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Wed 26 September 2018

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?

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 26 September 2018, 01:28:46

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor

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Obsidian have released Seeker, Slayer, Survivor, their arena mode/treasure hunt expansion DLC for Pillars of Eternity II. It probably won't get a lot of attention coming right on the heels of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, but they did make a pretty cool launch trailer for it. Check out that giant alligator boss:


Alongside the DLC comes Patch 3.0, which adds two new god challenge modes, a mega-boss (confirmed to be incredibly challenging by beta testers) and a variety of other new features. The new Fig update has the details:

Patch 3.0

New Berath's Blessings! New Magran's Fire challenge modes! A new mega-boss!

There's a lot of new in Patch 3.0, and we can't wait for the community to experience all we have to offer. Check out some of the highlights below:
  • New Magran's Fires Challenges
    • Eothas' Challenge - Players must complete the game in a certain amount of time
    • Galawain's Challenge - Beasts have random buffs set throughout the game.
  • New Berath's Blessings
    • Loaded Pockets - NPC pockets are filled with more and rarer items for those Watchers who have sticky fingers.
    • Legendary Crew - Three veteran sailors from the Kraken's Eye tavern are willing to cut you a great deal. Hire these experienced sailors for cheap!
    • Discount Craftsman - Crafting and enchanting costs are reduced!
    • Mythical Discovery - The Watcher's starting armoire has a Mythical Adra Stone that can upgrade any one legendary quality item to Mythic!
  • Spider Queen Megaboss - Belranga has arrived and if the feedback by our beta testers is any proof, she's as terrifying as we were hoping she would be. Hunt her down now to find some...mouth-watering rewards
And these are but a few of the giant patch that is 3.0! Check out our full 3.0 Patch notes, or go see the changes live in-game now!​

Not mentioned in the update is that the patch also adds a "recently used spells" interface and an optional kill camera(!). Sensible additions for a combat-focused DLC. If you're still waiting for Kingmaker to get a few patches, Seeker, Slayer, Survivor is available now on Steam and GOG for $10.

There are 1 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #56: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor Released

Tue 25 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 25 September 2018, 19:24:58

Tags: Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

September Madness continues this week with the release of Owlcat Games' Pathfinder: Kingmaker. Kingmaker appeared in our lives out of nowhere back in May 2017. Some were skeptical at first - a rather generic-looking RTwP RPG from a team of Russian unknowns with obligatory Chris Avellone involvement, clearly intended to capitalize on the success of Pillars of Eternity. The game would soon would make its way to Kickstarter, and with each new update it became clear that this was no typical Eastern European shovelware product. The "team of Russian unknowns" was in fact a band of seasoned Nival veterans and roleplaying enthusiasts, who had been working on the game for at least a year. It was already in a quite functional alpha state when the Kickstarter launched, and the gameplay footage we saw was indisputable evidence that Owlcat knew what they were doing.

So Pathfinder: Kingmaker is out today, and expectations are high. Not only is it the world's first proper Pathfinder CRPG, it's also in effect the first real D&D CRPG since Neverwinter Nights 2. Not to mention the game itself is an adaptation of a well-known Pathfinder tabletop adventure path. For those frustrated by Obsidian's iconoclastic take on the Infinity Engine formula, Kingmaker is an especially important milestone. But even with all their talent and experience, do Owlcat really have what it takes to produce a satisfactory adaptation of a six chapter adventure path on their first try - with a complex kingdom management layer on top, to boot? I guess we're about to find out. Here's the launch trailer:


Pathfinder: Kingmaker is available now on Steam and GOG for $40. There are no launch day reviews, which strengthens my suspicion that Owlcat had to crunch on this game until the last minute. Some players are reporting severe loading time issues and typos - hopefully we're not about to witness another review bombing.

There are 30 comments on September Madness - Pathfinder: Kingmaker Released

Mon 24 September 2018

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Mon 24 September 2018, 21:24:13

Tags: Fallen Gods; Mark Yohalem; Wormwood Studios

As I recall, this month's Fallen Gods development update was originally supposed to be about event design. It appears however that MRY has decided to embark on a brief detour with an update about violence. Specifically, the game's approach to violence, which true to its Norse inspirations, is grim and amoral - something which is also reflected in its mechanics. It's a relatively short update, but it makes up for that with some new screenshots. Here's an excerpt:

[​IMG] [​IMG]

Like many kids drawn to fantastical settings, I grew up taking comfort in the way fantasy situates violence within a moral plan. Fantasy novels are chock-full of bullied young protagonists, last survivors of near-universal slaughter, and heroes who seem helpless and hopeless against villainous might. This suffering is not just a preamble to, but a prerequisite for, later salvation. It is not merely that the wicked are punished and victims avenged; those who have been wronged find themselves, Job-like, even richer than before. (As a boy, I entirely believed that, say, Luke Skywalker could somehow be more than compensated for the trauma of coming home to the still-smoldering corpses of his murdered family. But it turns out that old wounds only ache worse as the years go on, and there is no psychic currency with which early losses can be offset by later gains.)

In typical fantasy novels, when a villain tortures a brave young woman or torches a helpless town, the bitter herb of his evil is mixed with the sweet confidence that he is merely sowing the wind. Even in ostensibly “grim-dark” series such as A Song of Ice and Fire, the long arc of history bends in favor of “breakers of chains” and once-bullied bastards. I mentioned earlier that “the noblest aspect of fantasy” is “its ability to train us to view doing good as the proper exercise of power.” Here I’ll add that its capacity to comfort, even if a kind of deceptive opiate, is no small virtue either. Run-of-the-mill childhood bullying is hardly the worst thing in the world, but it’s still rough, and that roughness is at least a bit diminished by books like The Once and Future King or any of a thousand other stories. But here, too, our game offers something different.

Unlike such fantasies, neither Fallen Gods nor the sagas that inspire it promises a moral plan for violence. When the strong use their might to hurt the weak, that does not necessarily set in motion a Rube Goldberg device by which the aggressors will ultimately suffer a comeuppance at the hands of their victims. The bloody slaughter of a people does not imply that the lone survivor will one day become king over a just, prosperous, and fecund realm; he may simply wind up an outlawed murderer meting out a measure of revenge until the day he’s caught and killed. Or he might not even make it that far. Perhaps, weak and weary, he’ll be run down a few days later and speared where he sleeps.

Our game’s setting is a world already whirling in the cyclone of such violence, and its story is that of a powerful, selfish fighter who sees others merely as a means to an end (or, we might say, a means not to end). To tell that story in that world means not flinching back from its ugliness—one must heed the cry of Aldonza in The Man of La Mancha when she is at last pushed to the brink by Don Quixote’s refusal to see the fullness of her suffering: “Won’t you look at me, look at me, / God, won’t you look at me!” As in the sagas, violence in Fallen Gods knows few limits, and it falls on the weak and undeserving no less than on the mightily wicked. Their suffering deserves to be seen and told.

That’s not to say that Fallen Gods features nothing but ugly violence or that its depictions of violence are especially gory or torturous. By the standards of modern video games and or R-rated movies, the violence is sparing and its depiction is restrained. But it is designed to have a bit more heft.

As with other aspects of Fallen Gods, that heft is conveyed mechanically. Because HP are so limited (typically single digit, even for a powerful warrior), every wound is serious. Healing is painstaking—in the field, resting restores a single HP per day, and time is valuable. There are no healing potions; rapid recovery can be achieved only by the godly skill of Healing Hands, which costs precious soul-strength, a resource the god gains only with difficulty, as previously discussed. Sickness (which encompasses both poison and disease) causes a person to grow weaker, rather than healthier, with each passing day, and unless you are strong enough to outlast the ailment, only Healing Hands or a priest’s craft can help. So too with crippling, a condition that halves the might of the injured, leaving him or her vulnerable in combat and much less helpful in events.

The seriousness of violence is also conveyed visually. Our attack and death animations avoid majestic or balletic movements. Though blood and gore is minimal, blows are meant to convey force; we want the player to wince when he sees a churl club a wolf’s skull. Illustrations likewise show battle not as glorious but in its rough-and-tumble grit.

Finally, Fallen Gods uses its narrative to drive this point home. The vignettes told through events involve not only battles in which the god participates, but also the aftermath of battles he’s missed, the weary despair that comes from the anticipation of battles that have not yet materialized, the economic drain of feuds, and so on. These events rely in part on the differences in perspective among the god (who is largely oblivious to others’ suffering), the narrator (who is aware of that suffering but takes it as a fact of life), and the player (whose values are likely very different from either the god’s or the narrator’s). The parallax effect of these overlapping perspectives is meant to be disconcerting and in some instances even dizzying, as when the narrator grumbles about surly thralls going about “unbeaten by their betters.”

Fallen Gods is an adventure in which the player has the opportunity to slay foul creatures, wield magical weapons, win powerful allies, and earn the admiration of many. But it is not unalloyed heroic fantasy, for beneath and within this quest is a frank and cautionary look at the uglier side of a world in which meting out death is viable way of life and perhaps the only way back to the heavens.
As always, the full update comes with a sample from the game's soundtrack. Next month - the update about events.

There are 8 comments on Fallen Gods Update #8: Violence


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Sun 23 September 2018

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sun 23 September 2018, 01:36:37

Tags: Disco Elysium; Robert Kurvitz; ZA/UM

As we reported last week, the guys from ZA/UM took Disco Elysium to the annual EGX conference in Birmingham this weekend. Since the team relocated from Estonia to the UK, Disco Elysium become quite popular with the British games journalism literati. I'll assume that explains the rather flattering title of the developer session that lead designer Robert Kurvitz and an associate participated in yesterday. The session is hard to summarize, but basically they talked about the game and its inspirations - personal, cultural and political. There was much discussion of its unique skill system, in which skills are autonomous beings that talk to the player. Robert considers this an important evolution of the roleplaying genre, and essential to making character development feel like it matters.


The discussion is about 28 minutes long with another 10 minutes of Q&A. Robert's answer to the final question from the audience regarding the game's art direction is pretty cool. Once again, however, there's no gameplay footage in sight. Maybe they're saving it for Christmas?

There are 17 comments on Disco Elysium Developer Session at EGX 2018


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Sat 22 September 2018

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 22 September 2018, 00:57:17

Tags: Alexander Mishulin; Deep Silver; Owlcat Games; Pathfinder: Kingmaker

Pathfinder: Kingmaker is just four days away from release, and Owlcat and their publisher Deep Silver have been trying their best to promote it. Earlier this month there was a Kickstarter update about romances, and there's been a steady stream of micro-updates on the game's Steam page showcasing its artwork. Several videos have also been produced, including two light-hearted developer Q&A videos, a very silly trailer that introduces the game's companions, and more recently, a video that offers a look at its character creation possibilities. I'll post the latter two here:


Kingmaker was at PAX West early this month. Several previews of the game were published afterwards, most of them unfortunately a bit shallow. We finally got a decent preview a few days ago at a site called Trusted Reviews. It has the most in-depth description of the game's kingdom management layer we've seen so far, plus a few personal testimonials from creative director Alex Mishulin. Here's an excerpt:

Rarely has a colon so clearly delineated the two sides of a game. Pathfinder: Kingmaker is based on the pen & paper Pathfinder role playing system, which is itself an adaptation of Dungeons and Dragons third edition (to put that in video game terms, think Neverwinter Nights). At first that plays out exactly like you’d expect, a standard, not particularly imaginative isometric RPG with real time pause combat and an eccentric group of characters, including a splendidly oily, scheming little gnome who serves as an antagonist. Act One sends you on an epic quest to kill a bandit king in a place called the Stolen Lands. Then things start changing, as with the king dead you decide to set up shop in his lands and found your own kingdom.

Suddenly the game reveals a second layer, one closer to a strategy game than an RPG. There’s even a straight up city builder interface here, where you can plonk down taverns and blacksmiths in various towns around the kingdom. These towns will come to reflect your character and their moral choices, an evil kingdom might be stocked with bandits who raid their neighbours, while a lawful good one (yes we’re working with the old school D&D alignment system here) might be policed by shining paladins.

It isn’t just building though, as the kingdom will produce dynamic events that can be solved by assigning your advisors or companions, much like Dragon Age Inquisition’s War Table. One incident involved a group of villagers attempting to stone a young girl accused of Witchcraft. At first I assigned ruthless noble Landon to deal with it, as he had the highest stats. The result, he let them burn the girl and then fabricated evidence that she was guilty.

Horrified I reloaded and tried again, this time with the studiously lawful Valerie in charge. She stopped the mob and insisted on holding a fair trial instead, fortunately the girl was found innocent. Not every character can solve every problem, they have a specialty, like community, military, divine, etc. But the sheer volume of characters means you’ll nearly always have more than one choice how to approach a problem.

[...] I’m familiar enough with the Pathfinder system to marvel at the notion of fitting an entire city building game into a D20 dice system, but Alexander takes pains to explain that they stuck close to the source material, with one notable exception. “There are no goblins in there.” He gestures to a set of books for the pen and paper version of Kingmaker (unfortunately all in German, so I have to take his word for it). “ When we talked to Paizo they said they know that in Kingmaker there are no goblins but goblins are so Pathfinder that you have to find a way to introduce them. We’d already played a lot of Pathfinder so we were familiar with Pathfinder Goblins“ He explains “They’re very different from the goblins of dungeons and dragons. They’re very charismatic, they run and mayhem, they love fire and burning stuff, they hate dogs, they think reading something takes away your soul. They’re really strange, charismatic creatures.“ Fans obviously agreed, as a goblin companion was one of the successful stretch goals for the company’s kickstarter.

The other thing Alexander is keen to impress on me during our talk is just how interconnected to the strategy and RPG layers are. After Act 1 is over you’ll be constantly pivoting between Kingdom management and questing, with each affecting the other. He gives the example of a troll infestation which threatens the kingdom, requiring a quest to resolve it. You have three in game months to achieve this, or you’ll get a hard game over. “It is part of the story as well as part of the game, and because it’s part of the story the game is over if you lose your Kingdom.”

“But we do understand that some players don’t like the strategy game layer.” he adds “There is a special mode in settings where you can place your kingdom on automation. Most of the decisions will be taken out from you, you will still be speaking with NPCs about quests and side activities…. All of the decisions all of the events will be taken out from you and you will play with the kingdom in the background.” By the same token the difficulty level is highly customisable, so those who are more interested in the strategy layer can turn on “auto-level-up”, drop the difficulty and focus on kingdom building.

But the real fun seems to come from when the two overlap, when your questing overturns a person or item that helps your kingdom, or your artisans craft a great magical item to help your adventure. “The story of the game is the story of the kingdom” says Alexander. Finally, obsessive castle building an be more than just a sidequest.
Additional Kingmaker previews are available at Tom's Guide, USgamer, OnRPG, TechRaptor, Bleeding Cool and RPG Site. There was also an interview with Mishulin at Expansive last week, and most recently an interview with Chris Avellone about the game's story, also at RPG Site. Finally, today Chris and Alex participated in a Reddit AMA where they answered questions from fans. And I think that's about it.

There are 53 comments on Pathfinder: Kingmaker Trailers, Previews and Interviews

Fri 21 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 21 September 2018, 01:02:29

Tags: Star Control: Origins; Stardock

The story of Star Control: Origins begins in 2013 with the collapse of publisher Atari SA, owners of the Star Control license since their acquisition of Accolade in 1999. In the subsequent bankruptcy auction, the license was picked up by strategy game developer Stardock, who soon revealed their intention to produce the first new Star Control game in over 15 years. After what appears to have been a lengthy period of preproduction, Star Control: Origins was officially unveiled in late 2016 as a kind of reboot/reimagining of the Star Control continuity, set in a universe with entirely new alien races. Many of us were skeptical of this idea, but Stardock were serious about the project and pressed on.

Things took a turn for the wild a year later when the original creators of Star Control, Paul Reiche III and Fred Ford, announced their intention to create a Star Control game of their own - and almost immediately became embroiled in a vicious intellectual property dispute with Stardock. Tentatively titled Ghosts of the Precursors, Reiche & Ford's game was to be a proper sequel to the legendary second game in the series, for which they still owned the substantive copyrights. It's not clear what preceded what, but it was around this point that Stardock CEO Brad Wardell appears to have made the decision to add some of the alien races from the original games to Origins after all, albeit with different visual appearances and new backstories.

Bystanders soon took sides, with certain figures in the mainstream media predictably aligning with Reiche & Ford against the occasionally outspoken Wardell, and some of those who dislike said media reflexively siding with Wardell. The legal trench warfare has presumably continued behind the scenes, but it didn't stop Star Control: Origins from being released today. Here's the launch trailer and description:


Most of the launch day reviews are quite positive, with the notable exception of IGN and GameSpot, whose reviewers seem to approve of the game's writing but find its arcade action elements tedious.

GamingTrend 95/100
GameWatcher 9/10
GameSpace 9/10
Windows Central 4.5/5
USgamer 3.5/5
IGN 6.9/10
GameSpot 6/10​

I have to say that my own impression is that Stardock have done some legally questionable things here - but I also don't care. At the RPG Codex, we're all about games first, and right now Stardock are the only ones who have a game. But is it a good game? If any of us ever get around to playing it after this crazy September, maybe we'll tell you. Star Control: Origins is available now on Steam and GOG for $40.

There are 21 comments on September Madness - Star Control: Origins Released

Wed 19 September 2018

Game News - posted by Darth Roxor on Wed 19 September 2018, 14:15:09

Tags: Das Geisterschiff

Das Geisterschiff, a "turn-based cyberpunk dungeon crawler" by Surt R. (known as zwanzig_zwoelf among the RPG Codex denizens) has been officially released.

Here's the game's description from its webpage, and also a launch trailer.



Das Geisterschiff is a turn-based cyberpunk adventure/dungeon crawler hybrid with survival horror elements where you play as a mecha pilot working for one of the megacorps.

By 2072 the Earth turned into a scorched wasteland, forcing the population to move underground while two megacorps are stuck in an endless war over the territory and resources. After graduating from the military academy you've decided to join one of them.
Key Features

Non-linear dungeons filled with dangerous encounters, traps and puzzles;
Survival horror on steroids: no healing, no ammo pickups, no mercy;
Nuanced turn-based combat within dungeons;
Unique wireframe-like graphics supported by atmospheric electronic soundtrack.​

For the moment, you can get the game from the guy's website for a grand total of 7.22 eurobucks, though he claims it'll be coming to Steam soon. There's a free demo available as well.

There are 83 comments on Das Geisterschiff - Released

Tue 18 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 18 September 2018, 20:26:33

Tags: InXile Entertainment; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

Welcome to September Madness, our chronicle of this month's crazy volume of anticipated or otherwise noteworthy RPG releases. We start the week off with The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep, inXile's sequel to the classic series of dungeon crawlers that put Interplay on the map back in the 1980s. Originally revealed way back in January 2015 and crowdfunded on Kickstarter that June, for most of its development The Bard's Tale IV was overshadowed by inXile's previous crowdfunded RPG, Torment: Tides of Numenera. The game's $1.5M haul on Kickstarter was widely viewed as a weak performance at the time, and as a cost-cutting measure its development was soon spun off to a new inXile studio opened in New Orleans.

The Bard's Tale IV has probably been ignored by most Codexers, who have never been huge fans of the blobber genre even in the best of circumstances (except perhaps when they're created by madmen from Australia). Yet in the aftermath of Torment's failure, there have been some contrarians among us who looked at Bard's Tale IV and bet that it would end up becoming inXile's most accomplished project, an unpretentious mechanics-first title produced far away from the allegedly negative influences of the California game development scene. Now that the game has been released, is that the case? We're not sure yet, to be honest! Have a look at today's reviews:

MMORPG.com 8.8/10
GameGrin 8.5/10
DarkStation 4/5
Game Informer 7.75/10
That's right, there are barely any of them, and none from the major PC gaming sites. There's also an unusually large number of in-progress reviews, all of which leads me to believe that inXile distributed review keys to the media very late, perhaps only a few days ago. As you might expect, the reviews we do have are rather shallow, with their complaints mainly reserved for the game's graphics and performance, the latter of which seems to be a major issue still. The most useful review right now seems to be this video from well-known gaming YouTuber ACG rather than anything from the traditional media. But ultimately, or at least for the next few days, we Codexers will have to figure this one out for ourselves. The Bard's Tale IV is available now on Steam and GOG for the price of $35. If you're a Kickstarter backer, be sure to check out this update as well.

There are 142 comments on September Madness - The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep Released

Sat 15 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 15 September 2018, 18:17:33

Tags: Colony Ship; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

How ironic! After much discussion and two rounds of voting, The New World has gone back to being simply Colony Ship, the working title it used before it was officially named. The latest development update wastes no time dwelling on that, however. It's all about the monsters of the colony ship. They're the mutated descendants of various animals that the colonists brought with them to help terraform Proxima Centauri. The goal is to make them more tactically interesting than the monsters from Dungeon Rats.

In AoD/DR most critters were melee ‘fighters’, half of them poisonous, with high DEX (to close the distance fast) and two attack types. Predictably, this design didn’t bring anything new to the table and what little it did bring got old fast.

So when it comes to creatures our goals are:
  • Tactical flexibility
  • Unique abilities that humans don’t have
  • Focus on various effects rather than direct damage (i.e. no 'fighters')
  • Different enemies working together or taking advantage of other critters’ abilities
  • Effective counters of ranged parties
Of course, having lofty goals is one thing, achieving them is another, so we’d like to run some ideas by our core audience and see what you guys think. Nothing is set in stone yet as we won’t start implementing the creatures until 2019, so we can easily make change at this point. We’re planning to have 6 creatures, mostly found in the Hydroponics and Wasteland. Let’s start with the creatures’ origin.

The Ship is en route to Proxima B, an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Ninety percent of its surface is covered with water, but the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, providing approximately half of Earth’s landmass.

Losing Terran plants and crops to local pests and fungus would be catastrophic, so the Hydroponics Division was tasked with adapting the plants to the anticipated environment of Proxima B and developing biological forms of pest control (introducing predators from old Earth to change the native ecosystem and eliminate all local threats was the most cost-effective way to ensure that the colony would survive and grow).

Extensive gene-editing was employed to develop resistance to alien fungi and pests, and accelerated adaptation hacked into the plants' genetic code. Like many other critical systems, Hydroponics was abandoned during the Mutiny. The carefully cultivated flora and fauna was left on its own in harsh environs designed to propagate rapid and brutal evolutionary cycles.

When human beings finally decided to reclaim Hydroponics, they discovered an environment as wild and hostile as any Earth jungle...
The update describes three of Colony Ship's six monster types:

Frogs: Frogs are already used in agriculture as a form of biological pest control as they have a healthy appetite for insects and are highly resistant to insecticide. Plus they have a wide range of natural abilities: jumping, toxic venom, hallucinogen, even retractable spikes (the wolverine frog), which would make them a top choice when it comes to cost-effective terraforming.

The frog is a 'hard to hit, easy to kill' critter (high evasion due to the small size and mobility, low hit points and no damage resistance). They will attack in packs and come in 3 varieties: fighter, poison spitter, and 'mind flayer'. It's a low level critter that prefers easy prey (i.e. low level, poorly equipped parties). They aren't very aggressive and won't attack unless threatened. When you run into them for the first time, they'll be busy feasting on a corpse. If you want to go through that corpse's pockets, you'll have to kill the frogs first.

Starfish: An avid predator and an opportunistic feeder, the starfish is one of the keystone species which makes it an excellent addition to any terraforming arsenal. It can regenerate damaged parts, swallow its prey whole, and it even comes with its own body armor (hardened plates and spines).

The mutated version will shoot its stomach (yeah, it's actually a thing) to drag the victim within the attack range. It will also release a spore cloud, greatly reducing the visibility and your THC with ranged weapons. During its turn, the starfish will envelop you and drain your HP, regenerating some of the damage it sustains during the fight.

Unlike the frog, the starfish is easy to hit (with melee weapons) but hard to kill due to DR and accelerated regeneration. One starfish isn’t a serious threat but 2-3 would be able to ruin your day pretty quick.

Floaters: It’s a mutated jellyfish originally adapted from the Portuguese man o'war and designed to hover over crops and zap insects, while turning away larger animals. Things got a bit out of hand during the Mutiny when the mutation cycles ran wild and now the few remaining floaters haunt the ruins of the Mission Control Center.

Upon detecting oversized insects, the floater will slowly move to intercept them. Bullets have no effect on it but energy weapons would bring it down in no time. In the absence of such weapons or cells to power them up, you can hack it to pieces, which isn’t an ideal solution because the floater will zap every enemy next to it (crowd control), dealing energy damage. On top of it, the floater is equipped with a primitive version of brainwave disruptor, so the closer you get, the higher the chance to forget what you were doing and just stand there, drooling like an idiot (aka skip turn).

In short, the floater is easy to kill if you have energy cells to spare or hard to kill with melee weapons if you don’t. Certain implants and helmet will increase mental resistance. Other creatures and rival parties might (surely will) attack while you’re busy fighting the floaters.
See the full update for concept art of these three creatures, which helpfully shows their size compared to a human being. The other three creatures sound like they might be more exotic - the Wasteland's "Old Beelzebub" is one of them.

There are 59 comments on Colony Ship Update #30: New Title, Monsters

Fri 14 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 September 2018, 15:52:52

Tags: Dark Crystal Games; Encased

In case you missed it, Encased is an upcoming post-apocalyptic isometric RPG from St. Petersburg-based Dark Crystal Games that has attracted some positive attention. In the months since its re-announcement, the game's developers have been doing some good old fashioned community building - posting concept art and area renders on Twitter, soliciting input on our forums, and even setting up a site where fans can design an in-game character and win a free DLC. You can read about those efforts in this development update from July. Community alone doesn't pay the bills however, so like many similar indie titles before it, Encased has arrived on Kickstarter. The game is apparently getting made no matter what, but Dark Crystal are seeking $100k in funding to make it even better. The pitch does a good job of showing how it is actually pretty post-apocalyptic, despite my earlier skepticism.



The game is set in an alternate 1970's and revolves around the exploration of the Dome, a mysterious structure discovered in a remote desert. No one knows the exact nature of those who built the Dome, but the founders of this advanced civilization have come to be called the Forefathers.

You will discover miraculous technologies and weird artifacts in the labyrinths of the Dome, but that is not all the Forefathers left behind. Watch out for automated security systems, traps, and inexplicable anomalies.

In addition, the Dome itself is showing signs of consciousness. It has been reacting to the human presence since the first explorers entered its domain. Once inside, no one is able to leave. Uncovering the wonders and dangers of the Dome is a one-way road.

Exploration and exploitation of the Dome is carried out by the CRONUS Foundation, a massive organization founded by the world’s most powerful governments. CRONUS is divided into five departments, called Wings, each with its own director, specialization and history.

As a new recruit, the player must choose one of five Wings:
  • Black Wing - military and security forces;
  • White Wing - scientists, medics and researchers;
  • Blue Wing - engineers and technicians;
  • Silver Wing - upper management;
  • Orange Wing - ex-convicts who have exchanged their prison jumpsuits for the uniform of a CRONUS laborer.
Though your selected Wing grants certain starting bonuses and opens interesting options, your choice does not lock you into a “class”. You are free to develop your character, distribute skill points, and choose abilities as you wish.

Upon completing character creation, you are summoned to Crystal Sands, a city built directly outside the Dome as a staging point for personnel and equipment.

The transition station mounted at the apex of the Dome, above the only aperture, is called the Spire. After basic training, you will descend from the Spire into the Dome to land at Magellan HQ.

There is much to uncover during your first mission underground…. Relying on your stats and Wing training, you will find there are several ways to resolve each challenge. Replayability is one of our main goals for the game. After your briefing at HQ comes your first task: exploring a newly discovered Forefathers compound tagged Object O-12-Nashville.

After a few adventures inside the Nashville object (which we don’t want to spoil just yet), your group encounters an entirely new anomaly. You awaken something dreaming deep beneath the desert of the Dome. Your trespass has activated Maelstrom, a telepathic entity created to serve the Forefathers.

All connection with the world outside the Dome is lost and Maelstrom rages across the desert, infecting the minds of everyone it encounters. You and your group fall into a technology-induced stasis for five long years. And when you come to, the entire world has changed.
Seems promising enough, doesn't it? They've even got Iron Tower Studio associate Scott Hamm on board to help with the writing. Encased is scheduled for release on Steam Early Access in Q1 2019, with a final release later that year. A €18 pledge will get you a copy, including the Early Access. You can also get the "closed beta" and "closed alpha" for €120 and €215 respectively, although I'm not sure if that's worth it when everybody is getting Early Access anyway. Be sure to follow the game's Steam page if you like what you see.

There are 130 comments on Post-apocalypse under the dome: Encased now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 14 September 2018, 01:26:13

Tags: David Rogers; InXile Entertainment; Paul Marzagalli; The Bard's Tale IV: Barrows Deep

The Bard's Tale IV is now five days away from release and inXile are doing their best to hype things up. A few days ago they released a fourth spotlight video highlighting the game's Gaelic soundtrack, but the real action began today with the early release of its launch trailer. It's a pretty effective trailer, I think.


There's also a new ten minute gameplay video over at IGN. Narrated once again by creative director David Rogers, this particular video aims to showcase one of the game's more advanced combat scenarios, pitting a six character party against a band of cultists.


Finally, inXile announced today that their Bard's Tale IV wishlist initiative had reached 300k wishlists, reducing the game's price from $40 to $35 (and also adding the torch from Darkest Dungeon on the way, but who cares about that). Preorders are now available on Steam and GOG at that price. Unfortunately, according to inXile's community manager that means the wishlist initiative is over now, so we won't be getting that free dungeon DLC. It wouldn't surprise me if the price is eventually reduced to $30, though.

There are 39 comments on Bard's Tale IV News Roundup: Launch Trailer, Spotlight #4, Combat Overview, 300k Wishlists Achieved

Thu 13 September 2018

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 13 September 2018, 00:30:24

Tags: Disco Elysium; ZA/UM

Six months ago, ZA/UM's unusual detective RPG No Truce With The Furies received its current title of Disco Elysium. In subsequent months, the game's developers published a series of devblog updates about its unique skill system and showed it to the press at EGX Rezzed. What they haven't done since then for some reason is release any new trailers or gameplay footage to the public. In fact, I believe we haven't gotten a proper look at the game since the the PAX East stream in March 2017. But we can't wait for that forever. With most of this year's major RPG releases out of the way or due out this month, it's time to start paying Disco Elysium more attention. We can start with a roundup of previews from PAX West, where a demo build was once again shown to the press last week. Destructoid's preview is the most straightforwardly descriptive one:

Sometimes a game's title tells you everything you need to know. Shovel Knight, Battletoads, and even Super Mario Odyssey all give you a pretty good idea of what you're in for before you boot up the game. That isn't the case with Disco Elysium, and I had no idea what to expect when I arrived for my appointment at PAX last week. But what I found was one of the deepest, most intriguing computer RPGs I've seen in a long time, and something I can't wait to play again.

Let's start with that title. Disco Elysium does contain some music from the 1970's, but the Disco part of the title has more to do with discovery than afros, leisure suits, and bell bottoms. The world of Elysium is the game's setting, and the developers told me they intend to create more games in this space. Disco Elysium is meant to be an introduction to this universe.

As for the game itself, it's heavily inspired by late '90s computer RPGs like Baldur's Gate. One of the developers told me his mind was blown when he saw a Friedrich Nietzsche quote during that game's introduction, and Disco Elysium borrows this idea. It's not exactly isometric like those older CRPGs, but the perspective is similar, and that's quite intentional. I got a strong feel of tabletop mechanics while playing as well, but we'll get into that a little later. The developers told me they wanted to allow more meaningful interactions with the world than just shooting everything in sight, and in my opinion they succeeded admirably.

The art style is something completely unlike any game I've ever played before, giving Disco Elysium a unique look that should help it stand out from the crowd. The developer I spoke with mentioned that some of the game's artists are oil painters, trained at Russian academies. The color palette is subdued in some areas and shockingly vibrant in others, using colors you wouldn't expect to add emphasis or suggest a character's state of mind.

When the game starts, you begin by reading an internal dialogue between your rational and animal impulses. It seems that sometime last night you consumed a truly heroic amount of alcohol in a successful attempt to kill some brain cells and forget... something. Ethanol isn't exactly a precision instrument however, and the player soon realizes that the character has gotten so blotto he doesn't even remember his own name.

You can choose to prolong the effects of the self-induced haze by choosing the appropriate dialogue options, but eventually you wake up and have to take stock of your surroundings. You're in your underwear, your tie is hanging from the ceiling fan, pants, shirt and coat are strewn around the room, and you can only find one shoe. If you choose to investigate further, you may discover that this is because you apparently threw it through the window onto an inaccessible balcony. (I never did figure out how to recover it, and spent the entire play session running around in one shoe and one sock.)

After dressing, you can leave your hotel room and explore a little more. If you choose to talk to the woman standing just outside, you can try to talk normally, or might have the idea to try and seduce her. I tried this and failed miserably, and she laughed and let me know this was going to be difficult for me later when I had to question her about the murder. This is when you learn that your character is a police officer, sent to investigate a body that was lynched about a week ago.

The writing in the demo I played was excellent. There's a certain dark humor infusing every interaction, and when I tried some of the sillier options I was not disappointed. At one point your character notices some spilled rum soaking into the carpet and the options are: Ignore it (requires a willpower check), Lick it from the carpet (no check required), or Lick it, but only a little (lesser willpower check). The main character gains quests based on his internal monologue, things like "Find and smoke an entire carton of cigarettes." when he notices another character lighting up.

You'll eventually meet your partner and investigate the body, which has been hanging for more than a week and is quite ripe at this point. A couple of kids standing nearby can be interrogated, but prefer to continue throwing rocks at the corpse and jeer mercilessly when you toss your cookies at the smell. Your character may try to steal the deceased man's boots, or might find that he threw his police notebook in the garbage during his drunken stupor.

There's a deep system of interrelated mechanics associated with every skill check in the game, from dialogue challenges to physical feats. Your stats play into these, and you earn skill points by exploring and talking to people. There are many places to spend your stat points, and the three main trees that define your character are Intellect, Psyche, and "Fysique," your strength and endurance.

Your character may have poor impulse control based on the stats you choose, and one of the games' unique features is a certain amount of punishment for overspecialization. If your Adrenaline stat is too high for example, you may not be able to keep yourself from hauling off and punching someone during a tense negotiation. If your Intellect is too high, you may awkwardly blurt out useless information and preemptively lower people's opinions of you before you realize it.

Skill checks take these stats into account, and also add or subtract modifiers based on actions you've taken before making the attempt. Trying to persuade someone to let you in the back room of their shop will be a little harder if you've dismissed their child-rearing capabilities in an earlier conversation. On the other hand, you can try to break the door down, and might get a bonus if you brought along a crowbar. Each check lets you know your chances for success before you make the attempt, so you can back out to try and tweak your odds if you need to. When you commit, the game rolls 2D6 and adds your modifiers against the required skill threshold. It's a lot like playing D&D, and failures can be just as entertaining as successes.

There's a lot of thought and game mechanics given to psychology, and the main character has what's called a "thought cabinet," a separate inventory for non-tangible thoughts and ideas. You can equip some of these ideas, and holding on to one for a while can cause it to evolve into a belief, which can give your character extra dialogue options or may cause status effects.

Playing a different build in Disco Elysium will provide an entirely different gameplay experience, and the programmer told me they're basically writing three completely different games based on how the character is developed. A full run through the game should take somewhere around 20-25 hours to complete. No release date has been announced yet, and no systems other than PC have been confirmed.

Disco Elysium was one of the standouts for me during a PAX that was loaded with great games. If you have any interest in a deep, mature game full of dark humor, put this one at the top of your list.
Additional previews are available at PC Gamer, Ars Technica, COGconnected and oprainfall. Notably, the Ars Technica preview claims that the game is now due for release in early 2019, although that doesn't appear to be confirmed anywhere else. Perhaps we'll learn more at EGX, where the developers will be hosting a developer session on September 21st.

There are 21 comments on Disco Elysium PAX West 2018 Previews

Fri 7 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 7 September 2018, 02:07:41

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor

As you might expect, Obsidian have published a Pillars of Eternity II Fig update about the game's upcoming Seeker, Slayer, Survivor expansion DLC for those who missed its reveal at PAX West this weekend. Screenshots, some brief details, the usual.

[​IMG] [​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

In the slightly nearer term, the update also announces a date for the 2.1 patch, which will be adding the god challenge modes described in last month's update. As I recall, those were supposed to be out in August. Instead they're coming on September 11th, just two weeks before the new DLC - which is supposed to be accompanied by another patch adding two more god challenge modes. Will Obsidian be able to meet their schedule?

Patch 2.1 and Incoming

Patch 2.1 will be available on September 11th! It's currently on the Beta Branch, and Josh Sawyer would welcome any feedback you might have for the God Challenges below:
  • Abydon - The more you use weapons and armor, the more they will wear down and become "Damaged". This modifier will make them progressively worse and eventually destroy them, unless the mods are removed through Enchantments. Choose the items you will wear into battle wisely!
  • Skaen - With Skaen's challenge, when indoors or at night, fog of war encroaches more. Torches and lanterns can partially offset the additional fog of war, but only a little.
Next month, we'll be bringing our first Mega Boss, Belranga, to Deadfire. This poison-dripping monstrosity is only for the highest leveled players and will test your party's mettle to new heights. We'll have more information on Belranga and her ravenous brood in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!​

It seems there's been some confusion here. I'm pretty sure the first Mega-Boss is also supposed to come out alongside the new DLC, meaning this month. This is what happens when you fall behind schedule!

There are 12 comments on Pillars of Eternity II Fig Update #55: Seeker, Slayer, Survivor Screenshots

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 7 September 2018, 00:26:37

Tags: Activision; Heuristic Park Inc.; Wizards & Warriors

Among people who are familiar with him, David W. Bradley is best known as the brilliant designer who took over Sir-Tech's famed Wizardry series after the departure of its original creators in the late 1980s. More recently, Bradley appears to have become an eccentric recluse, notoriously spending a decade rereleasing the same terrible game. But in between those two periods, he created one last game that was pretty decent - Wizards & Warriors. Originally published in 2000 by Activision back when they still dealt with such things, for many years Wizards & Warriors was hard to obtain and hard to run on modern operating systems. Enthusiasts appear to have figured out the latter problem recently, and that may be why Wizards & Warriors was finally released on GOG today. Nobody bothered to create a trailer for this release, so I'll just post GOG's description of the game:

An RPG as vast as legend itself.

In an enchanted medieval realm known as the Gael Serran, an evil Pharaoh has overcome a curse and returned to wreak havoc. Only the legendary Mavin Sword--a blade forged of twin metals, one cursed by evil, the other blessed by the divine--has the strength to bring his defeat. With the assistance of Kerah, an angel, and Erathsmedor, a dragon, you must engage on a dangerous quest to uncover the legend of the Mavin Sword and bring an end to all evil in the land.

Can you uncover the mysteries of the Sword before terror reigns?
  • Encounter over 100 NPCs, battle 350 characters and creatures, wield weapons and cast a myriad of magic spells.
  • Create a party of six adventurers and utilize 300 inventory items, including customizable pieces.
  • Embark on over 100 quests, mini-quests and adventures, battling in real-time and turn-based combat.
  • Discover the Enchanted Isle, Dragon's Den, Dwarven Mines, Liche Dungeon and over 40 other places to explore.
This release is actually not that big of a surprise in my opinion, as Activision have been releasing legacy titles on GOG at a steady pace over the past couple of years. But it's certainly a good day for the genre. You can grab Wizards & Warriors from GOG for the standard price of $6.

There are 75 comments on Wizards & Warriors released on GOG

Thu 6 September 2018

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 6 September 2018, 01:47:36

Tags: Ceres Games; Peter Ohlmann; Realms Beyond

According to Ceres Games, Realms Beyond was very well received at Gamescom last month. It seems however that it was mostly well received by Germans, since they're the only ones who posted anything about it until today. There were a number of articles and interviews, but only one media outlet by the name of Gadarol has published new gameplay footage. While the developers and the site representative converse in German, the game itself is in English. It looks very cool, and much smoother than the stilted combat alpha video from earlier this year might have suggested.


But I wouldn't have posted this if all we had was a video in German. It's fallen to good old Myrthos over at RPGWatch to write the first English-language preview of Realms Beyond. It's not the most artfully written piece, but it's extraordinarily meticulous. I'm surprised to learn that the game implements Ultima VII-style world interaction, where every item in the environment can be picked up. This is no mere Temple of Elemental Evil clone. An excerpt from the preview:

One of the philosophies the developers have in making the game is that they want to restrict the player as little as possible in their exploration activities in the game. The player needs to make his or her own choices and live with the consequences of those choices, but it is needed to have the right skills in order to explore in a proper way. With the right skill you could, for example, detect herbs and harvest them. If you do not have that skill, the characters in your party will not recognize the herbs, which stops you from harvesting them.

With choices and consequences comes a branching quest system, which they use to have your choices have an impact in the world. Actually, your actions, both inside and outside of quests, can have consequences in the world. If you would destroy a goblin camp somewhere and kill all the goblins, it might be that after some time, humans will claim that spot, because the goblins are no longer there. You can make entire regions safer for humans in this way, but you can also choose not to.

And if you are lost, and like to know what quest you are doing now, you should be aware that the game does not have a quest compass or quest markers hovering over people's had or hovering anywhere else for that matter. Any information you need about quests can be read from the journal, which is automatically filled with information as you go along.

There is also a branching dialog system. Conversations can have different outcomes depending on your choices. In addition, some branches in conversations are based on your race, gender, class, or what you have done up to that point. This can also happen with merchants, who might not want to help you because they don't like humans, dwarves or something like that.

NPCs you encounter in a village will be talking to each other and you can listen to their conversations. The text they use can be just random talk, but can also depend on your previous actions. If you would have cleared that goblin camp, you might hear them talk about a group of heroes who finally killed the goblins. This again, is meant to make the world more real.

Realms Beyond will support alignment, but their their implementation of alignment is different from the D&D version, as they wanted something more intricate. They plan to use a diagram where different character traits are available and each character will align more or less with each of these traits. Like, being greedy, lazy, sneaky, open-minded, etc. As it is still in development, this could not be shown.

The way this works in the game is that if you have a greedy character and you let that character barter with a merchant, it will probably not be a success, as the greedy character will not part from money or items easily and it is very unlikely that they will come to an agreement. So perhaps a greedy person is not the best person to barter with a merchant.

Also the armor class is a bit different from D&D. In D&D you only have armor for the torso. They have changed this and distributed the armor class from D&D over different armor parts for the helmet, body, gloves and boots. If they are all of the same type then together they would give the same armor class as the armor in D&D would.

The game will support a faction system on different levels. One town is a faction, one kingdom is a faction and then there are global factions, such as a merchant gild, or factions based on a race or religion. You can align yourself with factions, but some factions are opposite to each other, so befriending one faction, could mean you become an enemy of another faction. You can for example, align with the orcs, but in order to do that you have to kill humans, who will not think kindly of you because of that. If you make a character angry, because of your actions or conversations, it will spread out to the faction that character belongs to, like the village or camp.
Realms Beyond is in pre-alpha now, and most of its features, systems, graphical assets, etc, are already in place. The main thing missing is content, which is what the Kickstarter in October will be for. Ceres are hoping to reuse the impressive engine they've built. They already have plans to release two major expansions, each one expanding the world with a full game's worth of content. As for the base game, according to head honcho Peter Ohlmann, the plan is to put it on Early Access in late 2019, with a final release in early 2020.

There are 48 comments on Realms Beyond Gameplay Footage + Preview at RPGWatch

Wed 5 September 2018

Community - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 September 2018, 01:17:28

Tags: Colony Ship; Iron Tower Studio; Vince D. Weller

The New World was known as the Colony Ship RPG before it received its current title last June. Apparently, Iron Tower were unaware when they chose the name that Amazon Game Studios were developing a similarly titled MMO called simply New World, first announced back in September 2016. It was hoped that Amazon's game might end up being cancelled, as often occurs with such projects, but its appearance at Gamescom this year laid such hopes to rest. Since going up against Jeff Bezos' legal team is a bad idea, the Colony Ship RPG must be renamed yet again. This isn't necessarily bad news, since many people were unhappy with The New World as a title. Now they have a chance to pick a title they like:

We picked the name (The New World) a few months before the first reports about Amazon's MMO hit the net, meaning we didn't know about Amazon's New World back then. Yes, we should have double-checked again before launching the site, but we didn't. Back then it wasn't clear if the MMO is still in development as there were rumors of cancellations, so we decided to wait and see what transpires. Well, as of last week it's clear that Amazon's New World is alive and kicking, which means we have to change the name.

I really liked The New World as it fits the game perfectly and while Amazon hasn't contacted us about the name, their pre- and post-release media campaign would drown us. Fortunately, we haven't done any real marketing yet, so changing the name is relatively easy at this point. All we need is a fitting name, which is where you come in.

We went through a hundred or so names, ranging from absolutely awful to really bad, and settled on these 3 names representing our last, best hope:

1. Starfarer - it's the name of the ship in the game, so there's some relevance. The obvious downside is that it's fairly generic. It works as the ship's name considering the nature of the ship but I'm not sure it makes a good name for anything else. I'd prefer Starfarers describing the people, but it's trademarked up to its eyeballs so...

2. The Journey/Voyage to Proxima Centauri or something similar - the only advantage is that the plot summary is in the title. You don't have to wonder what the game's about.

3. The Pilgrims of Earth - similar meaning as the New World (i.e. the pilgrims of Mayflower), focus on the people not the ship or the journey, nice 50s sci-fi feel, built-in sequel (The Conquerors of Proxima Centauri).

I prefer #3 but I was wrong plenty of times before, so I'd like to know what you think first, before we change the logo, the site, and Steam's page.
Which shall it be? Starfarer, Proxima Centauri, Pilgrims, or perhaps something else entirely? As usual, you can vote over there or right here in our Iron Tower subforum, or both if you really want to make a statement.

UPDATE: After receiving a large number of responses, Vault Dweller has decided to launch a second round of voting with some new options. Once again, you can vote over there or right here.

There are 300 comments on Help choose the The New World's new title

Tue 4 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 September 2018, 01:22:49

Tags: Alec Frey; Alex Scokel; Mikey Dowling; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Beast of Winter; Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor

As you may have noticed by now, many of Obsidian's senior developers left the Pillars of Eternity II team after the base game was released, leaving the game's three DLC expansions to be developed by a small team of mostly junior employees. The newbies seem to have done a decent enough job on the Beast of Winter expansion, and perhaps as a reward they were given the opportunity to deliver a panel about it at PAX West yesterday. The panel is mostly about the creation of Vatnir, the expansion's grotesque sidekick, from his background and personality to his visual design and modelling to his racial and class abilities. It's a fun watch, but the real reason I'm posting this is because at the very end, Mikey Dowling unveils the teaser trailer for the upcoming Seeker, Slayer, Survivor expansion. It's releasing on September 25th (the same day as Pathfinder: Kingmaker!). Obsidian haven't published the trailer on their YouTube channel yet, but you can see it at 55:06.


In other news, Beamdog also had a panel at PAX West this weekend. With the recent departure of longtime lead Philip Daigle, everybody was expecting them to announce their next big thing, or at least some new Neverwinter Nights premium modules or Infinity Engine console ports. Instead all we got was some promotional portrait and voiceset DLC (in partnership with Wizards of the Coast D&D livestream Dice, Camera, Action - an obvious ripoff of Obsidian's similar deal with Critical Role) and some footage from an upcoming Neverwinter Nights Android port. Sad!

There are 5 comments on Pillars of Eternity II PAX West Panel - Seeker, Slayer, Survivor DLC revealed, coming September 25th

Sat 1 September 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 1 September 2018, 14:53:55

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

The Bard's Tale IV was at Gamescom last week. Brian Fargo made an appearance on IGN's livestream to talk about it, but he didn't really reveal anything new. Nevertheless, we're now two and a half weeks away from release and inXile are wrapping things up. They released a third spotlight video, this time showcasing the game's characters and authentic™ Scottish voice acting. The latest Kickstarter update has some final words from Brian, including details about some features they've added to the game in response to backer feedback. I'll post both here:



A Message from Brian

What an incredible last six years it has been. I had given up all hope of creating the kind of RPGs that I like to make, then along came Kickstarter, and now here we are about to finalize our third crowdfunded game. Thanks again for trusting us.

Our goal with these games is to under promise and over deliver, and we hope you feel that we’ve accomplished this with The Bard’s Tale IV: Barrows Deep. Most people don’t realize how much of our own money we pour in to make these games as special as possible. In this case, we spent more than 5x the amount raised via Kickstarter! We can’t help being passionate and giving it our all. If you haven't seen them yet, be sure to check out the spotlight videos we have been creating for the game.

The game ended up with 350 speaking parts, over 30 distinct locations, and over 100 pieces of music. The Windows version is still on schedule for the 18th and then all hands are on deck to get the Mac and Linux versions out as fast as we can. We are hitting ALL our stretch goals, and have incorporated a tremendous amount of feedback from the beta test. The only slightly bad news is that we will be late on a few items, but they are most assuredly coming in the following weeks after release.

Backer Feedback & Game Length

Between the alpha and beta, we received a number of great "throwback" suggestions in addition to the ones we already had. Taking a page from the Bard's Tale remaster, we decided to bring all of these features into what we're calling a "Legacy Mode". The bad news is that, in order to get them all in, we'll need time to iterate, so they won't be ready at release time. The good news is that the list of features is much more than we were originally intending on doing, all thanks to your suggestions. In addition to the previously discussed grid-based movement and hiding the minimap, we're also working on features such as old school scrolling text for combat, a save system closer to the original games for hardcore purists, and even an ability to bring back the "A-Team". This will be another of our immediate focuses post-launch, and you can look for the Legacy Mode to arrive sometime soon after the game's release.

And though we promised a 25-hour game, playtests are showing it to be closer to 35+. And while it’s hard to be objective about your work, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed playing it and found myself at many times wanting to play for “30 more minutes.” I’ve had to re-play the first 10 hours of the game at least 20 times and it’s a good sign when it’s still enjoyable.

Again, we are very happy to announce that we're hitting on all goals, and where we aren't hitting certain time frames on stuff, we are looking to make up the difference with added value. On that note, an added thank you for your patience, every backer will be receiving the digital version of our Strategy Guide for free. It's just one more way to acknowledge that we appreciate all the support that you have given us.

I know you all love RPGs and we love making them! We are counting on this success so we can continue to bring you more of these great games, including future installments of the Bard’s Tale!
Meanwhile, on their Twitter account, inXile have posted what looks like a brief snippet of a video showing the Garden of the Gods map from the last Wasteland 3 Fig update, now with a functional user interface. I guess we know what's coming next.

There are 23 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #51: Final Words from Brian Fargo + Spotlight #3

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Sat 1 September 2018, 00:49:16

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios

A bit less than a year after its original launch, Larian Studios have released the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition. It's a big day for consoles, less so for PC - although for those of you who have made a habit of not playing games until they're fully patched up, now's the time to begin. Well, that's not entirely accurate. According to their release announcement on Steam, there are a few remaining odds and ends that Larian plan to add later. But first the launch trailer:



You have probably noticed a big update that came to Divinity: Original Sin 2. The big update is the Definitive Edition that was added.

People that have bought Original Sin 2 when it came out, get this for free. It is an optimized, revised, rebalanced version of the game, with a couple of new features, overhauled Arena mode, better UI, better journal, rewritten dialogues, and much more.

If you would like to know what exactly "much more" is, we have tried to document it here, in over 50 pages: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IcADAJsLeHHXYjCnR5MwCm9GTWRdKzRtIYcCqO_RI6U/edit

If you are now wondering what version to choose, Classic or Definitive, it's easy:

- If you have a game or a GM campaign in progress in Classic mode, start up Classic mode and continue there. Savegames from the Classic game are not compatible with Definitive Edition. If you ever feel like rolling a new character, please come over to the Definitive Side when you're ready.

- If you are new to Original Sin 2, or if you were only a couple of levels in on classic, start up the Definitive Edition.

- If you have already finished the Classic version a dozen times and you're a champion in the classic arena, give the Definitive Edition a go. What harm is there in rolling one. More. Character.

We hope you enjoy this new game version and are excited to read about what you think.

For those of you wondering:

- the editor is coming out in a few days
- mods created for classic are incompatible
- HDR mode will be added later on as well

Don't worry, we're on top of it, and working together with modders to make popular mods available and convert them over to definitive edition. We're also watching the forums to help out where we can, and address some early issues that were identified. So we're not done yet.
Divinity: Original Sin 2 suffered withering criticisms on our forum, but it was still our GOTY in 2017. A year later though, it doesn't seem like very many people care about it anymore. Actually, the Codex seems to be in a state of apathy in general these days. The era of Divinities and Eternities is over, I think. It's time for something new.

There are 41 comments on Divinity: Original Sin 2 Definitive Edition Released

Fri 31 August 2018

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 31 August 2018, 23:58:18

Tags: Brace Yourself Games; Phantom Brigade

Phantom Brigade - not to be confused with the recently released Phantom Doctrine and Strange Brigade - is an upcoming turn-based tactical mech combat RPG. The game's developers include two prominent ex-Kerbal Space Program developers, who joined with others to form the Seattle-based Tetragon Works and have been working on the game since early 2016. More recently, Tetragon merged with Vancouver-based indie studio Brace Yourself Games (developers of an upcoming city builder/strategy game called Industries of Titan which is also worth checking out) but all the same developers still appear to be onboard. According to its Steam page, Phantom Brigade aims to put a "cinematic spin on the turn-based genre", and the teaser trailer they've put together for PAX West is certainly cinematic. I'll post it here, but you should definitely check out the old development update videos by creative lead Chad "C7" Jenkins as well.



Phantom Brigade is a turn-based tactical RPG, focusing on in-depth customization and player driven stories. As the last surviving squad of mech pilots, you must capture enemy equipment and facilities to level the playing field. Outnumbered and out-gunned, lead The Brigade through a desperate campaign to retake their war-torn homeland.
  • Cinematic spin on the turn-based genre • Predict enemy movements, orchestrate precisely timed countermeasures and watch the action unfold.
  • Strategy • Make high-level tactical decisions on the world map, manage your base, and decide how to apply your limited resources.
  • Tactical combat • Take command of your squad in varied missions ranging from sabotage of enemy equipment and infiltration of high tech facilities to convoy ambushes and challenging outpost onslaughts.
  • Customization • Featuring a rich customization system, the game enables you to fine-tune performance of your mechs, install a wide selection of equipment and access a wealth of cosmetic options. Make your ready to face any challenge - in style.
  • Destructible environments • It's not a proper game about walking tanks without some falling buildings. The game allows every square meter of every scene to be destroyed. Blow up any cover and collapse buildings over your enemies.
So what makes this game different from BattleTech, you ask? Well, it's got action points, for one. Its mechs are smaller, the size of a small house rather than a large building. It seems more dynamic and complex. Perhaps it's enough to say that unlike BattleTech, it proudly calls itself an RPG. There's no release date yet, but we'll be keeping an eye on this.

There are 19 comments on Phantom Brigade is a turn-based tactical mech combat RPG from ex-Kerbal Space Program developers

Blackthorne needs a kidney


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