 11th

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