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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?

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RPG Codex Interview: Leonard Boyarsky on joining Obsidian, Fallout & Bloodlines cut content and more

Codex Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Fri 30 September 2016, 20:43:07

Tags: Fallout; Fallout 2; Journey to the Center of Arcanum; Leonard Boyarsky; Obsidian Entertainment; Troika Games; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines

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As older Codex denizens may recall, there used to be a company called Troika Games and they made what some would say were fairly good RPGs. In 2005, however, they had to close due to financial issues, to much sadness here on the Codex and elsewhere. Troika's co-founders - Jason Anderson, Leonard Boyarsky, and Tim Cain - were scattered to the wind, adrift and working on games better left unmentioned, until Tim Cain ended up at Obsidian. Surprisingly enough, leaving what was perceived by many people as his cushy job at Blizzard, Leonard Boyarsky followed suit just earlier this year. This interview is, as far as we know, the first interview with him since the move.

All kudos go to esteemed community member Jedi Master Radek for organizing and conducting the interview, to our forum users who submitted their questions, and, of course, to Leonard and Obsidian for making this possible.

Here are a few snippets from the full thing:

Why did you leave Blizzard?

I really, really, really, really, really wanted to return to making single player RPGs.

Since you and Tim are back together now, has there been any contact with Jason Anderson? Are you still friends? Any pipe dreams of getting back together?

We’re still friends with Jason, we get together for a Troika lunch a few times a year.

So, of course, I would love to work with him again someday, but it wouldn’t be as simple as us just picking up where we left off. When we worked on Fallout and started Troika, Jason, Tim and I all had our own specific skills which complemented each other's well. But it's been over ten years, we've all had vastly different experiences, and our areas of expertise have shifted and grown (hopefully), so it wouldn't just be a matter of us getting back together and sliding into our old roles, we'd have to figure out the balance again.

What's your dream game that you'd like to make? And when are we getting Bloodlines 2 or Arcanum 2? What Troika game would you like to make a sequel to the most?

I'm happy to say that I'm currently working on my dream game. As far as sequels, it's Arcanum 2, hands down. I'd much rather work on IPs of my own creation. That doesn't mean I wouldn't work on Bloodlines 2 if given the opportunity, but if I had a choice between them it's an easy call to make.

How did the early draft for Fallout 2's story and locations look like before you left Black Isle? How was it changed for the final game? What direction were you planning to steer the story and the world?

You have to remember that this was twenty years ago, so take this with a grain of salt, but I think, overall, it stayed pretty close to our original design. There was a lot of work that had to be done to fill in the blanks when we left, but they followed much of what we had laid out. Except they added talking death claws. If we had stayed, I guarantee there would have never been talking, intelligent death claws.

An idea which may or may not have ever actually made it in (and may have been their genesis) was that you could find a death claw egg and hatch it, and the death claw would become a follower. The joke was that, in order to not have everyone freak out when you walked into town, you could put a cloak on him - which would have effectively made him look like a slightly larger version of a normal NPC in a cloak (with a hidden face). When combat started, he would throw off the cloak and inexplicably grow to his correct size. This was suggested as a way we could do it without adding animations for him (we could just use NPC anims), and as a way to not add reactions for walking into town with him. However, you need to keep in mind that a lot of ideas started out silly, just to make us laugh, and we would evolve them into their darker versions as we went. I have no idea how the death claw follower would have played out had we stayed. But he wouldn't have spoken.

It was supposed to be very haunting and mysterious when you showed up to Vault 13 - the legends of your tribe told of many who tried to get in and failed, and you show up and the door is open and the whole vault is empty.

Do you think there's too much focus on balancing everything to perfection in modern games?

I have no idea what you possibly could be referring to.​

The interview also includes questions about VtMB's and Fallout's cut content, Fallout's early concepts, contemporary games with good art style (aka 1eyedking bait), and more - including an exclusive peek at how Leonard and Tim settle their disagreements.

So check it out in full: RPG Codex Interview: Community Interview with Leonard Boyarsky

There are 53 comments on RPG Codex Interview: Leonard Boyarsky on joining Obsidian, Fallout & Bloodlines cut content and more

Fri 30 September 2016
BattleTech Kickstarter Update #32: Anniversary Recap

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 30 September 2016, 02:04:45

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Mike McCain

A year has passed since BattleTech launched on Kickstarter and became one of the most successful crowdfunding campaigns for a turn-based game in recent memory. Harebrained Schemes have decided to mark the occasion by putting together a big anniversary Kickstarter update recapping the year's most important developments. There's a brief status report by Mike McCain about the game's current state and where it's going now. Last month, Harebrained put together a short BattleTech cinematic teaser for GenCon. It didn't seem important enough to post on its own, but I think it fits well here:



So, what’s the team been up to since GenCon? In a word, EVERYTHING. Seriously. Not only did we get right back to work on the combat experience - finishing up features like melee, MechWarrior abilities, airstrikes, and more - but we’ve been busy spinning up on ‘Mech production, environment art production, map design, multiplayer, story development, and last but not least, breaking ground on development on the “simulation game” (which is our internal term to describe all the fun aspects of managing your Mercenary outfit in-between combat missions).

Whew!

Our spring and summer summer were all about two things: 1) Turning our early combat prototype into a complete, fun, and robust combat experience, and 2) Getting all of our systems, pipelines and architecture in place for full content production on the game. Objective #1 was proven out by the #SuperPreAlpha (thanks again to everyone who watched the Backer video or was able to play it at GenCon and PAX!) Objective #2 has taken a little bit longer to solidify, but I’m pleased to report that we’re also turning that corner this month into content production in all areas of the game. This is one of the great challenges of game development - sometimes one team is furiously trying to finish building the car while other teams are simultaneously trying to paint and test drive it.

To continue with the weird car analogy, I really couldn’t be more proud of this team and feel like everyone is really firing on all cylinders. Jordan and Mitch and I would like to give a particular shoutout here to our engineering team though, they have been absolutely crushing it in their efforts to get a huge amount of features into the game quickly while maintaining a quality, scalable codebase.

We expect to be back with one more Kickstarter update towards the end of 2016 including another progress update and some Kickstarter Beta details. After that, expect our KS updates to slow down a bit as production ramps WAY up.
Heh, they weren't exactly releasing that many updates before, but that's Harebrained Schemes for you. They get shit done.

There are 4 comments on BattleTech Kickstarter Update #32: Anniversary Recap

Thu 29 September 2016
Swen Vincke explains how the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access release will evolve at PC Gamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Thu 29 September 2016, 17:43:08

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin 2; Larian Studios; Swen Vincke

It's been two weeks since the release of the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access, and it's clear that the game is a success. But how will it evolve from now until the final release? PC Gamer's crunchy new interview with Swen Vincke explains just that. Here's an excerpt:

Are you going to be adding whole acts eventually over time until you hit the final game, or is Divinity: Original Sin 2 in Early Access a testbed, and you’ll drop the full game when it’s done?

Vincke: We’re going to be adding in features for sure. Extra skill trees are going to be added in. The super-secret Game Master mode is going to hit in Early Access also. That’s a very new thing, so we need to do a lot of testing with it. We’re really trying things there. But content-wise, we’re going to keep it on act one. I’m pretty sure we’ll add some things on top of act one. There’s this tutorial opening section that’s missing right now, just before you arrive on the island. We don’t want to spoil it too much for people that are participating in Early Access, so we want to give them sufficient content—the large majority of content, actually—on release.

We have people that are going to be participating in closed betas also for the latter parts, so what you’re going to be seeing is Game Master mode, new skill trees, lots of extra permutations on systems, probably some surprises that I don’t even know myself yet. New things that we’re trying in the arena mode also, because that seems to be picking up quite well. We’ll see what we do with that. That will probably take us close to release.

What you’re going to be seeing in the foreseeable future is permutations on the character system we have. We’re not afraid—we did that in Original Sin 1 also, by putting system A in one week and system B in the next week, and see what works best for players—that’s how we’ll try to converge to a better system than what we’ve concocted while we were working in isolation. This is the cool part about Early Access, you can do these kinds of things. It takes some effort, but it’s rewarding for the players that are not participating in Early Access, or just try it out a little bit and will be playing it later, they’ll get a lot of benefit from this phase of experimentation.

You mentioned putting in one version of a system, see how it works, then swap it out for something else. Can you talk more about that?


Vincke: There are a couple stats and abilities we’re experimenting with. Memory is a very big experiment. We’re getting lots of opinions on Memory, so you’ll probably see Memory in different forms inside the game, to see what works better. The same with how skill abilities affect the skills, there’s going to be things we change there. When we did the original game, if we didn’t change it 20 times, I don’t know. We changed it a lot as we were experimenting.

But it’s good, because there’s players out there that play so many games, and the feedback you get from them is sometimes really good ideas. We gave them a couple new mechanics, so they’re fooling around with that now, they’re starting to learn them, form their opinion of them, so based on that feedback we’ll see what happens when we put it in there.

There’s no objective quantitative measure of fun, but when you do this job for quite some time you can see if players are having more fun or less fun. The goal essentially is to create more fun. It can be something as stupid as increasing the drop rate of treasure by 1 percent or decreasing it, even, that can create more fun. How do you balance loot? It’s essentially a bunch of numbers in an Excel file. You see people complaining they’re not finding enough, then you give them more and people say the loot is so boring. You just iterate.

There’s a fine balance to be found. Even the version that’s out there right now, there’s two tests going on. One is at the very opening you almost get nothing, so you have to scavenge, and then afterwards you get quite a lot, so we’ll see what it does to players.

One real good measure, and this one we can measure objectively, is: do people put points in their stats? The moment that they stop putting points in them, it means they don’t need them anymore. That means we have to change something. The moment I stop caring about putting a point in an ability, something’s wrong with the balance. I should always be looking forward, ‘I need that point, I need that.’ The moment people stop bartering, something’s wrong, we’re giving too much. That we are measuring.

What’s surprised you, so far? Anything specific you can call to?


Vincke: There were some people that didn’t like the physical and magic armor, and that surprised me. I thought it was a major improvement to the game. But they had a particular tactic that they had in the previous game they can’t anymore, now. What also surprised me, I thought what we did with the skill abilities made a lot of sense, and that the previous system was very confusing, but a lot of people apparently were very attached to the previous system. I thought that was going to be universally liked, but apparently it’s not the case. Goes to show.

There’s a lot of VO work being evaluated right now. The success in Early Access, together with the almost universal demand for VO, is definitely making us look at VO in a more extensive way than we originally planned. We always planned to have some of it, but I guess we spoiled them with Enhanced Edition, and didn’t realize that spoiling them with Enhanced, now we’re bound to do the same stunt with Original Sin 2. We’re looking at it. We didn’t plan on it, but it’s a complicated option.

Here’s another bit of surprising feedback, by the way. The third-person [view] that we’re using in the dialogues, it fits well with roleplaying and the origin system we’re doing. We’re getting resistance to that from certain corners. I’m interested to see if that is universal resistance or just a couple people who don’t like it. When we were running tests and playing it, some people thought it was strange but after five minutes decided they liked it more because there’s more expressivity, more stuff you can do in the dialogues. Now when you start talking about voiceovers, life gets really interesting with a system like that. So we’ll have to see.
Mostly good stuff, but those last two paragraphs sound awfully familiar...

There are 23 comments on Swen Vincke explains how the Divinity: Original Sin 2 Early Access release will evolve at PC Gamer

Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #31: World of Caith Teaser Video, Exploration and Gating Details

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 29 September 2016, 01:11:52

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; David Rogers; InXile Entertainment; Nathan Long

In the wake of Wasteland 3's announcement, inXile have decided to give The Bard's Tale IV a little nudge with a new Kickstarter update, the first one since July. And what a nice update it is. It's a got a new video showing off the idyllic yet creature-infested land of Caith, to the tune of Julie Fowlis' Gaelic singing. In the text, lead writer Nathan Long and lead designer David Rogers talk about the game's exploration, and the mechanics they use to gate it. I think it's the first update to really give us an idea of how the game will play on a macro scale. Here's the video and an excerpt:



Recently, lead designer David Rogers and I have been working on what we've been calling the "Adventuring Tools and Content Keys" systems for the game, and for this update we thought we'd share some details about how it all works.

Basically, what the adventuring tools and content keys do is give us some control over how you explore and experience the world of Bard's Tale IV. Now, right from the beginning, we made the decision that BTIV would be a game of free exploration. You'd be able to go in any direction you chose, ignore the main story to do side quests if that's what tickled your fancy, or just noodle around and find cool stuff. We therefore made Skara Brae and the land it resides in, Caith, big places with lots of space and lots of story, scenery and secrets to get lost in. Skara Brae is a city now, with multiple levels of sewers, catacombs, and crypts below it, while the lands that surround it are vast and varied, with broad fields, haunted villages, deep forests, treacherous fens, and looming mountains, all riddled with caves, ruins, dungeons, and hidden places, all ripe for exploration.

However, another decision we made early on was that we didn't want you to be able to grind through any of these areas all in one go. We wanted there to be doors you couldn't open the first time you found them, or rivers you couldn't cross, or ruins you could see but not reach. We wanted there to be mysteries that you couldn't unlock until you'd traveled to new areas and learned new things. We wanted to make sure there were always places you wanted to come back to, and that returning to previously explored lands would always be rewarding and fun, unlocking new areas, secret content, interesting lore, and of course, awesome loot.

So how to have it both ways? How do we make a world with a good amount of free exploration that at the same time keeps some content hidden, and do it in a way that doesn't feel artificial or unfair? Well, there are lots of ways, some simple and direct, some more subtle and writer-y, (I get to do those bits!) which act as the gates and keys of Bard's Tale IV. Let’s have a look at the main ones.

David Note: Writers are always speaking in fluffy generalities. I'll be popping into this update now and then to give you some cold hard facts.

Level Keys - One Does Not Simply Walk Into Mordor

Some areas won't be locked away behind an actual physical door, and you won't need a physical key to get into them. They'll just be too much for you to handle at your current level. If you walk into a new area and find that you're getting your ass handed to you by every enemy who gives you the stink-eye, that's a clue to come back later, once you've toughened up and upgraded your gear. Of course you might be a sneaky sort, able to dodge your way through enemy patrols to snag some serious swag, but you do so at your own risk. We accept no liability for any party wipes that may occur if you go around trying to punch above your weight.

David Note: This is one of the classic ways computer games keep you out of an area temporarily. The way level gating in Bard’s Tale IV differs from other RPGs is our willingness to have a pockets of high level enemies living inside low level areas. Consider them a signpost, letting you know that there are high level rewards to come back to once you're strong enough to fight your way past the gatekeepers.

And to elaborate on sneaking and patrols, in BTIV, enemies will often be found guarding various locations, walking patrol routes, or hiding in ambush. These enemies have zones of perception that show where their attention is focused, and these zones can be tip-toed around by an adventuring party with good timing, or stealthed through with the help of a sneaky rogue. If you're spotted, enemies will get the jump on you, putting you at a disadvantage. However, you can get the jump on them by attacking from behind, causing front row enemies to switch to the back row and back row enemies to switch to the front, exposing their weakest group members and putting their melee troops out of range. Ambushing in this way also guarantees your party the first turn in combat.​

Read the full thing there.

There are 37 comments on Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #31: World of Caith Teaser Video, Exploration and Gating Details

Wed 28 September 2016
Tyranny Dev Diary #10: Companion Overview - Eb

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 28 September 2016, 21:43:34

Tags: Matt MacLean; Nick Carver; Obsidian Entertainment; Tyranny

Obsidian have published a new Tyranny dev diary update this week introducing yet another of the game's companions. This time it's about Eb, the white-haired rebel mage lady who was not one of the companions in the siege scenario shown at E3, but did appear at the end of it. Here's her story:

Eb is a member of an order of mages that study manipulation of water in all its forms, as well as spells that harness the pull of the moons, or that focus the light of the moon Terratus Grave into searing rays. Though their magic makes them formidable in battle, the School of Tides devoted their efforts to the study of the arts and cornering trade along the coasts. While these efforts gave the school prestige and acceptance, they’ve also turned the school into a peaceful order, one unready for war.

Kyros’ conquest of the Tiers would take several years of war through the mountains, but the School of Tides were defeated with ease. Before the first Disfavored or Scarlet Chorus troops crossed into the Tiers, agents of Kyros sent threats to Occulted Jade, Archon of Tides and the school’s founder and guardian. Unwilling to bow and unwilling to fight, Occulted Jade fled, taking nearly all of her disciples across the sea to parts unknown. Only four Tidecasters remained behind to fight, and of them, Eb was the youngest.

Having lost her husband, children, home, school, and realm to the war, Eb’s life is now little more than battle and living on the run. With the death of her three mentors, Eb is now the last of her kind.

Proud to have been born unbowed to Kyros but unburdened by the delusion that she has any chance of winning, Eb now wages her own war against the invaders, rallying to whatever band of Tiersmen is still willing to fight against the seemingly limitless might of Graven Ashe, the Voices of Nerat, and their legions of soldiers. Though she knows true victory is impossible, that won’t stop her from slaying as many of the foreign invaders as she can on her way out.

Combat Role

Eb is designed to both take control of the battlefield and to bring wrath upon foes in number. As a Tidecaster, Eb possesses knowledge of both Gravelight and Tidecasting magic. Her talent trees compliment this by further developing deeper aspects of either of these two unique knowledges. While Eb is capable of becoming a powerful offensive spellcaster, or a crowd controlling mage, her kit is also exceptionally malleable. Her strong access to various magic and shorter range AoE abilities even make her effective at toeing the front line.

When building Eb’s talent trees, we strived to convey the mechanical and thematic differences between Tidecasting and Gravelight magic. Eb’s ‘Tidal’ tree provides a variety of effects from pushing groups of foes, or drowning enemies in globes of water, to obscuring the battlefield in a magical mist or hastening ally movement. Her ‘Gravelight’ tree focuses on calling upon Terratus Grave to lift foes into the air and slam them to the ground, siphon life from enemies, or even to warp her to different locations.

Below are some of the abilities available to Eb:

Repelling Blast: Eb raises her hand and a powerful blast of water erupts forth, pushing foes back violently and damaging them.

Mother’s Embrace: Eb summons a globe of water around the target’s head, causing them to slowly drown, dealing damage over time and silencing spellcasting.

Clear Mind: As long as Eb is not taking damage her mind calms, reducing her Recovery and allowing her to attack twice with each basic attack. (Taking damage suppresses this effect for several seconds.)

Return to the Source: Channeling her tidecasting magic, Eb summons the water from the target’s blood and tissue, erupting it out of them in a violent surge and dealing extreme damage.

Terratus’ Call: Eb raises her arms and summons a beam of moonlight to surround her target. Terratus’ magic lifts the enemy into the air and then brings them violently back to the ground, dealing Crush damage and leaving the target Prone.

Runic Barrier: While in combat, Eb begins channeling magical energy through the runes tattooed on her skin, generating a field that protects her as if she were wearing armor. (Only activates while Eb is not wearing Heavy Armor).

Eb’s wrath upon the battlefield is like no other. Her Terratus’ Call and Mother’s Embrace abilities can shut down problem units, allowing the party to take them down with greater ease. While Eb’s Repelling Blast can be used offensively, if the tides of battle aren’t in her favor, it can also allow for a window of escape. Many of Eb’s abilities can serve a dual purpose, making her combat offensive mostly about reading the battle and reacting to the situation. However, her kit also possesses a few purely offensive abilities, such as Return to the Source, which serves situations where you just want to obliterate someone.

With her battlefield control, aptitude for spellcasting, and extremely violent ensemble of abilities, Eb should present players with a wrathful companion to unleash upon their foes.
Oh, I get it now. Well, better an Eb than a Flo I suppose.

There are 3 comments on Tyranny Dev Diary #10: Companion Overview - Eb


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Vigilantes, a crime-themed turn-based tactical RPG, now on Kickstarter

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 28 September 2016, 19:05:20

Tags: Timeslip Softworks; Vigilantes

Vigilantes is an upcoming turn-based tactical RPG from Irish indie studio Timeslip Softworks inspired by Fallout and X-Com. The game's setting is modern day neo-noir. You play as Sam Contino, a vigilante who embarks on a crusade to take down the mobsters, survivalists and fanatics infesting Reiker City. The game has been in development since November 2014 and this year the developers published a succession of free alpha releases. Now they're ready to take things to the next level with a Kickstarter campaign. Here's the pitch video and overview:


The city’s going to hell. On the streets and behind closed doors, the Mafia infiltrates and corrupts the civic power structure. Gun crazy paramilitary survivalists wreak havoc, while fever eyed Churchers roam, stealing anything that isn't bolted down, burning anything that is. I'm going to do something about that.

Inspired by the classic turn based RPGs of the 90s, like X-Com and Fallout, yet striking out in its own unique direction, Vigilantes is a crime themed, turn based tactical RPG with an old school heart, for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Players assume the role of Sam Contino, an idealist dragged down the rabbit hole of vigilantism as he works to bring down the three gangs that dominate Reiker City: the mafia, survivalists, and Church of the Final Exodus.

Vigilantes has all the features you would expect from a turn based RPG, yet we feel it stands out from its peers in a number of areas:
  • Avoids typical RPG settings, striking out in its own direction with gritty, neo noir.
  • Melee combat is choreographed and fluid to an extent rarely seen in turn based games.
  • Avoids the trend of simplifying character systems and gameplay. It's very much old school, with the best of modern design advances.
  • Emphasis on atmosphere: memorable allies, deadly opponents, a declining city, all brought to life through quality writing, artwork and voice acting.
  • Use surveillance to locate gang facilities and leadership. Randomly attacking footsoldiers won't get you anywhere.
There are many more details on the Kickstarter page, and numerous gameplay videos are available on Timeslip's YouTube channel. The game also has a Steam Greenlight page, so be sure to go over there and vote it up. You can secure a copy of Vigilantes on Kickstarter for just €8. Since much of the development is already done, the funding goal is just €5000 and the estimated release date is May 2017.

There are 32 comments on Vigilantes, a crime-themed turn-based tactical RPG, now on Kickstarter

Wasteland 3 coming to Fig on October 5th, introducing two player co-op and cinematic conversations

Game News - posted by Bubbles on Wed 28 September 2016, 18:20:58

Tags: Brian Fargo; Chris Bischoff; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 3

Polygon reports on the biggest news of the day:

After several wildly successful Kickstarter campaigns, InXile Entertainment is ready to launch its next project. The pitch for Wasteland 3, the sequel to Wasteland 2, is ambitious. While the game itself promises to be a bit shorter at 50 hours, the graphics and the feature set will be significantly beefed up. We spoke with studio head Brian Fargo last week to get more details.

Wasteland 3 will be true to the series' roots, allowing players to create a small party of characters and lead them through an isometric role-playing game in the classic style. It will tell the story of Team November, a group of Rangers sent on a mission to Colorado in the aftermath of a global nuclear apocalypse. In the opening sequence of the game, Fargo says, players will be stranded far from civilization and have to fend for themselves. Their biggest challenge early on will be staying alive in the sub-zero temperatures.

But, while many of the game’s systems should feel familiar to fans of the series, Fargo says his team is including bold new features that move the franchise into uncharted territory. First on the list is multiplayer, with both synchronous and asynchronous play.

"We’re going to have a fucking blast with it," Fargo told Polygon. "And it’s not just solving puzzles together. It’s about narrative multiplayer and what can happen when the two of us are in a world, independent of each other, doing other things on the map."

Up to two players can each field a unique team of Rangers. When those teams are close together in the game world they’ll be able to take part in the same turn-based skirmishes. But when they’re apart, each player will have their own chance to move the campaign story forward, at times leading to a cascade of unintended consequences for the other player.

"Let’s say that you’re sleeping and I go on a mission where there’s a sickness among some cattle," Fargo said. "I decide the resolve it by killing them all. You wake up and you’re notified that mission is complete.

"But when you get back to the game there’s a radio call. The town? They’re kind of pissed about that. They want money for those cattle. You can convince your friend to pay up, or you could pay it yourself. You could even refuse to pay entirely and live with the consequences."

In another example, Fargo said he could envision a situation where one player might convince a village on the map that another player is the messiah. Later, when the second player arrives, villagers might not let him leave for fear their community will be forsaken.

"I love the idea of opening new content that you would not have seen otherwise by clever use of multiplayer," Fargo said. "It’s gameplay that’s not just a simple lock and key, with different ways of solving the same puzzle. That’s less interesting to me now."

Players will be able to play with a friend. Most importantly, Fargo said, they'll be able to break the multiplayer connection at any time. It's essentially an eject button that diverts your game's timeline from the timeline of whomever you're connected to.

InXile has also teamed up with Brotherhood Games, which is comprised of brothers Christopher and Nic Bischoff. While they’re also working on the Stasis and Cayne isometric adventure games, fans might recognize their work from a few clever experiments that showed Fallout 4 and BioShock Infinite from an isometric perspective. With their help, InXile intends to bring a new level of graphical polish to the wasteland.

"It looks great. It’s lightyears above where Wasteland 2 was, and it’s all in-engine," Fargo said. "The other thing is that it’s great for conversations, a la Fallout 4. The camera is going to come down and you’re going to see and hear people speaking their lines, which really helps drive the immersion.

"We’re going to break from the isometric for conversations, and we’re also going to break from the isometric in other areas where we think we can dial up the drama. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a good example, where you can zoom in on something and cut to the creature shattering through a window and then go back isometric."

InXile Entertainment will launch a fundraising campaign for Wasteland 3 on Oct. 5 through the Fig equity crowdfunding platform, where Fargo sits on the advisory board. Fig allows for rewards-based crowdfunding alongside investment, and Fargo says the campaign will be open to both accredited and non-accredited investors.

[...] Fargo says that Wasteland 2 earned his team more than $12 million dollars, and he’s using a portion of that money to contribute to the total budget for Wasteland 3 which is somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million. The Fig campaign will have a goal of $2.75 million with equity capped at $2.25 million, and Fargo says he’s also searching for a publishing partner to contribute some portion as well.​

The incline has finally arrived.

There are 516 comments on Wasteland 3 coming to Fig on October 5th, introducing two player co-op and cinematic conversations

Tue 27 September 2016
Underworld Ascendant Update #29: Bestiary Design Principles

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 27 September 2016, 18:41:32

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

The folks at OtherSide Entertainment continue to work on the Underworld Ascendant pre-alpha Vertical Slice release, which increasingly looks like it's not going to be out before the end of the year. The game's latest monthly update has some news on what they've been up to recently, plus a short treatise on the design principles of its bestiary, which is appropriately systemic and hierarchical:

As mentioned before, we're holding off on showing our work on the Underworld Ascendant Vertical Slice until its far along and polished. In the meantime, we thought you'd be interested in a peek under the hood at the design work involved.

When you interact with a denizen of The Stygian Abyss in Underworld Ascendant, you're encountering many hours of work involved in bringing it to life... Modeling, animation, AI, and -- what we'll cover a bit today -- a core set of underlying design principles that dictate its role in the game.

The inhabitants come in three main forms:
  • CATALYSTS - Beings who possess robust behaviors, advanced combat tactics, and, if intelligent, can converse, trade, or engage with the player. (Ex: The Lizard Men.)
  • CONFOUNDERS - Creatures who enhance or detract in combat, like The Wailing Haunt or Lich, or act as environmental hazards, like The Ripper or Lurker.
  • COLLABORATORS - Inhabitants with useful behaviors that the player can exploit, like the Earth Clot, a bulky, gelatinous mass that can be prodded down hallways to break traps or act as cover.
One of the core design principles of Underworld Ascendant is to educate the player about the rules of the simulated dungeon world without overt hand-holding. The goal of "teaching players to teach themselves" underlies the game's level design, narrative, and even the combat design.

For instance, there are four tiers of CATALYSTS, whose roles in combat...
  • TIER 1 - Teach the player the basic moves & skills of the CATALYST.
  • TIER 2 - Make sure the player is paying attention
  • TIER 3 - Challenge the player.
  • TIER 4 - Provide a fight to remember.
In the Vertical Slice, the player will not only face creatures from each category, he/she will find that a mix or an entrant from a higher tier can make for a much different encounter.

Next month, we'll give a fresh behind-the-scenes peek at the making of the Underworld Ascendant Vertical Slice. This time, about the game narrative...​

The update also has a list of the new personnel OtherSide have hired over the past few months, two of which are QA guys. Ascendant might not be coming out anytime soon, but it doesn't appear to be due to lack of funding.

There are 5 comments on Underworld Ascendant Update #29: Bestiary Design Principles

Mon 26 September 2016
Torment Fan Q&A Video #2

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 26 September 2016, 22:09:48

Tags: Colin McComb; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

inXile have published their second Torment: Tides of Numenera Q&A video featuring Colin McComb and Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie. This time, Colin and Gavin answer questions about the Meres that were removed from the game's introduction, the possibilities for conflict with companions, the nature of the game's timed quests, the visual customizability of the Last Castoff, and a couple of other things.


And that's it - this is the final video in the series. I guess they didn't get very many questions.

There are 4 comments on Torment Fan Q&A Video #2

Sun 25 September 2016
Colin McComb on Character and Narrative Design in Torment at EGX 2016

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Sun 25 September 2016, 17:08:44

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

Colin McComb is at the annual EGX trade fair in Birmingham this year, where he just finished giving a half hour talk about Torment: Tides of Numenera. It was a two part presentation. The first half was about inXile's philosophy for characterization of NPCs, and the second was about their process for narrative, quest and area design, using several backer NPCs from Sagus Cliffs as an example. Along the way, he made reference to concepts such as Maslow's hierarchy of needs and the GNS (Genital Naming System). Yes, it was that kind of talk. Watch it here:


There's a brief five minute Q&A session at the end, but nothing much of interest comes up there other than a welcome confirmation that all of the Cyphers in the game are hand-placed with no randomization.

There are 3 comments on Colin McComb on Character and Narrative Design in Torment at EGX 2016

Fri 23 September 2016
Stellar Tactics Released on Steam Early Access

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 23 September 2016, 23:36:42

Tags: Maverick Games; Stellar Tactics

Remember Stellar Tactics, the ambitious-looking turn-based sci-fi sandbox RPG by Arcanum producer Don Wilkins that was on Kickstarter back in April? Even though the Kickstarter campaign was a failure, Don kept on working on the game with the aim of releasing it on Steam Early Access...which is what he did today. Here's its launch trailer and an excerpt from the Early Access FAQ:



Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“I'm not sure. I am committed to making this a great game and much will depend on your feedback and support. I'll be adding content constantly over the coming months, tuning game play based on feedback and implementing features listed in the Stellar Tactics Roadmap, posted in the discussion forums.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“The final version of the game will open up tens of thousands of systems to explore, space combat and more. I'd like to add the following features over the coming months:

• Access to 10,000 sectors
• space combat
• the ability to trade commodities across the universe
• dynamic mission and faction warfare generator
• complete perk system
• device system
• faction system
• crafting system
• repair system
• planetary mining
• access to all ships and upgrades
• additional hand crafted story content”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“The Early Access version of the game is fully playable and contains the entire beginning story-line and all supporting features. It will give players a good idea of what they can expect from the full version of the game when it's released. I will be adding new content regularly over the course of Early Access.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Stellar Tactics price may go up, down or stay the same during and after Early Access. I'm not expecting to change the price, but it is possible.”​

If you'd like to join in, the Stellar Tactics Early Access build is available on Steam for $20. For more information, be sure to check out the game's detailed official website.

There are 6 comments on Stellar Tactics Released on Steam Early Access

Tyranny Spellcrafting and Dungeon Crawl Stream

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 23 September 2016, 22:50:56

Tags: Brian Heins; Mikey Dowling; Nick Carver; Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Tyranny

Obsidian broadcasted some Tyranny gameplay on Paradox's Twitch channel yesterday, in a livestream hosted by game director Brian Heins, systems designer Nick Carver and community manager Mikey Dowling. The stream was pretty much an extended look at what game journalists (including our own Bubbles and JarlFrank) got to see at Gamescom last month. After fiddling with the spellcrafting system a bit, Brian, Nick and Mikey embarked on a lengthy crawl into the Oldwalls dungeon, fighting numerous Banes, collecting various artifacts and solving minor puzzles. Unlike Gamescom however, they were playing the game on Hard difficulty, which led to several companion knockouts during the harder battles and a total party wipe against the dungeon's final boss. Paradox uploaded a video of the stream to their YouTube channel today, so you can see for yourself:


As they played the game, Brian answered various questions from Twitch chat. Unfortunately there's still no answer to the most important question of when the release date is, but he did say they're doing another stream in two weeks, so maybe it won't be long now.

There are 31 comments on Tyranny Spellcrafting and Dungeon Crawl Stream

Dungeon Rats FAQ and Screenshots

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 23 September 2016, 16:06:01

Tags: Dungeon Rats; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

Over at the Iron Tower forums, Vault Dweller has posted a detailed FAQ for his recently announced party-based combat crawler, Dungeon Rats. Since the game is supposed to come out very soon and I doubt there will be many fancy development updates, I figured I might as well post it as news:

What kind of game is it?
Dungeon Rats is a turn-based, party-based RPG focused almost exclusively on combat for players who like turn-based combat in general and AoD combat in particular. So if you like challenging turn-based combat built around trade-offs and featuring different attack types, alchemy, and tons of stats and modifiers, this game might be for you. If not...

Price & length?

$8.99; 50 fights in total; about 10 hours if you know what you’re doing, much longer if you don’t (i.e. a new player).

Release date?

Anywhere from late Oct to mid Nov. The game is almost ready: fully playable from start to finish, all the content is in, we need 5-6 weeks for polishing and extra art assets (missing portraits, ending slides art, etc).

Why this game? Why not another game like AoD?

Our next full scale RPG is the “colony ship game”, currently in pre-production, which means designing the systems, fleshing out the setting and locations, and defining these locations visually. Basically, we can’t start working on it until we have the “blueprints” to follow.

This gave us a year (10 months development cycle, 2 months of post release support) to put together a combat game using the AoD engine, systems, and assets. Doing anything else (new engine, different systems, non-combat aspects, etc) would have easily doubled or tripled the development time. Considering that party-based combat was the most requested feature, we built a game around it, giving you something different instead of going for more of the same.

Difficulty levels?

At lower difficulty levels your enemies get a THC (to-hit chance) penalty (30% on Easy, 15% on Normal, no penalty on Hard), which makes it harder to hit you and greatly increases your party’s life expectancy. THC also affects the combat AI, so your enemies won’t be using fancier attacks against you.

Party mechanics?

Your Charisma will determine how many people you can recruit: min 1, max 3, so your party size will range from 2 to 4. Not everyone will be eager to join you; some NPCs will require convincing (Charisma checks). You will have full control over your party members once they join your party. All skill points you earn will be divided between the party members, so a bigger party will level up more slowly.

Can I make my own party?

No. You will create your own character and recruit other convicts. Party members are a resource much like gear and skill points. You acquire it slowly, swapping one party member for another or replacing fallen brethren when an opportunity comes up. This approach fits both the prison setting and Charisma-driven setup. Keep in mind that losing party members is normal on Hard.

Solo Mode? Ironman?

You can select Ironman and/or Solo mode when you start a new game. If you choose the Solo mode your CHA will be lowered to 2 to give you two extra and much needed stat points. You won’t be able to recruit any companions.

Do I need to buy or play AoD first?

No. It’s a stand-alone game that takes place before the events in AoD. However, some comments and stories will make more sense to those who played AoD a couple of times.

Is there a story?

There is the story of your escape and the prison’s hierarchy. There is also a background story that began long before you were imprisoned. That story and its conclusion will expand the lore of the gameworld.

Dialogues? Text adventures?

There are many talkative characters; each fight has a text intro, so you aren’t just moving from one fight to the next; there is quite a bit of exploration with text-adventure elements and stat-checks.

Whom are we fighting?

Various prisoners (unaffiliated convicts, gang members – we have three gangs running the prison and their overlord who calls himself the Emperor), prison guards, legionaries sent to clean up the mess, which started long before you arrived, mechanical constructs, and various oversized local flora and fauna.

New loot?

20 new items (weapons, armor, misc).
Vault Dweller is answering additional questions in the FAQ's thread (although of course you can also ask him questions here). He's also created a screenshot thread showcasing various interesting scenes from the game, so check that out too.

There are 0 comments on Dungeon Rats FAQ and Screenshots

Torment Fan Q&A Video #1

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 23 September 2016, 15:43:46

Tags: Brian Fargo; Colin McComb; Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie; InXile Entertainment; Torment: Tides of Numenera

A couple of weeks or so ago, inXile asked fans on Twitter and Facebook to provide questions about Torment: Tides of Numenera for a future Q&A session. Yesterday, they released the first in a new series of videos where they'll be answering some of those questions, featuring Colin McComb and Gavin Jurgens-Fyhrie (who has somehow managed to rise to the rank of senior writer without ever appearing on video, until now). Topics addressed include the utility of the Tidal affinities and skills, the nature of the Changing God, the design of the backers NPCs and more.


I guess this is the sort of stuff they'll be doing until the game is released. If you'd like to hear more about Torment, Gamereactor's Gamescom interviews with Brian Fargo and Colin McComb (which they were a bit late to come out with) are worth checking out, particularly the former which also has some thoughts from Fargo about inXile's future.

There are 1 comments on Torment Fan Q&A Video #1

Tyranny Dev Diary Video #2: Artistry in the Game

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Fri 23 September 2016, 00:31:10

Tags: Brian Heins; Brian Menze; Feargus Urquhart; Justin Bell; Matthew Singh; Obsidian Entertainment; Paradox Interactive; Tyranny

Tyranny was supposed to have a dev diary blog update yesterday, but it looks like Obsidian and Paradox have decided to skip that in favor of other things. Earlier today, Paradox published the second episode in the series of Tyranny dev diary videos that they've produced. It's all about the game's artistic aspects: environmental design, character design, character animations and music. There's lots of interesting snippets of gameplay footage here, including a look at a new companion - Sirin, the sixteen year old Archon of Song, who was briefly mentioned in an interview last month. So that's six confirmed companions now.


Obsidian will also be broadcasting some Tyranny gameplay on Paradox's Twitch channel later today, at 4:00PM PDT/1:00AM CEST, so stay tuned.

There are 31 comments on Tyranny Dev Diary Video #2: Artistry in the Game

Thu 22 September 2016
Sorcery! and The Warlock of Firetop Mountain classic gamebook adaptations now available on Steam

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 22 September 2016, 21:01:21

Tags: inkle; Sorcery!; The Warlock of Firetop Mountain; Tin Man Games

The Fighting Fantasy series was a line of choose-your-own-adventure roleplaying gamebooks created by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone that was quite popular in the 1980s and early 1990s. Probably the most famous among them were Jackson's Sorcery! books, a self-contained four-part series designed for an older audience that featured more complex mechanics and strong continuity.

Over the past few years, a game development studio called inkle has been releasing videogame adaptations of the Sorcery! books which have been quite well-received. They started out on mobile, but this year began releasing them on PC as well. The first two Sorcery! books, The Shamutanti Hills and Kharé - Cityport of Traps, were released together on Steam in February and the third, The Seven Serpents, was released in April. Today, they released their adaptation of the fourth and final book in the series, The Crown of Kings. The price tag on each part is $10, with a hefty 40% discount on Crown of Kings until next week. You may be able to get it for even cheaper in this bundle if you already own some of the others. Here's its official trailer:


inkle aren't the only studio who have been working on Fighting Fantasy adaptations. Late last month, Tin Man Games released their adaptation of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first book in the series, after a successful Kickstarter campaign last year. It's a different take on the formula, with a more fleshed out combat model and an accordingly higher price of $20. Here's its trailer:


Warlock has been well-received on our forums and is worth checking out. Tin Man Games have also released adaptations of several other lesser-known Fighting Fantasy gamebooks over the years, but I can't vouch for their quality.

There are 4 comments on Sorcery! and The Warlock of Firetop Mountain classic gamebook adaptations now available on Steam

RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2016 - Expeditions: Viking, Tyranny, Space Hulk: Deathwing, Styx and more

Editorial - posted by Bubbles on Thu 22 September 2016, 16:02:42

Tags: Brian Heins; Cyanide; Daedalic Entertainment; Expeditions: Viking; Focus Home Interactive; Gamescom 2016; Logic Artists; Masquerada; Mimimi Productions; Obsidian Entertainment; Shadow Tactics; Silence: The Whispered World 2; Space Hulk: Deathwing; State of Mind; Streum on Studio; Styx: Shards of Darkness; The Long Journey Home; Tyranny; Witching Hour Studios

Our Gamescom coverage continues at its customary breakneck pace. In this instalment we're covering Expeditions: Viking by Logic Artists as well as Obsidian's latest masterpiece Tyranny, the Asian Kickstarter sensation Masquerada by Witching Hour Studios, four games by Daedalic (Silence, State of Mind, The Long Journey Home, and Shadow Tactics), and finally Streum on Studio's Space Hulk: Deathwing and Cyanide's Styx: Shards of Darkness. All in a day's work.

Here are a few appetizers from the full, XXL-sized report:

...Overall, I'm quite happy with the current state of the combat in Expeditions: Viking; it still seems to need a fair bit of balance and AI work, and many of the active combat abilities still have to be implemented, but even in this early state it already feels genuinely fun and tactical to play.

... Unfortunately, our [Tyranny] session didn't feature any dialogue or c&c at all; instead, we spent a few minutes discussing the new spellcrafting mechanics before launching into a short dungeon delve where we got to experience various puzzles, fought lots and lots of mobs, and had a big boss battle... The overall experience reminded me quite strongly of the boss battles in Aarklash: Legacy.

... Remember how I said Masquerada was not my type of game because it's too linear and doesn't have much interactivity? Well, at least Masquerada is still a game. [Silence] is a barely interactive movie, and from the hands-on I played of it, my impression is that it would actually be better off as a movie.

...The auteur was Martin Ganteföhr and the masterpiece-to-be is his new sci-fi adventure game State of Mind. You might be familiar with Ganteföhr from his previous work, which includes beloved classics like The Mystery of the Druids, The Moment of Silence, and Overclocked. Ganteföhr began his presentation with an extensive introduction to the life and work of Ray Kurzweil, the visionary author of “The Singularity Is Near” and “Transcend: Nine Steps to Living Well Forever”...

... In short, The Long Journey Home looks to be a fun, if somewhat casual Space RPG/Roguelike with a few interesting mechanics; I'm definitely going to play it.

... Shadow Tactics is being pitched as a “modern take” on the real time tactics genre, in the vein of the old Commandos and Desperados titles...

...At its core, Deathwing is a game where you blast hordes of enemies into tiny pieces with your squad of heavily armoured Space Marines. Your characters have access to a vast range of Warhammer-based weaponry, from heavy flamers to miniguns, as well as an array of powerful psychic abilities. You equip your crew, send them to one of the many derelict “Space Hulk” vessels drifting through space, and then you start blowing up swarms of Tyranid Genestealers. There is some sort of storyline attached to all the killing and maiming, but it doesn't seem particularly important to the gameplay.

...[Styx: Shards of Darkness] is even simpler to describe: it's a direct sequel to Styx: Master of Shadows, featuring the same methodical third person stealth gameplay as the first title.​

The full article includes a variety of hideous selfies, a highly awkward interview centered around an amateur fantasy novelist from Thailand, and a lengthy rant about Tyranny's UI design. In other words, it's a typical Codex piece.

There are 68 comments on RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2016 - Expeditions: Viking, Tyranny, Space Hulk: Deathwing, Styx and more

Sun 18 September 2016
RPG Codex Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Sun 18 September 2016, 15:07:42

Tags: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided; Eidos Montreal

Ion Storm's Deus Ex belongs to the Codex's all-time beloved classics, and even the 2011 Deus Ex: Human Revolution earned a place in our Top 75 RPG list. This year, Eidos Montreal released a sequel to Human Revolution, called Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, set two years after that game's events. Does it improve on or at least match the level of quality of its predecessor, or is it more of a mixed bag?

According to esteemed community member TNO, it is unfortunately the latter. Here are a few excerpts from his review:

One of the dividends of increasing technology is the mission environments in Mankind Divided have generally gotten bigger, and so they more closely approach the near-perfection of the original Deus Ex. Pallisade Bank is perhaps the best example: huge, multi-level with executive offices, lobby, vaults, connected with a labyrinth of hidden and not-so-hidden passages with lots of points of entry and egress, and similarly lots of things to uncover and find (it also benefits synergistically from being an interesting concept: a data-bank and vault for information that generally lies beyond national jurisdiction). Generally the median level of Mankind Divided approaches the most 'open' levels of Human Revolution (e.g. Hengsha Docks, Court gardens), and this move in mission design is to be warmly welcomed, although the continued reliance on air-ducts and ventilation systems for many of these alternative routes does give a blemish.

Mankind Divided has moved steadily more towards 'open world' principles too. Probably 70% or so of the game content is off the critical path, and a Codex Let's Player managed to finish the game in around 4 hours by ignoring it. They probably missed out: the 'side-quest' content is very good, covering a good mix of police procedural and espionage: a murder mystery plot is one highlight, the player's tracking down of a 'black market media' organization that threatens to blow cover of another group another, and piecing together the backstory behind a new, highly (but selectively) lethal recreational drug the same. [...]

Perhaps the most noteworthy innovation in Mankind Divided is in the field of avarice. Much of the utterly rubbish microtransaction and monetization typically in the ambit of low-rent mobile games come out in force. There's the wholly indefensible shop where you can pay real money to buy Praxis kits for your character, the entirely unnecessary and tacked on breach mode with semi-randomized rewards and microtransactions galore, the stupid mobile app integration, and the pre-order and extra item DLCs. These are all mercifully unnecessary and can be ignored during the course of the game, but they represent the early signs of metastasis of pay-to-win and monetization to single player games where they were heretofore mercifully absent. Would that the radioactive criticism the developers have received from all quarters put this cancerous development firmly in remission. [...]

The player generally expects plot arcs to have a resolution, and for characters to develop during the course of the story: subverting these expectations in the narrative can work well, and can be a fop to verisimilitude: in real life, people's characters do not always develop in step with some grander narrative, and you don't always get all the answers. Do it too much, though, and the player suspects you are not even trying (or, worse, hope to spin things out for sequels and DLC). Mankind Divided falls into the latter category. It is actually slightly worse than a hypothetical Deus Ex that stopped after UNATCO: at least in that you have learned something. In Mankind Divided, although you solve the initial case, the bulk of the narrative interest is in the underlying actions of the players 'behind the scenes', and this plot merely treads water: Adam Jensen (and you) haven't really learned anything about the world that you didn't already know at the start.

Conclusion: Not enough steps forward, a few steps back

Mankind Divided is so near and yet so far. Its elements mostly build upon the strong foundations of Human Revolution, but occasionally they retreat back from earlier triumphs, and leave some major flaws uncorrected. It is cleverly written but with a few too many mis-steps, and a central lacuna around the player character himself. At its best, the strengths of the game combine harmoniously to produce one of the best opening thirds in computer gaming; the fatal weakness is that it is no more than an opening third, and the game ends on a deeply imperfect cadence with too many themes undeveloped, leave alone resolved.

The game indicates considerable talent, and the writing team know their craft well. My hope is that the impressive story Mankind Divided intimates has been mostly written, and that subsequent additions to the franchise will adroitly fulfill the undoubted promise manifest here. Yet these games do not yet exist, and thus Mankind Divided remains a promissory note for a series of games which in combination may form a masterpiece. Unless and until that happens, this opening act, despite its qualities, cannot justify its own purchase.​

These excerpts do not, however, do justice to everything that the review talks about, so be sure to read it in full: RPG Codex Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

(Warning: the review contains some mild spoilers.)

There are 30 comments on RPG Codex Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Fri 16 September 2016
Dungeon Rats, Iron Tower Studio's Age of Decadence dungeon crawler, officially announced

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 16 September 2016, 02:38:09

Tags: Dungeon Rats; Iron Tower Studios; Vault Dweller

We've known that Iron Tower Studio have had plans to develop a party-based dungeon crawler set in the world of The Age of Decadence for a long time. Vault Dweller revealed some information about it in AoD's two post-release updates last year, and in June he revealed that it was planned for an October release, but compared to what we know about the Colony Ship RPG, details have been quite sparse. Until today, that is, when he published a news update on AoD's Steam community hub officially announcing it. The game's title: Dungeon Rats. Its official website was unveiled several hours later, with more details and a collection of screenshots:

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

Your adventure starts in the dusty shadows of a prison mine many leagues from any trading post or settlement. The 'Second Chance' (as in your second chance to become a productive member of society) is the most feared of all ‘hard labor’ and ‘gladiator camp’ prisons. Once the jewel in a string of rich iron mines, the shafts were long ago exhausted and the ore spent. No longer profitable using conventional slave labor, the prisoners who work it now trade whatever ore they can scratch from the rock for scraps of food.

Having already tested the futility of fighting the guards, you do not resist when you are hurled into a cage suspended above the main shaft. The barred door crashes shut, the crack of a whip signals a pair of slaves to the crank, and the cage begins its slow and creaking descent. A one way trip to hell awaits, past bright fires, screaming faces, and beyond, into the impenetrable blackness of the lower levels.

Dungeon Rats, named after the 7th Heavy Armored Division of the Imperial Guards, is a turn-based, party-based dungeon crawler set in the same world as Age of Decadence. This is an RPG focused almost exclusively on squad level tactical combat for players who enjoy turn-based games in general, and AoD's combat systems in particular. If fighting your way out of a prison mine - and frequently dying in the attempt - is your idea of a good time, you've come to the right place.

Starting out as a new prisoner at the bottom of the gangs-ruled prison hierarchy, and of the prison itself, you must fight to survive and develop your combat skills, acquiring better weapons and equipment as you go. Recruit allies to your struggle or carry on as a lone wolf, and kill anyone foolish enough to stand in your way.

Features include:
  • Tactical combat system, including standard attacks, aimed attacks targeting specific body parts, and per-weapon special attacks such as Whirlwind and Impale.
  • Detailed crafting and alchemy systems: forge your own weapons, brew potions and poisons, experiment with Liquid Fire and Black Powder.
  • 8 weapon types: Daggers, Swords, Axes, Hammers, Spears, Bows, Crossbows, and Throwing Weapons, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Fully customizable main character, as well as 10 possible companions, not all of them human (maximum party size is 4).
  • 50 challenging fights
Notable changes from the Age of Decadence:
  • Party-based - the most frequently requested feature.
  • Flanking and other strategic bonuses. Positioning matters a lot.
  • Manual placement of your characters before a fight.
  • Charisma determines the number and quality of your party members.
  • Skill points are split between the party members: more people means fewer skills points per person and slower level ups.
  • New weapons, armor, and creatures.
  • 3 difficulty levels: Nice Guy, Tough Bastard, Murderous Psychopath
According to Vault Dweller, Dungeon Rats is still tentatively scheduled for release next month, and definitely no later than November. After all of the RPGs that have been delayed this year, that's welcome news.

There are 304 comments on Dungeon Rats, Iron Tower Studio's Age of Decadence dungeon crawler, officially announced

Thu 15 September 2016
South Park: The Fractured But Whole delayed to Q1 2017

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 15 September 2016, 22:51:36

Tags: South Park: The Fractured But Whole; Ubisoft

In a brief notice on the game's official website, Ubisoft inform us that their in-house sequel to South Park: The Stick of Truth, South Park: The Fractured But Whole, has been delayed to next year:

South Park: The Fractured But Whole will now launch on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC, calendar Q1 2017. The development team wants to make sure the game experience meets the high expectations of fans and the additional time will help them achieve this goal.
Yet another game stricken off the list of RPGOTY 2016 candidates. Sad!

There are 6 comments on South Park: The Fractured But Whole delayed to Q1 2017

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