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Sat 26 July 2014

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?

Josh Sawyer Interview and Pillars of Eternity Gameplay Demonstration at PC Gamer

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 26 July 2014, 03:02:46

Tags: Fallout: New Vegas; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

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The venerable PC Gamer has launched yet another new feature. This one's a full-blown webshow by the name of, wait for it, The PC Gamer Show. For the show's second (third?) episode, they invited Obsidian's Josh Sawyer over to talk about a bit about Fallout: New Vegas (9:25-17:10) and to do a short gameplay demonstration of Pillars of Eternity (26:15-38:00). It's really nothing we didn't see yesterday, but pre-release gameplay footage is a precious thing, so here's the video:


The rest of the episode has the PC Gamer USA staff playing Divinity: Original Sin, and also mulling over The Definition Of An RPG™. Watch if you dare.

There are 0 comments on Josh Sawyer Interview and Pillars of Eternity Gameplay Demonstration at PC Gamer

Fri 25 July 2014
Shadowrun: Dragonfall Standalone Director's Cut Announced

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 25 July 2014, 22:30:06

Tags: Harebrained Schemes; Jordan Weisman; Mitch Gitelman; Shadowrun: Dragonfall

Marking the one year anniversary of the release of Shadowrun Returns, Harebrained Schemes' Jordan Weisman and Mitch Gitelman have announced today the imminent release of Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut, an enhanced, standalone version of their swell expansion pack. Here's the Kickstarter update:



As Jordan discusses in the video above, exactly one year ago today we released Shadowrun Returns on Steam. It was a pivotal moment for our little studio here. In 14 months, we’d gone from a dozen developers working out of a storage closet to being a full-fledged indie RPG developer. And the last year has been just as important for Harebrained Schemes - in the weeks and months following launch, Shadowrun Returns received a bunch of great reviews and kind words, from old and new fans alike. We even made several Game of the Year lists for 2013.

But most importantly, we got YOUR feedback. We learned what was working and what wasn’t about the game we’d worked so hard to create. Even better, we were able to take a lot of this feedback and channel it directly into Shadowrun: Dragonfall. Save-anywhere. A more open story with more compelling choices and locations to explore. A fully-realized team of runners to command and grow with over the course of the campaign.

And when Dragonfall launched, we were incredibly happy with the response it received. Reviewers praised the story, characters, and writing as some of the best in the business. For an indie studio like ours, that’s a huge deal! Still, as with Shadowrun Returns, we heard feedback about some things that folks wanted to see improved or simply wanted more of. We also heard many requests for a standalone version of the game - since it’s narratively independent of the Shadowrun Returns campaign, players wanted to be able to dive directly into Dragonfall.

So we thought: Why not just… make Dragonfall better?

We’re excited to announce Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Director’s Cut. Inspired by other passionate, community-focused developers like CD Projekt RED (who continued to improve and add to their Witcher titles post-launch), we decided to make an even bigger & better Dragonfall for you guys. The Shadowrun team has been hard at work taking the existing Dragonfall campaign and making it even better - adding new features, missions, art, and more.

And we’ll be releasing it as a standalone title on Steam, GOG and the Humble Store.

What’s more, as a continued “thank you” for your support, the Director’s Cut will be FREE to all Backers and to all owners of the expansion version of Dragonfall. If you’ve played Dragonfall already, this should be a great opportunity to return to the streets of Berlin and enjoy the improved campaign all over again - to try a new archetype and make different decisions. And if you haven’t played Dragonfall yet, this will be the definitive version of the game to dive into.

We’ll be talking more about the specifics later next month - but we wanted you, our Backers, to be the first to know what we’re working on. The Director’s Cut will be released sometime in September.

Stay tuned for a full announcement in August. Until then - from the entire Shadowrun team - thank you again for your continued support, and for your help making Shadowrun Returns and Dragonfall a reality.
Is this is what they were hiring a writer for? It's good news, and long overdue, but at the same time, I'd be a bit disappointed if they're not making a new campaign after all.

There are 23 comments on Shadowrun: Dragonfall Standalone Director's Cut Announced

Frayed Knights released on Steam

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Fri 25 July 2014, 17:53:22

Tags: Frayed Knights; Rampant Games

After spending an arduously long period in Greenlight purgatory, Jay Barnson's 2011 indie comedy blobber Frayed Knights has finally made its way onto Steam. Here's its new trailer and a description:



Frayed Knights: The Skull of S'makh-Daon is a 3D indie computer RPG for Windows featuring turn-based combat, old-school sensibilities, and a story of high adventure and comedy. Who says RPGs have to be so serious?

In a world of jaded heroes and veteran adventurers, you play a team of misfits: Arianna, a dainty warrior with an attitude problem; Dirk, an adrenaline-junky rogue who doesn’t seem to understand the word ‘subtle;’ Benjamin, a nature-priest and an ill-suited newcomer to the adventuring lifestyle, and Chloe, a ditsy sorceress with a love of cute, fuzzy animals and setting her enemies on fire.

Adventuring is always a dangerous profession, but recently things have gotten bad. Very bad. Teams of expert fortune-hunters are getting "morted," suffering great losses against enemies that are better prepared than ever. In the taverns and Adventurer's Guildhalls, whispered rumors speak of the return of an evil that once all but destroyed civilization. But as many great and famous adventurers fall to this growing threat, perhaps this bunch of losers - called "The Frayed Knights" (but never to their faces) - might just be the heroes the world really needs:

The wrong people at the wrong time.
If you're looking for another game to scratch your turn-based blobber itch after Might & Magic X, now might be a good time to give Frayed Knights a try if you haven't already. Its price is $12, with a 15% discount until the end of the month.

There are 7 comments on Frayed Knights released on Steam

Age of Decadence July Update

Game News - posted by VentilatorOfDoom on Fri 25 July 2014, 12:16:41

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

Vince D. Weller posted another Age of Decadence update on the Iron Tower Studio forums.

We just released an update on Steam so might as well post a forum update at the same time.

We're still working Ganezzar, which is coming along nicely. I'd say we're half done now and the hardest part is behind us now. At this stage we have all the questlines and they flow, interweave, and arrive to logical conclusions quite nicely. They are more focused and interconnected and as a result there is a larger number of options and double-crossing opportunities.

Thus this update is also light on content as Ganezzar is a priority for us as we want to release it as soon as humanly possible.

So, what’s in this update?
  • 13 new Achievements
  • A new conversation with Lorenza
  • If you had a pickpocket encounter in Teron and decided to take Livia to Cado (thieves only option, obviously) instead of killing her or letting her go, you can meet her in Maadoran now and get a glimpse of the role she's going to play in Act 4 (endgame).
  • You asked for a good dagger and we listened. If you manage to save a trader upon arrival to Maadoran, he'll reward you with a nice custom jambia.
  • A new merchant in the Slums who can sell you an axe called Black Dow.
  • Added text explaining what happened if you leave the Monastery area without doing anything and return later when you're good and ready.
  • Added a text-based option to sneak into the vaults as well as the dialogue options depending on how you handled the raiders.
  • Fixed an older dialogue that wasn't triggered correctly - after talking to Old Azra and learning that she spent her youth in Maadoran, you can ask the street 'guide' about her.
  • Fixed a number of minor bugs including the critical strike issue in Aemolas' village
As always, thank you for your continuous support and patronage. If there is something you wish to see in the next update, be it specific items (that won't require new animations), different character types, or certain characters' viewpoints or past, let us know and we'll do our best to add them.​

There's also a few images, here's an example:

[​IMG]

Almost as good as Prosper's work, but not quite, right?

There are 10 comments on Age of Decadence July Update

Thu 24 July 2014
Pillars of Eternity Gameplay Video, Previews and Interviews

Preview - posted by Crooked Bee on Thu 24 July 2014, 22:00:25

Tags: Brandon Adler; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

Today's the day that marks the release of gameplay videos as well as a bunch of interviews and previews for Obsidian's upcoming real-time-with-elves RPG Pillars of Eternity. Here's the Giantbomb video for your viewing pleasure:


There's also this video from IGN or the one from Dealspwn, but the quality is pretty awful in the latter.

As far as previews are concerned, Gamespot asks the burning question about the thin line between homage and carbon copy:

As I watched Obsidian play Pillars of Eternity, it was hard not to shake the concern that stayed with me throughout the demo: that this was not a game standing on the shoulders of giants, but one relying on slavish devotion. It didn't help that I had just played the excellent Divinity: Original Sin earlier that day, an RPG that uses its inspirations as a springboard rather than as a mold, and in the process establishes an identity that makes it an important step in RPG evolution. Divinity uses old mechanics to say something new. Does Pillars of Eternity use old mechanics to say something old? And if so, is that necessarily a bad thing? [...] The game's title appeared on screen, leaving me to wonder if Pillars of Eternity will refresh role-playing traditions or simply replicate them--and whether pure replication is anything to scoff at, given the legacy of Baldur's Gate and its ilk. Nevertheless, I have faith not just in the strength of the Infinity Engine template, but in Obsidian's ability to use that template to craft a journey worth taking.​

IGN, in the meantime, believes that Pillars of Eternity "seems to push all the right RPG buttons", with Strategy Informer dwelling a bit more on the character creation and Digital Spy quoting Sawyer on Obsidian's goals with the beta:

"We decided very early on we won't use the critical path for this," project lead Josh Sawyer told Digital Spy. "It's not going to have any of the story companions, because that's a big part of the story for people, is meeting those companions and experimenting with them.

"It's mostly for people to get a feel of just how the game plays overall, goofing around with the classes, the mechanics, combat, journals - it's up to them to try and play and mess around with it and see what doesn't really work, or if we aren't communicating things clearly."​

Then there's an interview with Sawyer at PC World, as well as another one at Rock Paper Shotgun.

Finally, PCGamesN runs an article about Obsidian hoping that Pillars of Eternity sales will fund its sequel without Kickstarter. “What I would like, and this is true of any independent developer, is for this title and the expansion to be successful enough that we don't have to go back to Kickstarter to make the sequel,” Sawyer told PCGamesN. Well, fingers crossed.

There are 196 comments on Pillars of Eternity Gameplay Video, Previews and Interviews

Wed 23 July 2014
Risen 3: Titan Lords has a luscious new trailer

Game News - posted by Zed on Wed 23 July 2014, 23:27:11

Tags: Deep Silver; Piranha Bytes; Risen 3: Titan Lords

In a new 12-minute video, Piranha Bytes and Deep Silver tells us why fans of Gothic and Risen should give a shit about Risen 3: Titan Lords. The trailer makes a pretty convincing case of 'going back to the roots', and it doesn't sound bad at all.



Our new trailer explains how Risen 3 takes all the good traits from the Gothic and Risen series to make it the best experience possible. Risen 3 - Titan Lords will be available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC on August 15th 2014.

Spotted at RPGWatch.

There are 66 comments on Risen 3: Titan Lords has a luscious new trailer

Mon 21 July 2014
Josh Sawyer and Brandon Adler interviewed by Guy Cocker

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Mon 21 July 2014, 22:40:35

Tags: Brandon Adler; J.E. Sawyer; Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

As you may have heard, Josh Sawyer and Brandon Adler were recently in London to promote Pillars of Eternity. As part of that visit, they were interviewed for a podcast hosted by a chap by the name of Guy Cocker. It's an odd interview, in that only about 11 minutes of it (from around 24:25 to 35:10) are actually about Pillars of Eternity and Obsidian, the rest being dedicated to random quizzing about current events in the gaming industry.

Those 11 minutes do confirm that, as we suspected, the version of Pillars that will be playable at next month's Gamescom is identical to the beta that will be released to eligible backers shortly afterwards. The beta will apparently not be available for purchase after its release, ruling out any form of Early Access release for the game even outside of Steam. Josh also mentions that the game will come with a campaign almanac written from the perspective of an in-game secret society called "The Hand Occult".

As for the non-Obsidian part of the interview, you might be interested to know that Josh is currently playing Ubisoft's Child of Light, and that he also wants to play Divinity: Original Sin but hasn't found the time yet. From the games he saw at E3 earlier this year, he's most anticipating Witcher 3 and also Turtle Rock Studios' Evolve.

There are 12 comments on Josh Sawyer and Brandon Adler interviewed by Guy Cocker

Sun 20 July 2014
RPG Codex Review: The Occult Chronicles and Elder Sign: Omens

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Sun 20 July 2014, 17:15:56

Tags: Cryptic Comet; Elder Sign: Omens; Fantasy Flight Games; The Occult Chronicles

Last year, two somewhat similar games, The Occult Chronicles and Elder Sign: Omens, were released for Windows within an interval of a few months. Both feature board game mechanics and settings inspired by Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. With such a unique premise, esteemed community member Gragt decided to review both of them in the same article.

Have a few snippets on both games:

The first of the duo is The Occult Chronicles by Cryptic Comet, released in August 2013. As fans of his previous games Armageddon Empires and Solium Infernum already know, Cryptic Comet pretty much means Vic Davis. Davis is a one-man designer/programmer team and a visionary who specializes in developing games for the very small niche best described as “board games specifically made for computers”. By moving tedious elements like bookkeeping and frequent calculations to the computer, these games are able to feature much more complex systems than traditional board games, without alienating players. Coupled with Davis’ terrific sense of style, this has allowed him to craft some great and memorable games, and his latest work is no exception. While his previous games were straight strategy games, The Occult Chronicles deviates from his canon by being a mix of board game and roguelike with a focus on exploration. Davis later regretted calling the game a roguelike as it apparently gave players the wrong set of expectations, but despite his feelings on the matter, in my opinion The Occult Chronicles is much closer to a traditional roguelike than many of the games that have popped up in recent years and claimed the genre for themselves.

[...] this is a terrific little game. It features no animation at all, yet manages to convey a tense and heavy atmosphere thanks to its excellent design. Zane Reichert’s drawings illustrating the various events fit the game’s pulp fiction atmosphere very well, striking a good balance between comic-book and creepy. The slow and brooding music by Stian Stark, who also composed the music for Solium Infernum and Six Guns Saga, is perfect for this kind of game; there are no memorable tunes to speak of, but it sets the tone without intruding. While every adventure follows the same basic structure, there is a decent amount of randomly generated content to experience, and I am still surprised to see events that I missed, connected to quests that weren’t available before. As a horror and occult-themed roguelike, I guess the closest thing to it would be the bona fide roguelike Infra Arcana, but the board game aspect makes it fairly unique. If you can get past the clunky interface and obtuse ability descriptions, there are many hours of quality entertainment to be had. A game takes only a few hours to complete, the atmosphere is thick, the challenge is high, and the different backgrounds and scenario options keep it replayable.

[...] The second game is Elder Sign: Omens by Fantasy Flight Games, released for Windows in November 2013, a mere three months after The Occult Chronicles. This is actually a port of the 2011 game for Android, Apple, and Kindle Fire. Now, it may seem weird to review a game with such a dubious pedigree, but humor me for a while.

The reason it is reviewed here alongside The Occult Chronicles is that both games share many similar elements, from theme and setting to the board game-like gameplay. Of the two, Elder Sign: Omens plays the closest to a traditional board game, which is par for the course considering it is an adaptation of an actual board game, Elder Sign. There are some differences between them, but for the most part Omens is quite faithful to its cardboard sibling. This also makes it a much simpler game than The Occult Chronicles, if only because it could be easily set up on a table with cards, tokens, and dice, whereas The Occult Chronicles, just like other Cryptic Comet games, would be a nightmare of cyclopean proportions to play that way. The basic scenario has you control a team of four investigators in the ’30s, of various backgrounds and talents, who must prevent the awakening of an Ancient One from the Cthulhu Mythos. To achieve this goal, you must explore the Miskatonic University Museum at night to gather supplies and artifacts, including the titular Elder Signs required to seal the cosmic horror. This time the game makes direct use of the Mythos, and you will encounter familiar figures like the Deep Ones, Ithaqua and even Cthulhu himself. Truth be told, the Mythos is used here more as a coat of paint to give a strong and familiar theme to a horror-themed board game that is light on plot, but it does the job rather well. It may not be as involved as Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, but it's good enough to give you your Lovecraft fix as long as you don’t expect a great plot, great characters, or great dialogue — which isn’t something usually found in a Lovecraft story anyway. [...]

Both games have their flaws and merits, and while none ascends to greatness, they are well worth a look, especially if you need a fix of horror and Lovecraft pulp fiction.​

Read the full review: RPG Codex Review: The Occult Chronicles and Elder Sign: Omens

There are 16 comments on RPG Codex Review: The Occult Chronicles and Elder Sign: Omens

Sat 19 July 2014
Dead State Kickstarter Update #45: Progress Report, Design Updates, and Polls

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Sat 19 July 2014, 15:00:26

Tags: Dead State; DoubleBear Productions

In the new Kickstarter update for their zombie survival RPG Dead State, DoubleBear talk about the progress they've made since the last Early Access update:

Well, we've been doing some seriously heavy internal testing to prepare everything, and our whole team's focused on a multitude of features, fixes, and assets that will make the open beta that much better when it's released.

Here's a quick progress update:

* Our art team's cranking out assets for unique and special areas, unique armor models, and new NPC models;

* Our programming team is working on implementing dogs, shelter upgrades, and character perks and traits, as well as the usual bug-fixing;

* Our animator is working through importing a number of new and existing animal, human and undead animations into the build and creating new dialogue gesture animations;

* Our design team is crafting crisis events, adding ever more allies and their corresponding dialogues to the game, and working on new and old levels;

* Our sound designer is busily working on weapon-related SFX, and recently provided us with new explosion sounds

* Our composer's finished most of Dead State's core tracks (of which there are many!) and is getting started soon on a unique track for the ending theme.​

Aside from that, Annie and Brian Mitsoda have also resumed their Monday Design Updates, which you might want to check out, too. The latest one, from July 14th, has to do with the game's conversations -- how they help flesh things out and what DoubleBear's current goals with those are.

Also, check out the full update for the list of polls (e.g. "What are you looking forward to the most for the upcoming beta?") that the developers are currently running on their forum.

There are 27 comments on Dead State Kickstarter Update #45: Progress Report, Design Updates, and Polls

Torment: Tides of Numenera Interview at GRY-Online

Interview - posted by Crooked Bee on Sat 19 July 2014, 12:25:00

Tags: Adam Heine; InXile Entertainment; Jeremy Kopman; Kevin Saunders; Torment: Tides of Numenera

Polish magazine GRY-Online offers a dual-language interview (Polish and English) on InXile's Torment: Tides of Numenera. The developers interviewed are Adam Heine (Design Lead), Jeremy Kopman (Crisis Designer), and Kevin Saunders (Project Lead). Have a snippet on difficulty as well as on "romancing options", without which "modern RPGs" apparently "cannot exist" according to the interviewer:

What about game difficulty? Are you planning to escalate it somehow? If so – what will change at „hard” in comparison to „normal”? And if not – how do you want to reconcile the expectations and needs of hardcore RPG gamers and casual ones?

Kevin Saunders: We do plan to have difficulty settings, but aren’t yet prepared to discuss the details of how we’ll approach this feature. In general, we aren’t targeting super casual players, but we are using best practices for UI design and game design to make the game accessible rather than arcane. The quests, storyline, etc. typically don’t take well to different difficulty levels and we aren’t planning much, if anything, there. Meanwhile, because the Crises are hand-crafted experiences, and fairly few in number, we hope we can be somewhat sophisticated in how we alter them based on difficulty.

So as to not fully evade your question, here are a few specific examples (or counter examples):

Opponents: On harder difficulty settings, we may add additional enemies that create more tactically challenging encounters.

Difficult Tasks (DT): If we do make DTs harder at higher difficulties, it won’t be by much. This method of difficulty scaling fundamentally alters too much of the gameplay, making many Skills less useful, which disrupts the balance of a variety of things.

Friendly fire: We will likely have friendly fire active in all difficulty modes and not something that changes due to the difficulty setting. With the turn-based combat, making your party immune to friendly area of effect abilities would fundamentally alter the nature of those abilities and undermine the tactics.

Resting: You may get more “rests” at easier difficulty levels, allowing you to be a little less discerning about when to spend Effort.

Randomness: Not really a difficulty thing, but another axis we’ve toyed with as a game option is the degree of randomness. We are planning for randomness to play a factor in some aspects of gameplay and not others, but might let the player adjust some of this. For example, in Numenera weapons typically inflict a fixed amount of damage, which affects the flavor of combat compared to random damage.

Nowadays modern RPGs cannot exist without romancing options. Previous games from the genre were not avoiding this either – even Planescape: Torment had some kind of love story involving the Nameless One and Annah. Will we able to take relations with our companions to the „next level”? Will it affect story somehow?

Kevin Saunders: Love can indeed be part of one’s legacy, but including love stories is not a focus for us. The types of relationships you can develop depend upon the specifics of the characters and situations – to the extent that any deep connections can be established, it will be because they arose naturally through the story, not because we preplanned them. Of course, romantic love is only one flavor of love.​

The full interview is also worth a read not just for other snippets of info about the game's approach to crises or combat, but also to enjoy Kevin's answers to the typical game journalistic questions about RtwP vs turn-based, the non-rotating camera, and voice-overs and cutscenes.

There are 34 comments on Torment: Tides of Numenera Interview at GRY-Online

Tue 15 July 2014
Interview with Chris Avellone at MemoryLeak

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 15 July 2014, 23:37:15

Tags: Chris Avellone; Obsidian Entertainment

Chris Avellone's latest podcast interview is for a site called "MemoryLeak Interviews", which I think is sort of a successor to the now-defunct "The Critical Bit" which we've linked to in the past. He sounds a bit tipsy in this one:



Few people understand the confluence of game systems and narrative like Chris Avellone. Since his start at Interplay in 1995 Chris has been instrumental in the development of many influential RPGs. In this interview Chris and I discuss his recent kickstarter projects, the design process at Obsidian, and the challenges of developing modern RPGs.
The interview is way too all over the place for me to summarize, but I will say that the most interesting parts for me were Chris' descriptions of his work with Brian Fargo (at around 1:35), Brian Mitsoda (at around 38:55) and Feargus Urquhart (at around 45:05). He elegantly avoids saying anything negative about the latter Brian's work on Alpha Protocol. That's our MCA, always tactful.

There are 45 comments on Interview with Chris Avellone at MemoryLeak

Sun 13 July 2014
RPG Codex Review: Long Live the Queen

Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Sun 13 July 2014, 18:44:59

Tags: Hanako Games; Long Live the Queen

Back in the decline-plagued year of 2011, with no proper RPGs like Divinity: Original Sin or tactical RPGs like Blackguards in sight (and with Age of Decadence remaining the all-too-easy subject of "vaporware" jokes), our very own Darth Roxor did a review of the CYOA RPG Academagia. Our readers generally prefer "full-fledged" RPGs, or at least those with good combat or interesting "choices & consequences" (C&C for short), so Academagia didn't really gain a lot of traction around these parts. However, CYOA RPGs are still RPGs, at least to some extent, and so it shouldn't be too surprising that another one, Long Live the Queen!, has caught our attention.

In this quick review, esteemed community member Deuce Traveler tells us what's good about the game -- but also what's bad, and not particularly exciting, about it. Have a snippet:

And this is my biggest issue with Long Live the Queen. There is no way for you to predict the various skills that you will need to survive. In one playthrough, I had done well building up my courtly skills, only to fall victim to an arrow that I could not avoid due to a lack of archery skills, nor treat the resulting wound due to a lack of battlefield medicine skills. So, I loaded a previous save and pumped my skills up just enough to be able to live through the attack and move on. The game is won on the basis of trial and error rather than any tactical decision making on part of the player. It really is just a choose-your-own-adventure (CYOA) visual novel. Due to its lack of randomization or tactical considerations, the skill checks are simply another CYOA element. Even the somewhat similar skill building simulator, the infamous Slave Maker 3, has more randomization, and that game is a fan project.

That brings me to my final point. Long Live the Queen is a fine story as seen through Elodie's eyes, and the character works as a quirky slate for the player. However, the supporting cast is full of unsympathetic arseholes. Even Elodie's father hides critical information from her, despite having a vested interest in her survival. Her friends are fickle, the nobility behave as vultures over a rotting carcass, and the peasants are either dull or violent. With so many unlikable characters, I often found myself playing Elodie as a martial character, mastering warfare, weapons, and magic. To the game's credit, however, you can play as a much more cultured and peaceable character and still win. I have read, for instance, that there is a winning path for someone who becomes a master musician. You can also develop romantic relationships with many of the different characters, despite a range of ages and genders. Because of this, the game has some replay value for those willing to work through its trial-and-error gameplay loop.​

Read the full review: RPG Codex Review: Long Live the Queen

There are 76 comments on RPG Codex Review: Long Live the Queen

Sat 12 July 2014
Interview with Swen Vincke at PC Gamer

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Sat 12 July 2014, 17:38:07

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

With Divinity: Original Sin receiving rave reviews across the board, the folks at PC Gamer have done a short interview with Swen Vincke about the game's near-term future and patch timetable. There's also some discussion of its oldschool and, interestingly enough, multiplayer-centric design principles. Here's an excerpt:

PCG: What kind of things are you looking at in the big update?

Vincke: We basically have two types of things. We're doing hotfixes where we see problems that we can fix right away for people, and then the patch will contain some extra content. Balancing fixes. We'll introduce the AI personalities—that was one feature that didn't make it fully for release. [Right now] you only have no personality or random personality, which is rather clunky to play with, or the loyal personality which basically does everything you do. We will add five or six AI personalities, and they have distinct opinions about things, and so it's basically your partner. [And] people will be able to create their own personalities.

They make decisions based on certain type of personality, and it makes the game quite different, actually, because then it's really like playing with a human being, to a certain extent.

PCG: Can you go into a little more detail on the kind of personalities that you're shipping in the update?

Vincke: We'll have a knight. That's what you can imagine. Then we'll have a rascal, a maniac, a judge— somebody who's very judgmental—a priest, and a free-spirit, They basically all have different traits that they prefer.

If you put in, let's say, a judgmental character, who would for instance refuse to hire a companion, that's a very big impact on your game right there. If you role-play through that, that really changes your game. It's something that can happen in multiplayer also, right? It's basically what we're trying to do. This gives single-players the feeling of what you get in co-op multiplayer, when you deal with the actions of somebody else.

PCG: Did you guys have a sense of the right way for someone to try to play this game? Is it really designed for multiplayer or is it designed to be single-player and the multiplayer is just a bonus for people who want to make that commitment?

Vincke: It's been designed from the bottom-up with the multiplayer in mind, under the motto that the multiplayer will make the single-player stronger. That sounds strange, so allow me to explain that.

If you make enough RPG like this, in which the party can split up at any time, and each player can do whatever he wants, there is an enormous amount of contingencies that you have to put in place, or you have to come up with a very systemic system which is pretty much what we've done. You have to make sure that whatever storytelling you're trying to do it will work no matter what the players are going to do.

[...] When you're playing it in multiplayer you can be rest assured that becomes very unpredictable, what people are doing. A lot of the development effort was actually focused around that. I'm really happy that we've done it, because typically people always say it dumbs a game down, the fact that you have the multiplayer, and I think in our case it actually strengthens it.

We didn't talk about quests at some point anymore. We just talked about situations which occurred, that players could encounter, and there was no right or not wrong way of doing it. It was just something that happens on your journey. So my advice to anybody doing an RPG would be, "Make a multiplayer version out of it."

PCG: Are there plans for expansions or DLC or massive content updates?

Vincke: We are going to add a number of extra companions. There were planned to be more companions, but just the deadline and production realities, that's too hard to be able to include this, so that's going to come in August, the extra companions. They will be probably more fleshed-out than the ones that are in there now, so a lot of effort is being put into that.

Then beyond that, to be honest, I told you at the beginning of our conversation that this was “all-in,” so we didn't really make any concrete plans. We obviously have lots of ideas, but there are no concrete sense of what we're going to do, so we're going to finish this patch, do a couple of more hotfixes and then probably we're going to take a break, and then I think at that we're going to spend August figuring out where to next, with the RPG that we're going to be making. Then we will announce it with a lot of fanfare and so forth.​

So, those of you who were postponing your playthrough until the companions were complete should clear your schedules for August.

There are 103 comments on Interview with Swen Vincke at PC Gamer

Thu 10 July 2014
Quest for Infamy Released on Steam and GOG

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Thu 10 July 2014, 15:39:53

Tags: Infamous Quests; Quest for Infamy

After the adventure RPG Heroine's Quest, which we enjoyed a lot, comes the second title in the ongoing Quest for Glory-inspired renaissance. It's called Quest for Infamy, and was developed by the Codex user Blackthorne (Steven Alexander), who also took part in our huge AdventureDex Interview last year.

You can grab the game on Steam or on GOG. I'll quote the Steam description here.



Why Be Famous When You Can Be Infamous?

Return to the glory days of role-playing and adventure with this humor-filled fantasy epic, styled in the vein of classic PC RPGs, where you play the charming villain. Blending turn-based combat and spellcasting with puzzle solving and adventure, players can choose from three character classes—brigand (strength), rogue (stealth), or sorcerer (magic), each with unique storylines and adventures—in one of the largest retro role-playing experiences ever. A spiritual heir to yesteryear's heroic quests, adventurers are invited to explore a world of hand-drawn wonder, as they wind their way through trap-infested dungeons, battle slavering beasts with swords or custom-made spells, and steal entire town's worth of treasure from unsuspecting townsfolk. Being bad has never felt so good!

  • Classic fantasy Adventure/RPG packed with adventure, puzzles, combat, and spellcasting
  • Play as one of three anti-heroes with unique quests: Brigand, Rogue, or Sorcerer
  • Lie, cheat, and steal your way through tales of charming villainy with multiple endings
  • Use swords, spells, or wits to blaze a path to victory: Styles vary with every play
  • Hand-drawn world seamlessly blends role-playing and adventure
  • Over 50 NPCs and 200 rooms to explore and interact with
  • Customize your own spells, skills, and adventures
Links: Steam; GOG.

There's also a third QfG-inspired game, Mage's Initiation, coming later this year. Keep an eye out for that one, too.

There are 70 comments on Quest for Infamy Released on Steam and GOG

Wed 9 July 2014
Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #82: Creatures; Backer Beta on Aug 18

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 9 July 2014, 20:14:37

Tags: Obsidian Entertainment; Pillars of Eternity

This week's Pillars of Eternity update by associate producer Rose Gomez is pretty short, focusing on the design of some of the game's creatures. It also officially announces the backer beta, to be released on August 18 already. Good progress there.

Anyway, here's one of the monsters:

Blight



Blights are lost souls or soul fragments that have bonded with elemental substances. They are often victims of natural disasters (floods, rock slides, forest fires, etc.). They are incoherent, confused, and full of rage, an amorphous cloud that swirls endlessly and with great violence. Within the vortex, dozens of humanoid shapes materialize and vanish from moment to moment. Faces scream in silent agony while hands desperately clutch and claw at their surroundings, as though still trying to escape their tragic fates.

Bîaŵacs, storms that can rip the soul out of a person’s body, often create blights. If souls are ripped free from their bodies and caught in the center of the storm, they may become stuck together and bonded with any other elemental substances in the maelstrom. They are pure chaos and confusion, and destroying them is considered by many to be a mercy to the souls trapped within them.

Blights have been the subject of controversial research carried out by the animancers of Eora. On the one hand, attempts at vivisection have led to promising strides in treating patients who, for one reason or another, contain within their bodies two or more complete souls fused together, which has been identified as the root cause of a variety of mental and physiological disorders. On the other, however, some groups lament that there is a lack of transparency on the methods being employed in these experiments, the general concerns being that these might be somehow inhumane or present some broader risk to the surrounding populace. There are also some who accuse animancers of deliberately trying to create blights for study, but the veracity of these claims is difficult to substantiate.​

Bîaŵac is such a Sawyerian name. To learn about Xaurips and Vithracks, read the full update.

Additionally, in a move that may prove disappointing to some, Obsidian has decided to only provide developer documentary (which was part of some KS tiers) as digital download, avoiding the physical DVD/Bluray stuff entirely. It's like that thing Swen Vincke is talking about.

The next update will "discuss the Backer Beta in more detail." Looking forward to that.

There are 64 comments on Pillars of Eternity Kickstarter Update #82: Creatures; Backer Beta on Aug 18

Divinity: Original Sin Released on GOG

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 9 July 2014, 20:02:06

Tags: Divinity: Original Sin; Larian Studios

After some trials and tribulations, Larian's Divinity: Original Sin has been released on GOG.com today. As you know, originally GOG intended to release the game in August, after the launch of its GOG Galaxy client, in order to offer full multiplayer and automatic patching features comparable to those offered by Steam. However, there was some backslash on their forums because of that decision, and also Examiner's How GOG Screwed up the Divinity: Original Sin release article, all of which led GOG to release the game earlier.

The game does have regional pricing, in case you're wondering, but it also features GOG's "Fair Price Package" and includes the editor, too:

What's cool about it:
  • We're offering a Fair Price Package with this title, so everyone who is adversely affected by the regional pricing plan will be compensated with bonus codes. You will find yours in your order confirmation email.
  • Become part of a reactive, living and vast open world. Explore many different environments, fight all kinds of fantastical creatures and discover tons of desirable items.
  • Experience gripping party- and turn-based combat. Manipulate the environment and use skill & spell combos to overcome your many foes: Use magic to make it rain on your enemies, then cast a lightning spell to fry them to a crisp.
  • Experiment with different skill combinations to ruin the day for enemies and townspeople alike.
  • Play with a friend in co-op multiplayer. Make decisions together (or disagree entirely), as your interactions and relationship with your partner influence the game.
  • Unravel a deep and epic story, set in the early days of the Divinity universe. No prior experience with other Divinity games is necessary, however. The game takes place well before its predecessors, Divine Divinity and Divinity II: The Dragon Knight Saga, but will still feel familiar to fans.
  • Classless character creation lets you design the character of your choice. Endless item interaction and combinations take exploration and experimentation to another level of freedom.
  • Create your own adventures and share them online. With Original Sin comes the powerful toolset used by the game's designers. Yours are endless new stories to make and share with other players!
Multiplayer notice: Multiplayer is available via Direct IP or LAN.​

In other D:OS-related news, Gamasutra has a short interview with Swen Vincke, which includes, among other things, his strong opinion on digital vs physical content:

Going forward, Larian expects to rely on crowdfunding for its future projects -- though Vincke says his studio has learned a lot from its first brush with Kickstarter.

"Don’t do anything physical," says Vincke, when I ask him about recommendations for his fellow developers who are thinking about using Kickstarter. "I would never again do all the boxed stuff, and I regret that we spent so much time on everything related to making a physical release happen."

The studio wound up devoting a significant amount of resources and time to printing discs, shipping boxes, and getting Original Sin translated and age-rated in multiple territories prior to release. Vincke tells me he ignored good advice to focus on developing a digital game in English and only worry about things like localization after your game is released.

"At the time I answered him by saying ‘you know we’ve been doing this for quite some time, we’ve released so many RPGs, we can deal with this, blah blah blah.’ And it’s true, we have done this several times, and it’s always been miserable! Here too, it was miserable again," says Vincke.

"I will definitely try to listen to my own advice next time." ​

There are 131 comments on Divinity: Original Sin Released on GOG

Tue 8 July 2014
Age of Decadence June Update

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 July 2014, 21:37:43

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

This main part of month's Age of Decadence update is a bit light on content:

Another month is gone. Fortunately, we've hit our goals and even though I barely remember June, I see a truckload of different files and find the progress on all fronts extremely pleasing.

The town and the castle look great and the questlines are well thought through and have a good number of options and an even greater amount of double-crossing and backstabbing. If you want to play an opportunist who is betraying out of habit now, you won’t be disappointed.

As you know each town has a theme and a certain main event. Teron is a frontier town, lawless and dangerous. Very Deadwood-like. The event is a military takeover attempt. Maadoran is more “civilized”, Byzantine and more sophisticated. The event is a power struggle. Ganezzar is a religious town. You saw some preachers here and there, saw Meru’s creed slowly spreading, and now you’ll see where it all comes from and why. The event is the siege.

If you’re playing as an Imperial Guard, you’ll participate in the events that trigger the siege. All the other characters will arrive to Ganezzar (to the Aurelian camp outside the walls) when the siege is already in progress. While your faction may have certain preconceived notions about which side you should be on, you won’t have to do what you’re told.

Anyway, we’re very excited about it and it feels great to see the town becoming more and more "real" and all the questlines falling into place and forming a coherent story, which changes based on the angle you’re looking at it from. We still have a month of work ahead of us before we can star testing the 'base', but it’s definitely going well.
But it makes up for that with a dialogue screenshots section which is among the coolest I've seen yet. I'll make an exception from my usual routine and quote it too:

As for screens of the month, I mentioned Faelan in one of the earlier updates. He’s Meru’s pet “magus” and if you feel like killing him, you’ll have to fight him with your eyes closed, text-adventure style. Mazin, our artist extraordinaire, and I worked on it together which resulted in a 6,300-word document. So, the battle is truly epic, filled with excitement, adventure, and many death screens.

It’s hard to present this fight in a few screens, but I’ll try. There are several reasons to want him dead, from practical to personal. Here is one of them – Glabrio, the guildmaster of the local branch of the thieves guild, sends you to kill him.

The magus isn’t really a magus. He’s a powerful hypnotist, which has the same awe-inspired effect on the locals. He’s very loyal to Meru and overall, if you get to know him, he is a fairly decent guy. Weird as fuck but decent, which is more than can be said about many people.

[​IMG]

The rules of this fight are simple: 3 strikes and you're out. A critical strike counts for two. This way if the magus manages to stab you once, the game isn't over yet and you can still fight him and vice versa. A single successful attack won't take the magus out of commission and he might still cut your throat from ear to ear. ​

That's right, it's a literal blind fight - because he's a hypnotist, see? Very clever.

There are 23 comments on Age of Decadence June Update

Brian Mitsoda responds to Dead State vaporware accusations, reveals new release date

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 July 2014, 20:47:56

Tags: Brian Mitsoda; Dead State; DoubleBear Productions

Brian Mitsoda doesn't like when people call Dead State vaporware. He doesn't like it so much, that he decided to draft a two part editorial/retrospective to answer the question "Why isn't Dead State Done Yet?!". It's a candid behind-the-scenes look at what I imagine might be the typical development cycle of a low budget Kickstarter game. Here's an excerpt:

Now, I’d like to jump back in time to the summer of 2009. That was the year where Annie, me, and Iron Tower kicked around the idea of Dead State publicly and I eventually formed DoubleBear. It wasn’t until 2010 that we decided to go forward with full development of Dead State, and we went public with that knowledge hesitantly. I say “hesitantly“ because most games aren’t announced until they’ve cleared pre-production: however, we needed to find volunteers to help us out with the production, and going public was the only way to put the word out. Aside from money needed for engine licensing, computer equipment, and business fees, we had zerobudget for production. Most of the time spent on the game in 2010 and 2011 was not full-time, but done as a side project for about 3-5 people - and a month of production without a budget does not equal to a month of full-time paid production. The difference is 40-60 hours a week per full-time developer, versus 20-40 hours a month for volunteer staff. Let me say that again: a complex game with no budget does not equal the same progress as a game that is being worked on full-time. Without adequate progress, momentum on any creative project gets stalled quickly, and that hurts everyone’s enthusiasm for soldiering on. When you need to pay the bills, your side project is going to suffer, and for a time in 2011, very little work was getting done on Dead State, and it was killing our will to continue making the game.

I’ve never discussed this before, but there was a point where we nearly canceled Dead State. In 2011, we had to face the facts: without a budget, there was really no way to make an RPG. We had talked about Kickstarter back then, but I felt it wasn’t fair to ask for funding with just a good idea or screen mockups. My biggest concern for a Kickstarter was that we needed to get a basic version of the game together to show our work to potential backers, and we would only have a few months to do it. Together, we decided that in the spring of 2012, either we would take the time needed to create a pitch for Kickstarter, or we would cancel the project. It was only because of a dedicated effort that the game got into shape for the Kickstarter campaign, and it was that experience that showed me that the core team (including myself) could do the game full-time if we had the money to make that happen.

In June of 2012, we launched on Kickstarter, and managed a successful campaign despite some higher profile projects being covered in the press. In July of 2012, we had the funds we needed to pay for full production. This money also allowed us to bring on contributors full-time and additionally search for and hire additional personnel to round out our project staff. For all intents and purposes, the Kickstarter rebooted production of Dead State. As of mid-July 2012, we were finally working as a full-time production studio and the progress being made on the game was instantly a whole lot faster. As far as I’m concerned, production on Dead State started at the point when my team could get paid to do full-time work (you know, how most games actually get made).

Luckily, most of the pre-production was done pre-Kickstarter, so post-funding, it was all about further development on our tools, creating art and design content, establishing schedules, and looking for additional team members. I will say that once we had financing, that responsibility to deliver Dead State was profound, and I’m aware of it every single day. We are indebted to our backers: there would be no DoubleBear or Dead State without them. If we want to grow our business and continue to make games, of course Dead State is going to be finished - does anyone seriously think we’d blow our professional reputations by ‘abandoning’ a project on Early Access? (Side note: Unfinished RPGs on Early Access are not a license to print money.) It’s always been our goal to build to something, namely an experienced group of talent that can continue to make video games and maybe even attempt another RPG (if it doesn’t bankrupt us).

[...] Before I wrap this up, I want to mention that when Troika released Bloodlines, several dozen people had poured years of development time into that game, and while we did not get the time we wanted to polish it, we all knew we were working on a great RPG and were proud of our (incredibly hard) work on it. The thing is: financially, it bombed. Today, it’s still a popular game, but back when it was released, we saw it enter the marketplace and heard crickets. Yes, in time people discovered it and loved it, but the feeling you have when a game you put so much effort into - that you feel you did more things right than you did wrong - when that game bombs, it’s devastating and makes you less likely to take risks in your career in the future. Morale aside, without the momentum of sales and fan support, Troika did not last long after Bloodlines shipped. All the accolades that came later couldn’t save the company.

Getting a team together, creating a new RPG, and getting the public to embrace it takes years of effort. Without support - without people getting the word out about it - an RPG isn’t going to get the attention it needs to sustain the developers so they can make another one. If gamers want more and different types of RPGs to be created, they need to understand the process of development and embrace the fact that RPG development is only going to be made possible by supporting both experienced and new teams. I’m not asking for everyone out there to buy a copy of Dead State (although that would be nice), but if you’re knocking my team for the length of the game’s development, I am asking for you to understand the complexity of what we are creating before you dismiss us. The absolute worst thing that can happen to any RPG development team is to create fans after it’s too late to create another game.
You may also wish to check out this reply to the second part of the article, in which Brian reveals that that the game's planned release date is now "September or October", with the public beta planned for August.

There are 22 comments on Brian Mitsoda responds to Dead State vaporware accusations, reveals new release date

The Digital Antiquarian on Ultima IV

Editorial - posted by Infinitron on Tue 8 July 2014, 20:14:04

Tags: Origin Systems; Richard Garriott; The Digital Antiquarian; Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar

The latest article from Jimmy Maher's Digital Antiquarian blog is dedicated to Origin's seminal 1985 title, Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar, as I suspected it would be. It's obvious that he's a huge fan of this game and what it represents. The article describes with loving attention to detail the circumstances behind its creation, beginning with the story of Origin's temporary decampment to Massachusetts after the release of Ultima III. It makes an attempt at deciphering the motives and psychological factors that may have led the young Richard Garriott to decide that he needed to develop a radically new form of RPG. But even if you're the type of RPG player who prefers Wizardry over Ultima, there is a snippet of information here you may find interesting:

With Chuck Bueche’s action game Caverns of Callisto having failed to set the industry on fire, Origin now concentrated on, as their tagline would eventually have it, “creating worlds” in the form of big, ambitious games. Soon after the move to New England, they hired Dave Albert away from Penguin Software. Albert, who had majored in journalism at university and served as editor and writer for SoftSide magazine before coming to Penguin, would help Robert Garriott to put a professional face to this collection of young hackers. Albert also brought with him Greg Malone and his game in progress, the very original if polarizing oriental CRPG Moebius. Before releasing their next slate of games after Ultima III and Caverns of Callisto, Origin signed a distribution deal with Electronic Arts, becoming one of the first of what would eventually be quite a number of EA “Affiliated Labels.” This gave the still tiny Origin a badly needed presence in mass-market chains like Toys “R” Us and Sears.

Origin stretched out its tendrils in many intriguing directions during these early days. They entered into a contract with Steve Jackson Games — Steve Jackson was a friend of Richard’s from his Austin SCA troupe — to adapt that company’s popular board game Car Wars for the computer. They also agreed to make a computer game to accompany a planned film version of Morgan Llywelyn’s novel Lion of Ireland; Richard would get to spend two weeks on the set in southern Ireland soaking up the ambiance in the name of research. Richard also made tentative plans with none other than Andrew Greenberg of Wizardry fame to collaborate on “the ultimate fantasy role-playing game.” Most of this came to naught: the movie’s financing fell through and it never got made; the ultimate collaboration remained nothing more than talk. Only the Car Wars project survived, and only after a fashion: Chuck Bueche turned the turn-based board game into the real-time CRPG Autoduel over the considerable misgivings of Steve Jackson.

Meanwhile and preeminently, there was Ultima IV, the game that would change everything for Ultima and for Origin. As was his routine by now, Richard started working on it almost from the moment that Ultima III shipped, starting once again from the previous game’s code base and once again designing and coding virtually everything himself on his trusty Apple II. But, like the fourth Wizardry game that was its obvious competitor, it took much longer to complete than anyone had anticipated. Originally slated for Christmas 1984, it took a final desperate dash just to get it out in time for Christmas 1985.

Anticipation grew all the while. For a game to remain in active, continuous development for two years at that time was virtually unprecedented. Truly Richard Garriott must be doing something amazing. The hints and tidbits that he let drop during interviews certainly sounded good: Ultima IV‘s world map would consist of 256 X 256 tiles, 16 times the size of Ultima III‘s 64 X 64-tile world; there would be a full parser-based conversation engine for talking with others; spells would now require reagents to cast, with the finding of their recipes and ingredients a mini-game within the game; dungeons would now contain “rooms” that opened into a tactical map. Yet the thing that Richard kept bringing up most was none of these incremental improvements, but something he insisted marked a change in the very nature of the game. There would be, he said, no evil character to defeat. Instead the player must become a better person, an “Avatar of Virtue.” What was that all about?

Richard Garriott has told many times the story of how Ultima IV came to be. Akalabeth, Ultima I, and Ultima II had, he says, existed for him in a vacuum — or, maybe better said, an echo chamber. Any fan mail or other feedback from players of those games had never reached him because neither California Pacific nor Sierra had bothered to forward it to him. Once Ultima III came out under his own company’s aegis, however, he started getting a flood of letters telling him how fans really played his games. This generally entailed lots of murdering, stealing, and all-around reprehensible behavior. Now, it’s perhaps a bit surprising that this should come as sucha shock to Richard, since those early games essentially forced this behavior on the player if she wished to succeed. Still, the letters set it out all out in unmistakeable black and white, as it were. And then there were the truly crazy letters from religious fundamentalists and anti-Dungeons and Dragons activists, which included such lovely epithets as “Satanic perverter of America’s youth.”

“People,” Richard said in another interview, “read things into my games that were simply statistical anomalies in the programming. They thought I was putting messages into the game.” To his mind, those first four games were all simply “here’s some money, here’s some weapons, here’s some monsters, go kill them and you win.” Like the Beatles a generation earlier, he now decided to give those who wanted hidden messages something that actually, you know, existed to think about it. Less facetiously, all of this feedback did make him begin to think seriously for the first time about the sorts of messages his games were delivering, to begin to understand they were not “just games,” that they could and did say something about the world. He began to understand that every creative work says something, whether its creator intends it to do so or not. It says something about the person who created it, the culture he came from, the audience to which it’s expected to appeal. Richard wasn’t sure he liked what his games were saying — albeit all but unbeknownst to their creator — so he decided to take conscious control of his message with Ultima IV.

It makes for kind of a beautiful story about a young man discovering himself as an artist, discovering that the work he puts into the world really does matter. And there’s no reason to believe it isn’t true in the large strokes. That said, there are indications that the full story may be at least a bit more complicated than the glib summary that Richard has given in almost thirty years worth of interviews.
The Antiquarian isn't done with Ultima IV yet. For his next article, Jimmy will conduct a retrospective playthrough of the game and examine its virtue system in closer detail.

There are 4 comments on The Digital Antiquarian on Ultima IV

Risen 3: Titan Lords Available for Preorder on Steam

Game News - posted by Crooked Bee on Tue 8 July 2014, 18:43:21

Tags: Piranha Bytes; Risen 3: Titan Lords

I don't know if (m)any of you care after the disappointment that was Risen 2, but Piranha Bytes' Risen 3 is now available for preorder on Steam. $49,99/49,99€ though, so beware. (I mean, D:OS is just forty.)

The world has been abandoned by its gods and is scarred from the rampage of the Titans. Humanity is struggling to regain strength and rally its forces. You, however, have more pressing concerns: your own life has been shattered and you must set off to reclaim what is lost amidst the darkness that is spreading throughout the world. Who knows, maybe you'll even save the world at the same time?

Three threads of destiny lie before you. Three ways to rise up against the Titans and regain your soul. Which path to take? The choice is yours.

Features
  • Freedom: Freely explore and take on quests at your leisure. Quests will have different ways to tackle them and different outcomes. You can play different parts of the game in whatever order you wish and shape your character individually.
  • Exploration: Discover quests and characters as you make your way through the diverse world of Risen 3 - Titan Lords. From quaint medieval-style towns to delving deep into the dank dark of mines, to the supernatural shadow world, there is a wealth of possibilities waiting to be explored. You will be able to traverse this world in a variety of ways, from swimming to climbing.
  • Enhanced combat: Featuring a revamped fighting system, with new animation systems in place that add nuance to the fights.
  • Magic is back! Crystal magic has returned, bringing with it devastating new combat abilities. Wield elements such as lightning, fire and ice to obliterate your foes, or make use of a multitude of additional magical skills to aid you in exploration - the choice is yours!
  • Guilds & factions: Choose to ally yourself with one of three distinct guilds, each offering unique skills, armouries and quests allowing you to approach your quest in very different ways. Discover additional factions that exist to bend the balance of political power in the world, each with their own agenda for you to uncover. Be careful which characters you trust – some might ally with you with the intent of fulfilling their own sinister plans.
The release day is August 12, 2014. Fingers crossed, of course, but I'm not holding my breath.

There are 36 comments on Risen 3: Titan Lords Available for Preorder on Steam

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