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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?

For Balance: Codex Pillars of Eternity 2 fundraiser continues

Community - posted by Crooked Bee on Sat 25 February 2017, 03:26:57

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

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The Fig campaign for Josh Sawyer's pirate pet RPG Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire may have ended and collected over $4,4 million in funding -- but our campaign continues. As we're donating via PayPal, this campaign will run until March 11th.

What will it be: an NPC ($1,500), a super-pet ($2,000; or perhaps an NPC plus a regular pet?), maybe even a pirate party or inn ($5,000) or, heck, Josh Sawyer strip tease private party​ ($10,000; DU will film this and make it digitally available to all our backers!)​? (Note: actual strip tease may or may not happen, depending on how lucky DU gets.)

In the final Obsidian PoE2 live stream at the end of the Fig campaign, Bobby Null challenged us to raise $5,000 for the pirate party. Can we make it?!

Pictured: the impossible Codex pirate ship (credits to @existential_vacuum)

All that is up to you. All that, plus in the credits for some additional butthurt.

All rewards from our fundraiser are digital only. No physical stuff to be had here. But here's what your donation can get you:

$29+: gets you a Digital Key
$45+: gets you Premium Digital
$65+: gets you Ultimate Digital
$99+: gets you Early Access + Credits
(see the campaign page for detailed descriptions)

You can also get add-ons (digital only!) if you donate the required extra amount (but only on top of at least the basic $29 digital tier).
See this Fig update for a full list of add-ons on offer. The most interesting one is probably the season pass ($20).​

You can donate here. That link also has the campaign description (with the same details). Also check out the FAQ in the first comment to this post.​

Currently we're less than 100 dollars away from the NPC tier at $1,500, so the Codexian NPC is essentially already in. It's up to you what else we can get.

Naturally, at some point after the fundraiser, we're going to do a contest/voting to decide what the in-game Codex content is going to be exactly. Should be fun. (For the duration of the Codex fundraiser and contest, fun is temporarily allowed.)

Donate all your monies here. As mentioned, this will run until March 11 (Australian time, I assume).

There are 68 comments on For Balance: Codex Pillars of Eternity 2 fundraiser continues

RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2016 - Pathologic, Shock Tactics, End State, Demons Age and more

Editorial - posted by JarlFrank on Tue 21 February 2017, 23:55:55

Tags: Bigmoon Entertainment; Demons Age; End State; Gamescom 2016; Ice-Pick Lodge; Iron Sight; Pathologic; Pixelated Milk; Point Blank Games; Regalia; Shock Tactics; Sunburned Games; The Great Whale Road

Finally, after a long wait, here's the last part of the Codex's Gamescom 2016 report, and it comes with quite a few juicy bits.

We're starting this off with our interview with the Pathologic team:

J: Will the time limits of the original game still be...

Alexandra: That will still be in there, yes. That is still one of the basic aspects of the gameplay. In the original Pathologic, quests simply had a fail state; in the new version, we're hoping to allow the player to kind of "drag himself back into the plot." We don't want to encourage the player to load an older save file; we want to encourage him to go on playing. The original Pathologic had this mechanic of people dying if you didn't meet your quest objectives; now we want to make it a bit more flexible. Failing should be a part of the experience, because it's a depressing game; and the original Pathologic was depressing, but it also encouraged you to cheat. We want to encourage players to not cheat and embrace the despair. [laughs]

B: So if you don't die throughout the game, you can arrive at an ending?

Alexandra: Yes. Obviously, if you spend all your time just looting containers and eating and sleeping and nothing else, then the ending will be disappointing to you as a player, because it won't make much sense. Because the world moves on around you. One of the [playable] characters, the Haruspex, is perceived as a sort of messiah by some characters in the lore – and you can play as a very lazy sort of messiah who just does nothing. And maybe there will be an ending with someone else taking your place as the new messiah...

If the player wants to play against the game, we're not going to punish them in terms of resources and so on. But the ending will be more confusing to them, and that will be their punishment for not being engaged in the game. "Okay, so you wanted to play a game of looting containers? Well, you were successful in that! And as for the plot? Well, it went on without you!" For me, one of the references is The Last Express, a game which I think did it unnervingly well. This feeling of the world just moving on... Do you know, does The Last Express have any spiritual successors in that regard?

B: No, no remotely.

Alexandra: Well, for me, [Pathologic] is an attempt to work in that vein. Because The Last Express was splendid, and I found it very disappointing that the idea wasn't explored further.​

Then we give you some juicy previews of two excellent squad tactics games, Shock Tactics:

We're told that the defining element of this game compared to others of its genre is that the player is encouraged to play offensively rather than defensively, to rush foward and conquer enemy positions quickly rather than sitting back and camping. "Most games of this genre have you progress slowly, move one tile forward, one tile, another tile, look around the corner, select overwatch to defend the position and so on. We want to give the whole formula a new take and force the player to be aggressive, you have to push forward, you have to push forward quickly, you have to flank the enemy, you can't just keep your soldiers behind cover and shoot at enemies who are also behind cover until you get a good hit."

The way the game manages to achieve this is by throwing reinforcements at the player if he takes too long, so if you play defensively rather than pushing forward and fulfilling your objective, you might simply be overrun. To enable the player to actually do this with some modicum of success, the devs have implemented something they refer to as "controlled-aggressive approaches". When you tell one of your guys to move forward and he spots an enemy, the soldier will stop in his tracks and only the movement points that have been used up until that point will be substracted from the movement point pool. This means you don't have to slowly progress one tile at a time but can just charge forward without risking to rush into an enemy position that you could have spotted had you progressed more slowly. "We want to give the player as much control as possible and never take away control because of a decision he made."

Another element that supports aggressive approaches is the AI. "In some games, you can eliminate enemy groups one by one - you attack from the left flank, and the soldiers all the way over at the right flank will still patrol the area as if nothing has happened. Here, as soon as you fire off your first shot, the entire enemy base is triggered and they're going to attack your last known position, so you will have to be quick before they manage to form up and push you out." And if that isn't enough to deter the player from employing a defensive camping tactic, in most of the game's missions enemy reinforcements will spawn if the fight takes too long.

"Once you fire off your first shot, you pretty much have to take out an enemy each turn if you don't want to be overrun. Ideally, you would attack the base, go inside, wipe out the entire garrison, and when the reinforcements arrive you've already prepared an ambush for them and are ready to take them."​

...and End State:

Apart from sight, there is also sound, which works in a similar way to Silent Storm. When your guys hear footsteps, you will see where the footsteps came from and you can shoot at the enemy's position, for example when you hear footsteps behind a group of bushes and don't see anyone since they block your line of sight. Since the AI operates by the same rules as the player (the devs assured me that it doesn't cheat: it plays with the same line of sight, simulated bullet trajectories, and noise propagation rules as the player), the enemy will also be able to hear you if you run everywhere rather than slowly sneaking about, so you always have to be mindful of that. Speaking of the AI, each enemy soldier will have his own personality: one might be cautious and try to camp behind cover, setting up ambushes and trying to get interrupts; another might be more daring and charge forward with his SMG; some might even be stupid and just run into your position to be gunned down. There is a lot of variety in AI behaviors, which makes the game less predictable and requires the player to adjust his tactics. You can never be certain how the AI will react to your actions, since every single solidier has his own AI profile with slight behavioral variations.​

And finally we shine some light on the rather questionable design decisions of Demons Age:

The most questionable of these ideas is the character creation system. For reasons I did not entirely understand, you cannot create a full party of 4 to 6 characters, nor can you freely create your main character. "In games like Baldur's Gate," we are told, "you play this special character, like the Bhaalspawn, but you can choose this character to be anyone! You can be male or female, elf or dwarf, fighter or mage. Similar in action RPGs like Morrowind: you are the Nerevarine, but you can choose to be any race or class. So in the end, the character you build feels divorced from the role he takes in the game. You have a role given to you by the story, but you build a character without any backstory so it doesn't feel like that character actually is the role! To fix this, we don't let the player create just any character, but select from an amount of pre-made characters each with their own backstory, but we have enough of these to choose - many combinations of race and class and sex - that you don't feel forced to play a fixed character. It is the best of both worlds, giving you freedom while still keeping you grounded in the story! You play a prisoner from a stranded prison ship, and there are 16 prisoners from different races and different classes on the ship, each with their own backstory, and one of them will be your character."​

Apart from these major articles, there are also shorter reports about The Great Whale Road and Polish JRPG Regalia, so go and give the whole thing a read. It's worth it.

Read the full article: RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2016 - Pathologic, Shock Tactics, End State, Demons Age and more

There are 35 comments on RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2016 - Pathologic, Shock Tactics, End State, Demons Age and more

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.

There are 7 comments on Feargus Urquhart talks Pillars of Eternity II and future Obsidian games at GameBanshee

Sat 25 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Upate #19: Pre-Alpha Footage, PayPal, Sea Monsters & Fishing Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 25 February 2017, 00:43:29

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

The Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig campaign will arrive at its conclusion shortly, having busted through the Intelligent Soulbound Weapon stretch goal several hours ago. It doesn't look like it's going to get much further now that investment funds have maxed out at $2.25M, but Obsidian have nevertheless published a final Fig update before the campaign's end announcing a stretch goal for $4.75M. Should the campaign somehow reach that amount, an elaborate fishing mechanic will be added to the game that can also lead to encounters with legendary sea monsters. The update also announces the unlocking of the tenth and final leg of Fulvano's Journey. But before all of that, there's a special video:

Sea Monsters and Fishing - $4.75 Million

As they say, there are a million fish in the sea. And with your new boat, why not drop a hook and see what comes up at the end of the line? 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...

With this stretch goal we will add fishing and new sea monsters that you may encounter while sailing on the seas around Deadfire!

Fulvano's Voyage Comes to an End

Fulvano's next discovery is the Splintered Reef:

"A thousand broken salutes hailed me from the rocky shoal"

The Splintered Reef is a mass of abandoned ships that doggedly cling to each other, forever trapped in the aftermath of a naval battle. None could tell from the wretched monument who fought or for what purpose, as only silence and the dead seem to have won.

After 10 discoveries of new islands, including a pirate hideout, a three level dungeon, an island of slavers, and a ship graveyard, Fulvano's journey sadly has come to an end! He encountered one of the deadly creatures of the Deadfire and is now headed to a new adventure. Thank you to everyone who participated in making Fulvano's voyage possible! And special thanks to Matt Hansen, our wonderful concept artist, who brought Fulvano's Voyage to life over the past few weeks.
In other news, Obsidian have finally opened up PayPal funding for Deadfire, which will perhaps allow them to reach some of these stretch goals in the coming weeks. Might I suggest, however, that you pledge through our fundraiser instead?

UPDATE: Well, the Deadfire campaign has concluded. It ended up raising $4,407,598, four times its original goal, making it the most successful oldschool RPG crowdfunding campaign of all time. Incredibly, even if you discard Fig investments and look only at regular pledges, it's still the most successful RPG crowdfunding campaign since Torment in 2013. And all that on a crowdfunding platform that a vocal portion of the gaming community refuses to touch. Obsidian have shown the world how it's done and they should be congratulated. inXile and everybody else, take note. The era of crowdfunding vapor is over. Make your game. Sell your game.

There are 22 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Upate #19: Pre-Alpha Footage, PayPal, Sea Monsters & Fishing Stretch Goal

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Fri 24 February 2017
inXile developing The Mage's Tale, a VR Bard's Tale spinoff for Oculus, to help fund Bard's Tale IV

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 February 2017, 21:55:41

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Brian Fargo; InXile Entertainment; The Mage's Tale

Many people have wondered how inXile were planning to develop The Bard's Tale IV with the meager $1.5M budget raised by its Kickstarter campaign. Opening a studio in New Orleans where costs are cheaper was one way, and today we learn of another. You may be aware of the currently ongoing virtual reality gaming fad. It seems that the VR platform owners are out there throwing large sums of money at anybody willing to develop a game for their systems, as we've already seen with OtherSide's Underworld Overlord. Taking advantage of this, in a new Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter update, Brian Fargo introduces The Mage's Tale, a Bard's Tale VR spinoff for Facebook's Oculus.

As you might have already seen, we just announced a new game we're developing: The Mage's Tale! This is a brand-new VR title coming to Oculus, which we hinted at last holiday during our year-in-review video.

The Mage's Tale is a first-person VR adventure set in the world of The Bard's Tale, where you play as a young mage (who else?), using tactile functions to craft and throw spells to defeat your foes. It is a separate stand-alone title, which means you don't need familiarity with The Bard's Tale to play it. It is not directly tied to The Bard's Tale IV either, so it's not required for you to play The Mage's Tale to enjoy The Bard's Tale IV, or vice-versa. And it's great news for The Bard's Tale IV, for reasons I'll explain below! But first, the guys from Tested came by our studio to try the game out, check it out below!

As I touched upon in my year-end message, the NOLA studio has grown quite a lot in the past year, and this project was part of what allowed us to do that - thus accruing more talent in one place, faster than we could have dreamed. But I also mentioned inXile works in a team structure, meaning nearly all our staff are fully dedicated to one project or another. Oculus Studios' publishing allowed us to hire a team for Mage's without affecting the team we were already growing for Bard's, a team that has been hard at work on things we have already been showing you. And I want to reiterate not a penny from our crowdfunding went into The Mage's Tale, in fact quite the opposite as we'll explain below. The crowdfunding monies has been fully earmarked for The Bard's Tale IV's team.

So in a direct sense, The Mage's Tale does not affect The Bard's Tale IV. But there are some benefits... One benefit is that in creating The Mage's Tale, we need to become familiar with and develop technology and tools, just like on any other game. With each game, there is a time investment in getting up to speed on all of that. Since both The Bard's Tale IV and The Mage's Tale are being built on Unreal Engine 4, there is naturally a synergistic benefit between both of them.

But here's the best news for backers: after having seen our videos and screenshots, we saw many of you asking how we're able to build a game this graphically polished on a $1.5 million budget. We're pleased to say that while both games are being worked on by separate teams, many of the environments, models, textures, animations, and other graphical assets that we've been able to use for The Mage's Tale are going back into The Bard's Tale IV. That means we can make The Bard's Tale IV look better, and frees us up to spend more resources to build on that art set, and this helps us get to the vision of what we wanted The Bard's Tale IV to be.

Bottom line - the assets coming in from Mage's allow us to make The Bard's Tale IV a larger game than otherwise possible, with larger levels and more varied enemies. Of course, continued back catalog sales from our other games, and sales of Torment: Tides of Numenera, which is releasing this Feb. 28th, will continue to flow directly into our projects, allowing us to make them that much bigger and better!

This asset sharing is limited to graphical assets, as the two games are very different in design - The Bard's Tale IV being a much more complex game, which is on track to be the rich turn-based dungeon crawler experience we've promised from the outset.

Oh and by the way, all you dungeon crawl fans, we noted some saw the last combat video and thought we ditched grid-based movement. Not at all! We'll be excited to show more traditional, grid-based movement as well as other great features in updates to come!
It's said that the original Bard's Tale trilogy was initially supposed to have had each game focus on a different class, with the sequel being The Archmage's Tale. This sure is a strange way of fulfilling that promise.

There are 46 comments on inXile developing The Mage's Tale, a VR Bard's Tale spinoff for Oculus, to help fund Bard's Tale IV

Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #18: Ship Crew Stretch Goal, Final Hours

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 February 2017, 20:25:37

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

The Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig campaign hit $4M of funding this morning, unlocking the New Ship Types stretch goal, and the next one at $4.25M looks like a sure thing. A couple of hours ago Obsidian started their final day Twitch stream, and with less than six hours left on the clock, they've published a new Fig update announcing a stretch goal for $4.5M. If the campaign manages to reach that amount, they'll add a ship crew management aspect to the game, which is something that a number of people have requested.

What can we say to our fans, backers, and investors to express our gratitude for your incredible support for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire? You've exceeded all of our expectations -- and there's still time to take this campaign even higher! At more than $4 million in funding, we're closing in rapidly on our $4.25 million stretch goal of the talking, intelligent weapon for Pillars II, and having seen some of the initial ideas the team came up with for this, we want you to know: it will be... freakin'... cool!

However, we also wanted to reveal our next stretch goal at $4.5 million, since -- amazingly -- there's a real possibility we'll reach that before the end of the campaign today! We racked our brains and came up with something we think you're going to love:

Ship Crews

Ships alone are pretty awesome, of course, and customizing your ship is even more awesome -- but what about being able to hire and manage the crew of your ship? For the $4.5 million stretch goal, we are introducing just that! Find, hire, and manage a crew for your ship. 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. Crew members can gain experience and improve at their roles over time. The crew's skills will improve how effective your ship is in combat situations, and the crew can be assigned to defend your ship in the case that you get boarded by a hostile force. If your crew's morale isn't maintained, their effectiveness will go down, and, if you are a truly terrible captain to them, mutiny can even occur. We are also introducing crew dilemmas that will allow you to take charge and be the captain when they look to you for guidance!


Our Livestream on Twitch is broadcasting as you read this, so come check it out! And don't forget that our AMA starts on Reddit at noon Pacific (8 PM GMT), so if you're a Redditor, head over there and come ask the team some questions!

Thanks to everyone for helping to expand and deepen Pillars II and to get us this far! Let's work together to make one, final push!
It's going to take a serious push to reach that goal, but let's see what happens. I think this campaign has already exceeded a lot of people's expectations.

There are 7 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #18: Ship Crew Stretch Goal, Final Hours

Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #17: Intelligent Weapon Stretch Goal, Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #4

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 February 2017, 01:08:42

Tags: Aarik Dorobiala; Bobby Null; Carrie Patel; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

In the last 24 hours, the funding rate for the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig campaign has skyrocketed. With a combination of investment funds and normal pledges it's busted through three stretch goals, and a final tally of $4M and beyond now looks like a sure thing. Last night, Josh Sawyer appeared on the fourth and final of the campaign's weekly Q&A Twitch streams, this time accompanied by his grognardy Lead Designer Bobby Null. I can't say there were any standout moments in this one, but as usual a transcript is available courtesy of Fereed from Reddit.

As we enter the final day of the campaign, Obsidian have published a new Fig update recapping its important events and announcing the first stretch goal between $4M and $5M. If the campaign reaches $4.25M, a Lilarcor-like talking weapon will be added to the game. The update also has some additional details about Ydwin, the eighth companion from the $5M stretch goal. I quote:

Ydwin and a New Stretch Goal

We wanted to give you more detail on our potential 8th companion and current sidekick Ydwin, the Pale Elf. An image of her appears above, giving you some sense of what she'll look like, but we've got a more detailed description of how should could be fleshed out as a complete companion in Pillars II, courtesy of Narrative Designer Carrie Patel, as well:

Ydwin, our eighth and final companion (we hope!), is a pale elf rogue/cipher with extensive training as an animancer. She was born in a remote, lawless settlement in the White that Wends, where she witnessed the cruelest extremes of kith and nature. Her observations fueled a fascination with animancy, and she eventually made her way to the Vailian Republics to study. She's since become an accomplished master in the field, and advances with luminous adra in the Deadfire have drawn her to the archipelago.

Let's push hard to unlock Ydwin and get her into the game!

$4.25 Million Stretch Goal - Intelligent Soulbound Weapon

Finally, since we're closing in minute by minute on the incredible goal of $4 million, we thought it would only be fair if we included some information on our stretch goal at $4.25, which will get us one step closer to unlocking Ydwin!

Our love for talking weapons goes back long ago, to our days playing pen and paper games, and we have fond memories of Lilarcor from Baldur's Gate II. Now it's time for our own talking, intelligent weapon in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire! This stretch goal at $4.25 million will add a soulbound weapon, which is infused with a personality that can speak to you throughout your adventure.
Obsidian will be heavily active on social media tomorrow, with a Reddit AMA at 12:00 PST and a Twitch livestream from 9:00 PST until the end of the campaign. They're going to finish this thing with all cannons blazing. It's hard to believe the campaign can reach $5M, but it'll be interesting to see how close it gets.

There are 40 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #17: Intelligent Weapon Stretch Goal, Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #4

Thu 23 February 2017
Leonard Boyarsky at SINFO 24 - A Life in Video Games

People News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 23 February 2017, 22:57:38

Tags: Arcanum: of Steamworks and Magick Obscura; Black Isle Studios; Blizzard Entertainment; Diablo III; Diablo III: Reaper of Souls; Fallout; Fallout 2; Interplay; InXile Entertainment; Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; Stonekeep; Temple of Elemental Evil; Troika Games; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines; Wasteland 2

The esteemed Leonard Boyarsky, who joined Obsidian last April and is now apparently their Creative Director, gave a talk today at the Portuguese tech conference SINFO. With a title like "A Life in Video Games", it's tempting to view the talk as Leonard's formal reintroduction to the gaming world following his decade-long exile at Blizzard. For over an hour, he recapped his entire career - his humble origins as a background illustrator and his start at Interplay with Stonekeep, the creation of Fallout and his early contribution to Fallout 2 before leaving the company, the developments of Arcanum and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines at Troika, his short involvement with one of inXile's pre-Kickstarter attempts at making a Wasteland 2, and finally his work on Diablo III and its Reaper of Souls expansion.

The talk is a treasure trove of anecdotes, with a particular focus on art and design, and it should be a real treat for oldschool Codexers. Watch for the reference to a certain Codex newspost! What the talk doesn't contain, however, is any details about the game that Leonard and Tim Cain are currently working on at Obsidian, which we now know is codenamed Project Indiana. But maybe it means that an announcement isn't far off.

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Wed 22 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #16: Ships, Stretch Goals and DLC

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 22 February 2017, 21:15:16

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

After bizarrely taking yet another day off, Obsidian are back with a new Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update to kick off the campaign's final two days. To the surprise of nobody who's been paying attention, the update announces that Deadfire will feature a player-owned ship. Not only will the ship take the role of the first game's stronghold, it's also the vehicle for a full-fledged Fallout-style world exploration layer, including random encounters with pirates and sea monsters. You can see some of that in the accompanying video:

Yes, we can finally confirm what we've been keeping secret this whole time: a new and exciting feature that takes the Pillars of Eternity experience to a completely new stage, which adds open-world exploration and discovery to the gameplay on both land and at sea! As many of you guessed correctly, in Deadfire you can be the captain of your own ship. With ships, you have the power to play the game differently; now, you can freely explore the islands of the Deadfire using the new world map.

You want details about the ships? No problem. Your ship is a Dyrwoodan sloop called the Defiant, purchased for you by the Steward of Caed Nua, who has made the journey to help you (part of her, anyway) on your quest to hunt down Eothas, and is one of the first allies to join you on your adventure. The ship acts as your mobile base of operations, carrying you and your comrades wherever you command. Companions will stay on-board while not in your party, and you can even go below decks to your captain's quarters for rest and relaxation.

You can customize, upgrade, and add personal touches to the Defiant. This includes changing your sails, painting your hull, and flying flags to show your personal colors/faction allegiance. You can also improve the performance of your cannons, sails, and hull, beyond just their cosmetic appearance. For example, Dwarven cannons add extra firepower in naval battles, or while upgraded sails give you an extra bit of speed to outmaneuver your opponent. If we hit our $3.5 million stretch goal,we'll add even more new and amazing, unlockable upgrades for your ships. And if we hit our $4 million stretch goal, we will add other ships that you can find, purchase, or even steal during your adventure - to make them your own.

The World Map - Navigate the High Seas

As you probably saw in the video, above, the world map has gotten complete overhaul in terms of form and function. No longer do you have to travel from point to point in a locked fashion (though you can travel directly to locations you've already discovered, if you want). Instead, you can freely explore the map in any direction you want with your ship. You can even disembark and travel by foot on the larger islands. Our design inspiration here comes directly from classic RPGs like Fallout1 & 2; this new approach to the world map makes Pillars II feel bigger, freer, and lets you play how you want. You may discover islands and dungeons not on your map, adventure on your own path for extra treasure, or chart a course towards a distant island.

During your sea travels, you can access the ship at any time to talk to your companions or manage your ship. And through the world map UI, you can travel directly to previously discovered locations. We have a similar feature in the Neketaka City Map UI that allows you to go directly to major interior areas without having to the walk through the exterior district maps manually, which will save you a lot of time.


During your adventures around the islands of Deadfire, you may encounter things at sea. These special encounters will be presented as scripted interactions – not only will your ship play a role, but any ship upgrades will impact how these interactions play out, too. We will have both combat and non-combat encounters, many of which will play out in-game depending on the resolution you’ve chosen. For example, you may come upon a hostile pirate ship on the horizon. If you choose to engage, you can fire your cannons in attempt to destroy their ship, or you can try closing the distance to board and fight the crew directly. How effective a cannon shot is will depend on how improved your cannons are, and how likely you are to be able to escape, on your sails. Other examples include finding a derelict vessel, saving a group of stranded sailors on a wreck, meeting a traveling merchant, or fighting a monstrous sea creature. How you deal with these events is up to you.
As mentioned above, the update also announces new stretch goals, going all the way up to $5M. The stretch goals up to $4M are all related to the player ship - new ship upgrades at $3.5M, new islands to discover at $3.75M and the ability to obtain additional ships at $4M. At $5M, Obsidian will take Ydwin the Pale Elf sidekick and flesh her out, making her the game's eighth companion, and there'll be more stretch goals between $4M and $5M if the campaign gets that far. That sounds far-fetched right now, but with more Fig investment funds and post-campaign "slacker backers", maybe they'll get there.

Finally, Obsidian have officially decided to produce some form of expansion DLC for Deadfire. They have no idea yet what it's going to be about, but you can pre-order it now as a $20 add-on to your pledge.

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Tue 21 February 2017
Underrail Dev Log #51: New Weapon Types

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 21 February 2017, 19:51:41

Tags: Stygian Software; Underrail; Underrail: Expedition

Other than the recent experimental beta, it's been quite a while since we last heard anything about Underrail and its upcoming expansion, Underrail: Expedition. In a new development update published today, Styg and crew reveal what they've been working on for so long. The Expedition expansion is set to feature three new weapon types - spears, machetes and shotguns.

Hi guys. In the past few months we've been working (and we're still working) on a couple of major features for the expansion, but we didn't want to show any of them before they were ready. First of these that are now done are the new weapons, so without further ado I give you the three new weapon types - the spear, the machete and the shotgun.

[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

The choice of spear and machete as new weapons was mostly thematic (you will learn why in some later dev log), but these weapons will also have their own place in the melee arsenal. Spears are meant to be versatile offensive and defensive weapons, while machetes are meant to be high risk-high reward weapons that will rely on the user keeping up the offensive. More on the exact mechanics of this will be revealed later when I get to implementing their specific feats. There are two types of machetes that differ slight in critical chance/damage stats.

Now the interesting one of the bunch is the shotgun. I say this because the mechanics of the shotgun are unlike anything else that we had in the game so far when it comes to weapons. When a shotgun is fired it launches a number of pellets that may hit the intended target, some other target in the attack cone or might miss completely. So the chance to hit with the shotgun is not so much indicative of weather or not you'll inflict damage on the enemy, but how much of the damage you launch their way is going to land on the primary target.

I'm going to give you some random shotgun stats below, but keep in mind that this has not be properly balance tested and that before we get a chance to play around with this new weapon a bit it's hard to gauge it's effectiveness and what the numbers should be in order for it to fit into the role intended for it. There is a lot of factors that come into play here depending on the situation and it will take some time to make sure they perform as expected at different ranges (medium, close and point blank) and against different enemies (low armor/high armor). By the way, pay attention to the interaction with the different ammo types when considering the raw damage stat.

I've also implemented the ability for weapons (and gear in general) to grant you special attacks and abilities so expect more of that in the future.

The process of adding these new weapons took a long time because we had to change the way we handled animations of all the different human models and it required a lot of manual labor to get things in order. However, now that we have done this, it will allow us to add more new weapons in the future (not in this DLC, though), to which we are rather looking forward to. I'm not gonna lie, we already know what weapons we want to add in the future, so just keep that in mind when you're posting your wishes.

Anyway, let us know what you think of the new weapons.
The full update has some more images, including sample weapon descriptions with stats. Better late than never on adding shotguns!

There are 37 comments on Underrail Dev Log #51: New Weapon Types

Mon 20 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #15: Companion Relationships Unlocked, Final Week

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 20 February 2017, 22:18:01

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

After getting another big chunk of investment money, the Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig campaign reached $3M of funding last night, unlocking the companion relationships system stretch goal. The campaign is now in its final days, and the big question is how much higher it can go. Obsidian don't seem too concerned about that though, because they've taken Presidents Day off, leaving us only with this brief update teasing a "super cool" feature (seriously we know it's a ship guys) and announcing a couple of silly physical rewards:

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all our fans, backers, and investors for helping us reach the amazing milestone of $3 million dollars! It's truly amazing that we've hit this point. We're now the campaign with the most backers in Fig history, and it's due to our amazing fans who, like us, want to make Pillars of Eternity II the deepest, most robust, and most engrossing RPG it can possibly be. We're so excited to be able to include companion relationships, which we know are going to make the game even more incredible.

While we have more in the way of stretch goals and -- only a few days left to achieve them! -- we'll save them (and a big announcement about a really important, super cool, and heretofore extremely hush-hush game feature) for our next update, which will be coming very soon. For now, we'll keep it brief and just say thanks.

And by way of saying thanks, we want to announce that we're including two new rewards for several of our backer tiers, both of which feature the unofficial, super cute, pet mascot of Pillars of Eternity, the Space Pig!

Please note, that due to the holiday, it make take a day or so before the item lists on the tiers on the Fig page reflect the additional pin and plushie, but rest assured, if you're at $149 or above you're getting the pin, and if you're at $500 or above you're getting the pin and the plushie!

Thanks again to everyone who's helped us get this far. With your help, let's see how much more we can add to Pillars II before the campaign ends in the next few days!
Deadfire's funding rate has slowed down quite a bit over the last week, but has been periodically bolstered by these suspiciously well-timed influxes of investment money. The investment cap was increased to $2.25M several days ago due to high demand, so in theory the campaign could have as much as $3.75M guaranteed right now. These last few days will be interesting to watch.

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Sat 18 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #14: City of Neketaka, Sidekicks Stretch Goal, Tyranny Discount

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 18 February 2017, 00:01:19

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

The Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig campaign took in a big chunk of investment money today, putting it over the $2.8M mark and unlocking the orchestra, level cap and subclasses stretch goal. As I anticipated, Obsidian were ready with a new update introducing Neketaka, Deadfire's major city, but also an unexpected stretch goal. When the campaign reaches $3.25M of funding, the game will receive four "sidekicks" - basically simpler, BG1-like companions that don't have sidequests and aren't integrated into the relationship system. But I'll let you read about those in the update. Onward to Neketaka, with a video and introduction by lead designer Bobby Null:

The one and only metropolis in the Deadfire is Neketaka. You may ask yourself, why only one big city this time around? While having two big cities in the first game was an awesome experience, looking back, the team felt splitting them into two made neither one as amazing as it could have been. This time around we wanted to make a bigger city than Defiance Bay or Twin Elms, but smaller than the two combined. Coupled with some awesome new features and overall direction, Neketaka should feel like the fantasy city you’ve always wanted to explore. Below I’ll list some goals we had and how we plan on achieving them.

Goal: Build a city that feels different from anything in Pillars I and/or other Infinity Engine games, while not being so different as to feel alien.

  • Build a city vertically. The district structure you expect in this type of game still exists, but some of these districts are organized vertically as shown in the video.
  • Add parallax features. To really sell the idea of a mountainous island, we’ve added multiple parallax layers to the art scenes for some spectacular views.
  • Architecture varies based on the cultures that dominate the districts. Vailian buildings and locations are distinct from Huana and Rautai locations.
Goal: Create a city that feels more alive than our previous work. Retain and reinforce the “fantasy scale” of a massive city.

  • The new city map and encounters– This map shows the size of a truly impressive city without the need to model every home, alley and citizen. We’re creating interstitial content when traversing districts on the map. These take the form of special combat and narrative encounters, as well as randomized events. Meet a strange fortune teller that may reveal cryptic prophecies about your future. Cross paths with a drunken noble with a large coin purse lost in the dangerous back-alleys of Neketaka. These encounters take place in scripted interactions as well as on all-new, city street scenes. It is important to note that many of these encounters still include choice & consequence and none are of the “fight x generic enemies” variety.
  • The time of day matters. Ambient NPCs use schedules to live their lives in Neketaka, but so do many of the quest NPCs. This allows us to add creative, and sometimes hidden, ways for players to solve problems/quests. Wait for an NPC to go outside and take a smoke break before picking his pocket for that key you need. Follow an NPC to the bathhouse and eavesdrop on a conversation to gain some juicy information. Infiltrate a location in the dead of night to avoid any unwanted civilian casualties.
The update also announces another leg of Fulvano's Voyage (they've already reached another one since it went up), the opening of a new $65 "Ultimate Digital Edition" tier with additional digital goodies (no in-game stuff, though), and perhaps most interestingly, the addition of a Tyranny Steam discount coupon as a reward for all backers. Backers at the $29 tier will get a 33% discount, and $45 and above get a 50% discount. That's a pretty decent perk.

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Fri 17 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Josh Sawyer Q&A Stream #3

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 17 February 2017, 01:23:26

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

There was no Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update yesterday, and it doesn't look there's going to be one today either. There was however another Josh Sawyer Q&A stream, this time guest starring writer Carrie Patel. As you might expect, there were a lot of questions about narrative and about the recently revealed companion relationship system. I managed to get in a couple myself, but the most important revelation from the stream was that Obsidian have plans for an eighth companion. The helpful Fereed from Reddit has once again provided a transcript in case you don't want to watch it yourself.

Tomorrow looks like it's going to be a big day for Deadfire. According to Feargus in the comments section, Obsidian are planning to publish the Neketaka gameplay footage update, and judging by the current rate of funding, there's a good chance that'll coincide with the unlocking of the $2.8M orchestra, level cap and subclasses stretch goal, and perhaps the unveiling of a new stretch goal for that eighth companion. There's also a new leg of Fulvano's Voyage that needs to be properly announced, and possibly a campaign add-on that will allow Deadfire backers to buy Tyranny. Obsidian are also thinking about doing an expansion add-on like they did with the first game, but that won't be decided until next week.

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Wed 15 February 2017
RPG Codex Retrospective Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)

Review - posted by Infinitron on Wed 15 February 2017, 23:49:11

Tags: Bethesda Softworks; Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind

I'm pleased to present the next chapter in esteemed community member Deuce Traveler's chronicle of the Elder Scrolls series, coming nearly a year after his retrospective review of Battlespire (well we've actually been hoarding it since November). Released in 2002, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind is widely considered to be Bethesda's last good game before their full embrace of the dark side. It's one of Deuce's favorite RPGs, so there are a lot of things that he likes about it, and a few that he doesn't. For example:

After you complete the introduction, you are processed as a released prisoner and receive your first quest: go out and get a job. You can take up your first job offer to deliver a document to an Imperial official named Caius Cosades in a faraway town, but even when you meet with him he tells you that you need to go out and find more work before he'll trust you with additional errands. I took forever to deliver that first document, instead opting to travel around and explore, investigating the small dungeon close to the ship I'd arrived on and at the same time learning about the local politics. It is in that starting dungeon that you first run into slavers holding captured Argonians and Khajiit, highlighting that this is a game that takes the racial and political strife seen in Arena and Daggerfall and cranks it up to a new level.

The Dunmer, Argonians and Khajiit have their tensions, but the stronger conflict is the one between the Imperial occupiers and the Dunmer who have lost their political independence. The game doesn't shove this conflict in your face, but you can see it everywhere, reflected in the architecture and the clothing of the different populations. The strange native architecture is found in the heartland of Vvardenfell, and the Dunmer of these cities are well-dressed and make up the overwhelming majority of the population. Argonians are more commonly found in the swamps and backwaters of the island, dressed in poor materials and living in squalor. The Imperials have several outposts and ports along the edges of Vvardenfell, which are heavily patrolled by armored soldiers. These locations have familiar Western European aesthetics, which look quite out of place next to the strange fauna and flora outside their gates.

The Dunmer themselves are quite diverse, which is another source of conflict. They might be united in their dislike of the Imperial occupation and their feelings of superiority over the poor Argonians, but if you take those external targets away the animosity is quickly directed inwards. The Dunmer Great Houses are in harsh competition for dominance over the island, and the regions they control deviate sharply in cultural norms. House Redoran is martially inclined and its members live in traditional adobe domiciles, members of House Telvanni live inside giant mushrooms and are strong practitioners of magic, and House Hlaalu mimics Imperial culture to some extent while focusing on trade and stealth. And if that's not enough, there are also several nomadic clans of Dunmer called Ashlanders who despise their urban cousins as much as they do outsiders. The Dunmer outnumber the Imperials and could probably kick them out of Vvardenfell if they wanted to, but they can't seem to get their act together enough to do so.

Moving onward, visiting Caius Cosades will initiate Morrowind's main quest, but as mentioned previously, he turns you away at first, telling you to go take some odd jobs and come back later. The game really encourages you to avoid the main quest at the beginning and to try joining up with the various factions and doing some side quests instead. These quests will beef up your character and earn you some coin to buy better equipment, so it's a good idea to take them early on. There are many joinable factions in the game, ranging from professional guilds to religious cults to Dunmer houses to the Imperial army. It's possible to rise in the ranks of a faction, but in addition to performing tasks for it you'll also need to show that you are talented enough in the appropriate skills. For example, you might be able to peform several important services for the Mages Guild using only the strength of your sword arm, but you won't get anywhere in that organization unless you also display some strong talent in spellcasting.

Morrowind's faction quests usually deal with increasing the wealth or power of the questgiver or acting against a rival, further fleshing out the game's setting. Going through a faction's entire questline is worthwhile, allowing you to earn a positive reputation through your heroics while gaining unique artifacts, such as the Skeleton Key, a high quality lockpick which is the reward for the final mission for the Thieves Guild. If I have any complaint about these quests, it's that their progression is anti-climactic. The early quests you can do for a faction are typically simple courier missions, which are usually quite low on risk if you pay to use the game's various transportation services. The financial rewards for these quests are generous enough to allow you to upgrade your equipment so that you can survive the harder ones later on. The mid-tier faction quests are the best. You might have to march deep into hostile territory to retrieve a holy relic from the body of a fallen knight, or delve into the bottom of a dungeon to retrieve lost technological marvels. But the final faction quests are too often overly simplistic, merely asking you to travel to another city and murder an NPC at their residence. By the time you get these missions, the cost of transportation will be negligible and your stats and equipment will make them utterly trivial.

When you finish a faction's final quest you become the faction leader... and that's it. There are no more missions, and you can't order the faction to do anything or make any other changes. The designers could have added some sort of random quest system like in Daggerfall, or at least have you make the occasional administrative decision to make it feel like faction business was under your control, but there's nothing like that in Morrowind. I think the game would have been better off if your character was elevated to an honorary position in the organization instead of becoming a faction head who has no executive responsibilities.​

Read the full article: RPG Codex Retrospective Review: The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind (2002)

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Tue 14 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #13: Introducing Maia Rua and Serafen, Relationships Stretch Goal

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 February 2017, 21:27:18

Tags: J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

Obsidian's big Valentine's Day Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig update is here, and it's everything we expected. The two new companions mentioned in last night's update turn out to be the unknown characters from the game's title artwork. They are Maia Rua, island aumaua ranger, ship captain of Rautai and sister of Kana Rau, and Serafen, orlan cipher/barbarian and pirate of the Príncipi sen Patrena. But the section of the update I'll quote here is about the new stretch goal, which will give more meaning to those companions. When the campaign reaches $3M of funding, Deadfire will receive a complex companion relationship system. Yes, that means romances, but not just romances. I'll let a suave-looking Josh Sawyer explain:

Hail and well met. I'd like to talk to you today about a subject that's quite appropriate for Valentine's Day: companion relationships. At the beginning of Deadfire's development, I came up with some designs for a system to define and tag certain types of behavior and attitudes in conversation. These tags exist so that companions can react to them both in the moment and systemically over longer periods of time. As the player makes choices, companions note the player's attitudes and build an opinion of them over time. Additionally, companions also react to the attitudes expressed by other companions and will build opinions of them. In the long term, the companions will develop stronger opinions and more concrete relationships with each other.

Our end goal with all of this is to write characters in a way that makes them develop their relationships in response to the actions of others, combining hand-scripted elements with system-driven elements to reflect the dynamism of a player's role-playing choices.

As an example, we'll use Edér. If you remember Edér from the original Pillars of Eternity, you may recall that he has a soft spot for animals, has a troubled relationship with his god, Eothas, and doesn't think highly of zealots. You may also remember that he has an unwitting tendency to express racist attitudes toward orlans. In mechanical terms, we create tags for the following behaviors/attitudes: Cruel to Animals, Kind to Animals, Pro-Eothasian, Zealous, and Racist.

When the Watcher or a companion expresses an attitude that a companion cares about, they will respond directly -- positively or negatively-- and adjust their opinion of that character accordingly. In some cases, the response may be major. In others, it may be minor, simply a minor expression of discontent and a correspondingly minor lowering of opinion. E.g., the Watcher kicking a cat would draw a strong immediate negative response from Edér. Threatening to kill the dog of a thug would lower his opinion of you, but he wouldn't derail the conversation over it. Edér also doesn't hold it against people if they say things that are anti-Eothasian. He understands why people may not be thrilled about the return of his god, but he does appreciate it when people uphold the positive aspects of the faith.

On the flip side, some companions may take exception to Edér's casual racist remarks, either directly or passively. Some companions may also view his Eothasian faith, mildly expressed though it maybe, in a negative light. These can alter their opinions of him over time. Depending on what companions travel with Edér and the Watcher and how the Watcher chooses to steer conversations, certain subjects may come up a lot, a little, or not at all, possibly altering when (or if) a relationship moves an expected direction.

But this entire system does not simply exist for its own sake. These small adjustments to opinion eventually culminate in conversations or confrontations, either with the character in question or with a third party. During these sequences, the player can choose to have the Watcher step in, take a side, or simply sit back and see how things play out. Depending on how the Watcher intervenes, the relationship can develop indifferent ways. We are striving to make the relationships advance in ways that feel natural and believable. Each relationship development will require its own unique set of responses to go in a new direction. That is to say that while we use systems to track behavior and attitudes, systems cannot take the place of the writers' dedicated time to flesh these interactions out.

As far as where the relationships can lead, companions may develop strong feelings of camaraderie, loyalty, loathing, fear, contempt, or even love. The culmination of these relationships may be a conversation, a scripted interaction, a special talent or ability, or even a unique item or recipe. The important thing to our narrative designers is that we treat each relationship as its own unique story that develops in ways that feel true to the characters and themes of Deadfire.
Finally, the update also includes a new artwork that shows for the first time all seven of the game's companions - including the mysterious sixth companion, who turns out to be an odd-looking blue-skinned aumaua. Prince Aruihi, perhaps?

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Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #12: Berath's Blessing Unlocked, Final Two Weeks

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 February 2017, 16:45:18

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

The Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire Fig campaign reached $2.6M of funding last night, unlocking the Berath's Blessing stretch goal. It also gained enough backers to add an additional leg to the Fulvano's Voyage "mega-island chain". With the campaign now in its final two weeks, Obsidian have published a Fig update to recap the events of the last week and hint at what it is to come:

Only two more weeks left in the campaign, but we're far from done adding to Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. Tomorrow, February 14th, we have a super special feature announcement, and we're thrilled to give you details on two new companions. Later in the week we'll have a new video that shows off Neketaka, the big city in Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire that we're pretty sure is going to leave you impressed.

$2.6 Million!

Amazing! We've hit the $2.6 million and unlocked Berath's Blessing. As a reminder, Berath's Blessing is our version of New Game+ that features optional bonuses and challenges that unlock as you gain achievements. The next goal at $2.8 million adds a full orchestra soundtrack, an increased level cap, and one more sub-class per class. Thank you so much for the continued support. We still have a lot of announcements and amazing things to show off in the next two weeks, and in addition to the companion introductions, we will be unveiling the $3.0 million stretch goal in tomorrow's (Valentine's Day!) update too.

Fulvano's Voyage Continues to Dunnage, Facebook and Twitter Unlocks Added!

This weekend we hit 22,000 backers meaning that the next leg of Fulvano's Voyage is unveiled! The next leg will be reached at 23,500 backers. In addition we will be unlocking a new leg if we hit 15,000 likes on the Pillars of Eternity Facebook or 5000 followers on the Pillars of Eternity Twitter, whichever comes first! Spread the word of the Fig campaign and let's travel with Fulvano together! As of today (Feb 13th), Fulvano has made it almost half-way there and a new hidden isle is hinted at upon the horizon. What will Fulvano find next?

Upon discovering Dunnage, Fulvano wrote these notes in his journal before he continued his journey:

"When the Príncipi sen Patrena needed a waypoint, trading post,and hub of merriment in the desolate waters of Deadfire, the settlement of Dunnage was the only natural conclusion. The temporary, shoved-together structures are a mockery of urban planning. Dunnage is a refuge where thieves and backstabbers alike can put their feet up and trade coin, goods, and tall tales."

A "super special feature announcement", stretch goal and details on new companions on Valentine's Day, huh. Brace yourselves, boys.

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Colony Ship RPG Update #12: The Protectors' Enclave

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 14 February 2017, 02:44:04

Tags: Colony Ship RPG; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

Another month has gone by and it's time for another Colony Ship RPG development update. This one is a brief introduction to the faction known as the Protectors of the Mission, first described in an update last year, and their imposing enclave in the ship's "government district". I quote:

We’re picking up speed and working on the starting town (the Pit) putting together the very first level. The new engine makes a huge difference and so far everything is going very smoothly, but obviously we’re still in the early stages.

The writing for the starting town is almost done, the quests will require 14 portraits and Mazin is already working on the first two, so we can dedicate the next update to the Pit, introduce some characters and tell you what to expect design wise. Our new concept artist is still working on the locations. Here is his recent work - The Habitat, the Protectors of the Mission’s enclave (the government district):


Each enclave is like a giant deckhouse, a vertical city built on the ship to provide the inhabitants with all necessary accommodations. Maintenance is at the bottom, the local Ship Authority’s offices at the top, living quarters in the middle. That was before the Mutiny so things changed a bit since then.

The new central building is the Protectors' headquarters. Strong geometric shapes, a step pyramid implying ascension built over the main bunker, a blocky building raising all the way to the ceiling, a lovely podium for speeches and proclamations, anti-riot towers, flood lights, and banners.

To remind you:

The Protectors' one truth is the Mission, and the sole way to ensure successful completion of the Mission is to follow the Old Ways. The ways of the fathers, forefathers, and Founding Fathers are together the beam upon which the Ship travels to our ultimate destination. The mutiny, which through their steadfast and timely intervention was thankfully aborted, was the ultimate betrayal of the Old Ways, of everyone who had come before, the nullification of every sacrifice and every life dedicated to the Mission.

Sworn to regain control of the Ship, the Protectors will subjugate anyone who threatens the Mission. Over the last century they have managed to expand their enclave somewhat, but the Brotherhood is deeply entrenched. To overcome them with violence would result in a massive loss of life, an unfortunate consequence which itself would endanger the Mission.

The Protectors are governed by the Mission Control Council, which appoints the Mission Commander to implement their policies and decisions. Failure is regarded as a deviation from the Mission. As such, Commanders are twice as susceptible to death-by-misadventure as the average citizen.

In other words, the Protectors are militaristic, dogmatic, and totalitarian. Order, duty, and obedience above else. Mission above all; 'my honor is loyalty'. Faith that they will win in the end because their Cause is righteous. They see the "world" in black and white: they're right, ergo their enemies are wrong. They didn't betray the Mission, the others did. The Protectors remained loyal, so it's their sacred duty to right the wrong and purge the Ship. There can't be any compromise with the traitors whose continuous existence is an insult.
The update also includes concept art of a couple of other locations. You can view all of the Colony Ship RPG's concept art released thus far in this thread on the Iron Tower forums.

There are 56 comments on Colony Ship RPG Update #12: The Protectors' Enclave

Mon 13 February 2017
inXile say Bard's Tale Trilogy remaster probably not happening

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 13 February 2017, 17:48:50

Tags: Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight; Bard's Tale III: Thief of Fate; Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown; Brother None; InXile Entertainment; Olde Skuul; Rebecca Heineman

One of the brighter spots in the otherwise dull Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter campaign was the announcement that backers would receive a remastered version of the original Bard's Tale trilogy, to be developed by veteran Interplay programmer Rebecca Heineman. Burger Becky had a lot of ideas for the remaster and at first things seemed to be progressing well enough, but a year later in an October interview on Shane Plays she revealed that that the project was on ice due to a lack of funding from inXile. We asked inXile about this then and did receive a brief response, but this weekend, presumably in a bid to make good on their recent commitment to improve their communication with backers, they made an announcement that's much more conclusive. I think we've all seen this coming for a while:

The Bard's Tale Remastered Status Update

Hi everyone,

From time to time we've been seeing questions about the Bard's Tale remaster and its development status. Normally we don't discuss details like this, but in the interest of giving you more transparency and clearing up some of those questions, we felt it was a good idea to post a statement here.

When the BT4 Kickstarter campaign started, we initially promised the emulated versions of the original BT trilogy - those were finished and delivered to backers many months ago.

Shortly after the BT4 campaign began, Olde Skuul expressed interest in developing remastered and updated versions of the classic BT games. We were a bit reluctant, as we had concerns about Olde Skuul completing development, however, we agreed on the condition that inXile would provide payment on completion of the project. Because of this, our wording around the BT remasters was a bit more tentative:

"Meanwhile, Rebecca will be working on the updated versions of the games and if that goes well we'll get you those as soon as she delivers them to us, also for free! As we're not working on these versions ourselves we cannot give an ETA or guarantee on their release, we'll all be waiting for Rebecca to deliver us an upgraded version worthy of the name!"​

More recently, Becky has made appearances, such as on the Shane Plays podcast where she suggested Olde Skuul stopped working on the project because they haven't received payment. This implies that they've stopped working because we haven't paid them monies that are due, but as mentioned above, we agreed no monies would be due until completion.

There was some initial work done on the remasters, and we released some of those beta builds to you as a way to keep you guys involved during BT4's pre-production stages, as well as to help fuel development and get feedback for Olde Skuul. Unfortunately, Olde Skuul's progress slowed and eventually stopped. Our emails and IMs would sometimes take weeks or months to get replies. During this period we even provided internal and external QA resources at our own expense to help push development along, but those efforts didn't help much either. At this stage, we feel it's unlikely that Olde Skuul will finish development on the BT remasters.

Obviously, we're not happy with this situation, and it has been a frustrating sequence of events for us, but we felt it was right to let you all know what happened. In the meantime, we've removed the BT remasters from our reward packages on the Bard's Tale backer web site. The emulated version we previously released as promised will remain available to everyone who backs The Bard's Tale IV.​

Oh boy, drama! Of course, this isn't the first time Becky has left a game remastering project unfinished. inXile knew what they were getting into here. Couldn't they have hired the guy who did the Wasteland 1 rerelease instead?

There are 54 comments on inXile say Bard's Tale Trilogy remaster probably not happening

Sat 11 February 2017
Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #11: Orchestra, Level Cap & Subclasses Stretch Goal, Graphics

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 11 February 2017, 00:50:58

Tags: Justin Bell; Kazunori Aruga; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire

With the funding level already closing in on the next one in line, Obsidian have announced the $2.8M stretch goal for Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. This time it's a big one. When the campaign reaches that amount, they'll be able to hire an orchestra to compose the game's entire soundtrack (apparently the first game only had one for some of its tracks), and they'll also increase the level cap to 20 and add additional subclasses (for a total of 3 per class, presumably?). The new Fig update doesn't really have any details on the latter two elements of the stretch goal, but as promised in the last update, it does include a primer on Deadfire's graphical features by lead artist Kaz Aruga. That makes for an update that's all about sound and visuals, with a video for each. I'll post them here, along with the beginning of Kaz's primer:

Hey backers! This is Kaz Aruga, lead artist on the Deadfire team and I'd like to share with you some of the new visual features we've been developing for PoE II: Deadfire! Our artists and programmers have been hard artwork upgrading our legacy pipeline to make content creation more efficient, and researching tech to unlock new possibilities for our artists. To us this means eliminating tedious and error prone work through automation, and empowering artists with shiny new toys. We've made great strides across all art departments over the past year, and I'm very excited to share with you some new features that will make your next visit to Eora a much richer and dynamic experience.

I'll kick things off with a quick list of graphical features we have working in the current build:
  • Dynamic weather system - Things like trees, ocean, VFX particles and capes all dynamically react to wind. Clouds will cast shadows on the level as they roll by. A feature well worth its own update!
  • Parallaxing backgrounds - This is one of the few ways we can convey depth in our areas. Not only can we display backgrounds that scroll at different rates, we can now place VFX and blur them together with the backgrounds. This allows us to add movement and bring these distant backgrounds to life.
  • Shader parity* between 3D assets and backgrounds - The rendered backgrounds look amazing now when characters walk by with torches and other in-game light sources. Tight highlights bloom on metals and dance over patches of wet med. *It's not 100%, but it's pretty darn close!
  • Antialiasing & Ambient Occlusion - These are more subtle but really help the characters blend into their environments.
  • Various Fancy Shaders - Our character artists now have access to shaders that offer better translucent, refractive, and transparent materials. Expect better looking water, ice, and adra materials on our in-game 3D assets.
Read the rest of the update to learn about the process for lighting Deadfire's characters and environments. Also, bloom effects. Perhaps there'll be more details about the new subclasses in a future update.

There are 25 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #11: Orchestra, Level Cap & Subclasses Stretch Goal, Graphics

Fri 10 February 2017
Torment: Tides of Numenera Story Trailer

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 10 February 2017, 18:08:42

Tags: InXile Entertainment; Techland; Torment: Tides of Numenera

inXile and Techland have released a new "story trailer" for Torment: Tides of Numenera, that tells the origin story of the Changing God and the Castoffs. It's really quite nice - a cut above the usual Techland trailers, which makes me wonder if it's not the work of some third party. Some might find the trailer inappropriately spoilery, although there's little in it that won't be familiar to somebody who's followed the game's development closely. Here it is, along with the accompanying press release:

Wroclaw, Poland – February 9, 2017 – inXile Entertainment and Techland Publishing revealed today the latest trailer for their upcoming, highly-anticipated science-fantasy RPG Torment: Tides of Numenera, the thematic successor to one of the most critically revered and in-depth CRPGs of all time.

This epic cinematic story trailer recounts the lore leading up to the very moment that players begin their odyssey as the Last Castoff – the flesh-and-blood by-product of a megalomaniacal deity known as the Changing God.

A billion years in the future a man discovered a way to cheat death. A seeker of knowledge and wisdom, his ultimate goal was to leave an unforgettable mark on the world. In his quest for everlasting legacy, he discovered ancient technology – the Numenera – that allowed him to transfer his consciousness to a body of his own design. Thus he became known as the Changing God.

In a bid to escape death, the Changing God inadvertently awakened a fearsome, ancient beast known as The Sorrow – a terrifyingly powerful guardian of balance, bent on destroying the Changing God and all of his Castoffs.

It is at this point that the dramatic events of your birth unfold, and your story to answer who you are, and what your legacy might be, begins...​

I find the depiction of the Changing God as a kind of Biblical patriarch to be inspired. Let's hope the game's story can live up to the power of that imagery.

There are 43 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Story Trailer

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