Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by JarlFrank, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    B: No, no remotely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ...and End State:

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

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

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

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

    Read the full article: RPG Codex Report: Gamescom 2016 - Pathologic, Shock Tactics, End State, Demons Age and more
     
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  2. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    FYI, unless something comes up at the last minute, this is our last piece of weekly content in the three month streak that started with the previous Gamescom report back on November 23.

    It's an unprecedented achievement for this website, and I'd like to thank the members of the community that made it possible. We only permanently alienated two of you in the process! :salute:
     
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  3. Rev Savant

    Rev
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    This was definetely timely. :M

    Bubbles and...?
     
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  4. Aenra The Invisible Empire Patron

    Aenra
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    Probably Junta, not sure.
    JarlFrank drop by for some fisting :)

    edit: O.K. it wasn't Junta after all, ignore this.
     
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  5. Rev Savant

    Rev
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    He still posts regurarly.
     
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  6. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    Er he already has. :P
     
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  7. Aenra The Invisible Empire Patron

    Aenra
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    Duuuh... too true, too true. To my defense, you're usually the one to post anyone's work, so i immediately assumed.. O.K., time to dye my hair again.
     
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  8. ushas Learned

    ushas
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    Thanks for great reports JarlFrank, Bubbles and others :salute:

    I must say that End State game looks really promising, and Shock Tactics too - the idea of changing gameplay feel with advancements of opposition factions sounds interesting. Also looking forward to The Great Whale Road... I wish for all those devs manage achieve their ambitions.


    According to their pages, the Shock Tactics devs are Sara and Leonard Kausch, Point Blank Games.
     
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  9. M0RBUS Augur

    M0RBUS
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    That quote from the Demons Age game is totally...

    WTF?

    First of, they fail to explain how building "just any character" somehow removes any connection between that character and the role he's going to play. I suspect they didn't explain because the explanation is as follows: if you create "just any character" in our game, he's not gonna fit into the very pre-determined and convoluted path for your character that we have in our game.

    And secondly, creating "just any character" is the ONLY way you can actually truly role-play in an RPG, otherwise you're just doing "the CYOA bit that RPGs have" as you play through the game. Which is fine, don't get me wrong, but you don't role-play in The Witcher or Sorcery or Diablo or Final Fantasy for that same exact reason. Weirdly enough, you can role-play in games like Dungeon Rats or Legend of Grimrock that feature very little player agency in the story, simply because you can indeed create your own characters.

    Disclaimer: the exception to this would be games that WOULDN'T let you create "just any character", but would still let you play its pre-made character(s) ANY WAY you'd want to, but that's only possible with PnP RPGs. And to be fair, most of the role-playing that is done in even the best cRPGs has to be done outside of the mechanical confines of the game. My last playthrough of Fallout 1 featured a tragic story of loss and personal sacrifice from an emotionally beaten brute of a woman, but that was really all in my head. What really happened is I cleared the game almost flawlessly and saved everybody. As it were :P
     
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  10. Stillwater Giant Learned

    Stillwater Giant
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    What's going on with Demons Age? According to the developers' website it was supposed to have been released in Q1 last year, and as far as I can tell there has been no news at all since a trailer was released in August.
     
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  11. cruelio Learned

    cruelio
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    Finally I know more about the hottest titles of 2016.
     
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  12. duanth123 Arcane

    duanth123
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    ugh. I really hope they're not going to George Lucas the fucking thing.
     
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  13. HoboForEternity Magister

    HoboForEternity
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    i thought i time travelled again when seeing this on the front page
     
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  14. Make America Great Again Zorba the Hutt Arcane Weasel

    Zorba the Hutt
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    Ludo Lense perhaps
     
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  15. Maxie Scholar

    Maxie
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    Please stop bullying Regalia devs, I've been following their project since its very beginning and it would be most shameful if some Codex prick scared them off. Their game is full of cheer and joy, something we all desperately need in the fight against crippling depression.
     
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  16. ArchAngel Magister

    ArchAngel
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    Considering the state the game was in during its Alpha testing I am not surprised it was delayed
     
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  17. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    No you see, that would at least make it understandable.

    Their point was:
    - you are a prisoner with a backstory
    - creating just any character without a set backstory would make it feel divorced from the role of... a random prisoner
    - so you can choose from 16 pre-made characters with different race and class combinations
    - among these 16 might be a male dwarf fighter, a female human wizard, a female elven ranger, a male human cleric etc; very diverse selection of characters
    - but for SOME REASON, creating your own male dwarf fighter or female human wizard would somehow be divorced from the story

    No matter how much I think about this, it doesn't make the tiniest little bit of sense to me. Morrowind had you start as a prisoner too. Heck, so did Oblivion and Skyrim. None of these felt the need to pressure you into pre-made characters because of "backstory".
    Because the "you are a prisoner" backstory is so generic, it can fit to ANY character.
    And for Demons Age, this seems to be the case too. But for some inconceivable reason this generic backstory is so valuable they restrict your character creation for its sake.
     
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  18. ArchAngel Magister

    ArchAngel
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    It is not inconceivable reason. My (educated) guess is that they didn't want to spend time creating a real character generation screen. I am not sure how much details I am allowed to go into as I did sign an NDA long time ago.
     
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  19. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Since they are pretty much building the game off the unfinished Chaos Chronicles, which was to feature full party creation, that screen should already have been there, shouldn't it?

    I don't know how finished CC was but a basic feature like that should have existed already.
    Besides, when they create 16 seperate characters, they have to make them in some way. That is more work than simply giving the player the same character creation that they used to make these 16 chars.
     
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  20. Make America Great Again Infinitron Trade Master Patron

    Infinitron
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    It might not have existed. Or maybe it was very unpolished. Or not console-friendly. :M
     
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  21. ArchAngel Magister

    ArchAngel
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    It wasn't there in Alpha. There wasn't even these 16 characters. All you could do is choose sex, race and class and go play the alpha. Seems all the did was make those "hard" choices now just one click.
     
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  22. I'm With Her HobGoblin42 for prison Roaming. Patron Developer

    HobGoblin42
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    Bigmoon received the assets/source (via bitComposer) dated from autumn 2012, so many features weren't completed in that version at this time. The majority of the development took place after October 2012 and lasted until August 2013 (character creation included).
     
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  23. Make America Great Again Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    Pseudo-sim clowns unable to comprehend the concept of bleeding to death? Why I never
     
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  24. ArchAngel Magister

    ArchAngel
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    I think the point is it is not going to kill your right there and then. The guy will still be able to use the other hand to kill you unless you put a few into his torso or his head.
     
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  25. Make America Great Again Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

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    Without medical attention, one can die within minutes of blood loss. :M
     
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