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Wed 22 March 2017

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?

Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #24: State of the Project - Pre-Alpha

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 22 March 2017, 00:51:32

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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Pillars of Eternity II recently began a new pre-alpha production milestone. Accordingly, today's weekly Fig update is a Harebrained Schemes-style status report on the current state of the game across all aspects of its development:

Area Design

We began several new areas that are critical to the storyline of Pillars II, and they are coming along nicely so far. Quests, blockouts, and dialogues for areas are being developed and reviewed before being passed to the environment artists to make the area.

Environment Art

Our environment artists are hard at work completing first and second art passes of areas in Pillars II. A lot of these are areas that are critical to the storyline, so they put a lot of hard work into getting these sections to look perfect. From that blockout you saw above, the artist does a first pass, transforming the area into a playable level with no lighting or VFX. After receiving feedback from our lead artists, the environment artist does a final pass, lighting, and passes it to VFX.

We will be posting an area update in the near future. In that update, we'll go into detail about how the area designers and environment artists work together to make the levels of Pillars II.

Systems Design

The systems designers are working on finishing the design and implementing the abilities of a few creatures in Pillars II. These designs include a creature's weaknesses and strengths, what abilities they possess, and how the creature should behave. In addition to creatures, design is continuing to make improvements to the subclass and multiclassing systems.


Our animators are hard at work creating new and unique animations for creatures. Some of our animals now have attack animations and fidgets, including wolves and boars. In addition to animal animations, weapon animations are well underway. We'll post an update in the near future with more about the animation process; there are so many cool animations we want to share that we think it deserves its own post.

Character Art

The character artists have been working on base armor sets for both male and female characters, which are looking great.


The narrative designers are working on faction questlines for this milestone, and are ensuring that we provide a level of detail in quests that gives more insight into the culture and personality of each faction. Our writers are also working on dialogues for quests and further developing the history of factions.


Programming is focused on a variety of functionality for this milestone. Firstly, they are identifying key areas that can cause longer load times and fixing these so they no longer interfere. Load times have already been decreased by a great deal, and optimization will continue as we progress with development. Second, the programmers are continuing to add support for status effects and abilities. Lastly, a few systems have been refactored to allow improved functionality for animal companions and primary attacks.


VFX is continuing to work on effects passes for areas and making our levels even more beautiful than before. Glowing lights, particles, and objects swaying in the wind make a huge difference for an area. We can't wait to show you the comparison between Pillars II and the first Pillars. In addition to areas, ability VFX are looking pretty great. We'll share some of these with you in a later update.


Audio is working on adding sounds to maps. A typical audio pass for an area includes placing ambiances and emitters for the general atmosphere of the area, painting footstep maps, and ensuring that audio is implemented for doors, containers, and traps. Whether a map is supposed to feel ominous, peaceful, or anything in-between, these audio passes really bring life to an area and convey emotions that an otherwise silent area could not do.
As of today, Deadfire has gathered $4.57M, with 35 days left on the extended crowdfunding period. The update says the backer portal will be up in the next 2-3 days, but I think they're going to need to show something impressive to have a chance of hitting any more stretch goals.

There are 9 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #24: State of the Project - Pre-Alpha

Tue 21 March 2017
Pillars of Eternity II SEC filing confirms Tyranny DLC on the way

Company News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 21 March 2017, 11:21:57

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Tyranny

One of the advantages of Fig is that it forces developers that use it to publicly disclose financial details that are usually confidential in the interests of their investors. The always-resourceful Fairfax spotted the SEC filing for Pillars of Eternity II yesterday. In addition to the expected details and caveats related to the game's Fig investment scheme, the document contains juicy information about Obsidian's business history in the past five years, including budgets, revenues, profitability and cancelled projects. And yes, it confirms that there's DLC for Tyranny on the way, something that we've suspected since Paradox's 2016 year-end report last month. Here's the relevant chapter:

Dark Rock Industries Limited and Obsidian Entertainment, Inc.

Dark Rock Industries Limited is a privately held California corporation formed in 2014 (“DRIL”) and the owner of the intellectual property rights associated with Pillars of Eternity II. Obsidian Entertainment, Inc., a privately held California corporation, is a video game development studio based in Irvine, California (“Obsidian”) and an affiliate of DRIL. DRIL is the licensor of Pillars of Eternity II. Obsidian will develop Pillars of Eternity II on behalf of DRIL for delivery to Fig under the Pillars of Eternity II License Agreement.

Obsidian originally owned the intellectual property rights associated with Pillars of Eternity, including the technology used to develop Pillars of Eternity (collectively, the “Pillars IP”). In January 2015 transferred the Pillars IP to DRIL. DRIL has the same owners, with the same percentage ownership interests, as Obsidian, and Feargus Urquhart is the CEO of both companies. DRIL, as intellectual property owner, has previously relied on Obsidian to develop Pillars of Eternity: The White March Parts I and II. It is DRIL’s intention to continue to use Obsidian to develop Pillars IP products.

Obsidian was founded in 2003 by former members of Black Isle Studios. Since then, Obsidian has gained notoriety for a number of critically successful role-playing games developed with both licensed and proprietary intellectual property. Obsidian had its first game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords, published in 2004 by LucasArts. Over Obsidian’s history, it has shipped 16 games across 8 platforms. In September 2012, Obsidian launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund Pillars of Eternity and raised almost 400% of its initial goal of $1,100,000, collecting $3,986,929 from 73,986 backers.

Obsidian has a history of developing games on multiple platforms, and many of its games have met with critical and commercial success. During the most recent five calendar years, and since then, the following games developed by Obsidian have been published:


Among the seven Obsidian games that have been published and released since 2012, five games generated sales receipts to DRIL/Obsidian that exceeded Obsidian’s development costs, and two games generated sales receipts to DRIL/Obsidian that were less than Obsidian’s development costs. DRIL and Obsidian believe that one of these two games that have not covered their development costs will cover those costs within approximately the next 18 months. Pillars of Eternity, launched in March 2015, had as of December 31, 2016 sold approximately 954,000 units and generated approximately $16,500,000 in revenue for DRIL/Obsidian. The foregoing sales information is not a complete representation of the financial performance of the games cited, because it does not include all the expenses that would affect whether a game is profitable. Also, such information has not been prepared in accordance with GAAP, nor audited in accordance with GAAS.

Obsidian has developed games with development budgets across a wide range of sizes, from budgets of approximately $1.5 to $55 million. Fig believes, and DRIL and Obsidian have reported to Fig that they believe, that the funds from the Fig crowdfunding campaign and internal investment by DRIL and Obsidian will be sufficient to complete the development of Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire to a commercially marketable level, consistent with the Pillars of Eternity II License Agreement.

Obsidian currently has four games in development: Pillars of Eternity II; Tyranny DLC; Pathfinder: Adventures; and an unannounced title with a major publisher. Fig, DRIL and Obsidian are of the view that Obsidian is sufficiently staffed to handle the development of all these games. Obsidian employs approximately 175 full-time employees, including development personnel specializing in design, animation, 3D art, audio engineering, production, writing, programming and concept art. From time to time, Obsidian works with contractors for specialized work relating to game development, such as quality assurance.

Over the fourteen years since its founding, Obsidian has had four projects in the process of development cancelled prior to their release. These projects were cancelled due to various reasons, including in one case the inability to secure completion funding; in another case concern by the publisher over marketability arising after the pre-production phase was completed; in another case concern that the product budget was going to grow to a level that was not justifiable in light of sales projections; and in another case the publisher’s decision that the product would not fit within its portfolio. Two of these cancellations resulted in Obsidian failing to cover its costs, while the other two cancellations did not. In connection with the two most recent of these cancellations, Obsidian responded in part by reducing its headcount, in December 2016 and in March 2012.
A look at the game's SteamDB page corroborates the fact that Obsidian are doing something DLC-related for Tyranny. Perhaps it will be revealed at PDXCON in May.

There are 57 comments on Pillars of Eternity II SEC filing confirms Tyranny DLC on the way

Fri 17 March 2017
Torment: Tides of Numenera Postmortem Interview with Colin McComb and Adam Heine at Eurogamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 March 2017, 21:08:29

Tags: Adam Heine; Chris Avellone; Colin McComb; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; George Ziets; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

After Torment: Tides of Numenera was released, I said that I hoped to discover what had happened during the game's long development that had led to so much content being cut. What were inXile's original plans, when were they altered and why? An extensive postmortem interview with the developers would be required. Happily, Eurogamer's Robert Purchese has saved us much of the effort of putting one together by conducting a Torment interview of his own with Colin McComb and Adam Heine. It's an appropriate gesture, as it was Robert's Planescape: Torment postmortem interview back in August 2012 that led to the formation of the Tides of Numenera project.

The interview is a massive hour and forty five minute podcast, with the most pertinent bits helpfully summarized in the accompanying text. The original storyline, the cut content, it's all there. Needless to say, it's an extremely spoilery piece, and I'm not going to listen to the audio until I've finished the game myself. But I'll quote some of the less spoilery bits here:

The stretch goal content that didn't materialise includes three companions, a crafting system, and an area called The Oasis. InXile has publicly apologised about this before.

The tricky thing in talking about the missing companions is that at least one of them, Oom, the Toy, will reappear. InXile announced this recently. So McComb and Heine don't want to say too much.

Oom is a blob of a creature from a prior world, maybe a byproduct of an ancient experiment. He could change shape as he levelled up, but into what would depend on you. If you kept telling him to be quiet, for example, he might become invisible, wrote Adam Heine wrote in an Oom blog post.

Heine tells me now: "We have a lot of design for him and we have some words written for him. The issue is that he's... different than all the other companions. There's a lot of custom stuff that has to be made for this guy."

"He's got five different shapes," adds McComb. [He has clarified since that Oom will have not five shapes but "multiple".]

The other companions who really nearly made it in are Riastrad and Satsada, the star-crossed lovers. "Riastrad is mentioned a couple of times in the game," says Heine. "When you find the Magmatic Amulet and you're reading the Changing God's journal of what happened to him in that lab ... that is Riastrad's birth you're witnessing."

"His backstory," continues McComb, "is the Changing God fell into a dark place in the Ascension, with all the crystal and stuff around there. Crystalline spiders started coming out of the woodwork and the Changing God was like, 'Screw this! I'm out of here.' And Riastrad awoke."

Excitingly, Riastrad was to have his own reusable merecaster - a device the Last Castoff uses to time travel via memories, and even alter reality - and it was intrinsically linked to his character development. "You could change his history throughout the game and basically use that to change his abilities," says McComb.

Talking of meres, they were originally going to be fully realised scenes rather than picture book interactions, and the team used to refer to them as Quantum Leaps!

Beside Riastrad, Satsada and Oom there were companions who weren't as developed. In the original conception, The Specter was one, would you believe. There was a crippled beggar, too, who had a floating cart and collected numenera, the mysterious magical items of the world. The beggar went quite far through development, as first a companion then a major NPC, then a minor NPC, then "he sort of slid on out of the game", says McComb. "The problem with him was we looked at the party composition and we were like, 'Crap, we're overloaded on nanos.'"
In other Torment-related news, Colin, George Ziets, Chris Avellone and the rest of the game's writing team spoke at a panel at GDC last month, which has now become available for viewing at the GDC Vault. Judging by Gamasutra's writeup, it was more of a general writing panel that didn't address Torment's development specifically (in fact, the author of the writeup seems to have been unaware that they'd worked on it), but there might be additional clues about the game's development in there.

There are 120 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Postmortem Interview with Colin McComb and Adam Heine at Eurogamer

Sacred Fire, a psychological RPG set in ancient Caledonia, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 March 2017, 01:47:38

Tags: Poetic Studio; Sacred Fire

Sacred Fire is a turn-based, story-focused RPG by indie developer Poetic Studio. It's set in ancient Caledonia (AKA Scotland), a land under siege by the Roman Empire and riven by tribal politics. Most historical games take a buttoned-down, simulationist approach to their mechanics, but Sacred Fire is more ambitious. Poetic are calling it a "psychological RPG", in which encounters (combat and non-combat) are based on the manipulation of one's emotional state. The game has been in development for the past several years, and has now reached an advanced enough stage to seek its fortune on Kickstarter. Here's its pitch video:

Rome has sought to conquer Caledonia for as long as your people can recall. Only fierce resistance drove the Romans back behind the great wall marking the boundary of their empire. There Rome is watching and waiting for an opportunity to strike.

But walls do not bring peace, and the scars of war run deep. Trouble stirs at Dunadd, the seat of power of your people, as Morrigan, a vengeful queen, rises to power.

You may be young, but you have seen enough of war for a lifetime. Will you unite the tribes and bring an end to strife, or will you channel their rage and crush Rome once for all?
It's a pretty weird-looking game, but the developers do have Doug Cockle (AKA Geralt of Rivia) on their side. Pledge the minimum $18 required to get a copy of the game and he'll send you a note. Sacred Fire is looking to raise $50,000, and its estimated release date is April 2018.

There are 121 comments on Sacred Fire, a psychological RPG set in ancient Caledonia, now on Kickstarter

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Wed 15 March 2017
Shocking Report From RPS: First Hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda Stinks

Preview - posted by Zed on Wed 15 March 2017, 11:59:03

Tags: BioWare; Mass Effect: Andromeda

John Walker of Rock Paper Shotgun has played the first few hours of Bioware's highly anticipated Mass Effect: Andromeda, the epic sci-fi role-playing game due later this month (March 21 NA, March 23 Europe – as if you hadn't marked your calendars already).

Apparently, he thinks it's a badly written piece of crap. Wait - what - how could this be?

[...] The first few hours of Andromeda are a gruesome trudge through the most trite bilge of the previous three games, smeared out in a setting that’s horribly familiar, burdened with some outstandingly awful writing, buried beneath a UI that appears to have been designed to infuriate in every possible way.

[...] I’m at a loss. What I expect from BioWare is slightly dodgy combat, but splendid writing and characters. What I’ve seen so far is some decent enough combat (but nothing beyond what you’d expect in a third person shooter), and some of the most dreadful writing. I cannot emphasise enough how poor it’s been.​

Thank you for the report, John Walker. We are all very shocked.

There are 287 comments on Shocking Report From RPS: First Hours of Mass Effect: Andromeda Stinks

Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #23: All About Naga

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 March 2017, 11:41:58

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Obsidian have published a new Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update, in what looks like is going to be a regular Tuesday update schedule. This update formally introduces the Naga, the Deadfire Archipelago's designated trash mob race. They look like they're going to be a bit more complicated than the Xaurips, though. I quote:

Behold the intimidating and cunning naga, one of our many types of creatures in Pillars II.

Variants, Types & Abilities

There are three variants of naga with their own resistances and weaknesses:
  • Naga (Poison)
    • Resistances: Poison
    • Weaknesses: None
  • Flame Naga (Fire)
    • Resistances: Dexterity Afflictions (Hobbled, Immobilize, Paralyze), Piercing Resistance
    • Weaknesses: Slashing, Water
  • Coral Naga (Water)
    • Resistances: Dexterity Afflictions (Hobbled, Immobilize, Paralyze), Piercing Resistance
    • Weaknesses: Slashing, Shock
The variants can be further broken down into types, each with their own unique abilities:
  • Warriors: The least intelligent type of naga. These are brutes focused primarily on dealing melee damage.
  • Skirmishers: Also known as archers. Skirmishers are the most venomous, cunning, and deadly.
  • Shamans: Spiritual and political leaders. Most intelligent and Druid/Priest casters.

Naga are a species of intelligent, reptilian wilder. They are native to many islands in the Deadfire Archipelago, and their various subspecies have adapted to a variety of conditions present there, including jungles, coral atolls, and volcanic slopes.

Social by nature, they tend to live in large groups, often under the guidance of spiritual leaders. Most are highly religious and consider themselves more sensitive to the will of the gods than kith societies, which has led to violent confrontations between the native naga and the many newcomers to Deadfire. On the other hand, they maintain neutral relationships with most Huana tribes.

Their long-established oral tradition tells of the cataclysmic devastation of the archipelago millennia ago, and of the kith misdeeds that preceded it. Many attribute naga hostilities to these tales and to the mistrust they engender.
As of this week, Deadfire has gathered $4.55M of funding (apparently last week's update was mistaken). According to Obsidian, the backer portal site should be ready "very soon".

There are 24 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #23: All About Naga

System Shock 3 to be published by Starbreeze Studios

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 March 2017, 00:55:12

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Paul Neurath; Starbreeze Studios; Warren Spector

It's been quite a while since we heard anything concrete about System Shock 3, the upcoming sequel to the iconic franchise that's currently in development at Warren Spector's OtherSide Austin studio. Warren's visit to GDC a couple of weeks ago seems to have signaled a shift. The talk he gave there, a classic game postmortem of Deus Ex, became available for viewing at the GDC Vault today (a summary is available at Gamasutra). Only hours afterwards, a press release went out announcing that System Shock 3 will be published by Starbreeze Studios, the Swedish developer-turned-publisher best known for the Chronicles of Riddick games, to the tune of $12M. I quote:

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN (March 14, 2017) Starbreeze AB, an independent creator, publisher and distributor of high quality entertainment products, has signed a publishing agreement with Otherside Entertainment regarding the game System Shock 3. Starbreeze will invest $12 million to bring the game to PC and other platforms.

System Shock 3 – The latest in the series of landmark, award-winning games from Otherside Entertainment is in development under the direction of industry legend Warren Spector and a dream team behind such ground breaking games including the original System Shock & System Shock 2, as well as Thief: The Dark Project and Deus Ex.

“System Shock is one of those iconic franchises in the history of games that still gets my blood going and Mr. Spector is one of the founding fathers of the modern action RPG” said Bo Andersson-Klint, Starbreeze CEO. “We’re greatly looking forward to bringing System Shock 3 to players world wide in our collaboration with Otherside Entertainment and Warren Spector’s team. I’ll be first in line to play”.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Starbreeze for System Shock 3,” said OtherSide’s CEO Paul Neurath. They truly get games and gamers, and have been able to translate that understanding into a robust publishing business, and build thriving gaming communities around their franchises.”

Starbreeze will be able to recoup 120% of its full investment including marketing costs. Starbreeze share of revenues will become 50% after the investment is recouped. Otherside Entertainement will retain 100% of the intellectual property relating to System Shock 3.

System Shock 3 is currently in the early concept stages of development. Fans can go to the game site to receive updates as they become available.
My suspicion that System Shock 3 would forgo crowdfunding seems to be confirmed. It's going to come out on console of course - best acknowledge that now and not be surprised later on. We'll learn more about the game soon hopefully, including whether it's even an RPG.

There are 16 comments on System Shock 3 to be published by Starbreeze Studios

Sun 12 March 2017
RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

Review - posted by felipepepe on Sun 12 March 2017, 08:50:47

Tags: InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

What does one life matter? What can change the nature of man? And did Torment: Tides of Numenera, InXile's spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment, deliver on its promises?

For the past two weeks these have been the questions puzzling RPG fans - or at least those who aren't playing Horizon: Zero Dawn, Nier: Automata or just waiting for Mass Effect: Andromeda, that is. The press loved InXile's latest game, but the audience seems less convinced. Sales have been poor next to previous big Kickstarter RPGs, anger erupted from cut content and the reception has been mixed both on our forums and on Steam (two places that rarely agree). Making a successor to the Codex's #1 RPG of all time is obviously no simple task, so esteemed contributor Prime Junta took the job of measuring InXile's success. Here's an excerpt from the full piece:

The fatal flaw of Torment: Tides of Numenera is timidity. It is terrified of stepping out of the shadow of its ancestor, to proudly do its own thing. Instead, it imagines Torment can be captured in a formula. It apes its forms without understanding its substance. If Planescape: Torment is a monk struggling with a kôan, "What can change the nature of a man?" a red-hot iron ball in his throat which he can neither swallow nor spit out, Tides is a philosophy freshman crying into his red wine, in love with the profundity of his navel. Planescape: Torment's characters embody that central question: the succubus who took a vow of chastity, the enslaved warrior-monk from a people defined by their escape from slavery, the fragment of a collective consciousness who developed a sense of self. Tides' characters... talk about it. They're painted sticks parroting lines written for them, not flesh-and-blood characters living, breathing that question.

For example, consider companion vision quests. I achieved the best outcomes for all of the companions I had with me without even paying much attention to them, as the game goes out of its way to make absolutely sure you don't miss anything. If you've forgotten to talk to your companion, they'll remind you. If you've missed a quest trigger, the character in the next step of that vision quest will react anyway, even helpfully asking you to bring that character to him if he isn't with you at the time. Keep clicking on things, and eventually you'll get a menu to click on, giving your companion ending A, B, or C. The conversations themselves are shallow, and it doesn't matter much what you say in them as you end up in the same place anyway. You don't have any reason to care, beyond shallow feel-good humanitarianism. This is only similar in form with Planescape: Torment, where companion dilemmas are also resolved primarily through conversation. There, however, you won't even meet one of your potential companions if you don't, out of pure curiosity, buy a trinket from a merchant and then fiddle with it, attempting to figure out what it does, and exploring the Unbroken Circle of Zerthimon with Dak'kon reveals as many searingly painful truths about you as it does about him.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

There are 639 comments on RPG Codex Review: Torment: Tides of Numenera

Sat 11 March 2017
No Truce With The Furies Gameplay Footage on Twitch PAX East 2017 Broadcast

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 11 March 2017, 19:44:09

Tags: No Truce With The Furies; ZAUM Studio

It looks like our exclusive look at No Truce With The Furies didn't stay exclusive for very long. The game appeared as part of Humble Bundle's timeslot on Twitch's PAX East broadcast today. It only got about six minutes, which was enough time for a short introduction from Humble Bundle's representative followed by four and a half minutes of gameplay footage. I believe this is the first proper gameplay footage of No Truce to be made publicly available. It shows an "Art Cop" protagonist and his sidekick attempting to acquire some paint. It's hard to describe really, so just watch:

Looks pretty slick. I wasn't expecting that voice acting.

There are 92 comments on No Truce With The Furies Gameplay Footage on Twitch PAX East 2017 Broadcast

Fri 10 March 2017
Battle Brothers releasing on March 24th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 March 2017, 19:43:41

Tags: Battle Brothers; Overhype Studios

Since its release on Steam Early Access almost two years ago, Overhype Studios' strategy RPG Battle Brothers has transformed from a Codex Workshop underground hit to one of the community's most anticipated titles. Last month Overhype launched a beta for the game's final update, and it was clear that a release date announcement was imminent. Today, we learn that Battle Brothers' final 1.0 release will happen on March 24th. Overhype have put together a rousing trailer in honor of the occasion, which is included in their official announcement:

We’re excited to announce that after almost 2 years in Early Access, Battle Brothers will release in full on March 24, 2017.

Creating this game together with you has been a long and rewarding adventure, and we’re very happy with what the game has grown to become. Enjoy the new trailer and feature list of the upcoming 1.0 release.


  • Manage a medieval mercenary company in a procedurally generated open world.
  • Fight complex turn-based tactical battles with historical equipment and brutal injuries.
  • Permadeath. All characters that die in combat will stay dead – unless they return as the undead.
  • All characters come with their own background stories and traits. Want a stuttering ratcatcher, a greedy witch hunter or a drunkard disowned noble?
  • Character development without a restrictive class-system. Each character gains experience through combat, can level up and acquire powerful perks.
  • Equipment that matters. Different weapons grant unique skills – split shields with axes, stun enemies with maces, form a spearwall with spears or crush armor with a warhammer.
  • Diverse enemy roster. All enemies have unique equipment, skills and AI behavior.
  • A dynamic event system with atmospheric encounters and tough decisions outside of combat.
  • Three late game crises – a war between noble houses, a greenskin invasion and an undead scourge – add a looming threat.
  • Two full hours of orchestral soundtrack.
  • 70 Steam Achievements
With the finished game releasing, the Early Access discount of the last two years will also be lifted. Within the next two weeks, the price of Battle Brothers will be raised to 27.99€, 29.99$ or your local equivalent. If you want to get the game while it’s still discounted, then better grab it now!
After a bit of a false start, the 2017 year of incline begins in earnest. Get Battle Brothers while it's still cheap and make Josh Sawyer proud!

There are 44 comments on Battle Brothers releasing on March 24th

Pillars of Eternity II Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #5

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 March 2017, 17:23:37

Tags: Aarik Dorobiala; J.E. Sawyer; Kazunori Aruga; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

With the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire crowdfunding campaign silently continuing for another month and a half, it looks like Josh Sawyer and the team have decided to keep on doing Q&A Twitch streams on a regular basis. The special guest on this Wednesday's stream was lead artist Kaz Aruga. There were a number of interesting art design-related questions, but the most noteworthy part of the stream was the first reveal of details on Deadfire's stealth and pickpocketing mechanics. The game's stealth system is going to be much more elaborate than its predecessor's, with vision cones and a hearing radius. The Commandos series appears to be an inspiration. You can read about that in Fereed's transcript on Reddit if you don't want to watch the stream:

Obsidian released a brief Fig update on Tuesday announcing that the Deadfire campaign was at around $4,58M of funding. They'll be transferring all of the Fig pledge data to their backer portal next week, at which point it will be possible to upgrade those pledges, so maybe it won't take long to reach the next stretch goal after that. In the meantime though, our own fundraiser is in its last two days. Can we reach $2,750?

There are 63 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #5

Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter Update #66: Post-Release Plans

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 March 2017, 01:30:47

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

Ten days have passed since the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera. While the game did quite well with professional reviewers, actual gamers appear to feel otherwise. Its Steam user review score is at 69% and falling, sales seem underwhelming, and the Codex thread is exploding. It's increasingly clear that inXile have a bit of a fiasco on their hands, and many people including myself were expecting them to cut their losses and move on to Wasteland 3 post-haste. However, the latest Kickstarter update proves that they're not quite ready to do that. Though not before some slightly too anxious self-congratulation:

We are now a little over one week after the release of Torment! It's been amazing to see the reception that the game received. The game has been an extremely strong success critically, with praise, awards and even several perfect scores along the way. If you want to read some of the reviews, we’ve done a pair of roundups that you can find here and here, as well as an accolades trailer. More importantly, we've been seeing your feedback throughout the forums, comments and social media.

We've heard from hundreds of you who have reached out to say that that Torment: Tides of Numenera is a worthy successor to Planescape: Torment, and that is something we are extremely pleased and humbled to hear. We'd love for you to get out there and keep spreading the word, leaving reviews, posting comments, sharing your experiences, and more. There’s a lot to discover in this game, and we’re looking forward to seeing you all discuss the story and events of the game for years to come!

When we came to you on Kickstarter, you gave us an incredible opportunity to make a game that would never have happened otherwise. It's through your continued support that these kinds of games will continue to get made. You have our everlasting thanks for providing us the ability to bring these type of games back.

What Comes Next?

Since release, we have been tirelessly reading your feedback, comments, and reports, and using that to plan a few patches for the near future. These will be primarily focused on fixing some pesky bugs that some of our players have encountered, as well as performance and stability optimizations, both on PC as well as on consoles. You can expect to see our first patch coming in the next couple of weeks.

But, we also want to address the longer term. Four years is an extended development timeline for an RPG, and it is a hallmark of our ambition for the game. Torment has the longest script we've ever produced at over 1.2 million words, and provides more nuanced reactivity and more complicated quests and stories than we have ever done before.

Despite that, there were some features we wanted to include in the game that we weren’t able to finish in time for release. Companions, in particular, were a big production trade-off. Not only does a single companion take many months of work from writers, scripters, designers, and artists. Because we wanted companions to interact and react to the game world and conversations in a deep way, their implementation needed to happen later in the development process, when quests and area design were mostly complete. As we were iterating on the companions, we felt the time was best spent building them out deeper as opposed to slamming in a few more on a surface level. These development decisions are never black and white, but we always approach it from a position of what we truly believe is best for the game. As we addressed in a previous update, reducing their number was a necessary trade-off to hit the level of quality we wanted.

But, there's a saying that no work of art is ever truly complete. We certainly know that many of you were looking forward to some of the things we couldn't squeeze into our release build, and it just didn't sit well with us leaving those behind. Now that we have had a time to see your feedback on the game, we also have a better sense of where we can focus our resources to improve.

To that end, we are pleased to announce that we will be working on additional content and updates for Torment post-release. These updates will include:
  • Oom ("The Toy" companion).
  • Voluminous Codex.
  • Crisis system improvements.
Our initial updates to the game will focused on bug fixes, optimizations, and other improvements, while the content additions will come later down the line. Both the patches and content updates will, of course, be completely free for all Torment owners, including backers, PC buyers, and console players. We will have more news on these in the coming weeks and months!
Well then, Torment Director's Cut, here we come. I wonder if the Voluminous Codex is still planned to be outside of the game...

There are 73 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Kickstarter Update #66: Post-Release Plans

Tue 7 March 2017
BattleTech Kickstarter Update #36: Backer Beta Delayed

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 7 March 2017, 11:09:26

Tags: BattleTech; Chris Klimecky; Harebrained Schemes

The BattleTech beta was supposed to start on March 15th, but it appears that Harebrained have run into some serious last minute technical issues. The latest Kickstarter update explains in detail:

Greetings MechWarriors! Klimecky back again with important news about our Backer Beta. A series of unfortunate events prevents us from hitting our target release date and, as promised in our last update, we’re letting you know as far in advance as we can. This change may come as a surprise, given it’s only a few weeks after announcing the target release date but sometimes game development throws us curve balls at just the wrong moment. As a wise man once said, “Shit happens.”

Developers are constantly weighing risks vs rewards during a project, often with incomplete information. In this case we made two big decisions in the leadup to Beta and both turned out to have a bigger impact on the project than we planned for. Here’s what happened:
  • Our development infrastructure desperately needed an upgrade but the fixes caused lots of short-term headaches. HBS has a history of “toughing it out” and working with sub-optimal back-end tools because we want as much development time as possible to be spent on game features and fun. Eventually however, a system becomes too painful to use and we bite the bullet and pay the development price. In this case, we had two vital systems that required improvement for the Backer Beta, so we decided to “tear off the bandage”, hire a professional IT contractor, and get all the work done at once so our engineers could stay focused on the game.

    Unfortunately, the infrastructure upgrade process caused several issues including delays in getting new versions of the game built. This consumed time from our Lead Engineer, our Test Lead, and myself. Without the ability to test our work in new “builds” of the game, progress slowed. It has taken the better part of 3 weeks to get back on track, but we finally feel like we've cleared the hurdle.
  • An upgrade to the latest version of Unity brought the game editor to its knees. Unity is the game engine we build BATTLETECH on top of and when the company updates its software, game developers need to take a hard look before deciding to take the plunge and install it. In this case, we determined that the update was required for beta because it contained performance optimizations that would greatly improve the gameplay experience for nearly all our participants and for some, make the game playable at all on their machines.

    Now, we know from experience that whenever you update major software in the middle of development things WILL break, so we diligently planned time for integration and bug fixing. Unfortunately, while the upgrade succeeded in improving the game’s performance, the changes in Unity broke a lot more of our systems than anticipated - with these consequences proving more time-consuming to troubleshoot and address than any other Unity upgrade we’ve done in the past (including on previous projects). We were relieved to learn that at 2:30am this morning, our engineering and technical art team removed the final productivity sink and were able to start our Monday with a solid infrastructure and performant game editor.
As you can imagine, it’s been a frustrating few weeks in the studio. The entire project slowed dramatically just as we were attempting to hit the gas for the final weeks until Beta launch. The team continued to push as hard as they could, refusing to give up on our March 15th target date, but the slowdowns and instability were punishing. The leadership group decided to step back and take a good, hard look at the situation. We decided it was best to stop the crunch and focus on finishing the infrastructure and editor work before reviewing our quality level and reassessing the target date for the Backer Beta.

Now that our technical issues are behind us, the team is focused on quality and on delivering an experience that shows the world why HBS loves BattleTech and why everyone else should, too. As soon as we have a new target date that we can confidently announce, we’ll send out another update. We are dedicated to delivering a great Backer Beta, even if that means taking a little longer with it.

Regarding the final release date for BATTLETECH: As noted during our livestreamed dev Q&As and on our forums, once we unlocked all of our Kickstarter stretch goals, our estimated release date of May was no longer valid. Way back then we said things like "Summer 2017.” Now that we're further along, we're targeting a Late Summer / Fall release of the game - but we won't be announcing a more exact release date until we're much closer in!​

Youch. Kudos for the extreme transparency, though. That's how you do crowdfunding.

There are 7 comments on BattleTech Kickstarter Update #36: Backer Beta Delayed

Mon 6 March 2017
Forged of Blood, a turn-based tactical fantasy RPG, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 6 March 2017, 22:37:08

Tags: Critical Forge; Forged of Blood

Forged of Blood is an upcoming turn-based tactical fantasy RPG from Indonesia-based studio Critical Forge that first came to our attention in October. Although its premise doesn't seem incredibly unique, the game's decent production values and comprehensive development updates have aroused some interest on our forums. Now the developers are seeking to augment their budget with a Kickstarter campaign. They've put together a nice long pitch video that includes the game's opening cinematic, a bit of gameplay and the obligatory visit to the studio. Here's that and an overview of its basic features:

Forged of Blood is a fantasy turn-based tactical RPG that focuses on creating a deep tactical gameplay experience centered around meaningful choice in a morally ambiguous world. With this game, we are merging a deep turn-based tactical game with an elaborate RPG experience that takes players on a journey to reclaim a lost kingdom.

At it’s core, Forged of Blood is a 3D isometric tactical game that will force players to think critically and creatively both in and out of the tactical combat phase. Positioning, build efficiency, and tactics can mean the difference between victory and defeat in battle, while managing your characters outside of combat poses new and interesting opportunities.

Developing Forged of Blood has, and continues to be a labor of love that turned this passion project into the sort of game we’ve always dreamed about making. From tabletop to the classic RPGs of old, our’s is a project in which we plan on merging the elements of classic RPGS and tactical games into a contemporary take on the genre.

The vision for Forged of Blood has always been to create a deep tactical experience currently in development for the PC. That means character building customization that will have tactical consequences in as many ways as possible and setting it all against a brand new fantasy backdrop. So far, we’ve created an experience for our game that, while focused on the tactical experience, will develop interesting choices on and off the battlefield.
  • A Fantasy World Afire: Our game introduces a morally grey hard fantasy world on the cusp of a predestined upheaval. Forged of Blood will throw you into a beautiful new world filled with both monsters and men across multiple environments in 3D; in a world that has a richly developed history.
  • Meaningful Choices Throughout the Game: This is a design philosophy that we’ve truly hammered into every facet of the game. Whether it be the branching narratives, the tactical combat, or the minutia of character building, every choice will have meaningful consequence.
  • Build Your Characters Your Way: With 9 weapons and weapon ability trees, 6 general ability trees, a vast magic crafting system, the characters under your command are yours to build from the ground up to fit any tactical need.
  • A True Spellcrafting System: This is the spellcrafting system of our dreams, with a staggering 3822 unique effect combinations and an incalculable number of permutations when you account for effect and global modifiers.
  • All Things (Tactically) Considered: Once on the battlefield, players will have to take into consideration a plethora of tactical factors. Will you have the right composition of characters to take on a particular challenge? Is the high ground worth taking or would the costs be too high? Build efficiency, positioning, and turn order all matter - will you be able to take advantage of it?
Forged of Blood is a decidedly ambitious project for a studio for our size, but we have lived up to our wildest expectations in each build we push out. We’ve committed our own money to not only start the studio, but to finish the game, but we’ve taken the project to Kickstarter to make the game even better with your help.
Critical Forge are looking to raise 150,000 Singapore dollars (that's a bit over 100,000 USD) for Forged of Blood. You can secure a copy for just 15 Singapore dollars, with an estimated release date of June 2018. I doubt the campaign is going to get anywhere, but this looks like a game that's going to get made no matter what, so make sure to vote for it on Steam Greenlight too.

There are 34 comments on Forged of Blood, a turn-based tactical fantasy RPG, now on Kickstarter

Sat 4 March 2017
Realistic tactical RPG Spy DNA now on Steam Greenlight, free public alpha demo available

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 4 March 2017, 16:31:14

Tags: Shy Snake; Spy DNA

Last year we learned about Spy DNA, a futuristic turn-based tactical RPG from indie studio Shy Snake featuring an ultra-realistic combat model with genetically enhanced "super-spies". The game's Kickstarter campaign in June didn't even come close to succeeding, but as I'd hoped, the developers didn't give up and continued to work on it. Last week they released a free public alpha demo, and today they've put up a Steam Greenlight page with an eye towards an Early Access release in Q2 2017. Here's the game's Greenlight trailer and an excerpt from its description:

Spy DNA is a tactical squad RPG that combines turn-based game mechanics with realistic combat simulation.

The game plays about 70 years in the future, and the player controls a squad of genetically-enhanced super-spies with unique talents.

When the genetic enhancement research is stolen from the lab, it is the player's task to recover it and prevent a rogue nation from creating an army of super-soldiers. In the course of the game, you will face a variety of opponents, such as endangered animal traffickers, unethical researchers, and rogue military organizations.

What's next?

Shy Snake, the two-person team developing Spy DNA, are already working on the Early Access version, slated to release in Q2 2017. The team's immediate focus is on getting the game through Steam Greenlight to be ready to distribute the Early Access release.

The full release of Spy DNA is slated for Fall 2017 and will be localized into Russian and German.

Want to try it today? Download Alpha Demo of Spy DNA on IndieDB:
You may heard that Valve are planning to shut down Steam Greenlight soon and replace it with a per-game submission fee. Now is the last chance for Spy DNA and other worthy titles to make it in before that happens, so I encourage you to take a look. Make sure to vote for The Dark Mod and Grid Cartographer too!

There are 24 comments on Realistic tactical RPG Spy DNA now on Steam Greenlight, free public alpha demo available

Fri 3 March 2017
RPG Codex Preview: No Truce With The Furies

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 3 March 2017, 15:31:59

Tags: No Truce With The Furies; ZAUM Studio

Of all the Codex's indie pet projects, ZAUM Studio's No Truce With The Furies is undoubtedly the strangest and most imaginative. In these days when the the commercial viability of such projects is in doubt, strong community relations are more important than ever. Perhaps that's why last month, ZAUM invited esteemed Codex contributor Prime Junta across the Baltic to their headquarters in Tallinn, Estonia for a hands-on impression. And what an impression it made! Here's an excerpt from his writeup:

The core gameplay in No Truce is a hybrid of point-and-click adventure and RPG dialogue. There is no pixel-hunting; all interactable objects light up with the tab key, and observations brought up by successful (passive) skill checks show up as little thought bubbles you can click on. However, all interactions more complex than a single-line tooltip happen through the dialogue interface, dubbed the Feld Playback Experiment, itself an in-world mystery. Underneath ticks away a robust and parsimonious system of RPG mechanics: what appears in the dialogue interface is a product of your stats, your skills, your thought inventory, your history tracked in behind-the-scenes counters, and die rolls – subtly but effectively represented by a brief sound effect and animation of a spooling tape. Some checks are passive: a line appears in the Feld if you succeeded in an invisible stat check – for example, a successful Empathy check will have that part of your mind inform you that your interlocutor seems to have a thing going with the person they’re talking about; pass an Esprit de Corps check when you do something particularly stupid, and your partner will have your back. Others are active: you make the roll when picking the choice, with the odds displayed in a tooltip.

A great many of these checks, interactions, and dialogues happen inside your mind. Your skills and stats are talking to you, pointing out things, suggesting things to say, demanding things, making connections, causing thoughts to appear in your thought cabinet. Your reactions to these prompts will determine what kind of cop you will become: behind the scenes, counters are incremented and flags are set. There is a tremendous amount of reactivity to these stats, counters, and flags everywhere: an ashtray may spark a craving for cigarettes or do nothing at all; a successful Visual Calculus check will light up a detail in the crime scene that a less observant cop would have missed. The dialogue tree is a virtual forest, a thicket of nodes with associated thresholds and conditions, changing as you change.

There are two kinds of active checks: white ones you can return to after leveling up a skill, while you only get a single shot at a red one. The twist with those red checks is that the failures are often even more rewarding than the successes, not mechanically or in terms of achieving your aims, but in story and character. My failed checks had me in stitches: a hilariously awkward line, netting me a helpless laugh mixed with pity and a dash of sympathy, or another, which becomes a running joke. Kurvitz isn’t kidding about the “disgrace to the uniform” and “complete failure” thing. That’s what you are, or start out as. It’s up to you and your choices whether, over your adventures in the bad part of the bad part of town, you manage to climb out of it, or fade into the pale as another anonymous hobo, by way of Hobocop. Yes, you can equip a plastic bag to collect beer cans you can turn in for a few pennies in a last-ditch effort to stave off despair and defeat.

You’ll probably not want to carry that bag around all the time, however, and not just because your partner will look down on you with a mixture of embarrassment and pity. That’s because you can only equip items in each of your hands. Equip a bottle of booze and you can take a slug mid-dialogue, giving you a bonus to Physique; smoking a cigarette will boost your Intellect. Other items will have their own specific effects: towards the end of the game, you will be able to dual-wield a pack of smokes and a pistolette, should you be so inclined.

[...] Instead of an ethical alignment system, No Truce with the Furies has a political one, of a sort. You don’t track “Lawful” or “Evil,” you track things like “Fascist,” “Communist,” “Moralist,” or “Liberal.” For example, Kurvitz explains, suppose there is a black girl selling newspapers at a street corner. One of the lines you can say to her is “You’re black,” to which she will reply “Yes.” This by itself does not yet affect your Fascist counter. However, follow it up with “So what kind of music do you people listen to these days?” and it will go up a notch. Keep at it, and fascist thoughts will start appearing in your thought cabinet – an inventory for mental loot – and your brain will start feeding you ever more intensely fascist things to say. People will start to take offense, and to avoid that you might want to try to ignore those thoughts, to act normal, mouthing liberal platitudes to cover up your dark, shriveled soul, gradually turning you into a crypto-Fascist or even shifting your political identity to something more socially acceptable. Or you can embrace your inner blackshirt, rack up those fascist thoughts, and eventually process them into their final, complete, crystallised form: Revacholian Nationhood, giving a massive boost to your Physique stat. Slam down a mouthful of cheap booze on top of that, and you will be a full violent meathead, ready to Jean-Claude Van Damme the biggest, meanest kipt in town right in the face, even as you spiral deeper into alcoholism, delirium, and spite. Fascism and alcohol work well together, Kurvitz explains: Hitler started all his shit in beer halls, so if that’s the way you want to play it, he wants you too to have your moment of glory.

This doesn’t mean No Truce is a game about becoming a Fascist, even though, Kurvitz points out, cops are naturally fascist. You can cultivate and process liberal, or radical feminist, or communist thoughts just as well, and many others besides. The Thought Cabinet is central to the game. Liberals will get their vision quest, and political thoughts are by no means the only ones being tracked or processed: you will change many other aspects of your personality and way of acting, and the world will react to it.

No Truce will no doubt spark a fair number of “but what is a RPG?” threads on a fair number of RPG sites. The design decision to mediate all interactions through the dialogue interface does give it a point-and-click adventure feel; moment to moment, gameplay is reminiscent of, say, Chris Bischoff’s Stasis, as the real meat comes up in the Feld. If games like Mass Effect or The Witchers count as RPGs despite taking gameplay way out into cover shooter or twitch territory, then surely a trip in a different direction is allowed too. The Feld Playback Experiment works: it is enjoyable to interact with, it recreates pen-and-paper mechanics better and more faithfully than most action-oriented systems, and it has the welcome side effect of simplifying the programmers’ and designers’ jobs since they can represent everything as dialogue nodes, adding animations, sounds, and visual effects as necessary and as time and resources permit. Combat through dialogue isn’t without precedent, Kurvitz points out – Planescape: Torment had that bit in the Mortuary where you could break someone’s neck if your Dexterity was high enough, followed by a trip to that game’s mind cabinet if you passed a Wisdom check. Combat through the Feld will let ZA/UM sidestep a lot of the time-consuming polishing, balancing, and tuning that a tactical combat system would need. This isn’t a figurine game: it’s a tabletop RPG with narrated combat, transcribed onto a computer, stats, abilities, die-rolls, and all.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Preview: No Truce With The Furies

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Thu 2 March 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #21: Ship Crew Stretch Goal Unlocked

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 2 March 2017, 00:06:14

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Yesterday Obsidian sent out a Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update belatedly announcing the successful conclusion of the campaign, and also reminding people that they were still accepting pledges from slacker backers. That seems to have been enough to push them over $4.5M only a day later, unlocking the cool-sounding Ship Crew stretch goal. The new update explains:

We wanted to let all of you fans and backers know that we've hit $4.5 million and unlocked another stretch goal, the ability to find and hire crews for your ship!

If you recall, Ship Crews offer a whole new layer of interactivity for player ships: Find, hire, and manage a crew. Once hired, crew members can be assigned roles on the ship, and will play a role in the events and battles that you encounter at sea. We are also introducing crew dilemmas that will allow you to take charge and be the captain when they look to you for guidance!

This also puts in reach our next two goals: Sea Monsters and Fishing at $4.75 million and, of course, our 8th Companion, Ydwin, at $5 million. As a reminder, the Pillars II developers gave some details on how Sea Monsters and Fishing would work in a previous update.

In Deadfire, fish will provide you with different rest bonuses and give you more recipes to cook up to help you on your adventures. Fishing will trigger scripted interactions on your boat where you can choose various baits you have collected and see what fish you can catch. Different areas on the world map will have different fish below the surface. You can be an occasional line-dropper or an expert fisherman. And who knows, maybe you'll hook some rare gear or run into sea monsters who have only been spoken of in tales...

We're excited to see if we can achieve the next two goals before the 60-day slacker-backer period is up!
Obsidian are accepting new pledges both on their own website via PayPal and on the Fig page, with the same prices and rewards as during the campaign. Effectively, the campaign is silently continuing for another two months. Of course, for the next ten days there's a superior way of contributing...

There are 24 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #21: Ship Crew Stretch Goal Unlocked

Wed 1 March 2017
Expeditions: Viking February Newsletter: New Beta Coming March 15th, Spear Abilities

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 1 March 2017, 01:21:29

Tags: Expeditions: Viking; Logic Artists

In the latest Expeditions: Viking newsletter, the Logic Artists announce a date for the game's third and final beta session, which we first learned about last month. Newsletter subscribers will receive their beta Steam codes on March 15th:

Great news! The third and final beta session is kicking off March 15th and if you're reading this newsletter guess what? You're signed up for it. We will send out an email on the 15th where everyone will receive their steam codes and the build will come online in the evening. The beta will run for a few weeks and we hope that you will all join us on steam to try out a whole lot of new content in the second campaign.

If any of you out there are interested in streaming or making youtube videos during the beta, feel free! But please wait until the second week to start your vids so we have a chance to resolve any prominent bugs or issues before you get started.

Should you know someone who you think would love to play Expeditions: Viking give them the chance by referring them to our website where they can sign up to our mailing list, which includes the Newsletter and Beta access!
The newsletter also offers a look at a few more of Viking's combat abilities, this time those related to the humble Spear:

We thought that this month we'd showcase for you, the skill highlights of another two-handed weapon available in Expeditions: Viking, the Spear.

Enjoy the benefits of poking people with a sharp object without all the hassle of having to stand close enough for them to poke you back. As with most weapons, investing skill points to level the Spear will reward players with a total of 3 unique combat abilities:

Extend - at Rank 1, Extend is an attack action which allows battlefield tacticians to go where no melee weapon has gone before, granting players melee attacks with a three hex reach, though at 75% or regular damage.

Smack - Sometimes despite your best efforts enemies will get inconsiderately close to your charaters. When that happen's those with Spear Rank 3 will be able to gracefully swat an adjacent target up side their head with the blunt end of the spear. This will count as an attack at 50% regular damage and will make the target Concussed (Endurance -3). The player's unit will then take a step one hex back without provoking Attack of Opportunity.

Distract - at Spear Rank 5 the Distract ability allows a character to draw the attention of an enemy and neutralizes the Attack of Opportunity of that Enemy. It will only work on targets that are exactly two hexes away.
And it reveals what the additional "special release week gift" for subscribers is - a free upgrade to Digital Deluxe Edition for the released game:

Remember friends, there's lots more to come with Expeditions: Viking. As the snows thaw and the ices melt, the passages will open and our ships will cross the sea. Our April 27th release date is fast approaching and we're looking to you our trusted friends and allies to join us on this great campaign.

You will all be rewarded, a share in the spoils to each of you! As a token of our friendship, we'll be sending you all a special bonus code closer to release. You can use this bonus code on Steam to upgrade a purchase of Expeditions: Viking to include the additional items available in the Digital Deluxe Edition. This will include a digital copy of the original game soundtrack, a digital art book, and an ornate in-game sword to get you started on your quest.

All in all, it was a great month, we hope to see some of you at PAX East this year. Stop by the booth, say hello, and get a sneak peek at the demo build ahead of the Beta!

As always, stay tuned to the Newsletter for more info on Expeditions: Viking and keep an eye out for beta info on the 15th of March. Until next time! ​

Also in the newsletter is a recap of the Logic Artists' visit to the PC Gamer Weekender event two weeks ago, during which they were interviewed by a couple of YouTubers. Nothing incredibly interesting, though.

There are 19 comments on Expeditions: Viking February Newsletter: New Beta Coming March 15th, Spear Abilities

Tue 28 February 2017
Torment: Tides of Numenera Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 28 February 2017, 12:44:19

Tags: Brian Fargo; Colin McComb; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

The long journey that began sometime in late 2012 ended this morning with the release of Torment: Tides of Numenera, inXile's Planescape: Torment thematic successor and their second game of the crowdfunding era. For the Codex, it's been a tumultuous journey indeed. For a long time, Torment was our most anticipated title by far, buoyed by our faith in its development team, veterans of both Planescape: Torment (Colin McComb, Adam Heine) and its quasi-successor Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer (Kevin Saunders, George Ziets). Their lengthy and ambitious Kickstarter updates excited our imaginations.

Yet as development dragged on and on, that faith grew brittle. And when the blows came, it began to crack. The mysterious departure of game director Kevin Saunders. The partnership with Polish publisher Techland. The announcement of a multiplatform release. The late discovery of cut stretch goal content. Above all, the capricious and wholly unjustified cancellation of our Gamescom interview. All of these things have led to a release day fraught with cynicism and trepidation. It didn't have to be this way, and I hope to discover one day why it was.

But as for today, Torment is finally here. Here's its launch trailer:

I'll be updating this post with a list of release day reviews. The game is reviewing rather well, with an average score in the mid-80s. Most of the less positive reviews are PS4 reviews complaining about performance issues. And then there's that Greek review which, uh, well, you'll see.

Torment: Tides of Numenera is available now on Steam and GOG for $45. Hopefully our review (or reviews) won't be a long time coming.

There are 575 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Released

Sun 26 February 2017
Feargus Urquhart talks Pillars of Eternity II and future Obsidian games at GameBanshee

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 26 February 2017, 13:53:12

Tags: Feargus Urquhart; Obsidian Entertainment; Pathfinder Adventures; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity: The White March; Tyranny

Buck from GameBanshee had a long chat with Feargus Urquhart earlier this month, during the height of the Pillars of Eternity II Fig campaign. The resulting seven page interview was published on the site yesterday. While some parts are now a bit out of date, there's a lot of in-depth information here, including details about Fig's investment model, the commercial performance of the first Pillars of Eternity and lessons learned from it, Feargus' thoughts about the companion relationships stretch goal and RPG romances in general, the Pillars tabletop RPG and earlier attempts to produce one, and more. Buck also tries to get Feargus to talk about Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky's Project Indiana and other future Obsidian projects. The Pillars II stuff is interesting, but I'll try to pack in that part of the interview in this post:

Buck: That's great news. Another thing I was hoping we could talk about - and this is going to deviate from Pillars of Eternity - but let's change course for a bit to reflect upon the super-secret project that Tim Cain and Leonard Boyarsky are working on.

Feargus: They're working on a super-secret project, absolutely.

Buck: Leo has tossed out a few hints here and there, suggesting that it'll be a single-player RPG and that it's his "dream game". I'm pretty sure we know that it's not Bloodlines 2 and it's not Arcanum 2 at this point, but are there any other nuggets of information you can give us?

Feargus: Not really. I think the thing is, obviously, for us, we want to make the games that we love to make and those are the games that people want to have from us. So I think that's a good hint as to kind of what you would expect. I can say that it's not Fallout, that is not what it is. So Leonard and Tim are not working on the next Fallout game or anything like that. But again, this is our opportunity to go off and do our digging, which I think is awesome. And we can’t announce who our partner is and all that. I think people are going to be really excited about it.

Buck: [LAUGHTER] I guess that's something. As far as I know, that's about the only thing that has been confirmed up to this point.

Feargus: We've said nothing about it yet. Just because it's the early days and we need to closely manage these things through completion and managing – you know when it's bigger, we start to think of managing staff and how does the whole PR marketing stuff work and things like that. And so yes, so I know it's just going to irritate people like probably for like a year that we're just going to be being coy. And it's not to be coy, it's just because it's not time to – even a lot of the ideas that we're coming about right now is we also don't want to do this thing where we release a whole lot of stuff that gets people excited. But for us it's still stuff that's not – it's not the stuff we know is going to be final. Because I've seen a lot games do that; they'll release stuff that's really early and get people excited and then when the real game is promoted it's like, "Wait a minute, what happened to the big robot with the thingies and the samurai sword and the dwarf?"

See what I did there?

Buck: [LAUGHTER] Yes, I see that... you alluded to the fact that it will be a year before we'll know anything. Do you have an announcement timeframe in mind?

Feargus: We don't. I would be surprised if we did announce anything in 2017. My guess is – it's literally just a guess right now – there won't be a public announcement as to what it is until 2018.

Buck: Okay. What more can you tell us about the other games you have in development outside of this title and Pillars of Eternity II, such as Pathfinder Adventures?

Feargus: We're still working on Pathfinder, and it's going to come to Steam pretty soon. We're looking at how much more we'll support it. We're looking at potentially doing another one of the whole box sets. There's three or four box sets. We've done one and all its modules. We'd do another one. We're continuing to support Tyranny and we're talking a lot to Paradox about what other kind of support we could give Tyranny. And that's the stuff we're working on right now. We are actively proposing other games and we have enough proposals out right now and hopefully we're going to know in the next, sort of 30 to 60 days. the kind of what proposals are there.

I'm also looking at, is there other kind of financing I can go get from different kinds of investors? It would be cool to do a turn-based game. A lot of people ask all the time about doing a turn-based game. It's not like we could put a switch in the Eternity engine and now it's turn-based but the engine is pretty mature right now. And so what would take to put in a rule system in or stick with the rule system up there and then make a turn-based game. And maybe that game is in the Eternity universe and maybe it's not. One of Josh's favorite games of all time is Darklands. So he really would like to make sort of a non-fantastic medieval game.

So yeah, me and Josh are going to talk this year about how to do that. I also talk about how we could take the Eternity engine and make a film noir RPG you know, black and white. I don't know. It sounds totally silly but with that kind of, like, how people talk and just that vibe. But we're talking about a lot of stuff and we're going to be pitching people. And also, I'm looking at other ways to get funding for games so we can maybe try some of this stuff and not spend Pillars of Eternity level money. We can try unusual things and we can make money even if 200,000 or 300,000 people buy it, and if they enjoy it, that's awesome. And that can get maybe some funkier games out there in the market.
Feargus also still seems enamored with the idea of making an "urban fantasy" RPG (although he thinks the genre has gotten too "romance-y" in recent years). So many ideas, and we're still a year away from even learning what Project Indiana is. The life of a game developer is full of interest.

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