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2007: The Year in Review
Editorial - posted by Section8 on Fri 28 December 2007, 13:42:08Tags: The Year in Review
2007 - A Year in Review
Another year is drawing to a close, and unfortunately, Prince hasn't put his lyrical mind toward partying like it's 2007. So instead, I've opted to don stockings, banana hammock, scarf and midriff jacket and get the job done myself with the official RPG Codex Year in Review 2007 Platinum GOTY Edition. Pre-order now for a signed photo of me in said stockings, banana hammock, scarf and midriff jacket!
[Editor's Note: Due to Section8's inability to properly fill out even the skimpiest of underwear, let alone a Codex article of this magnitude - Elwro, the man who puts the "pole" in Poland, assisted greatly with the content (read: wrote all the good bits), and the other members of the RPG Codex/Tacticular Cancer Big Band brought the action from the back section. Tycoon Codex promised pizza, but it never showed up.]
The year has been pretty turbulent as far as the major players go, in most cases generating bigger news than the games themselves. The whole thing reads like a Springer episode - Bethesda fucks Interplay's daughter, JoWood cheats on Piranha Bytes, and the Codex pipes up as the snarky audience members wanting to feel superior to the stage full of shameless hillbillies by asking questions full of insults.
Arguably the biggest RPG news of the year is the unholy union between Oblivion and Fallout. We've seen Bethesda acquire the Fallout IP outright from Interplay, launch their official forums for the game, but most of all - show us graphic scenes of their ill-conceived flipper baby. Forget harlequin fetus, Fallout 3 is the new shock.
It seems Bethesda likes all things nuclear. By shooting at abandoned cars, you'll be able to provoke small nuclear explosions. One of your weapons (called "Fatman”) will use nuclear bombs as ammunition. The game also has its own Fargoth, but this time it's a whole city! Creatively named "Megaton”, it was built in (or around, if you prefer trusting Desslock to believing Pete Hines) the crater of an unexploded bomb. And you can bet your vintage Ink Spots collection that the magnificent example of choice given to the player (you can explode the bomb, or NOT!) will be mentioned a hundred times in the game's previews to come. The screenshots we've seen contain almost exclusively bloom; the teaser we've watched was uninspired at best. (The magnificent concept art we were shown turned out not to have anything to do with the game.)
All in all, it seems that Bethesda vaguely know which direction they should take to stay true to the original game, but unfortunately it also looks like they're failing at doing so. For example, perhaps they heard someone somewhere praising Fallout for exploring the „shades of grey” approach to morality, so... (if you trust a recent interview with Hines) Fallout 3 will have Good Folks and Bad Folks, but the player will be able to stay neutral!
As a sidenote, the only really informative preview of the game is due to NMA's Brother None and SuAside, who attended the Fallout 3 demo show during the Game Conference in Leipzig and wrote down what they saw, which appears to be beyond the capabilities of "professional” gaming journalists.
Legacy of Caen
From the where-in-the-fuck-did-that-come-from file, we got the news that Interplay are staffing up once again with Jason Anderson at the helm, and a cut of the MMOG market in their sights, along with the vehement denial that it ain't Fallout. The magic Section8-ball says "Herve is still full of shit."
In April, Herve "The Prince of Lies” Caen sold the IP to Bethesda, leaving for himself only the right to develop a Fallout MMO game. Now it'll be a gut-clenching race against time, since Interplay has two years to secure $30 million (minimum) funding and another two to launch the MMOG – at risk of losing the license. And they're hiring! After somehow miraculously having launched the game, Interplay will be obliged to pay 12% off the sales and subscription fees to Bethesda. Perhaps the looming eventuality that he might lose the last shred of the licence will be enough to teach Caen how to pay his bills.
From Jade Empire to Evil Empire
In between preaching about charity and counting his own billions, Bono took the time out to sell Bioware, the other major player in the American RPG market, to EA. Someone should tell those wacky Canuck doctors that aspiring to be the next Origin isn't necessarily a good thing. Anyway, tough noogies. Of course, everyone and his brother was quick to assure us that a bad outcome of this event is as probable as Peter Jackson making a passable movie out of The Hobbit. And EA has been reported singing the „I can change” song Hussein-style. Something about producing more original IPs and so on. We hope their new dark overlords won't force Biowarians into slavish work on their new Star Wars MMORPG and that there's still reason to be optimistic about Dragon Age.
Das! Ist! DEUTSCHLAND!!!
As if Gothic 3 wasn't a good enough example of the breakdown of a healthy publisher/developer relationship, JoWood upped the ante, and gave Piranha Bytes the arse. The Gothic license remains with them, and they cast doubt upon the theory that
Germans Austrians have no sense of humour by announcing the next Gothic game will be for mobile phones.
In case you've forgotten about Gothic 3, it was a game remarkable in that it was filled with fighting, the combat system was hopelessly broken, and still somehow the whole formed a damn fine title. In early 2007 everyone was waiting for a supposedly huge Uber-patch that "was coming" (the developers said so in late March) and was supposed to overhaul the combat (among other things). Things were silent until late May, when suddenly shit hit the fan as JoWood and Piranha Bytes split up, with the former retaining the rights to the Gothic brand. Gothic 4 will be created by Spellbound, who are best known for a few titles inspired by Commandos: Behind Enemy Lines. So far nothing solid is known about the game, except that the Xbox version is going to be finished earlier. Also, a game called Gothic 3: The Beginning will be released early 2008 for the mobiles. Piranha Bytes will be working with Deep Silver now, on an at least officially Gothic-unrelated project.
As for Gothic 3's fate, a group of folks was given the opportunity to create the so-called "Community Patches". Things were pretty slow on this front – understandably, since the team didn't have proper tools and had to learn how the game worked from scratch. This changed in December, though, as it was announced that Spellbound would cooperate on the patches. And although it's common knowledge that Eine Schwalbe macht noch keinen Sommer, perhaps the fate of the game isn't sealed yet.
Indie, Cover Your Heart!
In complete contrast to the shambolic wheelings and dealings of the mainstream, Indie RPGs are going from strength to strength, with a fuckton of releases and some very promising projects getting closer and closer.
Under The Counter At Your Local Game Store
In recent years the expression "quality indie cRPG” was almost synonymous to “a game by Jeff Vogel”. With the release of Basilisk Games’ Eschalon: Book One, 2007 brought the first sign of a possible change in this regard. While definitely not perfect (you can expect an extensive list of flaws to be contained in The Codex’ official review), the game brings a few underused concepts to the table, for example the creative use of automap and attention to practical consequences of lighting conditions. The game might be perfectly fit for folks of the oldschool persuasion who just can’t take any more Spiderweb.
That said, playing a Vogel game may be the gaming equivalent of reading a book by Terry Pratchett. If you like one of them, you’ll like them all. Instead of taking any risks, their creator follows the path of steady evolution - which has brought him as much market stability as flak. 2007 saw the release of two Spiderweb PC games: Geneforge 4: Rebellion and Nethergate: Resurrection, the second being a remake of one of Vogel’s older titles. Not breaking any new grounds, both offer a fleshed-out adventure in an interesting setting and, as usual, contain a solid dose of choices and descriptive writing. If you don’t require lavish (i.e. Fallout-level) graphics in a game and are prepared to bring your own music, be sure to try the demos.
Another solid indie release to land on the shores of RPG Codex Land this year was Depths of Peril. While being a little bit removed from the typical Codexian tastes and sensibilities (read: It's an action RPG in the Diablo mould) it still managed to do something the endless stream of commercial Diablo-clones somehow fail to do - innovate! Depths of Peril introduces competing factions that adventure and quest in direct competition to you, and ultimately vie for power as part of an overarching strategy layer. It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it has played a part in delaying this article when my quick bit of research into the demo version one night ended by being rudely interrupted by daylight some hours later.
Thursday On My Mind
Aside from the well-produced indies that saw a 2007 release, there are also a handful on the horizon to keep an eye out for. Planewalker Games' The Broken Hourglass is a game with many Baldur's Gate influences, but don't let that deter you. Underneath the beautiful, pre-rendered backgrounds and voiceovers lies a lot of elegant design so keep an eye out.
The Pollacks are onto something again. This time instead of playing a juvenile albino Drizzt wannabe, you'll take the role of a simple human who leaves the safety of the underground vault he was born in, never having seen the sun. A few generations after the war, when it's relatively safe again, the vault doors around the world finally open and the humans try to reclaim the land. Sky is the limit when it comes to Afterfall's supposed features: turn based combat, many factions, different ways of solving quests, extensive system of mutations and implants, no good guys/bad guys... the devs certainly know the right keys to hit.
Some abominable negative types would suggest this was all daydreaming with no basis in reality, but we say: screw 'em. Whoever heard of a Polish PA title going vapourware? Anyway, be sure to check our site for an interview with Afterfall devs in the following days.
On the far horizon is Scars of War, the fruit of many year of labour from one of our own forumites. It's a first person RPG with a feature list sure to warm the cockles of every Codexer's black little heart, and fairly regular progress updates pointing to an eventual finished product.
An of course, Age of Decadence keeps soldiering on, with the Iron Tower guys striving for constant betterment of the product of their collective loins. Expected release date is still thursday.
The Game of Love
Even more surprising than Interplay's rise from its own putrid ashes - the RPG Codex found love for some recent releases, a sign that at least someone agrees with our outlook, even if they regard us a a pack of hateful cunts.
With an enthusiastic lead up and lots of sound promises, The Witcher finally arrived in the hands of the pessimistic Codex, and was met with great acclaim. Well on the forums anyway, since the newsposters overslept the release date. There are some who would say the Witcher owes much of its popularity to the fact that it sells boobs to the people who want them most, and they'd be at least half right.
But the truth of it is, behind the boobs, behind the motion captured action swordplay lies one of those RPGs "they just don't make anymore" if you listen to Codex whinging. In a nutshell, that's an RPG that doesn't insult your intelligence, throws some interesting challenges at you, and most importantly, has a world that responds to your choices and actions. Best of all, most of those choices are squarely in the grey area of morality, so paladins and panto villains need not apply. There's way too much to be said about The Witcher, so rather than bang on here, take a look at Cardtrick's comprehensive review, or dive headfirst into the überthread that's like a unstoppable katamari with 50 pages worth of Witcher rants stuck to it.
Obsidian: The Masquerade
All this time, Obsidian Entertainment have been hiding behind their reputation as Bioware Junior, but this year finally saw the truth exposed with Mask of the Betrayer. Initially met with much skepticism, as anything with "Mask" in the name ought to be (Son of the Mask, KISS Unmasked, Leonardo di Caprio's "Man" in the Iron Mask, etc), it soon became apparent that this expansion to the lacklustre Neverwinter Nights 2 offered something altogether special.Taking part in the spirit-filled land of Rashemen - a fresh setting yet to be explored in a cRPG - while also taking the player for a ride across the Planes, the expansion surprisingly offers a first-rate roleplaying experience. In fact, even replaying it is not enough to discover all consequences which are behind the various choices, as evidenced by Vault Dweller's review. Taking all into account, the hivemind's verdict is that the Mask of the Betrayer is so good it warrants buying the original NWN2, even if you won't touch the rather mediocre original campaign.
Hall of Shame
But of course, a year at the Codex just wouldn't seem right without a laundry list of games confined to the shitheap for crimes against entertainment. 2007 shows its underbelly with the release of more Oblivion, the usual mass of Diablo throwbacks and the announcement of more sure fire failures like Space Siege.
Oblivion's hellgates may well have been lacklustre, visually derivative and devoid of gameplay, but this year saw the hellgates open into an even bigger realm of pure fail - London circa 2038. Flagship's debut title couldn't be further removed from the simple, highly polished skinnerbox gameplay its creators once lovingly granted the Diablo franchise. Stale art design, FPS gameplay that feels clunkier than Terminator: Future Shock, terrible attempts at humour and more stability problems than a flaming World Trade Centre tower all amount to a pathetically unfinished offering from a studio that should have known better.
Shiver me timbers!
There's piracy afoot! But not for Bethesda's most recent effort which earns them yet another "not even worth pirating" gong. These jokers got it into their heads that their comedic stylings were one of Oblvion's great strengths and devoted an entire expansion pack to the "lulz". Such crimes against good humour have not been seen since an unnamed Codexer got on stage at an open-mic comedy night and delivered the following joke - 'So how about that Oblivion, huh? It really puts the "meh" in "Mehrunes Dagon", right?' Avoid.
Taste the indifference!
This section is dedicated to all the releases this year that couldn't even fail convincingly. Apparently there are developers and publishers (mostly in third-world backwaters like Europe and Asia) who still think people want games that are like Diablo, but worse. This enduring philosophy is nearly a decade old and still going strong, with this year's list bringing us: an expansion to Titan Quest, Silverfall, an english version of Blood Magic, Call for Heroes: Pompolic Wars, Legend: Hand of God, Loki, The Chosen: Well of Souls, Hard To Be A God, and Avencast. Maybe they float your boat, but the hivemind registers no response worth noting.
World's Oldest Profession
After so many years of decline, the gaming media has finally sailed over the edge and deserves a special entry in our Hall of Shame. Not content to be thought of as whores without principle by only the thinking man, gaming journalists are making themselves much more accessible to a wider audience and redefining journalism as a whole lot of jism with a few other letters added in for colour.
The Escapist, once quite a credible site, has been steadily going down the shitter throughout 2007. But even if it's now little more than an add-on to the Zero Punctuation feature, its bullshit is dangerous and should be brought to light in all its stinking glory. In May The Escapist posted an article about the history of Fallout filled with such factual errors it'd make Max Hardcore blush with abashment. Perhaps sensing what was to come later, in September they posted a piece in which they mourned over the fact that in these days filled with injustice people are allowed to read opinions not only by professional journalists, but also other folks who happen to have something to say about a given subject; basically, as VD put it on our frontpage, according to The Escapist - "unlicensed criticism should be silenced". As if it wasn't enough, in late November they published a negative "review" of a certain big cRPG title. When you come to a gaming site to read a newly published review, do you expect to get a recently-written piece by an author who has thoroughly played the game? The joke's on you! Turns out Escapist writers only need to play 10% of the game to be qualified to write a full review. Remember this when you read a review on their site in the future.
GameSpot also put "grit" in "journalistic integrity" by promptly firing one of their long-time reviewers for his negative opinion on Kane and Lynch by Eidos. Some duplicitous badmouthers have cast aspersions on GameStop that this move was connected to Eidos being a major advertiser on the site. What has the world come to! But of course, they were far from the only offenders. E3 and Fallout 3 previews in particular showed a rich vein of whoredom, and some of the pros were even kind enough to grace us with their presence and enlighten us to the ways of the industry. Whether brave or just foolhardy, we salute the fallen. :honourblade:
Funnily enough, the only Fallout 3 preview showing any kind of integrity was written by "amateurs". As we've already mentioned, two guys from NMA wrote a detailed preview of Fallout 3 based on the Leipzig preview of the game (the official NMA application was turned down because of "lack of room", but the guys managed to get accepted as members of other gaming-related sites). Then all hell broke loose, because apparently That's Not How Things Are Done™ in professional gaming journalism - posting facts is a no-no these days. The authors were falsely accused of illegally videoing the whole preview and publishing unsanctioned screenshots of the game, just because some of the professionals couldn't get over the simple fact that years of banana deepthroating practice weren't enough to compete with efficient brain usage.
As the Fallout 3 PR machine slowly gained momentum, rpg fans all over the internet were excreting massive amounts of bodily excrement - anticipatory or otherwise. Unfortunately, a substantial amount of the mess ended up on our old server, which also happens to host DAC. In July, our host decided that getting a new one was easier than cleaning up the mess, so the site was moved with the usual amount of downtime and "Who has the domain password?" panic, which was decisively handled by buying three new domains. All was well until it turned out that the new server's harddrive had a bit of poop on it already, causing a little more downtime and panic as Halloween was nearing.
As has been the case for years, people have been saying that the Codex was as stable a place as a cradle full of angry sea-lions on a tip of an iceberg, but all regulars knew that in reality the site was just a firm bastion of intelligent RPG-related discussion. Unfortunately, this November things got pretty fucked up. In an unfortunate incident a group of shady individuals seized control of the site thanks to one of them exploiting his long-forgotten admin status. Then, partly due to irreconciliable differences among the staff regarding culprit-banning and lulz-restricting, Vault Dweller has left our site. And so the Codex was left without its almost sole news-poster and main content-provider, the guy who has been the heart of this place for quite some time. Anyway, cheap Eastern-European labour is always the answer, of course. And perhaps this means Age of Decadence will be finished before Thursday!
And in other staff shenanigans: Role Player left us to find a real life (tm), Fez graced us briefly again with his (un)holy presence, suibhne (The New Guy) seems to have been eaten by the internet, Spazmo appears to have spazzed his last, and Saint Proverbius is still missing in his quest to find the ultimate donut. But good news: Ausir is back from an extended cockmeistering stint, and Section8 is back after an unsuccessful attempt at a celebrity stalker career. He never did get that ultimate Mike Patton nudie shot.
So that's it, it's time to go home to your parents basement and tuck into a big packet of Cheetos. If you've read this far, you've earned it. If you don't die of an obesity induced cardiac arrest, we'll see you same time next year for our Dangerous Future of 2008: Year in Review. And just for gags, here's the year's news in brief:
Jan 4 - Lord of the Rings: The White council vanishes without trace. Teamsters Union suspected of foul play.
Jan 9 - JE Sawyer promises he's gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove.
Jan 10 - Bill Roper and Co. decide to count their chickens, announcing that Hellgate: London will have paid subscription. ((NB: More recent projections indicate that Rex Exitium, the game's biggest fan, might become the first person to try the paid service sometime in 2038, when the game's laundry list of bugs and "content inadequacies" are addressed.))
Jan 18 - Bethesda officially announce Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion. Minutes later, RPG Codex officially announce Shivering Isles to be a piece of shit.
Jan 19 - Fallout 3 confirmed as an Xbox 360 title. Nobody surprised.
Feb 1 - No Mutants Allowed publishes the first of its Glittering Gems of Hatred articles, a self-indulgent attempt to garner some love for the intarnet's most deservedly reviled community.
Feb 1 - RPG Codex boldly moves toward the future of gaming, abandoning its archaic PC gaming roots to sing the praises of Bioware's upcoming Mass Effect.
Feb 2 - With steadily more bloodied wizard hats and severed, hairy feet turning up in landfill near their offices, EA issues a statement that Lord of the Rings: The White Council is "on indefinite hiatus".
Feb 4 - No Mutants Allowed issues propaganda thinly veiled as a cautionary tale in Glittering Gems Part Deux. This episode tells the story of The Little Engine That Could... Change The Core Gameplay of a Popular Gaming Franchise, So It Did -- And That Is Why It Failed.
Feb 5 - Geneforge 4 released on PC, so people who aren't gullible brand-whores can partake of its stale formula.
Feb 8 - The PC version of Bioware's Jade Empire goes gold, and is met with all the enthusiasm you'd expect from a PC port of an Xbox action RPG.
Feb 13 - The Glittering Gems continue, with No Mutants Allowed issuing another chapter of their Terrorist Handbook, trying to brainwash smart people into doing stupid things like questioning change.
Mar 8 - GDC 2007 features a roundtable with a guy who left Bullfrog after licking too many toads, some rich doctor with no idea about games and some Japanese fella who directed one of Hollywood's more colossal CGI animated failures. To continue that theme, all three fail to say anything worthwhile.
Mar 22 - Travis Baldree, the guy behind the super-spiffy Diablo-like Fate, inexplicably turns up behind the reins of Mythos, a similar game with the apparent purpose of prototyping Hellgate: London network code. Or something.
Mar 26 - A slow month concludes with a motza of RPG Codex content - an indie "roundtable" interview and a quick chat with Feargus Urquhart...
Mar 30 - ...followed a few days later by the official world record holder for Most Verbose Rant About Video Game Narrative. Expect the hardcover version to be hitting stores just in time to miss christmas altogether.
Apr 6 - Bethesda's Shivering Isles provides more Oblivion for people who haven't already had enough of Oblivion. Oh, and people who pretend they haven't had enough of Oblivion, because that's good roleplaying.
Apr 6 - RPG Codex slaps itself on its collective back for the prediction that Shivering Isles would be a piece of shit, but nobody actually plays it to confirm, and widespread critical acclaim can't be trusted.
Apr 12 - News of an expansion to the lacklustre Neverwinter Nights 2, are met with a lacklustre, Codexian response. However, that ugly duckling grew up to become Mask of the Betrayer, which in retrospect would have made that a good news day, were it not for...
Apr 12 - ...Bethesda buying the Fallout intellectual property, giving them absolute control for their nefarious purposes, and Herve Caen the money and the license to make a Fallout MMOG.
Apr 18 - A few months after it was poignant to do so, RPG Codex reviews Jade Empire giving it a rating of three-quarters erect.
Apr 18 - Bethesda unveil their Fallout 3 forums, which implode almost instantly under the weight of criticism and whinging about criticism.
Apr 20 - Duck and Cover throw their hat into the ring of the Fallout 3 circus, by trying to assert that Bethesda and their multi-millionaire benefactors need the old Fallout fans. Bethesda disagree and start reinstating the new one.
Apr 24 - Battle Lord, the forthcoming title from a bunch of ex-Space Rangers developers becomes King's Bounty: The Legend on the off chance that the game that gave rise to Heroes of Might and Magic might trigger some brand-recognition nerve centre in the geriatrics that used to play games more than ten years ago.
Apr 24 - In associated news, 1C Company team up with Atari in a publishing deal to bring fruity communist propaganda games to the western world.
Apr 26 - No Mutants Allowed bring us more Fallout misinformation about the supposed origins of Fallout as a turn-based pen & paper style RPG.
May 2 - Fallout 3 hype begins in earnest, with Bethesda setting up a teaser webpage to demonstrate how little they understand the franchise.
May 2 - To counter this, Black Isle Studios, the militant guerilla wing of No Mutants Allowed release a fake Fallout 3 demo, easily dismissed as non-genuine, because it bears some semblance to the original Fallout.
May 8 - The true masters of Fallout return fire by typecasting Liam Neeson as the same character who ruined Star Wars.
May 18 - RPG Codex talks to a group of RPG design fiends about writing dialogue
May 22 - Piranha Bytes fail their diplomacy roll against Jowood, and are forced to walk away from the Gothic license and it's much maligned third installment. Rumours of a sizeable patch to fix a great many game issues are sadly put to rest. Later that day, Gothic 4 is said to be in the works with a new team.
May 22 - The Escapist celebrates "Bring Your Kids To Work Day" with the first of many spurious articles about Fallout and sets the tone for a bright relationship between RPG Codex and professional game journalists.
Jun 5 - Bethesda's period of teasing ends with the release of what is later revealed to be Fallout 3's intro cinematic. Mixed criticism ensues.
Jun * - For pretty much the whole month, the gaming media goes Fallout crazy, with new content nearly every day and just to be mean, RPG Codex tries to pretend that the lack of adherence to the originals doesn't unequivocally represent change for the better. And calls people nasty names.
Jun 10 - Somewhere amid it all, Jeff Vogel brings Nethergate: Resurrection to uneducated savages who can't handle the complexity of multiple mouse buttons.
Jul 1 - July kicks off with a bang when some guy from Gamespy wishes pain and death upon Fallout fans, and Fallout fans respond in kind. Much drama ensues, proving once again that the intarnets is serious business.
Jul 2 - The RPG Codex continues to cement strong business relationships with professional journalists, with some new friends coming to play on our happy forums.
Jul 7 - Space Siege announced. Space. Siege.
Jul * - For a second month in a row, RPG news consisted mostly of every man and his dog hammering out impressions of Fallout 3 from various hands-off demos in and around E3. Our response was just as predictable.
Jul 13 - ...but as with any crowd, there is always someone to rise above. In a move that surprised a lot of us (at the time) it was the once great Escapist who took the crown with an article so full of shit that for a period of a few days, there was a spike in angry user comments roughly equivalent to the dip in page views when there's a week with Zero Punctuation.
Jul 19 - In more positive news, Scars of War gets a feature and a forum to illustrate the couple of years worth of toil one of the Codex's good friends has been putting toward his Indie RPG.
Jul 20 - RPGCodex.com becomes RPGCodex.net due to the difficulty of getting in contact with the domain registrar during his attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the infamous tub of TubGirl fame and an oar fashioned by Tim Allen on the set of Home Improvement.
Jul 24 - Our buddies over at No Mutants Allowed join in the fun and help celebrate game journalist month.
Jul 30 - Gameplay video of Age of Decadence hits the web, some centuries years after development first commenced on the Babbage Difference Engine.
Aug 3 - Bethesda continue to pull the strings in the hilarious Weekend at Vault Boy's and give the inanimate Fallout life with the launch of the official website.
Aug 16 - The Demo of Depths of Peril goes up and is well received as a Diablo-like game with some refreshing new dynamics.
Aug 24 - Gothic 4 officially announced. RPG Codex remains reservedly negative and surprises nobody.
Aug 24 - Piranha Bytes announce their unnamed ersatz-Gothic under the working title Project RPB to a similarly mixed response. Definitely a wait and see.
Aug 24 - Nethergate: Resurrection comes to those of us who'd rather support the monopolistic global corporation that doesn't think it's cool just because "artists" use its OS.
Aug 28 - No Mutants Allowed bring you the ultimate account of what goes on in Bethesda's VIP room, providing a lot of details the professionals "missed"...
Sep 1 - ...Then they get called unprofessional. By guys who are real, ultimate professionals, so you know it's true.
Sep 5 - Depths of Peril is released, along with an updated demo, and puts commercial Diablo clones to shame by actually providing something a bit different.
Sep 21 - Fallout turns ten years old! Incidentally, ten years is also what you get if you multiply the average attention span of a Fallout 3 fan by infinity minus one.
Oct 10 - Mask of the Betrayer, the Neverwinter Nights 2 expansion nobody gave a shit about when it was announced hits shelves and meets both solid reviews and RPG Codex acclaim - the top honour in the RPG world.
Oct 11 - Bono's evil empire sells a couple of Canuck doctors' evil empire to everyone's favourite evil empire. A bunch of people cried at the thought of EA denying them the next formulaic rehash of Baldur's Gate or Knights of the Old Republic. Evil empires win.
Oct 24 - RPG Codex's newshounds fail to announce The Witcher's release, but the forums compensate with a bumper thread featuring thousands of happy, praising posts. Must be the gratuitous nudity.
Oct 26 - After positive first impressions, Mask of the Betrayer gets the official seal of approval in a closed ceremony at RPG Codex headquarters.
Oct 29 - RPG Codex asks a few post-release questions of Steven Peeler, the main guy behind Depths of Peril.
Oct 30 - The gestation period from when Bioware and LucasArts first jumped in the sack together is finally over, delivering us an unnamed flipper-baby, with safe money on it being a Knights of the Old Republic MMOG.
Nov 1 - The Witcher charts in the US, with a number five debut position. The positivity of recent times destabilises the entire Codex.
Nov 2 - ZeniMax registers a domain for "elderscrollsonline", whatever that might be.
Nov 6 - Hellgate: London reviews start coming in and even the kids who actually enjoyed the first few hours can't find nice things to say about it.
Nov 12 - RPG Codex grills Jason Compton, Lead Designer of The Broken Hourglass with a back and forth about the finer aspects of the game.
Nov 14 - From the "holy-fucking-shit-what-the-fuck?" file comes a true news oddity. Jason Anderson, formerly or Troika, has signed on with Interplay to develop the Fallout MMOG that Interplay still continue to deny is a Fallout MMOG.
Nov 19 - Basilisk Games brings us Eschalon: Book 1, an old-school indie RPG packed full of retro goodness and surprising slick production values.
Nov 21 - Unsatisfied with the degree of failure design-by-committee can achieve, Bethesda bring us the latest innovation - "design-by-random-yahoo-for-prizes" and reach all new lows.
Nov 22 - RPG Codex reviews some RPGish thing that was released last century called King of Dragon Pass, dubbing it a classic.
Nov 24 - Iron Tower Studios launch their own forums and watch the tumbleweeds roll by as the cool kids continue to flock to the RPG Codex.
Nov 27 - Eidos announce their plans to outdo Bethesda at their own game - enslaving dead franchises with necromancy - and dredge up Deus Ex for a third installment.
Nov 30 - Gamespot fire some guy and everyone gets all up in arms because the gaming media are immoral fuckstains. Codex not surprised.
[NB: December only available to paying subscribers.]