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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 Top 74 PC RPGs of All Time: Boxed Edition

Editorial - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 3 August 2015, 19:51:56


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Surely, you all know esteemed community member mindx2. And not just as our intrepid PAX East reporter or a quality poster on our forums, but most importantly, as an RPG connoisseur who knows a good box when he sees it.

In light of that, it shouldn't come as a surprise that our definitive Top 72 PC RPG list from last year caught his attention and made him want to fill it with boxes. Here is the result.

Early last year, the esteemed Brazilian Codexer felipepepe took on the monumental task of compiling the RPG Codex’s Top 50 RPGs of all time. That in and of itself was quite the challenge, considering people were voting for games made over a thirty year long span. After the flamewars discussions finally died down, the result was a Top 72 RPGs Of All Time list. As I looked through this admittedly well rounded list, nostalgia began to take over.

[...] Since so many of these promises for a return to “old-school” boxes were turning out to be empty, I decided to return to the true old-school games of the past. As a collector of computer games, I already owned many of the Codex’s Top 72 RPGs, so I decided to track down the ones I was missing and create a photographic archive of each one's box. In the process, I realized that in this digital distribution age, we've lost a piece of what made PC gaming great. Those old boxes did a lot to enhance our enjoyment and dare I say “immersion” in those game worlds that we spent so many hours exploring.

I have tried to collect only IBM-PC versions released in the US, as well any Collector’s or Special Editions which were produced for each game when possible. For each game, I've photographed its box's front and back cover artwork and original contents, as well as any clue books/strategy guides, tie-in novels, pre-orders, etc, that were also an important part of the overall experience. I hope you enjoy this trip down nostalgia lane as much as I did while documenting it. In the process, maybe you’ll also see that we have lost a little something along the way.

Readers, I present to you a visual record of the RPG Codex’s Top 74 RPGs of all Time “Boxed Edition” (it’s 74 rather than 72 since I had to include Blade of Destiny and Chaos Strikes Back in honor of Crooked Bee!). I’ve included some general notes and observations about many of the games as well.​

Warning: This article is extremely image-heavy.

Read the full article: RPG Codex Top 74 PC RPGs of All Time: Boxed Edition

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Wed 5 August 2015
Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Gamescom 2015 Trailer

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 August 2015, 13:34:06

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios

A shiny new trailer for the Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition has been unveiled for the first day of Gamescom. Like some of Original Sin's previous trailers, it's focused around providing an overview of the game's many features.


At the end, the trailer promises a release "this holiday season". However, the console versions of the Enhanced Edition are already available for pre-order on Amazon with a release date of October 27th. Time will tell whether that's a legit date, but what's unlikely to be non-legit is that $60 price tag. Does that mean the price of the PC version will have to be bumped up too?

There are 3 comments on Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition Gamescom 2015 Trailer

Microsoft Gamescom 2015 Conference: Dark Souls III Gameplay Trailer

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 5 August 2015, 00:30:57

Tags: Dark Souls III; From Software; Microsoft

Gamescom 2015 officially begins tomorrow, but Microsoft's Gamescom press conference was held today. For the most part it was a popamole-infested snoozefest, but there was also a new Dark Souls III trailer somewhere in there. Unlike the previous trailer from E3, this trailer includes a few snippets of gameplay.


Those who are acquainted with these things seem satisfied with what they're seeing here - a return to form with Miyazaki back at the helm. Apparently there's more than a hint of Bloodborne in the gameplay, too.

There are 24 comments on Microsoft Gamescom 2015 Conference: Dark Souls III Gameplay Trailer

Tue 4 August 2015
Age of Decadence development in the final stretch, release on October

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 August 2015, 13:31:45

Tags: Age of Decadence; Iron Tower Studios; Oscar Velzi; Vault Dweller

In the past few months, it's become clear that The Age of Decadence has entered its final stage of development. The expository monthly forum updates have ceased, because I guess there's just not much more to talk about, replaced with frequent and punctual Early Access updates as the game converges towards content completion. In fact, the latest such update announces that Early Access updates will now be moving to a bi-weekly schedule. The Iron Tower guys are now confident enough to publicly announce a release window for the game - October.

Release plans:

We’re planning to release the game in October. So far we’re on track and we fixed a lot of issues in the last 2 months, as you can see. For the next 2 months we’re switching from monthly to bi-weekly updates to respond faster.

We’re planning to release the final location by the end of August. At that point the game will be content-complete. We’ll test, tweak, and polish through September and early October (so far we’ve allocated 6 weeks) and release. ​

Let's hope they make it. See the full update announcement for the changelog, which is quite extensive. So extensive, in fact, that it hit Steam's word limit. A larger version is available on the ITS forums.

There are 56 comments on Age of Decadence development in the final stretch, release on October

Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter Update #24: Gamification Story Concludes, Backer Site Progress

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 August 2015, 01:56:19

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

inXile have published a new Bard's Tale IV Kickstarter update, the first since the campaign's conclusion, although they don't have much to say yet, and probably won't for a while. The quite cool Enclave of the Fairy Host story, which was revealed in parts as a reward for unlocking social media achievements during the campaign, has been concluded. Its real ending isn't any more upbeat than the initial one. There's also a report on the development of the game's backer portal. I quote:

As you know, it's been a couple of weeks since our campaign concluded, and we've been working behind the scenes on pre-production as we work to solidify details on the game. You can expect our updates to slow down for the coming weeks and months until we have more tangible details to share with you guys. But for today, we have a quick update to cover a few odds and ends.

The Story Concludes

During our Kickstarter campaign our backers were able to unlock a series of social media achievements. With each achievement unlocked, we in turn updated progress on a dungeon map, along with an ongoing story told by our lead writer Nathan Long.

With the campaign now concluded and 21 achievements/rooms unlocked total, Nathan concluded the Enclave of the Fairy Host story, which gives a bit of insight into the game's tone, lore and characters. You can see the final two chapters below, and for those who haven't been following along, the full story and dungeon map are available here.

Backer Site Progress

Last week we had the final pledge data from Kickstarter collected, and our production team has been working through that data, getting it ready for importing into our own backer site, and of course, building the backer web site itself. There are many moving parts involved, and while we have a great base to build off with our previous campaigns, every campaign is also a little different in terms of its exact needs.

We did want to give you a quick sense of where we're at, though. First, we'll have our backer account system, where you'll be able to manage your rewards and add-ons by selecting them from a list. You'll also be able to make brand-new pledges, if there was an add-on you missed first time around, or if you wanted to upgrade your pledge.

Beyond that, we're hoping to have a number of features that we'll be taking advantage of as time goes on, such as a news posting system, and galleries for screenshots, wallpapers, and video. Many of these features made it to our other web sites later on, but we're hoping to have these earlier for our Bard's Tale site so that you'll have information on the game in one convenient place.

Keep an eye out for more information. We'll alert you through a Kickstarter update as soon as the backer site is ready for you to check out.
Hopefully it doesn't take too long, because I want to unlock my Loyalty Reward and get some Torment goodies.

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Underworld Ascendant Update #7: Pillars and Prototypes

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 August 2015, 01:18:20

Tags: Bard's Tale IV; Chris Siegel; OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

This month's first Underworld Ascendant update is an interesting one, providing an overview of what's going into the game's first playable prototype, which is now in development. I quote:

We are currently midway into our first playable prototype. A playable prototype is small, working corner of the underworld. It includes everything from character movement, to the look of the place, to core systems. It is designed such that we can stop, take a look at it, test it out, and decide what works well and what not so much.

It starts with ideas, which we call 'core pillars'. Currently we have decided on 3 core pillars for our prototype.
  1. We are an Underworld game. What ties us back to the past?
  2. Player authored experience.
  3. Create a fantastic magical world.
Pretty broad right? We break that down further of course and pick a couple of key pieces from each pillar that we would want to prove out.

For example, for the player authored experience, we have already played around with physics, but have not spent too much time on magic, or physical object reactions such as burning things, smashing things and other generally destructive...er...creative ways of using the environment. So we have decided for the first prototype to focus on a couple of spells, using the actual bones of a real spell system, and ensuring that our design practices have objects in the world understand their physical state.

An example of this is a rope. For our vertical slice, our rope will think 'I'm a rope. I can bend and flow because of weight, and other environmental things like wind. I don't like fire and will burn when it touches me.' As with most of the Underworld, this is not canned, but reactive. Rope and wood burn. You can use that to your benefit, or your detriment.

So we have our core pillars and we start thinking about the layout of a map where we want to have gameplay. Design writes a script for the area, our thoughts of what this area is, and what will be going on in broad strokes.

Because this is just a proof of concept we do want an area that is tightly focused on our needs; we're not building out the first level of the Underworld or anything. We just need to have an area that looks typical for what it is, looks at different space sizes, and has room to experiment with some gameplay.

Art and design spend a ton of time sketching out a look and feel of the area. It has gone through a number of iterations at this point, but seems to be coming together nicely. Dwarven Byzantine Mini-Monumentalism is the descriptor we are coining for this current space. I'll get into the details of that in another update.

Design has been spending time making what we call a Phase 0 map. This is a typical map layout but made with basic editor shapes, and imported shapes from a 3D program. As we go on and are happy with the layout, we move on to phase 1 and 2 which has more detailed replacement assets.

So, a spiral staircase in phase 0 is easily replaced with a new phase 1 version. It's the same size, same shape, but with more detail. We then repeat the process with however many iterations on that staircase we want until it looks just how we like.

What this allows us to do is very quickly stand up all the gameplay, all the object scripting like doors opening, things swinging and other basic map specific tasks. This leaves our system designers unblocked and can plug in all the gameplay very early and very quickly, while art continues making the area more and more detailed.

So that's where we are at, about a week away from the final phase 0 map being completed with gameplay in it.​

See the full update for some images and a snippet from the script. Note that the script implies that the player character in Ascendant will have audible Garrett-like quips. That is pretty cool. In other news, OtherSide are running another cross-promotion with the Bard's Tale IV guys at inXile. Anybody who pledges to both games gets an extra $5 to use in his Underworld Ascendant Backerkit account. You can read more about that here.

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Frayed Knights 2 Flythrough Video

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 4 August 2015, 00:37:22

Tags: Frayed Knights 2; Jay Barnson; Rampant Games

Jay Barnson's Frayed Knights 2: The Khan of Wrath, the sequel to his 2011 comedic blobber, Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon, has been in development since 2012. Today, in a post on his blog, Jay finally unveiled its first gameplay video. Well, sort of. It's actually a "flythrough video" that he used to attract attention towards the game during a recent conference. Here's the video, along with some notes from Jay about the game's demo build and its success (or lack thereof) with the younger crowd that attended the conference:



First of all, we used the level from the Comic Con demo, mainly because it is at the highest level of completion and was designed to be a tiny mini-adventure that could be completed in about five to ten minutes. However, the game (and the level itself) has changed a lot since then. We used the new, full UI this time around, although I disabled lock-picking to avoid complicating the game too much. Actually, what I did was add a new ‘impossible’ lock flag which pops up a message in the case of full-on plot-protected doors. I hope to use them extremely sparingly if at all outside of the demo.

One of the new additions (taken from a lesson learned at Comic Con) was an “attract mode” added to the game. It was inspired somewhat by the menu screen in the original Unreal. It actually worked quite well. Maybe too well… I had a constant stream of players and no chance to take a break the entire night. I’ve included a video of a full ‘cycle’ of the fly-through. It looks better at 60 fps with no compression / streaming artifacts at full resolution, but it should give you the idea.

The players were (mostly) teenagers. About half of the players really didn’t “get it.” They had trouble with the controls, with a first-person perspective, with the style, or the amount of text. About half or one third of the remaining players REALLY seemed to get it. They were laughing at the text, asking great questions, digging into the spell-system, really trying to master the combat options, and so forth.

I don’t know if that was a good or even representative ratio. I told my wife, “I’d rather make a game that a few people really love than a lot of people think is just ‘okay.’ ” He answered that she wanted me to make games everybody loves, which… well, okay. Yeah, that’d be awesome, but how do you do that?
We didn't report about that Comic Con demo last year. You can actually catch a few glimpses of in-engine footage in this short interview with Jay that took place there. The game's first official screenshot was also revealed last year:

[​IMG]

There's still no release date for Frayed Knights 2, but it looks like things are starting to warm up. Time to start paying more attention.

There are 15 comments on Frayed Knights 2 Flythrough Video

Sun 2 August 2015
Whalenought Studios Interview on Shane Plays

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 2 August 2015, 13:48:51

Tags: Serpent in the Staglands; Shane Stacks; Whalenought Studios

Joe and Hannah Williams of Whalenought Studios are the guests of this week's episode of Shane Plays, the radio show/podcast run by Codexer Shane "sstacks" Stacks. Shane has been playing Serpent in the Staglands this week, and so much of the interview is spent randomly chattering about various aspects of the game that impressed him, in particular the setting and the monsters. He also asks them a few questions about the game's development, and about how they became game developers.

According to Joe and Hannah, with the help of word of mouth, Serpent in the Staglands has now sold just enough to justify further RPG development. Development on the free expansion, the scope of which has now increased beyond what was originally planned, is set to conclude "by the end of the year", though they're not sure it will be released this year. The expansions from the Kickstarter campaign's unmet stretch goals will unfortunately not be made, but Whalenought do want to return to the Vol setting in the future someday. Their next RPG after Serpent in the Staglands, however, will be something else. Something with a different ruleset and mechanics, a different non-pixel art graphical style, and an "80s sci-fi cyberpunk" theme.


At the end of the interview, Shane once again passes on various questions from Codexers. Joe and Hannah say that yes, Serpent in the Staglands' difficulty is where they wanted it to be, yes, they are considering turn-based combat for future projects, no, they aren't planning on ever returning to mobile game development, and yes, they do plan on changing up their UI design for future projects. Nice.

There are 35 comments on Whalenought Studios Interview on Shane Plays

Fri 31 July 2015
Jordan Weisman talks BattleTech at alistdaily

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 31 July 2015, 00:39:57

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman

According to their website, Harebrained Schemes are formally announcing BattleTech at Gen Con today. The marketing-oriented news site alistdaily managed to grab a quick interview with Jordan Weisman before the announcement. Although most of the game's details are still up in the air, there are a few things here that are pertinent to RPG fans:

What Is Harebrained Schemes up to now, and why are you announcing it at GenCon?

We're announcing that we're going to be producing a modern turn-based tactical mech game, but we're being real tight-lipped about too much of the game itself because that will be coming out as we do the Kickstarter this fall. We wanted to announce the Battletech game here at GenCon. It's a little premature, but this is the audience where that game got started. These are the fans that helped build up Battletech from the beginning. This convention itself has been the hub of so many milestones for Battletech. We've been doing Battletech stuff here for a lot of years, and as soon as we were able to secure the rights to the game we knew this was the audience we needed to tell about it first.

What can you tell me about the game?

It's PC and Mac, and it's an open-ended mercenary campaign. Where you're going to be building your own mercenary unit. It's mixing a lot of turn-based tactical with a lot of RPG elements, because you'll not only be managing a lance of 'Mechs but also Mechwarriors as well. You have all their careers and their skill trees, doing the depth of story like we did in Shadowrun that we want to bring to Battletech. As we say, the feudal Machiavellian politics that was at the core of the Battletech universe.

Will you have fiction to go along with the game?


Fiction is an important part, both in the game and accompanying the game. We're working with the Catalyst guys so we coordinate with their fiction line. We're putting the game back in the original setting in 3025, because I think it played up the geopolitics really well and it lost some of the feudal nature later on. We want to sell the whole sweep of the story and sell the platform to do that.

What are you doing at GenCon for the game?


We have a teaser, just a paragraph about the game and a couple of pieces of concept art. For people that want to get involved early, we're going to have a Vanguard backing opportunity. They drop by the booth and we've made up dog tags from different mercenary units. They can pick those up and if they back later on, they'll get a variant of one of those 'Mechs. There are ten different types of mercenary units, and if someone wants to pick up all of them it's a $50 backing and then they get a free copy of the game when it comes out, the dog tags and the variant 'Mechs.

The benefit of crowdfunding is that you not only get financial backing for the game, but you also get guidance on the design of the game, as well as a tremendous marketing benefit, wouldn't you agree?

Part of the reason to announce now is that you have to make people aware that you're doing a Kickstarter, you can't just show up and hope people appear.

This will be our fourth game that we've brought to market with support from fans. The third Shadowrun title will ship August 20th, and all of those were funded by fans. The Golem Arcana game shipped last year at Gencon. We've really enjoyed that kind of cooperative, co-development relationship with our backers. Obviously the financial support has allowed us to grow and we wouldn't have done the games wthout that, but just as importantly the kind of emotional support and sounding board that they provide during development we've found to be a very energizing experience.

If we've done our job right and kept them happy during development, they're a great amnplifier for when the game launches. That marketing opportunity is really twice – once when you're doing the crowdfunding and making a lot of noise, but then a year and a half later or whenever you're shipping the title. If you've really worked collaboratively with your audience all the way through, they're a great help in getting the word out when the product comes out.
"A lot of RPG elements", "doing the depth of story like we did in Shadowrun". Yes, yes, this is definitely sounding relevant to our interests. And according to BattleTech fans, what he's saying about the timeline is good news too.

There are 63 comments on Jordan Weisman talks BattleTech at alistdaily

Thu 30 July 2015
WTF: New turn-based RPG Demons Age looks suspiciously like Chaos Chronicles

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 30 July 2015, 23:58:08

Tags: Bigmoon Entertainment; Chaos Chronicles; Demons Age

Man, is this a strange time for the RPG genre. Today we learned of the existence of a new turn-based fantasy RPG called Demons Age from an obscure Portuguese developer by the name of Bigmoon Entertainment (or is it Bigmoon Studios?). Here's the press release, courtesy of GameBanshee:

Bigmoon Entertainment Announces, “Demons Age”, for Xbox One, Playstation 4 and PC Brand New Dark Fantasy Turn-Based Role-Playing Game to Launch in Q1 2016

Gaia, Portugal -- July 30, 2015 -- Bigmoon Entertainment today announced Demons Age, a brand new title that brings together the characteristics of a classic turn-based roleplaying game with modern graphics and a gripping atmosphere. Demons Age takes console and PC gamers on a thrilling adventure in either single character or party mode in which they must explore ancient ruins, mystical places and mysterious dungeons while battling dangerous opponents along the way. Demons Age is slated to launch on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC in Q1 2016. For more information about Demons Age, please visit: www.demonsage.com.

“We are all fans of dark fantasy and role-playing games, so many voices and ideas have gone into making Demons Age a game that fans of this genre will really enjoy”, said Paulo J. Games from Bigmoon Entertainment. “We didn’t limit ourselves to building just a classical turn-based RPG game, but wanted to create a game with the features and gameplay that we look for in a console or PC title, too”.

About Demons Age

Moragon has once again been invaded by Demons. The corrupted soldiers of the “Order” along with orcs and demons have swept the Peninsula of Moragon from north to south in a violent and bloody war against Elves, Dwarves, Halflings and Men. The adventure begins when the player washes ashore along the coast of this war ridden peninsula and is thrown into intrigue full of tragedy and betrayal. In line with classic turn-based roleplaying mechanics, Demons Age first tasks players to set up their character and later allows them to hire a party of diverse characters to help them on their adventure.

Each hired character has their own secrets and back-story, so players must choose their party wisely and beware of potential betrayals. Players can level-up their characters playing through the main story and also side quests, receiving rewards as they help the citizens of Moragon all the while searching for the cause of the mysterious event that has plunged the kingdom into evil darkness. Solving puzzles allows players to progress through the game, and they can find and equip a host of different weapons to defeat foes. Combining a lavish look with the dense atmosphere of a classic dungeon crawler, Demons Age is designed to appeal to new and old fans of turn-based fantasy role-playing games, and true to the genre. There is danger lurking around every corner. ​

Now, normally we wouldn't have paid too much attention to yet another developer trying to hop onto the increasingly overcrowded oldschool RPG bandwagon, but then we saw the game's trailer:


Does that look familiar to you? If not, this image should make things clear:

[​IMG]
That's right - it's yet another incarnation of Chaos Chronicles. I guess you can't kill what's already dead! And if you still have doubts about it, this post by former Chaos Chronicles lead Peter Ohlmann should dispel them. A glance at the Bigmoon Studios website confirms that they had dealings with bitComposer in the past, so presumably they somehow managed to procure ownership of the Chaos Chronicles code and assets after bitComposer's bankruptcy. Expect more information about this bizarre reccurence as we learn it.

There are 60 comments on WTF: New turn-based RPG Demons Age looks suspiciously like Chaos Chronicles

Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #67: Director's Cut coming on October 13th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Thu 30 July 2015, 20:48:29

Tags: Chris Keenan; InXile Entertainment; Wasteland 2

Earlier today, we learned that the release date for the Wasteland 2 Director's Cut had been set to October 13th. The latest Kickstarter update has a more detailed announcement, along with some new screenshots:

We have some big news to share with you today, so we'll just cut right to the chase. Wasteland 2 Director's Cut will be releasing digitally on PC on October 13, 2015! Additionally, for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, digital and physical releases will be coming on October 13th in the Americas, and October 16th Worldwide!

As we've said before, anyone who already owns Wasteland 2 on any digital PC retailer will be getting the Director's Cut as a free update on PC. We'll have more information as we get closer to release, but it's our intention to make sure it's as easy a process as possible. Keep your eyes peeled on our Wasteland 2 forums as we'll be putting up FAQs and similar in the coming weeks towards release.

For those of you who are still curious about the Director's Cut contents, features, and changes, or may have missed our discussions on them previously, here are some links that go over some of those new elements in detail.
And those do not even fully cover all the new additions, like new and expanded voice-over for many of the game's key NPCs and companions, as well as our extensive rebalancing of virtually every combat encounter, loot drop, and item you'll find in the game.

We're now in the home stretch of development. Our final tasks in the several weeks before final release include polishing up the game as much as we can, including tweaks, optimizations, fixes and balance adjustments. We hope you will enjoy the changes and updates as much as we enjoyed bringing them to you.

New Screenshots

We've got a bunch of new screenshots ready for you for this announcement, showing off some of our graphical updates and changes to our environments and character models. Our art team has worked tirelessly to make sure the Wasteland is more vibrant and detailed than ever, and we're extremely pleased with the results.

[​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
"Late summer", my ass. That's what console certification will do to you, I guess.

There are 13 comments on Wasteland 2 Kickstarter Update #67: Director's Cut coming on October 13th

Wed 29 July 2015
Albion Now Available on GOG

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 29 July 2015, 16:58:50

Tags: Albion; Blue Byte; Ubisoft

The unique 1995 RPG Albion, particularly beloved by German RPG fans, is now finally available on GOG courtesy of Ubisoft.

It is the year 2227, and the gigantic interstellar factory ship, Toronto, cruises toward a lifeless planet endowed with a wealth of minerals. While studying the planet in his shuttlecraft, the pilot, Tom Driscoll, unavoidably crash lands. Against all expectations, he survives to discover his craft has landed in a world rich in flora and fauna, and inhabited by intelligent beings. How could the data on the planet of Albion have been so wrong?

Take on the role of Tom Driscoll and explore the extensive world of Albion and its endless surprises in this turn-based, tactical RPG. Experience its vast beauty and strange cultures… but beware of its many hidden dangers! You, and the companions you acquire on your journey, will experience countless adventures together and your resourcefulness, skills of negotiation and ability to deal with numerous inhabitants will be repeatedly put to the test. But most importantly, your resolve in battle will determine not only your own fate, but that of the entire world.
  • Role-playing adventure with an engaging storyline and interactive dialogue
  • Turn-based, tactical combat
  • User-friendly and intuitive interface and navigation
  • Expansive and captivating game-world
There is no official launch trailer or anything so I will just embed this episode of Matt Chat instead:


Grab the game here.

Aside from that, the post-apoc sim Archimedean Dynasty is now available on GOG as well.

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Harebrained Schemes to Kickstart BattleTech this Fall

Game News - posted by Zed on Wed 29 July 2015, 15:42:14

Tags: BattleTech; Harebrained Schemes

Harebrained Schemes just revealed their plans to Kickstart yet another Jordan Weisman creation. This time it's BattleTech. It's what was hinted at earlier when they were discussing another classic IP reboot.

[​IMG]

TACTICAL ‘MECH COMBAT RETURNS TO THE PC.

Harebrained Schemes is pleased to announce their return to Kickstarter this Fall to partner with Backers in co-funding the creation of BATTLETECH. Jordan Weisman, the creator of BattleTech and MechWarrior, is back with the first turn-based BattleTech game for PC in over two decades. Steeped in the feudal political intrigue of the BattleTech universe, the game will feature an open-ended Mercenaries-style campaign that blends RPG ‘Mech and MechWarrior management with modern turn-based tactics.​

There's not much else than a tweet and a newsletter sign-up at this point in time.

There are 78 comments on Harebrained Schemes to Kickstart BattleTech this Fall

King of Dragon Pass Released on Steam

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 29 July 2015, 01:11:42

Tags: A Sharp; HeroCraft; King of Dragon Pass

The latest edition of King of Dragon Pass, the genre-blending CYOA classic originally released back in 1999, in which you lead a clan of Iron Age Nordic tribesman in the fantasy world of Glorantha, is now available on Steam. This particular release was developed by HeroCraft, who also ported the game to Android and Windows Phone last year based on the game's 2011 iOS version. It is not the same as the GOG release from 2012 which is based on the original PC version, and as such it carries a higher price tag - $12 rather than $6. Here's a trailer and some details from original KoDP developer A Sharp:



King of Dragon Pass will be coming to Steam on 28 July. But the game has been available for mobile (iOS, Android, and Windows Phone), as well as the original version (either on CD or as patched to be downloadable by GOG.com). So what exactly is coming to Steam?

The version on Steam is essentially the mobile version, but tuned for desktop and laptop screen sizes (I ran it on a 30 inch iMac, but it should run on a 1024 x 576 netbook). HeroCraft has been responsible for the Steam versions, since I’ve been busy with Six Ages, so I am not completely sure of the specifics. But I believe the Steam achievements are the same as those we added in 2.0. There are also Steam Cards (which may have some new art).

So if you played on Windows or Mac before, you’d be moving from 1.7 to 2.2. There are 48 new scenes and 4 new illustrations (plus a new Lore map). There are also new advisors, and a lot more advice in management screens. There are also more treasures. We made many bug fixes (such as unblocking two of the original scenes), and fixed typos. You no longer have to worry about sheep. The economics system should no longer be quite as harsh, with death spirals less likely. (Rest assured that the game is still difficult, especially on the Hard setting.)

The Tula screen was too difficult to rework, but it wasn’t part of game play. And HeroCraft originally started their porting before our scene contest, so those scenes are currently only in the iOS version.

We like to avoid spoilers, so it’s hard to talk about just what the four dozen new scenes are about. We did mention the Troll Hero before, however. And here’s the artwork for one of them.

So if you have played King of Dragon Pass on a laptop or desktop, but not a mobile device, there’s a lot of new stuff. And if you haven’t played at all, now’s your chance!​

No word on whether this version will make it to GOG, but based on previous experience with these kinds of Steam rereleases, I doubt it.

There are 15 comments on King of Dragon Pass Released on Steam

Tue 28 July 2015
ICY Released

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 28 July 2015, 02:31:15

Tags: Icy; Inner Void Interactive

ICY, the post-apocalyptic Ice Age survival RPG from indie developer Inner Void Interactive that was Indiegogo'd just over five months ago, was released today. It's now available on Steam for the price of $13 minus 25% launch discount. Here's the launch trailer:


An additional gameplay trailer is also available. Codexers who have played ICY's beta report a similarity to the excellent NEO Scavenger, so you might want to check it out.

There are 21 comments on ICY Released

Mon 27 July 2015
AdventureDex Review: The Magic Circle, an RPG without the "RPG" - or, On Games and "Notgames"

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Mon 27 July 2015, 14:47:14

Tags: Question Games; The Magic Circle

Looking Glass Studios was a unique game development wonder that went out too quickly. Instead of pursuing Doug Church's and Randy Smith's ambition of giving the player enough freedom and tools to "co-author" the game, the industry has taken a turn towards severely controlled (and controlling) AAA design, on one hand, and in an important sense no less restricted "notgames" or "walking simulators," on the other.

Made by a trio of ex-Ion Storm, Irrational Games and Arkane developers, The Magic Circle is a meta-game about the the past, present, and future of this thing called video games, which makes fun of those and other industry trends while digging deeply, but also humorously, into the tensions of the game development process and calling for a return to Looking Glass design principles.

That is what makes The Magic Circle's commentary on the industry so interesting, but also ultimately so old-fashioned and so, dare I say, aligned in an important way with RPG Codex's sensibilities. It is coming from a very specific design perspective, best encapsulated by terms like "player freedom" and "emergent" (or tool-based) gameplay. Putting you inside a Looking Glass Style-style first-person RPG with unfinished "RP" and "G" parts, The Magic Circle has you play the video game development equivalent of Wizardry IV's Werdna, half-forgotten, half-reviled, stripped of his powers, having his revenge on the "do-gooder" developers themselves and constructing his army of minions with in-game tools he discovers along the way.

I think the issues that The Magic Circle raises are generally important, and so this review, too, is "meta" in that it doubles as an essay on games and "notgames." I want to explain not only what The Magic Circle is like as a game, what it is trying to tell and do, and where it succeeds or fails, but also what "notgames" are and why, pretending to be a deconstruction of what makes a video game, they must be deconstructed themselves in order to go from notgames back (or rather, forward) to games -- a sensibility that, I believe, The Magic Circle exemplifies.

Have a snippet:

Notgames like Tale of Tales’ titles, Dear Esther, Journey, Kentucky Route Zero or Gone Home, also known derisively as “walking simulators,” attempt to subvert the expectations of what a video game is. To that end, they usually focus on the narrative, the atmosphere, and the player’s feelings in contrast to (the traditionally conceived notion of) player agency, exposing the latter’s limits as they have been internalized by the industry. Notgames are literally de-constructive, as they disassemble gameplay down to its basic components like walking around and triggering narrative or evocative events. For the most part, they present themselves as empathic experiences that purposefully avoid challenging the player, except emotionally. No matter how hard Adrian Chmielarz, the developer behind The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, criticizes Tale of Tales’ latest output, Sunset, his game is itself prefaced by “This is a narrative experience” – and indeed, has no gameplay “obstacles” to speak of. As such, it is perfectly in spirit of Michaël Samyn’s manifesto.

Now, deconstruction can be important to lay bare what makes a game. However – and here you can see that The Magic Circle has followed these developments closely – what if we start from that zero point and have the player re-construct gameplay instead? Given that notgames eschew challenge, this zero point can also incorporate the flip side of the same industry, AAA player convenience (quest markers, linearity, conveniently placed collectibles). In fact, I believe the term “notgame” can easily be extended to include the AAA side, too, as well as something like Telltale’s “experiences”. However, now that the industry has gone from games to notgames, what if we go in the opposite direction? After all, even if some or even most players are content with being stripped of their free will, what if there is one player who is not?

In asking these questions, and following them through in its gameplay, The Magic Circle breaks with the notgame design – and calls for a return to Looking Glass sensibilities. At first glance, the two have a common goal: doing away with things getting in the way of the player’s immersion. However, they approach it in conflicting ways. Gone Home’s developers may have been influenced by LGS, but The Magic Circle is at its polemical best in showing that notgames and Looking Glass-style games proceed in opposite directions. “Environmental storytelling” is by itself not enough. Notgames choose to outright ignore gameplay instead of reassessing the ways player freedom can be brought about or enabling interactive tool-focused design. By emphasizing obstacle-based exploration and emergent gameplay, The Magic Circle sides with games against notgames, even as it starts from the latter as its point of reference.

The Magic Circle is, in other words, a de-construction of a notgame and a re-construction of a game. At the same time, it is also aware of game development’s limits. A game with infinite player freedom may be impossible due to technical, financial, and time constraints, while a non-game stripped of the more complex forms of active agency is unsatisfactory – not to the developer maybe, but certainly to you, the odd player. Not coincidentally, it is precisely from a notgame that Old Pro sets you free – and it is another notgame that you disrupt under the guise of the E4 demo.​

Read the full review: AdventureDex Review: The Magic Circle, an RPG without the "RPG" - or, On Games and "Notgames"

There are 43 comments on AdventureDex Review: The Magic Circle, an RPG without the "RPG" - or, On Games and "Notgames"

Matt Chat 301: Chris Avellone on Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 27 July 2015, 11:09:43

Tags: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear; Chris Avellone; Matt Barton

In his infinite graciousness, Chris Avellone agreed to reshoot the first half of his Matt Chat interview that was lost due to a technical mishap. As expected, this part of the interview is entirely about the upcoming Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, and as such, it repeats much of the same praise that was lavished upon the expansion in the recent Shane Plays interview. In addition to all that, Chris has good things to say about Siege of Dragonspear's hardcore optional encounters, about one of its new companions, the female goblin shaman M’Khiin Grubdoubler, and about its technical and user interface improvements.


Chris also reveals the name of the Shining Lady, Siege of Dragonspear's antagonist, which I'm not sure he was supposed to do. :M It's "Kaylar" or something like that.

There are 22 comments on Matt Chat 301: Chris Avellone on Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear

Sun 26 July 2015
Chris Avellone Interview on Shane Plays

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sun 26 July 2015, 14:51:10

Tags: Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear; Chris Avellone; Shane Stacks

Chris Avellone was interviewed last night on Shane Plays, a radio show/podcast hosted by Codexer sstacks. In the 45 minute interview, Chris talks about the games that he's made, from his early work with Star Trek back at Interplay, all the way up to Torment: Tides of Numenera and in particular, Baldur's Gate: Siege of Dragonspear, which he has a lot of good things to say about.

Chris praises Beamdog's effort in making the transition from the original game to the expansion believable, with a prologue chapter focused around the political situation in Baldur's Gate following the protagonist's defeat of Sarevok. He's impressed by how their writers have given the original game's companion NPCs character development that explains how they arrived at where they are in the sequel, yet without the loss of stylistic consistency. He's also impressed by the expansion's antagonist, the Shining Lady, who he says is not really a villain, and even comes across as more heroic than the protagonist at times.


In addition to talking about games, Shane also asks Chris about his work as a writer (with a particular focus on his recently revealed Icewind Dale: Heart of Winter short story), doodle illustrator and graphic novel author. Chris admits that transitioning from games writing to regular fiction writing can be difficult, especially with longer works. It turns out that he had to get help from inXile's Nathan Long to finish his Wasteland 2 novel, which he says he made a lot of mistakes with.

At the end of the interview, Shane passes on a bunch of questions from the Codex and elsewhere. Embarrassing quotations abound! Chris says he'll come here and answer any questions that Shane didn't have time to convey. Let's hope that he does.

There are 14 comments on Chris Avellone Interview on Shane Plays

Fri 24 July 2015
Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter Update #35: Release on August 20th

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 July 2015, 15:48:43

Tags: Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman; Mike McCain; Mitch Gitelman; Shadowrun: Hong Kong

As promised last week, today's Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter update announces the game's release date, which turns out to be August 20th. That makes Shadowrun: Hong Kong possibly the first Kickstarter-funded RPG ever to actually be released on the date originally declared during its campaign. The update also comes with a bunch of goodies including a celebratory video featuring Mitch Gitelman, Jordan Weisman and Mike McCain, wallpaper, screenshots and animated GIFs. Here's an excerpt:



Hey everyone!

Mitch here, with just enough bandwidth to pull my head out of polishing the game to let you know that Shadowrun: Hong Kong has an official release date! During the Kickstarter, we estimated that we would release the game in August… and that’s why we’re releasing the game in August!

August 20th, 2015 at 10am PST, to be specific. On Steam, GoG, & Humble.

Estimating, scheduling and delivering something as complex as SR:HK is tough and I’m extremely proud of the entire team for their focus, dedication, and hard work. I’d like to say a special thank you to our ace Producer, Chris Klimecky and my co-Director, Mike McCain for their work in getting the game to you on time. Mike joined me at the helm a ways back so I could dedicate more time to writing, and his work has been first rate - just like it was on Shadowrun: Dragonfall and Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut.

The game’s really coming together and it’s amazing to see the team’s hard work and creative collaboration on-screen. Making games is an incredible challenge but making games with these folks is an absolute pleasure.

We’ll be sending out another update in the next couple of weeks regarding how to get your keys from BackerKit and an update on all the remaining Kickstarter rewards.

In the meantime, here’s a few new screenshots & gifs we grabbed for you. Thanks for staying with us since January and we’ll see you August 20th!

[​IMG] [​IMG]
[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
Hey, giant rats! Matt Barton will be pleased. Note that two of those screenshots aren't included in the update for some reason, including the one showing off the new Enhanced Matrix. Wonder why they did that.

There are 59 comments on Shadowrun: Hong Kong Kickstarter Update #35: Release on August 20th

Wasteland 2 & Pillars of Eternity: The White March E3 2015 Interview Videos

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Fri 24 July 2015, 01:15:23

Tags: Adam Brennecke; Brian Fargo; Chris Keenan; Divinity: Original Sin; InXile Entertainment; John Watson; Larian Studios; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity; Pillars of Eternity: The White March; Stoic Studio; Swen Vincke; The Banner Saga 2; Wasteland 2

Although people from both inXile and Obsidian were at E3 last month to talk about Wasteland 2 Director's Cut and Pillars of Eternity: The White March, respectively, it seems like few of the attending journalists were interested in interviewing them on camera. Well, it turns out that at least some of them were just taking forever to upload their videos. A few days ago, Gamereactor uploaded their interview with inXile's Chris Keenan, and today, a gaming channel called Press Start TV uploaded one with Brian Fargo. Here's the Gamereactor interview:


There's nothing much new in these interviews, although the latter one does manage to finally extract a release date for the Wasteland 2 Director's Cut - probably September, October at the latest. The same can be said for Gamereactor's interview with Obsidian's Adam Brennecke:


Gamereactor also uploaded their interview with Banner Saga 2 developer John Watson today, although that's less of a find - the Stoic guys compensated for their usual avoidance of self-promotion by being remarkably prolific E3 interviewees.

Update: Gamereactor have uploaded yet another E3 interview, this time with Larian's Swen Vincke. Once again, not much new here, but Swen does announce that the Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition is on schedule for a late October release.

There are 7 comments on Wasteland 2 & Pillars of Eternity: The White March E3 2015 Interview Videos

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